What if there were an objective morality, somehow baked into the fabric of the universe? Imagine some stone tablet which reads: “PAIN IS GOOD”
Would you start torturing people?
Otherwise good people kill and hurt others, all in the name of god. God says “Killing infidels is good” and even if you don’t like to do it, it’s nonetheless your duty. Or so they think .
This is the danger with “objective moralities”. You’ll ignore your own intuitions and commit cruelties, all because some higher authority said so.
Imagine you could determine the inscription of that stone tablet. What would it say? To put it differently: What do you wish that tablet would say?
But, why don’t you just do that?
Hm, I see Yudkowsky’s point, but it’s not very convincing. Sometimes you have to trust your intuitions and sometimes you have to follow the orders of some higher authority, like math, logic, Bayes, etc.
If there is some genuine, objective morality out there and it tells you to do something which sounds prima facie like a bad idea, well, you should probably do it anyway. Just like the idea of effective altruism sounds at first kinda stupid, but upon reflection, it makes a lot of sense.
And remember – Yudkowsky is the one who says that we shouldn’t trust our intuitions and “shut up and multiply”! But how do we know which moral intuitions are false (like the ones responsible for Scope-Insensitivity) and which are true?
OTOH, I think Konkvistador has a point:
I find it funny that many of the people here who where pretty much freaked out by the idea of “objective morality built into the fabric of the universe” not really mattering for humans, yet when it comes to mythology don’t have a problem criticizing Abraham for being willing to sacrifice his son because God told him too.
This morality-stuff is rather tricky.
I have no idea what Yudkowsky wants to tell us with this post.
Something about a tortoise that doesn’t comprehend Modus Ponens. So, yeah, there are really dumb minds whom you can’t convince by any argument whatsoever.
403. I’d Take It
What would you do with 10 Trillion Dollar?
A dialogue about how to define “fairness” and morality, although with no clear conclusion (at least I didn’t see it).
Complicated discussion in the comment-section about CEV.
405. 2 of 10, not 3 total
Just a short remark about the comment policy.