And these "rationalists" think that witchcraft is a nutty idea!


When people look back on the history of ideas a thousand years from now, the idea that witches could turn themselves into cats or that wizards could visit other places in their dreams will see like very minor oddities compared to the idea that we are "living in a simulation."

(In fact, in some computer-simulated reality, why shouldn't there be sorcerers or ghosts or teleportation? They exist in World of Warcraft!)

3 comments:

  1. I guess I don't find "rationalists" quite as thoroughly objectionable as you do, but I do find them a bit confusing. There are a couple "rationalism"-themed podcasts that I listen to occasionally (Rationally Speaking and Point of Inquiry), but I can never quite wrap my brain around what the throughline is that makes what they d "rationalism". They cover a variety of topics. The "rationalists" make a variety of assertions, many of which strike me as quite sensible, and some as quite wrong-headed; which is the same as how I feel about anybody's assertions. In other words, being rationalists doesn't seem to result in anything special about their assertions (unlike, for instance, the assertions that a physicist makes about physics), so I don't know what rationalism is for.

    Eliezer Yudkowsky is a very intelligent man, but he seems unable to give an intelligent account of what rationality means (obviously, being intelligent is no proof against having an indefinitely large number of dumb ideas). Scott Alexander of slatestarcodex.com seems to have a lot of wisdom about life & people, but I have yet to understand what his involvement in the "rationalist community" adds to that.

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  2. > "And if that's the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just the creation of some other entity ..." Tyson says. "I’m saying, the day we learn that it is true, I will be the only one in the room saying, I’m not surprised."

    Heh.

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  3. "Tyson agrees, but says he wouldn't be surprised if we were to find out somehow that someone else is responsible for our universe."

    A thousand years from now some diligent scientist bursts through the door; Hey you know that thing we aren't allowed to talk about in schools...

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