metcalph@voyager.co.nz

From: David Cake (davidc@cyllene.uwa.edu.au)
Date: Mon 23 Feb 1998 - 11:09:52 EET


Taken to email for reasons discussed in the digest.

>>To actually address Peter's point however - does 'embodying one
>>intellectual tradition' imply 'intellectual unity'?
>
>Yup.

        Do you mean that this is true in general? Or in the specific case
of the God Learners? If you mean in general, I deny it vehemently - and I
suspect so would you if it didn't suit your current rhetoric. If you mean
in the case of the God Learners, it doesn't follow from your arguments
(particularly not this one) and I don't believe it to be true.

> The God Learners had some Blindness which made them unable
>to forsee the results of their experiments. Now for the God
>Learners to have multiple viewpoints implies that they could
>spot the blindess in other God Learners. Which I do not think
>is true.

        I believe that the God Learners experiments where experiments. How
radical a viewpoint is that? I believe that they were not absolutely sure
what the results of their experiments would be - and that some of them
tended towards a pessimistic interpretation, others an optimistic.
        The God Learners had a 'blindness', its true. I don't think that
this was what made them unable to foresee the results of their experiments
in the short term - I think they were unable to foresee the results because
they were experiments, things no one had ever tried before. But I do think
they were unable to fully understand the consequences of their actions, in
a large part because the understanding of the situation they received
through God Learning, RuneQuest Sight, etc omitted important aspects. Their
understanding was somewhat superficial. And its precisely because of their
somewhat superficial understanding of much of what they dealt with that I
imagine some aspects of God Learner metaphysics and morality were still
under active debate.

>Answer the question. What did the False Dragons Ring and the Six
>Legged Empire do that screwed up the Cosmos? You included them in
>there as people who had access to their magical techniques. But if
>they had access to their magical techniques, they would have also
>screwed up the Cosmos because of the acquired blindness.

        Ah, now we can really see the straw! Lets see..
I say 'God Learners did not always agree with everything other God Learners
did, and some of them thought some of the screwing up the cosmos
experiments where a bad thing.'
        And then you say 'if they didn't screw up the cosmos, and think it
was a good idea at the time, then they weren't God Learners' Why? 'because
my definition of God Learners says they always screw up the cosmos.' As I
said, if you define God Learner so that you are always correct, your
argument is a truism - but there is no reason for anyone to believe it.
        And for what its worth, I find the idea that the God Learners where
incapable of imagining the possible consequences of their actions pretty
dull. I think the God Learners had many flaws, notably hubris,
ruthlessness, disrespect for almost all the beliefs of their subject
peoples, and not infrequently greed. But I don't believe that they were
unable to question their actions.

>And I have repeatedly asked you on what grounds the Good God
>Learners would have opposed the actions of the Big Bad God
>Learners. You have failed to mention one and sprout off on
>how the God Learners must have been intellectually divided
>(whereas they sought a _Unity_)

        Well, if you argue against a point of view the other person doesn't
actually hold, it can take a while.
        One more time, slowly. The Good God Learners and the Bad God
Learners are something you imagine I said. What I said was the God Learners
were probably intellectually divided, and you could find a God Learner
willing to argue against a given God Learner project without too much
trouble. I also never said that the individual God Learner projects
(Zistor, for example) did not have excellent reasons for them (from a God
Learner point of view, that is), just that the entire worlds God Learners
where not united in unanimous agreement with those reasons.
        Trying to develop Unity is in any case usually a good way to
guarantee intellectual debate. And the God Learners certainly did get a
fair way to developing a Unity, the monomyth is much better than anyone
else managed - its just I'm not convinced that everyone then agreed with
all the applications of that knowledge.

[cloning humans]
>I am in possession of the relevant facts and
>I fail to see how Society can be threatened unless several laws
>(regarding the rights of a person) were completely and utterly
>warped.

        The question is not what you think, but whether you think society
is unified in its response. As there are prominent people, including some
in possession of the facts, calling for a moratorium on experiments, while
coming from a quite similar intellectual background to you, doesn't that
mean there is no unified response?
        The point, Peter, is not whether I agree with you (as it happens, I
do) but whether you think your reasoning is so irrefutable that everyone
who knows the facts must agree with you. You seem to be saying that all
controversial (scientific, at least) issues can be resolved by educating
everybody with the facts, after which they will naturally agree with you.

>>>> And the good reasons for the Manhattan project have not stopped
>>>>people from condemning it.
>
[manhattan project
>Go read up on the circumstances of the Manhatten Project (something
>about a war on and fears that the enemy might use them) and then
>come back and provide coherent objections as to why the Manhatten
>project should not proceed.

        So all those who do object, such as various pacifist groups - are
they simply ignorant? Or stupid? Or do they just disagree with you?
        Again, the point is not whether I disagree with you. Its whether
you think it is possible to disagree with you while remaining part of the
same basic civilisation (I would have said intellectual tradition, because
you seem to have a broad interpretation of the term), other than through
stupidity or ignorance.

> Also reread the portion that you snipped
>which pointed out that the scientests and engineers who were invited
>onto the project did not condemn it as immoral.

        Peter, given its strategic importance and secrecy it is hardly
likely that someone opposed to it would have been invited to join.
        And again, its not whether they objected that mattered. Some people
did.

        Cheers

                David

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