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Gwern_Branwen comments on To Spread Science, Keep It Secret - Less Wrong

37 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2008 05:47AM

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Comment author: Gwern_Branwen 30 January 2009 07:21:46PM 6 points [-]

John: quite right. This actually reminds me of one of the common threads in Michael Crichton's works. From Jurassic Park:

> '...Malcolm said. "A karate master does not kill people with his bare hands. He does not lose his temper and kill his wife. > The person who kills is the person who has no discipline & no restraint, and who has purchased his power in the form of a Saturday night special. > And that is the kind of power that science fosters, and permits. And that is why you think that to build a place like this is simple." > "It was simple!", Hammond insisted. > 'Then why did it go wrong?"'


> '"I will tell you what I am talking about," he said. "Most kinds of power require a substantial sacrifice by whoever wants the power. There is an apprenticeship, a discipline lasting many years. Whatever kind of power you want. President of the company. Black belt in karate. Spiritual guru. Whatever it is you seek, you have to put in the time, the practice, the effort. You must give up a lot to get it. It has to be very important to you. And once you have attained it, it’s your power. It can't be given away: it resides in you. It is literally the result of your discipline. > > Now what is interesting about this process is that, by the time someone has acquired the ability to kill with his bare hands, he has also matured to the point where he won't use it unwisely. So that kind of power has a built-in control. The discipline of getting the you so that you won't abuse it. > But scientific power is like inherited wealth: attained without discipline. You read what others have done, and you take the next step. You can do it very young. You can make progress very fast."'