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Court comments on Timeless Identity - Less Wrong

23 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 June 2008 08:16AM

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Comment author: Court 04 June 2008 01:27:00AM -2 points [-]

As a matter of historical coherence, as it were, see Nagarjuna's Mūlamadhyamaka-kārikā (Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way). Concerning the point that 'nothing happens,' you have more or less arrived at the same conclusions, though needless to say his version lacks the fancy mathematical footwork. I tend to think that your fundamental position regarding the physical nature of existence, insofar as I understand it, is probably correct. It's where you go from there that's a little more troubling.

Nagarjuna extrapolates from his views that via the Law of Karma we can reach Nirvana; Eliezer extrapolates from his views that via the Laws of Physics we can reach the Singularity. Both hold that their Law(s) do not require our assent; they continue to operate whether we believe in them them or not, and furthermore, their operation is inevitable. I am very skeptical that this follows in either case.

As regards cryonics, it seems to me what Eliezer is doing is fairly simple: he's taking Pascal's Wager. Pascal wagered on gaining immortality via God, Eliezer wagers on gaining immortality via the Singularity. There's no harm in it, per se, any more than there was in Pascal's being a believing Christian. But one of the major fallacies in Pascal's Wager is the assumption that we know God's characteristics, e.g., if I am believe in Him, He will reward me with eternal life. The same fallacy seems to apply to Eliezer's Wager - even if the Singularity is true, how can we know its characteristics, e.g., that some future benevolent AI will re-animate his frozen brain?

Perhaps, Eliezer, you could in future posts fill in the gaps .