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DSimon comments on Excluding the Supernatural - Less Wrong

37 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 September 2008 12:12AM

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Comment author: DSimon 19 December 2011 03:32:22AM 2 points [-]

How about: Vampires are humanoids that can sustain themselves only by drinking blood? That excludes blood-drinking when done occasionally or as a cultural practice.

Comment author: MinibearRex 19 December 2011 04:11:14AM 0 points [-]

What about a human with altered biochemistry, such that they could synthesize all needed biological materials from compounds found in blood? Is that a vampire?

Comment author: dlthomas 19 December 2011 05:58:09PM 0 points [-]

"Only by", not "by only".

Comment author: MinibearRex 20 December 2011 07:36:13AM 0 points [-]

Fine. Humans that are incapable of metabolizing anything other than hemoglobin. Does that count?

Comment author: dlthomas 20 December 2011 03:41:27PM 2 points [-]

I'd call them a vampire, but it'd be partly in jest. DSimon's below would give me even less pause, and with a fuller list it seems to become entirely uncontroversial.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 19 December 2011 04:18:39AM 1 point [-]

If it turned out that there was a rare degenerative illness that prevented sufferers from absorbing nutrition from any source other than blood, would you agree that sufferers of that illness were vampires?

Comment author: DSimon 19 December 2011 04:46:11AM *  0 points [-]

Ack. Okay, I guess I have no choice but to add yet another qualifier. :-)

How about: Vampires are very long-lived humanoids that derive their longevity from drinking blood. I can't think of a mundane example that fits that description. Which I suppose was Phil's original point: the only useful definition of "vampire" is one which excludes everything that could plausibly exist.