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pnrjulius comments on Devil's Offers - Less Wrong

21 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 December 2008 05:00PM

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Comment author: pnrjulius 06 June 2012 08:57:29PM 1 point [-]

There's a rather serious problems with that philosophy: It makes you a liar, which is often morally a bad thing to be. If you really eliminate all your discomfort with lying, you have converted yourself into a sociopath and probably become a scam artist to boot. You'll be like the guy selling "healing crystals" who knows full well that the crystals are bunk, but is making too much money to care.

My own solution is to think of disapproval as a relatively mild pain. We evolved to think that disapproval is one of the worst things in the universe, because back on the savannah it was: getting shunned meant getting killed.

But in a modern liberal society, you can be an atheist, a Singularitarian, a lesbian, a furry, and be disapproved of... and not actually die from this. In fact, usually it hurts about as much as a papercut. And since there may in fact be benefits to telling people you are these things---a more secular and pro-Singularity society for the former, more tolerance for your fellow lesbians and furries on the other---then speaking the disapproved belief is often precisely the right thing to do.

In some rare circumstances you can still die from disapproved beliefs---e.g. in Iran you can be hanged for being an atheist---in which case I honestly have no qualms about lying. I'll lie to torturers and murderers all day long if I have to.

It's a bit harder in intermediate cases, where the disapproval has real consequences but not fatal ones. But even then, one can escape most of the feelings of moral guilt by reminding oneself: I wouldn't be lying if they weren't bigots.

Comment author: PetjaY 01 December 2015 08:31:36PM 0 points [-]

Atleast in my social surroundings, lying has never been asked for when i have an non-acceptable opinion, just keeping my mouth shut about them would be enough.