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xxd comments on The Baby-Eating Aliens (1/8) - Less Wrong

42 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 January 2009 12:07PM

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Comment author: xxd 16 November 2011 04:35:58PM 1 point [-]

Well humans are baby eaters in an abstract sense. We wait until the population of grown up babies gets so big that we are competing for diminishing resources then we kill off the excess. Same thing from 30,000 ft.

Comment author: kilobug 16 November 2011 04:47:22PM 3 points [-]

I don't think you got the main point of babyeaters : they don't eat their babies (or let them die) because they don't know how to do otherwise (by lacking the technological skill, or because of suboptimal economy), because they consider it to be the most ethical thing to do.

No sane human will tell you that killing children or letting starve is an ethical thing to do. Some will tell you it's an horrible thing that must be prevented and give to charity to avoid it, some will tell you it's sad but we can't do much. Some may even tell you it's sad but required due to our current technological level. But none will tell you it's a good thing, and that we shouldn't prevent it if we had a sure way to do it. No sane human would actually oppose an alien race offering to save from death all starving human children.

Comment author: xxd 28 November 2011 11:25:33PM -2 points [-]

And I don't think you got my abstraction. I get perfectly well that the baby eating aliens consider it to be ethical.

And there are indeed plenty of sane humans who vote for killing unborn babies by rationalizing that they are not babies. I'm OK with that because taking emotion out of the picture we don't want to outbreed our food supplies.

That leads however to the uncomfortable logical position of equating murder for resources as the same thing as killing off excess babies in order to limit the population. They are exactly the same thing from a logical standpoint.

And arguing that no sane human would oppose an alien race offering to save from death all starving human children means there is obviously enough food for all of them. It's a straw man argument.

The real argument is this: there isn't enough food. Do we kill some of the children (or grown up children) in order that the remaining food supplies stretch for the smaller population or do we let the children starve.

That situation has come up over and over again in history unless you are wilfully ignorant of the past.

Comment author: kilobug 29 November 2011 11:08:54AM 2 points [-]

Abortion has nothing to do with murder. An embryo has no brain, no will, no feeling, it's not a person. You just can't compare that with the baby-eaters who eat children who have feeling and will, who try to escape death, who beg for mercy, cry from fear, suffer, ...

And abortion is usually not done for resource issues. In France for example, a mother can use "accouchement sous X" in which the baby is given to foster parents at birth and the biological parents identity is wept from all records except a very secured record that can only be opened for strong medical reasons. And the state does its best to encourage families to have children. Abortion is a right because you can't force a woman to carry a pregnancy against her will, but definitely not an attempt to lower resource usage.

And once again you didn't get the point of the babyeaters. They have the ability to feed their children. They are a space-faring race with advanced technology (even us, with current technology, could feed billions). They have the possibility to genetically engineer themselves to create less children. They have the possibility to use contraception. They don't eat children because they consider it to be required to deal with limited resources. It's not, they have countless other ways for that, and humans offer to take care of it too. They do it because they consider it to be ethical for itself. It did emerge from a resource scarcity issue. Like most of our ethics did emerge from survival/reproductive fitness reasons. But it converged towards a totally different ethical framework than the one of humans. Which is the point of the babyeaters.

Comment author: lessdazed 30 November 2011 10:28:46AM 3 points [-]

humans who vote for killing unborn babies

For all the votes about the legality of such things, I don't recall any votes for or against killing any unborn babies.

Comment author: Marius 30 November 2011 10:50:59AM 3 points [-]

There is enough food for all starving human children. The existence of starving children has much more to do with corruption than with production.

Comment author: xxd 29 November 2011 06:55:45PM 0 points [-]

Did you go through and downvote everything I posted? I find it interesting that I had positive karma until I responded to your post wtih a disagreement. Poor form if you did.

Comment author: kilobug 30 November 2011 09:44:29AM 1 point [-]

No, I didn't. I would never do such a thing. And if you look at your comments, you made 8 comments, and your karma is -10, so it just couldn't be possible for me to make you reach -10 if you were in positive. Do your maths before accusing people ;)

Comment author: wedrifid 30 November 2011 09:59:25AM 3 points [-]

And if you look at your comments, you made 8 comments, and your karma is -10, so it just couldn't be possible for me to make you reach -10 if you were in positive. Do your maths before accusing people ;)

This would not refute xxd's claim in the way you seem to be declaring.

Comment author: ochopelotas 30 November 2011 07:30:39PM -1 points [-]

Agreed

Comment author: TobyBartels 29 March 2012 11:34:44PM 0 points [-]

No sane human would actually oppose an alien race offering to save from death all starving human children.

Perhaps not. And of course, in this story there are no starving human children. But by the end of the story, we confirm that there are still suffering human children. Would any sane human oppose an alien race offering to save all human children from suffering? How about one whose job is ensuring sanity in a story written by the eminently sane Eliezer Yudkowky?

Which makes me suspect that some sane human somewhere would also oppose an alien race offering to save human children from death. It's not that far different.