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kilobug 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 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.