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Jack 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: Jack 31 January 2009 12:05:41AM 6 points [-]

Does the Babyeater morality emphasize the consumption and digestion of babies or is it simply the winnowing that they value? If it's the latter our biologies are probably different enough that one could fudge the translation of some texts about contraception and abortion to make it look like we winnow. It just turns out that we destroy our young even earlier and do so by prohibiting them from combining another sort of baby- which they need to survive. Sometimes when they do combine we destroy them anyway.

Not to be crude, but maybe the aliens would enjoy some of our oral sex pornography.

Just as human individuals change their behavior and outlook when they are associating with different groups- you're an ass around your college friends but a gentlemen around the ladies- so it makes sense for the species to act differently around aliens with different cultural and moral norms. In this case we should exaggerate the role contraception and abortion plays in human civilization and fudge the language so it looks like we're killing babies rather then just sperm and zygotes. It is precisely because our biology is so different that such a mistranslation won't be caught. We might as well call our sperm "baby"- all the translation so far as been inexact enough to permit this, surely "baby" doesn't have to entail a fully developed brain.

Moreover, the aliens must still have some analogy for our love and to-our-deaths willingness to protect our young since any deaths AFTER the winnowing would likely be viewed as devastatingly unfortunate. Does the winnowing even coincide with the surviving babies immediately undergoing some drastic biological change? The only real sense in which Babyeater morality differs from ours is the time during the development of the individual when the individual is declared by society to be morally valuable.