Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

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

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

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (84)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Carl_Shulman 31 January 2009 09:44:33AM 0 points [-]


I guess it depends on whether the fantastic element can adequately stand in for whatever it is supposed to represent. Magic starship physics can be used to create a Prisoner's Dilemma without trouble, since PDs are well understood, and it's fairly obvious that we will face them in the future. No-Singularity and FTL, so that we can have human characters, are also understandable as translation tools. If Babyeaters are a stand-in for 'abhorrent alien evolved morality' to an audience that already grasps the topic, then the details of their evolution don't matter. If, however, they are supposed to make the possibility of a nasty evolved morality come alive to cosmopolitan optimistic science fictions fans or transhumanists, then they should be relatively probable.


On the other hand, since you've already written the story, using one of your favorite examples of the nonanthropomorphic nature of evolution as inspiration for the Babyeaters, and have no authorial line of retreat available at this time, we can probably leave this horse for dead.