Thursday, September 22, 2011


A while back I ran across a fascinating question posed by J.F. 'Eldras' Ellis on He asked "Do you believe 'Goodness' is relevant in the Universe?"

I've put my own small attempt at an answer below. But I don't believe I've really done the issue justice. But perhaps I'll spark a little more discussion of it.

I'm reminded of Voltaire's comment that if there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him. What I mean is that "goodness" is a fantastically useful concept. A learned or inborn (if mores are biological in origin) sense of "goodness" and "badness" provides a brake on behaviors that would otherwise be destructive of the community as a whole. If you think it is "bad" to slice up your neighbors and serve them as a meat pie on Christmas morning, well, it means that more neighbors will live to ripe old ages. Ergo, "goodness" is a good thing.

The question that occurs to me is how will Transhumans make use of the term "goodness?" If they are supremely rational, they may not need it. But, perhaps they would keep it around anyway, along with emotions like love and happiness, for old times sake.

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