There was an interesting dust-up yesterday over at the Lifeboat Foundation (http:\\lifeboat.com).
Richard Loosemoore was apparently expelled for vociferously objecting to the invitation to Pamela Geller to join several of the advisory boards.
PJ Manney did a little research on the link between Lifeboat Founder Eric Klien and Geller and found the following writings by Klien on Geller’s blog:
I believe that world after world throughout the universe has been destroyed by science out of control and therefore there are no advanced aliens out there like in the Star Wars or Star Trek movies. (Billions of worlds have likely been destroyed this way.)
Who am I? I am Eric Klien, founder of the Lifeboat Foundation.
What exactly will be the cause of our demise? It will be the Religion of Science. While I agree that the Muslim Religion will be responsible for quite a few deaths in the near future (check out our Nuclear Terrorist page), it is the Religion of Science that will do us in.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SAVE US ALL?
You can check out our site and then join our cause. What are we doing that will make a difference? We are working at encouraging the building of defenses while also trying to expose the dangers that are coming. I should point out that to date most of our funding has come from libs so it would be nice if a few conservatives got off their lazy butts and gave us a few bucks. If Lifeboat Foundation does not become a huge organization over the next decade or so, we will all die.
I GUARANTEE IT!
RELIGION OF SCIENCE
The dangerous delusion that all scientific progress is good and what to do about it.
It is always more difficult to fight against faith than against knowledge. Adolph Hitler.
Remember this is a worldwide religion which will soon have the ability to commit human sacrifice a world at a time. If the religion was still alive in even one country, it would doom us all….
I have developed Lifeboat Foundation with a Trojan Horse meme that tries to wrap our goals in the Religion of Science memes. For example our mission statement begins with “The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to encouraging scientific advancements”.
By wrapping our meme with a Religion of Science coating, I hope to develop enough resources that we can make sure that unlike every civilization so far, we can have at least SOME people survive this dangerous religion.
As PJ concludes:
For my part, it’s time to shine a light on this organization and to leave the Lifeboat Foundation. Eric Klien is silent on so many issues because he wants to mollify us into complacency. He knows if he spoke his true feelings, most of his collected “advisors” would leave, so instead he presents a “fair and balanced” (pun intended) front, while manipulating us to support his ideas. Even if he’s playing both ends against the middle, I have no interest being associated with him and his game any longer.
I guess he thinks we’re idiots. In truth, we have been. But not anymore…
Richard Loosemoore is expecting an alternative organization to appear shortly but I’m pretty sure that a new similar but honest organization wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing. Even if the Lifeboat Foundation were as pro-science as it initially appears, it still is far more dedicated to fear-mongering about catastrophic risks rather than creating realistic solutions.
This debacle also has me taking yet another look at the SIAI. Other than “clarifying” the dangers of AI (and other risks), there is virtually no constructive work coming out of that organization either. Worse, there are a lot of harmful, ill-advised and immoral memes being produced and their fear-mongering has already led to threats to researchers. For example, Ben Goertzel reports (http://multiverseaccordingtoben.blogspot.com/2010/10/singularity-institutes-scary-idea-and.html) :
Actually, I’ve had had two separate (explicitly) SIAI-inspired people tell me in the past that “If you seem to be getting too far with your AGI work, someone may have to kill you to avert existential risk.” Details were then explained, regarding how this could be arranged.
These threats were NOT official SIAI pronouncements, obviously, and I don’t blame SIAI for them. But this sorta shit does indicate to me the powerful effect the Scary Idea can have on people.
It does seem plausible to me that, if Scary Idea type rhetoric were amplified further and became more public, it could actually lead to violence against AGI researchers — similar to what we’ve seen in abortion clinics, or against researchers doing experimentation on animals, etc.
Personally, I think that we need to do far more work and education on figuring out how not to trample all over and kill each other. A good start would be to stop all of the lying and manipulation/fear-mongering. A great second step would be to stop playing us vs. them games. The world is too small for us to continue this way — especially when our “lifeboats” are just lies.