The Enemy Control Ray

15 May

Thing of Things

Imagine your worst ideological enemy– the people whose blog posts you read and go “why are you WRONG about EVERYTHING.” For many transhumanists, it might be bioethicists; for a disability rights advocate, Peter Singer; for an effective altruist, a philanthrolocalist; for a feminist, a social conservative.

Now, imagine that a mad scientist has invented a device called the Enemy Control Ray. The Enemy Control Ray is a mind-control device: whatever rule you say into it, your enemy must follow.

(Let’s pretend for a moment that the moral problems of mind control don’t exist. This is a thought experiment.)

However, because of limitations of the technology, any rule you put in is translated into your enemy’s belief system.

So, let’s say you’re a trans rights activist, and you’re targeting transphobes. If you think trans women are women, you can’t say “call trans women by their correct pronouns”, because you believe…

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Posted by on May 15, 2015 in religion


2 responses to “The Enemy Control Ray

  1. Jiro

    May 16, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Just like Eliezer’s version, how the demand gets translated is vague enough that Ozy (or anyone else) can always decide that your command will or won’t work, just by giving a plausible explanation of how it gets translated (out of the many possible plausible explanations).

    • J. Quinton

      May 18, 2015 at 11:21 am

      I think the important point is that the demand probably won’t get translated in the way one predicts.

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