Some recent Anders Sandberg and TGGP posts:
In my post here you can find links to defenses of Stalin and Mao. They do not deny that both killed a huge amount of people, or that a great many of those people were completely innocent and it was tragic that they were killed. The author instead states that Stalin and Mao gave enough benefits to people, who had previously been faced with even worse rule, that those unfortunate deaths should be viewed as cons outweighed by the pros. I can't do an effective job of presenting his case (for one thing I completely disagree with it and think the two were among the worst people in history) but I would like if he could explain more here, including why our view of them is so off.
Posted by: TGGP | September 14, 2007 at 04:27 PM
While Eliezer and I may be approaching the topic differently, I think we have very much the same aim. My approach will however never produce anything worthy to go into anybody's quote file.
Posted by: Anders Sandberg | September 14, 2007 at 04:48 PM
Anders & TGGP,
Response on my blog within 10 minutes (so as not to flood overcomingbias with posts).
Posted by: Hopefully Anonymous | September 14, 2007 at 04:51 PM
Anders, in my opinion you come across as being politic. Probably a good strategy given that you and Eliezer are both non-anonymously posting at overcomingbias. I encourage you to have another, anonymous blog where you free yourself from politic responses and give your best criticisms possible of the ideas of others. Think about how it could move discourse to maximize our persistence odds.
TGGP, do you really think of Stalin and Mao as "among the worst people in history"? Because that would seem to me by almost any measure to be a suboptimal outcome for them. It places them at the near bottom of a moral hierarchy, and almost everyone who ever lived above them in that heirarchy. Beyond that, how sure are we that they even had free will (or that we do)? Moving from moral hierarchies to representational heirarchies, they still make out pretty good -after all, the devil had at least 2nd billing in medieval morality plays. But I think there are richer modes of analysis for us than "Stalin and Mao, very bad. Louis Pastuer, very good" -except to the Straussian degree it can positively motivate other humans around us to work to maximize our mutual persistence odds.