Aug 6Liked by Erik Torenberg

Hello. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for writing it.

I’d like to note that I disagree with the moral primitives. I think knowledge is objective because it can be replicated. I also don’t think knowledge can be controlled because I think chance plays a role, and that the dynamic of the oppressed and the oppressors with regards to capitalism is not the correct framework to assess dynamics around such a system.

Whether what I said above is true or not, this is the second time I’ve heard of Rousseau being earmarked as the originator of modern conflicts. But I wonder if you might be incorrectly grouping the set of beliefs to outcomes that come about regardless because of progress in new technologies. The outcomes of seeing children is morally pure and authoritative, of the increased tolerance for a variety of identities and relationships and the disintegration of support for nuclear families comes alongside with increasing our abilities to live longer and younger, to be able to pursue functions beyond that normally limited to biology and the environment and the ability to augment and one day perhaps even change down to our dna makeup, who we are.

That said, who do you think we are? Should there be a correct set of moral primitives ? What should be our moral imperative? Is there one? Are feelings entirely to be discarded or can they still be factored in? How does the self and greater society relate? And on a lighter note, are you glad LLMs are open sourced?


Expand full comment

Addressing how the Freudian idea that your sexual preferences describe the real you and how that undercuts Christianity:

Genesis 1 describes humanity as made in God's image, which the text then expands to say that male/female is part of how God's image is expressed in humanity. N.T. Wright goes so far as to say that the Garden is representing a temple, the place of divine connection, on the earth. Unlike ancient near-east temples, the image of God was not a statue, but humanity itself. In any case, humanity's design is created by God, not created by ourselves. Indeed, it is the attempt to go our own way that Genesis sees as the root of humanity's problems, and what ripped apart the intimacy that humanity had with God in the garden. (Regardless of your view on whether Adam and Eve are literal or metaphorical, the same points hold.)

Paul later compares the relationship between a man and woman in marriage to that between Christ and the Church: just like a man and a woman are designed to become "one flesh" despite remaining two very different people (not meaning really sex), so humans and God become "one" while remaining two very different beings, so that, as Peter as, "we may share in the divine being". So here marriage becomes a physical picture of the spiritual reality. (Implicit in this view is that male and female are intrinsically very different, so you cannot substitute one for the other.)

So the idea that you can create yourself in your own sexual image is undercutting not only the divine design of humanity, and the picture of humanity's relationship with God, but it is repeating the first sin. In fact, it is reminiscent of the Tower of Babel scene, where humanity is scaling the heights of heaven and make God accessible to use, except that instead of building a building up, we are wresting control of even the very design of our physical being. We are attempting to usurp the designer and become the Designer ourselves.

Expand full comment

Has anyone seen Creed Bratton and Ben Horowitz in the same room at the same time

Expand full comment

A good article. It shows how without God we are lost, because we have no absolute basis for truth or goodness. We have to base them in our individual opinions or in “societies opinion”, which leads to disintegration in the former or authoritarianism in the later.

Expand full comment