You have performed a valuable service by raising these issues. I am not in agreement with your conclusions, and will share my reasons for the disagreement. I will be interested in your responses to these reasons. I believe the questions you are raising are important and need to be answered. For clarity, I will respond to each point (sentence), and in this way hope to give a complete reply.
I agree with most of REUEP, but I disagree with the selfish part which defines, instead of derives from simpler principles, the survival of "our species" and "human behavior" as an end goal.
It is important to recognize that what I am doing, as I see it, is trying to promote a process that is already taking place within our species, a process that will lead to a far better life on this planet than we have ever known so far, with far, far less pain, suffering, disability, and early death (PSDED). I do not see the effort of our species to prevent human-induced PSDED as being “selfish” (a pejorative adjective, implying that it is bad to do it). I see it as one of many good things that we humans can do. I realize that you are considering it “selfish” because you are comparing it to an alternative that would presumably not be “selfish.” You are saying that our species would be being “selfish” if it tried to make things better for itself without consideration for other species. But the REUEP does not demand, or advocate for, not being considerate of other species. In fact, there are sections in the Belief Manual for the placement of ethical beliefs regarding other species, and I personally believe that it will make life better for our species if we are empathic and concerned for any species that may suffer. That includes extraterrestrials, if such should be encountered, there being a part of the Belief Manual for such consideration. Our consideration for any sentient species’ quality of experience makes us more empathic, and therefore more likely to be considerate of each other (members of our own species).
I object to it for the same reason I object to if it said "our family" or "our race" or "humans who live near our location".
As you know, the REUEP advocates being concerned for everyone, meaning all of our species that has, or might regain, the capacity to suffer. This is a drastic improvement over the way things are currently, when indeed we divide up into competing and even fighting groups, and have inhibited empathy for individuals in such other groups, such that we can more easily treat them badly. What is happening is that you are recommending abandoning this effort in behalf of working for improvement for groups that do not yet exist in the world of species that we currently have to interact with. A somewhat applicable metaphor would be that we should give up our efforts to eliminate Ebola and devote our efforts instead to eliminating a larger, as yet undefined or undiscovered set of species of which Ebola might be one. In other words, what would be the impact on the effort to promote this third exponential change of our species toward eliminating much tragedy if we switched to an effort to promote commitment to the alternative ultimate ethical principle (UEP) you are advocating for. Would it be possible that members of our species would not take your UEP as seriously? What would be the actual consequences of following your recommendation for, to some extent, dismantling the Humanianity project in favor of promoting something that reminds people of Star Wars?
Instead of REUEP, I agree with this simplified and general variation:
As you will see, I hope, I do not believe that your variation is simpler. I believe it is more complex and ambiguous, and likely to discourage people from taking it seriously.
All life which is able should act toward, in total across the set of all things which exist (universe) and in all times and forms of existence, maximizing joy, contentment, and appreciation, and minimizing pain, suffering, disability, and early death.
When I tried to verbalize the emerging UEP that is our third major exponential change as a species making us drastically different than all other species on earth and than the way we were before its emergence, I attempted to be as clear and simple as possible in the language I chose. I tried to avoid ambiguity, which would undermine the effort. I believe that your “All life which is able” introduces immediately an ambiguity, in that it then requires us to make this judgement, about which there would probably be uncertainty and perhaps even disagreement. The same would be true for “all times and forms of existence.” I believe that for many people, including myself, if I agreed to this I would not feel that I knew what I was agreeing to, and would feel unsure as to whether I might be agreeing to something that, when I found out its true meaning, I would regret having done so.
That simplified general variation of REUEP could probably be used to derive that survival of Human species should be promoted in most cases, but not in all cases like if not all species can be saved from extinction or other conflicts cant be perfectly solved.
So already people might wonder whether they could end up having agreed with killing their children.
For example, how many species on Earth have Humans extincted?
But the fact that we have extincted many species does not mean that we believe that to be good. We are increasingly realizing that it is not in the best interest of our species for us to be killing off other species right and left. This ultimate concern for us, I believe, leads to the ethical treatment of other species.
What if a smarter species than us thought the same way, that its ok to extinct us because we look to them like what bugs or animals look to us?
Remember that the REUEP is our coming together as humans to achieve a far better life for our species. We are not trying to deal with a Star Wars situation and trying to negotiate with some other species on our planet, including possible hidden or future aliens, or with species in other galaxies that we have never met and may never meet. We are dealing with an urgent, current, real situation.
If REUEP is not consistent from another species observing us, and us observing others, then it has internal problems that still need solving.
Again, I am helping our species to move forward in its effort to improve. I am not advocating something for consideration in a convocation of galactic or intergalactic species that are currently interacting with each other. When that time comes, then it will be time for you to help the sentient beings in the universe accomplish what I am trying to help our species accomplish. I believe that it is important to deal with the way the current situation is, always with the effort to predict all significant consequences, and when the situation is seen as changing, respond to those perceived changes. To undermine current efforts by shifting effort to all possible future situations, no matter how unlikely, would seem to be promoting possible tragedy.
We should only do something for reasons, but REUEP gives no reason why the survival of Human species is more important than survival of other species, especially any species which has grown through a time like our history and advanced far past it.
I seems to me that you are talking about legitimating the REUEP. If you would read Book1, which clarifies the meaning of and evidence for the third exponential change, you would see that the REUEP is and has to be arbitrary. We are just doing it because we want to. Any lower level ethical principle can be potentially legitimated by being shown to be consistent with a higher level ethical principle and various existential beliefs (about how the world works), but that can’t be true of the ultimate ethical principle. Otherwise it would not be ultimate. Do you want to help us to work toward reducing all this tragedy that we keep inflicting upon ourselves. I do. I am asking you to join us, for whatever reasons you may have. I would hope that you would feel good doing so. But that is not a legitimization for doing it, obviously, since there are a lot of things that I believe you would agree we shouldn’t do even though they would make us feel good. So no one is making a statement as to whether humans are more valuable than extraterrestrials; we are just saying that we should come together and work toward overcoming our curent, terrible tendencies.
REUEP takes advantage of Human ignorance of many possible such species in promoting the idea that Humans are more valuable than them even if they do exist because many of us are not sure they exist.
The REUEP in no way says that we should devalue things that we have not come across yet. It is making no statement about such things. It is only our effort to have more joy, contentment, and appreciation, and less human-induced PSDED.
Is it ethical to make a permanent choice based on temporary ignorance?
And here you are making an assumption that is not true. There is absolutely no implication of the making of a permanent choice. In Book2, on Humanianity, it specifically says that at some time in the future we may arrive at an even better ultimate ethical principle, or statement of it. But to give up our project while we are debating all the other statements we could make would be promoting tragedy. And just because you choose now to be Humanian in no way means that you cannot change your mind later. The question is whether you think that helping in this project is a good thing, or whether you can do more good by expending effort elsewhere, or even by attempting to undermine the project in behalf of something better.
In general its impractical to know all the important things before making choices, but to be more safe from making the wrong ethical choices during such ignorance, its best to take the position of "I dont know" until having a reason to think a specific thing, about any question.
Paralyzing ourselves by saying we don’t know everything yet, rather than doing the best we can to play the odds right, would be promoting tragedy, I believe.
Since we dont know (or some say we know a little about) if species more advanced than us exist, and because they may start to exist later, we should define our ultimate ethical principles to handle both cases if they do and dont exist.
The REUEP in no way stops us from responding to the new situation of aliens arriving. It is only our effort to stop ourselves from causing so much tragedy (unhealthy lifestyles; relationship breakdown; environmental degradation; cheating and crime; abusing, bullying, fighting, and killing; and warring and genocide).
I do wish to clarify why I turned down the request you made at our meeting. You wanted to know if I would give you a copy of the software that I have spent over a thousand hours working on, so that you could develop a competing website that represented your current response to your current understanding of the Humanianity project. I said that I could not come to the conclusion that I should do that. I realize that you do not currently understand the Humanianity project in much detail, and that you conscientiously believe that you could do something positive by developing a competing project. But since I believe that the earlier that we bring the third exponential change into existence, the more lives we will have saved and tragedy we will have prevented, I have to believe that knowingly doing something that would undermine that effort would be knowingly causing tragedy and death, and would make me a murderer. I don’t expect you to have this orientation (yet), but I hope that you can understand how this is the orientation that I have to have. On the other hand, if you can show me how my efforts are going to cause PSDED for my species, I will be very motivated to stop. And if you can show me how what you have in mind will reduce PSDED for our species, I will probably want to join you.
There is one other issue that arose in our meeting. In your Belief Manual, you express disagreement with the highest level ethical principle that can be voted on, namely, “In whatever ways are feasible, we should advocate for ways of doing things that are most likely consistent with the REUEP.” This of course seems very strange, but you clarified in the meeting that you did not agree with the REUEP itself. Your Belief Manual says that you do agree with the REUEP, by definition of being Humanian, and by assumption by virtue of your creating your own Humanian Belief Manual. You asked if you should be removed from registration in the Belief Manual. I think you have to make the decision as to whether you are Humanian, by definition, and whether you want to participate in the project. If you do wish to participate, then demonstrating that in your Belief Manual would be a way. If you are opposed to the Humanianity project, then it would not seem appropriate for you to do that which implies that you are Humanian while detracting from the effectiveness of the project. Rather, this Forum is indeed a place for visitors to challenge any and all ideas, including the REUEP itself, as you have done, and such critiquing is very valuable.
Again, thank you Ben for your participation. I believe you have some special talents that make it likely that you can help our species out a lot through the current project. I hope that you will do the necessary studying, and continue to challenge every challengeable issue you find.