Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Is God good? Well, according to Plato, accepting the rather natural 
> "theological" interpretation of the Parmenides (like Plotinus), there 
> is a sense to say that God is "good", but probably not in the Christian 
> sense (if that can be made precise). Indeed, Plato's God is just Truth. 
> And Truth is not good as such, but the awareness of truth, or simply 
> the search of truth,  is, for a Platonist,  a prerequisite for the 
> *possible* development of goodness.
> Truth is necessary for justice, and justice is necessary for goodness. 
> That's the idea. It makes knowledge (and thus truth) a good thing, in 
> principle.
> But Vance's novel rises a doubt. Actually, that doubt can rise through 
> the reading of the first Pythagorean writings, which insist so much on  
> hiding their knowledge to the non-initiated people, making them secret. 
> (according to the legend, their kill a disciple who dares to make 
> public the discovery of the irrationality of the square root of 2). 
> Maimonides also, in his "Guide for the perplexed" insists that 
> fundamental knowledge has to be reserved for the initiated or the elite 
> people.
> Fundamentally I don't know. I know a lot of particular case where 
> knowledge can be bad. But this happens always in "human, too much 
> human" practical circumstances, like during war, illness, etc.  (it is 
> not good that your enemies *knows* where are your missiles; it is not 
> good to tell a bad new to some old dying people, etc. But this never 
> concerns fundamental truth.

But what truth is "fundamental"?  Quantum gravity seems like an esoteric game 
to most people and so you can say anything you want about it without any 
ethical implications.  But when quantum gravity seems to provide a 
non-supernatural cosmogony, religions are threatened and suddenly it's like bad 
news to a dying man (and we're all dying).

Coincidentally, James Watson has just lost his job because he said some things 
that, while narrowly true, support a racist view of Africa.  Were they 
"fundamental"  or does "fundamental" = "of no import in society"?

Brent Meeker

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