Dec 14, 2018 10:24 PM
Amentans in Gilead
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"They wouldn't do that because they're afraid that all of you are going to Hell, and if they close the door literally all of you will be tortured for eternity."

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"Do you expect this to be any worse than relations with a normal country which is not oriented around its chosen fiction, plus Amentans listening to them talk about it?"

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"It depends on how you nudge them? They might decide to regulate Amentans' behavior in Gilead so they don't do anything they think is sinful, like have gay sex. If relations got really bad, there might be brinkmanship... do you know about mutually assured destruction?"

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"The term exists. Deadman switches for the bioweaponry."

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"I mean, they might threaten to close the door in the hopes that you'd give them some important concessions, if they're hoping you blink first. People did that with nuclear weapons."

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"Nuclear?" asks Avalor.

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"Like when you split the atom and then it explodes and there's huge amounts of radioactive fallout and millions of people die?"

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"I see," says Avalor. "So we'll need to maintain - potential emergency independence of settlers there."

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"If closing the door would be less of a disaster for you than for them they'd be less likely to threaten it. --I think. You probably know more than I do about game theory."

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"And some of my advisors know yet more, yes. So we'll make that a priority in colony design."

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"Are you really all atheists?"

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"...I can't rule out the possibility that among the many mental illnesses that exist among Amentans some of them involve deciding that powerful aliens which don't want us to have gay sex exist."

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"But, like, historically, surely someone thought that a person had created the world?"

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"I'm not aware of any records of that but I'm not a historian."

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"Before you discovered evolution, how did people think the world had come to be?"

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"Evolution doesn't explain the world, just life. I don't believe anyone made up an answer to the question and believed it was true, although there might be old speculative fiction on the subject."

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"Sorry, I'm not a scientist and my scientific education claimed that all species evolved from one of fourteen thousand kinds put on a ship five thousand years ago. --Amentans seem really really bizarre to me."

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"Why?"

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"So there's this concept of, like, the God-shaped hole in people's hearts? Lots of people who don't believe in God try to fill it somehow-- they believe in other weird stuff, or they anthropomorphize the Universe or Nature or Humanity, or they take up weird political positions. And lots of the people who don't do that are quietly unhappy because God doesn't exist and they have this desire for God to exist that will never be filled. It seems like Amentans just... don't have that."

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"Some of the aspects of the belief sound like they would be nice if they were true," says Avalor. "I could imagine deriving comfort from the belief that people didn't really die when they died, for instance. And Amentans have our share of weird political positions, and sometimes find personifying models of nature or traffic patterns or their printers to be useful."

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