X-Message-Number: 23874
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2004 07:43:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Scott Badger <>
Subject: Re: Pagnato's why do they hate us 

> Kennita wrote:
> <<Personally, I imagine that in the future, persons
> whose behavior is not only antisocial but harmful
> be assigned to virtual realities where they can hang
> out until they learn to "work and play well with
> others".>>

I replied:
> Hmmm. I think religious people think that's why
we're all here on Earth.

Kennita replied:

So religious people think we're in virtual reality
now?  And what do they think the people who get
killed in shootouts with the cops learned?

My response:

Huh??? Uh, first, I'm a non-believer but since God
allegedly created the universe from outside of our
universe, wouldn't that outside realm be the true
reality and the universe we live in be artificial in
some sense? I don't know. But regardless, I think even
the casual reader would not have assumed from my post
that I actually think religious people believe we're
in a virtual reality (even though I think the virtual
reality hypothesis is a considerably better hypothesis
than the god hypothesis). The more obvious reference
was that most religious people (IMO, of course)
essentially seem to think we're here to learn how to
play well with each other.

As for the psychiatric applications of virtual
realities, it's already being done. Virtual reality
headsets are being used to systematically desensitize
people with an excessive fear of heights, for example,
by progressively walking closer and closer to the edge
of a virtual cliff. Other anxiety disorders are also
probably being treated with this technology.

I personally suspect that we'll have better treatments
in the future for those with serious mental illnesses
than placing them in individualized therapeutic
virtual environments until they "get well". If the
mind truly is what the brain does, then it seems to me
that any mental illness should be successfully treated
by fixing the malfunctioning parts of the brain, even
if it takes sophisticated nanotech scanning and
repairing brain anomalies to do it. Talk therapy would
eventually be obsolete. Nevertheless, there no doubt
will be more and better therapeutic applications of
virtual reality technologies in the future.

Best regards,

Scott Badger

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