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IEET > Rights > FreeThought > Personhood > Life > Innovation > Vision > Technoprogressivism > Affiliate Scholar > Phil Torres

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#7: Will posthumans all be atheists?


Phil Torres
By Phil Torres
Ethical Technology

Posted: Dec 25, 2010

There is good reason for thinking that posthumans will, on the whole, be atheists. And there is good reason for thinking that widespread apostasy would, on the whole, be desirable.



#7
According to IEET readers, what were the most stimulating stories of 2010? This month we’re answering that question by posting a countdown of the top 31 articles published this year on our blog (out of more than 600 in all), based on how many total hits each one received.

The following piece was first published here on June 1, and is the 7th most viewed this year.




“It seems obvious,” Russell Blackford wrote recently, “that something of an atheist movement really has developed in the past few years.” In fact, according to American Religious Identification Survey 2008 [PDF], 15% of Americans in 2008 identified as non-religious – an increase of 6.8% since 1990 and .9% since 2001. As one of the principle investigators of the survey, Ariela Keysar, notes: “The ‘Nones’ are the only group to have grown in every state of the Union.”

Such facts raise a number of questions (that is, “futurological” questions that have not much been discussed, as far as I know) about whether the observed trend will continue, and for how long. On the assumption that humans succeed in engendering a “species” of technologized posthumans, one might ask whether such advanced beings will be atheists or not. And furthermore, would it be a good thing for our technological progeny to be atheists?

In my view, there is good reason for thinking that posthumans will most likely, on the whole, be atheists. In addition, there is good reason for thinking that widespread apostasy would, on the whole, be desirable – that is, it would be beneficial for Earth-originating intelligent life, promoting overall post/human well-being.

To begin, then, consider the concept of ‘posthumanity’. According to Bostrom [PDF], a posthuman is an organism (note the etymology of this term) with no less than one “general central capacity [that greatly exceeds] the maximum attainable by any current human being without recourse to new technological means.” Such a capacity may pertain to any of the broad domains of healthspan, emotion, or cognition.

Only the third capacity listed is germane to the present discussion. We may refer to creatures satisfying this condition as “superintelligent posthumans,” or SIPs. Note that there are a number of distinct routes to the SIP destination. First, through an “extendible” method [PDF], as David Chalmers terms it, we could create superintelligent AI systems that inhabit either a virtual world or the real one. In the latter case, the AI may take the form of an android having a robotic body of some sort.

Alternatively, we could pursue the strategy of cyborgization, whereby a biological human is enhancively modified through a variety of possible techniques (tissue grafts, genetic engineering, neural implants, nootropics, etc.). If one accepts the extended mind hypothesis, enhancement technologies need not be located within the traditional (but arbitrary, or so the argument goes) skin-and-skull boundary of the individual: as long as they satisfy the “parity principle,” they may be physically “external” (though cognitively internal) to the subject.
image
This being said, there is a growing mass of empirical evidence that appears to establish a positive link between intelligence and atheism (as well as additional phenomena like liberalism). For example, a recent article entitled “Why Liberals and Atheists are More Intelligent,” by Satoshi Kanazawa, adduces a number of data collected by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the General Social Survey. These data – independent of what one might think of Kanazawa’s evolutionary explanation of them – manifest an appreciable correlation between intellectual ability, as measured by standard IQ tests, and the rejection of theistic belief systems.

Another recent paper [PDF] (by several controversial psychologists) similarly argues that average IQ “predicts” the prevalence of atheism in 137 nations around the world, including the US, based on data from the NLSY97. All-in-all, virtually every study investigating intelligence and religiosity has found a negative correlation between these two phenomena (and thus a positive link between IQ and atheism).

In addition to such studies, IEET denizens are no doubt familiar with a well-known 1998 survey of the most accomplished members of the National Academy of Sciences. This survey found that only 7% of “greater” scientists believe in the existence of a personal Deity. Similarly, in How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science, Michael Shermer discusses the results of a sizable survey of randomly selected Americans that he and his colleague conducted. Consistent with the above studies, they concluded that “more highly educated people are less likely to be religious” (from The God Delusion, by Dawkins).
image

Thus, we have the following argument: if (p1) we manage to create SIPs, and (p2) intelligence is indeed positively correlated with atheism, then (c) SIPs will likely be atheists. Or, given the ostensible connection between education-level and atheism, if posthumans are not just superintelligent but highly knowledgeable beings as well (I take it that intelligence and erudition are logically independent variables), then we have at least one additional reason for expecting them to be – as it were – “Nones.” This seems to provide one possible reason for atheists to support the R&D required for the creation of SIPs.

This conclusion seems to conform well with intuition (or at least my intuitions). The theologian Paul Tillich once said* that “He who knows about depth knows about God,” but just the opposite seems, as far as I can tell, to be true. Consider the fact that, generally speaking, the more knowledge one has of the Bible, especially when combined with critical reflection, the more doubt one tends to have about the veracity of Scripture.

In contrast, the more knowledge one has of science, especially when combined with critical reflection, the more confidence one tends to have about its particular model of reality – from cosmogony (the Big Bang) to eschatology (the “entropy death”). Thus, one finds many more atheistic scientists with a deep knowledge of religious matters (e.g., individuals raised in religious households but who later jettisoned their faith) than religious authorities with a deep knowledge of science. (This is precisely what makes Alister McGrath anomalous: he had a formal, and quite superb, education in the sciences before pursuing theology.)

The question remains, though: Would a technological future populated by atheistic SIPs be a good thing? Atheists are, of course, the least trusted demographic in America [PDF] – in part because many believe that rejecting religion is tantamount to adopting a kind of moral nihilism. But this is clearly false, as Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and the other “Four Horsemen” of New Atheism have cogently argued ad nauseum.

In fact, the evidence available at present seems to suggest that a world of atheists would actually be far less risky than one full of “believers.” Consider the fact that the most serious terror risks today originate from groups explicitly motivated by Christian, or Islamic, etc. dogma. In their book Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism [PDF], for example, authors Charles Ferguson and William Potter identify “politico-religious” (al Qaeda) and “apocalyptic” (the Christian Identity movement) groups as the actors most likely to perpetrate a nuclear attack.

There are, furthermore, a number of rather consternating studies linking religious belief with attitudes that are, by most accounts, morally suspect at best. For example, a 2009 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reports that the more often one attends church, the more likely one is to condone torture. (Evangelicals turn out to be the most likely to support acts of torture against “detainees.”) And a 2010 meta-analysis of 55 independent studies establishes a significant correlation between religiosity and racism; as the authors conclude, “only religious agnostics were racially tolerant.” (Obviously, racism goes far beyond being merely “suspect” – it is downright repugnant: intolerance towards this kind of intolerance is justified intolerance!)

It thus appears that a society-wide move towards atheism would not only decrease phenomena like racism and (the acceptability of) torture, but it might also result in a mitigation of certain catastrophic risks.** This seems to provide a good reason for anyone interested in the perpetuation of Earth-originating intelligent life to advocate the R&D required for SIPs.

More philosophically, we might add that if one agrees with Kant that rationality and morality are correlated, then, as Chalmers writes [PDF], “a fully rational system will be fully moral as well. If this is right, and if intelligence correlates with rationality, we can expect an intelligence explosion to lead to a morality explosion along with it.”

In sum, given the putative connection between intelligence and atheism, it seems reasonable to conjecture that SIPs – possible future beings more intelligent than any living human – will all be atheists. Furthermore, a world of atheistic SIPs would likely be a better world than the contemporary one in which we reside.

This provides one possible response to a previous article in which I suggested that more intelligence might actually exacerbate rather than ameliorate our present situation. But, of course, the issue here is still very much open to debate.


NOTES

* In all fairness, this quote is taken out of context, which is why I provide the citation.
** As William James once argued, atheists cannot take “moral holidays” like the theist can – global warming, for example, will not be solved by divine intervention (if enough believers pray), but because of assiduous human effort.


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COMMENTS


I think there is an incorrect correlation here between rejecting scriptural dogma and rejecting any notion (given a broad liberal interpretation) of God.  As Nietzsche predicted so many years ago, with science on the rise, scriptural explanations for creation, accounts of miracles that defy the laws of physics, etc. become increasingly unbelievable to people.  Today when you combine our increased scientific knowledge which religious dogma irrationally rejects, with the intolerant dogmatic religious views towards homosexuality, sex in general, and a whole host of other social issues, plus an association of terrorism with religious dogma (rightly so) you see a general public turning away from religious scriptural dogma and declaring themselves atheist. 

To me, however, the more that science reveals about the universe - the trillions of planets, possible alternate universes in their own immensity beyond black holes, our precisely coded and manipulatable genetic makeup, etc. the more I say - sure I don’t believe in creationism or other scriptural dogma - but do I really know so much, am I so wise and all-knowing, that I can credibly rule out any form of God whatsoever and be sure of it?  I cannot explain what came before the big bang!  How can I be so sure of everything.

My point is - as humans gain more and more scientific knowledge and mastery over the own bodies and the physical world around us - I think we will increasingly reject scriptural dogma because it will simply appear unbelievable to most people.  I think declaring oneself an atheist will be sort of an immediate first-stage reaction.  But as our increased intellectual capabilities reveal more knowledge about the utter complexity of the world and the vast mystery we exist in daily - I believe a more complex form of spirituality will develop.  Thus I do think dogmatic religion will fade in time - and for some time people will declare themselves atheists - but that this will morph in time into a more complex spirituality and understanding of God later on.  The universe is so vast that even with the most potent enhancement technologies, much will likely remain beyond our full discovery or understanding.  It is there that room for some notion of God will likely remain.





“I cannot explain what came before the big bang!”

That’s a poor excuse for invoking a magical god.

Magic is not real, and that’s what your god fairy is, just another word for magic.

http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com/





@Jeremy

Your whole comment is a giant god-of-the-gaps argument.





hmm I always question articles that are written that have it down that atheists have a higher IQ. That test alone is flawed so really why focus on IQ does it help add to superiority and you feel different from those dumb religious types?

Maybe the future we will be more accepting and realistic with our views and beliefs. I do not believe in god and I do feel that evolution is closer to how thing actually are than creationism.

I know some very intelligent psychologists who are still strong in their faith, they have to use the scientific method but still. I know a few people with a science degree and they also have a religion.

Maybe more people will move away just from dogma and churches and it will be more secular ie: personal religion.
For me I do not care if someone is religious I do not think I was people to think the same as me I like differences. What I do not like is women and children being mistreated in society and even men. People need to look after one another not because of a god but because of social cohesion and society benefits from it. I do not like people who use their religion as an excuse for things like oh you lost your baby that was god will etc. So wrong and so dismissive. I am also aware that not all people who are religious think in the ways that I find hard to understand. I am for a more egalitarian society with acceptance of people and looking after our planet, with progression for the future.

So yeah I am not a shallow atheist who likes to hear how more intelligent I possible am due to reasoning skills I have developed over them. Some people like to be fooled when they know different deep down. Why do you think we have such strong bible baptists because they are really scared of non belief or non religion. Thoust protest to much I think for most people, they need to feel like they are useful in society.





Posthumans are all Mormon Transhumanists. wink





I suppose that someday, hopefully soon, this issue will be resolved. The level of vitriol from both sides is regrettable. It is true that strong dogmatic belief has been the driving factor behind many atrocities throughout human history. The pogroms of the 19th and 20th century are notable examples. The idea that an absence of religious belief and replacement of that belief with atheism will make us safer may not be well grounded. Some of the worst examples of blood letting have occured during the reigns of Stalin and Mao, two individuals who both espoused their utter disdain for the poor religious masses. It certainly can be said that many other atrocities have been initiated by religious extremists but many others by secular extremists as well. Just my two cents worth, for waht it is worth.

I await the caustic flood…





I agree with Jeremy (above). In my words, the essay’s logical progression seems to assume a dichotomy between atheism, “the rejection of theistic belief systems” and (above) “belief in a personal deity”. As a Unitarian and ‘spiritual humanist’, I know many people whose beliefs are neither.

For example, we have all read scientists and others, including Albert Einstein (see Krista Tippett’s recent Einstein’s God), Carl Sagan (i.e. Broca’s Brain), Robert Wright (i.e. Nonzero) or IEET’s own James Hughes (i.e. Citizen Cyborg) who would be neither theist nor atheist given those limiting definitions.

Theism is broader than the belief in an omnipotent person who addresses our individual personal concerns. While I agree with Sam Harris and others that some Theists have used internally inconsistent definitions of theism, their mistake doesn’t compel the rest of us to overlook the true vastness of the concept. For example, if we don’t know all the possible explanations for the big bang or the range of limitations of quantum physics, is it reasonable for us to presume that we already know all the possible conceptions of G*d?





Someday “atheist” will mean as little as “phlogisten’ means to a chemist today. Hundreds of years on, meanings change. Even ‘meaning’ wont mean anything.





On fundamentalist religion, philosopher Richard Rorty said:

  “It seems to me that the regulative idea that we heirs of the Enlightenment, we Socratists, most frequently use to criticize the conduct of various conversational partners is that of ‘needing education in order to outgrow their primitive fear, hatreds, and superstitions’ ... It is a concept which I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, invoke when we try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own ... The fundamentalist parents of our fundamentalist students think that the entire ‘American liberal establishment’ is engaged in a conspiracy. The parents have a point. Their point is that we liberal teachers no more feel in a symmetrical communication situation when we talk with bigots than do kindergarten teachers talking with their students ... When we American college teachers encounter religious fundamentalists, we do not consider the possibility of reformulating our own practices of justification so as to give more weight to the authority of the Christian scriptures. Instead, we do our best to convince these students of the benefits of secularization. We assign first-person accounts of growing up homosexual to our homophobic students for the same reasons that German schoolteachers in the postwar period assigned The Diary of Anne Frank… You have to be educated in order to be ... a participant in our conversation ... So we are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours ... I don’t see anything herrschaftsfrei [domination free] about my handling of my fundamentalist students. Rather, I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft [domination] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents ... I am just as provincial and contextualist as the Nazi teachers who made their students read Der Stürmer; the only difference is that I serve a better cause.”

  – ‘Universality and Truth,’ in Robert B. Brandom (ed.), Rorty and his Critics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), pp. 21-2.

I just thought this quote was appropriate for this post, and interesting.





I agree with Richard - well he agreed with me so know surprise. 

First off @ Human ape - a magic fairy God isn’t every possible conception of God.  Perhaps God is a computer programmer and we’re all part of a Bostrum-like simulation. 

@ Kubush - I’m pointing out that since we are unbelievably far from having full knowledge of the world around us, we cannot be all-knowing about the existence or non-existence of some sort of God-like being or structure.  If we are able to obtain all knowledge - were that to be possible - then we’ll know!  I’m pointing out the relative hubris for us humans with such scant knowledge to make such definitive claims on the nature of the universe.

I’m also pointing out that God or some version of God might still exist even if its not precisely as is written in scripture.  I mean we already know that God isn’t literally the God of Mosaic scriptures AND the God of Hindu scriptures, for example - unless we view God as encompassing both in some pluralistic way, which is possible if you take a more liberal interpretative view of God. 





Ignoring God’s existence or nonexistence, one might postulate that belief in God will wither away, while religion shall remain.
Say (merely hypothetically) if Mitt Romney became POTUS someday, his Mormon faith would be a stimulus for economic activity (Mormons being superb at commerce) but otherwise largely an empty spiritual vessel.





Human beings have a desperate need to search for meaning. Given the amount of free time that we have as a species, combined with the many horrors of the world, finding meaning in a higher power is not just convenient, but probably necessary. The primary difference between the beliefs that atheists hold now and Christian belief is simply one of age. Atheist’s believe in science, and physics, and psychology, but I believe that all of that is based on a foundational paradigm that the world can be unraveled, that its secrets can be deciphered and that we as a people can one day master all the laws. Transhumanism seeks to empower humanity to move forward and become more advanced.

Religions find meaning in another facet, one of spirituality, and higher purpose based on a figure which can assign them rules based on a punishment/reward model, where the results value is + or - infinity. Religion ideally fulfills a need for understanding, which everyone asks “why are we here”. The difference is that religion is a much simpler concept to grasp, which I infer is the reason behind the intellectual disparity between the religious and the atheist.

Both ask the tell tale questions, why are we here? am I valuable? How does the world work? How come we are intelligent and animals are lacking in the same intelligence (this is a question I would contend, but that’s different).
Atheists tend to answer every major epistemological, biological, philosophical and ethical problem, as connected, but distinct questions, each of which deserves a specific and targeted answer. Religion answers all the hard questions with God. It is intellectually lazy.

That said, I would be hesitant to say that Atheist are more “intelligent”. This is likely true if the only consideration that you have is one of education, likely with a much more advanced understanding of the physical sciences than that of a deeply religious person, but the multiple facets of human intelligence are not covered by IQ. To say as much is as intellectually lazy as asserting the God answer repeatedly. There are many other area’s of cognitive development that are equally, if not more important than high IQ, including creativity (the arts) or social skills (business and family). These, as far as I am aware, have not been tested in Atheists V Everyone else.

I guess to conclude, I believe that one of our fundamental traits as humans is to ask the question, why am I here. For the ambitious, those who wish to learn, understand and change the world, we see a world of infinite possibilities. One where every answer will raise ten more questions, and that is the point. We love questions, we love to learn, we love to explore, it fuels us.

In response, for a low-education laborer, such a view of the world would likely be highly depressing. One of the downsides of Atheism is a hyper awareness of how tiny you are in the cosmic sense of things, and that for the most part, you are insignificant. For a person, who has a menial job, and few if any luxuries, such a view would be detrimental for their mental health, because the conclusion they could easily land on is that their life, their existence is effectively meaningless, and they would be right. To believe that you were personally chosen, by a all powerful being, who watches you and loves you, and at the end of your life, you will be whisked away to paradise, may be naive and fairytale-esque, but is a solid way to keep mental cohesion and give purpose. For this vast swath of the population, their life will always be base labor, they won’t become scientists, professors or politicians, they will be a burger-jockey until they are too old to keep working. So they place their value in the “almighty” and value family ties much more than humanitarian good. I would argue that religion is a way of accepting your place in the world without giving into despair.





“Religion answers all the hard questions with God. It is intellectually lazy.”

@ Gynn: If they answer the hard questions, how are they intellectually lazy? (I’m referring to people, who can be lazy, as opposed to a concept, which can’t be lazy.)
And are they ALL intellectually lazy?





Yes, they are all intellectually lazy, but that isn’t a fundamentally negative thing. Religion, as I understand it, was the first way of governing. It controls its subjects, through devotion, blind loyalty, and it is very effective. It is a set of stories, a fully developed and well crafted system to try and explain the world, and then go further to provide meaning to it. As science progressed, and our actual factual understanding of the world grew, religion had to continuously attack it (Science). Think of any in history, be it astronomy(Solar system) , geology(History of earth), medicine(Vaccines, Invitro fertilization), biology(evolution, genetics, bioengineering), physics (big bang), there is a reason that most of science, which I describe as observable, reliable understanding of the world, conflicts with religion which I would call a story-telling religious history, guideline and explanation for life.

Most of scientific research will eventually come to a deeper understanding of the world and how it works, the fables of the many religions start losing credibility. Why do you think people fight evolution so much, its not just blind loyalty to their faith. If evolution is true, then man was not created by their God, and instead evolved somehow. This is a big no-no for religions. “You shall have no other gods before me”, I think also translates to “You are prohibited from searching for other meanings in the world.” Most people believe that it is meant in resistance to other religions, but I believe it is a specific message meant to say that challenges to the establishment must be silenced.

Think of the story of Babble, it is a testament against progress, against development. The moral is don’t aim to improve, avoid improvement.

Big Bang + Evolution is a direct rejection of all current religious cosmology, even if the religions don’t admit it. The world of a religious mind is limited, and if it was wider, it could adapt. Religions need to expand their mantra to adapt to newest science because without it they will fade.

God created the earth has to become god begun the universe to be compatible.
God created man in his own image, has to evolve to something like God created man, and everything, and he may have created other creatures far away, much like us, and he loves us all.
God is far beyond our comprehension, more vast and grand than we could understand.

Some parts of religion is incompatible though, and so it is going to happen when humanity has to find new meanings, and reject the thousand year old stories. Excluding religion, what other thousand year old explanations do we hold on to?

This is because a person, who truly believes in what science is, and should be, relies on the best explanation of the world we currently know, and when we are provided with a more compelling explanation of the world, that both relies upon and is supported by our communal observed phenomenon, then it becomes the new law. Today’s physics isn’t Newtons physics, Today’s medicine is worlds away from the medicine of our grandparents, Today’s youth has access to more information from childhood, than all the scholars in history combined. This is humanity adapting, and thriving, and solving our problems. Religion resists this trend, because at this point for religion to endorse science, it needs a radical over haul of the whole-y scripture. The stories are too old, teach a man to fish is hardly relevant in a society where food is abundant and readily available. Societies are becoming more inclusive, and religion struggles to adapt, and it must either change and become based on scientific understanding, or it must fight science and risk putting the world to death for lack of progression.

Science has shown over and over again, that no one answer is ever the right answer.





@ Gynn.. excellent post

Quote – “Both ask the tell tale questions, why are we here? am I valuable? How does the world work? How come we are intelligent and animals are lacking in the same intelligence..”

Yet moreover, examine the roots of even these questions and you find the question “who am I?” – And thus the fundamental human need to reconcile our intellect, our mind, and it’s root causality? Imagine humanity with a base understanding to this question, explored both through biology and neuroscience, and with respect to spirituality and existentialism? How would this affect our outlook of eternalism, of Godly rewards and punishments, and the understanding of fear, (of uncertainty and death)?

Q: What is the difference between religion and spirituality?
A: Religions apply doctrines and rules sets to spirituality to promote consistency of understanding – to fill in the gaps to those important questions.


Quote – ” For a person, who has a menial job, and few if any luxuries, such a view would be detrimental for their mental health, because the conclusion they could easily land on is that their life, their existence is effectively meaningless, and they would be right. To believe that you were personally chosen, by a all powerful being, who watches you and loves you, and at the end of your life, you will be whisked away to paradise, may be naive and fairytale-esque, but is a solid way to keep mental cohesion and give purpose.”

Exactly! – Yet you have also touched on an inspired point here.. Love! What is Love?

Contemplating the position that God does not exist, and that humans and all life are the accidental(?) evolution of the Universe from a “Big bang”, where consciousness has naturally evolved within the Universe to become conscious of it-Self? Consciousness of consciousness is what you are? No more no less – yes? Yet what is this “Love” that you speak of? What is this emotion? These aspirations? This potential?

The root of spirituality and of Love may be the beginning and the end of the evolutionary process of the Universe? Evolved “Universal consciousness” aspires to evolved “Universal Love”? In other words, spirituality would appear to be more fundamental to us humans than we truly understand at this time? Religion and doctrines are merely the by-product we apply for consistency and understanding.

Yet before we get too carried away with the human consciousness of consciousness and the “creation of God and of Love eternalised” here are some more sober thoughts regarding Love, and I always ask using this question..

Q: “What is the difference between these feelings, these emotions – termed Joy and Love?”

I believe Love is an abstract term loosely associated with direct feelings and sensations of Joy, (elation), and relating to the subjective apperception and memory of these feelings and experience within the individual. Therefore “Love” is not phenomenal nor attribute, nor is it spiritual – yet does it have the potential to be?

Is the Universe naturally evolving towards a state of “conscious universal Joy”, that we may comprehend as Universal Love realised? Does the Universe, through us, have the potential to evolve this way? If an all encompassing God does not exist, do we have the potential to create this future Universal, omnipresent, eternal God of love that we contemplate may exist already?

This is spirituality ! (not merely relegated to religion and doctrine).

In reality this possibility may be closer than you think – with the realisation that Joy and pain, Love and fear, are purely subjective realities or patterns that we may find ourselves aligned with at any particular instance – if all parties are aligned to one direction then the Universe or goal of Universality may be realised?

Similarly, (and yet not wholly contradictory), both and yet neither of these patterns have reality of purpose beyond subjective duality, and there is neither bondage nor freedom, pleasure nor pain, Love nor fear – no matter how real these may feel to us humans, (and to animals). Sober dispassion and mindfulness may also comprise a new age, (as well as old age), spirituality?

“Will Posthumans all be Atheist?”

Posthumans left aside.. the more valid question would be –“Will future generations of humans be less religious or more atheistic?” And since there is indeed no valid correlation between IQ and Atheism, or more accurately non-theistic belief, and since children are raised initially to believe, take guidance and follow the beliefs of their guardians, (until they feel free to question for themselves that is), regardless of IQ, then it must all boil down to memes once more.

Religious memes of generations past may recede in favour of a more scientific, naturalistic viewpoint of the cosmos and our place within it, leading to the proliferation of non-theism memes. Yet this does not exclude the possibility of any new spirituality or belief system emerging, whether that being connected with naturalism or cosmism or other?





One can say religion is labor control as well (with such a big topic as religion/spirituality, there’s naturally more to it than all of you write above): religion cons a guy to get out of bed at 8 AM to work, say, at a miserable factory—because the worker
might think he is doing it for God.
Religion—as everything else—is motivated by both positive & negative intentions.





Gynn writes: “Think of any (science) in history, be it astronomy(Solar system) , geology(History of earth), medicine(Vaccines, Invitro fertilization), biology(evolution, genetics, bioengineering), physics (big bang), there is a reason that most of science, which I describe as observable, reliable understanding of the world, conflicts with religion which I would call a story-telling religious history, guideline and explanation for life. “

Funny how so many of these sciences had religious men as their most famous minds, isn’t it? (Faraday, Maxwell, Joule, Joseph Henry, and Newton, to name just a few)





“Faraday, Maxwell, Joule, Joseph Henry, and Newton, to name just a few”

Well sure, they lived way back in the day when—just for instance—a Pope had the power & influence of a king. And today, in the age of jihad and Palin, we can all see how superstition is still regnant: the lure of Muhammad the messenger of God; and Palin the messenger of the GOP.





“Well sure, they lived way back in the day when—just for instance—a Pope had the power & influence of a king.”

I can’t think of a more irrelevant response. Besides, the enlightenment was well underway in the lifetimes of many of these men.





I agree religion has both positive and negative influences. In some areas of the world the Christian religion has bought about some form of civility and progression. However today this is irrelevant and there are other means to adopt this if required. Unfortunately America and similar countries have used religion and democracy to bring about change in a place and force them to think the same way as them. A form of ethnic cleansing just, to gain resources like they are currently doing in the middle east. Think similar to us let us rule and control you be like us and then you will obey us easier. America is the modern day Vikings. Really it is all about capturing the flag and not about progression of society to the level it could be now. With the amount of education and technologies available we still as a global community cling to War. Religion does not cause wars it is a part of war. Greedy people who like power and control start wars, capture the flag mentality. There is enough money in the world and progressive technologies to not have people starving, to not have many people living in poverty etc the list goes on. No not talking about a utopia but less aggression in the world is possible if some pollies and countries just get over themselves. Who cares if someone has a religion and a belief system just do not shove it down someones throat. I have found this in the atheist community. We need to work all of us for the betterment of human kind and animal kind. We have to protect and look after the earth. We have so much to explore and war stops the progression along with patriarchy. .





“the enlightenment was well underway in the lifetimes of many of these men.”

Such is exactly where we differ—and what also disgusts me concerning futurism. Newton’s parents lived during the age of the Thirty Years War, and knew some of Cromwell’s Puritans in England. So much for exponential progress.
Marxists and the religious have more in common than one might think, the former believing in laws of history; the latter in the will of God or, say, Providence, fate, nirvana, etc. What is really revolting is to read comments at IEET’s blog from rightwing religionists, or crypto-rightwing religionists, or whatsoever-they-might-be. Plus transhumanism is internally divided by libertopianism. And if that isn’t bad enough, someday marxists, Republicans, and all the rest, will discover h+—and then being a Luddite wont seem so unattractive. All I can say is: nice friends we have now.





I wish I could understand you. Try toning down the poetic-ism.

The sentences starting with “Newton’s” and ending with “progress” don’t seem to address what I said nor does it make sense. (Also, I said “many” of these men, and you conveniently picked just one man, the most ancient of the bunch.)

Also, you seem to be saying that it’s not WHAT the “rightwing religionists” are saying, but the VERY FACT that they’re posting here, that you find revolting. That’s no way to be open to hearing differing opinions.

Finally, a religionist is someone with excessive or affected religious zeal. (freedictionary.com) This doesn’t fit me, nor does it describe anything I’ve posted.





“but the VERY FACT that they’re posting here, that you find revolting. That’s no way to be open to hearing differing opinions.”

If it were merely airing different opinions, then no problem, however it appears to go further: to trying to win converts over.
Abraham, I don’t know what you are, however there have been rightwing Christians actually trying to gain converts at IEET—why should they waste their time bearing witness, as they call it, at a progressive h+ site? Just say you blog at a Christian site; would you want Communists commenting there? to what purpose you would ask them, ‘why blog here?’, you would respond. At any rate, I don’t appreciate rightwing Christians or rightwing Libertarians, and am going to have at them to find out what their motives are.





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