Thank you, Extropia. I enjoyed and agree with your analysis.
By Lincoln Cannon on Feb 09, 2013 at 6:43am
... although I’d add that “idolatrous” is not the word I’d choose, as it has negative connotations, and I don’t think there’s anything necessarily negative about our posthuman projections that affirm and extend human strengths and virtues, as there’s nothing necessarily negative about our posthuman projections that deny and negate human weaknesses and vices. Both can and should be leveraged in the work to transfigure humanity into a radically compassionate and creative posthumanity.
By Lincoln Cannon on Feb 09, 2013 at 6:47am
It seems the religious takeover of the Singularity is progressing well but ultimately the religious hijacking will fail due to the augmentation of intelligence, which will allow people to see how all religious belief is nonsense associated with primitive pre-Singularity cultures. It is interesting to see how atheists generally don’t feel the need to proselytise, they usually don’t feel the need define the Singularity as atheist, which it is, although considering the near incessant badgering by some religious orientated futurists I am beginning to think it is time to create the Atheist Transhuman Association or the Turing Atheists. It is sad that religious people have not changed after all these years, it is sad they are continuing to try and save our souls via their holy enlightenment.
I am very familiar with the religious views of Extropia, Lincoln, and Giulio Prisco (Turing Church), where discuss the supposed religiosity of Transhumanism and the Singularity. I have addressed their religious fantasies (yes that is the correct term, it is not an insult, go an read The God Delusion) on numerous occasions but in the typical modality of religious people their views are currently unshakable.
The religious takeover of the Singularity is almost identical to the creationists attempting to hijack evolution via the term Intelligent Design. Hopefully true intelligence will prevail, hopefully the modern from of technological Intelligent Design promulgated by Extropia, Lincoln, Giulio and others will fail.
I have previously commented on an earlier version of Extropia’s Holy Singularity via the H+ platform, and you can read those comments here: http://hplusmagazine.com/2012/07/05/holy-singularity/
There is not much else to add. I find the logical fallacies associated with the religious takeover of the Singularity are very depressing, which is the case with all aspects of religion because irrationality dominates. Don’t forget how I religious people often think in this modern age. UK Parliamentarians recently voted to legalise Gay Marriage, thus one young woman wilfully aired her bigotry very publicly via the BBC, thereby highlighting the irrationality behind all religions, she said: “There’s definitely help for people out there who do have homosexual feelings. If they repent their sins, God will still love them. There’s ways of dealing with it.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/21335610
Religious belief is fundamentally unintelligent, it has no place within a movement regarding the augmentation of intelligence.
I look forward to the day when all religions are obsolete, if I can survive that long because in the meantime religious people sap my will to live. It is a very depressing religious-tainted world we live in.
By Singularity Utopia on Feb 09, 2013 at 3:19pm
When it comes to the religiosity issue, SU’s arguments always have the same flaw. She comes up with a definition of A religion (usually an extreme form of fundamentalist Christianity) and then sets out to persuade that this worldview is incompatible with transhumanity. Maybe so, but the question we should ask is: Does the definition SU provide work equally well for all religions? For me the answer, based on what I know about the world’s religions from books like Karen Armstrong and also by talking with people of many different faiths and philosophical schools of thought, is ‘no’.
So the final paragraph of my article stands as a rebuttal to SU’s remarks. It is quite possible that, in the future, people will have beliefs which are unrecognizable from the POV of religion as SU defines it. However, that does not mean others who have a less narrow concept of religiosity will not recognize such people as belonging to a faith system of some kind or other.
By Extropia DaSilva on Feb 10, 2013 at 12:40am
I am fully cognizant of all definitions of religion. All definitions of religion are essentially the same because they are all irrational. If the definition of religion is so loose that anything can be a religion, merely because it makes you feel good or improves the world partially, for example some people may think chocolate is holy, they may religiously be devoted to chocolate, then this tendency to imbue things with religiosity is also identical to the essence of all religions, it is irrational, it is a failure to understand meaning, it is tantamount to stating a cat is a dog because you like dogs, thus if you like something with four legs and a tail it must be a dog even if it is a cat. The principal irrationality is not the mere sloppiness of definition, my prime objection to the taint of religion is the meaning religion holds for people, it is essentially escapism, thus people eat bars of chocolate while watching mindless TV, or they worship Prajāpati or Allah or Zeus instead of addressed real world issues, or they think Buddha has wisdom to impart when in reality Buddhism is merely hand waving no different to spiritualism, or séances. The magical fantasy of all religions, the escapist nature of the belief, it is irrational. If something improves the world then it improves the world, there is no need to call it a religion if it is not a religion but sadly there is a tendency to imbue the truth of reality with otherworldly fantasy, religions distort reality, thus the planets and stars can reveal our future if we can read the Star Signs, or people think the Singularity or Transhumanism is religious.
I could modify you final sentence Extropia thus:
“Like God, the transcendent/ineffable Chocolate is a symbol of our perpetual desire to progress toward a state of holiness.”
Or “Like God, the transcendent/ineffable Beyoncé performing at the Super Bowl is a symbol of our perpetual desire to progress toward a state of holiness.”
Or “Like God, the transcendent/ineffable President Obama is a symbol of our perpetual desire to progress toward a state of holiness.”
This the irrationality of God, of all religious yearning. It is escapism, it is distortion of reality, it is a confusion of meanings, thus archetypal religious people define life as creationism instead of evolution but that’s only a metaphor regarding the entire field of religions belief.
By Singularity Utopia on Feb 10, 2013 at 5:31am
I notice that every one of your modifications contains the word ‘God’. Why is that? I suspect it is because you believe religion to be synonymous with a belief in some kind of supreme being. But not all religions are theistic. As Armstrong wrote in ‘the history of God’, “humanism is itself a religion without God..Our own secular ideal has its own disciplines of mind and heart and gives people the means of finding truth in the ultimate meaning of human life that were once provided by the more conventional religions”.
So, quite frankly, I doubt the truth of your opening remark in your last reply.
By and large I do not think the world’s religions have come up with interesting answers (which is not to say there is nothing useful to be learned by studying the teachings of Jesus or Buddha etc) but I do think people of faith ask legitimate questions, such as ‘is there a reason I exist?’, ‘is there such a thing as objective evil?’ and ‘why is there someting rather than nothing’? It seems to me that believing ANY human-derived system can find definitive answers to such questions has to be taken on faith rather than certainty.
By Extropia DaSilva on Feb 10, 2013 at 10:33am