Anders on Hal on Science versus Religion

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Mon Mar 05 2001 - 07:36:08 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: Anders Sandberg <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2001 7:09 AM
Subject: Re: Hal on Science versus Religion

> I predict that even with a complete TOE, explaining not just how the
> physical laws work but also why the TOE is the one, a perfect
> understanding of the brain allowing us to upload people in completely
> deterministic computers and technology to perform every miracle in
> every holy book ever written, there will be people who are still
> religious. And it will not be because they dont understand all of
> this, but because they consider the meaning of it to still remain in
> the spiritual sphere. Even if you can show the entire universe to be a
> neatly completed closed causal loop, they can say "OK, but who created
> it?". We might scoff at this, whipping out our Occam razors, and in
> this scenario it is likely that very many would find meaning and
> spirituality in other things than classical religion, but it still
> seems likely these people would persist and feel themselves to be
> justified in persisting. Creo quia absurdum...
> --
I think your prediction is probably correct. If Auschwitz or the Gulag
Archipelago does not force everyone to renounce religion it is hard to see
how a TOE is going to radically affect the body of a believer's belief. (Of
course for them a TOE is not really a TOE but only (at best) a Theory of
everything physical, (or the like)). The fact that they shave differently
with Occam's razor does not bother me anymore than the fact that someone
might be a Platonist about logical or mathematical truths. If believers
share our immediate goals--refashioning the human species, etc.--then the
fact that they have these "extra" beliefs is of no great concern, anymore
than in the case of the mathematical or logical Platonist.

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