Re: Extropianism & Theology
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 19:37:28 EST


You brought up some good questions about just what is the use of a God based cosmology, not wasting time which would decrease efficiency, and not creating memes which would mask possibilities. Allow me to make a few comments on them.

  1. Just what use is a God-based cosmology? - Well, for one thing, if it turns out that there is a God who played an intricate role in the formation of the Universe, then I think you would need to have a cosmology which takes this into account at hand so you would have a better understanding of the Universe. Now, there is no good proof currently that this is the case, but given that we still, to the best of my knowledge, understand why there is a Universe to begin with, we can not completely rule out the possibility of it having been designed in some manner, and should work out some cosmologies based on this option (as well as ones which do not include a God or gods) and see which is the best fit at any one time based on our understanding of the Universe. And apart from cosmology, I am sure that if we were to discover a God, we would be able to find some use for such a being. Maybe as a Universal Lifeguard to catch any unwary posthumans who bite off more than they can chew (I TOLD you we were too close to that event horizon!).
  2. Efficiency is not always the most desirable attribute in any system. For example, sometimes power is. I could have the most fuel efficient car in the Indy 500, but I bet I would still lose to those gas guzzlers, even with their pit stops. And what is an efficient use of time now may not be so efficient under future conditions; that is why it is good to have a variety of approaches to any problem, even if it costs you more in time at the onset to develop them.
  3. Don't develop a meme which masks the possibilities - I whole-heartedly agree, but doesn't this work both ways? I don't want to create a "God" meme which keeps me blind to "Atheistic" possibilities, but I also don't want to create a "Atheism" meme which masks "Theistic" possibilities. I think the most important thing is to attach a "Fallibility" meme to either approach; no matter how right I think I am, there is always the possibility that I am wrong. The Tolerance meme and Curiosity meme would also be useful to both worldviews; even if I am right, its okay for others to think they are right...and hey, why DO they think they are right? I think if we provide these supporting memes, we have lowered the risk of any other meme masking the possibilities.

Now, I've put these points in a lighter tone than some of my previous posts...just in that kind of mood, but they are as serious as any others I have made to date. I do not believe it is of value for Transhumanism to have ANY set stance on the existence or non-existence of God(s), but it would be wise to consider all the possibilities and what actions to take in any given scenario. Then again, maybe by the time the subject comes up, our posthuman descendants will be able to wing it, but I prefer to be prepared.

Glen Finney