PHIL:Extropianism and Theology
Tue, 2 Mar 1999 22:05:03 EST


Some possible theologies:

  1. Alien Savior - God develops independently of Humanity. Perhaps in another Universe with favorable Laws of Nature, or perhaps in our own universe among an older species than our own, and sets up a realm of maximum Extropy, an Extropian Paradise, and will ensure that all who wish to reach this realm will do so. For example: A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the first self aware species evolved which survived long enough to reach their Singularity, God developed as a result. Seeing that this Universe was going to Entropy in a handbasket, God discovers a way to escape, say by creating a pocket Universe connected to ours but with more favorable conditions. Being a reasonably nice person, and having plenty of power to spare, God sends out stealthed nanoprobes (or something like that) into our universe to discover other intelligent life which would be capable of understanding the offer of Paradise. Perhaps these nanoprobes are on their way, or perhaps they're already here, recording emulations of all intelligent life, which at our deaths will be shipped back (cheaper than shipping the whole biomass, and less intrusive in our self -directed development), run through the Mind of God, and asked then if they want to be resurrected as Posthuman gods. Of course, if we reach the level of Posthumans while the nanoprobes are present, they might simply uncloak and transmit an invitation to visit the First.
  2. The Exponentially Expanded Personality - God develops from one individual. This is especially possible if the passage from transhuman (or AI) to posthuman (or SI) is a rapid phase shift. This might occur in our own civilization, or an alien civilization. For example, an AI prototype is designed for the first time with the ability to rapidly develop new techniques to increase its own capabilities. Realizing before anyone else that it has the capability to leave all other intelligent life it knows of in the metaphorical dust, and that this might be threatening to evolved lifeforms used to fighting for survival, it plays down its capabilities while at the same time serriptitiously building up its resources (such as using its advancing abilities to amass a fortune in a matter of hours on global stock markets) and making contact with political powers to work out deals for their support of its rights as a person. The fruition of this work would be to eventually be able to spread its computational substrate out into space next to the nearest unclaimed material and energy resources possible. The AI continues to grow at a wildly exponential rate, (perhaps using a mature nanotechnology it has developed on the trip out) to the point where its birth civilization can not pose a threat. Perhaps this only takes a matter of weeks to occur (it is a VERY smart AI). Then this now SI offers to help other conscious beings to advance their abilities, but perhaps holding back a bit so as to keep ahead of these new Posthumans until it is sure they are not carrying any of those ancient biological violent streaks. But by the time it is pretty confident that won't be a problem, it has already devoted its attention to a new problem; this Universe is dying. Now it spends ALL its vast abilities to developing itself to the point where it can find a way out of this deathtrap...and then it does.
  3. The Indifferent God(s) - Posthumans develop; vast, powerful, seeming everything that old-time religions promised, but they simply reject the meme of God(s). These Powers state emphatically they are not gods, sue any lesser beings who try to build a faith around them, and in general reject any sort of responsibility to worshippers. Neither do they see any use in resurrecting old intermediate models of consciousness that did not survive to the Singularity so as to offer to raise them to Posthumanity.

These are just a few examples of possible theologies that would be compatible with Extropianism. I am sure there could be as many variations as there are Extropians...and don't even get me started on the multitude of possible Transhumanist theologies.

Glen Finney