Re: Extropianism & Theology

Anders Sandberg (
03 Mar 1999 22:22:03 +0100 writes:

> "How about 'all powerful, all knowing, and Good' as a definition of God" -
[Derivation that suggests that one (or more) of the three properties is lacking]
> a) God is not Good

[no particular comments]

> b) God doesn't know everything - I have trouble separating the concept of God
> being all powerful from God being all knowing. It seems to me that
> omniscience would be a necessary prerequisite for true omnipotence. I think
> most Extropians would agree that ignorance is an exploitable weakness.

I sometimes act like an all powerful but ignorant god towards my simulations. I have a game of life running right now, and I can reach in and do whatever I want to: change the state of cells, introduce new patterns, change the rules or even end the whole simulation. The same goes for my alife simulations. But while I can control them in detail, I don't understand what is going on in them. Some of it is due to lack of interest, some of it is simply because the complexity of what is going on. Exactly why does the methuselah configuration survive for so long? Beats me, I can simulate it, explain every step, but the overall meaning escapes me at the present.

> c) God is not all powerful - This is an option I do see as a strong
> possibility. Indeed, I can easily imagine a God who is Good, All Knowing, but
> not All Powerful. This need not make God weak, or even defeatable. It is
> possible that there may, in a sense, be an ecological niche with room for only
> one, the Most Powerful niche. This Most Powerful Being could be more powerful
> than any other possible combination of beings, but might be constrained by
> some laws of existence.

Sounds a bit like Nick Boström's Singleton :-)

> Even a few such constraints might in and of
> themselves limit the type of Universes which exist, or a Good God might find
> that these constraints might limit the ethically acceptable actions this being
> could take. I believe some possible limits might involve the relation (if
> any) of the Origin of God and the Origin of the Universe to one another. More
> on this later.

I think this is an area where we have an advantage compared to traditional theologicans. They are not used to thinking in terms of computers, levels of implementation, cosmology and (especially) questioning many of the very fundamental assumptions of godhood most people seem to take granted. Maybe extropian theology has a future even if most extropians remain die hard atheists, as the radical study of theology from a scientific angle.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y