Re: The Extropian Religious War

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Tue Jul 10 2001 - 00:29:29 MDT

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> Adrian Tymes wrote:

> > * I believe that a majority of religious powers (not for instance God,
> > but people whose influsence derives from religion, like the Pope)
> > see the popularity of ideals like the EP as eroding their power.
> I think we'll all be real happy when we are considered a threat
> to the Vatican. May that day come soon.

We, ourselves, are small fry to them at the moment, and we probably
will be until we, ourselves, directly create technologies of note.
Notice, say, the calls to indefinitely ban cloning: what attacks there
are, are on the technologies or their more vocal practitioners. So
long as we merely discuss tech, and leave it to our individual members
to implement, only the individuals will attract unwanted attention.

> > * I therefore believe that my belief in the EP puts me in some danger.
> > * I believe that we are approaching a point where technology, and the
> > inevitable consequential understanding of the human condition, will
> I haven't noticed any great strides in understanding the human
> condition coming out of science and technology. Evolutionary
> psychology is interesting and has a lot to say in some areas but
> much of what is said is not too easy to test and some of it is
> unfalsifiable. I especially haven't seen a coherent ethics come
> out of science and technology yet.

To cherry-pick a little, what of, say, medical treatments for various
personality traits? Though, granted, much of the relevant tech here is
projected future tech (namely, understanding the software of the human

> > be so advanced as to render obvious the fallacies in these
> > religious powers' religions, and thus motivate all but a few to
> > openly denounce all such religions, thus demolishing their power.
> I think you are dreaming. There is simply too much of life
> science doesn't have a good grip on yet.

I never said this would be soon. Plus, I'm trying to explain the
thought chain; I don't necessarily fully agree with it (though I do to
some extent).

> > * I believe that they are aware of this oncoming time, therefore I
> > believe that their self interest demands that they do everything
> > they can to attack technology and those who back it.
> > * I back this up with their recent statements and actions.
> Then go ahead and back it up.

How much proof do you want? Let's start with this from
to see what is regarded as the most important thing in a certain high
religious officer's opinion for scientists to keep in mind:

>And in a special way for you, men and women engaged in scientific
>research, may the fearful social, economic and ecological catastrophe
>of Chernobyl serve as a permanent warning! The potential of technology
>must be wedded to unchanging ethical values, if the respect due to man
>and his inalienable dignity is to be guaranteed.

Unchanging ethics, even if the basis for prior ethical constructs is
found wanting? ("Slavery was just fine in the 1600s, so it's ok now.")
Note that the ethical values that lead to Chernobyl (putting a very low
priority on potential high risks) were, themselves, found lacking. Or
is the message that scientists should always live in fear of the
potential of their own work (as opposed to, say, acknowledging and
dealing with it)?

> > * Among the options that have occurred to me to resolve this problem,
> > the most appealing is to hasten the demise of these religions through
> > making people no longer believe them, thus largely negating the
> > religious powers' influence.
> If religion was your primary worry this might make sense. It
> isn't. The established state and economic powers are the one's
> who will notice the potential threat and act first and most
> effectively. Your energy is misdirected. Some of the
> religious focus and sentiment can actually be turned to the aid
> of most of our causes with a bit of imagination. Come out
> trumpeting that you will destroy all religion though and you
> will probably be squashed quite quickly. Your more powerful
> enemies will help quite happily while making it look as if it
> came from the religious.

<shrugs> Here, I definitely disagree with the thought chain I posted.
(I probably made a mistake in phrasing the thought chain from the first
person.) However, each worry

> > ...which leads to the debate as to how to do such a thing. Personally,
> > my own thought chain offers a different solution: hasten debunking via
> > technology, both by exploring how exactly this happens (a good
> > understanding of science can already offer much immunity from religious
> > memes) and by getting the relevant advanced technolgies into many
> I have a good understanding of science. Believe me, it is not
> that a effective an antidote.

Actually, I've found that it is, at least the ones people have tried to
indoctrinate me with. Then again, maybe that's because the
indoctrinations have usually required belief in what I had previously
learned was absurd and easily disproved.

> > peoples' hands (thus making it easier to obtain said good
> > understanding, through frequent interaction with demonstrations of the
> > principles - for instance, experiencing memories copied into one's
> > brain by purely physical processes, which would not be possible if the
> > "soul" which contained such was purely nonphysical). A person can be
> Who says? This would actually demonstrate very little. And of
> course we can't do this today.

<shrugs> Ok, I'm guilty of stretching for an example there. Possibly
a better one: demonstration that machines can do physical labor on
behalf of people, through lots of people having cars and/or riding
trains, buses, et cetera. Or a demonstration that the "natural" body
is not the best possible host for our minds: prosthetics that do better
than natural equivalents (which we have, but only for certain broken
natural parts, though this covers both broken-by-use, arguably
artificial, and broken-at-birth, unarguably natural).

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