Re: religious singularity?

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Sun Sep 30 2001 - 15:14:30 MDT

On Sun, Sep 30, 2001 at 09:24:11AM -0500, Greg Burch wrote:
> This last fact of the history of the evolution of Islamic culture is one
> that has driven the despair I am coming to feel about the possibility that
> we can hope to see a milder form of Islam develop any time soon. The
> problem is the totalitarian conception of shariah (protected by the doctrine
> of "bida" or *the sin of innovation*, much more than the violent roots of
> Islam.

One site I read while reading up on Islam suggested that the islamic
concept of history is not so much progress as an unfolding and
re-expression of an already existing fixed truth. It suggested that
Kaaba is a good symbol - a fixed solid cube, which we might decorate and
circulate around, but is itself not changing.

This kind of concept is of course antithetical to transhumanism in its
deeper sense as a seeking to change the fundaments of being human (and
the universe). It doesn't mean there has to be antagonism between
transhumanists and muslims, since we both can agree to disagree on this,
but it is a problem. Transhumanism "light" like seeking longevity,
improved standards of living and enhanced intelligence doesn't seem to
be a sticking point, since it would just be evaluated on its own
benefits from an islamic point of view.
> At any rate, I think that effort to try to develop memetic engineering tools
> for moderating Islam is well spent, even though the task seems to be *much*
> more difficult than a similar enterprise applied to Christianity. Mohammed
> was one sly fellow, building a much more robust memetic immune system into
> the basic concepts of Islam. It's a much simpler and more robust over-all
> construct than Christianity.

Yes, I have always admired it for that. In computer language terms, it
is a far more clean implementation of monotheism than Christianity and

I guess one place to look for moderating factors is the liberal arab
states like Tunisia, and see what thinkers there have come up with.
They are far more likely than us to have noticed or come up with good
moderating ideas.

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

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