Accelerating Future Transhumanism, AI, nanotech, the Singularity, and extinction risk.



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  1. “Where is your God now?”

  2. is it possible to get a larger image for wallpaper? this awesome.

    (anyone ever watched “mr.deity”?)

  3. Copy the image of Adam and put him where God was so that he has to stare at himself. That would give another powerful message.

  4. Yep! There needs to be a way to show that (trans)humankind is self-bootstrappingly developing, both individually and species-collectively, INTO a COSMIC SUPERBEING(S) (i.e., “God” [with a big “G” no less, and note the scare quotes] for all practical purposes).

  5. Oh, hey, y’all, btw: I just saw the movie *Jerome Bixby’s Man From Earth*, and it is superb. *Very* well-done cerebral sci-fi. Check it out!

    And everyone really does need to start holding the federal government weenies’ feet to the fire and uphold the law regarding federal income EXCISE (EXCISE, mind you, EXCISE!!) taxation. PLEASE—I’m requesting this as a colleague and scholar—carefully check out Pete Hendrickson’s superb website and get his spot-on book *Cracking the Code*… Put it to ya THIS way: WOULDN’T YOU ALL RATHER HAVE THE MONEY—**YOUR** MONETARY PROPERTY—GO TO **SENS** AND/OR AI RATHER THAN BE **FRAUDULENTLY** SIPHONED AWAY AND *CONVERTED* OVER TO THE FED GUBMENT??!! I mean hell, kids, that’s an easy question for any Singularitarian, ain’t it?!


  6. I have some friends who would argue about that picture, but I’m not a fan of the Judeo-Christian view myself.

    As a researcher of esoterica, IMHO the purely materialistic Universe is not entirely correct either.

    The answer is usually the middle path.

  7. May I ask how you know that is Reality?

  8. When there are two opposing views, reality does not necessarily lie in the middle. One side can simply be wrong.

    “Material” just means real and observable, and while what we can observe is constantly changing, it is still the study of the material world – reality.

    The claim that there are some things that will always be beyond our ability to measure hardly validates wild speculation. If something is measureable, even in principle, it is material, and real – and will likely one day be observed, even if it takes 50,000 years.

    Otherwise, it is nothing but unverifiable nonensense. The other word for this is “irrational”. And people like to attack the materialistic world view (the rational one) to justify their own inrationality. In other words, to justify belief in the things they want to believe.

  9. Outstanding! Can’t agree more.


    And no aliens and parallel worlds inhabitants either.

  10. It’s valuable to recognize that this image (quite like the original work) says more about you than it does about God.

  11. Michael Gusek: “Copy the image of Adam and put him where God was so that he has to stare at himself. That would give another powerful message.”

    Ironically perhaps, here are some thoughts from a theist that would have agreed with you:

    “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret . . . Here, then, is eternal life: to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves . . . the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you . . . are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.” (Joseph Smith)

  12. Funny and inventive, but incomplete from the “Reality” point of view. Is this Adam empty inside? Does he hear anything? Can he think? Those might be the areas where the erased character can dwell.
    By the way, many theists would admit that God can not be seen anyway.

  13. In the picture, not being seen is a metaphor for not being detectable. If something is not detectable, even in principle, then there’s no reason to believe that it exists or that it is real. The argument by theists that God cannot be seen is one of their weakest.

  14. Not all theists argue that God cannot be seen.

  15. For the majority of people, the absence of God is just an impossibility. Or even more – a scaring possibility.

  16. And those that argue that God can be seen could label anything they like as “God”, some even say it’s everything around us, which is ridiculous. So whether they argue that God can or cannot be seen, it’s rather convenient. Theists try to use either argument to show God exists.

    Of course it’s not surprising that theists try these discredited arguments when even non-theists, such as some posting here, are so eager to defend their irrational views.

  17. Always interesting to see when people can build on common beliefs (technological advancement, etc) but still kick each other in the eye with images such as these. Well, at least we don’t riot and kill 15,000 of ourselves in the process. Well… some of us don’t…

  18. Lincoln: I have found great wisdom hidden in many religious texts and I have read many. However, I feel that this “argument” of science v. religion is as old and tired as some of the interpretations of the old texts. (Key word: interpretation.) Using quotations of so called scriptures which supposedly came from a supernatural being to me is a pharse and an incorrect use of them in the first place. I have time and time again resisted religious dogma due to the simple fact that I refuse to have a being as flawed as I am tell me his or her interpretation of truth. Many have suffered and died because of such weakness.

    I will also not let science tell me what is truth, because I also believe that the scientific method is flawed as the beings who created it as well. In other words, the measurement of reductionist science tends to ignore the whole, which to me is a fatal flaw. Measurement and logic are tools and you cannot create emergent properties with a hammer, no matter how many hammers you throw at it. Granted the scientific method has brought us VERY far, but so did religion. What happens when you reach the upper limit of measurement? Is there nothing else?

    We need a revolution of thought.

    So my message is not only to you, Lincoln, but to all who choose to see difference over similarity: Get over yourself! Who the hell do you think you are to claim you are correct? I would rather be flexibly wrong and learn something than claim rigid correctness and be just like the brittle A.I. we are so convinced will arise from logical systems.

    Rant off.

    Oh, and btw: Nothing personal to anyone! I just ate too much beef last night.

  19. There are many fields of science which deal with emergent properties, such as solid state physics, and with complexity and chaos, such as turbulent systems. Just because they are not reductionist does not mean they are not part of science. I suggest you learn about science before you attack it.

    Your other error is to personify science. Science is not a person is a white coat, a person with flaws. It is a method, and the only real way of understanding anything. If we make mistakes the error is not in the method, the error is ours. The scientific method is very simple:

    Rational: Make observations, draw conclusions (science)
    Irrational: Draw conclusions, seek observations which back it up (religion, superstition)

    Science is an overused word which people, unfortunately, have grown to disrespect. The “science is limited” argument is the one that is tiresome, not the science vs religion one. History is against those who attack the limitations of science, since eventually the scientific method tends to explain even the most baffling things. I’m afraid Michael that all I see in your post is anti-intellectualism.

  20. W.G., Thanks for judging me and proving my point.

  21. Michael, that has brightened up my day no end! Thanks ;-0

    I will be printing that one off as a poster as soon as I have some time.

  22. Michael G, all you showed is that you don’t understand science. You proved my point, not the other way around. You also showed that you can add nothing further to the discussion, by concluding with a post devoid of content.

  23. And the wonderful thing about it, W.G., is that it has set me free.

  24. “What” has set you free? And set you free from “what” exactly? Like religious people, you talk in riddles. The technical expression for this is “horses*t”.

    If you want freedom from dogma, then you need to adopt a philosophy which is dynamic and willing to change. Only science meets this criterion, because it is based on observation. There’s no greater freedom. Because of this, scientific knowledge is constantly changing.

    Unfortunately you’re a slave to your own ideas, ideas with no real origin, and just like religious fundamentalists, you think you are free when you are not. There’s no greater slavery than to not even realise it.

  25. I can’t answer your questions, WG, but I can sense your seething anger through the interwebs. Would it make you more angry to know that I find your reaction to me a curiousity and I am confused by it?

  26. Hmm, seething anger, well you should see my face, it paints a rather different picture. Yet another difficulty of the “interweb” is that people mistake pointed language and quotation marks for anger.

    To be honest, I’m not surprised you can’y answer my questions and I’m not surprised you’re confused by what I’m saying. If what I was saying has made sense to you, you would never have opposed it. In the mean time I strongly suggest you go and learn how science really operates. You can’t learn that from your a few friends over a beer or two. You learn it through study and practise, something I’ve been doing for a long time now.

  27. That I will, W.G.

    Please have a good day.

  28. “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
     Saul Bellow, “To Jerusalem and Back: A personal account.”

    There’s a great deal of truth in that statement, whether you are a scientist, a scholar, an ideologue or a follower of religious dogma.

    I have found that most people fear the truth, no matter their ‘faith.’ Whether scientist, or fundamentalist or social or political ideologue, and contrary to their personal and individual claims and caveats, most people simply can’t handle the truth.

    Scientists know what is best for everyone, yet fundamentalists also know best. Funny thing is, scholars and ideologues also know what is best for the rest world. Curiously, no one will admit to fallability. When they do, such statements are always full of caveats and exceptions.

    While claiming that others are perfectly free to make their own decisions, they all attempt to force their world-views upon others. Each claims to promote reason while stating that all others are irrational. None of them are able to admit that anyone else has a legitimate point.

    Funny thing… each of their arguments are the same. The only thing that changes is the specialized terminology.

    The facts are troublesome critters. No matter what you say about them, they remain what they were to begin with. While each of us is entitled to our own opinions, none of us are entitled to our own facts.

    When you examine the facts alone, sans ideology or scientific or religious dogma, they tell quite a different story than we were ever led to believe by the authority figures in our lives.

    …but you don’t want to hear any of that…because it’s true.

  29. Warren, from one Warren to another, you’re wrong including science in your list of dogma. Science doesn’t claim to know what’s best, and it is not infallible, and neither does it claim to be.

    However, it is the best way to get at the truth about reality, due to its method of operation. By sticking to observations (“the facts”), we avoid dogma, we avoid hubris, we avoid speculation. As I pointed out earlier (but you did not read), science will change its view given new evidence. The others do not claim special rationality, since they cherish irrationality, and they worship limitation and lack of knowledge.

    Interestingly, it is not possible to change someone’s mind with rational arguments. Even with science, the most rational method of all, we have to come to conclusions ourselves. Think carefully before you lump the scientific method in with the others. Do not mistake passion which can change for dogma or fundamentalism, which cannot.

  30. Ever hear about epic-cycles? …or about the more than two hundred scientific and mathematical ‘constants’ that now number less than a handful? The few that are left have already been proven to be rather inconstant, but science, rather dogmatically, hasn’t given up on them.

    From archeaology to cosmology to evolution to physics there are presently any number of scientific “epi-cycles” in our present scientific paradigm. Dark matter? Come on…

    Many scientists, including the UN’s IPCC presently claim that anthropocentric global warming is a known fact and cannot be ‘dis-proven.” At the same time, their calculations completely ignore that big yellow thing hanging in the sky. …I’ve also heard them say that anthropocentric global warming is going to cause the next ice age…which should begin any day, now. …and I also remember the seventies, when science said that we were all going to be under two miles of ice by the year 2000.

    I also remember when scientists said we’d never reach the moon…just a few days before Armstrong and company landed there.

    I remember schoolbooks that depicted dinosaurs running about on their bellies. (There was some dispute over that at the time.)

    I remember when science said that anything resembling ‘personal communicators’ was impossible. Now, everyone has one.

    Those are just a few examples. Science is not infallible nor does it lack dogma.

  31. Actually, the IPCC report was political, and the few real scientists who were on the list disagreed with the report. In your desire to attack science (a very popular desire), you generated a straw man.

    As for scientists who make mistakes (e.g. wrong predictions), as I said earlier but you did not read, the error lies with the person, and this says nothing about the scientific method, which is simple to follow as long as the practitioner is willing. I’m a science enthusiast, but I still cringe when I hear predictions of impossibility.

    Scientists can be dogmatic – they are only people after all, but the enterprise of science itself is flexible, and willing to change, BY DEFINITION. Stop setting up straw men just so that you can satisfy your own anti-intellectual yearnings.

  32. Lockhart:

    There are numerous things that are either objectionable or debatable in your posts so far. But this is simply and plainly wrong – and I had to draw attention to it:

    “[Science] is a method, and the only real way of understanding anything. If we make mistakes the error is not in the method”.

    The scientific method has been known to be completely flawed for a long time. There is nothing that tells us it is right, other then the fact that it seemed to have worked ok so far. But there is absolutely no justification or proof or demonstration that shows the scientific method to be proper for its goals. And the reason for this is quite simple. And I refer you to:


  34. Completely flawed! Don’t exaggerate then…

    All scientists know that induction is a problem, but the BIG difference between science and other so called “methods” is that science follows a long path of deduction before it hits this wall. Science is the best method because it works. This is hardly a criticism against it. So you say I’m “simply and plainly wrong”. Think again.

    And science has not only worked for centuries, it continues to work, at an accelerating rate. If you were to believe our friend warren g, you would think that the scientific method had somehow ran out of steam.

    I must say I’m surprised at the sheer scale of anti-intellectualism being displayed by numerous posters, each of which expects that there is no reponse to such nonesense. Do you seek out technology blogs specifically? Just a thought. Suffice it to say, if it were not for the “completely flawed” scientific method, you guys would not even be able to type your anti intellectualism into your computing device.

  35. WG, If we were on the playground, I would share my PB&J with you if you forgot your lunch or someone stole your lunch money.

  36. Actually, I didn’t use straw men. I used real world, historical and independently verifiable examples, there, folks. ;O)

    Being something of an iconoclast in my late middle-age, I can do the same thing with religion. The pic that Michael posted is appropriate. Most deistic theologies are actually ‘worshipping’ an ancient royal leader of some sort or another. Until enough facts got in the way, I was stuck in that frame of reference for quite some time, myself.

    But science has it’s own problems, which they defend with no less arrogance or assurance than religious fundamentalists.

    In way too many examples we hear or read a scientist proclaim, “None of our theories predicted this! We were completely surprised by the results!” …but the theories don’t change. The new facts are forced to fit the old theories, the scientific method be damned.

    Kinda like neo-Darwinism, really. Ya wanna talk about “epi-cycles.” ;O) From a truly objective pov, the only things the theory accurately predicts are changes within species.

    Divide yourselves from one another over a childish need to ‘belong’ to a ‘special’ identity group…and then turn right around and wonder why the world’s in the mess it is? Oh, if only the rest of the world did things your way! What a wonderful world it would be…

    The latter paragraph is your strawman. ;O)

  37. Lockhart,

    I hope you don’t misunderstand me. I would certainly consider myself a transhumanist. I thoroughly accept the scientific method, but I also understand the limitations. Which is why I don’t assume to know what is and is not. At least not based only on what we have found so far.

    I would like to give you an example of a shared belief humans tend to have (perhaps even yourself), that has yet to be substantiated by any scientific data.

    People tend to believe that humans have this thing called consciousness. Where it is, what it is, or even what it means for it to exist is hotly debated (by philosophers). Scientists have not yet been able to detect it.

    Yet people tend to believe others’ personal accounts, and accept that consciousness is a pervasive human condition. With religion, however, people tend to refuse to accept other peoples’ personal accounts and instead ask for hard data to back it up.

  38. I’m glad you clarified the many examples of straw men. I actually agree with you. But now listen to what I’m saying, for once.

    I never claimed (NOT ONCE) that science was infallible. I never defended it with arrogance. In fact, I spend the whole time trying to get across the point that it is incomplete, dynamic, and contantly changing. This should, in principle if not in practice, cause a practitioner of science to be humble and cautious.

    However, I also declared the scientfic method to be the very best way of understanding the universe, and I make no apologies for that. Unless, of course, one of you smart-alecs can suggest a better method for getting at truth. When robert raised the induction problem, he seemed to be highlighting this limitation of science in order to suggest something else, but he never actually mentioned the alternative.

    Maybe we could all hold hand, hum a tune, and hope that the information of what dark matter is gets beamed into our heads automatically. This is actually a rough description of spiritualism. Religion is even worse, since it fits the description except in one regard: they don’t ask the question. This is not a straw man since no religion claims to be a means of investigating gamma ray bursts, for example, or any other phenomena.

  39. Just caught your response robert, and I agree with most of it. As for consciousness, I’ll repeat that not yet understanding something is no reason to dismiss the scientific method. At the beginning of this century, we didnt even know that there were galaxies out there.

  40. It isn’t a matter of dismissing the scientific method…just a matter of understanding that men, with all of their assumptions, biases and preconceptions – and lots and lots of money – are involved.

    If actually adhered to, it isn’t a bad way of getting there from here. The problem is, quite often, it’s most vocal proponents do not adhere to it.

    As for other things…

    Folks can now decide which was and wasn’t a straw man…and who was using it.

  41. I tend to agree mainly, but note that your minor concession (“it is isn’t a bad way of getting from here to there”) is kinda disappointing considering that the fruits of the scientific and industrial revolution are responsible for all the comforts and opportunities we have now, even the time to type on our computers. This is somewhat ironic.

    Why say, after many posts, that the method is a separate issue form the people who claim to practise it, and therefore should not be penalised? What was the purpose of your original post? You used the fallibility of scientists as an excuse to attack the scientific method, despite the later admission that there is a difference. I think that when readers decide who was setting up straw men, you will not score favourably.

  42. Think what you will, W.G. You’re perfectly free to do so.

    I’m perfectly free to disagree, of course. ;O)

  43. Actually, in the end you more or less agreed with me. You don’t even know what you’re saying, you don’t even think straight. In contrast, I do not think “what I will” as you put it. If I thought what I “will”, I’d believe in a bearded God complete with Jesus sandals, and I’d be dissatisified with the limits of our best method – the scientific method.

    No, I think according to what the “facts” are – what can be observed – and I avoid speculation. This idea that we can think what we “will” is the cause of the utter nonesense that has been posted so far. Think what you will is your motto. Don’t worry if it is unverifiable – we can always assault the scientific method, and if that fails, which it did, we can then attack the flaws of scientists themselves. I find your mode of thinking bizarre, and haphazard.

  44. Get yer ox gored, did ya? :O)

  45. Michael Gusek, I don’t understand what your disagreement with my post is. Please clarify.

  46. Lincoln, I did not disagree with your post.

  47. As a researcher of esoterica

    Please don’t be offended, just grant me a little lol. Just a small one.

    Not all theists argue that God cannot be seen.

    Most of them argue that he can be seen in the design of the natural world.

    Always interesting to see when people can build on common beliefs (technological advancement, etc) but still kick each other in the eye with images such as these. Well, at least we don’t riot and kill 15,000 of ourselves in the process. Well… some of us don’t…

    William, you’re too easily offended. Seriously, so many theists sport the bulging forehead vein when I even dare to call myself an atheist. How come it doesn’t work the other way around? Maybe because atheists are so used to seeing religion that it doesn’t bother us so much anymore?

    Here’s an idea: contain your forehead vein, let me say I’m an atheist a million times and tolerate it. I’m an atheist atheist atheist atheist. Jesus Christ. No need for an argument or anything. Just let me say it.

  48. It is 2008. 48 responses. Come on…this can’t be real. Are there no other topics worth to spend your energy on?

  49. Unfortunately, Javan, we still live in an age where supertition and irrationality rule supreme. In the UK, books on spiritualism and the paranormal vastly outsell science books. In China, significant proportions of the population try to lay blame for the earthquake on superstitions.

    I really wish that, in 2008, we lived in a nice rational, modern age. Unfortunately, in 2008 it is very popular to attack science. People feel a little left out if they know nothing of shakespeare, but if they know nothing of science, they wear it like a medal, and show off to their friends.

    Despite longer lives and more comforts than ever before in human history, people desperately attack the limitations of the scientific method as a means of somehow validating their own ideas. Unlike scientists, they prefer unanswered questions to remain unanswered. This is big problem, one that needs to be vigorously debated until it disappears.

  50. They could have left God in and put a paintbrush in Adam’s hand! Wouldn’t be as quaint, though, admittedly.

    Good post, Michael. Thought-provoking but controversial. I doubt that’ll ever change. The idea of God will never go away, even if it does fall outside Karl Popper’s scientific criteria. After all, maybe God does exist. If so, the big guy obviously likes to keep himself to himself and maybe that’s a good thing. Who knows how a supremely intelligent being would act? Perhaps SAI can shed some light on that particular puzzler! Nick Bostrom’s simulated universe idea introduces some interesting possibilities, too.

    Lastly, Buddha said that the existence or non-existence of God(s) was irrelevant to our lives and that we have to find our own way. As an atheist, I think he was probably being diplomatic, so it’s kinda ironic that, after he died, his followers gradually turned him into a godlike figure of worship. Tibetan Buddhism has been likened to Catholicism. That’s what you get for trying to set people free! Funny how we humans think, isn’t it?

  51. Michael: “Most of them argue that he can be seen in the design of the natural world.”

    Some argue that God emerged within the natural world, and set about organizing it into greater congruence with his desires — like us.

  52. Yes, but that’s quite the minority view.

    Basically, whenever I post anything referencing (mainstream) Xtianity, just consider it as not being about your faith, because it’s so different that many of the criticisms don’t even apply.

  53. Uhmkay?

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