Holy Singularity!

While reading ‘The History of God’ by Karen Armstrong, I discovered that the word ‘holy’ has two different meanings. It struck me that both definitions of ‘holy’ equate to two different conceptions of the Singularity.

SINGULARITY = MORAL EXCELLENCE

Let’s start with the definition that is most commonly used today. What we mean by ‘holy’ is ‘a state of moral excellence’. Singularity Utopia clearly expects the Singularity to be holy in that sense of the word. She is, after all, an enthusiastic supporter of the notion that the Singularity will represent a perfect future in which “nobody will be sick; nobody will suffer pain and unhappiness. Everything will be free”. In other words: Utopia.

Of course, I am not the first person to see some connection between religiosity and singularitarianism. Back in the 90s, somebody wrote a satirical piece for an issue of ‘Extropy’ in which a term that has since been used to pour scorn on the Singularity was coined: ‘The rapture of the nerds’. In his book ‘The Spike’, Damien Broderick described “devotional art (showing) whole families rising into heaven…into the arms of a smiling and radiant Californian Jesus”, before going on to point out that, yes, technology may someday realise many religious visions but no “it won’t be the rapture- nobody expects Jesus Christ to be there”. In ‘You Are Not A Gadget’, Jaron Lanier also makes a reference to Californian devotional art but makes no attempt to differentiate between American evangelicalism and singularitarianism. In his mind, both believers are equally nutty.

Regardless of whether you have complete faith in the Singularity, dismiss it outright like Lanier or believe in it partially like Broderick seems to do, there is something about this concept of a holy singularity that is contrary to the original definition of ‘technological singularity’. No matter how unlikely you may deem this coming utopia to be, it is not unimaginable. In fact, people have imagined this kind of future for many hundreds of years. Aristotle figured that “there is only one condition in which we can imagine managers not needing subordinates and masters not needing slaves. This would be if every machine could work by itself, at the word of command or by intelligent anticipation”. Singularity Utopia’s 2045 represents one of humankind’s oldest dreams: a life free of toil and full of fun and frolics.

SINGULARITY = OTHERNESS

The word ‘Holy’ has taken on a meaning that differs from its original definition. In ‘Isaiah 6,3’, the prophet describes a vision in which six seraphs cry “Holy, holy, holy is the lord of hosts”. Armstrong pointed out that this “was nothing to do with morality as such but means ‘otherness’, a radical separation… the seraphs were crying, ‘Yaweh is other! Other! Other!’”.

For many people, God is conceived of as being a kind of celestial Big Brother- a projection of our needs, fears and desires. But many others have stressed the ineffable quality of the Divine. The ‘Otherness’ of the Divine finds its most extreme form in the Hindu concept of Brahman, which is by no means a personal God but more of an ultimate reality beyond concepts and reason. Thinking along similar lines, Philo of Alexandria insisted that the highest truth we can apprehend about God is that it symbolises that which utterly transcends the human mind. Theologians who grasp that point say that God should be described as ‘Nothing’, because it does not exist in any sense that can be understood by human minds.

When Vernor Vinge thought about the Singularity, he was considering it to be ‘holy’ but in the sense of ‘otherness’ rather than moral excellence:

“It’s a problem we face every time we consider the creation of intelligences greater than our own. When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of Singularity… and the world will pass beyond our understanding”.

In his ‘Tract On Ecstacy’, Rabbi Dou Baer insisted that contemplation of God must begin with a heart-breaking perception of inadequacy. One finds self-confessed inadequacy in Elizer Yudkowsky’s ‘Staring Into The Singularity’:

“I am a Singularitarianism because I have some small appreciation of how utterly, finally, absolutely impossible it is to think like someone even a little bit smarter than you are… I know, in a dim way, just how dumb I am”.

Throughout his paper, via analogies to numbers too large to imagine and damage to the visual cortex resulting in an inability to see, remember, or even imagine colour, Yudkowsky stresses this fact about the Singularity: “The powers are beyond our ability to comprehend”.

THE NEED TO PERSONALISE THE INEFFABLE

As she is not a Power (Vinge’s term for superhuman intelligence) we can be sure that Singularity Utopia has failed to describe life after the Singularity. But her vision is arguably consistent with a need that arises whenever humans contemplate Otherness. In Hinduism and Buddhism there is the practice of Bhakti which means ‘personal devotion’. Now, personal devotion to Brahman is inappropriate because it is not something that can be thanked for creating the universe and nor is it something that can be said to ‘care’ if you are naughty or nice. So, we invented the mythology of the avatar and focused our devotion on incarnations of Brahman closer to personal gods than the Grounded Reality itself.

Ditto with Buddhism. Anyone who believes Siddharta Guatama achieved nirvana and understood what that means aught to appreciate how inappropriate it would be to idolise him. And yet there are more idols in the image of Buddha than just about any other person or god.

Noting this tendency to personalise the ineffable, Karen Armstrong suggested, “it may be that without this degree of identification and empathy, religion cannot take root”. In other words, we have a need to turn the ineffable into a projection of our hopes and dreams. Perhaps, then, it was inevitable that Vinge’s ‘transcendent/ ineffable singularity’ would develop into Singularity Utopia’s ‘Messianic/ idolatrous singularity’. It arguably makes for a much more powerful meme in the short to mid-term, because provided you can accept that certain technologies are headed where SU claims, you have to conclude that 2045 will be paradise on Earth. And who wouldn’t want that? On the other hand, it is harder to see why anyone toiling with the hardships of life should care that one day super intelligences will be thinking lofty thoughts beyond the ken of humankind.

On the other hand, I would argue that we will come to need to believe in a Vingean ineffable/ transcendent Singularity once SciTech has made immortality a reality. SU’s utopia has the same promise and problems as any other vision of heaven as a garden of earthly delights: It sounds like a great place to be for a while, but eventually its appeal would wane. Realising that earthly pleasures are not unlimited in their appeal, many theologians have concluded that heaven is utopia, but in the sense of it being a progress toward no-place, no-where and no-one. In other words, as one becomes closer to God, there must necessarily be a transcendence of the personal category towards the impersonal reality similar to Brahman-Atman or Nirvana. Not ‘nothing’ in the sense of no longer existing, but in the sense of progression to a state of being beyond anything that can be currently understood.

TRANSHUMANISM IS A RELIGION

The messianic/idolatrous singularity with its promise of all your most pleasant dreams come true should be seen as an interim period rather than an ultimate destination. The Marxist philosopher, Ernst Bloch, saw the whole of human life as directed toward the future, a kind of perpetually incomplete project seeking to transcend the current stage. Armstrong said, “the very nature of humanity demands that we transcend ourselves and our current perceptions and this principle indicates the presence of what has been called the divine in the very nature of human inquiry”.

If that is the nature of humanity, then those who deride transhumanism as religious and those who deny on there being any connection between the two are making the same basic mistake. We should not confuse particular aspects of particular religions- ancient beliefs that no longer make sense in light of modern science and philosophy- for religiousness itself, which has always evolved in order to remain relevant to contemporary people. Like God, the transcendent/ineffable Singularity is a symbol of our perpetual desire to progress toward a state of holiness.

Extropia DaSilva is a digital person, currently residing in Second Life. Her purpose is to explore how NBIC technologies are redefining concepts of self. She chairs the Thinkers discussion group.

60 Responses

  1. Or are you saying if I refer to the Singularity as “Super-Advanced AI” then you will cease to say it is a religion/religious/holy? Or do you only think the consequences of super-AI are holy/religion/religious?

    I think the beliefs/ expectations that some people have built up around super-ai are synonymous with religious beliefs.

  2. >The Bible is Holy, it is religious, it is a fundamental part of a religion, it is not just a book.<

    OK but if there were no Christianity the Bible would be just a book. Of course, if there had NEVER been Christianity the Bible would never have been written so you are right in saying it is a fundamental part of a religion. But if Christianity were to go extinct (as religions sometimes do) copies of the Bible might still exist and be of historical importance but without the christian beliefs the Bible is just a book.

    When you say Transhumanism is a religion you are basically saying advanced technology is a religion because Transhumanism is advanced technology.

    No. Transhumanism is a set of beliefs based around certain technologies, particularly NBIC. Mummification and pyramids are not religions, they are technologies. The BELIEFS built around those technologies were a religion.

  3. I can recall saying transhumanism is a religion but I cannot recall saying AI (superhuman or otherwise) was a religion. I would be surprised if I did say AI was a religion because that would be as silly as saying, say, The Bible is a religion. It is not, it is just a book. However, obviously there is a religion based around the Bible and, arguably, there is a religion based around AI (singularitarianism) I hope you can see the difference between basing a religion around something and saying that something is a religion.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      The Bible is not just a book similar to how Christ was not just a man. The Bible is the word of God (not that I believe it is, mind you), or at least it is supposed to be the word of God. The Bible is Holy, it is religious, it is a fundamental part of a religion, it is not just a book. Or perhaps you could say nothing is a religion because it is all merely chemicals in your brain, or pixels on your screen. It is all just atoms if you want to get to the root of things. So religion, if we follow your “reasoning” is a just atoms.

      The Singularity is AI.

      When you say Transhumanism is a religion you are basically saying advanced technology is a religion because Transhumanism is advanced technology.

      What is the Singularity? It is an intelligence explosion, but what is that? It is extreme AI, it is highly advanced AI.

      Or are you saying if I refer to the Singularity as “Super-Advanced AI” then you will cease to say it is a religion/religious/holy? Or do you only think the consequences of super-AI are holy/religion/religious?

  4. Singularity Utopia says:

    Finally regarding the Oxford English Dictionary definition of religion, used by Google, which you referenced Extropia. I have contacted the Oxford English Dictionary team asking them if it’s their intention that advanced superhuman AI beyond human intelligence should be deemed a religion. I explained how their definition could be misinterpreted. The information I sent them has been passed on to the editorial team for their consideration. I explained how some people had cited their definition to state or suggest superhuman AI (the Singularity) is a religion, therefore I asked if that was their intention. I asked them to clarify if advanced-AI is a religion. Perhaps in the not too distant future the Oxford English definition will be clarified regarding artificial intelligence and religion.

  5. I changed my mind:)

    >On balance science has done far more good than religionReligion is anti-progress. Religion attempts to to keep human thought in narrow channels of submissive thinking. All religion is an ideology for slaves and sheep.<

    Calling 'Religion' anti-progress is to make the basic error of equating fundamentalism with Religion. Fundamentalism is not a requisite of religion, merely a position held by some members.

    "Fundamentalism is anti-historical: it believes that Abraham, Moses and later prophets all experienced God in exactly the same way as people today. Yet… there is no objective view of God: each generation has to create an image of God that works for them. The same is true for atheism. The statement 'I do not believe in God' has always meant something slightly different at each period of history"- Rachel Armstrong.

    Armstrong also cites examples of practices in Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam that are clearly intended to expand one's mind and free it from certain constraints and preconceptions. There is evidence to show zen meditation and yoga offer genuine mental and physiological benefits and for all I know these other practices (of which I know next to nothing) may do as well.

  6. perhaps not everyone shares your values of beauty Extropia?

    I neither expect nor desire this.

    The rest of your comments are emotive generalizations that are not worth my time.

  7. Cheek! I am not human.

    And I am not denying that many a dreadful thing has been done in the name of religion but it has also been the inspiration behind some of our must beautiful, awe-inspiring creations. Handel’s ‘Messiah’, Spinoza’s ‘ethics’, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting, the pyramids, Notra Dame, St Paul’s…

    It would be equally short-sighted to claim science has done nothing but good and that no harm (intentional or unintentional) ever came from science. You demonstrate a level of confirmation bias that is completely at odds with your claims of superior intelligence.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      On balance science has done far more good than religion.

      To make an omelette you need to break a few eggs but religion doesn’t even want to make the omelette, furthermore while not making the omelette religious acolytes wastefully smash all the eggs on the floor.

      Religion is anti-progress. Religion attempts to to keep human thought in narrow channels of submissive thinking. All religion is an ideology for slaves and sheep.

      • Singularity Utopia says:

        BTW regarding art, Hitler was an artist before he became a fascist dictator so art (great or otherwise) does not bestow greatness to the ideology of the artist. Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is twee pap, not what I would call great art, and regarding your other examples of “art” I personally can say it would be no loss whatsoever to the world if such artworks were never created.

        Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting is a middle-class masturbatory-status-fantasy for bourgeois zombies, it has F-all to do with art.

        Regarding St Paul’s is was interesting to note how #occupy protesters recently walked shit into the nave. http://www.metro.co.uk/news/880887-st-pauls-demo-becomes-dirty-protest-as-human-waste-is-found-by-cleaners – ‘This is desecration of a very holy place. It hurts me and it hurts the staff,’ said one cleric.

        So perhaps not everyone shares your values of beauty Extropia?

        Most of priests and staff at St Pauls had no sympathy for the protesters, which is the typical callousness and stupidity exhibited religious institutions.

  8. achieve longevity with SENS and we can achieve extreme longevity with uploading (the latter might enable us to ‘wear’ bodies that can survive in a wider range of environments than meat bodies- handy for the ‘degenerate era’ when the stars’ are burned out and there are no habitable biospheres). But to live FOREVER (as opposed to just ‘a very long time’) the universe needs to be able to allow information processing for ever.

    Work of any kind (information processing included) requires an energy difference. The ultimate driving force of all activity in the universe is the temperature difference between different regions. In a continually expanding universe, the energy left over from the stelliferous era (the era in which stars are active) becomes increasingly diluted. Life of a kind can survive indefinitely in such a universe, but to do so it must process information at increasingly slower rates and enter periods of suspended animation when there is insufficient energy difference for any work no matter how meagre. This is perpetual existence on the very borderline between life and death.

    In a universe where the expansion is accelerating, immortality is impossible. This is because a deSitter horizon eventually forms once the expansion becomes superluminal and the temperature within the horizon (in other words, our universe) eventually reaches a totally uniform 10^-29k. No life of any kind can survive in such a universe.

    The only kind of universe that can not only enable life to persist forever AND advance towards ever-higher states (from humans to artilects to ??) is one that collapses to the omega point. And the omega point can be identified with god.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      I tell you what, you can have this universe and your silly God theories and I will go and create my own universe. Seriously, I can’t wait to get as far away from humans as possible. I seriously doubt humans can ever improve their intelligence; even in an universe of infinite intelligence I am sure humans will find a way to persist in being stupid. I bet 10 billion years from now humans will be watching the immortal Kardashians whilst worshipping God and angels.

  9. >immortality is easier to achieve than limitless intelligence; we could and probably will achieve immortality before the SingularityYou can change the definition of God to mean “extreme technology” or “extreme science” but that new definition of God is not the original definition of God. The important question people need to consider is why do you feel the need to define science and technology as God?<

    What was the 'original definition'? Hinduism claims to be the oldest religion and the Grounded Being or godhead or Brahman is utterly unlike the personal God of Western religions. And who knows what concept of the ineffable earlier religions had? In any case, words can and do change meaning. 'Computer' once referred to a person (usually a woman) performing calculations for astronomers. When calculating machines that could outperform any human were invented, they replaced 'computers' and eventually became known as 'computers'. Historians of religion have shown that what we mean by 'God' has changed throughout history. It will continue to do so.

    As to the why, Religion has provided us with millenia-worth of symbolic representations of issues deeply relevant to any intelligent being. Rather than dismiss 'religion' outright and insist on its utter destruction (an act of cultural vandalism as despicable as the Taliban destroying priceless statues of Buddha for no reason other than not being part of their worldview) we can update the symbolism. And we do. Pinker called the historical advance towards more peaceful societies a progress toward 'the better angels of our nature'. Joel Garreau called his chapter on the promising possibilties of genetic, nano and robotics tech 'heaven'. You can say 'those are not REALLY angels and that is not REALLY heaven and the omega point is not REALLY god' but such symbolic language is a rich cultural seam that can be used to simplify the job of conceiving the moral and intellectual excellence of the posthuman beings we want to become, and the sublime state of the universe we need to engineer in order to ensure life not only survives indefinitely but progresses toward's ever-higher states of excellence.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      LOL: “As to the why, Religion has provided us with millenia-worth of symbolic representations of issues deeply relevant to any intelligent being.”

      Religions provided us with bigotry, anti-science, many years of bloody wars and persecutions, burning people at the stake, killing “witches”, house arrest for scientists, and homophobia which continues today in many religions.

  10. Oops. Of course that bit about the turing principle should have said ‘we have no rival theory proving there IS an upper bound…’

  11. On your blog you state: “I focus on the beginning of the intelligence explosion, the point where we can clearly see, if we look at the evidence, how medicine will create immortality, how technology will create Post-Scarcity, the point where we can see how intelligence will become limitless”.

    In order to achieve immortality and limitless intelligence the universe has to be a kind that can perform infinite computations. In other words, ours must be an omega point universe or else immortality and limitless intelligence are impossible. To be more precise, either the universe WILL BE an omega point universe OR immortality is impossible.

    The omega point exists at all points in space; it is omnipresent. It performs infinite computations and is therefore the totality of knowledge; it is omniscient. It has infinite power; it is omnipotent. We can therefore identify the omega point with God.

    The Omega Point is not a supernatural God but that does not necessarily disqualify it from being described as God. As Rachel Armstrong pointed out, “the idea of God formed in one generation by one set of human beings could be meaningless to another. Indeed, the statement ‘I believe in God’ has no objective meaning, as such, but like any other statement it only means something in context, when proclaimed by a particular community. Consequently there is not one unchanging idea contained in the word ‘God’ but the word contains a whole spectrum of meanings… when one conception of God has ceased to have meaning or relevance, it has been quietly discarded and replaced with a new theology”.

    Of course you are free to say ‘I declare Omega Point to be impossible!’ but you cannot then hold the position that immortality and unlimited intelligence are achievable, since it is only in an omega point universe that both are possible. And, BTW, the Turing principle implies there is no upper bound on the number of computational steps that are physically possible, and the omega point universe is the only kind in which infinite computations are possible. We have no rival theory of computation proving there is NO upper bound on the possible number of computational steps and so long as that continues to be the case we should assume our universe is an omega point universe, since it is the only kind that satisfies the Turing Principle.

    But I digress. The point is it is possible to believe in a God without making any appeals to supernatural, relying entirely on solid results of modern physical science and appealing only to reason. This is the God you believe in. Remember, asserting this kind of God cannot exist is tantamount to saying immortality and unlimited intelligence is impossible.

    Now, you say “if something is based upon RIGOROUS intellect, solid thinking, rational theories, rationality, logic, if the ethos scientific explanation of reality then you can say the thing is NOT religious”. But I just asked that Oracle of our time (Google) to define ‘religion’ and got: ‘the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp a personal god or gods’; ‘a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies’; ‘belief in and reverance for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and govenor of the universe’ and ‘religion is difficult to define. Everyone has a different idea of what it is’.

    So by your own PERSONAL definition of religious, transhumanism does not qualify. And yet your anticipations of immortality and unlimited intelligence are dependent upon an eschatology that must adhere to at least one of the definitions of ‘religion’ provided by Google.

    “The more one reflect on such things” wrote Hugo de Garis (he is referring to artilects) “the greater the sense of awe one feels. I see this as a kind of ‘religious’ feeling, similar to the religious longings of earlier centuries before the rise of modern science… cosmism to me is a kind of religion, one compatible with scientific knowledge”.

    I find people like de Garis, Tipler and Giulio Prisco to be far less hypocritical in their willingness to accept the religious aspects of their worldview, when compared to someone whose writings scream ‘religious’ but when confronted with this fact flat out deny any religiousity.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Extropia you wrote in comment: “In order to achieve immortality and limitless intelligence the universe has to be a kind that can perform infinite computations.”

      Firstly immortality is easier to achieve than limitless intelligence; we could and probably will achieve immortality before the Singularity but I highlight immortality as a Singularity-marker because mortality is easy to determine thus regarding some people who think the Singularity is happening now the absence of immortality (our undeniably extant mortality) is a good indicator to state the Singularity is not already happening. The other two markers are Post-Scarcity and limitless intelligence, which are more or less the same thing.

      Regarding limitless intelligence (Post-Scarcity) I think the beginning of the explosion will create limitless intelligence (it’s a VERY rapid explosion of intelligence), which will entail the ability to utilize and instigate infinite computations. Conceptually we will be able to, similar to how we are able now, understand this concept of limitless intelligence. The difference between now and the beginning of the Singularity is that currently we cannot draw on limitless intelligence, it is only an elusive concept at this stage.

      Merely because something exists in a limitless quantity, this does not mean a person will be utilize it immediately. We will not idiotically try to reach the limits of limitlessness. Similar to how a person whose cupboards are stocked with one thousand cans of soup, the person will not try to eat, drink, or slurp all the soup in one meal; likewise if infinite cans of soup exist. Limitless resources do not mean people need to madly attempt exploration-utilization of the limits. I therefore think the explosive period (the beginning of the Singularity, when limitless intelligence is created, to the point when the limitless intelligence is utilized beyond human conceptual ability) will last for at least 30 years. After around 30 years the explosion could progress beyond human comprehension, the period of Transhumanism could end and Posthumanism ensue, people could at this point, or later, avidly attempt to utilize the limitlessness, but it will not be God.

      Again, I reiterate, merely because something (an entity) has infinite power, infinite knowledge, and utilizes that power and knowledge, this does not mean such a thing is God. Extreme intelligence based upon the evolution of science and technology is not God, it is simply extreme intelligence, yes there are similarities but similarities do not always mean sameness, which I have attempted analogously to highlight: my demonstrations of logical fallacy where I stated plumbers are clouds, the brain is rain, pepper is the common cold, cheetahs are cars, and the Singularity is Holy.

      The hypothetical “God” as we know it, the alleged creator of our universes or a religious overseer (guide) for our lives, is a concept based upon both the absence of evidence and most most importantly the evidence and absence. The evidence points towards there being no God. The evidence shows the absence of God, or if God does exists it is a very ungodly God of pitiful intellect, a retarded bumbling moronic God. If God exists then God is clearly an imbecile, which fits well with the theory that God is a fictional construct of humans therefore this is why the hypothetical God of our universe appears retarded because He or It was created by retarded humans. God is a “fiction” that will never become real.

      God is a coping method when humans do not have logical solutions to the problems of life, therefore to cope with the pain of death, humans invented heaven; plagues were God’s anger; the harvest failed because someone had sinned (perhaps a witch had offended God by her magic thus the witch was burned). God is an attempt to explain and justify things beyond a person’s control. God is ignorant legacy from our primitive history, it is a symptom of lacking intelligence, it is a symptom of deficient scientific and technological accomplishment.

      You can change the definition of God to mean “extreme technology” or “extreme science” but that new definition of God is not the original definition of God. The important question people need to consider is why do you feel the need to define science and technology as God?

      The Singularity is nothing to do with eschatology, there is no end of the world, no judgement day. Yes the Singularity is a radical transformational period unlike anything in the history of life on Earth, but it is not the “end time” it is not the “end of the world”. It is the end of a era vaguely reminiscent of the Cambrian explosion but all comparisons are inaccurate because the intelligence explosion is an utterly new phenomenon. The changing times we are approaching are a period of ultra-proficient utilization of science and technology but it is not eschatology.

      You correctly highlight how religions are about worshipping a superhuman “controlling” power. So when Google states religion is “‘the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power” we must note how there is no “worship” of the Singularity, furthermore the Singularity is not a controlling power. The Singularity is powerful and it will allow people to control things but a “controlling power” seems to imply dominion whereas the Singularity is not about domination it is about empowerment. Mere power does not mean “controlling power”. The Singularity is a useful tool NOT something to worship. Consider also the word “belief” which seems to imply there is no logical theory behind the premise, no science, whereas the Singularity is a logical theory, a rational theory, not a mere belief. You also point out how typical definitions of religion describe a belief system based upon the creator of our universe, thus the Singularity clearly does not fit with this definition because the Singularity is clearly not about the creation of our universe. If theories regarding the origins of our universe constitute a religion then perhaps astrophysics and cosmology are religions? Considering religion verses the Singularity, you have a “belief” on one hand and on the other hand you have a logical theory based on science and technology. I would be interested if you found a definition of religion which states religion is “a logical theory based in scientific and technology evidence regarding….”

      Here is my definition of religion: The arbitrary non-scientific personal belief in, and worship of, a unproven supernatural controlling force, of a metaphysical nature regarding spirituality instead of physical tangibility.

      Tipler and Giulio Prisco seem to be using the Singularity as a vehicle for their religiosity, likewise with Hugo de Garis and his paranoid Gigadeath Artilect wars. Religious people hijack and corrupt things to suit their ideology thus the Intelligent Design brigade attempted to hijack the theory of evolution for their creationist purposes. Tipler, Giulio Prisco, and Hugo de Garis are the embarrassing Intelligent Designers of futurism. There is no intellectually integrity regarding their nonsense. Cosmism is a nonsense religion. There are even people who want the act of “copying” to be a religion thus there is the new religion of Kopimism, but what’s next? Shall we have the Lord God Stem Cell, are Stem Cells holy, are they a religion, are Stem Cells a superhuman controlling power? If I believe in Stem Cells am I believing in religion, am I religious? Is my computer a religion, perhaps if I add more memory and faster processors I will then be forced to start worshipping my computer because it is superhuman, a God? Is Watson God because Watson beat humans in a quiz show? Religions are intellectual diarrhoea and it is truly sickening that people worship powers greater then themselves. Worshipping the asinine concept of God or religion is akin to rubbing your face into maggoty diarrhoea. Religiosity is a deep affront to intelligence, religion is a intellectual insult, people who worship Gods are deranged. Religion is highly offensive stupidity. God (in whatever shape of form you imagine God) is an insane, retarded moronic concept which needs be killed like the rabid dog it is.

  12. >Anyone who thinks technology, in any shape of form, is religious; they are utterly retarded<

    Buildings are not religious. But I bet you can think of some buildings that have religious significance. Churches, temples, mosques, the pyramids of Eygpt, synagogues. Technology itself is not religious but people can and have attribute religious significance to technology, such as Werner Von Braunn who- as a born again christian- argued it was man's destiny to go into space as part of their cosmic destiny to spread the gospel, Richard Seed who claimed 'cloning and the reprogramming of DNA is the first step to becoming one with God' and Terrence McKenna who reckoned 'we are now living in the age of the holy spirit and the Internet is its vessel'.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Buildings are religious, they are holy places even if I think holiness is nonsense, or if you don’t think a building can be religious, if you think it only has religious significance, then nothing is religious thus all things only have religious significance.

      Anything can have religious significance, for at least someone, but this does not mean everything is religious (or has religious significance) merely because a person may say it is so.

      “Justification” for the significance is the issue we need to consider, regarding attributing religiousness to a thing; is it justifiable to state a thing is religious? If something is based upon spirituality, if its purpose is spirituality, if it is founded upon unprovable faith, if it’s ethos is based on mere feelings without logical corroboration, no proofs, no facts, no rational theory, then you can say the thing is religious; but if something is based upon RIGOROUS intellect, solid thinking, rational theories, rationality, logic, if the ethos scientific explanation of reality then you can say the thing is NOT religious.

      The Collins dictionary defines “religious” as: “of, relating to, or concerned with religion” and dictionary.com describes: “1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with religion: a religious holiday. 2. imbued with or exhibiting religion; pious; devout; godly: a religious man.” Merriam Webster describes: “1: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity 2: of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances.”

      Yes a crucifix is just wood but it recognised as a religious artefact even for people who are not religious.

      Thanks for the headache, not.

  13. >There is nothing mystical about the Singularity, it is simply science are technology. If you are saying the Singularity is religious you are saying science is religious, but science is not religious.<

    But an argument could be made that it was the particulars of the Western religious worldview that made science possible in the first place. These particulars were that the universe was an ordered place created by a rational god. This lead to the possibility that a reductionist approach could lead to a thorough understanding of the workings of the universe.

    It was only with the development of theories such as evolution by natural selection and cosmological models where universes can be born from 'nothing'- both of which require highly sophisticated analyses of an enormous body of evidence- that we could begin to conceive of a universe without god. But for nearly all of history there would have been nothing in philosophy or politics or science that would have enabled anyone to conceive of a godless universe. God was taken as a given. The notion that science is opposed to religion is actually fairly recent. The term 'atheist' originally referred to people who believed in Pagan gods rather than the Christian god. It is only in modern times that the term atheist is used to denote someone who does not believe in any god.

    The technocalyptic worldview that is the singularity promises its faithful the creation of artilects- vastly intelligent organizations of matter and energy with all the powers once attributed to gods, including the power to transcend the frailties of the human form, the power to resurrect the dead and the power to create universes (not that everyone who is a transhumanist believes in all that, but then what religion does not have followers who disagree?). We can therefore say that atheism in its modern sense was just blip in the otherwise normal state of affairs in which science and religion are intertwined.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Monkeys made humans possible. Bacteria made humans possible. Look back in history and you will see how we arose from very primitive origins. Science may likewise have arose from religion because stupid proto-humans naturally had stupid ideas about the world.

      Science has evolved from it’s proto or pre-science origins where people thought tsunamis were caused by Poseidon due to Poseidon’s anger with humans.

      These days science is not religion or religious and humans are not apes or primordial slime.

  14. Singularity Utopia says:

    Finally I will point out the Posthuman Cheese God is doing the Cheesy thing again, this time via acceler8or. There is some extra special Cheesy magic which you can dip your mousey pointer into at the bottom of the page. Go on, dive into the Cheese God. Spread the love on all the crackers.

  15. Merely because you can say Transhumanism is religious this does not make it so.

    If it was merely me saying so that would not be much evidence in favour of the religiousity of transhumanism. But it is not just me saying it. It is many people, looking at it from all kinds of angles and noticing the same thing: That the core human belief in a transcendence through a higher power is finding its latest incarnation in the anticipation of a coming technological singularity.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Extropia I have told you before: consensual validation is not logic.

      If 1 million people believed the Moon is made of cheese this does not make it true. It does not matter how many people say something regarding logic because Logic is not a popularity contest. Something is not more logical merely because more people believe it. 2+2 does not equal five if more people believe that is the answer instead of four.

      It is illogical to think logic is determined by popular support.

      Nearly 50% or Americans believe humans were created sometime during the past 10,000 but that weight of belief does not make creationism true. If more than 50% reject evolution does this mean the theory of evolution should be abandoned?

      Can you try not to waste my time with silliness?

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Antibiotics help people transcend infections but this transcendence, which is made possible via human ingenuity, isn’t holy. Are antibiotics holy? NO! Antibiotics are not holy. The products of human ingenuity do transcend our limitations, we go beyond our range our limits. Via artificial solutions to the limits of the natural world we rise above nature. Our intelligence is a higher power, we are higher than dumb animals locked into the limitations of nature, thus we can see via x-ray, infra-red, and we use microscopes or telescopes to see beyond the limitations of our natural vision. Our brains alone are inadequate to solve problems thus we created libraries, we invented computers. Computers are a higher power, they can outperform the limitations of the natural human brain, but computers are not holy or religious. Any of these many augmentations applied to the natural human organism can be described as a power beyond the natural human state, but an artificial limb or any other device utilized to transcend limits is not religious or holy.

      Seriously. Anyone who thinks technology, in any shape of form, is religious; they are utterly retarded. What an absolute travesty of intellect to come to such idiotic conclusions regarding technology. Sadly I know very well humans generally cannot reason, rationality is alien to them, they cannot think logically, but despite my knowledge I am horrified every time when I encounter the typical human inability to think.

      Extreme technology can seem “miraculous” similar to how creationists cannot believe natural evolution is true thus they posit an Intelligent Designer. The tendency to see God or religion in EXTREME TECHNOLOGY occurs due to intellectual limitations because people cannot grasp intellectually how we can regrow hearts or kidneys via Stem Cells. Surely Stem Cell regeneration is a holy miracle by God, surely this cannot happen merely via human ingenuity, surely it is religious or magic if technology abolishes all diseases and old age? The tendency to see God, religion, or holiness in EXTREME TECHNOLOGY is a new type of Intelligent Design.

      Extropia you are no better than an Intelligent Design advocate. You should be utterly ashamed of your thinking. Anyone who has the chutzpah to equate the Singularity with religion should be truly mortified regarding their dismal intellect, but their dismal cognition prevents them for seeing the utterly substandard atrocity of their thinking thus they have no shame.

      The irony of equating an intellectual movement such as the Singularity with religion would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad.

      Religion and holiness are symptoms of intellectual limitations but thankfully we are transcending these limits but it does feel like a VERY SLOW PROCESS. Humans are so ******* SLOW!

      Religion is an anachronistic barbarism from our primitive intellectual history. The whole concept of GOD is so primitive. We should be better than this now. If anyone else maligns my thinking, tarnishes my integrity, by fallaciously trying to link the Singularity with religion I am very tempted to challenge them to a duel.

  16. I wouldn’t even use the word “morally” I would say “intellectually excellent”.

    Oh. Well that changes the argument entirely.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      It doesn’t really change anything, nothing has changed regarding my outlook. I am reasonably sure I have never described the Singularity in terms of morality; but indirectly intellectualism does denote high morals although it would be a distortion to say intellectualism is holy in the sense of religious morality. Morality is encompassed in many aspects of human ingenuity, for example many bioscience research enterprises will have an ethics committee, ethics oversight/foresight etc, but that aspect of ethics (morality, morals) regarding science does not make science holy. Doctors seek to do no harm, they act is ways which are good, moral, they want to help people, but holiness does not typically define medicine, the morality is regarding wanting to cure disease, to make the world a better place, the morality of medicine is usually a scientific, an intellectual endeavour driven by humanity, compassion. Some doctors are religious but their religion does not mean medical science is a religious endeavour. Medicine is scientific instead of being religious because logic not faith is the tool for making progress. Science is facts instead of fantasy.

  17. There is evidence that gods could be engineered, though.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      There is no VALID evidence that God could be (will be or has been) engineered. Anything is possible, for example it is possible the entire universe is made out of Cheese or it is possible that you are in a coma and the entirety of reality is a dream, but possibility does not mean something is probable. There is evidence that super-massive-intelligence could be created but super-massive intelligence is not God. It is possible aliens are abducting humans or that our reality is an experimental VR sim to study humans, which is an appealing thought for people with a certain mindset, but the possibility of alien abduction does not make it probable. THE EVIDENCE is that God does not exist (and will not exist) and aliens are not abducting people, the is the most probable possibility; this is what the evidence points towards. The existence of Gods is not a valid probability.

      The whole concept of Gods is an intellectually primitive way of thinking.

      • Singularity Utopia says:

        THIS is the most probable possibility.

        I am very weary of this discussion now. It is becoming extremely depressing, I can’t bring myself to type any more.

  18. Hannes says:

    Talking about logic:
    Bertrand Russel was a firm nonbeliever in the concept of god, he said it was ridicilous.
    On the other hand, Kurt Godel was a firm believer in the concept of god. He even believed in christianity and life after death.
    These intelligent and famous logici couldn’t agree about the existence or nonexistence about god.

    So imho the only scientifical sound and honest position in this is to be a agnostic: we don’t know we have not enough evidence at hand to resolve this question for once and all.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      A person can demonstrate logical skill but this does not mean they are always logical, thus some experts regarding logic can believe in the illogic of God.

      The evidence of God not existing is not absolutely conclusive but there is more than enough evidence to say God does not exist.

  19. The fact that anyone can generate nonsense comparisons for just about anything (cheetahs are cars because both are fast, ‘rain and brain’ sound similar and so refer to one and the same thing just like ‘venus’ and ‘the morning star’ are the same thing) does not invalidate all comparisons. ‘stars are a sort of nuclear fusion reactor’. ‘DNA is a digital code’. ‘Airplanes have wings, like birds’. Are those entirely incorrect comparisons? No, even if none (with the possible exception of DNA) are EXACTLY like the thing they are being compared with. So, again, I ask: So why should we flat-out deny the religiousness of transhumanism which is itself ‘the negotiation of what it means to be human with respect to the superhuman and subhuman”? and hope SU will not invent any more fallacious comparisons as if that proves anything.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Extropia we should flat-out “deny” the “religiousness of transhumanism” just as we should deny cars are cheetahs. It is nonsensical and ridiculous to think transhumanism can be linked to religiousness. We should REJECT the “religiousness of transhumanism” because the world is a better place with logic. We should REJECT the “religiousness of transhumanism” because technology is about improving human intelligence.

      Religion is based upon faith whereas the Singularity is based on science: logical forecasts of projected science.

      My comparisons are not more nonsensical than the Singularity-religion comparison, I am merely highlighting the nonsense.

      You say my comparisons are fallacious, well there’s the rub, because you also say you hope I wont’ invent any more comparisons “as if that proves anything.”

      EXACTLY! Your comparison between the Singularity and religion proves nothing. Merely because you can say Transhumanism is religious this does not make it so. Anyone can make any crazy comparison, thus we can see plumbers are clouds, the brain is rain, cars are cheetahs, or Transhumanism is holy, but if we adhere to logic we see cars are not actually cheetahs, and Transhumansim (the Singularity) is not actually holy.

      There is nothing mystical about the Singularity, it is simply science are technology. If you are saying the Singularity is religious you are saying science is religious, but science is not religious.

  20. I don’t think the Singularity is or will be “holy” in any sense of the word.

    Yes you do.

    One definition of ‘holy’ in the Oxford Dictionary of English is ‘morally and spiritually excellent’. You believe that society will be transformed into a morally and spiritually excellent state following the singularity. You equate the Singularity with Utopia as in ‘a perfect place’ rather than ‘no-place’. What is a perfect place if not a society that has achieved moral and spiritual excellence? Your singularity is a utopia and your utopia is holy according to at least one definition.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      You can’t tell me what I think. Only I truly know what I think.

      Furthermore the Singularity is not “spiritually” anything.

      Here is a definition of spiritually:

      1. Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material. See Synonyms at immaterial.
      2. Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul.
      3. Of, from, or relating to God; deific.
      4. Of or belonging to a church or religion; sacred.
      5. Relating to or having the nature of spirits or a spirit; supernatural.

      I wouldn’t even use the word “morally” I would say “intellectually excellent”.

      You can misinterpret my view of the Singularity, thus when I state it is “intellectually excellent” you may think this means I think the Singularity is morally and spiritually excellent but you are putting words in my mouth which I have not uttered. The extreme intellectual improvement regarding the Singularity will improve our world morally in the sense that all crime will be obsolete but morality is not the sole province of religion. Morals and morality can exist independently of religion, morality is a rational-intellectual mode of conduct. You have a tendency to conflate and distort, you twist the truth to suit your religious purpose. I know it may be tough, if you are religious, to accept the demise of religion, but that is the reality you must face.

      • Singularity Utopia says:

        The definitions of “brilliant” “good,” “excellent,” and “superb” are different to “holy,” which is why we have different words.

        When someone says something is “excellent” or “good” or “brilliant” they do not mean “holy”.

        For example if I said Bertrand Russell was a brilliant philosopher does this mean I am saying he is a holy philosopher? If you assume brilliance means holy you are conflating the meanings. Holiness can be brilliant but this does not mean everything brilliant is holy.

  21. How comparable is Buddhism to Christianity? Not very is the answer. After all, a buddhist does not concern him or herself with the identity, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, considering such matters to be not applicable to his or her faith. Nor does a buddhist believe in a supreme creator of the universe. So the core beliefs of Christianity have no place in Buddhist faith. But should we let a Buddhist get away with saying ‘haha I am not religious, I do not believe in any of the silly things you Christians believe in’? No, because a general definition of religion like ‘The negotiation of what it means to be human with respect to the superhuman and subhuman’ serves equally well as a definition of the quest to gain enlightenment by following the teachings of the Buddha as it does the Christian quest to earn eternal salvation and the eternal glorification of God. So why should we flat-out deny the religiousness of transhumanism which is itself ‘the negotiation of what it means to be human with respect to the superhuman and subhuman”?

  22. No connection? Then why does Ray Kurzweil refer to God several times throughout ‘Singularity Is Near’?

    ‘Once we saturate the matter and energy in the universe with intelligence, it will “wake up”, be conscious, and sublimely intelligent. That’s about as close to God as I can imagine’.

    ‘Evolution moves inexorably towards this conception of God, although never quite reaching this ideal. We can regard, therefore, the freeing of our thinking from the severe limitations of its biological form to be an essentially spritual undertaking’.

    ‘George Gilder has described my scientific and philosophic views as “a substitute vision for those who have lost faith in the traditional object of religious belief”. Gilder’s statement is understandable, as there are at least apparent similarities between anticipation of the Singularity and anticipation of the transformations articulated by traditional religions’.

    Having said that Kurzweil does caution against saying singularitarianism IS a religion, admitting only that ‘while being a singularitarian is not a matter of faith but understanding, pondering the scientific trends I’ve discussed…inescapably engenders new perspectives on issues that traditional religions have attempted to address: the nature of mortality and immortality, the purpose of our lives, and intelligence in the universe’.

    Now, when Steven Hawkings refers to God (for instance, “If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason — for then we should know the mind of God”) this is purely metaphorical and what Hawkings is actually referring to are the laws of physics. ONTH when Frank Tipler and Teillard identify their ‘omega point’ with God they are not just being metaphorical, they literally mean we should identify the omega point as being God. So what about Kurzweil’s use of the word? Is it closer to the purely metaphorical ala Hawking or nearer to the literal ala Tipler and Teillhard? I would say the latter.

    A nuclear physicist might say that alchemists attempting transmutation were not attempting anything intrinsically absurd or impossible, they were just going the wrong way about it. Similarly a singularitarian might regard a religious worldview with its focus on some higher power through which one might transcend one’s limits as being not intrinsically absurd even if the practices of that religion the wrong way to go about it.

    Intelligent design does have some connection to evolution. If aliens were to disover the robots ‘spirit’ and ‘opportunity’ on Mars, they would be right to conclude that these autonomous beings were products of intelligent design rather than a chance configuration of matter or a product of natural selection. But they would surely work out that the designers of this thing were not themselves products of ID but rather of evolution through natural selection. So ID is definitely the correct explanation in some cases but definitely NOT the right explanation in ALL cases.

  23. To be fair to SU, when somebody like Richard Seed comes on public radio boldly declaring ‘God made man in his own image; god intended man to become one with God; we are going to become one with God”, we might suppose this reference to God is not to be taken literally but metaphorically, as a symbol of some vague ‘higher, transcendent state of being’. Whether you are religious or not it is most likely you were raised in a culture steeped in religious symbolism and you may well borrow such symbols while thinking and talking about the ineffable qualities of the singularity or the transcendence of the human through technological intervention, but not believe for one moment that what the symbol stands for in a particular religion and what YOU mean by ‘god’ or whatever are one and the same.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Extropia wrote: “It is not a requisite of religion to believe the Biblical account of Creation.”

      Very true thus we have Intelligent Design and the technological modern version of ID, The New God Argument.

      It seems some people in the Singularity/Transhuman movement want to repackage the ideas as a modern form of Intelligent Design, which is what religious people have attempted to do with evolution.

      Similar to how ID has failed regarding evolution I hope ID will also fail regarding the Singularity.

      The Singularity has no connection to religion similar to how evolution has no connection to religion.

  24. It is not a requisite of religion to believe the Biblical account of Creation.

    As for the comparisons, it depends upon how many are found and from what points of view. No, a cheetah is not a ‘car’ but what comes out of a burst pipe and what falls from the sky are both ‘water’ (and what comes out of your pipe may well have been rain at some point, falling into the reservoir from which your water supply is drawn).

    In the case of singularitarianism equating to religiousness (as opposed to a particular religion which may not be comparable) the similarities have been noted by transhumanists like Max More, scholars of religious studies like Robert M. Geraci, and historians of science like David F. Noble (who has amassed compelling evidence of a religious ethos behind the largest technological enterprises of our age, such as the Apollo moon landings and the human genome project).

    Particularly in the latter cases of Geraci and Noble, we have scholars who have uncovered not just a few vague connections between religion and transhumanism but hundreds of explicit comparisons, enough to fill books.

    Science and religion converging… Well, as Alan Guth and other theoretical phycisists have speculated, it might be possible to create a universe. Doing so requires handling energies ludicrously beyond our reach but a Kardashev Type III civilization could have the necessary capabilities. So long as we cannot rule out the possibiity of engineered universes we cannot rule out the possibility that our universe was itself a product of some vast engineering project carried out by an extremely advanced civilization in a parallel universe. That is not to say they explicitely designed us, only that they created the Singularity at the beginning of time in our universe and from there on the laws of physics, and later chemistry, and later still biology, took over.

    If you have the power to create a universe, then you are by definition god.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Consensual validation is not logic.

      If the whole world believed magic fairies are real this does not make such fairies real.

      Ramblings by Max More do not consitute the word of God. Let Max put his logic where his mouth is and let’s see if his unfounded opinions stand up to rigorous intellectual dissection, but once you start the deconstruction of such assertions regarding an alleged link between technology and religion you will see the sentiment of people who try to link technology with religion has no logical basis. The assumptions of Max are shocking because people supposedly think Max is an intellectual.

      Shockingly I find many people who are supposedly intellectuals do not have a firm grasp upon logic.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      The United States Geological Survey (a Gov’ science department) states the human body consists of up to 60% water and the brain consists of 70% water, thus considering a source of water is rain perhaps our brains and bodies should be redefined as “rain” because after all “brain” is a similar word to “rain”.

      It is a logical fallacy to say the brain is rain, and it is a logical fallacy to say the Singularity is holy.

      Similarities exist between many things. Maybe science is silence because the universe is predominantly quiet and scientists seek to discover the secrets of the universe.

      Mice and humans share 97.5% DNA (“Mice and men share about 97.5 per cent of their working DNA” – New Scientist), there is clearly a similarity, but it is very wrong to say mice are humans. This is my point regarding a cheetah and a car, both of which share a “speed” similarity but both are very different despite a similarity. Don’t try to get into a cheetah BTW, or should that be BMW?

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Extropia wrote: “If you have the power to create a universe, then you are by definition god.”

      No you are NOT a God. The above quote highlights the fallaciousness of your logic, Extropia. The creation of the universe came before the “God interpretation” imposed upon the creation. The God-interpretation is akin to the geocentric interpretation of the universe and Solar System. Childish , immature interpretations need to be discarded if we are to expand our minds.

      For example: if a scientist creates a human, whom the scientist calls “Eve”, from a the rib of another human, whom the scientist calls “Adam”, does this mean the scientist is God or is the scientist merely practising highly advanced cloning, regeneration, utilization of Stem Cells etc? Likewise 3D-printers in the future may share commonalities with the feeding of the 5,000 but this does not mean 3D-printers are miracles by God.

      Most scientists do not state the universe was created by God therefore a person who can create a universe is not God. There is no scientific evidence to prove the existence of God. Most likely the universe is a product of random chance, but if God did create the universe this does not mean the creation of all universes means that a creator of universes is God. For example if Extropia eats a jam-sandwich does this mean everyone who eats a jam-sandwich is Extropia? What about the first human who flew in a plane? Maybe everyone who now flies in a plane is Jacques Charles, Pilâtre de Rozier, or the Wright brothers?

      Maybe God has done everything before humans did it therefore everything is God. If we follow your flawed reasoning Extropia this is the result: everything you can do is something God can do therefore whenever do you something you are doing a thing God can do, thus you are God.

      The definition of God is not the power to create universes. To define a scientific process as “God” or to define the applicator (practitioner) of a scientific process as “God” is an anti-science way of looking at the world. It is an illiterate, anti-intellectual tendency to call medicine magic. Maybe nuclear physicists are God, practising their God-magic?

      Religion is leftover flaw from an intellectually primitive epoch of human history. Sadly the anti-science legacy of religion continues to taint thinking today. If you are truly interested in intelligence you should reject the tendency to view everything through a religious filter.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Extropia wrote: “No, a cheetah is not a ‘car’ but what comes out of a burst pipe and what falls from the sky are both ‘water’ (and what comes out of your pipe may well have been rain at some point, falling into the reservoir from which your water supply is drawn).”

      Maybe “plumbers” are “clouds” because they both control the rain, and remember the brains of plumbers consist of 70% rain.

  25. hannes says:

    Maybe in the end religion and science are converging to the same point: man transcends space and time and becomes as god. Or mankind dissolves in god who always exists in eternity, beyond our space/time universe. And thats also unimaginable for us common minds rooted in three-dimensional space. Like a truly super-intelligence, what is supposed to rise from the singularity, is beyond our understanding.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Religion and science are not converging, which is why nearly 50% of Americans believe humans were created sometime during the last 10,000 years.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      Merely because you don’t understand science this does not mean science is God. This “God is science” is merely Intelligence Design. I think some people want to repackage Intelligent Design as the Singularity.

  26. Singularity Utopia says:

    I don’t think the Singularity is or will be “holy” in any sense of the word. I reject the word “holy” in all connotations regarding the Singularity because of it’s linkage to religion. Of course I do make occasional exceptions for Cheesy satire.

    It is a logical fallacy to assume commonality indicates a shared identity, ethos, or cause. For example the ground can be wet due to rain but not all cases of the ground being wet means it has rained. A burst water pipe could make the ground wet but clearly it is fallacious to talk about the similarity between rain and burst water pipes. Petrol (Gas) is also wet but petrol is very different to water. My point is that a burst water pipe (or petrol spilled from a filling station) is not rain, and likewise the Singularity is not holy. Consider also how sneezing is a symptom of the common cold. All cases of sneezing should not be linked to the common cold; clearly it’s fallacious to state pepper or dust is similar to the common cold. Pepper, dust, and colds are three very different things despite sharing a commonality; sneezing. Finally to emphasize the point regarding logical fallacies I will give one more example: cars are fast and cheetahs are fast but clearly a car and a cheetah are two very different things despite sharing the “fast” commonality. A car is not a cheetah. If you attempted to tell people cars and cheetahs are simply they would think you are insane, or on LSD.

    People can be moral without invoking the divine. Molarity is merely rationality, it is a logical mode of social conduct. We can make our world a better place without that improvement being deemed religious. Improving the world (civilization) is not religious even if religions do want to improve the world. Wanting to live in a world free from crime and war does not mean you are holy, it is merely intelligent, sensible thinking. People have imagined curing cancer (or other diseases) for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years; often in our pre-science history and in our current history those imaginings have been based upon a belief in magic, but does this mean when science finally cures cancer that the cure is actually magic due to historical association? Is nanotechnology witchcraft? Is the internet Voodoo? Guilt by association is a logical fallacy. Is highly advanced nanotechnology the Philosopher’s Stone for Alchemists?

    The phrase ‘The rapture of the nerds’ is a merely a smear utilized when people don’t have recourse to logical deconstruction to invalidate a premise. If we are intellectuals we should reject the usage of smears. Logical deconstruction should be our prime mode of discourse.

    I am intelligent enough to be able to state the Singularity begins with immortality, Post-Scarcity, and limitlessness. As the Singularity unfolds it will likely progress beyond human comprehension; nevertheless we can say it will be ineffable and we can also very logically be assured intelligence will also always be intelligent. I’m an exceptionally intelligent human thus I focus on the Singularity regarding the human benefits. I focus on the beginning of the intelligence explosion, the point where we can clearly see, if we look at the evidence, how medicine will create immortality, how technology will create Post-Scarcity, the point where we can see how intelligence will become limitless. I focus in the human beginning of the Singularity. Even if I did focus on the Posthuman otherness deep beyond the start of the intelligence explosion, which I don’t, such a focus on the ineffable nature of highly evolved/evolving intelligence should not denote a contemplation of “otherness” in the sense of religiosity or worship. Merely because something is ineffable this does not mean it is religious.

    I have a small amount of experience with extended pleasure and I have never wanted the pleasure to end. The joy of “joy” never wanes for me. For example many lovers say their relationship grows stronger and deeper over the passing years, their love does not wane, but there are many people who fall out of love, they divorce. A passion for life and an appreciation of joy will never wane for a truly intelligent individual, but we live in a world where people do become bored easily if they cannot consume the latest so-called “news” regarding the “Kardashians” (incidentally I have never watched the Kardashians but I seem to have the impression it is a reality TV show? I have a wilful blind-spot regarding that type of nonsense). In the future I suspect everyone will possess my type of intelligence, an intelligence of eternal inquisitiveness, an sharpness of mind where joy never becomes boring because a truly intelligent mind such as mine can always find ways to simulate the senses (intellectual curiosity) regarding the wonder of being alive, possessing consciousness. In the future my greater access to power will truly allow me to unleash my mind thereby experiencing infinite joy and wonder beyond the mundane constraints of a limited civilization where people value banality. A cool drink of water on hot day never loses its zest, in fact the joy of it deepens in tandem with a deepening mind. Greater intelligence allows for a greater appreciation of things, thus the joy of utopia will never wane, in fact growing intelligence will always improve its sweetness.

    Progress is simply progress, it is not holy or religious. The Singularity is extreme progress condensed into a short space of time but fundamentally it is no different to the discovery or utilization of electricity, medicine, atoms, DNA, computers. The Singularity is simply science and technology, it is an awareness of scientific comprehension reaching a pivotal point regarding immense empowerment and comprehension of the natural world. Sadly we’ve seen how some people want to define science and technology in religious terms. When people attempt to classify the Singularity as being religious or holy, they are engaging in or giving credence to a modern form of Intelligent Design. Religious people see the religious in everything, even Cheese, or DNA, because, they may say: how can organism evolve naturally; obviously there was an intelligent designer behind the evolution, and I reply: “Yes, it was the Holy Posthuman Cheese God.”

    The Singularity is not “a symbol of our perpetual desire to progress toward a state of holiness.” The Singularity is simply the very rapid progress of science and technology, it is science and technology reaching a point where humans are liberated from the constraints of the natural world, which has always been the purpose of science; we have sought comprehension of matter to empower ourselves. Knowledge is power thus we create mechanical hearts (“Heart Stop Beating”) to prolong our lives, we regenerate organs via Stem Cells, we communicate instantly with the world via the internet, we create nuclear power, solar power, wind turbines, and many other modern devices. The Singularity is a symbol of science, it symbolises our perpetual desire to increase our knowledge, our intelligence, which is why it is called an intelligence explosion, you could also call it a science explosion. It is definitely NOT holy, or religious, unless you see the entire world as being religious which some religious people do.

    Doctors make the world a better place, they cure disease, they ease suffering, but this ever advancing path towards utopian medicine does not mean doctors are angels of agents of God. When doctors can grant immortality this will not be religious, it is simply medicine. When I switch on a light, or power-up my computer this is not a miracle by God, it is not magic or religious or holy. When 3D-printing allows me to create any object I desire this will not be holy transubstantiation. 3D-printers of the future may feed more than 5,000 people from a limited amount of matter but it won’t be a miracle, it will be science and technology.

    If you want to call something holy I would call Cheese holy, or maybe plumbers are holy too because rain comes from God and plumbers direct God’s water through pipes. Do you understand logical fallacies now?

  27. Joey1058 says:

    “Everybody needs to believe in something.” There will be adherents, and there will be those who have the wisdom to step back and see the issue objectively.

  28. dogsolitude_uk says:

    “nobody will be sick; nobody will suffer pain and unhappiness. Everything will be free”

    Yeeeeees… This is all very well, but unless the Singularity can some how impose moral order I fail to see how it can be conflated with ideas of ‘Heaven on Earth’.

    We may have something akin to immortality and abundance, but if people still have the capacity and will to lie, cheat, steal, charge compound interest on loans etc. we’re still going to have a few issues.

    Simply having a screwdriver doesn’t assemble the chest of drawers in the corner of the hallway: some human agency has to have the will to use it for the intended purpose.

    The technological developments behind the singularity are just one part of the equation: societies will have to change to allow the technology to be used to its full potential.

    I believe this will mean a reboot of political, legal and economic structures. If we want everything to be free we’ll have to rethink our approach to property rights in order to ensure that a small group of people does not monopolise resources and the means of production. If you want free information, whether it’s the works of Aristotle/Dickens/Penrose or a copy of Deus Ex or whatever, we’ll have to rethink our approach to Intellectual Property rights.

    Eventually I hope such things will go the way of slavery and capital punishment, relegated to history as an intermediate (if abhorrent) step in human social and technical evolution, but for the time being we have to consider these existing structures which will act as constraints on progress until they’re dismantled.

    • Singularity Utopia says:

      The tendency to “lie, cheat, steal, charge compound interest on loans etc.” is wholly based on scarcity. Post-Scarcity is different to mere abundance. When we have Post-Scarcity the motives for stealing etc will be completely abolished.

      The means of production will be utterly decentralized freely available to all. A monopoly will be impossible, it would be like trying to monopolise the air people breathe freely each day.

      Regarding the existing structures withering and dying; you can join the “Post-Scarcity Warriors” to ensure a smooth transition.

      • dogsolitude_uk says:

        “The tendency to “lie, cheat, steal, charge compound interest on loans etc.” is wholly based on scarcity. Post-Scarcity is different to mere abundance. When we have Post-Scarcity the motives for stealing etc will be completely abolished.”

        The point I’m trying to make is that these motives *are* held, rightly or wrongly, by businessmen, CEOs, property owners, intellectual property owners, politicians and bankers and others involved with lobbying and shaping our political, economic and legal frameworks. They are not necessarily going to be convinced that letting go of their intellectual property rights or market share in the short term makes sense, and I’m not convinced that they’ll let go of whatever interests they have in the short term in exchange for a promised age of post-scarcity.

        “The means of production will be utterly decentralized freely available to all. A monopoly will be impossible, it would be like trying to monopolise the air people breathe freely each day.”

        How, exactly, will this happen? Is Mark Shuttleworth going to be giving away Ubuntu-branded replicators to all and sundry?

        Like you I believe that the post-scarcity age is an inevitability, and in order to ‘bring it on’ we must be level headed about this and deal with existing market realities.

        The internet promised us a free-flow of ideas and knowledge, our Governments have banned torrent sites, used it for spying on us and introduced ACTA and SOPA. Jammie Thomas-Rasset was fined nearly $2million for downloading a handful of songs back in 2007.

        I very much doubt that the vested interests behind that pile of wrong are going to let us create cars out of soil and run them on water without flicker of complaint, let alone invest in developing the technology to do so in order to release it to the general public. That would be like Coca Cola sticking their recipe on the internet.

        Like I say, we have to rethink the legal framework, our economic institutions, our attitudes towards capitalism and property ownership etc. before any of this is likely to happen. I’m not saying we’ll never have a post-scarcity world, but getting there is going to require a lot of rewiring.

  29. Wittgenstein argued against definitive categories. Is a swing a swing? Yes, as long as you use it as a swing. But if you just want to rest and sit down, the swing functions as a chair and you might as well call it a chair. And that swing next to you? The one you placed your drink on? It is a table, or a shelf. There is no ‘ideal table’ in the Platonic sense, only things that currently function as a table and cease to be such when used for some other function.

    David Chidester, who is an historian of religion, defined religion in this way: ‘The negotiation of what it means to be human with respect to the superhuman and subhuman”. That would serve equally well as a definition of transhumanism.

  30. shagggz says:

    Sure, transhumanism is a “religion” if you skew the definition of the word beyond its commonly accepted meaning. My table is a chair because it has four legs.

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