[extropy-chat] Putting God to Rest

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Mon Apr 23 12:35:15 UTC 2007

At 07:47 PM 4/23/2007 +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

>On 4/23/07, Anna Taylor 
><<mailto:femmechakra at yahoo.ca>femmechakra at yahoo.ca> wrote:
>>This list is supposed to be about prolonging life, the
>>use of technology, transhumanism etc.  If you believe
>>God doesn't exist and have the right to say it then I
>>would assume that a religious person may have those
>>same rights and discuss the existence of God. (Which I
>>believe will end up in a tug of war).  If the list
>>does not wish to dwell on Religion then any and all
>>comments that are in regard to God or Religion should
>>not be made. If I have misunderstood and all
>>Extropians are Atheists, then I think that should be
>>made clear and concrete.
>I don't know the numbers (it would be an interesting survey if it hasn't 
>already been done),

62% secular, atheist
24% religious (long list of types)
14% other/don't know.

This is from the paper James Hughes delivered a week ago at the "workshop 
on transhumanism and the concept of human nature."  It was a fairly good 
conference, only one speaker made me want to run out screaming, but even 
with this paper about religious attitudes held by people identifying as 
transhumanists, it was a conference intended to be about the implications 
of transhumanism, not a conference *for* transhumanists.  I went there to 
meet John Tooby and Pascal Boyer.

>but I would be surprised if the incidence of atheism amongst those who 
>identify as transhumanists isn't considerably higher than in the general 
>community, especially in the US.

I think it might was higher, perhaps much higher, back in the days when the 
Extropian movement kind of grew out of libertarianism and cryonics.  It 
might be higher on this list than other transhumanist oriented lists 
because of that history.

>It seems to me that many mainstream adherents of the Abrahamic faiths 
>(Islam is in there with Judaism and Christianity, for those who didn't 
>know) would be horrified at all but the mildest goals of transhumanism. 
>It's one thing for scientists to simply regard religion as irrelevant to 
>their work, but when they start to talk about transcending biology and 
>living forever, that might sound to a believer like a rerun of Satan's 
>rebellion against God.

No doubt.

The sponsor speaker from Metanexus, William Grassie wasn't a happy 
camper.  I get the impression that they are trying to get science to find 
God or at least get religion and are not happy with the results of spending 
considerable sums on these grants.


PS.  In between session conversation, Dr. Tooby mentioned (due to his work 
trying to understand the EP origin of fiction) that autistics can't enter 
the mind state required for fiction.  Dr. Pascal noted the same thing about 
religions.  Autistics are essentially blind to both religions and 
fiction.  Neither of them had the slightest idea why nor do I.  This report 
set off some interesting discussion on the (closed) Hacker's list.  There 
were no ideas there either not even from the ones who tend in that direction.

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