[ExI] Atheism again (was: How many current members of ExI?)

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Mon Apr 20 03:27:19 UTC 2020

The form of atheism that holds that consciousness is not substrate-dependent has consequences.


For instance…


Suppose we accept the notion of uploading in some future super-computer, perhaps in the form of an M-brain but not necessarily that far future.  Imagine we get quantum computing with a breakthrough currently unforeseen and end up with the ability to experience something that feels like our current consciousness, along with memories of stuff we did.  It is kind of an idealized version of the nanotech dream, coupled with cryonics.


Now you find yourself a coupla hundred years future, as Hawking did in Star Trek TNG, in the holodeck.  His avatar interacts with people and learns, so imagine yours does.  OK then.


Sooner or later you realize that by the time you perished, say 2050, most things were recorded in some form and stored in the cloud since memory was too cheap to meter, so you realize you can attend your own funeral.  Hey cool, you get to see who was weeping and who was high-fiving and so forth.


So you look it up, find nobody showed.  Father McKinsey, the guy who specialized in lonely nobody’s funerals such as Eleanor Rigby’s did the service.  No one else showed up.  Wouldn’t that suck?


So… imagine you believe in the form of atheism that needs its own name, the one that believes consciousness can exist in alternate substrates.  Substrate Independent consciousness atheism.  Call it subind atheism.  Observer that plenty of religions promote themselves by claiming that believing in that can make you a better person.


OK.  Subind atheism will make you a better person, for it would theoretically allow you to go virtually to your own funeral.  If you were an evil bastard during your carbon-phase life, it’s Father McKinsey and no one else, with Beatles songs about all the lonely people.  But if you were a good person, there will be dozens of mourners weeping and saying good stuff about you, which would be gratifying indeed.  Clearly this is a motive for a subind atheist to be a good person, making it equal in a sense to other religions, even if one wishes to argue that subind atheism is not a religion.  It is religion-like, at least in that sense: it provides a motive for being a good person.


In any case, as soon as I realized that, I gave up being an evil bastard.



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