[ExI] Atheism again

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Sun Apr 26 19:04:43 UTC 2020

On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 9:08 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On 25/04/2020 06:45, Jason Resch wrote:
> > I'm curious what you make of the Mormon Transhumanist Association:
> > https://transfigurism.org/
> Sorry, I seem to have missed a couple of digests. My spam filter is a
> bit slow to learn!
No worries, thanks for your reply.

> The MTA suffers from confusion, in my opinion.
> The very first thing you see on their website is this:
> "As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe in using technology to serve,
> lift, and love."
> So, they're disciples of a character that, as far as anyone knows, is a
> mythological composite, rather like Robin Hood or King Arthur, they hold
> a belief (presumably in the 'blind faith' sense), and they see their
> goals as to 'serve, lift, and love'. Who or what they intend to serve
> and love, is not stated here, I suspect it's not the human race.
> Further down:
> "We believe that scientific knowledge and technological power are among
> the means ordained of God ..."
> This is clearly a religion. They call themselves transhumanists, but
> they take as a given the existence of a supernatural deity, and then
> assume the role of willing slaves to it. One of the principles of
> transhumanism is autonomy. That seems to be missing here. Another is
> rationality. Ditto.
Should autonomy include allowing someone to live as a servant, or devotee
if that's how they want to live? If that gives them the most pleasure,
fulfillment, or what have you, why shouldn't they live that way? Different
people can have different values. I say "Whatever floats your boat"

> It looks to me that they are a religion that has selected, adopted and
> adapted some of the principles of transhumanism, leaving behind what are
> arguably the most significant ones, and take that as justification for
> calling themselves 'transhumanist'. This is a bit like a meat-eater who
> adds salad to their diet and starts calling themselves a vegetarian.
I can see your argument that transhumanism is founded on rationality and so
anyone calling themselves a transhumanist ought to rid their mind of all
irrational thought and beliefs, but I also worry this might be approaching
a kind of "No true Scotsman <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman>"

I see nothing mentioned about rational beliefs in the opening paragraphs of
the wikipedia article on transhumanism. Wikipedia defines transhumanism as
"a philosophical movement that advocates for the transformation of the
human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated
technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology.[1][2]"

So I would be open to a more open to the definition of transhumanism, as
anyone who advocates for radically transforming and improving the human
condition through technology.  If you say no one with a belief you find to
be irrational is a transhumanist, then there would be no transhumanists.
Every human holds some irrational ideas in their head.

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