[extropy-chat] Books: Harris; Religion and Reason

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Wed Jan 11 13:38:17 UTC 2006

On 1/10/06, Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:

> I don't think positioning on "information" is particularly clear and
> therefore not a good platform.  How would this "cease execution" be
> implemented?

I was thinking along the lines of a need to put people committed to being
suicide bombers on ice and eventually uploading their memories.  One does
not lose the information contained in their brains, one simply  eliminates
activities based on faulty meme-sets (in the area related to  "Religion and
Reason" the faulty meme-sets brainwashed into people by religions, usually
at very young ages).

Obviously one is on a serious slippery slope with respect to how one would
identify and "defang" the people acting upon faulty meme-sets.

Perhaps in seeking elevated style you have become too abstract to make your
> meaning clear.  Please say more.

For example, looking at the recent discussion about head mounted displays
one is looking at a transhumanistic technology which probably has little
extropic impact (unless you want to get into a discussion of their use in
battle zones).  On the other hand an aggressive campaign to fight against
toleration of irrational (and/or unextropic) religions could be viewed as
both transhumanistic (leaving behind operating principles which do not take
into account the last 1300+ years of technological, philosophical, etc.
progress) as well as extropic (saying that religions (or sects) that support
the creation of suicide bombers should be eliminated).

With the WTA, I note that they support the "ethical use of technology to
expand human capacities" [quoted from their home page].  Within the
"ethical" framework of muslim extremism, I would suggest that suicide
bombers are doing just that.  (One could add that the 911 attacks were a
creative and brilliant use this principle.)

If however I look at the Extropian Principles I can find lots of areas where
religions, particularly the Muslim religion and to a lesser extent Christian
Fundamentalism and Catholicism are quite problematic.  Just as an example,
how does one reconcile the decrees of various grand ayatollah's, the pope,
hard core fundamentalist minsters, etc. with the principle of
Self-Direction?  And it only takes a little thought to see conflicts with
the "Perpetual Progress", "Open Society" and "Rational Thought" principles
as well.

My argument in large part centers around the fact that many religions are
inherently irrational (the 'miracles' in the Bible cannot be accepted as
'fact' by any serious scientist unless one invokes the use of advanced
biotechnology or nanotechnology by an ETC).  The "tolerence" of the
irrational positions which Harris objects to is in my opinion fundamentally
unextropic because it allows people a "pass" on the serious consideration of
cryonic suspension.  (I.e. "I don't need to worry about dying because I'm
going to heaven.") That will by my estimates probably cost at least 500
million lives (figuring 50+ million lives a year for at least the next

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