RE: Catholics and the Singularity

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Jun 30 2002 - 16:44:11 MDT

hi eliezer

The key question, according to the perspective of my Catholic friend
(actually we haven't had much contact in recent years, but.. this was a good
excuse to give him a call ;), is whether the "extremely intelligent mind" in
question has a soul or not.

In his view, an intelligent mind without a soul seems like a *bad thing*.
Whereas if a superintelligent mind has been given a soul by God, then it has
the ability to find God within itself, as we humans do.

I think that if you'd posed the question to him, the answer would have been
basically the same. (He's an old guy and doesn't e-mail, so I can't forward
this message to him.)

As to whether God would deign to assign a soul to a newly created
superintelligent AGI, he didn't want to venture an opinion...

I think that the idea of "trying to get at the truth, without reference to
... faith" (to quote your e-mail) is kind of antithetical to the Christian
idea that faith is what brings you to the truth...

Anyway I don't think I'm going to pester that guy again with more silly
questions, so you'll have to try Dial-a-Christian to pursue this further at
the moment ;->

-- ben

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Sent: Sunday, June 30, 2002 4:08 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Catholics and the Singularity
> Of course, Ben, you're asking the question your way rather than my way.
> The question I would ask would run as follows:
> "Do you believe that an extremely intelligent mind - not necessarily a
> human mind - that was just trying to get at the truth, without reference
> to either faith on the one hand or prideful denial on the other, would
> be able to see that a lot of things asserted by Catholicism are true,
> and a lot of things asserted by other belief systems including atheism
> are false - enough that if the mind had to pick out which religion was
> most likely to be right, it could pick out Catholicism as the most
> likely candidate, regardless of whether the mind actually decided to
> become a practicing Catholic and so on? Assume that the intelligence
> can not only do extremely thorough scans for evidence in the external
> world but that it can also look into human minds."
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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