'a process of non-thinking called faith'

From: Kevin Osborne (kevin.osborne@gmail.com)
Date: Mon Feb 13 2006 - 08:18:18 MST

link recommendation for the non-religious:

just thought of this in response to:

> I don't believe in any religion, new- or old-age, but
> you can find 'significant' dates to fit almost any
> time you like.

I've had a great time showing this documentary to religious and/or
spiritual friends/family of late; make sure you browse for the
torrent of part two.

As a list discussion, how does the SIAI community feel about managing
to pull together around 1000 US members (according to an article
linked earlier today) as opposed to the Evangelicals pulling ~140
Million (according to CNN) yankee-doodles?

What's the ratio of new singularitarians to people born again every
week - 2 for every 100? every 1000?

The premise that I seem to finding myself arguing with the spiritual
sorts is that technology has had and will have a far greater positive
impact on society than spiritualism and faith ever will.

And yet, considering that kind of growth in faith belief, the
technology/transhumanist/singularitarian message obviously stinks. are
we still going to be able to pull this thing off in a world becoming
less and less secular?

Imagine a scenario where not long after the first glimmers of AGI
start to appear the christian right get up in arms about creating an
AGI being equivalent to 'playing god' and the whole field ends up
being the same political lamb that stem cells has become.

I think maybe in that scenario the nascent AGI work being done could
be decapitated at the grant budget and the development timeline sent
into terminal slippage; an AI 'nuclear' winter.

All very much sci-fi novella-ish, but this is a great scenario for
development being driven underground, with the consequence of a
shorter split on the unfriendliness dice-roll...

summary copy for the link-click challenged:


Professor Richard Dawkins, Chair of the Public Understanding of
Science at Oxford and world-renowned evolutionary biologist, is no
stranger to controversy. His outspoken views on religion and his
championing of evolutionary theory have earned him the nickname of
"Darwin's Rottweiler", an epithet he wears with pride. In this
controversial two-part series, Dawkins describes God as the most
unpleasant fictional character of all and launches a wholehearted
attack on religion as the cause for much of the pain and suffering in
the world. In the light of overwhelming scientific evidence that shows
a supreme being cannot exist, and in a world in which religious
conflict and bigotry are increasingly centre stage, he believes that
for the good of humanity, religion needs to be challenged and
dismissed. In this first film, Professor Dawkins confronts the march
of militant religious belief across the world. In the American "Bible
Belt", he meets Ted Haggard, the President of the American National
Association of Evangelicals, who believes that science will one day
prove the Bible's Creation story right. In Jerusalem, where the
terrible certainties of faith began and still rage, he challenges the
Grand Mufti of Palestine and discusses with Yousef Al Khattab, a
Jewish settler turned Muslim fundamentalist, the implacable hatreds
that faith has thrown up in this blighted city. The 21st century,
Dawkins argues, should be an age of reason but we are threatened by
those who see unreason as a positive virtue. Faith is an indulgence of
irrationality that is nourishing extremism, division and terror.


Enjoy this refreshing (and sadly still subversive even in this day and
age!) examination of the irrationality behind religious faith and of
the dangerous rise in religious extremism in the 21st century. I guess
if you're used to the utter stupidity and pablum on the US mainstream
corporate media, and the ridiculous pandering to the Christian right
in America, both in the media (CNN actually has a "Faith and Values"
correspondent now!) and in the political culture, you might find this
really radical. Definitely NOT coming to a television station near you
if you live in the US, where instead they would rather air programs
about hard-hitting subjects such as: Barbara Walters Presents -
"Heaven: Where Is It? How Do We Get There?". Richard Dawkins pulls no
punches here. He is a strict rationalist and he is brutally direct and
honest about his opinions on religion and its deluded believers. You
have been warned.

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