Re: 'a process of non-thinking called faith'

From: Mike Dougherty (
Date: Mon Feb 13 2006 - 16:05:06 MST

On 2/13/06, Kevin Osborne <> wrote:

> 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?

Yes. I see it as a self-limiting problem. In an evenly heterogeneous
environment, the net effect of any one faction's efforts are easily
absorbed/dampened by the others'. In a nearly homogeneous environment, the
unified effort of the mass can be subtly perturbed by influences from the
minority. So what if there are only 2 Singularitarians per million on this
planet? A rational "nudge" in world affairs can have greater impact in the
long term than orders of magnitude greater misapplied force. Navigating a
sail-boat in a strong cross-wind could be dangerous, but with appropriately
trimmed sails the pilot can achieve greater speed than in a favorable light

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.

yeah, that would suck. .. especially if there is only one "leader" of AGI
research, contentedly abiding by the laws of a church-owned state. For all
the reasons nature has shown that diversity is the key to survival, AGI
research must be distributed. This will ensure there is no single point
of failure. That's also a good argument for why FAI must be done right the
first time - once it reaches critical mass there is no way to "pull the
plug" from a distributed intelligence. (ex: I don't think it would work to
"take down" the Internet to stop a Worm's propagation today, as it may have
15+ years ago)

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.

So the believers line up to receive their programming from an establishment
that is/was created by non-believers for the express purpose of subjugating
a trusting mass of otherwise rationally free-thinking and wary sceptics.
How is this much different from the role of the "establishment" (religious
or political) at any other point in history?

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