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

From: Chris Capel (
Date: Tue Feb 14 2006 - 12:31:48 MST

On 2/13/06, Kevin Osborne <> wrote:
> 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?
> a world becoming
> less and less secular?

I'm not sure that it is. The population is rising, so having more born
to religious families than to secular doesn't mean the religious
population is growing. As a matter of fact, it is probably true that,
percentage-wise, the world is getting more religious, since
religiosity and birth rate (per country, at least) appear to be
correlated positively. On the other hand, economic/political influence
from an international perspective is tied much less to population than
it is to the strength of the economy, and the strongest economies in
the world tend to be more secular countries (with the US as an
interesting outlier). What's more, and what should be obvious to
everyone on this list, is that the factors that drive economic success
are very rational, technical factors. While the correlation isn't as
strong as I'd like it to be, I think the technically adept do tend to
be the less religious.

I hold out hope that the world will become more secular over time, and
that religion will become irrelevant in conditions of decreasing
scarcity, and especially, of increasing knowledge. I'll try to do my
part to convince people. I think one productive line of argument is to
let people know, using resources like this[1], how incredible
irrational the human mind is. (Don't use that word, though.) Then show
them why science is necessary to overcome these biases, and how
various common superstitions are only plausible as a result of these

Chris Capel

"What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to bat a bee? What is it
like to be a bee being batted? What is it like to be a batted bee?"
-- The Mind's I (Hofstadter, Dennet)

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