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

From: Charles D Hixson (
Date: Tue Feb 14 2006 - 19:15:59 MST

On Monday 13 February 2006 06:06 pm, Dani Eder wrote:
> > Pilot Pirx wrote:
> > > Singularitarian goals also require faith, IMO.
> >
> > It's two sides of the
> >
> > > same coin - the human coin.
> The dictionary definition of faith is "a firm belief
> in something for which there is no proof".
> There is copious evidence that the rate of
> technological
> and scientific progress has been accelerating over
> the last several hundred years. There is good reason
> to expect it to continue to accelerate in the near
> term:
I understand your opinions, and pretty much agree with them. OTOH, the
previous time I speculated wildly based on a trend curve, I was considerably
disappointed. It was a simpler model, but that doesn't imply that the more
complex one is necessarily correct.

Most people projecting the singularity say something like "baring a
catastrophe" or "if this goes on". It seems to me that this is the correct
attitude, and with that attitude it isn't a question of faith, but projection
without certainty. Once you try to create certainty about what the future
will bring, you enter the realm of faith.
> Sure, there are uncertainties. Maybe improvements
> in computers will hit a brick wall before you have
> enough power to run an AI. But to claim we are
> working on faith, i.e. with no evidence to back
> our beliefs, is to ignore all the progress in
> science and technology to date.

So the distinction between whether it's faith or theorizing without complete
information comes down to whether or not you claim certainty. If you do,
then it's faith based. If not, not. (Not being faith based isn't equivalent
to being scientific. But it does make it possible to hold a conversation.)

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