Monday, January 23, 2012
We are all Agnostics now.
David Brin recently spoke at the Singularity Summit, a place where the attendees are, for the most part, transhumanists. They are there to discuss the creation of "small" gods - things just a little better than humans in some way, that will improve themselves.
I know that Mr. Brin recognizes that even these small gods, once self-improving, will be beyond detailed human understanding. He counsels the would-be creators of small gods that they should learn to better understand those who worship "large" gods - gods that create universes like ours, such as mentioned in the bible. To that end, his primary weapon is interpretation of the bible.
This creates a room full of agnostics.
No one who believes we can make a small god should believe we can understand a large god. As long as these people interpret the bible, they represent a belief in their interpretation, and therefore create a non-overlapping-magisteria. Basically, Brin removed the conflict between science and religion for those who will take his advice.
Brin is saying we need to rationalize in order to associate in order to survive. As it turns out, any suitable rationalization makes us nicer, more accepting people. I am proud that David Brin is one of us.
His final point discusses science as appreciation of God. He proposes that when children perform scientific experiments, their wonderment is a finer, more true appreciation of Gods creation than a wrote prayer or words extolling his greatness without really *appreciating* his great works. Scientific revelation is like someone saying to God, "I truly understand you, and I am truly impressed." and then proving it.
On the topic of appreciation, I have often thought that the universe is a self-organizing system that learns to appreciate itself.
But only for a moment. We are that spark of insane emotion burning brightly.
Humans are the love and the insanity in the universe, quickly extinguished.
Love oneself, respect others, a natural state of affairs, the best that can be hoped for, independent of scale, among parts of a whole.
The dream of a cohesive, thinking universe isn't a bad one. Better to be a cooperating part of any vastly superior force. No? Why not think of ourselves as the love in the universe?
What can I say? Humans rationalize compulsively.