About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Friday, June 04, 2010

Will posthumans be atheists?

A fascinating article on this subject by Philippe Verdoux over at IEET. Check it out!


On the assumption that humans succeed in engendering a “species” of technologized posthumans, one might ask whether such advanced beings will be atheists or not. And furthermore, would it be a good thing for our technological progeny to be atheists?

In my view, there is good reason for thinking that posthumans will most likely, on the whole, be atheists. In addition, there is good reason for thinking that widespread apostasy would, on the whole, be desirable – that is, it would be beneficial for Earth-originating intelligent life, promoting overall post/human well-being.



Methinks it's
"Our Father
who art pond scum
hallowed it be Thy farting of oxygen"
and that ain't much to function with.


Oh phuck, wait a sec.....moi didn't read DM's post, till now, soooooooooooo here's one of me wee Atheist videos for DM to view.

..[___]..---{Moi gotz something to say, ehh?}

tildeb said...

A religious Terminator? I suspect it won't do nearly as well at the box office, but the plot could be very interesting to watch unfold.

Russell Blackford said...

DM has gone. But I'm sure: "He'll be back."

Robert N Stephenson said...

It is interesting but I'm not convinced populations will gravitate towards Atheism, not that I don't think there will be a shift away from God based thinking. From my discussions with many, many people and the trends of communities and societies I think the general view may sit in the agnostic camp with some Atheist influences.

That is if a technological society could ever actually exist. The modern 'Western' world could be close to this ideal, but it is only a small part of the world and at times it gets pretty shakey.

Robert N Stephenson said...

The article is quite good and creates sound and valid positions but data reading is just way too easy to manipulate these days to be categorically accurate.

I found the comments below interesting - some gave balanced views based on set beliefs and some were, well, typical of the pro and anti base camps.

The only real solution here is through unity - and that take two sides doesn't it.

Rupert said...

If we have to be 18 (or in some cases 21) to drink, to vote, to drive, to sign contracts, to get married or to see certain movies, why doesn't the same rule apply to church-going?

Robert N Stephenson said...


an interesting question but one that I find odd. How old do you have to be to play sport, to watch television, to listen to the radio or attend a movie or play. How old do you have to be to be educated in a public or private institution - which for argument sake, is aimed at developing conformity over creativity.

Can you see how that question is maybe a bit useless in any reasonable argument? Is there an age restriction of Atheist sites or blogs such as this?

Is there an age restriction on learning to read and think?

DM said...

what happens when you LOSE Pascal's Wager...




the blood and bodies of the atheist movement...

you mofos killed MICKEY MOUSE!!!!

this has more TRUTH then what Dawkins, Randi, Harris, Myers, and Shermer combined have said in their entire lives...


they tried to BULLDOZE the entire METAPHYSICAL DIMENSION...

they LOST THE WAR......

you have FORFEIT YOUR SOUL, shermer... you have become an object in the material world, as you WISHED...



we're gonna smash that TV...

you pushed too much and *CROSSED THE LINE*

degenerates (PZ) or children (HEMANT) - ATHEISTS!


do you have anything to say, you STUPID LITTLE F*CKER?

how about I tell you, Mr. Shermer, EVERYTHING YOU THINK ABOUT THE WORLD is







Rupert said...

Robert, I based my little piece on the fact that factors such as driving, drinking, voting etc. all have significant impacts requiring a mind which has reached a certain level of maturity to deal with due to the choices and outcomes involved.
Sport, radio or what we like to think of as education (I agree with your concerns here) don't generally fall into this category.
Religion does.

Robert N Stephenson said...

perhaps Rupert, perhaps

but just living in society develops personalities, just being part of a family (some quite disfunctional) effects how we view the world. So it would be a tough call.

I will agree with you that some aspects of doctrinal religion (note doctrines do differ in areas) is actually quite unhelpful.

The obvious problems would be a Christian family would be in this position: They are not permitted to raise their child, and the child is not permitted to learn from their parents until they are 18.

That might sound ridiculous, and probably is, but how do you say legislate a family structure and whose rules do you apply?

Rupert, trust me, I do know what you mean, but logistically it would create a separation of parent and child - that is not ideal under any condition.

I can only speak for Christianity here, as well, I don't know anything about Islam or other religions. It isn't like I put on my religious clothes when I go to Church, the belief is actually my life, and Christianity on the whole has very little to do with a Church anyway. Though some brands of the faith could do with way less Church intrusion -- The Brethren, in my mind border serious child abuse issues (not faith, but treatment)

Rupert said...

Of course Robert, of course. As some parents allow their children to smoke or drink in their home, so neither can we prevent the influence of religion.
We come at this from differing viewpoints of course. My little throwaway line was just my way of saying that people shouldn't have to deal with something as life-impacting as religion until they can make up their own minds.

Robert N Stephenson said...

Indeed Rupert, bur sadly we o in all forms of life influences.

My children go to Church because they want, but note their dad doesn't really go very often, so they have a choice. We don't talk about religion at hope unless they bring it up and we know we have to handle it in a fashion that does not force or create unrealistic expectations.

I'm a fiction (horror)writer, my wife a Forensic Scientist and both of us have evolutionist and Darwinistic groundings, so I figure we should be able to cover pretty much all manner of life questions in an honest fashion.

My wife goes to Church every Sunday and she enjoys it - I go every now and again but just to catch up with people I know, say high and stuff.

Are we influencing our children - yes, but I hope in a very open way. We have bibles in the house but neither my wife and I actually read it, the children might one day, but that is up to them really.

Rupert said...

Robert, it is not my place to say 'cool, you are ok'.
I think you know the kind of attitude my missive was aimed at though.

Robert N Stephenson said...

Oh, I get it Rupert, I probably have the same attitude you do, but it is really a hard one.

Though you might have throwback from Christians if enforcing this ideal, the problem is you would get violent reaction and killing from other forces -- never could abide by 'Faith via threat' -- kinda feels all wrong somehow

Christian Munthe said...

It seems to me the argument of the paper has two major weaknesses. First, it rests on the assumption that whether or not you are religious is determined by your intellectual skill-level. There is much evidence to the contrary and the only evidence in support taken up is a weak statistical correlation in one study. Second, more importantly, it doesn't clearly define what an atheist or a non-atheist is. Assume, for instance, that a posthuman does not affirm any proposition made in the Bible, The Koran, etc. This is perfectly compatible with this person being a religious person.

Robert N Stephenson said...

Hadn't thought of it that way Christian -- better insights help understand things in a clearer fashion. Thanks.

Roger said...

What if they were so naturally atheistic that the very concepts of "religion", "theism" and "atheism" were incomprehensible to these beings? Would we- or they- regard it as animprovement on the present state?

Christian Munthe said...

Roger: I like that vision.

mryana said...

Who here thinks that he/she will really be here on Earth when the first posthumans enter society?

Just curious.