After reading some of my recent posts about the New God Argument, a Transhumanist friend wrote to me with some questions about the nature of God. He was raised as a Christian. And he's been wondering how God as described in the New God Argument relates to God as described in traditional Christianity, and particularly to Jesus Christ. That's a question I receive often. So I thought it would be helpful to share some brief thoughts about that here.
The New God Argument has evolved over the years, as I've worked to simplify it and present it in more accessible ways. There's still a lot of work to do. Too bad I can't work on it for more than small amounts of time on an occasional basis! But I enjoy the process. And I was reminded of that process, this morning, when I received a copy of the audio recording of my latest presentation of the argument. That's available to you below. But first, here's some history.
On Saturday 3 August, I presented the New God Argument at the Sunstone conference in Salt Lake City. As part of the presentation, I simplified the formulation of the Compassion Argument slightly. And I spent more time than usual elaborating on how the first assumption of the Compassion Argument arises from the Orthogonality Hypothesis and the Convergence Hypothesis, which artificial intelligence researchers have been developing for several years. In response to my presentation, a friend who was already familiar with the argument sent me several questions. This post (1) presents the latest formulation of the argument, (2) shares some elaboration on the Orthogonality and Convergence Hypotheses, and (3) responds to my friend's questions.
Many anti-religious folks claim to value science. But that claim is too often merely lip-service, as evidenced by their anti-religiosity. How is that? Well, science has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that religiosity generally results in greater physical, mental, and social well-being.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul prophesies about the end of death, forth-telling (yes, "forth-telling" in contrast to "fore-telling") what he characterizes as a "mystery." The mystery, he says, is that not all humans will die. But rather, some of us will transfigure from mortality to immortality without dying. Then the dead will resurrect to immortality, and death will be conquered. Over the centuries, Christians have interpreted this prophecy in ways that, today, we might consider figurative or supernatural, if not merely superstitious. But emerging technology now suggests the possibility of a more literal and natural interpretation of the prophecy.
This is an edited transcript of my presentation at the 2019 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. At the conference last year, I told you that I didn’t know how to raise the dead. That might not have been entirely true. It’s true that I don’t know how to do all the work. But I do have some ideas about how to get started – and even about how we’ve probably already started.
Imagine our surprise.
Peter has finished preaching. We love him. We follow him despite the risks. After all, he teaches fulfillment of the Law in Messiah. He reveres the Law. He lives it. He still epitomizes all that was most grounding, meaningful, and purposeful in our lives before Messiah. And he has helped us understand how all of it culminates in Messiah.
But we didn't expect what just happened.
Yesterday and today, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest Mormon denomination, met together for our semi-annual General Conference. I participated in the conference via webcast and Twitter, watching and considering the thoughts shared, and expressing some of my thoughts along the way. Below is a list of the thoughts I shared publicly, including both affirmations and criticisms, questions and elaborations. My intent, as always, is to promote real engagement with the messages shared at the conference, beyond the superficial cheerleading or indiscriminate ridicule that is so common among apologists and enemies of the Church. I welcome any feedback or questions you might have in the comments.
This is an edited transcript of my presentation at the 2018 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. I talked about the Return of Christ. I touched on how it relates to Transhumanism. But my focus was on some foundational theology that leads to what I believe is a more robust Christian and Mormon Transhumanism.
A decade ago, Blake Ostler called me insane for believing in the Simulation Hypothesis. Today, a friend brought to my attention that Blake recently doubled-down on that characterization, in an episode of an Exploring Mormon Thought podcast, asserting that people like me "have serious problems in assessing reality." My response? Guilty as charged. I do have serious problems in assessing reality. Reality is, in so many ways, a mystery -- a sometimes wonderful, sometimes horrible, and sometimes tedious mystery. That's the brief version. But of course I have more to say.