Mormon Transhumanist Association Opinions http://feed.informer.com/digests/SAJOSPZSNZ/feeder Mormon Transhumanist Association Opinions Respective post owners and feed distributors Wed, 24 Jun 2015 17:11:27 -0600 Feed Informer http://feed.informer.com/ Philosophy of Singularity: Week 1 http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2017/05/philosophy-of-singularity-week-1.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:b8e1955d-f894-86e8-c208-9e99a194fe8c Mon, 22 May 2017 07:16:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BrigM22B06U/WR-787e6vzI/AAAAAAAAMUs/vO6gfNPrUZglX2Pv84b5ahwsOkF3g9tigCLcB/s1600/tumblr_ml8euush8K1rizyy1o1_500.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="416" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BrigM22B06U/WR-787e6vzI/AAAAAAAAMUs/vO6gfNPrUZglX2Pv84b5ahwsOkF3g9tigCLcB/s640/tumblr_ml8euush8K1rizyy1o1_500.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: x-small;">(Image credit: The Host)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">For the next six weeks I will be taking a special topics course, Philosophy of Singularity. This is the first post of a six part series where I will share my notes, definitions, summaries, commentary and reading assignments from class lectures and discussions. These posts are living documents that I may edit, adapt, and develop as I gain more insights throughout the semester.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><h2 style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Class Summary and Personal Commentary </span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Required Reading<br />&nbsp;<a href="http://edoras.sdsu.edu/~vinge/misc/singularity.html">The Coming Singularity</a> by Vernor Vinge<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Technological Singularity</b> is a version of the future that is dependent on technology when self-replicating or self-improved machine intelligence or AGI, artificial general intelligence, will surpass human capacities in unfathomable ways. “When greater-than-human intelligence drives progress, that progress will be much more rapid. In fact, there seems no reason why progress itself would not involve the creation of still more intelligent entities.” <o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">According to Vernor Vinge, there are several means in which the technological singularity may occur: (1) the development of computers that are “awake” and superhumanly intelligent, (2) large computer networks (and their associated users) may “wake up” as a superhumanly intelligent entity, (3) computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent, (4) biological science may find ways to improve upon the natural human intellect.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Possible consequences could be that a superintelligent artificial general intelligence may have no need for humans at that point, any more than humans need rabbits and chickens. If you look at the way our species treats other species of lesser intelligence, this should be enough to question the consequences of a superintelligent artificial general intelligence. We could be chickens in slaughter house, pampered house pets, or ants minding our own business in a colony that is only noticed until we need to be exterminated. Many dystopian science fiction writers have explored these possibilities. Some futures include the human species as a casualty to <b>punctuated evolution</b> or punctuated equilibrium. (See more evolutionary biologist, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Jay_Gould">Stephen Jay Gould</a>.) The idea is that the purpose of the human species is to usher in the next evolving species, then go extinct at mercy or apathy of the more advance species.</span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">I. J. Good proposed, "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors." This may seem meaningless an paradoxical, but if we are capable of such a benevolent state it may assert the possibility that such radical benevolence and compassion is possible, including a superintelligent agent. There could be a theoretical pay off to radical compassion.</span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">However, AGI is not the only possible path to superhumanity. Vinge suggest that commuter-human interfaces might be an easier and/likely road to superhumanity. As our technology advances we will merge. Vinge calls this “Intelligence Amplification.” (IA) This process, in many ways, has already begun to take place.</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Transhumanism</b> is the philosophical, scientific, and technological movement where humans evolve or surpass physical and cognitive limitations, to the point where humans are no longer humans, but posthumans. Vinge comments on increased cognitive capacities, “Another symptom of progress…ideas themselves should spread ever faster, and even the most radical will quickly become commonplace.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Transhumanism is one possible solution to survive the punctuated evolution instead of going extinction. There’s no way to know when humanity has gone from <b>transhuman</b> to <b>posthuman</b>, without being able to conceive of it. Humanity cannot conceive of posthumanity until we become it, or rather when we become posthumanity. <b>Posthumanity </b>would have <b>superintelligence</b>that exceeds the most gifted human minds.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">A<b> posthuman</b> (or posthumanity) is a human so radically evolved beyond the current state of the human condition that a new term would be warranted. For example, hominids are to humans, as humans are to posthumans.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Technologies</b>, broadly defined, are tools and techniques created by humans to accomplish objectives. Various key technologies exist and may eventual <b>converge</b> make in the technological singularity possible. Technologies play an essential role in Transhumanism and the development of posthumanity. As technologies continue to develop and evolve they will overlap and merge. Some even content there is a technological determinism, meaning technologic evolution has developed a life if its own, so to speak. It has already been determined. Is the singularity inevitable? Not, necessarily. It may not be possible. “But if the technological Singularity can happen, it will.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><o:p><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><h2 style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Key Technologies Defined</span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Computers:</b> a devise that when instructed can carry out a logical operations automatically. Often thought as, an electronic device for storing and processing data, typically in binary form, according to instructions given to it in a variable program.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Quantum Computing: </b>&nbsp;“studies theoretical&nbsp;computation&nbsp;systems (quantum computers) that make direct use of&nbsp;quantum-mechanical<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomena" title="Phenomena"><span style="color: windowtext; text-decoration-line: none;">phenomena</span></a>, such as&nbsp;superposition&nbsp;and&nbsp;entanglement, to perform&nbsp;operations&nbsp;on&nbsp;data.&nbsp;Quantum computers are different from&nbsp;binary digital electronic computers&nbsp;based on&nbsp;transistors. Whereas common digital computing requires that the data be encoded into binary digits (bits), each of which is always in one of two definite states (0 or 1), quantum computation uses&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qubit" title="Qubit"><span style="color: windowtext; text-decoration-line: none;">quantum bits</span></a>, which can be in&nbsp;superpositions&nbsp;of states.” (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_computing">Wikipedia</a>) In other words, a computer that makes use of the quantum states of subatomic particles to store information.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Superposition</b>: “In&nbsp;physics&nbsp;and&nbsp;systems theory, the&nbsp;superposition principle,&nbsp;also known as&nbsp;superposition property, states that, for all&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_system" title="Linear system"><span style="color: windowtext; text-decoration-line: none;">linear systems</span></a>, the net response at a given place and time caused by two or more stimuli is the sum of the responses that would have been caused by each stimulus individually.” (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superposition_principle">Wikipedia</a>) For example, the presence of electrons orbiting the atomic nucleus existing in a single field within infinite possibilities is superpositioning. Electrons are in a superposition in an electronic field everywhere and anywhere all at the same time in the electric field. Once light, a photon, is shined on the electronic field the electron will show up at that exact point of the photon and all other possibilities will disappear. The multiverse theory suggests that all other possible points of the electron will show up in an infinite number of other universes or multiverses.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Artificial General Intelligence</b>: broadly, when a machine is capable of performing a task that a human being can. Also called “strong AI” or “full AI.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Turing Test:</b> A test developed by Alan Turing to test the intelligence of a computer by performing a task that in is distinguishable from a task performed by humans.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Neuroscience:</b> an interdisciplinary field including biology, biochemistry, physiology, physics, mathematics, engineering, and psychology, that scientific studies the nervous system.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Nanotechnology:</b> technologies with dimensions of 100 nanometers or less, on the atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>Nanorobotics:</b> machine robotic technologies that components near the scale of a nanometer. Nano technologies are still largely in research and development phase. Dystopian views of nanobots include “grey goo.” Essentially nanobots would radically self-replicate and consume the earth in an end-of-the-world scenario. Utopian views of nanorobotics include nonbots that could inter your body and repair damage indefinitely, essentially end aging.</span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b style="font-weight: bold;">Genetic Engineering:</b> manipulating genetic material with deliberate modifications to an organism. &nbsp;</span></div> Deliverance http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2017/05/deliverance.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:d783d97d-24a8-00a9-97da-b94a6066dd86 Sun, 21 May 2017 10:40:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Sv19UgfnAmQ/WRnvvLJk0VI/AAAAAAAAMTo/4fpZhzwquDYBqNICPtMmAu2UDDHzxOhfQCLcB/s1600/2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="474" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Sv19UgfnAmQ/WRnvvLJk0VI/AAAAAAAAMTo/4fpZhzwquDYBqNICPtMmAu2UDDHzxOhfQCLcB/s640/2.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">(Photo by Toni Frissell)</span><br /><br />O God,</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="line-height: 115%;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Forgive me.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="line-height: 115%;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Help thou mine unbelief.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="line-height: 115%;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">I pray that love will be our deliverance,<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="line-height: 115%;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">But I am only one person.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="line-height: 115%;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">I need grace.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="line-height: 115%;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Amen.</span></span></div> From Elon Musk to Joseph Smith: a material simulation hypothesis https://turingchurch.net/from-elon-musk-to-joseph-smith-a-material-simulation-hypothesis-aa4758950577?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:60a0096e-e10b-fd76-e4c7-ab8fe228a4fb Fri, 19 May 2017 08:18:06 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*1UP-mTfEHAqeXka3n6W6VA.jpeg" /></figure><p>I propose a formulation of the simulation hypothesis where everything happens in one physical universe. I see this as a bridge between the “Sims” conjecture of Nick Bostrom (and Elon Musk) and the Mormon cosmology of Joseph Smith.</p><p>When I first heard of Nick Bostrom’s “<a href="http://www.simulation-argument.com">Simulation Argument</a>” in 2001, <a href="http://www.sl4.org/archive/0112/2380.html">via the SL4</a> and Extropians mailing lists, my mind went in fire. I had similar ideas, vaguely conceived, but Nick’s was the first solid formulation of the concept that I have seen. I remember sending Nick enthusiastic comments.</p><p>The <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis">simulation hypothesis</a> — the idea that our reality could be a simulation running in a deeper or higher level of reality — has been further elaborated upon and recently catapulted to the forefront of public attention by <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2016/6/2/11837874/elon-musk-says-odds-living-in-simulation">Elon Musk</a>, who thinks it’s almost certain that we are living in a computer simulation. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0KHiiTtt4w">According to Musk</a>, we are some advanced version of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sims">The Sims</a>.</p><p>The simulation hypothesis has some very desirable features. In his original 2003 paper titled “<a href="http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html">Are You Living In a Computer Simulation?</a>,” published in <em>Philosophical Quarterly</em>, Nick speculated about parallels with traditional religious conceptions. In the current <a href="http://www.simulation-argument.com/faq.html">Simulation Argument FAQ</a>, Nick says:</p><blockquote>“These simulators would have created our world, they would be able to monitor everything that happens here, and they would be able to intervene in ways that conflict with the simulated default laws of nature… An afterlife in a different simulation or at a different level of reality after death-in-the-simulation would be a real possibility. It is even conceivable that the simulators might reward or punish their simulated creatures based to how they behave.”</blockquote><p>Without mincing words, the simulation hypothesis is totally equivalent to Christian cosmology. There’s an omniscient and omnipotent God, Who can lift you to Heaven after death if you have been good. What more can you want?</p><h4>Enter Mormon Transhumanism</h4><p>The <a href="https://transfigurism.org/">Mormon Transhumanist Association</a> (MTA) has formulated an explicitly religious version of the simulation hypothesis: “<a href="https://new-god-argument.com/">The New God Argument</a>” (NGA), inspired by Nick’s argument and adapted to Mormon cosmology.</p><p>I find the NGA totally awesome. However, it seems to me that Nick’s formulation of the simulation hypothesis, with an infinite gap between the universe and its creators in a different, higher level reality, is hardly compatible with the key Mormon concepts of a material universe where spirit is also material (a more fine and pure form of matter, <a href="https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/131.7-8">according to Joseph Smith</a>), and essential continuity between God and the material universe.</p><p>These aspects of Mormon cosmology strongly resonate with my own ideas. I tend to see God as a super-smart cosmic engineer who works with the resources He has, as opposed to a “wholly other,” infinitely distant metaphysical entity who created the universe out of nothing and rules it from outside.</p><p>In an MTA Facebook discussion <a href="https://medium.com/u/888b585f0e40">Lincoln Cannon</a> pointed out that the NGA relies on the structure of Nick’s Simulation Argument but not the mechanism, and is compatible with other creation mechanisms such as “cosmoforming,” defined by Nick as “the possibility that an advanced civilization with some as-yet unknown technology might be able to induce the creation of baby universes (perhaps expanding into hidden dimensions).” The transposition of the simulation argument to this hypothesis is straightforward, <a href="http://www.simulation-argument.com/faq.html">according to Nick</a>.</p><p>Now that I think of it, there’s also another way to make the NGA fully compatible with Mormon materialism and theology: we just have to extend the definition of “universe” to include the base reality in which our universe is computed. Then, all reality is material and God is a busy engineer who organizes matter in His world (which includes ours).</p><p>Here I want to describe a simpler, more self-contained physical model of reality “as a simulation” that, while offering all the benefits of the simulation argument, is more “down to earth” and more compatible with Mormon materialism and theology.</p><p><a href="http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Matter">Joseph Smith said</a>:</p><blockquote>“Now, the word create… does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship.”</blockquote><p>Following Joseph Smith, instead of thinking of a “simulator” in a higher level reality creating our universe out of nothing, I am thinking of an engineer organizing the material reality of this universe. God organizes the universe like we organize a material system to give it desired properties (like superfluidity and superconductivity) and behaviors, operating in a deeper — deeper, not higher — level of the same physical reality, which we could conceivably gain access to.</p><p>Let’s do some physics.</p><h4>Quasiparticles and quasiworlds</h4><p>Nobel laureate and physicist extraordinaire <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Wilczek">Frank Wilczek</a> recently gave a talk titled “<a href="https://origins.asu.edu/events/materiality-vacuum">Materiality of a Vacuum</a>” at Arizona State University (ASU). <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBXDrNn6pUg">The video is online</a>. In this and <a href="https://pa.as.uky.edu/colloquium-materiality-vacuum">a previous talk</a> Wilczek presented an intriguing speculative metaphor:</p><blockquote>“Life in Siliconia — Intelligent creatures who lived inside silicon, and didn’t know any better, might think of their surroundings as the default condition. They would call it vacuum. For them, phonons would be elementary particles. But we know better: the Siliconians live inside a material. They could get better [physics] by recognizing the materiality of their vacuum… We are like the Siliconians. ‘Empty space’ — our vacuum — is a material. The particles we know, and those we are made of, are minor disturbances within that material.”</blockquote><p>In other words, our reality emerges from a deeper reality substrate that we don’t perceive.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*v08GB0LKzwmsJsKdw8qc-w.jpeg" /><figcaption>Quasiparticles (magnetic skyrmions) emerging from the organized collective behavior of “real” particles in a material substrate.</figcaption></figure><p>The phonons mentioned by Wilczek are “quasiparticles” — particle-like elastic vibrations in crystals and various condensed matter systems.</p><p>In general, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasiparticle">quasiparticles and collective excitations</a> (I’ll just call them quasiparticles) in a material substrate can take a life of their own, behave like particles, and give the substrate properties like superconductivity or superfluidity.</p><p>Quasiparticles can be described by quantum field theories just like ordinary particles, with observable physical effects. At the same time, quasiparticles seem “less real” than ordinary particles. in “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Quasiparticles-Ideas-principles-quantum-physics/dp/B0006E3ETO"><em>Quasiparticles: Ideas and principles of solid state quantum physics</em></a>” (1979), M. I. Kaganov and I. M. Lifshits explain that:</p><blockquote>“Real particles exist, i. e. move, collide, turn into one another, and form more or less complicated structures (from atoms to crystals) in empty space, while quasiparticles exist, i. e. move, etc., inside macroscopic systems, which are constructions of real particles.”</blockquote><p>The pictures show quasiparticles (magnetic skyrmions) emerging from the organized collective behavior of “real” particles in a material substrate. Take off your glasses and half-close your eyes to blur your vision: now you are blind to the substrate and see only the skyrmions. Similarly, perhaps we — and our current scientific instruments — see only quasiparticle-like excitations of a base substrate that we don’t perceive directly.</p><p>In “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Universe-Droplet-International-Monographs-Physics/dp/0199564841/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1483875624"><em>The Universe in a Helium Droplet</em></a>” (2009), <a href="https://www.aps.org/programs/honors/prizes/prizerecipient.cfm?first_nm=Grigory&amp;last_nm=Volovik&amp;year=2014">Grigory Volovik</a> suggests that (what we consider as) real particles living in empty space — the quantum vacuum — are really quasiparticles emerging from a “more real” underlying microscopic world.</p><p>The quasiparticles in superfluid liquid helium follow mathematical equations, derived from the microscopic physics of the helium substrate, very similar to those that describe real particles in empty space. These mathematical equations contain “effective fields” that play a role similar to real fundamental fields in empty space.</p><p>A metric field, analogous to Einstein’s gravitational field in empty space, emerges in many condensed matter systems, for example in the motion of phonons in a distorted crystal lattice. Volovik notes:</p><blockquote>“We find that in superfluids, the inhomogeneity of the flow of the superfluid vacuum serves as the effective metric field acting on quasiparticles representing the matter field.”</blockquote><p>According to Volovik, Einstein’s general relativity and quantum field theory are effective field theories for our low-energy world, emerging from the unknown microscopic theory of the high-energy quantum vacuum.</p><p>Volovik proposes that all fundamental physics (or, rather, what we consider as fundamental physics today) could be derived from the physics of the “superfluid vacuum” — a superfluid state of matter in an underlying “trans-Planckian” microscopic world, which we don’t perceive.</p><p>Our fundamental physics could be derived from the (unknown) trans-Planckian physics of the superfluid vacuum just like the “quasiphysics” of quasiparticles in superfluid helium can be derived from the (known) microscopic physics of the helium substrate.</p><p>If so, the world we perceive is a quasiworld made of quasitables, quasichairs, and of course quasiphysicists and quasiphilosophers. We — the quasiphysicists and quasiphilosophers — are in the same situation of Volovik’s “inner observers.” Volovik explains:</p><blockquote>“Since there are particles and quasiparticles, there are two observers, ‘external’ and ‘inner’, who belong to different worlds. An ‘external’ observer is made of particles and belongs to the microscopic world…</blockquote><blockquote>An ‘inner’ observer is made of low-energy quasiparticles and lives in the effective ‘relativistic’ world. For the inner observer the liquid in its ground state is an empty space. This observer views the smooth inhomogeneity of the underlying liquid as the effective spacetime in which free quasiparticles move along geodesics. This spacetime, determined by the acoustic metric, does not reflect the real absolute space and absolute time of the world of atoms…</blockquote><blockquote>At the same time the vacuum of the liquid, which looks empty for an inner observer, is not ‘empty’ at all: it is densely populated with the underlying atoms.”</blockquote><p>External observers (physicists) and inner observers (quasiphysicists) disagree on many aspects of reality. For example, the maximum attainable velocity of quasiparticles, which plays the role of the speed of light in the quasiworld, is lower (often much lower) than the speed of light in the real microscopic world.</p><p>For inner observers, effective space and time emerge from the Einstein-like metric derived from microscopic physics. Therefore, if we are inner observers, space and time themselves emerge from the physics of the superfluid vacuum.</p><h4>A material simulation hypothesis</h4><p>I have elaborated (work in progress) on several aspects of this “<a href="https://turingchurch.net/a-super-toy-model-for-scientific-theology-db3674bbfaa3">super toy model for scientific theology</a>,” arguing that super-intelligent consciousness could exist in the superfluid quantum vacuum and organize the reality that we perceive.</p><p>The reality that we see is engineered by a super-intelligent entity in a hidden reality that we don’t see — which is the simulation hypothesis. But I’m trying to move beyond naive formulations of the simulation hypothesis and suggest a more physical model: the Mind in the superfluid vacuum — God — engineers our reality just like we engineer condensed matter systems with desired properties.</p><p>We are learning how to control collections of quasiparticles in superconductors and superfluids, and future advances could permit to precisely control individual quasiparticles. It is conceivable that future technology could permit creating condensed matter systems (“worlds”) that contain self-aware, intelligent beings made of quasiparticles. The we could upload these beings to our world, or they could figure out how to upload themselves.</p><p>Similarly, God organizes and fine-tunes our world from the superfluid vacuum. Perhaps God uploads us to a new habitat after death, and perhaps we will find out how to upload ourselves, including all those who died in the past (remember, time is not fundamental in this model).</p><p>In this material simulation hypothesis, the superfluid vacuum is the computing hardware, and our world (particles, fields, tables, chairs, and we ourselves) plays the role of “data” generated by a “simulation.” All important features of the simulation hypothesis, including the possibility of resurrection, are still present, but there is essential continuity and everything really happens in one and the same material universe.</p><p><em>Skyrmions images from </em><a href="https://neutrons.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/Berkeley_workshop_report_2014_rev_10.pdf"><em>ORNL</em></a><em> and </em><a href="http://www.cpfs.mpg.de/2492646/NONCOLLINER-MAGNATISM-AND-SKYRMIONS-IN-HEUSLERS"><em>Max Planck Institute</em></a><em>.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=aa4758950577" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/from-elon-musk-to-joseph-smith-a-material-simulation-hypothesis-aa4758950577">From Elon Musk to Joseph Smith: a material simulation hypothesis</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> Psychology Today – The Pastor Who Found God in Technology http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/323374949/0/christopherbenek~Psychology-Today-The-Pastor-Who-Found-God-in-Technology/ Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:cfeda4ff-8ff2-459b-ece3-bffd3e3e7837 Tue, 16 May 2017 18:24:17 -0600 Top innovator, creative thinker &#038; global strategist, John Nosta interviews The Rev. Dr. Christopher Benek on God, Christian Transhumanism &#038; AI for Psychology Today. 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Dr. Christopher Benek on God, Christian Transhumanism &#038; AI for Psychology Today. 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While there was much discussion on social media, the conversations were less than fruitful when arguments hinged on the definition of pornography.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">I’m highly skeptical of absolute statements concerning traditional notions of pornography when sexual imagery is far more complicated that just <b>good</b> or <b>bad</b>. I have often said, “I am anti-porn, because I’m pro-sex.” But what is porn?<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">According to Merriam-Webster, pornography is defined as: (1) the depiction of erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement (2) material such as books or photography that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">I suspect most people would conform to this definition of pornography or something akin to it.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">If we accept this definition, one must conclude that not all pornography is bad. For example, I send my husband explicit, erotic images and videos of myself regularly with the deliberate intent to sexually arouse and excite him. Over fifteen years of marriage, he certainly has collected quite a “pornographic collection” and has developed what some would consider a definitional “pornography addiction.” But in this context words like <b>pornography</b> and <b>addiction</b>, as traditionally defined, hardly seem helpful. Frankly, those words seem silly. But why? How is pornography different than me sending erotic images and videos to my husband?<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">The sexual expressions, depictions, and behaviors between my husband and I are founded upon love and intimacy. I’m not convinced this medium of sexual interaction is bad, damaging, or immoral. Quite the contrary, it is a consensual expression of sexual desire that provokes intimacy and love among the involved parties. I would contend that sexually explicit or erotic material that enhances intimacy and love in interpersonal relationships of all persons involved is <b>NOT</b> pornography. Pornography should be defined in terms of harmful sexual expressions, not arousal or excitement.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">For example, to the extent that sexually explicit material enhances intimacy and love in interpersonal relationships among consenting members, it is <b>good </b>and therefore is <b>NOT</b> pornography. To the extent that sexually explicit material is a hindrance to intimacy and love in interpersonal relationships, it is <b>bad</b> and therefore <b>IS</b> pornography. <o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Pornography has tangible effects on human sexual desire, response, and functionality. If we look at some of the potential harm that comes from prolonged, systematic exposure to pornography, which is sadly exacerbated by damaging shame tactics and dangerously repressed sexual desires, we certainly shouldn’t ignore the risks and effects of engaging in pornography viewing, production, and distribution.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">However, if pornography is defined as <b>depictions of erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement that are a hindrance to intimacy and love in interpersonal relationships</b>, the word pornography has become an identifier of what we wish to avoid, which is harmful, oppressive, sexual expressions to oneself and/or others. With this definition of pornography, we aren’t shaming sexual desire and arousal via imagery and media, we are instead identifying harmful sexual expressions.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Of course, the devil is in the details. This definition of pornography certainly leaves room for interpretation and would likely vary among the persons involved. What is a harmful sexual expression to me may not be a harmful sexual expression to you. While my husband may enjoy sexually explicit media of me in a perfectly healthy way, if he were to distribute those images or videos without my consent, they would then become pornography because they were distributed in a manner that would hinder love and intimacy in our relationship. In this sense pornography is a fluid state that may or may not change depending on context.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background: white;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">There is still much to be explored and understood about the risks and benefits of sexual expressions, especially as technology continues to connect us with others in radically unprecedented ways. Should pornography play a role in our relationships? Well, it depends on how you define pornography. It should be defined in terms of damage, harm, and oppression. So I would say no, there is no need for it in our relationships.</span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="background-color: white; color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><span style="background-color: white; color: #666666;">As for myself, discussions about pornography seem silly when definitions, assumptions, and verbal baggage obstruct meaningful discovery of what are helpful sexual expressions and harmful sexual expressions. I certainly am anti-porn, because I perceive pornography as harmful sexual expressions that inhibit love and intimacy among involved persons. I am certainly pro-sex, because sex is a powerful, dare I even say godly, way of enhancing love and intimacy among involved, consenting persons. As technology is further developed I have no doubt it will radically change the way we perceive and engage in sexual behaviors, but we won’t be able to appropriately discuss the risks and ramifications if we can’t even define pornography in any meaningful way.</span></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><a href="http://rationalfaiths.com/defining-pornography/">*Published at Rational Faiths on Tuesday, May 16, 2017</a></span></div> Postgenderism: Liberation from Homogenization http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2017/05/postgenderism-liberation-from.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:efff7e8f-3e79-a5c5-c083-5ea8fc7d6434 Wed, 10 May 2017 10:58:00 -0600 <div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: left;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_LLJ1ETtckY/WQk7QRCr22I/AAAAAAAAMSE/uYvjqL7Wk34qDkdc68sXA2TGev8HX2iswCLcB/s1600/19.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="426" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_LLJ1ETtckY/WQk7QRCr22I/AAAAAAAAMSE/uYvjqL7Wk34qDkdc68sXA2TGev8HX2iswCLcB/s640/19.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ztg7KVs6nNc?list=PLbIPMPVrfXYD5yZT_2EhDQqs8RFzfrTej" width="560"></iframe><span style="color: #666666; font-size: x-small;"><span style="background: white; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , serif; line-height: 115%;"><br /></span></span><span style="color: #666666; font-size: x-small;"><span style="background: white; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , serif; line-height: 115%;">Presented at The Mormon Transhumanist Association 201</span><span style="background: white; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , serif; line-height: 115%;">7</span><span style="background: white; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , serif; line-height: 115%;"> Conference on </span><span style="background: white; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , serif; line-height: 115%;">8 April 2017</span><span style="background: white; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , serif; line-height: 115%;"> at the </span><span style="background: white; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , serif; line-height: 115%;">Utah Valley Convention Center.</span></span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; text-align: left;"><span style="color: #666666;"><br /></span></span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; text-align: left;"><span style="color: #666666;">The word postgender might conjure up various ideas and images—everything from a society evolved beyond traditional gender roles, to the total abolishment of gender, to a conformed, sexless, genderless species void of diversity. While many postgenderists with have different views and perceptions, my hope today is to share a unique view of gender that offers us insight into the possibilities of what a postgender society could look like. Do we need gender equality or gender abolishment? Or do we need gender liberation?</span></span></div></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Let’s begin by taking a closer look at sex and gender. What is biological sex? How is it different from gender? How does this affect a person’s gender identity? How accurate are our binary categories?</span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b><span style="font-size: x-large; line-height: 115%;">Biological Sex</span></b></span></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">What does it mean to be female and male?</span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>1. Chromosomes</b></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">The oversimplified version of sex chromosomes is that women have XX chromosomes while, men have XY chromosomes. It seems straightforward, until it’s not. Females do have XX chromosomes while males have XY chromosomes. However, a third gender exists quite naturally without any technological, social, or philosophical intervention. Roughly 1 in 1,000 births are of XXY <a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn1" name="_ednref1" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[1]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a>chromosomes, known as Klinefelter syndrome.<a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn2" name="_ednref2" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[2]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a>Other chromosomal variations include Turner syndrome, XYY syndrome, or triple X syndrome.<a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn3" name="_ednref3" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[3]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a>Many are also born with an inability to reproduce. These individuals are intersex and are not chromosomally classified as male or female even though their genitalia may or may not present indicators of their chromosomal variance. </span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>2. Gonads </b></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines sex as “the fundamental distinction based on the type of gametes produced by the individual.”<a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn4" name="_ednref4" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[4]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a>Smaller gametes called sperm are assigned male and larger gametes, called ovum, are assigned female. While most people fall into the male and female categories, some people are born with ovotestis, which are gonads that contain attributes of both ovarian and testicular tissue.</span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>3. Sex Hormones </b></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Natural sex hormones are made by the&nbsp;gonads and interact with androgen (male)&nbsp;or&nbsp;estrogen (female)&nbsp;receptors.<a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn5" name="_ednref5" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[5]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a>The two main sex steroids for females are estrogen and progesterone. For males, it’s testosterone.</span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">One could also argue extreme hormonal abnormalities could constitute a biological sex variance that is non-binary. For example, females who contain high levels of testosterone may experience deepening of the voice, increased muscle mass, enlarged clitoris, or frontal balding similar to men. Their hormonal variance can play a significant role in how they experience gender.</span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">High concentrations of androgens (male steroid hormones) have been associated to infertility in women, particularly polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). An interesting aspect of a study conducted by researchers from the London Women’s Clinic found that lesbians are twice as likely to have an imbalance of sex hormones. Dr. Rina Agrawal commented about the study, "Our research neither suggests nor indicates that polycystic ovaries-PCOS causes lesbianism, only that polycystic ovaries-PCOS is more prevalent in lesbian women. We do, however, hypothesise that hyperandrogenism - which is associated with PCOS - may be one of the factors contributing to the sexual orientation of women."<a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn6" name="_ednref6" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[6]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">In other words, if a female has higher levels of androgens, like testosterone, does that make her more male and more likely to be attracted to women? Conversely, if a male has higher level of estrogen in comparison to his levels of testosterone, would that make him less male and more likely to be attracted to other males? Possibly.</span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">This could be the beginning of linking biological sex variances with sexual orientation and/or fertility. This is one reason it’s important to understand biological sex, independent of gender identity and performance, before making conclusions about sexual orientation. We are a product of our anatomies and a better understanding of our biology could lead us to better understand sexual orientation, and when, how, and where those sexual orientations fit into society.</span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>4. Internal Reproductive Anatomy</b></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">Internal reproductive anatomy of women generally includes a vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.<a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn7" name="_ednref7" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[7]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a>Internal reproductive anatomy of men generally includes a vas deferens, seminal vesicle, prostate gland, Cowper’s gland, epididymis, and testes.<a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn8" name="_ednref8" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[8]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a>However, when we look at the intersex population there are overlaps that can challenge our binary categories. A person might be born with external male genitalia while also having internal female genitalia. A man could have a fully functioning uterus and penis. A woman could have an abnormal or dysfunctional uterus while still having perfectly normal female genitalia.</span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b><br /></b></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b>5. Genitalia</b></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">The clitoris and the penis are homologous organs, meaning they share a biological structure, but not the same function. Clitorises and penises are made out of the same tissue and both will fill with blood and become erect during arousal. In fact, all of our genitalia is homologous. The labia and scrotum are made from the same tissue as well.<a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn9" name="_ednref9" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[9]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a> So why do genitals looks so different if they are homologous? In the womb, when genitalia is being developed we start off as unisex. The esthetics of your genitalia and the functionality of your breasts and nipples are then affected by the hormones that are present. Females will often develop fatty breast tissue with more functional mammary glands for production of milk. Generally, males are denied this function.<a href="file:///C:/Users/Ostler%20Family/Documents/Journals/Blaire's%20Journals/Blaire%20Ostler%202017/Rethinking%20Postgenderism/Rethinking%20Postgenderism%20-%20Liberation%20from%20Homogenization.docx#_edn10" name="_ednref10" title=""><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[10]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></a></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">But what happens when there is a variation in the hormones during genital development? Sometimes you get ambiguous genitalia, a clitoris can look like a small penis or a penis can look like a large clitoris.</span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><span style="color: #666666;">An intersex person may identify her penis as feminine, because it is in fact her penis. The way she perceives and experiences her body and gender will vary and will sometimes challenge our prescribed social gender assumptions. Perhaps it’s time we realize sexual dimorphism is not as binary as we’d like to believe.</span><span class="MsoEndnoteReference" style="color: #e69138;"><!--[if !supportFootnotes]--><span class="MsoEndnoteReference"><span style="line-height: 115%;">[11]</span></span><!--[endif]--></span></span></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><b><span style="font-size: x-large; line-height: 115%;">Gender Identity</span></b></span></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">What does it mean to b All those Everett worlds https://turingchurch.net/all-those-everett-worlds-f1f2277f96f3?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:3a43b6a9-77f4-5643-c110-bdda668e8380 Fri, 05 May 2017 01:56:12 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*PQRql4BX_-RuduCucQuwgA.jpeg" /></figure><p>After republishing the old essay “<a href="https://turingchurch.net/shadows-and-the-concept-of-self-d01ff65ce9f9">Shadows and the concept of self</a>,” which Richard L. Miller and I first wrote in 2005, I have been doing more reading and thinking about <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Everett_III">Hugh Everett</a>‘s Relative State formulation of quantum mechanics, its popular interpretation as “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation">Many Worlds</a>,”, and alternative interpretations.</p><p>I recommend reading Everett’s biography “<a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-many-worlds-of-hugh-everett-iii-9780199552276"><em>The Many Worlds of Hugh Everett III: Multiple Universes, Mutual Assured Destruction, and the Meltdown of a Nuclear Family</em></a>,” by Peter Byrne, who is not a physicist himself but took the time to talk to top physicists and understand Everett’s theory, which he explains well. I found also interesting Byrne’s juicy account of Everett’s personal life — great scientists put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us, screw like us, and screw up like us.</p><p>See also <a href="http://sl4.org/archive/1008/21012.html">John K Clark’s review of Byrne’s book</a>.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*VrfD2PM3KNPLK1a_cQtatQ.jpeg" /></figure><p>Everett’s (or more precisely DeWitt’s, see below) Many Worlds are like “Many Sheets” of paper. Each sheet is a universe. When something is observed to happen, the sheet splits in parallel sheets. You (your memory, life history and all that) live in a sheet, but there are countless other versions of you in other sheets.</p><p>Everett’s theory, formulated in the fifties and first published in 1957, was hidden in total obscurity until Bryce DeWitt published a semi-popular outline in <em>Physics Today</em> titled “ Quantum Mechanics and Reality: Could the solution to the dilemma of indeterminism be a universe in which all possible outcomes of an experiment actually occur?” (1970). To bring Everett’s ideas to public attention, DeWitt used deliberately strong language, such as the “Many Worlds” label (not used by Everett) and passages like:</p><blockquote>“[Every] quantum transition taking place on every star, in every galaxy, in every remote corner of the universe is splitting our local world on earth into myriads of copies of itself.”</blockquote><p>Everett’s original papers, including previously unpublished papers, are collected in “<em>The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics</em>,” edited by DeWitt and Neill Graham and published in 1973, after DeWitt’s <em>Physics Today</em> article. Since then, Everett’s ideas have often been referred to as “Many World Interpretation” (MWI) of quantum mechanics. Another collection titled “<em>The Everett Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Collected Works 1955–1980 with Commentary</em>,” edited by Byrne and Jeffrey A. Barrett and published in 2012, includes many of the same works but also new material.</p><p>Quantum mechanics doesn’t predict the outcome of a physical process, but only the probabilities of different possible outcomes. In the MWI, different possible macroscopic outcomes of a quantum process are realized in different parallel worlds, which together form the “multiverse” — the set of all parallel worlds, also called “branches of the multiverse.” The number of worlds where one specific outcome is realized — or in other words, the “size” of the region of the multiverse where one specific outcome is realized — is proportional to (and/or can be taken as a definition of) the probability of the outcome, which can be computed with the mathematical equations of quantum physics.</p><h4>What did Everett mean?</h4><p>Reading Everett’s original writings I have the impression that he didn’t think in terms of the universe splitting into parallel universes.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/900/1*RFMz6J2Z6JO7avtgH0IcXQ.jpeg" /></figure><p>In fact, Everett just said that quantum mechanics is true. I suspect the multiverse that Everett really had in mind is One Big World (as opposite to the many “small” worlds of the MWI), too complex for us to perceive and understand. All possibilities are still realized out there in the multiverse, but the multiverse doesn’t have a simple visual interpretation as a set of parallel worlds.</p><p>Instead of a stack of sheets of paper, I prefer to think of a 3D object casting different shadows on different planes. For example a 3D cylinder can cast a rectangular shadow on a plane, and a circular shadow on another plane. The cylinder itself, it is neither a rectangle nor a circle, but a 3D object that can’t be captured on a plane. Generalize to a huge number of dimensions, and you get the idea.</p><p>On the other hand, Byrne and many of the scientists he consulted defend the MWI picture and claim it’s what Everett had in mind.</p><h4>Decoherence</h4><p>Quantum systems are delicate: unavoidable interactions with the environment force weird macroscopic quantum states (e.g. a stone in two places at the same time, a cat that is both dead AND alive) to become ensembles of possible unweird states: the stone becomes classically localized either here OR there, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat">Schrödinger’s cat</a> is either dead OR alive.</p><p>This “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_decoherence">decoherence</a>” process, which is considered as a rigorous consequence of the equations of quantum physics and can be shown to take place in very short times for most physical systems, explains why we don’t see quantum weirdness unless we look for it in lab experiments.</p><p>However, while decoherence shows that a weird quantum superposition of a stone here AND there will evaporate rapidly and leave either a stone here OR a stone there, it doesn’t really say where is the stone: it can be here or there (though not here and there). Therefore, according to some physicists, decoherence seems to suggest the MWI: a version the stone is here in this world, and another version of the stone is there in another, equally real parallel world.</p><h4>Like it or not?</h4><p>Everett’s used to be my favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics. I am less sure now, because Everett assumes the universal validity of quantum mechanics, and perhaps it’s too early to be sure that a theory developed in the early 20th century is the ultimate scientific model of reality. I guess current science will seem very naive from the vantage point of future science. Of course, the core concept of multiple parallel realities could still be part of future scientific models.</p><p>Another objection to Everett — an emotional objection — is that I don’t like to worry about all those versions of me in all those words where I am much less happy than here. But there are also interesting ideas of “quantum resurrection” in MWI worlds where <a href="https://turingchurch.net/scientific-concepts-of-afterlife-sketched-in-the-discovery-247013123629">your life becomes better and better as you move life after life</a>.</p><p>See “<a href="https://turingchurch.net/racing-worlds-a-visual-model-for-downward-causation-in-physics-55c7452f7756">Racing Worlds: A visual model for downward causation in physics”</a> for a mental toy model, based on Everett’s ideas, which I have made up to visualize a physical mechanism for downward causation.</p><h4>All those Stapledon worlds</h4><p>It’s worth noting that Olaf Stapledon anticipated Everett and DeWitt in <a href="https://turingchurch.net/star-maker-the-cosmic-theology-of-olaf-stapledon-26c80d56c2d9">his masterpiece “<em>Star Maker</em>”</a> (1937). One of the creations of the Star Maker is a multiverse:</p><blockquote>“In one inconceivably complex cosmos, whenever a creature was faced with several possible courses of action, it took them all, thereby creating many distinct temporal dimensions and distinct histories of the cosmos. Since in every evolutionary sequence of the cosmos there were very many creatures, and each was constantly faced with many possible courses, and the combinations of all their courses were innumerable, an infinity of distinct universes exfoliated from every moment of every temporal sequence in this cosmos.”</blockquote><p>Everett was an avid science fiction reader, so perhaps he was influenced by Stapledon’s fiction. Or, alternatively, perhaps Stapledon was influenced by preliminary versions of multiverse concepts. <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2016/05/23/a-for-almighty-fred-hoyles-cosmic-theology/">Fred Hoyle noted</a> that, much before Everett, he and his fellow students used to lightly speculate about “alter egos” in parallel universes, and suspects that the concept may have been speculated about from the earliest days of quantum mechanics.</p><p><a href="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/People_Shadow.JPG"><em>Shadows</em></a><em> image from Wikimedia Commons, </em><a href="http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/30000/velka/stacked-paper-sheets.jpg"><em>Stacked paper sheets image</em></a><em> from Public Domain Pictures.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=f1f2277f96f3" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/all-those-everett-worlds-f1f2277f96f3">All those Everett worlds</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> The Neohuman Podcast with Agah Bahari – Episode 34 Christopher Benek http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/308528968/0/christopherbenek~The-Neohuman-Podcast-with-Agah-Bahari-Episode-Christopher-Benek/ Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:9fd6ee13-534a-e541-ae64-98a1181bf276 Wed, 03 May 2017 20:53:07 -0600 Agah Bahari talks with The Rev. Dr. Christopher Benek about the Christian Transhumanist Association on The Neohuman Podcast. 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Dr. Christopher Benek about the Christian Transhumanist Association on The Neohuman Podcast. 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Dr. Christopher Benek. She writes "After losing her faith, a former evangelical Christian felt adrift in the world. She then found solace in a radical technological philosophy – but its promises of immortality and spiritual transcendence soon seemed unsettlingly familiar." Read the full story <a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/18/god-in-the-machine-my-strange-journey-into-transhumanism">HERE</a> You can hear the audio version <a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2017/apr/28/god-in-the-machine-my-strange-journey-into-transhumanism-podcast" target="_blank">HERE</a> and you can read Meghan's full essay on transhumanism &#038; Christianity on N+1 <a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="https://nplusonemag.com/issue-28/essays/ghost-in-the-cloud/" target="_blank">HERE</a><div style="clear:both;padding-top:0.2em;"><a title="Add to FaceBook" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/2/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/fbshare20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Like on Facebook" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/28/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/fblike20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Share on Google+" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/30/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/googleplus20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Add to LinkedIn" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/16/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/linkedin20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Pin it!" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/29/303850455/christopherbenek,"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/pinterest20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Add to Reddit" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/1/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/reddit20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Stumble This" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/12/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/stumble20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Tweet This" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/24/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/twitter20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Subscribe by email" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/19/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/email20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Subscribe by RSS" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/20/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/rss20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a rel="NOFOLLOW" title="View Comments" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4487#comments"><img height="20" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;" src="https://assets.feedblitz.com/i/comments20.png"></a>&#160;<a title="Follow Comments via RSS" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?feed=rss2&#038;p=4487"><img height="20" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;" src="https://assets.feedblitz.com/i/commentsrss20.png"></a>&nbsp; <div style="clear:left;"><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4487#comments"><h3>Comments</h3></a><ul><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4487">The Guardian &#8211; God in the machine: my strange journey into transhumanism &#038; N+1 &#8211; Ghost in the Cloud</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4485">A Letter from the Founding Chair of the Christian Transhumanist Association</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4482">The Atlantic &#8211; Is AI a Threat to Christianity?</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4480">Gizmodo &#8211; 8 Ways Virtual Reality Is For More Than Just Video Games</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4479">Architect &#8211; Strapping on the Sacred: When Religion Enters Virtual Reality</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4487#comments">Plus 5 more...</a></li></ul></div><h3 style="clear:left;padding-top:10px">Related Stories</h3><ul><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4482">The Atlantic &#8211; Is AI a Threat to Christianity?</a></li><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4480">Gizmodo &#8211; 8 Ways Virtual Reality Is For More Than Just Video Games</a></li><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4479">Architect &#8211; Strapping on the Sacred: When Religion Enters Virtual Reality</a></li></ul>&#160;</div> <p>Writing for The Guardian, Meghan O&#8217;Gieblyn, chronicles her personal journey and features a cameo appearance of The Rev. Dr. Christopher Benek. She writes &#8220;After losing her faith, a former evangelical Christian felt adrift in the world. She then found solace in a radical technological philosophy – but its promises of immortality and spiritual transcendence soon seemed unsettlingly familiar.&#8221; Read the full story <a href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/0/christopherbenek/~https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/18/god-in-the-machine-my-strange-journey-into-transhumanism">HERE</a> You can hear the audio version <a href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/0/christopherbenek/~https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2017/apr/28/god-in-the-machine-my-strange-journey-into-transhumanism-podcast" target="_blank">HERE</a> and you can read Meghan&#8217;s full essay on transhumanism &#038; Christianity on N+1 <a href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/0/christopherbenek/~https://nplusonemag.com/issue-28/essays/ghost-in-the-cloud/" target="_blank">HERE</a></p> <Img align="left" border="0" height="1" width="1" alt="" style="border:0;float:left;margin:0;padding:0;width:1px!important;height:1px!important;" hspace="0" src="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/i/303850455/0/christopherbenek"> <div style="clear:both;padding-top:0.2em;"><a title="Add to FaceBook" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/2/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/fbshare20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Like on Facebook" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/28/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/fblike20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Share on Google+" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/30/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/googleplus20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Add to LinkedIn" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/16/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/linkedin20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Pin it!" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/29/303850455/christopherbenek,"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/pinterest20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Add to Reddit" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/1/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/reddit20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Stumble This" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/12/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/stumble20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Tweet This" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/24/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/twitter20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Subscribe by email" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/19/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/email20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Subscribe by RSS" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/20/303850455/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/rss20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a rel="NOFOLLOW" title="View Comments" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4487#comments"><img height="20" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;" src="https://assets.feedblitz.com/i/comments20.png"></a>&#160;<a title="Follow Comments via RSS" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?feed=rss2&#038;p=4487"><img height="20" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;" src="https://assets.feedblitz.com/i/commentsrss20.png"></a>&nbsp; <div style="clear:left;"><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4487#comments"><h3>Comments</h3></a><ul><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4487">The Guardian &#8211; God in the machine: my strange journey into transhumanism &#038; N+1 &#8211; Ghost in the Cloud</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4485">A Letter from the Founding Chair of the Christian Transhumanist Association</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4482">The Atlantic &#8211; Is AI a Threat to Christianity?</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4480">Gizmodo &#8211; 8 Ways Virtual Reality Is For More Than Just Video Games</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4479">Architect &#8211; Strapping on the Sacred: When Religion Enters Virtual Reality</a> <i>by Christopher Benek</i><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4487#comments">Plus 5 more...</a></li></ul></div><h3 style="clear:left;padding-top:10px">Related Stories</h3><ul><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4482">The Atlantic &#8211; Is AI a Threat to Christianity?</a></li><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4480">Gizmodo &#8211; 8 Ways Virtual Reality Is For More Than Just Video Games</a></li><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4479">Architect &#8211; Strapping on the Sacred: When Religion Enters Virtual Reality</a></li></ul>&#160;</div> A Letter from the Founding Chair of the Christian Transhumanist Association http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/303835345/0/christopherbenek~A-Letter-from-the-Founding-Chair-of-the-Christian-Transhumanist-Association/ Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:344141f0-0405-ac5e-5daa-c27b14944a77 Sat, 29 Apr 2017 21:03:52 -0600 I want to say that it has been an honor serving as the Board Chair of the CTA for the past 3 years. This is an organization admittedly still in its infancy, and it rightly means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But its creation is significant to me primarily because it offers an alternative to secular transhumanism. That is because Christian Transhumanism is transhumanism that happens in community that seeks to love its neighbors as Christ commanded.<div style="clear:both;padding-top:0.2em;"><a title="Add to FaceBook" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/2/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/fbshare20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Like on Facebook" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/28/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/fblike20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Share on Google+" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/30/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/googleplus20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Add to LinkedIn" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/16/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/linkedin20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Pin it!" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/29/303835345/christopherbenek,"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/pinterest20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Add to Reddit" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/1/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/reddit20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Stumble This" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/12/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/stumble20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Tweet This" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/24/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/twitter20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Subscribe by email" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/19/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/email20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Subscribe by RSS" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/20/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/rss20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a rel="NOFOLLOW" title="View Comments" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4485#respond"><img height="20" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;" src="https://assets.feedblitz.com/i/comments20.png"></a>&#160;<a title="Follow Comments via RSS" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?feed=rss2&#038;p=4485"><img height="20" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;" src="https://assets.feedblitz.com/i/commentsrss20.png"></a><h3 style="clear:left;padding-top:10px">Related Stories</h3><ul><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4459">How Technology Will End The Abortion Debate</a></li><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4476">Pok&#xE9;mon GO Proves that Congress Needs to Establish Augmented Reality Property Rights Now</a></li><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4474">Challenging Christian Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Supporters</a></li></ul>&#160;</div> <p>Dear CTA,</p> <p>I want to say that it has been an honor serving as the Board Chair of the CTA for the past 3 years. This is an organization admittedly still in its infancy, and it rightly means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But its creation is significant to me primarily because it offers an alternative to secular transhumanism. That is because Christian Transhumanism is transhumanism that happens in community that seeks to love its neighbors as Christ commanded.</p> <p>We may not always be good at that—actually we may sometimes be awful at it—but our motivation at its heart is the selflessness of Christ, not the ego driven Will to Power that motivates many (not all) secular transhumanists.</p> <p>I think that as Christian Transhumanists we are called to discernment in community—in Christ—as to what technological future we are called to steward forward. The only way this works though is if we are willing to ultimately humble ourselves for the good of others. This means that different voices need to be heard—even those that are wildly disenfranchised—within a community that strives to live into the formational teachings of Jesus. It is certainly hard work. It takes patience and sacrifice and, maybe most importantly, a fervent desire for reconciliation. But in this humility, I think, comes the honor of a vocational call that promises, in Jesus, to allow us to participate in the redemption of humanity and all of creation as Image Bearers and Stewards on behalf of God.</p> <p>But given all of this, I’ve discerned that it wouldn’t model the right behavior for the CTA’s first Board Chair to attempt to cling to power. For that is the exact critique that we should have of secular transhumanists. Our true power—as Creatures made in the Image of God—arises only in obedience and submission through Christ. And so it is for this reason primarily that I’ve decided not to seek to remain as a board member. This will be a good break for me to foster creativity in other areas and to enjoy my family—particularly my little techno-baby who is about to turn two. It is my intention to continue to aid, walk with, and to be part of the conversations of the CTA in whatever ways I may be able to be helpful.</p> <p>When I initially called Micah Redding to see if he was interested in founding the CTA with me, my intention was that the CTA would stand as this visible alternative to secular transhumanism. I think that most thoughtful folks recognize this fact. I think that is also of note that it was my intention—from the start—that Micah Redding would serve as the CTA Executive Director for an indefinite period of time as long as the Board continued to be satisfied with his leadership. As you all know, he continues to do a fine job. I think most folks here would affirm Micah’s vocational calling to the role he is serving in. So it is my prayer that you will continue to support him in the work of Christ.</p> <p>We Christian Transhumanists are a New Creation in Jesus. Will we have challenges? Certainly. Will we have to continue to discern our theological identity? Who among us doesn’t? Do we certainly know what is next to come? Not exactly! But there is one thing that we all have the power to ensure. That we will experience it together. May God’s grace steward us as we seek to humbly steward Humanity and all of Creation.</p> <p>Many Blessings,</p> <p>Chris</p> <Img align="left" border="0" height="1" width="1" alt="" style="border:0;float:left;margin:0;padding:0;width:1px!important;height:1px!important;" hspace="0" src="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/i/303835345/0/christopherbenek"> <div style="clear:both;padding-top:0.2em;"><a title="Add to FaceBook" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/2/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/fbshare20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Like on Facebook" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/28/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/fblike20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Share on Google+" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/30/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/googleplus20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Add to LinkedIn" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/16/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/linkedin20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Pin it!" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/29/303835345/christopherbenek,"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/pinterest20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Add to Reddit" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/1/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/reddit20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Stumble This" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/12/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/stumble20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Tweet This" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/24/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/twitter20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Subscribe by email" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/19/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/email20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a title="Subscribe by RSS" href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/_/20/303835345/christopherbenek"><img height="20" src="http://assets.feedblitz.com/i/rss20.png" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;"></a>&#160;<a rel="NOFOLLOW" title="View Comments" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4485#respond"><img height="20" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;" src="https://assets.feedblitz.com/i/comments20.png"></a>&#160;<a title="Follow Comments via RSS" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?feed=rss2&#038;p=4485"><img height="20" style="border:0;margin:0;padding:0;" src="https://assets.feedblitz.com/i/commentsrss20.png"></a><h3 style="clear:left;padding-top:10px">Related Stories</h3><ul><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4459">How Technology Will End The Abortion Debate</a></li><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4476">Pok&#xE9;mon GO Proves that Congress Needs to Establish Augmented Reality Property Rights Now</a></li><li><a rel="NOFOLLOW" href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?p=4474">Challenging Christian Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Supporters</a></li></ul>&#160;</div> The Serpent’s Lie http://micahredding.com/blog/the-serpents-lie Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:747070b8-5a41-ef29-306d-760c8f634836 Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:45:10 -0600 I’ve heard it over and over again, when people are considering some new capabilities or technological power: “This is just a repeat of the Serpent’s lie, You shall be like God!” The reference is to Genesis, where the Serpent tempts Eve by prom... <p><img src="http://res.cloudinary.com/micahredding/image/upload/c_limit,w_600/v1493415967/xomoyxxnyf5nko1kbe2n.jpg" alt="The Serpent’s Lie"> </p> <p>I’ve heard it over and over again, when people are considering some new capabilities or technological power:</p> <blockquote> <p>“This is just a repeat of the Serpent’s lie, <em>You shall be like God!</em>”</p> </blockquote> <p>The reference is to Genesis, where the Serpent tempts Eve by promising her that the forbidden fruit will make her like God. Eve believes the lie, eats the fruit, and there goes the future of the human race.</p> <p>There’s just one problem. </p> <p><em>That’s not what the Bible says. </em></p> <p>Biblically speaking, all the people who have made the above statement about the “Serpent’s lie” were actually calling God a liar. Because <a href="https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+3:22&amp;version=NIV" target="_blank">just a few verses later</a>, God himself confirms the Serpent’s claim that Eve had become <em>like God</em>. </p> <p>In fact, the Bible makes it clear that God’s whole intention for the human race was that they be <em>like God</em>. The <a href="https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis+1:26-27&amp;version=NIV" target="_blank">very first thing</a> that the Bible says about humans is that this is what God created them for. <a href="http://micahredding.com/blog/the-tree-of-the-knowledge-of-good-and-evil" target="_blank">As I’ve described elsewhere</a>, this is why God plants the two trees in the Garden of Eden—both of which would make humanity more like God.</p> <p>The New Testament takes this farther, describing Christianity as the call to be like Christ, the human being who is perfectly “like God”.</p> <p>The Biblical claim is that humanity was made to be like God, that humanity is already somewhat like God, and that humanity is intended to become more like God through the imitation of Christ.</p> <p>Of course, the Serpent <em>does</em> tell a lie—It’s just not about being like God. </p> <blockquote> <p>The serpent said to the woman, “You shall not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4)</p> </blockquote> <p>The Serpent was right that humanity was made to be like God, and would become more like God through eating of the Tree of Knowledge. The Serpent was lying when it claimed that this expanded set of capabilities was free of risks and responsibilities.</p> <p>The biblical story insists that expanded, God-like knowledge carried with it <a href="http://micahredding.com/blog/the-dark-side-of-knowledge" target="_blank">an incredible set of risks</a>, and that refusing to face these risks has led to devastating consequences throughout the checkered history of the human race. </p> <p>That is why salvation comes through Christ, the human who <em>does surely die</em>, facing all of these risks and responsibilities, and taking their consequences on himself. And this is why we are called to imitate him. </p> <p>The Serpent’s lie was that we could take on God-like power, without taking on God-like responsibility. This is why Eve was deceived. She wanted to be like God in one area, and shrink from being like God in another. </p> <p>The truth is that Eve needed to become more like God than she ever imagined. Because there is nothing more God-like than accepting and acknowledging your power, while being willing to bear the responsibilities that come with it. </p> A correction to the ‘Dry Mormon’ story https://turingchurch.net/a-correction-to-the-dry-mormon-story-2ce1e1842761?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:423305e9-e672-0cc5-7cf0-883cc14c3488 Fri, 28 Apr 2017 08:28:31 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*rguIc7x6nNnxljPUafeMLw.jpeg" /></figure><p><em>ExtraNewsfeed</em> has a nice story on the <a href="https://transfigurism.org/">Mormon Transhumanist Association</a>, titled “<a href="https://extranewsfeed.com/heard-of-a-dry-mormon-turns-out-there-s-quite-a-few-dry-mormon-transhumanists-7d07672d9963">Heard of a ‘dry Mormon?’ Turns out, there were quite a few ‘dry Mormon’… transhumanists</a>.” I wish to make one little correction.</p><p>I had to google “dry Mormon,” which <a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dry%20Mormon">seems to mean</a> “A person who acts like a Mormon (hangs out with Mormons, has the lifestyle and values of a Mormon) but is not a Mormon. This type of person is usually part of a different sect of Christianity and believes in things like not consuming drugs that affect the body (i.e. alcohol, caffeine), abstaining from premarital sex, and being an active part of his/her community.”</p><p>The story mentions me as one who “came out” as a believer in Catholicism, the faith of his youth, while <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVup2TgYZAs">keynoting the 2012 MTA conference</a>.</p><p>But I didn’t say that.</p><iframe src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FdVup2TgYZAs%3Ffeature%3Doembed&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DdVup2TgYZAs&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FdVup2TgYZAs%2Fhqdefault.jpg&amp;key=d04bfffea46d4aeda930ec88cc64b87c&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=youtube" width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"><a href="https://medium.com/media/d7159a021efb2ba4639c8a21b6194464/href">https://medium.com/media/d7159a021efb2ba4639c8a21b6194464/href</a></iframe><p>I said that I believe in God, which is not the same thing. In fact, I don’t really identify as a Catholic as opposed to, for example, a Mormon or a member of “a different sect of Christianity.”</p><p>Also, I don’t care for the petty lifestyle prescriptions found in the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, and most religions that I’m aware of.</p><p>I do consume drugs that affect my body. Caffeine, for sure. Alcohol, not that much these days, but I am (God forbid) a filthy and unrepentant smoker, of all things. I didn’t use to abstain from premarital sex either.</p><p>According to the definition above, I guess that makes me a “wet Christian.”</p><p>My religion in a nutshell: I am persuaded that we will go to the stars and find Gods, build Gods, become Gods, and resurrect the dead from the past with advanced science, space-time engineering and “time magic.” I see God emerging from the community of advanced forms of life and civilizations in the universe, and able to influence space-time events anywhere, anytime, perhaps even here and now. I also expect God to elevate love and compassion to the status of fundamental forces, key drivers for the evolution of the universe.</p><p>But my God is not interested in the petty details of our daily life, as long as we act with love and compassion. My God has no interest in what you do with your genitals, or with whom, as long as you act with compassion and love. My God has no interest in what and when I eat, or drink, or smoke, or inhale, as long as I act with love and compassion. My God has no preference for one or another nation, religion, ethnic group, gender, or sport team. My God is very, very, very far above these things.</p><p>The passages above are from my essay “<a href="http://turingchurch.com/2014/04/08/cosmology-is-not-geography/">Cosmology is not geography</a>,” written at the 2014 MTA conference. I appreciate theology, religious metaphysics and eschatology, the quest for cosmic sense of wonder, meaning, and God. I call all that “cosmology” as opposed to “geography.”</p><p>But many religions have really petty, extremely provincial “geographical” aspects related to what and when one should eat or drink or what sex is allowed and with whom. I don’t care for that stuff at all. It isn’t even geography — it’s local zoning norms, often questionable, sometimes ugly.</p><p>I am frustrated by seeing that so many people seem more interested in geography than cosmology. Please read “<a href="http://turingchurch.com/2014/04/08/cosmology-is-not-geography/">Cosmology is not geography</a>,” and let me know where you stand.</p><p><em>In the picture I am with a group of Mormon/Christian transhumanists at a recent MTA conference.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=2ce1e1842761" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/a-correction-to-the-dry-mormon-story-2ce1e1842761">A correction to the ‘Dry Mormon’ story</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> A Thoughtful Faith Podcast http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2017/04/a-podcast-inwhich-lovely-colvin-i-had.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:5d30c93e-ec6c-f320-3076-e08b320d9555 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:00:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KVSQgES_WeM/WP_vykZA9SI/AAAAAAAAMRk/UWpGgAedf2QcJNfXlk9MEVjFNfKvibbPQCLcB/s1600/portrait%2B%25287%2529%2Bb.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="470" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KVSQgES_WeM/WP_vykZA9SI/AAAAAAAAMRk/UWpGgAedf2QcJNfXlk9MEVjFNfKvibbPQCLcB/s640/portrait%2B%25287%2529%2Bb.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><br /><div style="text-align: justify;"><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">A podcast in which the lovely&nbsp;Gina Colvin&nbsp;and I had a conversation about theosis, God, creation, Transhumanism, Mormonism, the Divine Feminine, technology, sex, gender, and process theology. You can listen to the podcast at A Thoughtful Faith,&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.athoughtfulfaith.org/god-the-image-of-god-theosis-sex-and-godly-creation-blaire-ostler/"><span style="font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">193: God, the Image of God, Theosis, Sex, and Godly Creation.</span></a></div></div></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;"><br /></span><br /><span style="font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;"><a href="http://www.athoughtfulfaith.org/god-the-image-of-god-theosis-sex-and-godly-creation-blaire-ostler/">*Published at A Thoughtful Faith on Sunday, April 23, 2017</a></span></div> Racing Worlds: A visual model for downward causation in physics https://turingchurch.net/racing-worlds-a-visual-model-for-downward-causation-in-physics-55c7452f7756?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:7c3546ff-479f-04d7-8bf7-3ac3da469b7e Fri, 21 Apr 2017 09:42:08 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*KONZuYQhwSYP8bsD_fa37A.jpeg" /></figure><p>I have long been trying to wrap my mind around the intriguing but elusive idea of downward causation, or top-down causation. I thought of an intuitive “visual” model to show how downward causation could work. Turns out the model explains life, the universe and everything ;-).</p><p>Downward causation is the idea that the whole of a system can influence its parts in ways that cannot be reduced to the local interactions between the parts. Interestingly, downward causation is found in Aristotle and medieval thinkers but has then fallen out of fashion, surely as a result of the spectacular success of Newton’s physics. Do we need more flexible concepts of causation?</p><p>The related but weaker concept of emergence recognizes that higher level system models emerge from lower levels. For example fluid dynamics and thermodynamics emerge from the physics of interacting particles, and higher levels like biology emerge from lower levels. The high levels have their own models, relatively independent of the low levels.</p><p>For example, trying to study cancer with quantum field theory wouldn’t make practical sense, and one has to use higher level concepts from molecular biology. At the same time, emergence doesn’t speculate on high level laws that overwrite low level laws, but consider high level behavior as compatible with low level laws, though unpredictable from them in practice.</p><p>Top-down causation is a very strong form of emergence where high level laws are considered as able to directly dictate the behavior of the lower levels. For example, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Prigogine">Ilya Prigogine</a> suggested that thermodynamics could be “more fundamental” than particle and field dynamics.</p><blockquote>“[We] should consider the thermodynamic quantities to be the primary reality and the allegedly more fundamental description in terms of microscopic structure to be secondary. [Prigogine] suggested that it would then be possible to treat the second law of thermodynamics in the way its name suggests: as a law that is always followed rather than a statistical rule…<br>(Alastair I. M. Rae, “<em>Quantum Physics: Illusion or Reality?</em>”)</blockquote><blockquote>“The classical order was particles first, the second law later — being before becoming! It is possible that this is no longer so when we come to the level of elementary particles and that here we must first introduce the second law before being able to define the entities…<br>[It] is not unlikely that becoming, the participation of the particles in the evolution of the physical world, may play an essential role…<br>The main thesis of this book, which can be formulated as follows:<br>First, irreversible processes are as real as reversible ones; they do not correspond to supplementary approximations that we of necessity superpose upon time-reversible laws.<br>Second, irreversible processes play a fundamental constructive role in the physical world; they are at the bases of important coherent processes that appear with particular clarity on the biological level.<br>Third, irreversibility is deeply rooted in dynamics. One may say that irreversibility starts where the basic concepts of classical or quantum mechanics (such as trajectories or wave functions) cease to be observables. Irreversibility corresponds not to some supplementary approximation introduced into the laws of dynamics but to an embedding of dynamics within a vaster formalism.”<br>(Ilya Prigogine, “<em>From Being to Becoming</em>”).</blockquote><blockquote>“[We] see everywhere in nature change that is irreversible, and organization, and life itself, born out of irreversible processes. It makes one wonder: is mechanics a convenient approximation of natural processes that are fundamentally irreversible and not the converse, as the current dogma holds?”<br>(Dilip Kondepudi and Ilya Prigogine, “<em>Modern Thermodynamics: From Heat Engines to Dissipative Structures</em>”).</blockquote><p>Arthur Eddington had similar ideas. In “<em>The Nature of the Physical World</em>” (1929), after defining the physics of individual particles as “primary law” and thermodynamics as derived “secondary law,” Eddington said:</p><blockquote>One would not be surprised if in the reconstruction of the scheme of physics which the quantum theory is now pressing on us, secondary law becomes the basis and primary law is discarded.</blockquote><p>I am unable to visualize that. I (like everyone I guess) can only visualize fields driving particles, particles radiating fields, particles colliding, particles emitting/absorbing particles, or mass/energy shaping space-time geometry and being driven by it — the microscopic interactions that we use to consider as fundamental and build thermodynamics upon. I can’t visualize things the other way around: downward causation is a label for a concept that I am unable to visualize.</p><p>I <a href="https://www.physicsoverflow.org/36133/becoming-before-being-prigogine">asked the <em>Physics Overflow</em> community</a> to help me “see” Prigogine’s ideas. A good discussion followed, but I am still unable to see. Borrowing Eddington’s words, “I have not been able to form a satisfactory conception of any kind of law or causal sequence which shall be other than deterministic.”</p><p>In “<em>From Being to Becoming</em>,” Prigogine tries to formulate a mathematical model, which I don’t understand yet. I guess I’m not the only one: Prigogine’s model has been mostly ignored. However, one thing is certain: Prigogine was way smarter than I. I’ll keep trying to understand.</p><p>Cosmologist, mathematician and Christian thinker <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_F._R._Ellis">George Ellis</a>, co-author with Stephen Hawking of the classic “<em>The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time</em>” (1973), provides a thorough encyclopedic discussion of downward causation ideas (Ellis prefers to use the term “top-down causation”) in the 2016 book “<em>How Can Physics Underlie the Mind? Top-Down Causation in the Human Contex</em>t.” A central recurring theme in the book is:</p><blockquote>“The lower levels do the physical work, but the higher levels decide what work<br>should be done.”</blockquote><p>Cool, but I still don’t see. Some biologists, philosophers and theologians don’t seem to have a problem with downward causation, but I keep trying to think of a simple model than even a physicist can understand. Ellis puts his finger on a conceptual problem:</p><blockquote>“How is there freedom for higher level causation to be efficacious… [How] does it happen, given the causal completeness of physics at the bottom? How is there freedom at the bottom for this to occur?…<br>How can top-down causation be [possible] if the physics at the bottom is a causally closed system, determining all that happens through interactions of particles and fields mediated by forces and potentials? Isn’t the system already fully determined, so there is no room for any kind of top-down causation?”</blockquote><p>I guess the simplest answer is that the system is NOT fully determined because the physics at the bottom is NOT a casually closed system: irreducible randomness occurs in quantum and chaos physics.</p><p>I never had any problem with the idea that randomness could be fundamental: perhaps that’s just the way things work. So I have no problem accepting THAT top-down causation could occur, but I still have a problem visualizing HOW it could occur.</p><p>The model outlined below is the best I can do to see, to my own satisfaction, how top-down causation could occur. Disclaimer: this is not a physical theory or an interpretation of quantum physics, just a mental toy model that I have made up to visualize a physical mechanism for downward causation.</p><h4>Racing Worlds: Many Worlds with downward causation</h4><p>One of the puzzles of quantum physics (as we currently understand it) is that the theory doesn’t make definite predictions of what will happen in a given physical situation. Rather, ghostly superpositions of possible outcomes evolve smoothly according to the mathematical equations of the theory, until “something” forces the universe to make up its mind in a process dubbed “collapse of the wavefunction” — a discontinuous abrupt change, not explained by the mathematical equations, which eliminates all possible realities but one that becomes the observed consensus reality.</p><p>According to the “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation">Many Worlds</a>” (MWI) interpretation of quantum mechanics inspired by Hugh Everett’s work, there are many (actually a huge number of) parallel universes besides our own, which together form a collection of universes called “multiverse,” and different possible outcomes are realized in different parallel universes (branches of the multiverse).</p><p>I think the MWI “interpretation of Everett’s interpretation” is just an imprecise visual model (see “<a href="https://turingchurch.net/shadows-and-the-concept-of-self-d01ff65ce9f9">Shadows and the concept of self</a>,” and a new essay is coming), and not what Everett really meant, but the MWI is good enough for my top-down causation model, which I’ll call “Racing Worlds.”</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*YJ4FqKDZT6lF7yT7zPMOrQ.jpeg" /></figure><p>So imagine that different worlds (branches of the MWI multiverse) evolve in parallel for a certain time. Imagine, if you like, planes going up in the sky in a race. The first plane that gets above the clouds wins. Each plane is a world.</p><p>The racing worlds evolve in parallel until one of them “wins” by being the first to meet certain reality selection criteria. In the racing planes metaphor, the selection criteria is getting above the clouds.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*y2r0qR3nXPo8YxWwCFPnvw.jpeg" /></figure><p>When a plane is above the clouds — when a world meets the reality selection criteria — the race stops and the worlds that didn’t make it are destroyed, or evaporate into nothingness, or something like that.</p><p>All that could take place in a time much smaller than any duration we can be conscious of, which explains why we don’t (seem to) perceive the process. The result is that only one of the initially many worlds gets above the clouds of unreality and becomes real.</p><p>Downward causation is in the reality selection criteria. The model can be made compatible with all that we know about physics by assuming that the selection criteria are related to entropy and information: all laws of thermodynamics are always satisfied in the world that eventually achieves full reality.</p><p>Whether or not a world will pass reality selection can’t be known immediately. The world is computationally irreducible: there’s no way to compute tomorrow in less than 24 hours, because you really need to do all the computations (there is no shortcut) and you can’t do that faster than the universe itself. But doing all the computations, in parallel worlds, is exactly what this model does. In a reality-as-simulation scenario, using a racing worlds computing strategy seems to make a lot of sense.</p><p>Don’t take me too seriously (I don’t myself), but this is a nice little Theory of Everything (ToE) that explains the collapse of the wavefunction, quantum measurement, all of quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and the arrow of time. OK, the model is designed to ensure that thermodynamics holds strictly and time runs past to future, but what’s wrong in assuming things that experience says are true?</p><p>Beyond pedestrian quantum physics and thermodynamics, downward causation is often invoked in speculations on divine action. It’s nice to think that perhaps, besides thermodynamics, the reality selection criteria could include concepts like complexity, richness, quality, goodness, and love.</p><p><em>Pictures from Wikimedia Commons (</em><a href="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/Chicago_above_the_clouds.jpg"><em>1</em></a><em>, </em><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2009_Red_Bull_Air_Race_in_Porto_(3810885341).jpg"><em>2</em></a><em>) and </em><a href="https://static.pexels.com/photos/31231/pexels-photo.jpg"><em>Pexels</em></a><em>.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=55c7452f7756" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/racing-worlds-a-visual-model-for-downward-causation-in-physics-55c7452f7756">Racing Worlds: A visual model for downward causation in physics</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> Holy Ghost in the Cloud: Christian transhumanism and simulation theology https://turingchurch.net/holy-ghost-in-the-cloud-christian-transhumanism-and-simulation-theology-695e83fa1c7b?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:c931080d-0e3b-0a31-c1e7-41d584bcb3b4 Wed, 19 Apr 2017 01:12:37 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*GFHBtDgMP_1FOL6h-YzK3g.jpeg" /></figure><p>Christian transhumanism — the fusion of Christianity and transhumanism spearheaded by the Christian Transhumanism Association — is not very popular — yet. But that could begin to change soon.</p><p>A story by Meghan O’Gieblyn published yesterday in <em>The Guardian</em>, titled “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/18/god-in-the-machine-my-strange-journey-into-transhumanism">God in the machine: my strange journey into transhumanism</a>,” could bring Christian trahshumanism to the masses. The story is an abridged version of an essay published in <em>n+1 Magazine</em>, titled “<a href="https://nplusonemag.com/issue-28/essays/ghost-in-the-cloud/">Ghost in the Cloud: Transhumanism’s simulation theology</a>.”</p><p>O’Gieblyn is a former evangelical Christian who, after losing her faith, found transhumanism and then Christian transhumanism. With the crystal clarity of some beginners, she sees transhumanism as essentially religious. <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2012/09/27/afterlife-my-very-first-post-to-the-extropians-list-1999/">I had exactly the same impression upon first contact</a>.</p><p>Excerpts:</p><blockquote>“[Although] few transhumanists would likely admit it, their theories about the future are a secular outgrowth of Christian eschatology… Calling on biblical prophecies, [Fedorov] wrote: ‘This day will be divine, awesome, but not miraculous, for resurrection will be a task not of miracle but of knowledge and common labour’… Transhumanists have acknowledged Teilhard and Fedorov as forerunners of their movement, but the religious context of their ideas is rarely mentioned… What makes the transhumanist movement so seductive is that it promises to restore, through science, the transcendent hopes that science itself has obliterated.”</blockquote><blockquote>“If we are essentially software, [Nick Bostrom noted in ‘<a href="http://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.pdf">Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?</a>’], then after we die we might be ‘resurrected’ in another simulation. Or we could be ‘promoted’ by the programmers and brought to life in base reality. The theory was totally naturalistic — all of it was possible without any appeals to the supernatural — but it was essentially an argument for intelligent design. ‘In some ways,’ Bostrom conceded, ‘the posthumans running a simulation are like gods in relation to the people inhabiting the simulation’.”</blockquote><p>The author discovered Christian Transhumanism in in an episode of The Daily Show with John Stewart, with a satirical video titled “<a href="http://www.cc.com/video-clips/2iflzu/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-future-christ">Future Christ</a>.” <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF-YSTDLO_g">The video is also on YouTube</a>.”</p><iframe src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FVF-YSTDLO_g%3Ffeature%3Doembed&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DVF-YSTDLO_g&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FVF-YSTDLO_g%2Fhqdefault.jpg&amp;key=d04bfffea46d4aeda930ec88cc64b87c&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=youtube" width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"><a href="https://medium.com/media/9a4c094119c49dbb13f0ef6f1e8a2554/href">https://medium.com/media/9a4c094119c49dbb13f0ef6f1e8a2554/href</a></iframe><p><a href="http://www.christopherbenek.com/?page_id=2">Rev. Dr. Christopher Benek</a>, a founding member and Board Chair of the Christian Transhumanist Association, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is featured in “Future Christ” and in O’Gieblyn’s story.</p><blockquote>“The Daily Show had been a disaster, Benek told me. He had spoken with them for an hour about the finer points of his theology, but the interview had been cut down to his two-minute spiel on robots.”</blockquote><p>I remember the media buzz Christian robots, started with a <em>Gizmodo</em> article titled “<a href="http://gizmodo.com/when-superintelligent-ai-arrives-will-religions-try-t-1682837922">When Superintelligent AI Arrives, Will Religions Try to Convert It?</a>,” by Zoltan Istvan, which <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2015/02/06/religion-in-the-time-of-superintelligence/">went viral in 2015 and inspired a wave of media coverage</a>.</p><p>Rev. Benek’s theology was somewhat more detailed in the <em>Gizmodo</em> story, but not much more. I was also quoted.</p><p>Well, press and media in the age of the internet — and God — work in mysterious ways. Istvan’s story focused on marginal aspects of Christian transhumanism — It’s not like I spend my days speculating on how to evangelise robots,” Benek told O’Gieblyn — and “Future Christ” is just a satirical video, but O’Gieblyn’s story on <em>The Guardian</em> will make many readers aware of Christian transhumanism, and some readers will look for in-depth coverage. Perhaps they will find my essay on “<a href="http://turingchurch.com/2016/04/04/christianity-and-transhumanism-are-much-closer-than-you-think/">Christianity and Transhumanism are much closer than you think</a>.”</p><p><a href="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/23/Banksy_Torquay_robot_crop.jpg"><em>Image</em></a><em> from Wikimedia Commons.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=695e83fa1c7b" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/holy-ghost-in-the-cloud-christian-transhumanism-and-simulation-theology-695e83fa1c7b">Holy Ghost in the Cloud: Christian transhumanism and simulation theology</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> Mormon Women on Theosis, Empowerment, and Divine Purpose http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2017/04/mormon-women-on-theosis-empowerment-and.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:396aac14-5874-bf32-a82a-2bca9e411a66 Mon, 17 Apr 2017 23:15:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4hGOMghW7KI/WPWX0ajIsCI/AAAAAAAAMP4/FUktyG8rV4U2BX3ANyN-4JZzleksaJjZQCLcB/s1600/Marianne%2BC.%2BSharp%2Bwith%2Bthe%2BRelief%2BSociety%2BGeneral%2BBoard.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="322" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4hGOMghW7KI/WPWX0ajIsCI/AAAAAAAAMP4/FUktyG8rV4U2BX3ANyN-4JZzleksaJjZQCLcB/s640/Marianne%2BC.%2BSharp%2Bwith%2Bthe%2BRelief%2BSociety%2BGeneral%2BBoard.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">One on the most fascinating and inspiring aspects of Mormon theology, to me, is theosis. While the idea of humans becoming gods is not a concept unique to Mormonism, I have found no other religion that is so immersively drenched in process theology, eternal progression, and Godhood. As a woman though, I have often felt uncertain as to where I fit into the narrative when our female deity seemed almost absent from our conversations, praise, and worship. In my mind, it made practical sense to worship what I might become, and that was not Heavenly Father.&nbsp;</span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">I recall hearing the word </span><i style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, serif;">priestess</i><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"> for the first time in the temple. I had never heard that word until that point, or at least I hadn’t recognized it. It was among the most beautiful words I had ever heard. While </span><a href="http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2016/04/when-temple-hurts.html" style="font-family: Times, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, serif;">my first experience in the temple</a><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"> was not a particularly pleasant one, I remember feeling captivated by the word </span><i style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, serif;">priestess</i><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">. It felt feminine, holy, powerful, humble, empowering, and lovely all at the same time. I wanted to be a priestess, even though I had no idea what that looked like. Could women be trusted to speak, act, and preach with the power and authority of God? I still have many unanswered questions, but it was clear I was not the only one searching for answers. Women are longing for more than what they are hearing in a church pew, conference center, and temple.</span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">In my search, I recently bought a copy of </span><i style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, serif;"><a href="https://www.amazon.com/At-Pulpit-Years-Discourses-Latter-day/dp/1629722820">At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women</a></i><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">, which is compilation of teaching, prayers, and speeches ranging from General Conference to the World Congress of Representative Women. I devoured the book. I was particular inspired by the words of women in the early years of the church, especially those involved in the Utah Woman Suffrage Association. Reading the words of these women speaking authoritatively on theosis, empowerment, and divine purpose was something I longed for. If there was one thing the book was lacking it was the voices of women of color, which I would certainly like to read more of.</span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: &quot;times&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"><br /></span><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the book:<br /></span><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, serif;"><br />"When we take into consideration the many opportunities and various ways of usefulness, and the amount of good that may be accomplished by us who are engaged in so great a cause, some of you may feel that it is not our prerogative to interfere in the least, or to take one step towards building up the kingdom of God. But I feel that it is&nbsp;a mistaken idea to suppose that we cannot perform acts that would ennoble are character and position, when we are so nearly allied to the brother and of the priesthood, and they required to use strenuous efforts to advance the cause of God."<br /><br />—Elicia A. Grist (Millennial Star, May 4, 1861)</span></div><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;"><br /></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;"><!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--><br /><!--[endif]--><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">"We all desire to be good and useful, so let us put our good desire into execution, for it is in our power to do so."<br /><br />—Mary Ann Freeze (Salt Lake City 11th Ward Young Men's and Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association, January 1879)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">"We have been instructed that each one of us in our organizations is endowed with the germs of every faculty requisite to constitute a god or goddess. These little ones in their mothers arms have the germs of all the capacity which we exhibit, and what constitutes the difference between then and ourselves? Merely a lack of development in them, and this development requires cultivation, energy, and perseverance. The organization of the Female Relief Society places the sisters in positions to bring into exercise and thus develop all of our faculties: that's in doing good to others, we benefit ourselves...let us try to realize our responsibilities and honor our position."<br /><br />—Eliza R. Snow (Salt Lake City 17th Ward Relief Society, February 18, 1869)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">"The time was when thought that our husbands would save us, independent of our own exertions. Now we understand that instead of depending entirely on her husband's for salvation imposition, we have to work them out ourselves. The responsibility and labor that develop upon women are becoming more important. If society is reformed, it is to a great extent because women are refined."<br /><br />—Eliza R. Snow (given in Kanab Relief Society written in Women's Exponent, April 1, 1881) Recorded by M. Elizabeth Little<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">"Wilt thou be with woman as thou hast with man, to strengthen her where she is weak that she may aid in the defense of truth and right and where her voice is heard throughout the broad face of the earth, make it have echo in the hearts of the honest, and may she serve to smooth the wrinkles of unjust laws, as she does and has, The pillows beneath the aching head of the eye soldiers and servants. We prayed the that doubt wilt blessed by handmaidens here in this little nook in the valley of the mountains, that we may perform noble and grand acts that will compare with the grandeur of the mountains around."<br /><br />—Elvira S. Barney (Utah Woman Suffrage Association prewritten prayer, Temple Square Assembly Hall, October 7, 1889)</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"></div><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;"><br /></span><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;"><o:p></o:p></span><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">"Woman has been given the power, the honor to open the door through which all must pass ere they can enter that advanced stage of action and go forward in the work of progression which has been designed and marked out by our Heavenly Parents. I say parents, because while we hear a great deal about our Heavenly Father, and very little, if anything, about our Heavenly Mother, reason and revelation both teach us that we must also have a Mother there."<br /><br />—Mattie Horne Tingey (World Congress of Representative Women, May 19, 1893)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">"Why is it today there is so much broader a view taken of woman's position than before? Because woman herself is beginning to feel that she is an enlightened, responsible being, with a mind capable of the highest intelligence, with talents that it is her duty to develop and use for the advancement and elevation of the human family. This feeling is gradually but steadily growing; it is being felt throughout the world and it will continue to grow until it becomes a power in the earth. All honor to the noble women of this Congress, who have stood firm in the face of severe opposition, bitter scorn oft times, and dared to maintain their convictions of truth and right. May their number increase, and their influence be felt until it reaches every nook and corner of the inhabitable globe."<br /><br />—Mattie Horne Tingey (World Congress of Representative Women, May 19, 1893)<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><br /></div><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"><span style="color: #666666; font-family: Times, Times New Roman, serif;">"It is proper on occasions like this to consider such topics as shall be of the highest benefit to womankind; into my mind, it is fitting to discuss here that capacity of mind in which woman is preeminently fitted to excel. [...] They that knock with study and faith's assurance have the narrow way opened to them and I received into communion with the infinite Father and Mother, are permitted to enter hollowed mansions, to attend the school of the profits, and by advancing steps, to reach the school of the gods, where they learn the process by which worlds are organized by the combining of eternal, intelligent, obedient elements; The uses for which worlds are called into existence; the manner in which they are controlled; and the laws of progression by which all begins and animate things are perfected and glorified in their respective spheres."<br /><br />—Sarah M. Kimball (National Council of Women, Metzerott's Music Hall, Washington DC, February 21, 1895)</span><o:p></o:p></div></div> A Brief History of the Mormon Transhumanist Association http://lincoln.metacannon.net/2017/04/a-brief-history-of-mormon-transhumanist.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:d7aef896-834e-e039-6752-e8e972445d00 Mon, 10 Apr 2017 12:21:00 -0600 <img border="0" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5ZAr3OUzDrE/WOvC8sl51oI/AAAAAAAB_Ac/az4vXhfbw9w5WxJrDh_ZDkf7WPDXQSVzgCLcB/s1600/lincoln-cannon-mta-2017.jpg" /><br /><br />At the 2017 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, I presented a brief history of the association. Below is an outline of the events I mentioned, beginning with the founding of the association on 3 March 2006 and ending in 2016, when we changed the leadership of the association. Of necessity, this history doesn't include everything the association and its members have done or experienced over the years. But it does call out what I consider to be particularly noteworthy events, in most cases reflecting my assessment of their relative magnitude of effect over time.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><b>2006</b> (29 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Founded by 14 members on 3 March 2006. The 14th was pseudonymous. Really.</li><li>Launched <a href="http://transfigurism.org/">Transfigurism.org</a> in March 2006.</li><li>Adopted the <a href="http://transfigurism.org/pages/about/transhumanist-declaration/">Transhumanist Declaration</a> and Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation in May.</li><li>Affiliated with the World Transhumanist Association in July 2006.</li><li>Presented <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0mxFhljCRmrNXlJOEEtS0s1Rlk/view?usp=sharing">Mormon Transhumanism</a> to Mormons at Sunstone in August 2006.</li><li>Organized a <a href="http://boinc.bakerlab.org/rosetta/team_display.php?teamid=4409">Rosetta@Home team</a> for medical research in November 2006.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2007</b> (48 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Featured “<a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/115818983/Transfiguration-Parallels-and-Complements-Between-Mormonism-and-Transhumanism-Sunstone-Magazine-March-2007">Transfiguration</a>” in the March 2007 edition of Sunstone Magazine.</li><li>Presented Mormon Transhumanism to Transhumanists in Second Life in April 2007.</li><li>Launched <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/transfigurism/">Facebook group</a> in December 2007.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2008</b> (67 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Organized monthly <a href="http://transfigurism.meetup.com/">meetups</a> beginning in January 2008.</li><li>Rented and evicted from space on Mormon island in Second Life, in May and July 2008.</li><li>Presented the <a href="https://new-god-argument.com/">New God Argument</a> at Sunstone in August 2008.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2009</b> (83 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Sponsored Parallels and Convergences Conference with <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZp0q6bigmw&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Terryl Givens</a> in March 2009.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2010</b> (104 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Terminated and renewed affiliation with <a href="http://humanityplus.org/">Humanity+</a> in April and October 2010.</li><li>Hosted <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho-t11DGvVc&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">James Hughes</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWILNddsatA&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Max More</a> at Transhumanism and Spirituality Conference.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2011</b> (133 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>External: <a href="https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/is-religion-true-in-the-matrix">Sam Harris</a> appears to respond to the New God Argument in April 2011.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2012</b> (241 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Published essays in <a href="http://amzn.to/29t2QaU">Parallels and Convergences</a> book in February 2012.</li><li>Featured <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgs5-h5CKdQ&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Lincoln Cannon</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVup2TgYZAs&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Giulio Prisco</a> at first association conference in April 2012.</li><li>Launched <a href="http://youtube.com/user/transfigurism">YouTube channel</a> in April 2012.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2013</b> (365 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Organized <a href="https://www.kiva.org/team/transfigurism">Kiva microlending team</a> in January 2013.</li><li>Hosted <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B14yKHwe9HU&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Richard Bushman</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybXOTs1GA5E&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Aubrey de Grey</a> at second association conference in April 2013.</li><li>Sponsored <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqUge12FnI0">Amit Goswami</a> lecture at University of Utah in November 2013.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2014</b> (478 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Hosted <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVElI5FfcY8&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Adam Miller</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGoQnU6ySw4&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Natasha Vita-More</a> at third association conference in April 2014.</li><li>Sponsored <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezjGfdeZG4g">Atheists and Mormons panel</a> discussion in April 2014.</li><li>Sponsored Religion and Transhumanism Conference with <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLHnEM6B3hA&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBNKOldV2v7YeBHiF4rqGYB">Ted Peters</a> in May 2014.</li><li>Published “<a href="http://news.transfigurism.org/2014/06/reconcile-members-of-body-of-christ.html">Reconcile the Members of the Body of Christ</a>” in June 2014.</li><li>Organized a humanitarian team, with first projects beginning in September 2014.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2015</b> (562 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Hosted <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YyImflOFA4&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Kristine Haglund</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfPhnOxh3qs&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Ralph Merkle</a> at fourth association conference in April 2015.</li><li>Published “<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14746700.2015.1023992">What Is Mormon Transhumanism?</a>” in the journal of Theology and Science.</li><li>Presented Mormon Transhumanism at Samford in September 2015.</li></ul><br /><br /><b>2016</b> (631 members)<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Amended the <a href="http://transfigurism.org/pages/about/mormon-transhumanist-affirmation/">Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation</a> in February 2016.</li><li>Appointed Christopher Bradford as association president in March 2016.</li><li>Hosted <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9i9RJEfHUg&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Rosalynde Welch</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8cDBABlfTc&amp;list=PLbIPMPVrfXYBaetScAKPXJyqhibMSt4hu">Eric Steinhart</a> at fifth association conference in April 2016.</li><li>External: <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/mormon-transhumanism-and-the-immortality-upgrade">The New Yorker</a> features Mormon Transhumanism on 20 April 2016.</li><li>Appointed Blaire Ostler as association CEO in November 2016.</li></ul><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/LincolnCannon/~4/BwRAMz8sMjQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Scientific concepts of afterlife sketched in ‘The Discovery’ https://turingchurch.net/scientific-concepts-of-afterlife-sketched-in-the-discovery-247013123629?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:cb86b830-764b-c64a-f942-cb12b5924efd Sat, 08 Apr 2017 10:07:59 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*R0NkKwv2zM0aGkf-Fjc8jw.jpeg" /></figure><p>Netflix original “<em>The Discovery</em>” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was released in March by Netflix. The film includes intriguing and well-thought hints at scientific concepts of afterlife. I recommend that you watch the film on Netflix before reading the spoilers below.</p><p>I hope this poster image is big enough to push the spoilers off-screen. Again, please continue reading only if you have seen the film or don’t mind spoilers.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*hrHAr4XHUmgEUcOr38GbRg.jpeg" /></figure><p>Robert Redford plays a scientist who proves the existence of an afterlife by showing that subatomic consciousness waves leave the body at the moment of dead and head for a new plane of existence. Where consciousness goes and what happens there isn’t known, but the very fact that there is an afterlife is sufficient to push millions of people to end their life. Two years later, the scientist finds a way to capture images of the afterlife by scanning dead people’s brains.</p><p>The hard science of subatomic this-and-that, particles and waves, brain scanning devices and all that, is very sketchy — essentially the paragraph above — and not the central point of “<em>The Discovery</em>.” The film is more concerned with the nature of the afterlife, which turns out to be a new version of your previous life where you get a chance to fix something that went wrong.</p><p>So you go through a sequence of lives, reincarnating over and over as another version of you and trying to make things better.</p><p>In <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Everett_III">Hugh Everett</a>’s interpretation of quantum physics, popularly (and <a href="https://turingchurch.net/shadows-and-the-concept-of-self-d01ff65ce9f9">I think</a> mistakenly or at least imprecisely) referred to as “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation">many worlds</a>,” different possible worlds and different versions of your life are equally real, unfolding in separate branches of a “multiverse.”</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/720/1*6Njt6tGpau0MxYBo6OJxNw.png" /></figure><p>Try to imagine two time dimensions: one is time as you know it, the other is a variable that takes you to other possible worlds in the multiverse. <a href="http://www.rudyrucker.com/lifebox/">Following Rudy Rucker</a>, call the multiversal time dimension “paratime.” Think of time and paratime as the horizontal axes in the graph.</p><p>To stay within the three dimensions accessible to our intuition, we are left with one variable on the vertical axis to represent everything else. Think of a “quality” variable on the vertical axis, which indicates how good things are at given time and paratime.</p><p>Your this-life is a curved line in the graph with time going from birth to death, at constant paratime. Your multi-life — all your lives in the multiverse — is a two-dimensional surface in the graph, infinitely larger than the one-dimensional line of your this-life.</p><p>What happens after death? You have no time left in your this-life, but you could move in paratime and continue to experience your multi-life. Since human consciousness can only experience “one life at a time,” it seems sort of plausible to think that after death your consciousness moves to another this-life line at a new paratime, where you experience another version of your life with some little (or big) changes.</p><p>Which version? The thesis of “<em>The Discovery</em>” seems to be that you have some degree of control that allows you to move along a positive quality gradient in paratime, perhaps to a life with higher quality at a given time, or one with a higher quality integral over time. If so, after death you will experience a better version of your life, and then a better one, and then an even better one, and so forth. Not a bad prospect if you ask me.</p><p>Of course there are also life lines where something horrible happens to you — everything that can physically happen does happen somewhere in the multiverse. But in this model your next life is likely to be better than this one. This reconciles me with Everett’s theory, which I used to find intellectually intriguing but emotionally unpleasant because, of course, I don’t want to experience those horrible lives. In this model, I have experienced them “already” and moved to better places in the multiverse.</p><p>The idea that after that consciousness moves to another branch of the multiverse has been considered by scientists, notably by <a href="http://www.robertlanza.com/">Robert Lanza</a>.</p><p>Lanza, a well known research biologist and a polymath who dabbles also in fundamental physics, is the founder of <a href="https://biocentrismnews.com/">biocentrism</a>, a scientific framework centered on biology. <a href="https://turingchurch.net/conscious-observers-create-time-and-space-8c2767b432fe">According to Lanza</a>, we experience space and time not because ultimate reality is made of space and time, but because human brains are hardwired to experience space and time (Kant said it already).</p><blockquote>“Everything you see an experience right now is just a whirl of information occurring in your mind and space and time are simply the minds tools for putting it all together.”</blockquote><p>For a simple analogy, think of a computer program that organizes input bits into, say, 2-dimensional matrices of 3 rows and 5 columns, whose elements are floating point numbers in base 10 with 4 decimals each. This structure and its parameters — 2, 3, 5, 10, and 4 — are in the program, not in the input stream. Similarly, space and time are in the mind, not out there.</p><p>Lanza has written two <a href="http://www.robertlanza.com/category/Books/">books</a> on biocentrism: “<em>Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe</em>”(2008) and “<em>Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death</em>”(2016).</p><p>In a theoretical physics paper titled “<a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/andp.201600011">On decoherence in quantum gravity</a>,” which was the cover story of the October 2016 <em>Annalen der Physik</em>, Lanza and co-author Dmitry Podolsky argue that observers create reality. To make sense of fundamental physics, “it is necessary to include the properties of the observer, and in particular, the way we process and remember information.”</p><p>Consciousness creates reality. Therefore, in biocentrism the mind that perceives comes before the matter, energy and space-time that are perceived, neurons come before particles and fields, and biology comes before physics.</p><p>According to Lanza, life is “like a perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiverse.” In <a href="http://www.robertlanzabiocentrism.com/do-you-only-live-once/">a moving story</a> dedicated to his sister who passed away, Lanza says that her story is “part of a more profound drama, one that I know holds more joyful fortunes as her life unfolds in the multiverse‘,” where she will experience “many outcomes and resulting universes.”</p><p>In her suicide note Liz Everett, the daughter of Hugh Everett, expressed hopes to be reunited with her father in a parallel universe.</p><p><em>Images from Netflix.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=247013123629" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/scientific-concepts-of-afterlife-sketched-in-the-discovery-247013123629">Scientific concepts of afterlife sketched in ‘The Discovery’</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> The faint, almost silent voice of the heart https://turingchurch.net/the-faint-almost-silent-voice-of-the-heart-c676dfc90241?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:c8ecbe92-3bcb-91a6-86ee-0e45621a4515 Wed, 05 Apr 2017 22:02:08 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*LxyNpCsOEG5I78nSSCbYqw.jpeg" /></figure><p>I spend a lot of time studying modern science, especially fundamental physics, and trying to find faith there. Of course my quest is doomed from the start: the brain can, at most, find ways to suspend disbelief, but belief can come only from the heart.</p><p>I’ll resist the intellectual temptation to define what I mean by “heart” — words could only be inferior to reality, and you already know what the heart is.</p><p>In his autobiography “<em>Undiluted Hocus-pocus</em>,” <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Gardner">Martin Gardner</a> says that his faith “is based unashamedly on posits of the heart, not the head.” The brain sees no proofs of God or of an afterlife, but Gardner’s heart tells him that:</p><blockquote>“For me God is a ‘Wholly Other’ transcendent intelligence, impossible for us to understand. He or she is somehow responsible for our universe and capable of providing, how I have no inkling, an afterlife.”</blockquote><p>Look at the top image. You and all the people you love, your family and your pets and your friends, and all the people you don’t love (why not?), and the billions of people you don’t know, are among those beautiful flowers. The majestic snowy peaks far away suggest transcendent answers to the heartaches of life, and a future life for all those impermanent, beautiful flowers, but your mind can’t go there.</p><p>Your heart can go there, and bring back vague dreams and faint memories of answers. But the faint, almost silent voice of the heart can’t persuade the brain.</p><p>Sometime we are tempted to blame science — we just know too much science to believe. But science itself says we don’t know much — and that’s the best we can do to suspend intellectual disbelief. Compared to the “Thing Itself” (h/t Kant), our science is as primitive as the science of our grandfathers.</p><p>Why, then, did your grandfather believe in God and you doubt? The answer, I think, is that also your grandfather doubted. And his grandmother too. Awake in the dark night of the soul, they questioned their faith and thought perhaps it was only wishful thinking. Just like you. And I.</p><p>It’s a shallow faith that never questions itself — or the other extreme, an exceptionally deep faith beyond most people’s reach. I believe most deeply religious persons are almost paralyzed by doubt, and never fully able to accept the faint, almost inaudible answers of the heart.</p><p>The kind of faith and hope that we can find in science, philosophy, and abstract theology, is easily shattered by doubt. Faith in God and hope in resurrection only get you through the night if they come from deep inside the heart. We should believe and hope with the heart.</p><p>Don’t ask me how — I don’t know how. I am stuck with intellectual versions of faith and hope, which don’t keep me warm at night. I have some good books, but one can’t “learn” faith and hope from books — it’s not that easy.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/331/1*4wMVOn6IP7GxfUKJ9VoUqg.jpeg" /></figure><p>However, I wish to recommend an exceptional book: “<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/books/review/my-bright-abyss-by-christian-wiman.html"><em>My Bright Abyss</em></a>,” by <a href="http://divinity.yale.edu/faculty-and-research/yds-faculty/christian-wiman">Christian Wiman</a>. The author, a renowned poet, doesn’t worry too much about my longed for, but never found, scientific path to faith.</p><p>Here and there Wiman notes that quantum physics suggests that “there is some other reality much larger and more complex than we are able to perceive,” and</p><blockquote>“[The] whole world is alive and communicating in ways we do not fully understand. And we are part of that life, part of that communication — even as, maybe even <em>especially</em> as, our atoms begin the long dispersal we call death.”</blockquote><p>“It is not that conventional ideas of an afterlife are too strange; it is that they are not strange enough,” says Wiman in a passage that echoes Gardner’s “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_mysterianism">mysterian</a>” theology. Then he hints at our role in God’s plan. “We are facets of a work whose finished form we cannot imagine, though our imaginations, aided by grace, are the means — or at least one means — of its completion.”</p><p>But the book is not about science, or philosophy, or theology. “<em>My Bright Abyss</em>” — a moving poem written in sober and essential prose — is about perception and “a poetics of belief, a language capacious enough to include a mystery that, ultimately, defeats it.”</p><p>Wiman believes “that we have souls and that they survive our deaths, in some sense that we are entirely incapable of imagining,” and in a “God not above or beyond or immune to human suffering, but in the very midst of it, intimately with us in our sorrow.”</p><blockquote>“To have faith in a religion, any religion, is to accept at some primary level that its particular language of words and symbols says something true about reality.”</blockquote><p>Wiman’s book will not teach you how to believe with the heart — no book can do that. It won’t give you instant hope and happiness, or zen-like peace, but it will show you what the title promises: a frightening, painfully bright abyss.</p><p>“But if you find that you cannot believe in God, then do not worry yourself with it,” is Wiman’s advice to non-believers. “No one can say what names or forms God might take, nor gauge the intensity of unbelief we may need to wake up our souls.”</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*igyYOPaEw4O3y5FjzkWYdg.jpeg" /></figure><p>In this beautiful fractal image by <a href="http://www.sgeier.net/">Sven Geier</a> I see a brain, and a heart inside the brain, emerging from a fractal mathematical algorithm. Similarly, both the brain and the heart emerge from the fabric of God’s creation, but the heart is inside, closer to God.</p><p>I’ll go back now to my hopeless (but interesting and fun) quest for intellectual, “scientific” faith, because that’s the best I can do at the moment, perhaps part of God plan for me. But I keep hoping that God, in whatever name or form, will wake up my soul one day.</p><p><em>This post (written in December 2016) </em><a href="https://giulioprisco.com/in-memory-of-our-sweet-beloved-sacha-36b39e0a1116"><em>is dedicated to the memory of our sweet beloved doggy Sacha</em></a><em>. She went to the </em><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Bridge_%28pets%29"><em>Rainbow Bridge</em></a><em> on December 11, 2016.</em></p><p><a href="https://www.pexels.com/photo/bloom-blossom-field-flora-36032/"><em>Cover image</em></a><em> from pexels.com, </em><a href="http://www.sgeier.net/fractals/fractals/13/Heart.jpg"><em>image</em></a><em> from Sven Geier.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=c676dfc90241" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/the-faint-almost-silent-voice-of-the-heart-c676dfc90241">The faint, almost silent voice of the heart</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> Mormonism: A Religion of the Future http://lincoln.metacannon.net/2017/04/mormonism-religion-of-future.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:f4169c5a-4731-48a8-63d7-a723b0ade0f1 Tue, 04 Apr 2017 21:20:00 -0600 <img border="0" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-7rhHvnkz0mk/WORiLtkuz1I/AAAAAAAB--4/97O4Hry52BQiAfXpbwARmysGvsG8uYdwwCLcB/s1600/religions-of-the-future.jpg" /><br /><br />In 2007 and 2008, I gave a few presentations in the virtual world of Second Life. Yeah, Generation Z, virtual worlds have been around a long time. The third presentation was on "Mormonism: A Religion of the Future" at the Conference on the Future of Religions and Religions of the Future, held 4 June 2008 on the island of Extropia. After the conference, my friend <a href="http://giulioprisco.blogspot.com/2008/06/conference-report-future-of-religions.html">Giulio Prisco provided a good write-up</a>. But I've not previously published my transcript from that conference. So why not publish it 10 years later? Enjoy.<br /><a name='more'></a><br />[10:30] Delia Lake: Cannon is a founding member, director and president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. He has thirteen years of professional experience in information technology, working primarily for companies in the systems management industry, such as Symantec and Novell.<br /><br />[10:30] Delia Lake: He holds a masters degree in business administration and a bachelors degree in philosophy from Brigham Young University. Lincoln served a mission to France for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is married with Dorothée Vankrieckenge, a French national, and is father to three bilingual children.<br /><br />[10:31] Ahman Hax: Good morning, everyone. My first life name is Lincoln Cannon, and I’m president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. I’m also a proud member of the World Transhumanist Association, as are all voting members of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.<br /><br />[10:32] Ahman Hax: Before proceeding with my presentation, I’d like to thank Sophrosyne for inviting me to participate in this conference. I’d also like to thank Giulio (now Eschatoon Magic) for kindly recommending my participation to Sophrosyne. I feel honored to share your time with so many interesting presenters, whose experience and views I admire and value.<br /><br />[10:32] Ahman Hax: My presentation, today, is on Mormonism as a religion of the future. I’ll begin by providing, briefly, some background information on Mormon origins and denominations.<br /><br />[10:32] Ahman Hax: Subsequently, I’ll reference currents in Mormon demographics, culture and theology to explain why we should expect Mormonism to thrive amidst accelerating technological change in coming decades. Finally, to illustrate what the future of Mormonism may look like, I’ll provide a profile of Mormon Transhumanists.<br /><br />[10:33] Digiseq Miles: hi gino<br /><br />[10:33] Ahman Hax: Mormonism originates with early nineteenth-century American, Joseph Smith. Joseph, as he liked to be called, claimed to communicate with God through visions and other experiences, beginning in his adolescence and continuing throughout his life.<br /><br />[10:33] Ahman Hax: In 1830, Joseph published the Book of Mormon, which tells of interactions between God and ancient inhabitants of the American continent, including a visit from the resurrected Jesus Christ. Soon after publishing the book, Joseph founded the Church of Christ as a restoration of the original Christian church. Following years of violent persecution, Joseph was killed by a mob in 1844, and the already-strained church fractured.<br /><br />[10:34] Ahman Hax: In time, Brigham Young emerged as the recognized leader of the majority of Mormons, who he led across the plains and mountains of the American west to settle in the valleys of what has become the State of Utah. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was incorporated in 1851, and now consists of over 13 million members around the world.<br /><br />[10:34] Ahman Hax: Simultaneously, most Mormons that did not follow Brigham eventually coalesced around the leadership of Joseph Smith III, the oldest surviving son of Joseph Smith. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established in 1860, changed its name in 2001 to Community of Christ, and today consists of over 200,000 members worldwide.<br /><br />[10:34] Ahman Hax: In addition to these major Mormon denominations, there are numerous small denominations, such as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which continues to practice polygamy, unlike most other Mormon denominations.<br /><br />[10:35] Ahman Hax: Mormons may number as high as fourteen million worldwide and six million in the United States, making them approximately as numerous as Jews, both worldwide and in the United States. In the United States, only Catholics and Protestants outnumber Mormons.<br /><br />[10:35] Ahman Hax: While overall birth rates in developed nations continue to drop, Mormons in those nations continue to reproduce above replacement levels. For example, 21% of adult Mormons in the United States currently have three or more children in the home – more than any other faith tradition in the United States.<br /><br />[10:35] Ahman Hax: Of those children, 70% are likely to identify as Mormons into adulthood, compared to 80% of Hindu children at the high end and 37% of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the low end. As a consequence of their fecundity, Mormons have a relatively youthful age distribution, with 66% of adults below age fifty, surpassed in the United States only by Hindus, Muslims and the religiously unaffiliated.<br /><br />[10:36] Ahman Hax: Although the number of Mormons worldwide continues to rise, the number of Mormons in developed nations is slightly declining, perhaps reflecting the broader trend of overall declining religious affiliation in these nations. For example, in the United States, 1.8% of the adult population identified as Mormons in childhood, whereas now 1.7% identify as Mormons.<br /><br />[10:36] Ahman Hax: Protestantism has declined similarly, with a notable trend shift in the mid 1990s away from a stable to a decreasing percentage of the population of the United States; and only a high rate of immigration has prevented the number of Catholics in the United States from declining during this period of time.<br /><br />[10:36] Ahman Hax: However, Mormonism’s average annual rate of growth, at 2.97% since 1995, remains above sustained historical lows – from 1918 to 1945, the number of Mormons grew at an average annual rate of 2.53%. The religion will most likely continue to grow steadily and diversify geographically, and its adherents will probably maintain their fecundity and relatively youthful age distribution.<br /><br />[10:37] Ahman Hax: Also, as I will explain in more detail, Mormon culture and theology contain within them the seeds from which renewed growth in developed nations may arise, if recognized and nourished. The same cultural changes that are challenging more traditional religious views have produced an environment amenable to resurgence of unique aspects of Mormon culture and theology.<br /><br />[10:37] Ahman Hax: The Book of Mormon contains an intriguing story about a man named Lehi, who in ancient times sought guidance from God while journeying in the desert with his family to find a new home. One morning, upon opening the door of his tent, he discovered on the ground a fine brass ball of “curious workmanship”.<br /><br />[10:37] Ahman Hax: On inspecting the ball, Lehi saw that it contained two spindles, and soon learned that one of the spindles would move to guide him through the more fertile parts of the desert. From time to time, messages also appeared on the ball, providing additional assistance during the journey.<br /><br />[10:38] Ahman Hax: When Lehi and his family arrived at the sea, his son, Nephi, climbed a nearby mountain to seek further guidance from God. He was inspired to make tools and build an unusual ship, the likes of which he had never before seen. When completed, the ship served to carry them across the sea to their new home.<br /><br />[10:38] Ahman Hax: For me, this story epitomizes the importance of education and technology in the Mormon worldview. Mormons do expect inspiration from God, but we do not expect God to do what we can do for ourselves. We can learn and we can build, and so we do.<br /><br />[10:38] Ahman Hax: Mormonism has long emphasized education, both religious and secular. Joseph Smith taught early Mormons that “the glory of God is intelligence”, which later became the motto of Brigham Young University (BYU). Founded by Brigham Young in 1875, BYU now has campuses in Utah, Hawaii, Idaho and Israel, servicing upwards of 50,000 students.<br /><br />[10:38] Ahman Hax: The Wall Street Journal ranks BYU #1 among regional graduate business schools, and US News ranks BYU #3 among undergraduate accounting programs. In the United States, BYU is the #1 producer of dental school-bound students, the #6 producer of law school-bound students, a top 10 producer of medical school-bound students, and the #10 producer of graduates who go on to earn PhDs.<br /><br />[10:39] Ahman Hax: The LDS Church also operates a “Perpetual Education Fund” that provides student loans to members of the Church, generally in less-developed countries. Students are expected to repay the loans according to their abilities. Since its initiation in 2001, the fund has provided loans to 27,000 students in 39 countries.<br /><br />[10:39] Ahman Hax: Some may wonder whether the Mormon emphasis on education is counter-productive to activity and retention in the LDS Church. As it turns out, there is a strong positive correlation between years of formal education and active participation among members of the LDS Church. Mormons also tend to be more highly educated than average among persons in their respective nations.<br /><br />[10:39] Ahman Hax: For example, in the United States where 14% of the general population has less than a high school education, only 9% of Mormons have less than a high school education; and where 50% of the general population has some college education or more, 61% of Mormons have some college education or more.<br /><br />[10:39] Ahman Hax: Mormons are avid technological innovators and adopters. My own father, Layne Cannon, was one of the inventors of the word processor.<br /><br />[10:40] Ahman Hax: Mormons invented the television, hearing aids, the transistor radio, video games, CD/DVD technology, the electric guitar, department stores, repeating rifles and automatic shotguns, the artificial heart and various bionic body parts, synthetic diamonds, and (for you full-body tanners) the photopermeable swimsuit. The creator of Battlestar Galactica, Glen Larson, and the author of Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card, are both Mormon.<br /><br />[10:40] Ahman Hax: You’ll find Mormons all over the Internet. The Mormon blogging community, known as the Bloggernacle, consists of thousands of sites, of which one of the most popular is run by a group of women that call themselves the “Feminist Mormon Housewives”.<br /><br />[10:40] Ahman Hax: Mormons in Second Life are running a thriving community, consisting of at least 600 members and six islands with residences, gardens, chapels, temples, shopping centers and recreation areas. The Mormon Transhumanist Association recently established a conference center in the dome of a space station orbiting above the “Inspired Technologies” office tower on the main Mormon island of “Adam ondi Ahman”.<br /><br />[10:41] Ahman Hax: In addition, the LDS Church has a world-class online presence at lds.org and mormon.org. Behind that, the Church leverages technology all throughout its operations. For several decades, the Church has outfitted its chapels with satellite dishes, enabling members to participate in Church-wide conferences. Computers can be found throughout chapels and temples.<br /><br />[10:41] Ahman Hax: The Church even uses technology as an enabler for some of its rituals. Massive genealogical databases store information regarding members’ ancestors, for whom they perform religious ordinances by proxy. Consequently, the LDS Church is the largest provider of genealogical information on the Internet at familysearch.org.<br /><br />[10:41] Ahman Hax: Mormons also tend to maintain moderate stances in bioethics. For example, while the LDS Church explicitly takes no position on stem cell research, one of the political champions for stem cell research in the United States has been the Utah senator, Orrin Hatch, who is a Mormon.<br /><br />[10:41] Ahman Hax: The LDS Church’s position on abortion is somewhat unusual for a Christian church in the United States, in that it opposes abortion for personal or social convenience, but it explicitly recognizes the practical benefit of abortion in some cases and so implicitly supports its legality.<br /><br />[10:42] Ahman Hax: The LDS Church explicitly takes no position on capital punishment, endorses reasonable means for extending human life, and opposes euthanasia except as the result of removing artificial life support. These and other LDS Church public policy statements can be viewed at newsroom.lds.org.<br /><br />[10:42] Ahman Hax: Mormon metaphysics (a description of the basis of reality) does not rely on the immaterial or supernatural. Spirit is fine matter or light. Miracles do not contravene law. God organized the world from matter according to law.<br /><br />[10:43] Ahman Hax: Mormon metaphysics is fundamentally consistent with that of modern science. Like Mormons, although explicitly in deference to the scientific method, scientists generally reject or ignore appeals to the immaterial or supernatural.<br /><br />[10:43] Ahman Hax: Even so, some computer scientists share Mormons’ faith in a material spirit, although described in different terms as experimentation on the hypothesis of substrate independent consciousness, which they recognize as a basis for the feasibility of futures including mind uploading and computed worlds.<br /><br />[10:43] Free Radar HUD v1.1 by Crystal Gadgets<br /><br />[10:43] Ahman Hax: Mormon theodicy (an explanation for the mutual existence of God and evil) separates from theologies that postulate a monolithic God of absolute omnipotence. While God is powerful, the possible is limited. God did not create matter or law, but emerged within and sought to reorganize them to exalt other intelligences to godhood.<br /><br />[10:43] Ahman Hax: Evil is not absolute, but arises from conflict between wills, desires and laws. To overcome evil, God calls us to be saviors, of whom Jesus Christ is the example, reconciling in atonement our wills, desires and laws. Similarly, evolutionary science holds that our pain and misery reflect limited fitness in relation to our environment, and may be overcome in time through adaptation.<br /><br />[10:44] Ahman Hax: Moreover, an increasingly common evolutionary view, that technological adaptation eventually supersedes biological adaptation, corresponds with the Mormon view that each of us, including God, first passively emerges within an environment before actively working to reorganize it.<br /><br />[10:44] Ahman Hax: Mormon eschatology (a vision of the future) begins by identifying our time as one of wonderful progress and extraordinary challenges, and proceeds rapidly to a millennial paradise and beyond to yet greater challenges.<br /><br />[10:44] Ahman Hax: Through ordinances, mortals will be transfigured and the dead resurrected to physical immortal bodies, differing among themselves as do the stars. Immortals inhabit worlds without end of diverse kinds and degrees, and some of their inhabitants become gods, with power to organize new worlds.<br /><br />[10:44] Ahman Hax: Mormon eschatology clearly parallels a common a view of the future espoused by futurists examining trends in technological change. Both expect our acquisition of knowledge and power to continue accelerating, and that a time of dramatic change is imminent, with unprecedented risks, as well as opportunities for material abundance and indefinite life extension leading to transformative change.<br /><br />[10:45] Ahman Hax: Some futurists argue that if we ever use advanced computing power to simulate a significant number of worlds indistinguishable from our own, we are almost certainly already living in a computed world, as are the neohumans computing our world, and so on in possibly infinite regression. Anyone trusting in the feasibility of such computing is, in different words, sharing the Mormon faith in eventual godhood in worlds without end.<br /><br />[10:45] Ahman Hax: Mormon soteriology (a description of salvation) focuses on happiness, individual and communal, spiritual and physical, attained through both grace and works, according to our wills, desires and laws.<br /><br />[10:45] Ahman Hax: The grace of God provides opportunity, without which we would be less than dust. In this context of grace, we are saved through faith, not passively, but rather through action and power. Faith in Christ manifests as will to truth and friendship in eternal reconciliation with each other, extending love not only to the living, but also to persons past and future.<br /><br />[10:45] Ahman Hax: In worlds without end, all enjoy that which they are willing to discover and create, with full happiness in eternal progression of physical and spiritual exaltation. Such pursuits will be increasingly facilitated by our emerging technological capacity for shaping better minds and bodies through mental and physical enhancement.<br /><br />[10:46] Ahman Hax: Although surprising to many who are unacquainted with one or both, Mormonism and Transhumanism parallel and complement each other quite satisfactorily. I’ve mentioned some of the reasons for this, and there are many others that time will not permit me to share now.<br /><br />[10:46] Ahman Hax: Suffice it to say that, in my estimation, Mormonism was a religious Transhumanism a century before the term “Transhumanism” was used by Julian Huxley, and the ideological origins of Transhumanism are far more ancient than and not entirely so secular as Enlightenment philosophy.<br /><br />[10:47] Ahman Hax: The Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA) today consists of 74 members. Approximately 80% live in the United States, and half of those (or approximately 40% of the total) live in the state of Utah. There are also members living in Australia, Germany, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Taiwan.<br /><br />[10:47] Ahman Hax: Most of us are comfortable identifying as “Mormons”, “Transhumanists”, “Mormon Transhumanists” or even “Transfigurists”, at least some of the time. Rather unique among Transhumanist groups, we are generally theists and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.<br /><br />[10:47] Ahman Hax: We also have a few members with other or no religious affiliations, and some that are agnostic and atheist – for some of whom god doesn’t exist . . . yet! Politically, we are diverse, with members identifying across the political spectrum, including a healthy conservative representation, which is also rather unique among Transhumanist groups.<br /><br />[10:48] Ahman Hax: In 2007, the World Transhumanist Association (WTA) surveyed its members for their responses to ten “Are You a Transhumanist?” questions. Recently, we surveyed MTA members for their responses to the same questions. 51 members responded.<br /><br />[10:48] Ahman Hax: 96% think people have a right to use technology to extend their mental and physical (including reproductive) capacities and to improve their control over their own lives. 89% do not think human genetic engineering is wrong because it is "playing God". 98% think that by being generally open and embracing of new technology we have a better chance of turning it to our advantage than if we try to ban or prohibit it.<br /><br />[10:48] Ahman Hax: 87% think human progress will result from human accomplishment in addition to (or rather than) divine intervention, grace, or redemption. 91% think it would be a good thing if people could become many times more intelligent than they currently are. 70% think it would be a good thing if people could live (in good health) for hundreds of years or longer. 63% think women should have the right to terminate their pregnancies.<br /><br />[10:49] Ahman Hax: 78% claim an ethical code that advocates the wellbeing of all sentient beings, whether in artificial intellects, humans, neohumans, or non-human animals. 61% would consider having their minds uploaded to computers if it was the only way they could continue as a conscious person. 57% think parents should be able to have children through cloning once the technology is safe.<br /><br />[10:49] Ahman Hax: A couple of the results from the MTA survey are higher than the results from the WTA survey, but most are lower, reflecting both differences in ideological emphasis and substantial indecision. In most cases, twice as many MTA members are undecided than are in disagreement regarding the “Are You a Transhumanist?” questions from the WTA.<br /><br />[10:50] Ahman Hax: Reflecting Mormon compatibility with Transhumanism, the Mormon Transhumanist Association affirms, in its own words, the Transhumanist Declaration:<br /><br />[10:50] Ahman Hax: 1) We seek the spiritual and physical exaltation of individuals and their anatomies, as well as communities and their environments, according to their wills, desires and laws, to the extent they are not oppressive.<br /><br />[10:51] Ahman Hax: 2) We believe that scientific knowledge and technological power are among the means ordained of God to enable such exaltation, including realization of diverse prophetic visions of transfiguration, immortality, resurrection, renewal