Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Immortality

Corliss Lamont defines immortality as ”The literal survival of the individual human personality or consciousness for an indefinite period after [physical] death, with its memory and awareness of self-identity essentially intact" (Lamont 22).


In previous posts, I explained how human personality or consciousness is hopelessly dependent upon the physical operation of one's brain and central nervous system. To believe in the continuation of this physical function, without an organ, device, or machine capable of maintaining this function, is ignorant wishful thinking.

So is immortality possible? Is the continuation of consciousness and the preservation of memories possible without a human body to sustain them? I believe it is indeed (eventually) possible, and I have evidence to support this assertion.

"But wait Aaron! I thought this blog was about disproving the afterlife! So why are you saying immortality is possible? Aren't you betraying your materialistic, godless worldview?"

Good questions. Actually, the reason I am asserting the possibility of immortality in this blog entry is to again argue against the afterlife concept. I plan to show how immortality is, in reality, an anti-afterlife concept.

The afterlife concept proposes a different world, or a different existence, or a different dimension, however you want to put it. The afterlife concept discards this reality upon death and proposes a heaven or a hell or maybe even a reincarnation, but the point is that the afterlife concept involves the transfer to a different existence in a different realm (even reincarnation holds this view in the sense that you are “reborn” as a new entity without the acquired memories and personality of your past life). It proposes a "next" world or reality, and stresses its importance or primacy over this "current" reality.

Immortality, on the other hand, does not propose a "next" reality, nor does it cheapen the importance or primacy of this "current" reality. Immortality, on the other hand, is actually the continuation of one's existence in this reality. Immortality, as Corliss Lamont stated, is the idea of keeping your consciousness intact in this world after your body has expired.

Now that we've distinguished the difference between an "afterlife" and "immortality," why should someone, especially a hardcore materialistic atheist like myself, even support the idea of "immortality"? Where is the evidence?

The first piece of evidence I would like to present is a man by the name of Matt Nagle. Matt Nagle suffered a vicious knife attack four years ago, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Matt eventually got in contact with the neuroscience department at Brown University in Rhode Island, where he became a guinea pig of sorts. Matt had electrodes surgically implanted in his brain that can "read" his brain signals, specifically, the ones that control body movement. A computer interprets Matt's brain signals, and then uses these signals to give commands to various mechanical devices. Thanks to the electrodes implanted in his brain, Matt has been able to control a robotic arm, a television, and the cursor on a computer screen (think Microsoft Windows), all with his thoughts. You can read about Matt and this technology here.

The second piece of evidence I would like to present involves Sony Corporation. You know, the company that makes the Playstation? Well, Sony has recently acquired a patent for a technique that allows the beaming of sensory information directly to one's brain. The sensory information beamed to one's brain would include images, sounds, smells, feelings, even tastes. No invasive surgery is needed, Sony claims. The sensory information would be transmitted via ultrasonic pulses aimed at specific areas of the brain. You can read about Sony and this patent here.

What do these two examples have to do with immortality? The first example I presented (the one involving Matt) is an example of information being created in a human brain, then being sent from the human brain to a machine that can interpret and act on the information. The second example I presented (the one involving Sony's patent) is an example of information being created in a machine, then being sent from the machine to a human brain that can interpret and act on the information. The first example involves output, and the second example involves input. What this means is that we have the knowledge and the ability to transfer information between human brains and man-made machines, and translate this information into something meaningful for both entities (the organic brain and the artificial machine). In other words, human thought can be reduced to electronic ones and zeroes, and ones and zeroes are the language of a computer.

Do I need to point out the obvious? We can understand the functions of a heart, and then make an artificial heart. We are beginning to understand the functions of a brain, and soon we will be able to make an artificial brain. If we can learn to understand the "language" of the brain, and get machines to "talk" in such language, then we can make artificial brains that can provide continuity to one's consciousness and memories after their biological brain has ceased operation. Human thoughts are quantifiable and measurable and translatable, and this is the key to immortality.

We already have our foot in the door, and it is now just a matter of time until we swing this door wide open. We already have machines that act on thought instruction. We already have patented methods of creating synthetic thoughts with computers and beaming them directly into one's brain. We have the "dots," and it is only a matter of time before these dots are connected to form a complete picture. With the development of these technologies, as well as nanotechnology, we will eventually be able to create machines that can take over the functions of the human brain, and we will even be able to "upload" one's consciousness and thoughts into such a machine, thus escaping the mental "death sentence" that comes with the death of our organic bodies.

What does technological immortality have to do with the afterlife? Everything! If we can cheat the death of our minds, then we can keep our consciousnesses intact in the here and now. Remember how I stated earlier in this entry that the afterlife is the belief in a different realm or reality? Well, technological immortality cuts the afterlife out of the equation like an Occam's Razor of sorts. With technological immortality, the "afterlife" concept becomes not only unevidenced, but superfluous as well. Immortality will keep us existent in the only existence we have ever known: this material reality. And a technological immortality, to me, is much more comforting than any imaginary, immaterial, and unevidenced afterlife.

26 comments:

NJ said...

Sounds good to me. I'm a sci-fi fan and I've always thought it would be great to live longer and experience more. Although being immortal could cause some problems, it's a nice fantasy.

However, I don't get the fascination with god(s) and heaven/hell. (Well, yeah, I think people want to avoid dealing with the crap in their lives and just hope for something better.) I consider myself agnostic. Just because I can't see something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But I would be more shocked (and highly skeptical) to meet someone claiming to be Jesus than someone claiming to be an alien.

The agnostic label doesn't fit as well as it did a few years ago. I used to believe there was a 50/50 chance either side was right. I'm beginning to wonder if it was just a place my mind could rest for a while. I doubt most people raised in a ultra- conservative, christian family jump straight to being atheist. Becoming yourself is a process.

Chad said...

I just started reading your site and it seems pretty insightful so far.

I like your thoughts here and they make logical sense. The one big thing I see missing (maybe you have covered it previously) is a definition of 'consciousness'. What actually defines my ability to know that I am me and not somebody I am looking at. And continuing on that line of thought, how would 'I' react to seeing 'myself' if my consciousness were uploaded to a computer brain. Presumably, my identity would exist in two places at once.

Like I said, the ideas make sense to me, but there also seem to be some inherent paradoxes. Just food for thought!

Aaron Kinney said...

Thank you for the comments everyone, keep them coming! :)

Chad, you make a good point. And yes, I now realize that I have not even defined "consciousness" for the purposes of this blog. I should probably get into detail about what "consciousness" is in a future post.

To me, I can say that consciousness is the self-aware identity that is contained in, and sustained by, your brain. It is a physical process much like the "thinking" of a computer, although the human brain is vastly superior to our greatest silicone processors. What I am trying to prove here, Chad, is that "consciousness" however it is defined, is proven to be a purely material function. Consciousness is hopelessley dependent upon material existence, and consciousness operates in the realm of electric signals.

Computers also use electric signals, and we have recently made a bridge of communication and translation between computers and organic brains.

Chad, when you mention that your consciousness could "see" itself, I agree with you. It is an interesting scenario, but I do not think it is a paradox per se. Twins are created naturally all the time, and they are seperate, although genetically identical, specimens. If your consciousness were to be copied and uploaded into a computer, there would simply be two of you so to speak. It would be an interesting new experience, but not a "paradox" as I can tell.

There are two ways to do this. One is to move or transfer your consciousness to a machine, and the other would be to copy your consciousness. In the instance of copying, there would simply be the creation of an "instant twin" so to speak. How would it be different than the copying of software across two computers? It seems to me that it would create copies, not paradoxes.

Chad, I would love to hear read your thoughts on this, because I think you are on to something. If you come back into this comments secion and expand on your thoughts, I would appreciate it. In fact, I could possibly make a blog entry about the issue you raised. It is interesting food for thought!

GeneralZod said...

The consciousness copied to a computer is interesting. If the original remains alive, the situation will be similar to a set of twins since immediately after the copying is complete, both the original and the copy will begin to have have new, unique experiences that the other did not have. If our consciousbesses are the sum of our experiences, the copy will no longer be a perfect copy, but rather MOSTLY a copy with some of it own unique experiences. It will be a different, unique person, even though it shares 99% of the same memories/personality of the original. I would think that gradually over time, the differences could become quite drastic and the copy will be nothing like the original.
I guess the only way to stop this is to have the "recorder" hooked up to the original person right up until the last breath or last electrical signal from the brain and then switch on the copy at the moment the original dies.

Anonymous said...

A technology that would allow you to copy your consciousness would be great since it would lead to the only realistic version of immortality. Of course, interesting questions begin to arise if you actually copy yourself (that is have two copies of your consciousness existing at the same time). Which of "you" claims ownership of your property? Is the copy somehow less than a full version of you? Are there restrictions on its rights, or is it fully human?

-Ian

Aaron Kinney said...

Interesting questions anonymous. In a new frontier such as technological immortality, ethical and logistical questions such as the ones you asked would definitely arise.

GeneralZod said...

Would a planet filled with such recorded consciousnesses be a better place? Would there still be greed? I assume these "bodies" would need power to keep working (to stay "alive"), but would they want more? Would there still be sexual desires? Since hormones, I assume, would not be copied, how would this affect the personality?
However it would work, you can bet your ass that the religious folks would oppose this with every fiber of their beings! "Only God can grant immortality." "Only in Heaven will you live forever" etc. You can also bet that these same religious leaders would find no problem whatsoever with THEM living forever, if only to spread the word of god (oh, and to keep all their accumulated wealth)...

Aaron Kinney said...

Well said, generalzod.

Sexuality could be enhanced by a technological immortality. "Hormones," or the emotions they compel, could be synthesized like a software program. There would be unlimited sexual satisfaction potential, with none of the STD risk! LOL!

Seriously though, with Sony already having patented an ultrasonic snesory perception delivery machine that can beam information straight to our minds, the world of sexuality has a whole new spin. Imagine what Sony could do with that technology and an adult-themed imagination!

Im sure the Catholic preachers would load the "choir boy" program frequently ;)

GeneralZod said...

WOW! Can Sony do that yet? Now I REALLY cannot wait for the Playstation 3!!
Seriously, though, would the "stimulation" software work as well once one's memories were completely transferred to a computer? I can see stimulating our brains, but once transferred, would we still be able to feel? I suppose the sensation could be created since what we feel now is our brain interpreting electrical impulses as it is. OK, I better stop before I start talking about the Matrix...
(Great new site by the way!)

boywonder said...

I think that is where
'artificial int." and "human intelligence" collide. The human brain has the connections, but not the speed to process. A computer has the speed to process, but not the complex interconnectedness the human brain has. That will be the moment in history when we become one as a human race. I hate to offer such a horrible anology, but I can't help myself: The Borg from STNG. One central mind or hive that has all the aspects of everyone who has joined. A collective. The addition of knowledge with every new point of view. I also believe that once this hybrid of man and computer happens, artificial intelligence will become real...conscious. It would speed up the process of learning and computing everything in the known universe exponentially. Bring it on.

Aaron Kinney said...

You are definitely right boywonder. But time will bring solutions to the problems you speak of.

Eventally, we will have everyday processors that operate leagues better than the most advanced artificial intelligence systems we have today. The complexity and depth of our "thinking" machines will increase over time. With communication and translation directly between humans brains and machines (bypassing external means such as hands and ears and eyes), we have already cracked the shell.

Nanotechnology is another very important thing to consider. Microscopic robots could be injected into your blood over time and they could slowly replace the neurons in your brain one by one with artificial ones that operate identically to the biological ones. Within months of treatment, your entire brain could be synthetic and operating better than ever! Simple artificial organ replacement that would grant immortality. This could come within a century, considering the things we can already do today.

Chad said...

Aaron, your making me think! Actually, it is just such a cool topic, I can't help but think about it. I wish I could remember the exact source, but I think it was Sam Harris who said something to the effect that conciousness is nothing more than a label that humans have put on what we perceive as individual personalities. Whatever it is, I know who I am and I can only imagine what other people think. And since everything is merely the results of wiring and firing, any one 'consciousness' can result from any one setup. Therefore, if you were to create a computerized copy, it would inherently be merely a copy with its own consciousness no matter how similar it may be. I still would not know what my copy would be thinking, although I would have a pretty good idea. Same goes for the copy. Would I live on in immortality? My copy may think so as it would know all of my previous expreriences, but I (flesh and blood) would never really know.

I think what is really fun about this, is that this isn't necessarily fantasy. This could be reality in the near/far future. Now, if your own brain were gradually replaced by cybernetics, then there is a good chance that I would remain me, although I would change due to my new experiences and parts.

Think about when you fall asleep at night. The passage of time between when you fall asleep and the time that you can recall dreaming seems to be minimal. Your brain is effectively unconscious. If I never woke up again, I certainly wouldn't be upset as I would never be aware of it. So why is it so difficult for people to believe that there is nothing after death? We practically experience it every night.

I think boy wonder kind of touched upon when artificial intelligence and the human mind meet, it will be an interesting day. My own theory for a long time has maintained that when a particular computer system gets complex enough and the correct amount of program is in place, the computer will become aware of itself and think for itself. Maybe it will require a certain amount of programming, maybe it will be a particular combination of sensory inputs. I don't know.

Peter said...

So this is your solution to the 'problem' of a person's ultimate fate? To turn them into a grotesque automaton? I don't know which is more disturbing - the proposal itself (and the person suggesting it), or some of the 'golly-gee' responses that your suggestion has elicited. Apart from the many ethical issues that would have to be dealt with (would only the super-rich have access to this abominable technological fix?), the very idea itself is repugnant. You've mentioned before that immortality of the spiritual kind demeans and devalues human life because, by it's very nature, it is eternal, and yet here you are grasping at straws in the hope of another form of (physical) immortality. You hypocrite! - Shame on you! (By the way, I'm not a Christian in case you're wondering).

Aaron Kinney said...

"So this is your solution to the 'problem' of a person's ultimate fate? To turn them into a grotesque automaton?"

Losing you physical body altogether is more grotesque than creating a replacement one.

"I don't know which is more disturbing - the proposal itself (and the person suggesting it), or some of the 'golly-gee' responses that your suggestion has elicited."

Nice ad hominem. Do you know what an ad hominem is? ;)

"Apart from the many ethical issues that would have to be dealt with (would only the super-rich have access to this abominable technological fix?), the very idea itself is repugnant."

Support your "repgunant" claim please.

"You've mentioned before that immortality of the spiritual kind demeans and devalues human life because, by it's very nature, it is eternal, and yet here you are grasping at straws in the hope of another form of (physical) immortality. You hypocrite! - Shame on you! (By the way, I'm not a Christian in case you're wondering)."

Why am I a hypocrite? I think you misunderstand what Im saying. Let me break it down for you.

1. Giving primacy to another life is bad.

2. Giving primacy to this life is good.

3. The afterlife is a different life than this one, so its bad.

4. Immortality deals with continuing this life, so its good.

Very simple stuff Peter. There is nothing hypocritical about me arguing for immortality in this life, the life that I assert we should all give primacy to.

Being a hypocrite would be to denounce the afterlife and then look for ways to get there. I am consistent, because all of my arguments are in favor of THIS life, not some afterlife. Immortality is giving primacy to this life, not the afterlife.

Peter said...

What simplistic rot. "The afterlife is a different life than this one, so its bad. Immortality deals with continuing this life, so its good." Are you serious? You are basically saying that something is bad simply because it is different, which is the 'reasoning' of every narrow-minded bigot throughout history.
Only someone who was absolutely terrified of death would, at a time when the Earth's population is 6 billion plus and half of those live on less than $1 a day, hope for a way of extending their miserable lives to the point where they became immortal. This planet's resources are already stretched to the limit, and you would like to witness people living forever? That is what makes the idea so offensive and repugnant - it is the very height of selfishness. Is that clear enough for you?
Thankfully immortality will never be realised, but if by some miracle it were to become a reality, as I've asked before, who would decide (and how) the 'lucky' few would be who would get the chance to live forever? I stand by my claim - you are a hypocrite, and a very selfish one too. And one last thing, a little bit of advice. Your offensively patronising tone will not win you any arguments, it merely highlights the fact that your beliefs stand upon very shaky assumptions indeed.

Aaron Kinney said...

Peter said:

"What simplistic rot. ...Are you serious? You are basically saying that something is bad simply because it is different, which is the 'reasoning' of every narrow-minded bigot throughout history."

No, what Im saying is that, when you are in this life, you should put the priorities of this life first. We have no evidence for an afterlife and to sacrifice this life for an accessory motive (the afterlife) is inhumane and is a disservice to this life.

What I am saying is that, if you live in house A, you shouldnt steal from that house for the sake of house B. You should put house A first on your priority list, because that is where you reside. To do otherwise is to do a disservice to you and everyone else that lives in house A.

"Only someone who was absolutely terrified of death would, at a time when the Earth's population is 6 billion plus and half of those live on less than $1 a day, hope for a way of extending their miserable lives to the point where they became immortal."

I dont think my life is miserable (I dont know what you think about your own life though). My life is valuable to me and I want to continue it for a long time and have fun doing it. This life is the most valuable thing I have and I dont want to die, so I will fight to extend it.

By the way, your argument seems like an argument against longevity as well. Are you disdainful of the medical advances that have extended our lifespans so much?

"This planet's resources are already stretched to the limit, and you would like to witness people living forever?"

Removing dependence on organic bodies for existence would save resources quite a bit my friend. I am supporting technological progress in all its forms, and my pro-human stance will benefit everyone, from the lowest village idiot to the highest world leader.

"That is what makes the idea so offensive and repugnant - it is the very height of selfishness. Is that clear enough for you?"

It is a humanity-wide selfishness. Selfishness is good. Selfishness is also something that you (and I) practice alot, but you just dont know it. Basically Peter, if you do an action that makes you feel happy, then you are selfish. If you do an action that makes you feel sad, then you are altrusitic. Altruism is the great evil, and altruism is what most religions (theistic ones) demand from their followers: sacrifice and abstaining from pleasurable actions.

"Thankfully immortality will never be realised,"

And one hundred years ago, people said we would never fly.

"but if by some miracle it were to become a reality, as I've asked before, who would decide (and how) the 'lucky' few would be who would get the chance to live forever?"

Whoever has the money. Same way we determine who gets to drive the fancy cars or live in mansions.

"I stand by my claim - you are a hypocrite, and a very selfish one too."

But this is an unsupported claim. You call me a hypocrite because I am arguing in favor of lengthening peoples lifespans. I am arguing in favor of medical technology. Are you against medical procedures designed to keep people alive Peter? Are you disgusted when you see reports that show how the life expectancies of humans has improved so much? Do you shake your head in dissapointment when you read about how the discovery of penicillin lead to saving thousands and thousands of lives? Do you gag in disgust when you read about an artificial heart being implanted in a man and keeping him alive? Do you shake your head in disapproval when your friends donate blood to save strangers lives? Did you scream in protest when doctors reattached nerves in Christopher Reeves spine, making him able to slowly recover some of his motor functions?

If you want to continue to claim I am a hypocrite, then you need to point out what the hypocrisy exactly is. You just think Im selfish to desire prolonged lifespans and the continuation of consciousness in this life, but that position of mine is consistent, because this entire time I have done nothing but fight for this life and this existence as teh #1 priority. So your hypocrite claim seems to be based not on a contradiction, but upon your belief that I am selfish.

Well I agree with you to a point: I am selfish for all my fellow humans and our existence in this life. I want my fellow man to enjoy as much of this life as they can, and if that is selfish, then fine. Because its still consistent with my assertion that this life is the #1 priority and we should work and fight for our continued existence in it. Selfishness for your fellow man is a virtue. It is a good thing to put ones community first in this life as opposed to some messiah in an afterlife.

I may be selfish Peter, but you are immoral. You are arguing for the death of humans, and you are arguing against medical technology.

"And one last thing, a little bit of advice. Your offensively patronising tone will not win you any arguments, it merely highlights the fact that your beliefs stand upon very shaky assumptions indeed."

Offensively patronising? Sorry if I come off that way, I dont mean to. Maybe its leftover behavior from my Christian evangelizing days.

So Peter, can you do me a favor and list two positions I hold that are contradictory, and thus make me a hypocrite? Because I think all youve done so far is accuse me of being selfish. And if you want to see why human-centric selfishness is a good thing, you should go to www.whatisobjectivism.com

Peter said...

I'm sorry for calling you selfish and hypocritical (I really shouldn't get myself so worked up over this), but I also once believed that science and technology could fix any and all problems that may arise, including social/political ones, but this isn't so. Too many people these days I've noticed have adopted the attitude that 'if it's new, it simply must be good' (nuclear weapons and genetically modified organisms as well?). Technology is simply a means towards achieving a desired end, and we should never allow it to control and/or dominate us, but unfortunately that seems to be happening. Maybe I'm just too old-fashioned, but the thought of being completely replaced by machinery just does not appeal to me - it would represent the ultimate triumph of machine over man (like in 'The Terminator').

Aaron Kinney said...

Peter said:

"I'm sorry for calling you selfish and hypocritical (I really shouldn't get myself so worked up over this),"

Thats okay Peter. And I shouldnt come off as patronizing.

"but I also once believed that science and technology could fix any and all problems that may arise, including social/political ones, but this isn't so."

Of course they cant solve all our problems. Truly, only humans can solve human problems. Science and technology are tools for humans, but they are not ends unto themselves.

"Too many people these days I've noticed have adopted the attitude that 'if it's new, it simply must be good' (nuclear weapons and genetically modified organisms as well?). Technology is simply a means towards achieving a desired end, and we should never allow it to control and/or dominate us, but unfortunately that seems to be happening."

I disagree. I think that science and technology are freeing ourselves from our ignorance and our superstitious, inhumane beliefs (like religion). Science and technology are what we use to open our minds, because they bring with them the new discoveries and realizations of existence. They challenge old beliefs and make us admit that in the past, we were wrong. Technology may hurt our environment for example, but it will also help us fix the environment. The humans must make the decisions (like fixing the environment) but the technology is a tool to help us or hurt us, depending on how intelligently we use it.

"Maybe I'm just too old-fashioned, but the thought of being completely replaced by machinery just does not appeal to me - it would represent the ultimate triumph of machine over man (like in 'The Terminator')."

It doesnt necessarily appeal to me either, but it is more appealing than dying. I would rather live off an artificial heart or even an artificial body than to cease to exist.

Anonymous said...

Science is just another religion, only a slightly more sophisticated one. Both have their saints and prophets (Darwin, St. Paul, Einstein, Mohammed), both demand faith (in the case of science in 'expert opinion'), have their high priests (nerds in lab-coats), they both lay claim to absolute truth, and now they both promise immortality!!! To me it's all the same old bull-shit, just packaged differently.
Judging by what I've seen here, I'll bet $10,000 that most of the people who have expressed an opinion on this topic (ie. the hope that technology will make them immortal) are pale, skinny nerds wearing dorky dark-rimmed glasses, have buck teeth, and can't find a girlfriend (and will still be virgins at 40).

Aaron Kinney said...

Anon, prepare for an edu-ma-cation.

"Science is just another religion, only a slightly more sophisticated one."

Complete and total bullshit. In religion, questioning is heresy. In science, its REQUIRED.

"Both have their saints and prophets (Darwin, St. Paul, Einstein, Mohammed),"

Incorrect again. In religion, prophets are trusted by their word. In science, scholars are trusted by their WORKS.

"both demand faith (in the case of science in 'expert opinion'),"

Incorrect. Faith is belief in things without evidence. In science, nothing is believed unless there is WELL DOCUMENTED evidence. You dont know what the meaning of the word "Faith" is. (well now you do).

"have their high priests (nerds in lab-coats), they both lay claim to absolute truth,"

Incorrect. Religion claims absolute truths. Science does NOT. I dare you to support this assertion.

"and now they both promise immortality!!!"

Science promises nothing. Science merely lights a possible path to it. Religion is the only one that promises it.

"To me it's all the same old bull-shit, just packaged differently."

Thats because you dont know shit about either science or religion, obviously.

"Judging by what I've seen here, I'll bet $10,000 that most of the people who have expressed an opinion on this topic (ie. the hope that technology will make them immortal) are pale, skinny nerds wearing dorky dark-rimmed glasses, have buck teeth, and can't find a girlfriend (and will still be virgins at 40)."

Ad hominems will get you nowhere, and they only weaken your argument. Besides, I doubt you would want to put your money where your mouth is and compare the activeness of your social life and social skills against mine. I take you up on your bet right now and assert that I am much more active and successful and adventurous socially than you will ever be. Dork.

Come back here when you A) know something about religion, and B) know something about science. Because you know nothing about either. Are you even religious? Have you ever been?

Anonymous said...

'Faith is belief in things without evidence.' Wrong. Faith is an open-minded trust in the unknown.
'Nothing is believed unless there is well-documented evidence.' Like that daft Theory of Evolution? Or the 'Big Bang' theory? Where is the evidence for either? 'In the beginning there was nothing - which exploded.' How stupid is that?!?!
'Science promises nothing.' Really? Then why on earth are we constantly hearing about the latest research in genetics that promises to treat or eliminate cancer for example? Or the distant dream of solar and/or hydrogen powered cars? Just hype? You bet! And what about the so-called futurists/futurologists who actually believe that we can 'prepare ourselves for the future?' (these people actually refer to their work as 'science' by the way - just ask them).
'In religion questioning is heresy. In science it is required.' Try telling that to anyone who dares to question the dogma of evolution.
Like I said before, it is all bull-shit. Now prove ME wrong if you can, but of course you won't because you can't.

Aaron Kinney said...

Anonymous said"

"Wrong. Faith is an open-minded trust in the unknown."

Looks like you said the exact same thing I said, just with different words. You said "open minded trust in the unknown" and I said "belief in things unevidenced." So you agree with me and you dont even know it. I did a big article on faith recently over here.

"Like that daft Theory of Evolution? Or the 'Big Bang' theory? Where is the evidence for either?"

There is plenty of evidence for both. For evolution, try http://www.talkorigins.org. For the big bang, try reading Hawking's "A Brief History of Time".

" 'In the beginning there was nothing - which exploded.' How stupid is that?!?!"

Very stupid I agree. Its a good thing that science and the Big Bang Theory dont say that! You obviously dont know anything about science or the Big Bang Theory and it shows, because you think it starts with "nothing". But if you read anything about the Big Bang Theory, you would know that it DOES NOT say that. In fact the Big Bang Theory states that matter and energy are eternal, and the "nothing" you talk of never existed. Matter/energy is eternal, havent you heard about that in science class? Dont you know what a singularity is? Your strawmen are very poorly propped up indeed.

In fact, it is RELIGION and CHRISTIANITY that say someting came from nothing. So in fact, your attempted attack on the BBT is actually an attack on theistic creationist ideas.

"'Science promises nothing.' Really? Then why on earth are we constantly hearing about the latest research in genetics that promises to treat or eliminate cancer for example? Or the distant dream of solar and/or hydrogen powered cars? Just hype? You bet!"

LOL Hydrogen powered cars already exist for one. And science only deals in probabilities, which is not promises. Only religion promises absolutes. You seem to be typing stuff without actually saying anything.

"'In religion questioning is heresy. In science it is required.' Try telling that to anyone who dares to question the dogma of evolution."

Oh boy. What dogma of evolution? You have no idea what your talking about. The theory of evolution came about BECAUSE of "questioning". Evolution still stands today because of its ability to stand up to such questioning, and this "questioning" strengthens the evolutionary theory. It is this "questioning" that is so detrimental to religion and the creationist worldview and so beneficial to scientific theories such as evolution.

Please, do yourself a favor and spend a few hours reading over at http://www.talkorigins.org before you embarras yourself again here.

"Like I said before, it is all bull-shit."

You mean religion and the afterlife are bullshit.

"Now prove ME wrong if you can, but of course you won't because you can't."

Prove you wrong about what? You didnt make any positive assertions about religion. You didnt bring any relevant criticisms you anything. You did nothing other than make a few uneducated statements, and you set up a strawman or two. I merely exposed them.

For you to even HAVE anything to be "proven wrong" first you need to make some positive assertions, AND you need to provide supporting evidence. I am the only one here making and such assertions AND I am the only one supporting my assertions with evidence.

Between you and I, I am the only one that even HAS any material here to be debated. You have brought nothing to even "prove wrong". All you did was make a bunch of logical fallacies, and I merely exposed them.

And you didnt answer my questions either. How rude. If you want to have a meaningful dialogue, you have to do a few things:

1. Answer my qeustions (I answer yours!)
2. Make positive statements (such as: There is a God because of "X").
3. Support your assertions with evidence.

Until then, you got nothing but fluff. Notice that my posts meet the above three requirements, but yours do not.

Anonymous said...

ooooook. Think about this, even if your mind happened to be transfered to some machine it is still you the one who dies, the only thing is that your copy (which would be only a twin, YOU won't be controlling it) keeps living... What does make sense, is looking for ways to repair your body... REPAIR, that's exactly what we need.. i know this is arena of thousand opinions, but please listen to mine, you might be surprised how much sense it makes.

Anonymous said...

One more word on me:

Religion is important to us, as it promotes order to those of us who can't stand a real meaning of death.. besides we don't know nothing, over the thousands of years passed looking, and we still know nothing, Religion? Myths? do we know? and even though we're the ones who made it up. We have no god dam idea on what is true and what is not, as it said: Don't judge and you won't be judged.. So for now, we must respect those of us who belong to any kind of religion there is. If i was to make any religion i would make one which has "respect" as it's main aspect..... This is just my point of view.. this is what i belive, do you?

Vajranagini said...

So, what good will your"technological immortality" do you when the power goes OFF? You are assuming that electricity and technology is a GIVEN when that is most certainly NOT the case...you forget that it has only been about 100 years or so that we have harnessed electricity to our purposes, and it is certainly RASH to assume this state of affairs will continue "forever"...there are 70,000 nuclear warheads out there (that we know of), most of which make the Hiroshima bomb look like a FIRECRACKER. They are passing into the hands of a morally defunct generation raised on images of these bombs going off and life going on as usual, which is, of course, not how it's going to be AT ALL. It is now NOT a matter of "if" they are detonated, but "WHEN". You had better take a harder look at REALITY before you burble happily on about "technological immortality"...it has been written in Scriptures of several religions that the world this time 'round is going to "end" in FIRE...and we certainly "HAVE the technology"!!!

Aaron Kinney said...

Vajranagini,

Wow, you are such a babbler! If the power goes off huh? Ever hear of batteries? Generators? Zero point energy? Hmmmm???

Your lack of imagination does not constitute a failure on my part.

And so what if the Bible says that the world will end in a lot of fire? What holy book DOESNT make that kind of claim?

Not to predictive or indicative of predictive power to say something so vague and broad and generic as "the world will end in fire" is it?

Maybe if the bible said something like "the world will end in the year 3957 with a gigantic collision of an extrasolar body into our own firmament" then it would be worty of considering predictive.