Podcast No. 34 Posted 3/21/2011   Leave a comment

Podcast No. 34 Posted 3/21/2011

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TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The “What” of Terasem  2.2 – 2.2.6

SUB TITLE:  The powers required to “be God”

SUMMARY:  Certain trans-finite terms, especially omniscience, omnipotence and omnificience, are traditionally associated with the idea of a “God”, but the evolution of technology seems pointed in a direction that will make the emergence of such a being or beings plausible, in the form of a society operating at such a high, transhuman level that a biological human will see tremendous parallels with the traditional views.  Only the most dogma-based religions will fail to find this to be a satisfying transcendence of belief from those based on mysticism to ones rooted in science and technology.

 (Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 34 on the Truths of Terasem.  Today, we’re going to be talking more about some of those very large, transfinite terms that we encountered in the last podcast, specifically: Omniscience, omnipotence and omnificience.  It all has to do with the idea of “God”.

(Linda)  Really!  These are the qualities that most major religions use to describe their “God”.  Are they consistent with physical reality?  Last time, when we talked about omniscience, I thought we found that this quality was plausible only in terms of it being approached asymptotically over an infinite period of time.

(Fred)  Well, yes, but let’s look at the intersection of practicality and theoretical absolutes.  When you look at a camera with adjustable focus, you find a way to focus on “infinity”, don’t you?

(Linda)  Yes, but…

(Fred)  No “buts” about it.  The symbol is there, on most if not all cameras.  But, what does it really mean?  It only means that the camera lens is aligned so as to bring parallel lines to a point of focus on the sensitive area of the camera’s image device, perhaps an array of very high resolution photodetectors.  Can we really expect that the camera can get any good out of that alignment, beyond a certain point?  No!  The lens is working with light in the visible electromagnetic spectrum, meaning wavelengths in the range of 380 nm to 760 nm.

Even if the array had photosensitive areas only 10 nm square, lining up the incoming rays better than to perhaps 100 nm on the array wouldn’t make sense, so they’d set the tolerance on focus to something that wouldn’t be any better than that.  Notwithstanding which, of course, they’ll still put the infinity symbol on the camera.  Perhaps the point is that if the way the system works exceeds the ability of the user to tell the difference, we can use terms like infinity to mean something a whole lot less, and it will be OK.

(Linda)  That sounds like a cop-out, to me.  Can’t we do something more about those specific terms than say they’re only supposed to mean that if you can’t tell the difference between infinity and a light year, who cares?  We’re talking about things that are supposed to be plausible to the farthest reaches of our conception!

(Fred)  I agree, and so I’m not necessarily saying the terms are to be taken so lightly as to make fun of them, but no matter how far-reaching our vision of the future may be, there will be limits to all aspects of those three terms.  Let’s start by understanding the basic parameters that are involved, and then maybe we can better draw the line between what would be a reasonable use of them and not, in describing “God”.

I’ll do this with a conjectural story, but first, simply, omniscience means to “know everything”, omnipotence means to have “unlimited power”, and omnificience means to be “all good”, as might be suggested by terms like “sterile”, “untainted”, “poison free” and so forth.  Here, going back to the camera example, if it’s so good you can’t find anything to find fault with, it can be represented as an absolute.

Now, let’s examine the scenario I’ll provide, in which a human of today might feel that God, as conceived by religions of today, might already exist, and no humans could find fault with that, no matter how thoroughly they researched it.  Let’s see if we can’t see a way in which almost all of the expectations of present religions regarding God, presently so grossly at odds with experience, can be fulfilled to such an amazing extent for biological humans as they now exist, that “God” can truly be believed to exist, less than one hundred years real time from now!

(Linda)  I don’t think you can pull that off!

(Fred)  We may have to cut God a little slack, to make it work.  I mean, God has to have some prerogatives, doesn’t he, or she, or it, whatever?  If asked, “Did you create the universe?” he, she, or it perhaps has to be permitted to answer with something like, “If I explained it, you wouldn’t understand!” or “Yes and no, depending on what you mean by universe!” or even in the case of some questions, “It’s none of your business!”

(Linda)  Aren’t some of those answers a little impolite, to say the least?  If a God is supposed to be able to know everything, shouldn’t it be able to explain everything?  Answer everything?

(Fred)  That might be too much to expect.  An explanation supposes that there are two parties, an explainer, who we take to be God, and the other one is the explainee, who we take to be the normal biohuman.  Now, if we throttle back from the idea of a God and just imagine your normal biohuman asking, of Albert Einstein, for an explanation of relativity, we can imagine Einstein smiling, or perhaps even laughing, depending on how the question was asked, by someone who never got beyond ordinary high school math.  The first Episode of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” series reminds us of the old story about Euclid, where, one day in the great library in ancient Alexandria, as the King’s tutor, he tells his king, “There is no royal road to geometry!”

But we have to get back to the standard we’re going to measure by, not whether a God can satisfy the curiosity of a very weak, feeble intellect, but whether by any reasonable standard a god might “know everything”, “have unlimited power”, and be “all good”.  Can we at least start there?

(Linda)  OK, but this had better by “all good”, at least to an extent that an old atheist like me will feel comfortable with.  And, I promise not to pose any questions about relativity.

(Fred)  All right, here we go.  Imagine that it’s one hundred years from now, and post-Singularity technology is approximately on schedule.  Suppose ninety percent of humankind has emigrated into cyberspace, with the outlook that this not only makes them immortal, but they are coming back in nanobot based physical bodies, so different from biological humans that for all practical purposes humans think of them as ghostly blurs in motion, unless they stop in their tracks and remain motionless for minutes.  At speeds of thought and action no less than a thousand times those of biological humans, they will experience subjective time expansion such that each year of real time is experienced as one thousand years of subjective time, by them, as compared with biological humans.

(Linda)  Whoa!  Where’s the “God” thing come in?  Are these nanobot bodied people going to be thought of as angels, or what?  Is that how people will envision that “God” exists?

(Fred) That’s part of it, but the main point is that biohuman population will have shrunk amazingly due to the exodus into cyberspace.  A small portion of biohumans, maybe as much as ten percent, will hold back due to many concerns, for example worries that it “might not really be them”, or whatever.  They will be afraid to venture in as long as they can hang onto biological life.  They’ll have made mindfiles so that if they die under circumstances where good biostasis technology cannot be implemented without delays, they won’t just vanish into nothingness, but be emulated into this “cyberheaven” that they know exists.

They will, however, have begun to think of their mindfiles as their “souls”; they will have begun to accept that this is all that will be left of them if they die.  Further, they will be acquainted with the idea that “cyberheaven” is a pretty “cleaned up” place.  If they have mean streaks or other personality problems, they know they would have to do a lot of adjusting to be accepted, and this will hold them back, too.

(Linda)  Wait a minute!  Wouldn’t they rather go ahead and “go” before they get old and creaky like we are?  Why would they want to endure the suffering of old age, beyond a certain point?

(Fred)  Are you kidding?  In that advanced state of techno-civilization, biological people will stay young.  They’ll be healthy and vigorous.  They could live, in their minds, “forever”, like that.

(Linda)  There’s some kind of catch-22 here, I think.  If being biohuman is that good, why wouldn’t they all stay as they are to begin with?

(Fred)  The spirit of adventure won’t let a lot of them stay; they’ll know that fascinating things are happening at high speed, and they’re missing out on it all, every hour they’re still here.  And, they’ll also know that if a tree falls on them, mindfiles will be all they’ll have.  No chance for a brainscan and retention of most of their usual association paths.  Only the most timid and fearful of challenge will stay biological.  One of those biblical prophecies will have come true.  The “meek” will “inherit the Earth”.  Most of the rest will be heading off for the stars.

(Linda)  We don’t seem to be getting any closer to “God” though.  What about that?  How can there be something “all good”, “all powerful”, and “all knowing” at work, and still have the horrific kind of world we live in?  How do we fulfill the dreams of those who hope that something like a God will “be there for them”?  After all, it’s been apparent for millennia that all the evidence around them was that ideas about gods that created the universe, and loved them, and would protect them from disaster, these turn out to be just myths made up in different forms by one culture after another. After all, the so-called promises of those gods were never kept.  “God will provide!” the priests promise, as the tsunami threatens, or the ship sinks, but almost everyone dies anyway.  How will that change?

(Fred)  Now, we’re getting somewhere.  Suppose it were to change?  If when danger threatened, something magical happened, and lives were saved, wouldn’t that be nearly a miracle?  If diseases were detected and cured so reliably that no one ever got sick anymore, wouldn’t that be as if   a “God” were watching out over their very health?  We humans already do this for biological things we treasure, in similar ways.  The principle will be the same.

(Linda)  We already do these things?  How?  For what?

(Fred)  We maintain stately Sequoia trees in great groves, and protect them from harm as well as we can.  More and more we protect other less technological species, to which we feel akin, especially sea mammals.  On a personal basis, we take care of our pets as if we were Gods to them.  To them, if we are kind, we seem omnificent.  When we feed them, or treat sicknesses that endanger them, or protect them from predators, are we not “playing God” already?  If we had an “endangered species” of biological humans, a small fraction of our own population, among whom were our parents, friends of a past where we lived at the same speeds, some of whom on occasion might have even saved our lives, why would we not be inclined to protect and care for them in ways that might seem virtually magical and miraculous to them, but which to us would seem more like a moral obligation, as well as an expression of love that reflected reciprocity for what they had done for us, by being part of that pre-Singularity civilization from which we sprang?

I’m going to run through the remainder of this group pretty quickly now, or perhaps you’d like to.  It seems very straightforward to me at this point, and often you’re able to say things so that they connect better, too.

(Linda)  OK.  We begin with 2.2, “Omniscience, omnipotence and omnificience are what uniquely define God.”  So long as we hold it to the relationships we discussed above, if we can snatch them out of their houses as a tornado approaches and rebuild it before the next morning, that might give us an aura of being all powerful.  I guess the technological ability to see the tornado coming and which house it’s going to squash could be perceived as being “all knowing”, and the will to care for them in such a crisis and all the other ways you’ve described would put us on the side of being “all good”.

In ways that go astronomically beyond what people say God will do for them today, based on faith, we would have begun to fulfill the duties of any reasonable God, and we would have done it in less than one hundred years.  Truth 2.2.1 supports this.  It says, “Daily experience tells us nothing meets these three criteria today or historically.”  In other words, the things ascribed to gods by present religions have never been evidenced by actions in crisis, or otherwise.  So far, it works!

2.2.2 says the same thing, by “Earth’s innocently suffering millions is proof that there is nothing omniscient, omnipotent and omnificent today.”  I like what Mike Perry has to say about that in his book, Forever for All:

 “Let us now examine the question of the existence of God, starting with some of the standard problems. God, we are told, is all-powerful, all-knowing, present everywhere, the maker of all things, and perfectly good. But if God is all-powerful, he can change his mind, we should think, while if all-knowing, he always knows in advance what he will do and cannot change his mind. What does it mean, on the other hand, to say that God is present everywhere? Do we observe a thinking process in empty space? True, space is not really empty but teems with such things as particle-antiparticle pairs that briefly wink into existence then self-annihilate. But this does not seem to involve intelligence. If God made everything, did God make himself? If not, who or what made God? Or if God is said to be uncreated, then how do we know that something else is not uncreated, say, the multiverse, which as a whole seems insentient? Finally, if God is perfectly good, besides all-knowing and all-powerful, why does evil exist? Why do the innocent suffer, as so often they clearly do?”

(Fred)  That reminds me of what Nathaniel Brandon was saying about God 45 years ago, in his lectures on Objectivism, but I think Mike Perry summarizes those arguments very well.  I’ll pick up here.  2.2.3 tells us, “Future technology will enable Terasem to encompass the universe, thus becoming omniscient, omnipotent and omnificent.”  I like the implication that we don’t really get to that standard of being until we first have “encompassed the universe”.  In more practical terms, just as I think the cybercivilization of less than a hundred years from now will be most of the way toward being what “God” has always been thought of, as perceived by biological humans,  I think we’ll find that as we grow we can serve that role for more and more sentient species as we move outward through the universe, and if we encounter those that are in that position with respect to us, they will respect the fact that this ideal is one around which we ourselves are centered.

2.2.4 takes it to a more tangible level, by saying, “In this way we are building Terasem into God, with smart atoms and conscious electrons.”  To me, this seems somewhat poetic.  If we individuals who are to comprise the collective consciousness of Terasem have sufficient cognition to be referred to as “smart atoms”, which must by the way permit us to be infinitely unique and diverse as individuals in pursuit of joyful immortality, then by “conscious electrons” I’d think of our connections with other individuals as involving both empathy and ethics, since these are the requirements for something to be conscious according to the Truths of Terasem.  The electron shell of an atom does define its impact and interactions with other atoms, which are almost always ‘elastic’ and not damaging, again consistent with the idea of a resilient and harmonious collective consciousness.

(Linda)  That fits with some email we recently received from one of the Founders of Terasem, Martine Rothblatt, where she said, “As of course you know from the Truths of Terasem, the propositions of the pdf are fully within the Terasem Transreligion.”   She was referring to a posting titled “From cosmism to deism” on January 18, 2011 by Hugo de Garis, which appeared on KurzweilAI.  And about that posting she commented, “The artilects referred to are simply what Terasem refers to as efforts to continue exponentiating technology until all consciousness is connected and all the cosmos is controlled.”

Continuing, Martine observed, “The only theism in Terasem is the theism that results from the Godness we create via our technology and commitment to diversity, unity and joyful immortality.  In other words, Godness accretes incrementally rather than not being there at all (atheist view) or wholly there now (theist view).  As to deism, Terasem is agnostic as to how the universe came into being (but not against analyzing the question), but focuses instead on the fact that this universe is best solved by quests for diversity, unity and joyful immortality, i.e., that Natural Selection favors these properties.”

(Fred) That matches well with how Mike Perry says it in Forever for All, “In the future, of course, we may hope to progress toward a “One composed of many,” a harmonious community of immortals, much as Tipler envisions for his Omega Point, though hopefully much sooner. We may also expand our territory and come to occupy a much larger volume of space we than presently do. However, such a future possibility could not today and in the past add up to the God of theistic or even deistic pretensions.

“To try to remedy this problem, we could consider a totality of sentient, intelligent, or immortal beings distributed throughout the whole of existence. We could then ask if this, in one form or another, could be said to constitute a conscious entity that would achieve a close enough match to traditional attributes to be reasonably regarded as a God. In this way we are not limited to the products of our own civilization but can incorporate possible extraterrestrial, intelligent species, wherever they may be, whether in our universe or elsewhere, and thus not solely in our future. This idea, which I will call the Cosmic Community hypothesis, possesses some cogency, particularly in light of possibilities that may exist for immortality. A harmonious community of immortals might function together as a kind of “God,” much as Tipler conjectures for his Omega Point.”

(Linda)  We better move on.  2.2.5 tells us, “Nanotechnology and geoethics are the tools for expanding Terasem into universe-wide omniscience, omnipotence and omnificence.”  Interestingly, in an article titled “Understanding and Applying the Theosophy of Octavia Butler’s Earthseed Toward Achieving Geoethical Nanotechnology”, published in the J Geoethical Nanotechnology, Volume 4, Issue 1, May 2009, Allison Ward does a great job of summarizing these two expansive subjects in admirably understandable simplicity.

First, about nanotechnology, she says: “Nanotechnology is one of the technologies predicted to vastly change life as we recognize it today. Nanotechnology is the precision building of an object on a nanometer scale (one billionth of a meter), building things from the bottom up by manipulation of individual molecules.  Nanotechnology not only will allow making many high-quality products at very low cost, but will also allow the building of nanofactories at the same low cost and at the same rapid speed. It represents a manufacturing system which will be able to make more manufacturing systems—factories that can build factories—rapidly, cheaply, and cleanly.  Nanotechnology also has the potential to change modern medicine. Medical nanotechnology will be able to annihilate disease and reconstruct the human body atom by atom to be far more adaptive and malleable. It is a revolutionary, transformative, powerful, and potentially very dangerous—or beneficial—technology.”

And about geoethics, Ward says: “Paramount to nanotechnology is the lack of public awareness and preparedness for its revolutionary impact. There is great power that comes with the ability to manipulate matter at the atomic level. This power must be managed however!

“A current construct to develop the legal basis and secure system for nanotechnology is called geoethical nanotechnology. This approach aims to develop and implement a globally regulated framework of the machines capable of assembling molecules and to detect destructive uses of nanotechnology thus creating technology that can alter seemingly unavoidable cataclysmic events. One example of geoethical nanotechnology would be billions of tiny nano-devices that have the ability to prevent a hurricane or tornado. Another example would be setting up global diagnostic tools to rapidly identify the existence of unknown protein or nucleic acid sequences threatening vast numbers of human lives. There are endless benefits to further the development of nanotechnology however; we must initiate a global incentive to expedite the introduction of nanotechnology to the world and begin establishing appropriate and effective policies.”

(Fred)  I’m sure glad you located that paper by Allison Ward.  The Terasem Journals at terasemjournals.org/ are packed with ideas that apply to and expand on the discussions in these podcasts.  In the final element of this expansion, 2.2.6, we find, “Expansion of Terasem is the purpose of life because this makes life good for all.”  Mike Perry’s done such a good job on this one in Forever for All  that we’ll let him carry the ball here: (quoting) “So in effect we are becoming a sort of deity ourselves, a One composed of many. Each person, in the course of progress, is to approach a state of perfection, an individual, self-sustaining, physically realized godlike entity or divinity, to form a worthy part of a larger and naturally cohering whole. It is a privilege that also carries an enormous responsibility. The burden is upon us as a species, intelligent if unconsciously evolved, to solve our own problems and engineer our own eternal happiness: a world of peace, love, and harmony, at a superhuman level–a place where all are valued and valuable. If there is no absolute guarantee of success, the prospect, at least, is a very real and exhilarating one, and the outlook, I think, is positive. Again the burden for solving our problems rests entirely upon ourselves.”

(Linda)  Next week, we’ll delve into a section of the Truths devoted to outlining a pattern of living that may help those inclined to do so, organize their lives to a high degree around the principles of Terasem.  From there, it branches upward into scheduled monthly, annual and quadrennial events that bring Terasem people together in an organized way.  Relationships of self-organized groups within Terasem is part of this.  Here’s where you’ll see how you as an individual can involve yourself in what’s going on in Terasem, to any extent you wish.

(Fred)  To probe further before next week, particularly to prepare for the topics Linda just mentioned, find out more about joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net. “Waking up in cyberspace” can be pursued by way of CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com, no fees to participate.  And if you want to preserve some DNA very inexpensively, you can do that at LifeNaut.com, too.

(Linda)  We’ve talked a lot about the powerful new Android app described at PersonalityMD.com, but I can’t resist mentioning that it has now topped 35,000 downloads as of a few weeks ago and is becoming one of the most highly rated programs on the system.  Big kudos to Mike Clancy, at Terasem, who produced this application.

(Fred)  True, it’s based on the CyBeRev program, so you’re building  mindfiles, but it’s experienced more like a game.  There’s a two dimensional display and you do it right from a smart phone.  The evaluations are truly unique to you, but you also see how your traits compare to others’ and even find people geographically near you who have the same kind of mindsets you do.

(Linda) Right!  And mindclones.blogspot.com has fascinating discussions about mindclones, mindfiles and mindware.  And if you want to read the text of these podcasts, to help to dig deeper into the details, and maybe find websites that you weren’t able to write down, go to truthsofterasem.wordpress.com.

(Fred)  Join us, and our quest for an endless future…

(Linda)  Come with us – into Tomorrow!

Closing music – no fade – full length.

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Posted April 24, 2011 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

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