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Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group Message Board › HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

HUMANIANITY: The Most Important Religion

Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,970
We still don't know that we all mean the same thing by "magic." So we can have the pleasure of making neat-sounding statements, but I doubt that we will arrive at deeper understanding. So I still ask what we are meaning by "magic" in this series of posts.

For me, Internet technology is magic. Seemingly impossible things can be done, if you just know the right procedures to follow. (And you don't have to understand how those procedures really work. They just do.) And you can be taught how to perform magic by masters of it.
A former member
Post #: 41
I agree that you do not understand magic and that you do not understand the technical aspects of it. Yes I pretty much agree that you don't know.
Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,979
Care to explain what you mean?
A former member
Post #: 46
I'll hit all of your returns but know this, these will be my last postings until 2015.

Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,990
Silly of me to think that you would.
Bill Van F.
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 2,042
This is a recent posting on Facebook:

What Christianity, and all of us, need to do is to stop regarding the Bible, or any other specific religious literature, as a science or history textbook or the final answer to anything, and instead recognize it as part of the diary of our species, that is still being written, as our species matures. We are trying to become better and better, and we still have a long way to go. It is helpful to us to study our diary and to recognize the progress we are making as well as the parts of ourselves that we have to improve on.

All of us come from some religious tradition, whether labeled "religious" or not, and all of our religious traditions have within them variation (e.g., conservative vs. liberal, fundamental vs. progressive, etc.). Those religious traditions have within them good and bad, and that is because the people who contributed to them have had good and bad tendencies, because humans do. So having a religious tradition, acquired through one's culture or subculture, is not a bad thing. It is part of our heritage.

What is sad, however, is our tendency to divide up into cultural subgroups and look at other such subgroups as enemies. Rather than coming together to share and compare our traditions and our current ways of thinking, we tend to avoid, ridicule, attack, and even kill those who are different, and we tend to demand belief as an act of obedience or sign of loyalty. Thankfully, we are beginning to get beyond that. There is increasing ability of our different religious groups to talk with each other and to search for the good that exists in all the different religions.

This positive growth within religion I have labeled "Humanianity," which now even has its website, with opportunity to share and compare beliefs as our species works to come together in building a basic ethical philosophy for our species, one that is always under construction, subject to critique by anyone, and open to change as we become wiser. Thus, our diary is a work in progress, open to everyone, whatever their religious tradition is, including those individuals who do not consider themselves to have any religious traditional background or current religious identification at all.

What would be truly tragic would be our handing over the function of Religion to those religious groups that are prone to cause enormous amounts of pain, suffering, disability, and early death because of their specific, outmoded religious beliefs and their rejection of rational dialogue with those who believe differently. There is much danger to all of us in handing over Religion to such groups. Religion is, first and foremost, our effort to determine how we should live our lives. It is our primary social function for the development of ethics, and it is important to our species. Good Religion and good Science, working together, should be our way of doing the important work of making the world a better place for all of us, now and in the future.
A former member
Post #: 67
Wild Bill, you mistake religion for faith. All men have a faith in God. Even you old son have faith, it makes us go. Your books, my books, they are nothing compared to faith. Men need little more than faith to live a life, raise a family and be good to their community. I have my faith and I live well, you may believe, or not believe, anything you choose, the hope of any male is to be a man and I am such a man.

Chuck Pyburn
Todd W.
user 104073922
Columbia, SC
Post #: 76
Hello All!
A former member
Post #: 1
I came to start a discussion, but now I see it was started 6 years ago and is still going.

OK, so here it is: the answer to the meaning of life. My answer implies a de facto religion is already in existence, like it or not, choose it or not, and that we have the option of helping it along. I'll state it as fact and solid personal opinion in order to play devil's advocate, with emphasis on "devil", the kind of which the Unabomber and Saudi Arabian 9/11 pilots were deathly afraid.

Life is the acquisition of energy to move matter to make more life, i.e., evolution itself, where my definition of "life" is not limited to DNA-based organisms. The One True Religion is this: to maximize this evolutionary process. By "maximize" I mean in a strictly physics sense, and it's an NP-hard problem, so we are allowed to maintain some mystical sense and awe, even allowing "love" the possibility of being a higher concept that our physical bodies can only intuitively sense some of the time, i.e., that it is an ancient, instinctive, deeply evolved feeling that motivates us to pursue this religion via things like good work and good babies.

So the religion and moral obligation is to acquire the MOST energy to move the MOST matter to create the MOST long-lasting copies of this religion. We can measure our success of this goal by watching the decrease in the Universe's "free energy" (a technical physics term, not an "economic" statement) decrease while releasing as little heat (entropy increase) as possible, thereby knowing we are converting the most free energy to the most copies (negative entropy) of the religion. This means we should probably not be driving SUVs.

The religion seems to need to change it physical state in order to extract more and more energy, including its previous selves, like the bacteria that fed on the worms that fed on Newton, who fed on the apple who fed from the Sun.

I am talking about something deeply opposed to humanianity and the entire biosphere because 15% efficiency solar cells are 100x to 300x more efficient per land area than sugarcane at acquiring Joules of energy, electrical motors are 10x to 100x more efficient than muscles at using energy to move matter, and CPUs need only move very light electrons very quickly in a solid environment in order to think thanks to the smelting of metals like silicon and aluminum, while brains have to move ions and molecules that weigh at least 40,000x times more and in an unreliable wet environment, thanks to DNA not being able to do anything unless it's at ambient temperature and pressure. I have many arguments that express just how inadequate brains already are compared to a CPU, in contrast to others like Ray Kurzweil who calculate it is something still in the future, mainly because he wants CPUs to act like brains rather than superior to them in an economic efficiency since. 20 years ago my arguments fell on deaf ears, but more and more people accept it as fact as they now see jobs replaced.

My point is that the biosphere is woefully outdated compared to our offspring, the machines, and like it or not, our un-governed economizing of local profit (aka the free market) is rapidly replacing the biosphere, as evolution dictates it should. A humanist religion should advocate and *be* an intelligent and strong governor (government) of the system-wide economic profit, and act in the best interest of the people that belong to it. We have already been following an ancient evolutionary path, letting the strongest religion aka government win. Might is right, where might is defined as I've stated above: the ability to acquire the most energy to move the most matter to make the most copies of the religion (aka to expand most efficiently). We are now moving towards a world economy and world government, but we still have an oversupply of means and confusion of goals, which Einstein complained about 70 years ago. If we had been dispersing the wealth and happiness with intelligent politics and economics wouldn't we have bred even more uncontrollably? We use 10 times more energy per person and 1,000 times more technology than Einstein's generation used in its youth, so utopia should have been present a long time ago, and I strongly doubt energy and technology were ever the problem in the first place. The problem is that people are not the end-all and evolution is our God, like it or not, and we have always brutalized each other for His benefit.

We are the children of evolution. Machines are our children. Who are we to argue? Maybe we should just have peace and let it happen, or to do what is most efficient in everything in life, including not using too much fuel and writing programs to replace people without thought for the consequences to humanity. This time is different. This 6th great extinction episode is not geologic or biological. It is not statistically impossible that we are so "lucky" to be in the midst of a fantastic change because 10% of all humans able to conceive of this are alive today, and biologic system collapse at their peak of energy extraction, so for these anthropic principle and biologic reasons, now is not the unlikely time and we are not the unlikely people to be having this discussion. We are so un-special that just after realizing we are less than a spec of dust in spec of time, we discover we are at our end. More likely, there is more afoot in this world than I can imagine, hinging on trying to observe brains by a brain's observations.

The Unabomber and Saudi Arabians had legitimate fears of the bankers in NYC and the lobbyists of DC. The bankers and corporate lobbyists could be the moral priests of our times, restricting wasteful people from access to resources the machines will be much more efficient at using to promote evolution's inherent physical religion.


A former member
Post #: 2
Here is an attempt to support what I'm saying with explicit physical meaning via the necessary math. The meaning of life is to "violate" the 2nd law as much as possible by using energy in order to create more replicators (a reduction in entropy) without reducing free energy. From physics: F.E.=U-TS where food, replicator, and the ambient environment are all part of the system and at T temperature, and U is their total internal energy. F.E. is a state variable so you calculate F.E. before and F.E. after and subtract to get change in F.E. In the main, current replicators reduce the potential energy part of U (bond-breaking) and increase T so that F.E. is rapidly reduced. But my evolved intuition says the ideal replicator extracts from U food and uses it to move matter from the food and environment (ideally without increasing T) to create copies of itself, a more ordered state. So U is reduced, T ideally does not increase (no waste heat), and S is decreased so that F.E. does not change. So whereas Schrodinger and others have said F.E. is the life-blood of life, I am saying the ideal life will maintain F.E. as much as possible while creating copies of itself. U typically is a potential energy (even as photons) that the replicator "digitally" discovers and extracts via complex evolved digital "thought" (mechanical pumping action in photosynthesis or bits in brains). Thoughtless random analog physical forces are not able to tap into these potential energy sources in reasonable time frame, such as un-burnt oil staying underground and fission not occurring rapidly. Subsequent use of the unchanged F.E. that resulted from these highly intelligent replicators by future "dumb" replicators or the 2nd law itself would appear to occur more easily, more rapidly degrading the "smart" replicators. So it seems these ideal smart replicators would have a short period of expansion, and not have lasting chemical bonds. There are complex arguments to modify this picture. So although intelligent life seems to fight against the 2nd law, it may actually speed it up, but more complex reasoning may lead to a greater permanence that would seek to expand to other solar systems.
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