Ironically, my more popular posts are ones furthest from my passion and core interests. They are larks—never intended to go viral. This is about one of them…
Apart from family, I typically steer clear of religious topics. I identify with a mainstream religion, but it is completely beside the purpose of Lifeboat Foundation, and it is a personal affair.
Yet, here we discuss a religious topic, after all. Let’s get started…
Do atheists agree that the fact that we can’t understand
quantum physics is at least somewhat evidence of Allah?
An Objective Answer
Do you assert that a failure to understand something is evidence of God?
I don’t fully understand a triple-Lutz (ice skating) or the Jessica stitch (needlepoint)—and I certainly don’t get why an electric dryer leaves moisture on light weight linens, when a gas dryer gets them bone-dry before the plush towels.
Is my inability to solve these mysteries evidence of Allah (or Yahweh, haShem or Y’Shewa)? Of course, not! It has nothing to do with God or religion. The fact that I don’t quite grasp every complex task or unexplained science is not evidence of God, it is evidence of my own ignorance.
On the other hand, I am fortunate to understand quantum physics—both academically and from an innate perspective. That is, behavior of waves and matter on a subatomic scale make perfect sense to me.
You would be correct to point out that certain quantum behavior seems to violate common sense:
- Probabilistic behavior. (i.e. Schrödinger’s cat is both dead and alive at once)
- Measure photons or electrons as a wave, and it no longer behaves like particles
- Entangled electrons (Einstein called it ‘Spooky action at a distance’)
- (entanglement experiment demonstrates causality based on future knowledge. It seems profoundly unbelievable!)
But these things only seem strange, because we do not experience them first hand given our size and our senses. As the math and the mechanisms are understood through research and experimentation, the behavior begins to fit within physical laws as we understand them. Then, we can extrapolate (predict) other behaviors.
For example, as we begin to understand quantum mechanics, we can design a computer, an encryption mechanism—and eventually a teleportation system—that exploits the physical properties and laws.
1 I do not appreciate the outreach of evangelism. In my opinion, religious discussion is best amongst a like-minded community.
An argument against Evangelism
This isn’t a rant against personal faith. It is a rant against the idea that you should ‘push’ your views on unrelated individuals, especially strangers—even if you believe that your view offers salvation.
Anyone who has lived in a home or apartment, dormed at a college or housed in the military has been approached by well-intentioned Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, Baptists, Hari Krishna or other evangelicals. I hold nothing against such missionaries. They are marketing conscience and faith in what they see as an act of love. Unfortunately, society is worse off for this type of love. They are horribly misguided. They mean well and they may have the inside track on creation, but their understanding of equality and civil liberties is naïve.
Is this a position of Intolerance? — Quite the opposite!
Even in far off lands, instant communication, air travel and nuclear weapons render our fiefdoms meaningless beyond the realms of taxation, defense, and road repair. We live in a pluralistic melting pot. The shrinking planet demands that we coexist. I have always felt that the only thing of which we can be intolerant is intolerance itself.
So, why do I shun religious outreach? Because, arguing that your book is better than mine can only be won on faith—and faith is both personal and unprovable. Sure, tolerance is often built on religious ideals. To function as a society without killing each other, tolerance is a necessity. But, tolerance and humanity are also built into the Golden Rule and every democratic constitution. Any attempt to persuade others to adopt your core beliefs about origin, doctrine or blasphemy is pointless and an affront to everyone elses’ beliefs.
Whew! It took courage to get that off my chest. I hope that my friend, Hiawatha Bray forgives me.
What about the contradiction between science and religion?
I have never seen any contradiction. Only someone who believes that the Earth was created in the past 6,000 years ago sees a contradiction. That belief is as goofy as the sun orbitting the earth.
If there is a God, then I suppose it explains the energy and matter that surrounds us. And if this is the case, he followed up by proclaiming the finely tuned natural laws of physics and biochemistry, and set everything in motion. Oh rejoice in his splendor! Because, after billions of years, life arose—and we are the interim products of an expanding universe. It’s awe-inspiring, but it certainly presents no contradiction.
I don’t consider myself an atheist. And despite offering an agnostic explanation of the universe, my religion is my business and not yours. But, I certainly believe in science! I side with Bill Nye and the late Carl Sagan (he was my former professor). No one with a sense of their surroundings and an appreciation for facts can ignore that the Earth and the universe have existed for billions of years.
We may be the product of an intelligent God, but if we are, we will never know. We lack to tools to discern the question that predates all other questions. Pointing to ancient scripture is nonsense. The scripture was written by men, seeking to explain everything that they observed in their times. Yet, these men had fewer facts about the universe than we have now. The faith that most believers associate with scripture is based on respect for the practices and beliefs of their parents.
Moreover, the men who created these book (the bibles of any religion), also created God. Why? To deal with mortality, explain tragedy, control the masses—or perhaps as a mental exercise. It may even be a byproduct of what they were ingesting and smoking.
The following is a selection of points of interest to futurism and forecasts of the political future from the recent Mont Order Conference of July 2016:
STATEMENT 1: NEW SECRET WIKI CREATED
The Mont Order’s secret wiki created via PBworks holds information on the origin and literature of the Mont Order as well as our current structure, ranks and members. Members will be invited via email and will be able to contribute pages or post comments and questions on this literature. The public will not have access to it.
STATEMENT 3: FRIENDS OF THE MONT ORDER GROUP IS EFFECTIVE
The Friends of the Mont Order group created by Raincoaster at Facebook has seen a surprising growth in membership. Our hope is that it will reach a point where members can confidently post to the group and a minimal amount of admin involvement is needed. Due to the continued growth in its membership and the high amount of activity there, the group can be deemed a success so far.
STATEMENT 8: ON ANTI-ISLAM MEDIA AND POLICIES IN EUROPE AND THE US
“Integration”, humiliation of Muslims by the state, and blaming Islam for violence are non-answers to terrorist threats. These steps will only deepen tensions and extremist views on all sides in European countries, where terrorist incidents have occurred. We have noted that incidents in Europe are beginning to resemble a more American pattern of “mass shootings” but similar tragedies have curiously not been occurring in the UK. In addition, editorial policies of Western media clearly follow a pattern of only describing attacks as “terrorist” after an attacker is described to be a Muslim.
POLL ALSO TAKING PLACE
(Vote Here) From a MONT member: “All funding of religious groups by non-citizens should be banned” (expanded: “Religions should be treated the same way as political parties”). Justified by the way Saudi Arabia uses mosque financing to spread its political power and extremism particularly in Europe. Might also bring states and authorities to account for spreading extremism rather than blaming communities. Might also allow Muslim communities to take control of their own future rather than taking orders from foreign clerics. Should this be advocated as law? (NOTE: The UK already bans political parties from getting foreign funds. What is being advocated in the UK context is only that religious groups be also added to these lists of groups. In the context of other countries, they would copy the above element of UK law and then add the religious groups to the lists.)
The Mont Order, often just called Mont, is an information society of writers and networks based in different countries who collaborate to broaden their influence. To date, this has been achieved mainly through the internet.
The Mont Order has held online audio conferences since February 2015.
Shared website: lordre.net
Shared Twitter timeline: @MontOrder
Subscribe to updates from this society: feeds.feedburner.com/lordre/tajQ
Bioquark, Inc., (http://www.bioquark.com) a company focused on the development of novel biologics for complex regeneration and disease reversion, and Revita Life Sciences, (http://revitalife.co.in) a biotechnology company focused on translational therapeutic applications of autologous stem cells, have announced that they have received IRB approval for a study focusing on a novel combinatorial approach to clinical intervention in the state of brain death in humans.
This first trial, within the portfolio of Bioquark’s Reanima Project (http://www.reanima.tech) is entitled “Non-randomized, Open-labeled, Interventional, Single Group, Proof of Concept Study With Multi-modality Approach in Cases of Brain Death Due to Traumatic Brain Injury Having Diffuse Axonal Injury” (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02742857?term=bioquark&rank=1), will enroll an initial 20 subjects, and be conducted at Anupam Hospital in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand India.
“We are very excited about the approval of our protocol,” said Ira S. Pastor, CEO, Bioquark Inc. “With the convergence of the disciplines of regenerative biology, cognitive neuroscience, and clinical resuscitation, we are poised to delve into an area of scientific understanding previously inaccessible with existing technologies.”
Death is defined as the termination of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Brain death, the complete and irreversible loss of brain function (including involuntary activity necessary to sustain life) as defined in the 1968 report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School, is the legal definition of human death in most countries around the world. Either directly through trauma, or indirectly through secondary disease indications, brain death is the final pathological state that over 60 million people globally transfer through each year.
While human beings lack substantial regenerative capabilities in the CNS, many non-human species, such as amphibians, planarians, and certain fish, can repair, regenerate and remodel substantial portions of their brain and brain stem even after critical life-threatening trauma.
Additionally, recent studies on complex brain regeneration in these organisms, have highlighted unique findings in relation to the storage of memories following destruction of the entire brain, which may have wide ranging implications for our understanding of consciousness and the stability of memory persistence.
“Through our study, we will gain unique insights into the state of human brain death, which will have important connections to future therapeutic development for other severe disorders of consciousness, such as coma, and the vegetative and minimally conscious states, as well as a range of degenerative CNS conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Sergei Paylian, Founder, President, and Chief Science Officer of Bioquark Inc.
Over the years, clinical science has focused heavily on preventing such life and death transitions and made some initial progress with suspended animation technologies, such as therapeutic hypothermia. However, once humans transition through the brain death window, currently defined by the medical establishment as “irreversible”, they are technically no longer alive, despite the fact that human bodies can still circulate blood, digest food, excrete waste, balance hormones, grow, sexually mature, heal wounds, spike a fever, and gestate and deliver a baby. It is even acknowledged by thought leaders that recently brain dead humans still may have residual blood flow and electrical nests of activity in their brains, just not enough to allow for an integrated functioning of the organism as a whole.
“We look forward to working closely with Bioquark Inc. on this cutting edge clinical initiative,” said Dr. Himanshu Bansal, Managing Director of Revita Life Sciences.
About Bioquark, Inc.
Bioquark Inc. is focused on the development of natural biologic based products, services, and technologies, with the goal of curing a wide range of diseases, as well as effecting complex regeneration. Bioquark is developing both biological pharmaceutical candidates, as well as products for the global consumer health and wellness market segments.
About Revita Life Sciences
Revita Life Sciences is a biotechnology company focused on the development of stem cell therapies that target areas of significant unmet medical need. Revita is led by Dr. Himanshu Bansal MD, PhD. who has spent over two decades developing novel MRI based classifications of spinal cord injuries as well as comprehensive treatment protocols with autologous tissues including bone marrow stem cells, dural nerve grafts, nasal olfactory tissues, and omental transposition.
“He is not here; He has risen,” — Matthew 28:6
As billions of Christians around the world are getting ready to celebrate the Easter festival and holiday, we take pause to appreciate the awe inspiring phenomena of resurrection.
In religious and mythological contexts, in both Western and Eastern societies, well known and less common names appear, such as Attis, Dionysus, Ganesha, Krishna, Lemminkainen, Odin, Osiris, Persephone, Quetzalcoatl, and Tammuz, all of whom were reborn again in the spark of the divine.
In the natural world, other names emerge, which are more ancient and less familiar, but equally fascinating, such as Deinococcus radiodurans, Turritopsis nutricula, and Milnesium tardigradum, all of whose abilities to rise from the ashes of death, or turn back time to start life again, are only beginning to be fully appreciated by the scientific world.
In the current era, from an information technology centric angle, proponents of a technological singularity and transhumanism, are placing bets on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, wearable devices, and other non-biological methods to create a future connecting humans to the digital world.
This Silicon Valley, “electronic resurrection” model has caused extensive deliberation, and various factions to form, from those minds that feel we should slow down and understand the deeper implications of a post-biologic state (Elon Musk, Steven Hawking, Bill Gates, the Vatican), to those that are steaming full speed ahead (Ray Kurzweil / Google) betting that humans will shortly be able to “transcend the limitations of biology”.
However, deferring an in-depth Skynet / Matrix discussion for now, is this debate clouding other possibilities that we have forgotten about, or may not have even yet fully considered?
Today, we find ourselves at an interesting point in history where the disciplines of regenerative sciences, evolutionary medicine, and complex systems biology, are converging to give us an understanding of the cycle of life and death, orders of magnitude more complex than only a few years ago.
In addition to the aforementioned species that are capable of biologic reanimation and turning back time, we show no less respect for those who possess other superhuman capabilities, such as magnetoreception, electrosensing, infrared imaging, and ultrasound detection, all of which nature has been optimizing over hundreds of millions of years, and which provide important clues to the untapped possibilities that currently exist in direct biological interfaces with the physical fabric of the universe.
The biologic information processing occurring in related aneural organisms and multicellular colony aggregators, is no less fascinating, and potentially challenges the notion of the brain as the sole repository of long-term encoded information.
Additionally, studies on memory following the destruction all, or significant parts of the brain, in regenerative organisms such as planarians, amphibians, metamorphic insects, and small hibernating mammals, have wide ranging implications for our understanding of consciousness, as well as to the centuries long debate between the materialists and dualists, as to whether we should focus our attention “in here”, or “out there”.
I am not opposed to studying either path, but I feel that we have the potential to learn a lot more about the topic of “out there” in the very near future.
The study of brain death in human beings, and the application of novel tools for neuro-regeneration and neuro-reanimation, for the first time offer us amazing opportunities to start from a clean slate, and answer questions that have long remained unanswered, as well as uncover a knowledge set previously thought unreachable.
Aside from a myriad of applications towards the range of degenerative CNS indications, as well as disorders of consciousness, such work will allow us to open a new chapter related to many other esoteric topics that have baffled the scientific community for years, and fallen into the realm of obscure curiosities.
From the well documented phenomena of terminal lucidity in end stage Alzheimer’s patients, to the mysteries of induced savant syndrome, to more arcane topics, such as the thousands of cases of children who claim to remember previous lives, by studying death, and subsequently the “biotechnological resurrection” of life, we can for the first time peak through the window, and offer a whole new knowledge base related to our place, and our interaction, with the very structure of reality.
We are entering a very exciting era of discovery and exploration.
About the author
Ira S. Pastor is the Chief Executive Officer of Bioquark Inc. (www.bioquark.com), an innovative life sciences company focusing on developing novel biologic solutions for human regeneration, repair, and rejuvenation. He is also on the board of the Reanima Project (www.reanima.tech)
All religions have points of agreement concerning human toil and its relationship to the divine. This essay considers some of the Biblical and Hellenic parables of human origin, specifically the origins of human knowledge and instrumentality.
Here I want to present how knowledge and instrumentality are reported to originate with an act of mischief, specifically the theft of a divine artifact. My argument is that, although the possession of knowledge may be seen as a sin to be atoned for, the kind of atonement originally promoted may have simply been for us to apply our knowledge constructively in our lives. The concept of atoning for original sin (whether it is the Biblical or Hellenic sin) can then be justified with secular arguments. Everyone can agree that we retain the capacity for knowledge, and this means our atonement for the reported theft of such knowledge would simply rest with the use of the very same tool we reportedly stole.
The story of the titan Prometheus, from ancient Greek mythology, has been interpreted and reinterpreted many times. A great deal of writers and organizations have laid claim to the symbolism of Prometheus, including in modern times.  I would argue that too many writers diluted and over-explored the meaning of the parable by comparing everything to it, although this is not the focus of my essay. Greek mythology is notably weak on the subject of “good and evil” because it predates the Judeo-Christian propagation of their dualism, and this means most of the characters in Greek mythology can be defended or condemned without violating Hellenic theology. Prometheus as a mythic figure could be condemned from a Christian standpoint, because he seems strikingly similar to other scriptural characters engaged in a revolt against the divine. Yet the spirit of Prometheus and his theft has also been endorsed by people and organizations, such as the transhumanists who see him as an expression of the noblest human aspirations. 
The widely repeated version of the Prometheus story holds that Prometheus was a titan, a primordial deity who literally stole a sample of fire from Olympus and handed it down to humans. Prometheus was subsequently punished by the gods, who nailed him to a mountain and trapped him in a time-loop so that an eagle repeatedly ate his liver before it was regenerated to be eaten yet again. However, contrary to popular belief, the Prometheus parable is not mainly about the theft of fire but about the creation of the first man. According to Apollodorus’ Library dating from the First or Second Century AD:
“After he had fashioned men from water and earth, Prometheus also gave them fire, which he had hidden in a fennel stalk in secret from Zeus. But when Zeus learned of it, he ordered Hephiastos to nail his body to Mount Caucasos (a mountain that lies in Scythia). So Prometheus was nailed to it and held fast there for a good many years; and each day, an eagle swooped down to feed on the lobes of his liver, which grew again by night. Such was the punishment suffered by Prometheus for having stolen the fire, until Heracles later released him, as we shall show in our account of Heracles.” 
Immediately, you may be eager to identify the differences between this account of humanity’s creation and the Abrahamic accounts. For example, man is created by the thief, Zeus punishes the thief rather than man (it may seem), and the punishment of the thief is not portrayed as good, because ultimately the hero Heracles is destined to set Prometheus free again. However, the similarities are striking. Mankind is believed, in this parable, to be a source of trouble for the gods because mankind’s unique power derives from the violation and theft of divine power. We also encounter the apparent responsibility of women for the release of evil, found in the parable of Pandora, noted in the Library as being described by Hesiod as a “beautiful evil.”  Pandora (meaning women) was inflicted on men as the punishment for their possession of fire, which directly connects the tale of Pandora with the tale of Prometheus. We may speculate that Hesiod’s Pandora story contributed misogyny in the way some have argued that the Genesis account justifies misogyny.  However, such misogyny would defy the notion that Pandora, unlike men, was created by the gods  and was not punished by them…
The whole article has been reprinted at CLUBOF.INFO
I recently interviewed KurzweilAI’s Giulio Prisco for my podcast The Eternities. The below is a short piece I posted on Disinfo.com about the interview, which has stimulated some debate there. Listen to the interview.
Pascal’s Wager demonstrated a certain rationality to a belief in god. The seventeenth century philosopher, Pascal, argued that if one believes, yet god does not exist, nothing is lost in death. But, if god exists, the reward is eternal happiness.
For the transhumanist thinker, Giulio Prisco, if god doesn’t exist, he believes we will create him. Or her. Or, more accurately, perhaps – them. Prisco’s reasoning results not so much in a wager as an expectation.
Speaking to The Eternities podcast, he said, “Richard Dawkins … the atheist mastermind … writes in The God Delusion [that he] finds it very plausible in the universe that there may be very powerful beings like gods. He thinks these beings are a product of natural evolution like ourselves. That’s exactly what I think myself. I don’t place any artificial limits on the achievements that will be possible to intelligent life in the future. And I do think that some of our descendants, perhaps in a few thousand years, will be so advanced … that we could only call them gods.”
Prisco is no mere kook or sci-fi fantasist but a physicist, computer scientist and ex-senior manager at the European Space Agency. Currently he is the Transhumanism Editor for KurzweilAI.net and is a director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. His uncompromising and ultra-optimistic “third way” philosophy combines the traditional aims of religion – existential meaning, eternal life, transcendence – with the ever-advancing means of science.
While the field of archaeology may figuratively bring the past to life for its exponents, the predicted future discipline of quantum archaeology, Prisco believes, may literally do so, and for all lifeforms that have ever lived. Though, he also acknowledges, we may already be living in a simulated reality, run by advanced god-like beings, our immortality already guaranteed.
He said, “There are people who think of … some information store which is already being filled by the natural physical processes that happen in space-time. There are some people who base the reincarnation idea on that. It’s not something that I can rule entirely out. If that does not happen spontaneously … let’s engineer resurrection and the afterlife. If there is no god, let’s build a god, or let’s become gods. And let’s make the universe a better place.”
After posting a few weeks back on a Richard Dawkins article specific to Jesus and Atheism, I was responded by Lincoln Cannon a post called the New God Argument. I first heard this argument at the University of Utah from Lincoln while visiting the area for a conference.
Its logically sound, when the faith position is adopted. The argument is a derivative or rather an advancement on Nick Bostrom’s Simulation Argument and and Robin Hanson’s Great Filter argument, as the links above will tell anyone is much more detail. I’ve even sited Bostom’s 2003 paper in my own defense after being wrongfully labeled as an atheist. Its one thing to state that there
is no God (atheism) or that we cant know if there is a God (agnosticism), and quite another to state that we could create or evolve into one or a vast many.
I think that Lincoln’s argument progressive and may provide the next wave of theology arguments in their defense this century. It’s fascinating to see how far the modern human mind can go in its extrapolation of our exiting technological potential. As Lincoln puts it, the logical truth that post-humans have a probability of.….……
[from Lincoln’s — angel argument, benevolence argument, and creation argument]
posthumans probably already exist
AND posthumans probably are more benevolent than us
AND posthumans probably created our world
After reading the argument I’m compelled to revisit my previous writings on spirituality. When I wrote that I was NOT and atheist I was leaving open the possibility (because of the probability) that we, as the new God argument reads, wont become extinct before becoming post-human. I was also relying on the probability that we could potentially create civilizations, worlds, galaxies, universes, multiverses, with humanoid or homo sapien like individuals. Having stated that I think that Lincoln and my definition of the God figure are much different.
When I reference the term God I’m only meaning to represent a creator figure; I am however, excluding the potential for this figure to intervene in those created lives/world/simulation. I cant find rationale that suggests the creator figure would have any incentive to intervene to interact as benevolent or otherwise.
Physics dis-Incentives: I think that there would first exist some very rigid code (computer language) that manifests in what we understand as our physical laws. Plenty of traditional atheists have identified the inconsistencies in physics as a cornerstone in their rebuttal to the spiritual realm. Their point being, physics is the great divide between what we are/can-be and what we cannot.
Management dis-Incentives: I don’t think that the creator figure would have the incentive to modify imperfections that it sees in its creation, because of the potential to recreate duplicates to modify with a searchable history for analysis are so attractive. We see these types of practices happening currently in the Information Technology (IT) industry becoming more common as computing power/speed/space become greater/faster/more abundant respectively. While There is the potential for the multiple creators in different places and times during a continuous evolution of (what some would call) our current transhuman being, to create existences like our own, they would all be quite different depending on the technology available, and unlikely curated to take advantage of the latest technologies available because of the obsolescence that exponential technological growth provides.
Economics dis-Incentives: Similar to the argument that I made in 2010 at Transhumanism & Spirituality the context in which individuals identify with “their own” spirits and a “supreme” spirit are inconsistent with the spirit having any potential actually interact on the individual’s behalf, in where, it connects the individual with physical being. The arbitrage or competition phenomenon in a competitive situation would create definite dis-incentives for benevolence.
To go a bit further, I would like to take a tangent from Lincoln’s progressive Mormon Transhumanist philosophy and bring into consideration the ideal that some Christian’s subscribe to regarding the tangible or physical creations by spiritual beings or God (see page 3); and further, spirituality being a tangible phenomenon.
Simply, there would be physical traces of spiritual activity if at any point there were any other-than-physical interactions in our physical realm. Prayers and miracles for instance would have physical manifestations. One of my favorites is walking on water or even flying. I’m reminded of the elementary science projects where student turn solids into liquids and finally into gasses. In order for either of the aforementioned miracles to happen the physical properties of air or water would have to change from less dense to more dense, in an almost instantaneous fashion.…but there are simply no traces of that type of activity. The ideal that non-physical beings are more relevant to our physical realm is (in my opinion) invalid, and in fact provides a brand of ego-centric hope that ails human kind’s potential for real harmonious interaction.
The faith assumption is the cornerstone of The New God Argument, not the probability logic behind the benevolence argument. This should be conversely true considering the “value proposition” of spirituality: connectivity (or human connections).
It could be argued that I am faithful in human-kind’s ability to generate a desirable future and create linkages between persons without any need for a creator figure to intervene, generating an organic omnipresent benevolence. And even as I have coined myself as someone with no beliefs at all, I would keep that all we have is our opportunity to live and create connections…and dream of benevolence by using our technologies to create situations where resources of sorts are NOT scarce, and creating environments where we have incentives to connect. Faith is no substitute for rationale and action.
- from the Integrationalism blog