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Futurism, Spirituality, and Faith — London, September 21

Next Saturday, September 21, I will be in London to participate in a meeting on Futurism, Spirituality, and Faith, organized by London Futurists. I look forward to seeing many friends at the talk, and of course at the pub after the talk.

I will argue that future science may achieve all the promises of religion, including benevolent gods and resurrection, and that a worldview informed by this possibility offers the same mental benefits of religion, while at the same time being based on and fully compatible with science.

Watch the video presentation of the meeting by David Wood:

Futurism, Spirituality, and Faith
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

How should rationalist futurists regard movements promoting religion, spirituality, and faith?

Rationalist futurists share a profound respect for the potential of science, engineering, and critical thinking to improve the human condition. New technology places power in our hands which formerly would be regarded as miraculous, divine, or the preserve of gods.

But rationalist futurists differ markedly among themselves in their attitudes towards movements that promote religion, spirituality, and faith.

Given the power and influence of these movements, some critically important questions deserve attention:

• Should rational futurists ignore, sidestep, oppose, imitate, collaborate with, reason with, or seek to merge with or transform those movements?

• Are there elements of religion, spirituality, and faith which can (and perhaps should) usefully be combined into futurist, techno-progressive, and transhumanist projects?

• Or are the notions of religion, spirituality, and faith too tied up with irrationalism and the denial of personal responsibility?

This meeting will hear a number of short presentations from panellists – Carl Youngblood, Gennaro Giannini, Imtiaz Salam, and Giulio Prisco – who cover a range of key opinions. There will then be time for contributions from the floor, Q&A, and group discussion.

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  • Dr. Prisco,

    I read, with interest, concerning the September 21 meeting, a few days ago. David Wood’s presentation was succinct and clear, and, also, thought provoking. The dichotomy that David Wood presented, when he compared and contrasted the rationalist approach, versus the spiritualist, seems incorrect in this sense. Most bench scientists, as you can attest yourself, seem disinterested, in either the Singularity, Transhumanist philosophy, or religions. In fact, there may a sizable, minority, of biologists and mathematicians, who, themselves, seem to be traditional religionists, as opposed to Transhumanists, Singularitarians.

    This, I suspect, is because we don’t have a concrete proposal(s) yet, from the side of the astronomers, and physicists, on how the “transcendental” side of Transhumanism might come about? I also understand your awareness, and support of the effort for making the transcendental, post-death, aspects of Transhumanism, as being socially, acceptable, to the community of scientists, both governmental, industrial, and academic-of which today, it is not.

    Because of this, I am personally, concerned with a two track approach. One is the area of study of NDE’s, of which a couple of areas of research look interesting. The second, of course, is, the concept of physical resurrection, of which Frank Tipler was involved in, and to a much lesser, extent, Hans Moravec. Unfortunately, for me, the later path, is a little like Thomas Beckett’s absurdist, play, “Waiting for Godot.” So, I am more focused on NDE’s as post-mortem transcendence, simply, because there is more chatter about it, and some writings seem quite good, while, most, seem creative essays, written to generate cash and attention.

    I hope that your lecture at the London Futurists conference is available to download. I am looking forward to it.

    Cordially,

    Mitch

  • Giulio Prisco

    Hi Mitch, I will write a summary. In the meantime the audio and slides of all talks are available here:
    http://londonfuturists.com/2013/08/30/futurism-spirituality-and-faith/