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Artificial Intelligence, Grand Unification Will Lead to Atheism

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely my personal opinions and deductions, I do not mean to offend the sentiments of the members of any religious community.

Let me first examine the premise: religion. What is religion? Let's go back to the basics, the How. Religion began when cave men saw the Sun. A magnificent ball of fire that gave warmth and if too hot, killed. Also they saw that the plants that grew where sunlight reached and the barren patches where it didn't. All early religions worshipped the Sun and in turn the earth whom they venerated as a Mother. Later these primary forms developed and expanded and consequently, more complex representations evolved. Having an initial monotheistic origin i.e the Sun or the Earth, later evolving to polytheism and finally back to monotheism (i.e Judaism, Christianity, Islam) religion traced a full circle.

Now the Why. Humans are evolutionarily adapted towards information. This can be confirmed by examining two of humanities greatest fears: death and darkness. This can be easily confirmed by examining the concept of 'horror' films or novels. Even murderers (causes of death) and psychotics (mental darkness) can be expansions of these central themes. The theme common to both Death and Darkness is lack of information. The unknown. Thus it can be seen that humans fear the unknown the most. Cavemen who went out in the dark returned rarely if ever at all. Thus humans fear the darkness. Fear because the need for light is not merely due to convenience but rather out of a primal gravitation towards illumination. Fear being the primal emotion because it is a direct cause of survival and hence evolution. Death is feared because again, no information is available about what occurs after the event of death and that is irreversible. This can be proved by the existence of mystic cults concerning death and corpses from aeons past. Thus after establishing that humans are adapted evolutionarily to fear the unknown, their primary evolutionarily i.e survival response would be to reduce the unknown. To add information to it and make it seem less menacing even if the said information is fabricated. Hence arises the practice of Personification of the natural elements. Mother Earth, Father Sky, the Lord Sun etc are all results of the demystification due to personification. Making these unknown, uncontrollable elemental forces into human personalities adds a dimension of familiarity to them. After all, imagining that the rain is caused by a rational being (who in turn responds to acts or gestures performed by humans) is far easier to imagine it being caused by forces over which there is no direct control. An adherence to moral codes, observance of rituals and customs in an attempt to systematize and hence organize the unknown forms a means of control over the uncontrollable. A self fulfilling, self gratifying system that suits us due to our evolutionary build. However, since these beliefs are fundamentally illogical, they encouraged illogical, often counter-productive and destructive behaviour; witch hunting can be an example of this: making people into scapegoats to account for natural calamities. The Aztec empire made enemies of all their neighbors due to their need for ritual sacrifice, a feud that resulted in their ultimate demise at the hands of outsiders.

A large part of human societal development can be contributed to religion as well. This is because it also plays on another primal need: the 'herd instinct'. Religion unifies and thus justifies its existence. Societies that are polarized in one direction will always progress faster. Examples: the spread of the arabic hordes worldwide in the middle ages is only and only due to the advent of Islam. A religion that has strict codes of conduct and comparatively little sectarian behaviour. Hence it is proved that religion exists due to our primal needs asserting themselves besides providing a means of organization and control over firstly, hitherto unexplained and thus implacable natural elements and secondly over humans as a whole. Religion then devolved into a means of control and tool of manipulation by focusing power over many into the hands of a few. This was even more hazardous than a monarchy because while a monarch has some responsibility for the ruled, giving rise to a sense of (in most cases) answerability for power, the authority of the religious head was absolute and unquestionable. As long as the central authority behaved (publicly) according to the religious moral code, no one could claim to question the logical soundness or motive of the decisions. 

Why is religion evil? Firstly, there is no choice. A child is expected to adhere to and follow the faith of the parents with little or no regard to his/her personal opinions. The restrictions are rigidly imposed with due consequences following the event of digression. Prevailing vegetarianism among most hindus in India can be cited as an example. Eating meat (and even eggs or products containing eggs in some cases) is so abhorred by these sections of society that most develop a natural repulsion to these products from childhood. They neglect the fact that it was a variation in diet that enabled our simian ancestors to develop larger brains and thus evolve into what we are today. Secondly, religion discourages questions and logical discourse. Again, from an early age, a child is led to believe and have 'faith' in an unknown power whose existence is in scientific doubt. One is expected to suspend logic and reason and simply 'believe' in this power. This suspension of logic sets the ground for fanaticism and extremism and on a lower scale, adamance and denial of facts, flaws that most would agree, hamper progress of scientific enquiry and thus hinder our progress as a species.

The Urey-Miller experiment demonstrated beyond doubt that we evolved from a mixture of chemicals that got increasingly more complex leading to the first organic molecules and thence to the first 'living' organism. Yet the proponents of religion argue that we as beings who can reason and rationalize cannot but be created by some (again indefinite!) 'higher power'.

Artificial Intelligence: Thus, when as a natural consequence, computing power and processing capabilities increase in scope and complexity, we will get to witness a second evolution of sorts. We will be able to see sentience emerge from algorithm chains and dry semiconductor circuits having no organic components and indeed nothing in common with their creators than the ability to reason. The day we will be able to produce true thinking machines that can reason for themselves, that day either we'll accept that there is no God or that we are his equals in that we created a being capable of thinking and realizing itself.

Hopefully, then perhaps we shall realize that there is no God or 'god' or powers beyond that of the mind and the intellect and humanity shall evolve to the next leap: the Grand Unification Theory and finally be able to redesign the fabric of the universe. Then shall we truly find God, where he always was: within.

May it lead to a happier world where all conflict is logically resolvable and irrational debates have no place. All the best!

Comments

  1. Thanks I'm going to update this one. It's just a rough preview you might say...

    ReplyDelete

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