I'm new here (as of today), so this is my introductory subject discussion to feel this place out.  I have no agnostic leanings, and my belief is that evolution of all life has occurred over such an tremendously long time frame that it is just too hard for theistic minds to grasp.  I couldn't be more of an atheist, but I am still fascinated by one thing of a mystical persuasion - the mind.

If we were to apply the precepts of Moore's Law to the current state of nanotechnology and our current knowledge of quantum mechanics, it may be feasible that over the next several generations we may be able to create the most basic building blocks of genetic material, and go on to arrange them into genetic material.  One day we may be able to create from scratch a cell, or maybe a seed, or maybe a sperm, or an egg.  Further extrapolation of Moore's Law might bring about the creation of the first synthetic human, identical in every way to the kind that only nature can produce today.  We may even be able to jump start the life force that the synthetic creation needs, so that its heart beats, pumping blood and delivering oxygen from its working lungs to the rest of its body.  But will we ever be able to bring the being out of a comatose condition, producing a self-aware, cognitive person?  And if we did succeed, what are the chances that it would have a deistic curiousity?


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Thanks for the warm welcome! I guess my stumbling block is that we know that brain trauma can cause the body to transform into an unconscious shell that can continue to breath and survive on its own. Terry Schaivo had to be allowed to starve to death to end her suffering, because her body wanted to keep on surviving in an unconscious state. That suggests to me that we may never be able to get beyond the point of creating a being that is simply alive, and the act of instigating consciousness may be an eternal mystery. The mind is such a complex topic. One of my favorite books, The Echo Maker by Richard Powers, contains many actual case studies of unimaginable changes to the minds of brain trauma victims. It makes you realize how detached the mind and the body are.

Future, I think you are making an errant conclusion. KW makes sense. Damage the mechanism encapsulating and producing our thoughts and emotions and see full performance of sentient duties diminished or destroyed. Jupiter's cock! Sorry but Spartacus production was looping and could not refrain.

In terms of evolution our brains will continue basic functions necessary to life even where complex function fails. Does not follow that separation of mind and body is violation of first amendment. Dualism goes out the door when you walk in the high boy boots of Atheist Nexus. Dualism be gone.

Perhaps you are right. Maybe we are like smart phones. As long as they are built correctly in the factory, when you add a charged battery they consistently become activated without question, able to perform amazing feats with incredible processing capacity. Toss it in the swimming pool, you get possibly irreversible damage. Still fun to speculate about the if-then possibilities that exist within mother nature's currently undecyphered mechanisms. It would be exciting to be there and witness throwing the switch on a man made being. Talk about a god complex!

Future you have hit on a good theme for mystics and deists. They can justify their position by noting the formulaic calculations for genesis of life, and consciousness and argue that those codes require a code maker. Of course that is not a great deal different from creationists' thinking. But when you juxtapose the order in nature against the chaos we might expect without a creator you can wonder why. Then again the notion expressed above is a primitive projection stemming from a faulty metaphor. 

There is a universe of difference in my mind between the futuristic scenario I expressed above and how I think we got to where we are now. Trust me - I could never think of present natural mankind as being intelligently designed. The evolutionary path leading from singularity to the present is almost incomprehensible, but I don't doubt it for a second. The human mind, however, is exponentially more incomprehensible than all of that.

Future, you wrote: "The human mind, however, is exponentially more incomprehensible than all of that."

Your evidence?

The singularity is an article of faith, supported by conjecture/induction.

Can any evo path from a conjectured singularity be other than an article of faith?

Your not doubting "the" path is an act of placing faith.

Are you trolling?

Trolling? Not at all - if a better, more evidence based model of existence comes along I'll be the first to weigh it and jump on board accordingly. It's not faith when you are willing to abandon it in light of better evidence. The Big Bang is currently the best scientific theory for how it all began.

The evidence I propose about the mind is based on a pound for pound comparison of anything in the "known" universe vs. the human brain from which the mind arises. Thus far, the human brain appears to be far in advance of the computing ability of anything else in our grasp. Obviously, if singularity is an accurate prediction, then it rivals this weight comparison. However, singularity is not yet a known phenomena - it is simply a highly relevant term for the beginning of time and space.

Future, thank you for answering my trolling query. I'm glad you're not; if you had been I would have felt obliged to say your writing is better than that of any troll I've seen.

On singularity: To say it's a theory gives support to creationists who claim evolution is but a theory. In science, a theory has to explain reality well.

Compare the explanatory power of evolutionary theory with that of singularity theory. At best, singularity is a hypothesis. To say the Big Bang brought time and space into existence requires a leap of faith.

To be more than a hypothesis, singularity requires differential equations with terms that do more than approximate our surroundings and computers able to solve these equations.

I'm glad we straightened out the trolling curiosity.  My only point of this article is to point out how it's okay for even the most hardcore of atheists to admit that at least one thing in this present reality still has so many functional unknowns that it can appear somewhat mystical.  That is certainly not a god endorsement, just a curious observation.  One day we will reach the tipping point where research takes the mysticism out of this subject.  I'm almost scared at what this world will look like then.  There may be no such thing as a secret at that point.

Unfortunately, I thinks it's premature to call out singularity as more than theory at this point.  However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that it has supporting evidence which grossly outweighs the Biblical creationist argument. 

On the topic of evolution, I might add that I recently finished On the Origin of Species (the audio version, over several days of commuting to work.)  I'm not botonist or biologist, so the majority of it was dry and uneventful for me since much of the vernacular was outside of my reach.  However, there were many of nuggets of knowledge that did sink in.  One thing that did have an impact on me was how often Darwin would use the phrase "it appears that ...".  It's hard not to recognize evolution as a theory when one of its most prominent figureheads is careful not to conflate his massive life's work of study on the subject with absoluteness.  Nonetheless, I'm certainly inclined to see evolution as the most intelligent explanation for the present state of everything.

Excellent point Kalliope.  I don't have much background in the current state of that kind of research.  Your explanation could aptly be entitled "on the origin of the theory of evolution."

Future, my post lacked clarity.

You: "...it's premature to call out singularity as more than theory at this point."

Me: I was arguing for singularity being a hypothesis, less than theory.

To scientists, a theory explains phenomena. To non-scientists, a theory might be a guess.

You: "...it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that it has supporting evidence."

Me: It takes a mathematician who will extrapolate beyond the evidence, to conjecture.

I did not read Hawking years ago because, as I heard the story, he gave the task of explaining the early nanoseconds of the universe to the pope. I've heard that he has withdrawn that gift.

I agree with you about Darwin. He was wise, and far ahead of his times, to say "it appears that...." A battle rages today between people who need certainty and people who accept uncertainty.

I did not mean to imply that you subscribe to any of that design stuff. Just think the charlatans could do better than all of the junk about the human eye.

But I dont know why you are so impressed with the human mind and how it can be exponentially more complicated than the universe. And I think our ideas about origin and nature of reality will undergo big bang. 




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