Irritating modern philosophy

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Irritating modern philosophy

 

Modern philosophers are a strange lot. They're absolutely obsessed with language. As an end-user of multiple languages I don't understand what the fuss is about. They all suck when you haven't learned them. They're also obsessed with reductionism. If a horror movie murderer used his chainsaw like these philosophers use Occam's razor, the movie would end in 10 minutes with all the teenagers cut to pieces.

The most annoying thing about modern philosophy is the "problem" of free will. It is a fashion to take action and reaction into the extreme and say that we have no free will, that all we do is controlled by something. Such philosophers make experiments like measuring people's reaction. For example, reaction to stories that happened in this universe and which happened in an alternate universe, where all actions are pre-determined, so for example a murderer is always driven to murder by something else. The very idea of making such experiments shows a disturbing lack of understanding reality. 

Obviously, there are no extremes in nature, no absolute black and white, no total free will nor total determinism. 

We people are systems with our own forces, physical, emotional, mental. These are internal, we are born with them, they grow and develop with us and they belong to us, consciously or not. We are supposed to be raised to control these natural assets as best as we can. We are connected with the environment, but we are not homogenous with it. We are capable of going against the environment, obviously.

Then there are external forces of the environment.

We may divide all these influences on
 - internal and external
 - conscious and unconscious 
 - and for completeness, moral and immoral (moral here being constructive and/or cooperative and/or progressive, but this is not the point here)

We may have free will. All it needs is to have our internal conscious forces greater than the external and/or unconscious forces. As long as a choice comes from within us and is conscious, it is an act of free will. If it's imposed on us by external necessities or internal uncontrolled urges, it is not an act of free will. This means, that a person with free will (whom we all probably want to be) must be highly disciplined. Those not capable of disciplining themselves must be gradually taught to be so, while external measures (whether conscious or better not) help them to stay moral. 

Surprisingly, this shows how important the consciousness (or awareness) is for free will and morality. Whatever the consciousness is, it is essential for all kinds of ethical questions, criminal responsibility and so on. And it varies in degrees and shades of grey. Awareness of a higher animal is different from a human awareness. I don't say we shouldn't lock up criminals that murder for a pathologic lack of awareness. We should, but for different reasons, like medical. 

Philosophers tend to give the definition of free will some very silly and unrealistic conditions, like

 - it must not be caused by anything
 - it must not be possible to influence or break
 - it must choose from random possibilities
 - it must control or decide everything we ever do
 - it must (not) originate from the genetics

Let's take the last one, used by Hamby, that all old timers on this forum probably know. Don't worry, I agree with him in almost everything, I just say he does it wrong. You'll find out why. His argument is based on equating the genetics with the brain and the brain with consciousness - and then excluding the brain from the cathegory of our internal assets, hence making it contrary to the idea of free will. Which is not just unrealistic, it's not practical. The brain does not have an awareness or free will of its own, but it makes many automatic decisions for our convenience. For example, it will close the eyelid extremely fast when something is just about to fly into our eye. 

However, people can expand their awareness and even take over some functions that the brain performs automatically. Yogis can control their heartbeat rate or control muscles that we didn't even knew that can be controlled. I say awareness is a separate entity from the brain, because we did not evolve to be Yogis, concrete-breaking karate fighters or similar anomalous controllers of the body, they aren't our ancestors. Such functions do not need to be hard-wired in the brain or be present in the genetic code. They become necessary by complexity of the brain and by universality of the tasks that the neurons can perform. Evolution is blind. It evaluated that for best survival rate it is good to produce large, multifunctional brains with non-specialized neurons. Evidence of this may be found in great pruning of neurons soon after birth, or our appreciation of music. (which is basically a new unforeseen use for the speech-processing apparatus) The evolution gave us lots of hardware and to some degree it trusts the consciousness and culture to use it well and pass the genes forward. 

Not only is the brain one of our internal assets, there is consciousness in it and it is a related entity (process), but distinct from the brain itself and relatively independent. It is essential for morals and ethics. Brains usually tell us what to do, but sometimes we tell brains what to do. The brains evolved in such a way to make this possible. We are not just computers, we are computers with dedicated hardware (like graphic or sound card etc) and non-specific hardware, like a CPU. The non-specific hardware makes free will possible and it may even get a degree of control over the dedicated hardware. We may even behave in such a way that defies all kinds of natural instincts, pleasure, pain, procreation, survival and so on. Such is the power of a non-specific computer. 

I object against saying that genes control our behavior. Genes don't control us any more than workers decide what people are going to visit a generic building when it's finished. Most of genes don't do anything with our psychology, unless something is wrong. DNA is not a random access memory like the brain has and it does not process or spread information in the same way or any remotely similar information. Genes do not tell the neurons what connections to make, where and when. There are maybe hundreds of possible connections that a single neuron can make.

Is it in our nature to act against our nature? That's a nonsense, we can't act against our nature if everything we do is nature. Remember, there are no absolutes. There is a degree of nature, there is a degree of nurture and there is a degree self-nurture. And this ratio is never the same in any of us or during life. We did not evolve to act against our nature, we evolved to be able to act for or against our nature or in many degrees in between. We evolved as computers capable of re-programming themselves. This is not easy to understand but in the future it might become reality, thanks to the memristor processors. Genes or neurons decide in their dedicated tasks and they also give us the ability to gain ability to decide. And where that decision comes from, that depends on the factors of nature, nurture and self-nurture, but above all if these three factors earlier gave us moral or immoral programming. (see above for definition of moral)

The funniest thing is, the better brains and genes we have, the less important they become, the more important the programming, culture, awareness and intention become. We are becoming less and less gene survival machines and more flexible (self-)programmable machines. Isn't that awesome? Power to the people!

Maybe you think this is splitting hairs. Yes, it is. The problem is, with the reductionistic/mechanistic or whateverian worldview you can come to very moral philosophy and just as easily to a very immoral one. All this philosophy does not inherently give life a purpose, you'll make any conclusion that fits your mood or use whatever other information source to create a purpose of life. All in all, it does not help us to estabilish a very important future of science, a Purpose-o'logy, the science of researching and engineering people's purpose of life. I'm pretty sure some philosophers of the past came to a more depressive conclusion (failed to find a purpose), and committed suicide. Maybe you think they should get a Darwin's prize in a philosopher cathegory, but they only showed how dangerous it is to live without purpose and yet with enough intelligent awareness to be aware of this lack. A deadly combination indeed. Meanwhile many people suffer  because they lack a purpose of life of their own or collective, whatever. They don't know who they are, where they come from and where are they going. Without a purpose of life, they resort to drugs, crime, routine work and shallow entertainment. And many other more resilient philosophers surprisingly owning academic degrees make silly thought or social experiments and postulate fictional universes where people are 100% deterministic. And these sophists piss me off. They're so useless. They're not doing their job. They don't know shit about Purpose-o'logy.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


Jean Chauvin
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Hey Opie

Hey Opie,

I agree,

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


Jean Chauvin
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Hey Whimp

Hey Whimp,

You're a whiny little whimp. Simply because you disagree or because I pound you and you can't defend, or refute, you just cry and whine.

Nobody takes you seriously since you have made a logical fallacy of argumentum ad adhominem.

When you grow a pair, let me know when you grow up so you can have a talk like a man.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


EXC
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What should be the goal of

What should be the goal of philosophy? To confirm whatever preconceived notions one has about the nature of reality or help find objective truth?

I think modern philosophers have a big problems because science now has a lot to say about matters like morality, motivation, happiness, etc...  So they are trying not to contradict science while still trying to be relevant intellectually.  A lot of the notions you have like freewill have been shown to be illusions.

 

Luminon wrote:

Meanwhile many people suffer  because they lack a purpose of life of their own or collective, whatever. They don't know who they are, where they come from and where are they going. Without a purpose of life, they resort to drugs, crime, routine work and shallow entertainment. And many other more resilient philosophers surprisingly owning academic degrees make silly thought or social experiments and postulate fictional universes where people are 100% deterministic. And these sophists piss me off. They're so useless. They're not doing their job. They don't know shit about Purpose-o'logy.

Isn't a "purpose in life" just a way to get high on something? If your purpose in life is your religion, then religion is your drug. If following some philosophy is your purpose, then your philosophy is your drug, the thing that makes you feel the best.

Science would seem to indicate that we are all just addicts of some type looking for the next fix. No free will to decide what makes us tick. So what is the great "purpose in life" you've discovered for yourself? Why is your philosophy any superior? Only because it make you feel better than anything else, right? The pursuit of pleaseure and hapiness is the only purpose one can have in life. We are not wired for anything else.

 

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Jean Chauvin wrote:Hey

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hey Whimp,

You're a whiny little whimp. Simply because you disagree or because I pound you and you can't defend, or refute, you just cry and whine.

Nobody takes you seriously since you have made a logical fallacy of argumentum ad adhominem.

When you grow a pair, let me know when you grow up so you can have a talk like a man.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

You're a pud.

Respectfully,

Your Daddy

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


Luminon
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Jean Chauvin wrote:Hey

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hey Opie,

I agree,

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

Oh dammit, then I must be wrong!

 

EXC wrote:

What should be the goal of philosophy? To confirm whatever preconceived notions one has about the nature of reality or help find objective truth?

I think modern philosophers have a big problems because science now has a lot to say about matters like morality, motivation, happiness, etc...  So they are trying not to contradict science while still trying to be relevant intellectually.  A lot of the notions you have like freewill have been shown to be illusions.

Philosophers should ask useful questions that might have useful answers. Philosophers should work creatively with things like morality, motivation, happiness... It's not just about neurology, it's about people skills and designing social environment for a purpose. Individual psychology and group dynamics. For example there might lie an answer to how atheists and religious people may communicate with each other, and tolerate themselves as groups. Neurology may give many answers, but only if we ask right questions. For example, religious conflicts are not about religious centers in brain. Many people don't understand that today's organized religiosity is basically tribalism. If neurologists want to give some useful answers, they need to look for what provokes defensive and offensive tribal reactions, etc. This is something evolutionarily older than religion.

EXC wrote:
 Isn't a "purpose in life" just a way to get high on something? If your purpose in life is your religion, then religion is your drug. If following some philosophy is your purpose, then your philosophy is your drug, the thing that makes you feel the best.

Science would seem to indicate that we are all just addicts of some type looking for the next fix. No free will to decide what makes us tick. So what is the great "purpose in life" you've discovered for yourself? Why is your philosophy any superior? Only because it make you feel better than anything else, right? The pursuit of pleaseure and hapiness is the only purpose one can have in life. We are not wired for anything else.

All right, please answer some questions first. These are important. How would you define the free will?
What kind of evidence would convice you that we aren't just addicts looking for the next fix?
IOW, what kind of evidence do you require to prove that there is a free will?

You say we are "wired" towards certain goals like happiness. What predictions can you make based on this hypothesis? What phenomena does it allow us to predict or explain? (I mean a know-how to get something under control) And again, what kind of evidence would falsify it?

 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


EXC
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Luminon wrote:Philosophers

Luminon wrote:

Philosophers should ask useful questions that might have useful answers.

Agreed. But they should have an agenda or unproven notions of things like the soul, absolute morality, spirituality or free will. These ideas have not served humanity well at all.

Luminon wrote:

Philosophers should work creatively with things like morality, motivation, happiness...

Which are all produced by electrochemical reactions not some mythical force. You would kill you grandmother if you believed it would bring you the right amount of happiness and you felt no pain about it.


Luminon wrote:

 It's not just about neurology, it's about people skills and designing social environment for a purpose. Individual psychology and group dynamics. For example there might lie an answer to how atheists and religious people may communicate with each other, and tolerate themselves as groups. Neurology may give many answers, but only if we ask right questions. For example, religious conflicts are not about religious centers in brain. Many people don't understand that today's organized religiosity is basically tribalism. If neurologists want to give some useful answers, they need to look for what provokes defensive and offensive tribal reactions, etc. This is something evolutionarily older than religion.

But the more knowledge scientific methods produce, the less relevant religion and philosophy become for and intellectual discussion. Intellectually, religion is only interesting to study human behaviors such as conformity to group pressure. Philosophy is only useful to 'fill in gaps' of what science still doesn't know about human behaviors. Philosophers should become more like scientists and propose experiments to prove or disprove their theories. Otherwise it's pretty useless stuff.

Luminon wrote:

All right, please answer some questions first. These are important. How would you define the free will?

I think it is an illusion. So I would define it as feeling one has that their choices are made by some mechanism independent from their body or environment. I think the illusion is produced by the parts of brain involved in long term strategies/planning. It this it cause by the fact that our conscience mind is not aware of all the processes involved in making choices.

Luminon wrote:

What kind of evidence would convince you that we aren't just addicts looking for the next fix?

People that have had brain damage to just the areas of the brain that produce pleasurable sensations loose all motivation for all the activities that once gave them pleasure. For instance someone like you is interested in art, philosophy, political discussions etc... We know that these activities produce some pleasurable sensations. If the feedback look of pleasure for a certain activity is disrupted, you would loose interest in these. It's like you would stop eating if you didn't get the feedback of good taste and an full stomach.

Plus look at drug addition. The user will find a drug that gives them better and quicker fix, so the addiction begins and they give up activities that previously were pleasurable.


Luminon wrote:

IOW, what kind of evidence do you require to prove that there is a free will?

Isn't this that same as the 'first cause' argument? Even if you could point to something and say this is evidence of free will, I would say but something else caused this so it's not really free will.

The more science discovers about the universe, the more it seems like the universe is some kind of computer with information as the basic building block. The mind is chunk of code and stored memories that somehow give rise to conscience. Anything more conjecture(aka pulling something out of your ass), and Occums' razor should make us think all the philosophical and religious conjectures are probably false.

Luminon wrote:

You say we are "wired" towards certain goals like happiness. What predictions can you make based on this hypothesis? What phenomena does it allow us to predict or explain? (I mean a know-how to get something under control) And again, what kind of evidence would falsify it?


Human behavior can be totally controlled just by producing the right amount and kind of pleasure and pain sensations. It explains why people are creatures of habit. But if someone can control the pleasure/pain one feels, you could make a strait person gay, a gay person strait, Vastet an America loving Republican, etc... I think you're looking for reasons for human behavior other than this, they just are not there.

I think science will soon be able to correlate all behaviors to sensations produce by electrochemical reactions certain pleasure/pain centers in the brain. For example, they are studying now to see how the religious mind works.

I believe in the not to distant future humanity will have total control over our pleasure and pain sensation. Then we are totally controlled by the electronics and computers producing these sensations.

The program in our brains now is to produce pleasure and pain based on Darwinian survival of the individuals genes. So this is why your utopia will never take root via philosopy. People are not motivated by anything other than their own pleasure. Many people are programmed to have 30 kids rather than pursue intellectual pleasures. Societies rules and the function of the brain would need to be reengineered for this to change.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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July 13, 2012 - 7:59pm Jean

July 13, 2012 - 7:59pm

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hey Opie,

I agree,

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

July 13, 2012 - 8:05pm

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Hey Whimp,

You're a whiny little whimp. Simply because you disagree or because I pound you and you can't defend, or refute, you just cry and whine.

Nobody takes you seriously since you have made a logical fallacy of argumentum ad adhominem.

When you grow a pair, let me know when you grow up so you can have a talk like a man.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

Jean's completely lost it.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


Luminon
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EXC wrote:Agreed. But they

EXC wrote:

Agreed. But they should have an agenda or unproven notions of things like the soul, absolute morality, spirituality or free will. These ideas have not served humanity well at all.

Yeah, absolute morality is bullshit. Spirituality is all right, as long as religion doesn't steal the concept. And why shouldn't philosophers work with free will? Because it's impossible? Then I actually mean a possible definition of free will, see above.

EXC wrote:
 Which are all produced by electrochemical reactions not some mythical force. You would kill you grandmother if you believed it would bring you the right amount of happiness and you felt no pain about it.
This is not true for two reasons. Firstly, I am unable to imagine or appreciate such a potential happiness. Or in my case I already experienced something like that by other means often enough, and it did not compel me all that much to anything.

Secondly, the being that did such a thing wouldn't be me, it would lack many fundamental personality traits and mechanisms that prevent us all from doing such things. 


EXC wrote:
 But the more knowledge scientific methods produce, the less relevant religion and philosophy become for and intellectual discussion. Intellectually, religion is only interesting to study human behaviors such as conformity to group pressure. Philosophy is only useful to 'fill in gaps' of what science still doesn't know about human behaviors. Philosophers should become more like scientists and propose experiments to prove or disprove their theories. Otherwise it's pretty useless stuff.
 The problem is, science does not research a purpose. It doesn't make judgement on what is wrong and what is right. What should be, it only says what is or might be. For example, it can measure that artistic environment is more beneficial for people in it. But it can not produce the art or environment by itself, that needs an artist. It can measure that female and male brains are equivalently functional, but it takes an activist to translate this information into a campaign for women's or blacks' equal voting rights. Science can invent a car, but it won't tell us what destination to choose. We have nuclear science, but nothing within this nuclear science compels us to make bombs or build reactors or rather dump it all and switch for geothermal power.
Science is used and driven by our own purposes, good, bad, wise or stupid, informed or ignorant. This is why we need a philosophy of purpose, or science if that is even possible. Today we make progress in this area (recycling, social justice, more rights for more people), but it is still an amateur effort and it is not universally compelling for authorities or masses. That's one thing we might learn from religion, group conformity, just to a better purpose. 

 

EXC wrote:
 I think it is an illusion. So I would define it as feeling one has that their choices are made by some mechanism independent from their body or environment. I think the illusion is produced by the parts of brain involved in long term strategies/planning. It this it cause by the fact that our conscience mind is not aware of all the processes involved in making choices.
Well, such a free will is an illusion. A mechanism independent from our body, that's very dubious. Well then, how do you call this activity of parts of brain involved in long-term planning? As opposed to the activity of more primitive parts of brain, focused on immediate gratification? Why can't this conscious long-term planning be called a free will?

 

EXC wrote:
 
Luminon wrote:

What kind of evidence would convince you that we aren't just addicts looking for the next fix?

People that have had brain damage to just the areas of the brain that produce pleasurable sensations loose all motivation for all the activities that once gave them pleasure. For instance someone like you is interested in art, philosophy, political discussions etc... We know that these activities produce some pleasurable sensations. If the feedback look of pleasure for a certain activity is disrupted, you would loose interest in these. It's like you would stop eating if you didn't get the feedback of good taste and an full stomach.

Plus look at drug addition. The user will find a drug that gives them better and quicker fix, so the addiction begins and they give up activities that previously were pleasurable.

All right, that's a biologic fact. But you seem to give it a philosophical meaning where is none. There is a biologic fact that we may become addicts. But nowhere in science it says that we should become or must become addicts. Just as equally the same science may be used to cure all sorts of addictions. 

Tell me, where is this decision-making philosophy, that decides whether to use science to create addiction or cure addiction? I might have a tip for you, it's the society-centered philosophy, not individualist.

 

EXC wrote:
 Isn't this that same as the 'first cause' argument? Even if you could point to something and say this is evidence of free will, I would say but something else caused this so it's not really free will.

The more science discovers about the universe, the more it seems like the universe is some kind of computer with information as the basic building block. The mind is chunk of code and stored memories that somehow give rise to conscience. Anything more conjecture(aka pulling something out of your ass), and Occums' razor should make us think all the philosophical and religious conjectures are probably false.

Yes, the universe may be a computer, but the better part of our brain isn't a computer as we know it. Transistor-based computers are hard-wired, but our modern evolved brain is like a computer made of memristors. It can re-wire itself and employ a massively parallel processing. Which kind of messes up the causality, because a cause may be its own undoing and a question may become its own answer. In neuronal or memristor processor we can not pinpoint a linear cause and effect as we are used to it in ordinary computers. There may be a hundred differently contributing causes or just a few. This is why I basically give up and decide to use the brain, instead of dissecting and simplifying it.

EXC wrote:
 Human behavior can be totally controlled just by producing the right amount and kind of pleasure and pain sensations. It explains why people are creatures of habit. But if someone can control the pleasure/pain one feels, you could make a strait person gay, a gay person strait, Vastet an America loving Republican, etc... I think you're looking for reasons for human behavior other than this, they just are not there.
The reasons are there, because what you describe is not yet a reality and never was. As long as we are on our own, not being tampered with, we really may have different reasons for our behavior. Hope it stays that way.

EXC wrote:
 I believe in the not to distant future humanity will have total control over our pleasure and pain sensation. Then we are totally controlled by the electronics and computers producing these sensations.
Again, this is a little simplistic. Firstly, the pleasure and pain sensations are simple controllers, used by some parts of the brain to control others. They are like carrot and stick. The brain has an ability to adjust itself. Too much of a good thing, and the brain shifts the scale to take it as a standard, a zero point. Too much of a bad thing, and the brain will take it again as a zero point and appreciate a little goodness more than anything before. This is what I think (Zen) buddhists do, they rid themselves of all desires and are able to appreciate even small joys and pleasures of life, seemingly trivial for us. Which is a completely opposite approach, yet similarly ingenious.

Secondly, there is such a thing as over-stimulation. Too much of something is just as bad as a pain. For example, introverts have different brains that require a *just right* levels of hormones, not more and not less, to feel pleasure. Extraverts need higher doses, the more the better and then they just burn out or exhaust themselves. For example, cigarettes are so successful and addictive as a drug, because they are not strong, they bring just right levels of hormones to both introverts and extraverts. As opposed to LSD, which gives such experiences that it would take you a month to recover from them, even if it was "good".

EXC wrote:
 The program in our brains now is to produce pleasure and pain based on Darwinian survival of the individuals genes. So this is why your utopia will never take root via philosopy. People are not motivated by anything other than their own pleasure. Many people are programmed to have 30 kids rather than pursue intellectual pleasures. Societies rules and the function of the brain would need to be reengineered for this to change.

No, this is so imprecise, that it has no explanatory power. It doesn't explain a difference between a Gypsy with 15 children and a bank director with  one honorary child when he's nearing his 50's. These people clearly aren't equally controlled with Darwinian survival of their genes. The answer simply is, that something in us can divide pleasure apart from genes, making the Darwinian motivation obsolete, there clearly is a different kind of motivation. A different kind of purpose. And studying this should be a science or philosophy of purpose, of motivation. Is that a shameless manipulation of people? Hell, yes. But as long as it's done according to enlighened philosophy, it's a wonderful thing. 

Let's imagine a human being as an electric circuit. There is a source of power, which flows throguh several appliances doing work and then returning back to the source, which is the grounding part. This return may be taken as the gratifying, pleasurable part. What does happen if you connect the (+) power pole with the (-) mark, providing instant return of energy, instant pleasure and gratification? Firstly, none of the energy will get to the appliances or do any work. Secondly, it is called a short circuit, there will be sparks, smoke and smell of burning. 

Yes, what you suggest, a total control of person through pleasure and pain is certainly possible. I don't say it isn't. I just say it's very pathologic, it's the worst thing we can do. We must be aware of this possibility and avoid it at all costs. If you don't like religion, if you think religion is opium of the people and that it makes them stupid, then this is a religion on steroids. Yes, science may find a way how to do that, but nowhere in science it says that this method must be used or given out to the society. Not all that scientists produce is being actually used. For example, nukes aren't actually used nowadays and there are many deadly biologic weapons that also aren't used. An electronic pleasure stimulation is another example of a forbidden technology. It's a great waste of human resources, to unleash such a thing on the society, something that the evolution never prepared us to resist, loses of natural selection would be far too great.

From the society-centric view it just makes no sense at all.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.