Will Nanotechnology help lessen the belief in god?

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Will Nanotechnology help lessen the belief in god?

I know It's wishful thinking, but I've seen some very impressivie things come out of nanotechnology.  If it really does live up to it's potential, we may be seeing a whole new way to 'play god'.  We will have the power to erase cancer, AIDS, and much much more.  I think it will respond in a increase of fundies, but at the same time take away some of the pain and fear that pulls moderates deeper down the rabbit hole of religion.

So, do you think about the future of technology, assuming it lives up to it's promises, and how Religion will be effected?

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I'm going to say from the

I'm going to say from the start that what I write next is speculative. I am writing my thoughts and feelings, not raw data. I admit that I could be wrong about everything that follows. It happens, especially on nights like this when I should have been asleep an hour ago.

As an Extropian I have a lot of hope for nanotech. It certainly has potential even if most of Drexler's predictions about it fail to come true. Once the novelty of it wears off and people quit using it to make microscopic violins and wine glasses, we might actually see some progress. I doubt that we will ever see Assemblers or utility fog, but it won't hurt to keep our fingers crossed. While the gray goo threat seems to be a will-o'-wisp, there is still opportunity for destructive applications.

What effect it might have on religion is difficult to guess at. A lot would depend on what can actually be done with the technology. Assuming that Drexler's speculation of life extension comes true, I would imagine that it would be met with outright hostility. Staying true to hypocritical form, the neo-Luddite zealots would probably capitalize on some benefits of the technology while lambasting the life extension application. Consider how todays fanatics reap the life extending reward of modern medicine by frequenting physicians offices while decrying gene therapy and stem cell research.

Also remember that science pushes religion into the dark corners. Invoking the god of the gaps is their reactionary defense at the moment. They react this way out of fear. These people fear death, and when science deprives them of huge chunks of their comforting delusion, they become increasingly unstable. There is a possibility of invoking a violent response to science if we push them too far into those corners. Cornered animals are unpredictable, but an all out attack is always something to watch out for. Worst case scenario would be burning of universities and people rounded up in concentration camps for failing to follow some charismatic religious leader's interpretation of scripture. Think 1940's Germany and Dark Age Europe rolled together in one big fanatical orgy of destruction.

Best case scenario would be a mass enlightenment, with theists everywhere waking up and realizing that with the promise of a greatly extended life, they no longer needed the superstition of their illiterate goat herding ancestors.

In both cases, we are probably talking science fiction, as it doesn't seem likely that nanotechnology will make such huge advances in damage repair. Lesser medical advances, say using nanobots to unclog arteries, would probably not have any noticeable effect on religion. Fundies are opposed to biology. As long as they perceive nanotech as mechanical, they will ignore it until such a time that it begins to threaten their delusions.

When I hear the term " playing god ", I always chuckle. We created god, so we might as well play god.


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Well first off, I would

Well first off, I would start by observing that fundies have not gone away just yet, despite the rather clear and convincing evidence that they clearly have several screws loose. So basically, I don't see them as going away just because of nano-tech. Heck but a little over a hundred years ago, the fundies were saying that “if god had meant for man to fly, he would have wings”. Today, fundie preachers flit around the country in private jets with gold plated toilets.


So yah, they will still be here. Also, they will figure out a reason to hate nano tech just like they hate bio tech today. It is what they do and asking them to do different is like asking the sun to rise in the south.


The god of the gaps will still be seen as viable to them, if for no better reason than the fact that they can't see how basically full of problems that conception is today. Yah, the smaller the gaps they have to fit their god into, the more obviously irrational it may seem to an outsider. But is it not already obviously something that only irrational thinkers can hold to today?


On the other hand, there will be those of us who are not automatically afraid of the future. We will have cellular repair and mind to computer interfaces. I would imagine that at some point, we might even feel comfortable moving our minds more or less completely into computers altogether. All of this is pretty much science fiction today and while some of it will not happen in exactly the way that any of us might think it ought to, it should be reasonably certain that there is a future to move into and it does involve technology in many major ways.


How should we view the mere humans who chose not to live in the future with us even when they are living beside us to some extent?


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