Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gods, memes and truth

So the many gods receive many different and
conflicting instructions. Some foolish agnostics
have concluded from this that there are no gods.
This is bad reasoning. There are almost certainly
an enormous number of gods. A pantheon, a surfeit
of gods. But just because someone is a god
doesn’t mean you can take her seriously.
Real gods might have a lot of motivations. But
real supernatural beings don’t need money, and
they don’t cease to exist if you don’t believe in
them. Memes, on the other hand, need your money
and your mind to exist and to reproduce
themselves. So a certain class of memes exist as
extremely vicious god-mimics.
Somewhere above all the levels of simulation,
perhaps there is a “real” universe where
superpowerful beings spend part of eternity
contemplating how to make your life better.
Perhaps they will contact you via angel or email.
If they do, ask them for the chemical structure
for a safe and effective cancer cure (maybe a
telomerase inhibitor), or for the secret of the
Bowhead’s 200-year lifespan, or for a General
Unified Physics equation. If they really are
transcendent beings, they won’t have any trouble
coming up with it. If they’re just a meme, they
won’t know any more than you do.

In any case, gods of all kinds must be held to
at least the moral standards of humans. If they
tell you to commit genocide, donate your income
to huge institutions with poor audit trails,
drown your children, or commit other destructive
actions, then forget ‘em. We human beings can
cause enough trouble on our own.

Take a look at this fine version of another set of