1

(38 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

'Cept that Steampunk in terms of the culture movement isn't just voluntary simplicity or post-tech. It's more dressing up in top hats and speaking in faux-British accents. I cannot possibly imagine that the future is going to be anything like Steampunk.

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2

(139 replies, posted in The Diogenes Club)

Vic wrote:

To me Salvation is not an example of Grace, a loving God would do so naturally.

But how is that distinct from grace? 

People do evil things because they choose to do so

How can they choose to do so? Why would they choose to do so? This still doesn't answer how someone who is both rational and either neutral or good would choose to do evil.

Yes, we are really good at comitting Sin, what you don't seem to see is that we are really good at doing good as well.

I noted that several times now. Go back and read what I wrote. What I went on to say after affirming our capacity for good is that it's not our capacity for good that is in question when it comes to Original Sin. It's our capacity for evil and why it exists at all. 

I do not choose to withdraw from Church because of a lack of moral rigour, I do not subscribe to a Church because I see it as being created as a control mechanism.

Which is a claim I'm even more impatient about after having been myself chewed up and spit out by the denominational system. There had better be some real meat behind that accusation and not just you disagreeing with the pastor man.

I never really saw Montanism as about elitism, rather as a backlash aginst those that renounced Christ to save themselves from execution.

Which it was. The question at stake for the Church was "are any of us righteous enough to cast the first stone?" They were by no means easy on the repentant - in fact, rejoining involved a great deal of humiliation - but they recognized that A) they should not try to withhold salvation from anybody, even the insincere, and B) none of them were of the moral caliber to be arbiters of that kind of righteousness. The Montanists believed they were. 

There was an undercurrent of 'if you are going to lead us then you had better be a saint, Priest to Pope', not about having to be a saint just to be in the congregation.

No, it was about whether you were saintly enough just to be in the congregation. 

Aren't those laws just interpretations of the  Ten Commandments anyway?

That could be argued, though it does get fuzzy when you're working your way through Leviticus. Christians as a rule don't follow the Ten Commandments anyways, since at the very least we worship on the Lord's Day rather than the Sabbath. But from the example of Jesus we learn that sometimes you do have to break the Law for the sake of the Good. The Law is not an end unto itself.

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3

(139 replies, posted in The Diogenes Club)

Vic wrote:

If man is sinful and only sinful then there is no chance whatsoever of becoming one with God.

Which is absolutely correct. We have no chance whatsoever of becoming one with God.

God, however, has no problem making us one with Him.   

According to your definition this is not possible for Man can only commit Sin.  Man can only be wholly Sinfull (i.e. evil works) and not be capable of good (i.e. Holy) works.

Actually, you're getting our arguments twisted around. I explicitly said that we are capable of good deeds, even if they're not for wholly good motives. In saying that we had a sinful nature, I never said that we are incapable of doing good. Even if we have a sinful nature, we are still participants in a Creation that was Created good by a God who is Good. Of course we are capable of doing good, and the evidence is plain.

The problem is that not only are we capable of doing evil, but we're so good at it. That is the problem that your view has to overcome: not the question of why there's good, but the question of why there's evil. If we are born neutral or even somehow good, then you need to find a satisfactory explanation for why neutral or good people would choose to do harm to others. Your explanation would also have to avoid infinite regression, which is the problem of Locke's argument that civilization corrupts us. Who invented civilization then?

People doing good things is not a problem for Original Sin. People doing evil things is a critical failure for the argument against it.

Okay, now here's another reason I am not with a church.  Christ shows us the way, he didn't only talk the talk mind you.  He also walked the walk, Christ did it to show us the way.  Jesus was saying "look, you can do it too.", the apostles were still in a flawed mentality.  All they could do was say "look, he did it for us, let us worship him.", their paradigm did not allow for a mere mortal to produce miracles.  Christ also said he was not there to replace God's Law but to reaffirm it with just a bit of reinterpretation.

This is dabbling in the heresy called "Montanism", which basically boils down to withdrawing oneself from the Church because you do not consider it to be morally rigorous enough.

Why that was declared a heresy is because it's basically a psuedo-Christian version of being an ubermensch. People tend to gravitate towards it because they either think they're already more righteous than the average Christian or that they're more sincere about it than the average Christian. The point is thinking oneself to be a better follower of Christ.

But if that's where you're going at it from, then you've already lost. That sort of elitist thought, that lack of humility is itself a sin. Jesus addressed it directly when the Apostles prided themselves on not being like the Pharisees and He said that they should be so lucky as to be as righteous as them.

As I said before, this reduction of Jesus to a mere bringer of rules is pretty average. You accuse the Apostles of "only" thinking on the plain of what Jesus did for us, but arriving at that point takes considerable insight. A crucified would-be Messiah being the Saviour of the comsos is not an immediate and logical jump. Far easier is thinking that Jesus is just a good guy with some good rules. That's probably what most people who aren't Christian think, that's what He's been reduced to by too many liberals thinking they're progressive, and your line about Jesus "not [being] there to replace God's Law but to reaffirm it with just a bit of reinterpretation" is a misunderstanding of "I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it" that is constantly used by conservatives in their war to impose their rules on everybody.

Even if loving your fellow man is merely second to the greatest commandment of loving God then it carries one heck of allot of weight.  Follow those two Commandments and you will naturally do all of them.

Good insight, but there's a heck of a lot in it that contrasts with Montanism and the 613 laws of the Torah. Sometimes, in order to love God and love your neighbour, you have to break the Law. It's not about the rules.

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Col. Adrianna Hazard wrote:

Hah, sounds excellent. I actually know a group of cosplayers who are planning on doing a steampunk version of the Power Rangers. They're all going to be in modified flight suits.

Back in the day, I remember drawing Power Ranger zords that actually looked like mechanical dinosaurs.

But for some reason, I can't convince my girlfriend that we should go to the Toei Studio in Kyoto when we visit Japan in November. The idea of a whole gallery full of the Power Ranger costumes doesn't appeal to her. I can't imagine why not.

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5

(139 replies, posted in The Diogenes Club)

Vic wrote:

A different tack, Sin is not nature (the way it is being used here is the same as instinct), Sin is a choice.

Actually, if you want to get really theologically dirty, sin isn't the action itself. Sin is the delusional state of human in brokenness from God, others and Creation that allows for the commission of hurtful and wrong acts.

It's not that humanity is neutral and does sinful acts. It's that humanity is sinful and does hurtful acts. If humanity weren't sinful, we wouldn't do them. Thus Christ repeatedly talked about how it's what's in your heart that does the injury. The actions you take are only commensurate with that.   

As for becoming one with God, clearly not doing Sinfull acts is an important step toward that.  Most Christian sects will tell you on the other hand that Faith, in the Christian manner, is the most important.  I personally have come to the decision that as Christ has said that Love is the most important Commandment.  Love God and ALL of his creation (yes, this means the good and the bad) and you will become one with God at the appropriate time.

Which would be fine if that were at all attainable. However, as Christ said that the greatest commandment was to love God and that the second was to love others, He was the only one who was able to affect that perfectly. That's because He is God. Our imperfection - which is just a natural part of the human condition - will always prevent us from being able to affect perfect love for God or others.

Plus, the striving for perfection already puts you in the wrong way. If you're striving to be morally perfect thinking that it will bring you closer to God, you've already lost. All you're trying to do is be like God which, metaphorically, was the whole bullshit stunt that Adam and Eve pulled. As we've been talking about in that other thread on transhumanism, human attempts at perfection inevitably end in disaster.

Thus why I'm so bitter about Pelagius' condemnation of Christendom to a perpetual striving for rules, which has in every single damn case resulted in holier-than-thou crap. It's not about the friggin' rules!

That's why faith is put forward over morals... Union with God, admittedly through a glass darkly, is what is affected first. The works follow out of that as an expression of God's perfect love moving through you for others. You cease striving for God or to be like God and just let God flow through you.

The V.A.P. wrote:

You accuse Pelagius of requiring the pedantic laws with the only other option being hell - but a majority of Churches claim that certain things will send you to hell that I don't consider a sin.

Yep. That's why I said said that Pelagianism is one of the most popular heresies masquerading as Christianity. Christianity is not about morals. Christianity is not about being a good person. Christianity is not about following rules.

That's also the sword that a lot of liberal Christianity falls on. They react against the Pelagian "Religious Right" or "Moral Majority" or whatever conservative Evangelicals call themselves these days by thinking that if they just follow a different set of rules deemed "liberal", that is somehow better. It's just more friggin' rules!(!1!) The "progressive" idea of Christ as just some hippy with good advice turns Him into another friggin' rule-maker!(!1!)

God save me from the rules of men!

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6

(38 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

Dr Damon Molinarius wrote:

I agree, but this opens a whole can of worms.  The only real way our species will survive is if we get at least some of us off this rock and living elsewhere (although, as indicated in the H+ hypothesis, and outlined by Asimov, would 'Spacers' and 'Earthlings' remain the same species?) - I also think things like GM crops would enable us to feed the population of the planet, but am afraid of the unintended consequences.

Well that just goes back to the realization that, right now, we're not facing any problems that we couldn't deal with using existing methods if the political and economic will was there. We already could feed everybody on Earth, we already could deal with the ecological crisis, and so on. It's just a matter of doing it.

That also puts the brakes to eugenic speculation. If we already can deal with the problems we face but aren't, then how is new technology going to change anything? Moral improvement has to come before technological improvement or else it's just more of the same made worse.

And yeah, I'm ignoring terracide for the moment because, while a big rock from space could slam into Earth any day now, there's a whole shitstorm of problems we can actually do something about right now happening all around us.

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7

(38 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

Dr Damon Molinarius wrote:

On a slightly different tack, do we need H+ in order to colonise the stars?

And that just raises the spectre of whether or not space exploration is moral either ^_~

I've said before that I love scientific discovery, but I'm also shamed into silence by arguments that spending billions of dollars to send dozens of people into space while billions more are starving here on Earth is criminal.

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8

(38 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

Rex_Kackley wrote:

Firstly, if I may quote Vernor Vinge; "The power of government in growing... BUT... the power of individuals (thanks to technological advance) is growing at a FASTER RATE."

Which is nonsense. To paraphrase Jerry Mander, with the amount of money and intelligence being shared between corporate, government, police and military entities with modern technology, the idea that a little desktop publishing is somehow "liberating" is laughable.

If there's a free market (or even government support system) driven economy for enhancements, there's much more profit in selling to the masses then to a few. Computers used to be available to only a handful of the richest companies and labs. New technologies in production make these a lot cheaper. The car was a toy of the rich until the assembly line, now most people in developed countries have one.

However, we're not talking about mass produced consumer goods, are we? We're talking about highly customized medical technologies that can only be delivered by certain specialists.

Most developed parts of the world have a good supply of food and medical care. The developing world has better medical care than it did. Progress and change is not instant... However, many countries are rife with war, chaos, dictatorship, and radicalism, meaning new ideas are unlikely to arise for the short term.

Like many transhumanists, you have an artful way of downplaying self-evident facts that are a critical problem for your views, as though somehow repeating them with a different tone of voice takes the bite out of them. In this case, you're only repeating what I said already: the massive disparity between the rich and developed world and the poor and less developed will only be exacerbated by transhumanism as the wealthiest in the West have the opportunity to advance lightyears beyond everybody else, even if "technology trickledown" finally lets the most basic of "improvements" reach the slums of Mumbai after decades.

Companies should not be forced to hire inferior personnel. However, that simplistic statement denies the fact there will likely be transactions among baselines for a while. Even if a few H+ run the economy, even they will have positions open: Company liaisons, test consumers, and the like. It would be more likely a company would try to make its goods affordable to H- as H+.

Affordability of goods is different from slumdog H-'s not being able to get worthwhile jobs because they're "unimproved". This is a dodge.

That's what armies are. An extrapolation of the general “rules of war” can suffice: Limit hostilities to only enemy soldiers and guerrillas.

ROFLOL! That might have worked 1700 years ago when Augustine drafted up the rules of a Just War. Unfortunately, we stopped being capable of waging a Just War since at least the 1880's. The industrialization of warfare made "limiting hostilities to only enemy soldiers and guerrillas" more difficult, with our crude weapons like atomic bombs, smart missiles and the like. Oh, an "asymmetric warfare", which like 9-11 is largely and deliberately indiscriminate. Your assorted grab bag of hopes is trying to argue against history and example.

One pernicious cliché is people born and bred to be perfect soldiers.

I suppose this whole blog would apply if that was at all what I was talking about, which it wasn't.

That would be a coercive state policy.

Yes it would. You act like that somehow makes it impossible.

A good one may be experimental. The ecosystems yield a variety of medical, genetic, mineral, and natural items of interest, such as genes and microorganisms, that an H+ could use. Adaptation of new genetic technologies may also be used to create a new ecosystem in lieu of a destroyed one.

The latter is a tall order considering that we still don't fully understand how most existing ecosystems work. The former still doesn't address the fact that while all of that may be true right now, we're still rampantly destroying ecosystem after ecosystem right now.

Less worthless, immoral religious tyranny over the minds and morals of humanity, less feudalism and more capitalist economics, better ability to communicate with each other, and so on.

Sorry, what planet are you living on again? I must have missed that the first time around.

Not all benefits are distributed evenly.

Which is exactly one of the problems I raise about transhumanism. Thank you.

With the advent of H+ tech, following the trends of the past, even the nation state can give way to a more decentralized world.

Actually, transhumanism would recentralize it, as all advanced technology does. Even the H- minus body, with all its assorted ills and limitations, is more autonomous than an "improved" body could be. An H- body could even go out and live the Libertarian dream of isolating itself in a cabin in the woods and living off the land. An H- body could join with a democratic collective of others and do the same on material and human resources proximate to its numbers and capacity. An "improved" body cannot... it has to go into the garage for servicing by skilled labour, using resources it has no capacity for obtaining itself. Transhumanism is not a game for DIY haXX0rs.

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9

(139 replies, posted in The Diogenes Club)

Vic wrote:

You have a good point, free will has been just as hotly debated.  And yes, I did make that assumption, my apologies.  A point, if I have a sinfull nature at birth and I do not have free will, then I cannot make the choice to be other than sinfull as is my nature.

Which is exactly what Luther says, who I'm naturally going to side with because I'm a Lutheran ^_~

He never said that we cannot make good, moral choices that are, in the balance, positive. However, he recognized that it is impossible for us to make choices outside of our own nature. As any Randian and conservative would be happy to tell you, all of our choices are influenced by selfish, greedy, human motives. We are the sum of our nature, experiences, reason (which Luther also accepted was corrupted by sin), personality types, and limitations. It's part of the human condition to be in this disconnect with how reality is structured. We cannot escape what we are any more than we can escape gravity. 

That's one of the two reasons why free will choices don't matter when it comes to salvation. Well, first of all, free will choices and salvation are incompatible: if you can make the first then you don't need the second. It's only people who can't make free will choices that need salvation. While we can choose moral, altruistic actions, none of us are as purely selfless, self-sacrificial and other-oriented and therefore as holy as God Himself. Furthermore, salvation means to affect union with the Divine, which we are powerless to do. I can't even will myself to fly, let alone will myself to Heaven.

One does not pay for the Sins of Adam or the Sins of their father, one is culpable only for personal Sin, no more.

Which is exactly the same view as Augustinianism and the Catholic Church.

Personally, I take it further and go the route that we're not punished for sin at all. Rather, sin is its own punishment. The actual life-destroying consequences of selfishness and greed are bad enough, and that's why they are sins to begin with.

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(38 replies, posted in Ætherscope)

Col. Adrianna Hazard wrote:

Eugenics was specifically based around racist ideals, positing certain groups of people as qualitatively "better" than others.

As Damon noted, it wasn't! Eugenics started as a liberal effort towards eliminating sickness and what were perceived as inherited ills.

Heck, one of the secret shames of the left in Canada (to which I more or less consider myself to belong), that I've certainly seen brought up by conservatives, is that every one of the Famous Five believed in eugenics. So did Tommy Douglas.