Ask A Genius 346 – Faith Given Up and Taken Away
January 15, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What are the problems of faith? We have been talking about these for some time.
Rick Rosner: When we were talking, you talked about what we’re talking about, which are issues like abortion being in an intractable problem of today and into the future. We’re never going to get the two sides to agree.
It would be nice to come up with a list of our intractable problems of the future. Problems and big controversies that are likely to come along. That will divide people along the lines, political lines of faith.
So, the legalization of new forms of relationships: is that when people eventually want three or four way marriages to be binding under the law or take place as part of a church? Some people may get annoyed about that.
I’m suspecting not because there won’t be as many because it’s tougher to set up a relationship like that. The more people involved then the less stable that’s going to be. Also, in a multi-person relationship, people who would be inclined to get upset can imagine that only heterosexual sex is happening in that relationship, as in like you’re a Mormon, marriage with your sister’s wives.
Nobody’s getting upset about that. The women are having sex with each other; maybe that stuff happens, people to people, but that’s not why the marriage is that way. That’s not supposed to be the deal of that type of marriage.
Jacobsen: What about that the big culprits currently and in the future? Will they be the same ones? The Shiites, the Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, the Buddhists, then there’s the big populations of religious individuals who were or are against gay marriage, homosexual marriage.
Do you think the mores will have shifted enough such that their disgust or disapproval of it will be much less in the future?
Rosner: I used to have hope that religious impediments to what might be considered progress would tend to lessen over time, and as people see the fruits of progress, but the conservative buddy, Lance, convinced me that Islam has enough adherents.
The rate at which Muslims reproduce is such that it’s not going away. Islam is going to be a major force in the world over the next couple centuries and longer. And you could argue the same for everything to a slightly lesser extent about Catholicism, and other forms of Christianity.
There are so many people who believe along those lines that the dwindling will take a long, long time.
Jacobsen: This is coming out of some obscure interpretation of the text that comes out of a straightforward interpretation of a couple of lines of the texts, by enforcement from religious leaders in the culture they happen to live in.
Rosner: I’d like to say you can find anything in the Bible and the same applies to the Quran and also to support your particular point of view.
Jacobsen: They have statements about homosexuality being an abomination, for instance.
Rosner: But you could probably find as many countervailing statements that say leave people alone.
Jacobsen: What ones are often referenced?
Rosner: The verses, I don’t know that stuff. There is an anti-masturbation little passage in the Bible about that; you’re spilling your seed on the ground and the sin of Onan. It probably is, but like I don’t see a bunch of big biblical campaigns against masturbation.
Rosner: It’s like a chicken and egg deal. People turn to their religious text to find support the point of view that supports them being offended. I’m not sure it’s the other way around, but the big story in the in the liberal news is there’s some pastor who says that he’s saying that God wants Trump to nuke North’s Kim Jong Un.
So, you can think there’s always this. There were a lot of pastors out in the world and believe that you could’ve found anyone willing to support some horrible point of view.
Alt-Right’s other stuff, it’s an ongoing a tragedy about religion that for the longest time now and ever since the Reagan era the biggest jerks espousing religious points of view get the most exposure.
The people quietly try to live their lives according to religious principles of tolerance and charity towards people.
Jacobsen: What about religion as a political force? If you look at the history of Islam, you compare the history of Christianity.
Rosner: In America, it’s a policy to talk about America of the past 40 years, where the conservative think tanks research how to motivate people and discovered that to keep a conservative and motivate a conservative base you want to mobilize the evangelicals, which they did.
But they propagandize the evangelical sections of the church, which made them stronger and made them politically active. Even to the point where now the evangelicals haven’t turned out to be so manipulatable, that they regret that, many of them, aggressively supported our godless president who lies about being religious over Hillary Clinton who seems to have an indication of having a lifetime of faith.
But Trump barely has ever gone to church. Clinton, Hillary Clinton has gone to church her whole life. Now, it’s come out that she is considering becoming a pastor. I don’t if she said it or if her pastor said that they’d talked to her.
He said that she’s considering doing that. And this doesn’t lead to anybody from the evangelical side saying, “Maybe, we heard her wrong and maybe we should give her the benefit of the doubt regarding faith.”
No! they’re all like, “she’ll have good luck practicing religion in jail, when people are about to be prosecuted.” That’s what they say and not many of the most politically active evangelicals disdain the woman with a record of talking about her faith over the guy who has spent his life talking about grabbing pussies and banging women.
When people think about Trump, the first thing they think about him is not that he’s not religious. That would be like number eight on the list to number 11. But the religion is in a fairly sad state in America because ostensibly religious people are embracing jerks at this point.
Let’s get back to the list of stuff that will freak people out.
Jacobsen: Taking this point as segue, the heavier use of religion as a political tool; a political tool for the rich and powerful.
Rosner: People forget that it wasn’t always like this. That it was until the Reagan Era that the evangelicals were a political force. I’m sure that if you went back to Harry Truman’s time you could find groups like Catholics or Truman.
People distrusted when Kennedy was running for president. He had them come out and say that he is an American, first, and his loyalties is always the whole little pithy quote. That his number one allegiance is to America.
His Catholicism comes in a far second. People are distrustful of religion and politics. Anyhow, onto the list of people who will freak out about rights for non-human intelligence.
Jacobsen: Including animals, not official.
Rosner: That’s a thing that already exists. So, it is not a new controversy about animals and it’s not a huge controversy. You have people getting all pissed off about different levels of how horribly animals were treated.
That is of a more general argument about that you shouldn’t house billions of animals in inhumane conditions in general; the argument usually doesn’t get down to the small details of how smart animals are or not.
Or where there will be a bunch of forms of thinking and information processing, but that is independent of a human. So, when an old rich guy starts replacing his brain and wants to argue that he is still the same guy and has all the same legal rights, people will argue about it when that applies.
If your brain is 80 percent mechanical, the 20 percent that’s organic according to an MRI is dead. It’s like, “I still have the same rights.” If that guy moves out of his body into some other robotic body, does the guy have the same rights?
Does the guy who moves into cyberspace? Does he have to have the same rights? So, there’s that problem. There is the problem of wanting to legalize or become legally married to an artificial being.
That’s something that doesn’t show even in a legit way. But it’ll show up in a dumb sense in the next 20 years, somebody will want to marry a sex robot. Most reasonable people will say that’s dumb because that robot is not sentient.
It is as if it is a sophisticated callboy. You can’t marry a toy. Then over the next 18 or so years, you’ll have a true sentience among them: commercially available companions. At that point, it becomes a real issue that has been further clouded by idiots of the past trying to marry toys.
People trying to do arts. There will be a circus like aspect to it like the first time 40 years ago that a gay marriage license was issued, which happened in my hometown Boulder Colorado.
A city clerk decided to say, “Alright, I’m going to marry some gay people. Why not?” It was in the 70s. The licenses she issued didn’t stand up because there was no widespread legal course for what she did, so she did it on her own.
Then within a few days of her issuing licenses, a cowboy shows up at the city clerk’s office with his horse to marry his horse. So, you will always have jokers making fun of this stuff. But anyway, that’s a thing that people freak out about.
Jacobsen: There’s a distinction between values. One associated with conservative viewpoints, conservative reasons; the idea of transcendental laws coming out of religious faiths or faith. They’re split.
They’re the other side to the left or the social-oriented who often, more often, point to universal human rights. That’s the rub for a lot of these controversies.
Rosner: That split will show up in the mid to far future with regard to what to do with sentient artificial beings with rollover. There’s liberals who will argue that you can’t dump thinking beings in landfills, even when it becomes possible to buy an ascendant being for six bucks.
Those beings will be subject to abuse. And liberals will argue that there needs to be a bill that those things need to have rights that are the right not to be treated like crap. And conservatives will argue that only things organic, especially humans, that’ve been touched by the hand of God that have rights and deserve consideration.
So, moving further on the list, you got people playing God with medicine at some point and people will start getting upset about different levels of life extension. When people start growing organs in pigs, which is going to be a thing.
Pigs are genetically close enough to us; they make a good place to grow replacement organs. You’ll have a hell from all animal rights people, who will be upset. Other people will we should not be playing God.
The same thing with playing God around genetic manipulation, gene tweaks. I can take a small example of people saying, when people start looking old, people going to the Bible or the Quran.
People could go to those genealogies saying people are only meant to live x years because God deemed it. So, in creation therefore, people trying to live longer is against God’s will and we should, therefore, make it illegal.
I can argue that at the same time. The Bible has a lot of people living for 800 years. Methuselah lived for at least 800. That was pre-flood. See, I could see these debates happening.
And these are dumb and silly arguments happening now over many things, especially in America. Though, the utility will tend to blunt a lot of these arguments. When certain technologies show themselves to be helpful and not leading to cats and dogs together, they fit in.
That certain new technologies fit into society. They’re helpful to people, so religious arguments tend to be blunted. I’ve always been surprised at how the issue of cross-racial relationships evaporate without a big fight.
People now take whomever they like without regard to race. In fact, when a company wants to show that they are a hip company, a modern company, they’ll often put up a cross-racial couple in their ads. Cheerios does it.
I can probably come up with another dozen examples. Nobody disapproved of it all, except for a few assholes; everybody except for a few assholes is with it. This may be because it doesn’t hurt society.
It’s fine. The obvious utility of people getting to be with whom they want has somehow overcome people’s prejudice against us. You’ll have issues around gene tweaking, especially when people use it to change their appearance or their gender.
You will have issues around new forms of relations, of marriage-type relationships, but even more so you may have people getting upset about people being intimately plugged into each other.
In the mid to far future, where the boundaries between entities are blurred, where two people in cyberspace, two entities, who may or may not be human, merge into one temporarily, permanently even, or there will be a lot of freaking out.
Especially more than 100 years into the future, people will be subsumed into larger information processing structures. There will be concern from the liberal side. This is the people’s rights to exist; they are being violated because it won’t be entirely clear in every case, where individual will stops and group will begins, and who’s making the decisions and whether the individual wills are being participative in these group wills entirely with their consent or not.
On the conservative side, and in these big blobs or agglomerations of thinking entities, they will now completely violate the spirit of the world. The books can be completely against God.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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