[FoRK] Douglas Adams: Is there an Artificial God?

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com> on Thu Jul 12 23:42:09 PDT 2007


  Summary (by me:)

  Douglas Adams begins by noting the simplicity of evolution,
  and the ways that early people must have picked up the idea of God.

  He outlines four ages of sand:
  1. macroscopic -- seeing that we were just one tiny world amongst many
  2. microscopic -- seeing that most of everything is just nothing
  3. computation -- seeing that little tiny things can add up to make
complex things
    * thus, evolution becomes more and more believable to ordinary people

  Then he takes a curious turn, and talks about "artificial Gods,"
  or what I usually think of as, "useful metaphysics."  He suggests that
  rather than just destroying the idea of God, we perhaps look at what
  utility we can draw from it.  He does this by analogy with Feng Shui,
  which produces better living arrangements, then, say, Le Corbusier
  ("A house is a machine for living in,") even though it's rooted in notions
  of dragons and such.

  "Therefore, I would argue that though there isn't an actual god there is an
  artificial god and we should probably bear that in mind. That is my debating
  point and you are now free to start hurling the chairs around!"

  Someone asks from the audience, "What's the 4th age of sand?"

  He notes: greater and greater interconnection, many-many communication.

  -- Lion

  "No one can deny that a network (a world network) of economic and
psychic affiliations is being woven at ever increasing speed which
envelops and constantly penetrates more deeply within each of us. With
every day that passes it becomes a little more impossible for us to
act or think otherwise than collectively." ~1938-40  Teilhard de

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