Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Which God Don’t You Believe In?


[the Flying Spaghetti Monster]

Atheists often tell me “Atheism is not a religion; atheism just means I don’t believe in gods.”

I would like to respectfully ask however: What exactly do you mean by the word “god”?

Let’s say, for example, there would exist alien beings who are a trillion times more intelligent than humans. Further more they are invisible and intangible since they are made from dark matter. They are powerful enough to be able to easily create new galaxies in moments. Would these Dark Matter Super Creatures [DMSCs] be gods? And if not, why not? Gods in non-Abrahamic religions basically resemble some sort of super heroes or space aliens. [This may explain the popularity of UFOs and comic books in many circles today. Deep down, we really miss those old gods.]

Are atheists saying that they know that DMSCs do not exist? How can they know that? And if not, what exactly are they saying?

41 comments:

Jewish Atheist said...

What I mean by "I don't believe in the existence of any gods" is that I don't believe that the universe was created by an intelligent being. You are right that I cannot know that this is true -- that's why I say I believe it rather than that I can prove it.

Please note that this does not mean that all conceivable gods are equally improbable -- your DMSCs strike me as vastly more likely than the Yahweh of Breishis, for example, for all of the reasons we've all discussed ad nausea.

Did you see my recent post on UFO sightings vs. religious claims?

jewish philosopher said...

So you believe the universe has existed eternally? How do you handle the Big Bang and problem of entropy?

I missed your UFO post.

Jewish Atheist said...

So you believe the universe has existed eternally?

Not sure. But I believe that if it hasn't, it was "created" by an unintelligent process.

I missed your UFO post.
http://jewishatheist.blogspot.com/2007/07/noahs-ark-vs-ufos.html

jewish philosopher said...

So creation is OK, just as long as something mindless did it.

Any reason for that preference?

Jewish Atheist said...

I cannot fathom how an intelligent Being could have always existed or have popped into existence ex nihilo. Also, the universe appears to me to be a mindless process.

Cameron said...

JP: Atheists often tell me “Atheism is not a religion; atheism just means I don’t believe in gods.”

CH: Amen brother Jacob.

JP: I would like to respectfully ask however: What exactly do you mean by the word “god”?

CH: 'Supernatural beings'. In this category I'd include examples of things like; faeries, leprechauns, Santa Claus, Thor, Yahweh, Vishnu, and of course, Russell's teapot.

JP: Let’s say, for example, there would exist alien beings who are a trillion times more intelligent than humans. Further more they are invisible and intangible since they are made from dark matter. They are powerful enough to be able to easily create new galaxies in moments.

CH: So we have omnipotent, invisible, intangible beings, but supposedly they are based on natural principles - got it.

(As a side note, 'Q' from Star Trek fits the bill for this thought experiment with half the nonsense and a lot more flair, anyway, I digress)

JP: Would these Dark Matter Super Creatures [DMSCs] be gods?

CH: No. You've already defined them as beings who exist naturally in the universe, hence they are not
'supernatural', and thus not 'gods'. Keep in mind Asimov's maxim that 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'.

JP: Gods in non-Abrahamic religions basically resemble some sort of super heroes or space aliens.

CH: Sad, isn't it? Let me add that the Abrahamic religions started off with an Anthropomorphic god, and only gradually transitioned to a non-anthropomorphic conception. Much of theology in the Abrahamic tradition concerns itself with arriving at a reasonable (such as it is) explanation for this.

JP: [This may explain the popularity of UFOs and comic books in many circles today. Deep down, we really miss those old gods.]

CH: More accurately, deep down 'Gods' are not much different than comic book heroes. Escapist fare rabidly consumed by adolescent minds. Actually, that's really not being fair to comic book readers.

JP: Are atheists saying that they know that DMSCs do not exist?

CH: Welcome to epistemology 101 - to 'know' something is to have 'justified, true, belief' - in this case we cannot 'know' that DMSCs exist because we have nothing other than a theoretical (and strained at that) conception of them. In short, we don't know they exist because we don't possess a justified true belief that they exist.

On the other hand, the lack of this justified true belief does not imply the opposite - that is, the fact we don't 'know' they do exist, isn't itself sufficient to determine that they don't exist.

Ultimately then, we are left to make a judgment on the probability that your thought experiments exist in the form you suggest. Given the purported properties of dark matter, as well as the other powers you suggest these hypothetical aliens might possess, and of course, the fact that you admit up front that they are nothing more than a thought experiment, and we can be reasonably justified in not finding a belief in DMSCs to be justified, let alone likely to be true - and hence, absent any further evidence we can reasonably say that your DMCS don't exist.

Joebaum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joebaum said...

JEWISH ATHEIST:
I cannot fathom how an intelligent Being could have always existed or have popped into existence ex nihilo.
JOEBAUM:
And a Unintelligent Bieng Could you explain how it popped into existence?
JEWISH ATHEIST:
Also, the universe appears to me to be a mindless process.
JOEBAUM:
So how do you explain the INTELLIGENT part of the universe - the living Biengs?

Jewish Atheist said...

And a Unintelligent Bieng Could you explain how it popped into existence?

No.

So how do you explain the INTELLIGENT part of the universe - the living Biengs?

Evolution.

avrum68 said...

"CH:'Gods' are not much different than comic book heroes. Escapist fare rabidly consumed by adolescent minds. Actually, that's really not being fair to comic book readers."

Cameron, as the non-Jew on this site, I'd expect more humility from you. How much time have you spent learning about Judaism's take on God...I mean, real experience (blogging is a poor and man's excuse for experiential learning). Not unlike Psychodynamic therapy, you can read all the Jung, Freud, Kohut, Erikson, etc., but until you DO IT, will your opinions be taken seriously. Nothing is more common, and wrong, than average folks saying things like: "Freud was wrong".

As well, I'm not sure what your academic/vocational experience is, but this quote:

"Escapist fare rabidly consumed by adolescent minds."

would suggest that atheists, or perhaps only yourself, exist on a intellectual and emotional level much higher than religious folks. I'd encourage you to come to my shul, which is comprised of many professors and doctor types (an Orthodox Shul surrounded by 4 hospitals and 2 universities) and try throwing around some of that smugness.

I said it before, it takes huge testicles and a truck load of ignorance for a non-Jew, with no real life experience with Jewish prayer, ritual, etc., to tell observant Jews that belief in God is silly and immature.

jewish philosopher said...

JA, actually many cosmologists believe that the universe appears to be highly, suspiciously well organized and fine tuned to make life possible. I'm reading now a book called " Cosmic Jackpot" by Paul Davies on this subject. I wonder why you feel differently. And why couldn't the Intelligent Being have always existed? Perhaps he is exempt some how from the law of entropy, so he can just whir along forever.

Cameron, why can't you say the Jewish God is natural? What makes something supernatural? Because it's listed under "religion" in the library?

Jewish Atheist said...

JP:

I'm aware of the fine-tuning argument; I'm just not convinced by it.

And why couldn't the Intelligent Being have always existed?

It's possible, logically speaking, just as unicorns are possible, but I see no reason to believe it.

jewish philosopher said...

Actually, there are rhinoceroses.

My suspicion is that atheism really, basically means "I don't believe that any invisible higher power is watching me and judging me because that idea bothers me".

Cameron said...

CH responded to JP with:'Gods' are not much different than comic book heroes. Escapist fare rabidly consumed by adolescent minds. Actually, that's really not being fair to comic book readers."

Avrum then said: Cameron, as the non-Jew on this site, I'd expect more humility from you.

CH: Why? The comic book argument was already made by someone else (and with equal frivolity), so why so sensitive when it's turned back on your own beliefs?

Avrum: How much time have you spent learning about Judaism's take on God...

CH: Just slightly more than I spent figuring out that Zoroastrianism was bogus.

Avrum further pleads his special case: I mean, real experience (blogging is a poor and man's excuse for experiential learning).

CH: Gotcha, somehow your invisible deity becomes much more real and cognizable the more time you spend with it. Forgive me for being so frank, but that is exactly what the Zoroastrians, disciples of Islam and Jehovah Witnesses said too.

You all seem to believe that despite the obvious absurdity of your beliefs, somehow if we just soaked enough of it in by osmosis, our critical faculties would eventually shut down and we would see the light of your peculiar faith. Just like the Branch Davidians.

Avrum: Not unlike Psychodynamic therapy, you can read all the Jung, Freud, Kohut, Erikson, etc., but until you DO IT, will your opinions be taken seriously. Nothing is more common, and wrong, than average folks saying things like: "Freud was wrong".

CH: Agreed - Freud (more often than not) was right. Though I have quibbles with the thesis of 'Civilization and its discontents', most of his child psychology, and in particular his 'talking cure', but I digress). Coincidentally Freud was also an atheist.

Avrum, now smelling blood went for the jugular; As well, I'm not sure what your academic/vocational experience is, but this quote:

"Escapist fare rabidly consumed by adolescent minds."

would suggest that atheists, or perhaps only yourself, exist on a intellectual and emotional level much higher than religious folks.

CH: I was of course, speaking of comic book superheros. Like, the Invisible Kid (I prefer the version from Legion of Superheroes), or Superman, or even Santa or Yahweh.


Avrum then shows how friendly he can be when he tries hard: I'd encourage you to come to my shul, which is comprised of many professors and doctor types

CH: Gosh, thanks! But I'll pass, as much fun as Doctors and professor types are for me, shul is just a drag.

(an Orthodox Shul surrounded by 4 hospitals and 2 universities) and try throwing around some of that smugness.

CH: Ah yes, the old 'why don't you come over here and say that to my face' response. How pleasantly...adolescent.

Avrum: I said it before, it takes huge testicles and a truck load of ignorance for a non-Jew, with no real life experience with Jewish prayer, ritual, etc., to tell observant Jews that belief in God is silly and immature.

CH: Your obsession with my testicular fortitude is getting out of hand. What would Freud say about that I wonder?

More to the point, belief in your God IS silly and immature. But don't take it personally, belief in ANY gods is silly and immature. I am in this regard, perfectly egalitarian and play no favourites.

Finally, because it speaks to the original topic at hand rather marvelously;

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

- Stephen Roberts

avrum68 said...

CH,

We've got a non-Jew spending quite a bit of time debating observant Jews about "silly and immature" ideas. If this isn't a case of "too much time on my hands" I don't know what is.

badrabbi said...

Is this a club where only the Jews need apply?

Avrum, why do you not deal with CH's arguments? Is it really relevant whether he is a Jew or not?

In what way does CH's lack of religion speak against his arguments against a God? Or, should we disqualify your arguments on the grounds that you are a Jew?

jewish philosopher said...

What happened to my question? What exactly is the difference between a Dark Matter Super Creature and a god? What makes a DMSC natural and a god supernatural?

Joebaum said...

The truth is that all atheists are believing in some kind of supernatural power, if its not god then its some kind of universel power calld "universe" or "nature" or whatever the heck they call it.
the only reason why they don't believe in our god is becouse its stands for JUSTICE, KINDNESS and MORALITY.

badrabbi said...

"the only reason why they don't believe in our god is becouse its stands for JUSTICE, KINDNESS and MORALITY"

Justice, Kindness, and morality. Yes, and slavery, animal slaughter, and hatred of people not beholden to your religion.

jewish philosopher said...

"slavery" name one Jewish slave owner alive today.

"animal slaughter" so?

"hatred of people not beholden to your religion" as expressed how? Any Jewish hate criminals behind bars somewhere that I don't know about?

These canards just help atheists, who are busily aborting their babies and dumping their wives, feel a little better about themselves. Please.

avrum68 said...

"Avrum, why do you not deal with CH's arguments? Is it really relevant whether he is a Jew or not?"

You can't be serious? First of all, I understand that atheists perceive all religion as quite similar in uselessness. And so they feel entitled to paint with broad strokes all sorts of opinions on matters of theology, etc. HOWEVER...they're wrong. They are wrong that God is God is God. And they are wrong that you can prove the uselessness of prayer, religion etc., by reading some Satre, Darwin and Dawkins.

Religion is an experiential activity. Not unlike love, creative endevours, etc. Would you pay any attention to a single 55 year old, never married, who goes on and on about how much married life sucks?

Again, for a non-Jew, to tell ANY Jew that:

"More accurately, deep down 'Gods' are not much different than comic book heroes."

is insulting and disrespectful.

Perhaps I should troll atheist blogs and parrot the line that, in the end, it will be science/technology which has provided far more evil than good ( penicillin and G5 Macs have got nothing on biological and nuclear weapons), even though my background is in Psychology and the Arts. In a post-modern age, every shmuck's a professional, right?

badrabbi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jewish philosopher said...

I think in reality atheism means "the lack of belief in anything more powerful than humans".

Joebaum said...

I think its the leck of belief in enythink more Smarter then humens...

Cameron said...

JP said: '..,why can't you say the Jewish God is natural? What makes something supernatural?'

CH: If your God were 'natural' She would be 'of nature', that is, revealed in nature as we, flowers, oxygen molecuels, Shrodinger wave functions, etc. are.

She would be available to our senses, instruments, etc. and subject to the purview of 'methodological naturalism' and science.

Yet, this is exactly NOT what your people claim about God. She is 'intangible', 'invisible', inaccessible except by prayer and faith, etc. Some even go further and claim that your God comes 'before' nature, is beyond our senses, or simply 'inherently mysterious' - or 'super-natural'.

JP: My suspicion is that atheism really basically means "I don't believe that any invisible higher power is watching me and judging me, because that idea bothers me"

CH: To a point this is true. I don't believe an invisible higher power is watching me or judging me. But I believe this because I don't believe there are invisible higher powers, not because I am afraid of being judged. If I were, I wouldn't be hanging around here reading about Avrum's fixation with the size and contents of my nutsack.

Avrum: They (atheists) are wrong that God is God is God. And they are wrong that you can prove the uselessness of prayer by reading some Sartre, Darwin and Dawkins.

CH: Nobody (least of all me) has ever suggested that you can prove the uselessness of prayer by reading anything written by an atheist. It requires much less effort than that. You can prove the uselessness of prayer simply by praying for something only a supernatural God could deliver. Try to get an amputated limb healed by prayer, or to stop the Earth from spinning round the Sun. Doesn't happen.

Avrum: For any non-Jew to tell ANY Jew that

"More accurately, deep down 'Gods' are not much different than comic book heroes"

is insulting and disrespectful.

CH: Awww, muffin. Did the big bad atheist hurt your wittle feelings?

Avrum: Perhaps I should troll atheist blogs and parrot the line that, in the end, it will be science/technology which has provided far more evil than good ( penicillin and G5 Macs have got nothing on biological and nuclear weapons), even though my background is in Psychology and the Arts.

CH: It clearly isn't a background in sentence structure.

Avrum: In a post-modern age, every shmuck's a professional, right?

CH: Don't stop on my account!

JP: I think in reality atheism means "the lack of belief in anything more powerful than humans".

CH: I stand by the technical definition (without a belief in gods), though the one you use above is true, it is not sufficient. Bears are physically more powerful than humans, so are hurricanes, yet I believe in both bears and hurricanes.

joebaum: I think its the leck of belief in enythink more Smarter then humens...

CH: I tried to read the above without snickering. Irony. She really is a motherf*cker eh?

jewish philosopher said...

Cameron, dark matter and dark energy are also invisible and intangible, yet I assume atheists still believe in them. It still is unclear to me what exactly atheists know does not exists.

avrum68 said...

"I think in reality atheism means..."

Jacob, you've dedicated an entire blog to debunk atheist ideas. My guess is that their ideas work for you. Though as an Orthodox Jew, this would provide quite a bit of cognitive dissonance with respect to certain life choices you've made. You've been forthcoming with your own interest in spending time in a treif restaurant and find the idea of non-committal sex quite attractive. Moreover, as a man who appreciates and respects science, it must be very frustrating to have so many science oriented folks saying that what you do is nothing more than child's-play and delusions.

No, I don't think you believe that atheism can be nailed down to one sentence. I do believe you wished that were so. I do believe this blog was an attempt to reduce atheism to something simple, something you can exercise out of your own consciousness. But it would appear that this blog has had the opposite effect. The atheist bloggers appear to be better armed than yourself with respect to evolutionary terms/knowledge (though you do better than they in theological and halachic arguments) and their challenges to you are often met with silence, topic changes or repetitious posts parroting the same idea albeit with different graphics (Not a bad idea, I mean, DR/Rabbi Twerski has sold many books this way).

Perhaps you should consider another tactic. As my wife reminds me time and again, science is good at explaining certain things, and useless at others. That's not a judgment call, just reality. You wouldn't turn to double-blind randomized tests to gauge if you love your wife or not. Or if your positive reaction to a sun set is "true" by looking at an MRI to gauge dopamine production (though I have no doubt that your materialist fans would see value in this).

Another tactic would be to turn to the Arts, rather than Science, to express religious ideas. True, this won't convince atheists of anything. But so what? Atheists will still pine for things - perhaps the most cherished ideas/beliefs held by most folks - not proven by science. And hence, the matter might be whether a God does or does not exist, but which unproven scientific 'ism works best for an individual.

avrum68 said...

"CH: Awww, muffin. Did the big bad atheist hurt your wittle feelings? "

Nah sweetie, just proves this guys point:
http://www.aish.com/spirituality/philosophy/The_Anger_of_the_Atheists.asp

avrum68 said...

http://www.aish.com/spirituality/philosophy/The_Anger_of_the_Atheists.asp

avrum68 said...

Hm Jacob...why doesn't the whole URL appear?

jewish philosopher said...

"their challenges to you are often met with silence, topic changes or repetitious posts parroting the same idea albeit with different graphics"

Avrum, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Look at my latest post. I have not yet begun to fight.

avrum68 said...

"It requires much less effort than that. You can prove the uselessness of prayer simply by praying for something only a supernatural God could deliver."

For the time being, let's forget that you really don't understand (as your comment demonstrates) nor have any experience with prayer.

Answer me this...how does saying "thank you" or "your welcome" work? What's the usefulness of these things?

Or how about - as some self-help authors recommend - reviewing all the good things that happened in your day? What's the usefulness of that?

Or our shared interest in Freudian psychology...how does that work? I mean, clearly, nobody has ever been "cured" by psychodynamic therapy. What's the usefulness of talking to someone, moreover a professional who believes in things that can not be proven i.e. Id, Superego, Ego, Projection, Transference, etc., etc.

Cameron said...

avrum said: Nah sweetie, just proves this guys point...

CH: Am I the only person who finds it ironic that you accuse me of being angry, when it's you have whined about being insulted, and dared me to make my comments at your shul? It's clear you can spell cognitive dissonance, and projection, but do you actually know what they mean? In any case, I looked up your link and found that the author making the following case;

...."The Indignity of Atheism" and made one simple and obvious point: One who sees only random forces behind why we humans find ourselves here can have no reason to believe in objective categories of good and evil.

Something that as a premise is clearly wrongheaded. Atheists do not see events as being 'purely the results of random forces' (certainly I've never made that claim) - we do believe in cause and effect, and I've never denied either good or evil as moral categories (though I think it fair to say that they aren't always objective).

But even more fascinating (and let's face it, loopy), is the following exchange:

I said: "It requires much less effort than that. You can prove the uselessness of prayer simply by praying for something only a supernatural God could deliver."

Avrum: For the time being, let's forget that you really don't understand (as your comment demonstrates) nor have any experience with prayer.

CH: Yes, by all means, lets grant that you have completely lost the argument and move on to another topic completely before your head explodes.

Avrum: Answer me this...how does saying "thank you" or "your welcome" work? What's the usefulness of these things?

CH: 'Thanks' is an acknowledgment to your speaker that you have recieved something from them - usually something of value. 'Welcome' is a greeting to someone you give to indicate you are glad for their presence...both are words from the English language in common use.

Where you think this is going I have no idea.

Avrum: Or how about - as some self-help authors recommend - reviewing all the good things that happened in your day? What's the usefulness of that?

CH: I don't have a clue what the usefulness of self-help books is (though I am not at all shocked that you think you do).

Avrum: Or our shared interest in Freudian psychology...how does that work? I mean, clearly, nobody has ever been "cured" by psychodynamic therapy.

CH: My good friend Bob is a Dr. in both neurology and psychology, he refers to Freudian analysis as 'watering the plants'.

Avrum: What's the usefulness of talking to someone, moreover a professional who believes in things that can not be proven i.e. Id, Superego, Ego, Projection, Transference, etc., etc.

CH: Firstly, it is simply not the case that the Freudian theories of mind are 'things that cannot be proven', Freudian theory has been subject to all sorts of tests, analysis, interpretation and study. I think many aspects of his theory, from projection (like when you suggest that I MUST be angry because YOU feel insulted) , transference, etc. are both well documented and legit.

Freud does make the claim (which I also think has some validity) that our own unconsciousness isn't readily accesible to us and that we can be helpfully assisted by trained professional observers to pry back some of the layers of our psychology.

In cases where a person is suffering from anxiety problems or other non-organic disorders (i.e. they aren't simply suffering from a brain lesion, or alzheimers or any other identified biological disorder), getting to the root of the anxiety can lead to some palliative affect. At the least, the sufferer could have some greater understanding of their own psyche.

All of which leaves me to wonder Avrum;

What on earth is your point?

avrum68 said...

CH says:

"'Thanks' is an acknowledgment to your speaker that you have recieved something from them...:"

CH also said:
"You can prove the uselessness of prayer..."

Finally, CH says:
"What on earth is your point?"

Prayer has many purposes. One of the uses is to acknowledge or give "thanks" to God for health, an experience that one found meaningful, etc.

Truth be told, my point is that atheists, not unlike clergy who discuss science, but have a weak understanding of the concepts, have little to no knowledge/experience with religious ideas/rituals, etc. And often, as you demonstrated re: the "effectiveness of prayer", are simply wrong visavis their understanding of how/why religious rituals/beliefs "work".

avrum68 said...

"Yes, by all means, lets grant that you have completely lost the argument "

Which argument?
And who's judging?

Cameron said...

AVrum: Prayer has many purposes. One of the uses is to acknowledge or give "thanks" to God for health, an experience that one found meaningful, etc.

CH: English is a language spoken by human beings. God (not being a human), not having a brain, and not having ears cannot possibly listen, answer or otherwise respond or acknowledge your prayers.

Avrum: Truth be told, my point is that atheists, not unlike clergy who discuss science, but have a weak understanding of the concepts, have little to no knowledge/experience with religious ideas/rituals, etc. And often, as you demonstrated re: the "effectiveness of prayer", are simply wrong vis a vis their understanding of how/why religious rituals/beliefs "work".

CH: If you wish to reconfigure the purpose of prayer as essentially nothing more than talking to oneself, I'm happy with that. Just don't pretend you are talking to anyone else and that reasonable thinking shouldn't look at you askance for doing so.

avrum68 said...

"If you wish to reconfigure the purpose of prayer as essentially nothing more than talking to oneself,"

CH...you stated that prayer doesn't "work". Your error was assuming that prayer is only about requesting things like fancy cars, limbs that have been lost, etc. I demonstrated that prayer is multifaceted, and hence, "works" depending on the prayer.

As a non-Jew, I didn't expect you to know this. But as a non-Jew, you should be more humble regarding a religion you know very little about.

Cameron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cameron said...

AVrum:...you stated that prayer doesn't "work". Your error was assuming that prayer is only about requesting things like fancy cars, limbs that have been lost, etc. I demonstrated that prayer is multifaceted, and hence, "works" depending on the prayer.

CH: No error. It doesn't work. Nothing you've said is remotely like an argument for prayer being 'multifaceted' in any way that makes sense.

Avrum: As a non-Jew, I didn't expect you to know this. But as a non-Jew, you should be more humble regarding a religion you know very little about.

CH: Wow - opprobrium AND condescension in back to back sentences! Bet that made your balls feel big.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we really do miss gods. Because religious faith is hard-wired into the human brain. That doesn't make it true; I feel sad and afraid in nightmares even though they aren't real.

DMSCs do not, now, interact with us. If they are gods, they are not our gods. They do not have a motive to watch over us, punish us or demand worship. Religions usually involve gods that care about humanity.

When we imagine a superpowerful process that punishes us for hubris or sin, that judges our actions according to moral criteria, or that can be argued with, we instantly think of it as a god. When we study a superpowerful (albeit stupid and slow) process that only cares about genetic fitness and doesn't have a mind, even if it created life and made our thoughts and emotions, we don't think of it as a god. That creates restrictions for DMSCs if we want to think of them as gods. First, the surface features of their psychology have to be easily understandable. Second, they can't be easily reducible; evolution is a simple process, so we are not impressed by how complex its consequences are. We want our gods to be very complex systems that can present humans with an intuitive interface.

More than just psychological unity, we want some shared morality. Greek gods punish people for hubris, or killing their close family - anyone can get that. The Jewish/Christian/Muslim God gives books and books of moral rules that look suspiciously like what you'd expect of people who lived 2000 years ago in Europe, North Africa, and Near and Middle East. If DMSCs presented us with their book of ultimate morality and it contained commands like "Always kill innocent people" or "Make as many paperclips as you can" or even some of the rules in Leviticus, we'd think of them as evil - refuse to adopt their morality.

They'd have to want us to follow a moral code suspiciously like ours own. It doesn't seem reasonable, unless they made us in the first place. If they did, it makes sense; they'd build us with an internal source of morality not exactly matching their commands, but close enough to, as soon as we hear them, accept them and correct itself to match them. This would definitely make them godlike, not only because they made us, but because they would actually be an external source of morality - a real one, that matches our own morality even better than what we think is our own morality.

(If you're thinking "That didn't make sense, we know our own morality!": people who kept slaves had the same morality you do, but failed to see slavery was wrong. Otherwise we'd never have gone from pro-slavery to anti-slavery.)

The problem is if the moral code they want us to follow is not the one they themselves follow. That would make them gods, but evil ones. This is one of the things that happen with evolution: it made our values, but doesn't share them, therefore we want to kill it.

So I'd say if DMSCs deliberately made our moral code - as opposed to it being a side effect of something else they were doing, they'd be gods. I can claim atheism, because we were made by mindless stupid blind evolution.

Otherwise, they'd just be some superpowerful things. They may compete with Greek gods, but they're just bad targets for worshipping. After all, you don't pray and offer sacrifices to Greek gods because you worship them, but because you're afraid they'll kill you. Same with DMSCs. I suspect such beings don't exist, but nowhere near "Zeus doesn't exist" level. I can, however, safely claim that their are not, now, affecting us much (yes, they could do it discreetly, but Occam's Razor).

The argument also holds if, rather than DMSCs, they are the creators of a simulation we live in. I do not want to worship a teenager who decided to make critters with a weird morality in his super-Spore, but we'd still owe him something for giving us life, sentience and morality. Not worship, but something significant as our deliberate creator.

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