Logical Loopholes with the Current Administration

edited March 2017 in Everything else
tl;dr - If you balk at the exploitation of the elements that oppress you due to a hangup on terminology, you're not much of a hacker.

I thought I wasn't going to write this post. I said, "I'm not angry enough, yet, to post here". To those that have met me, this may elicit a laugh.  Let it be a sobering thought. When I said this out loud, the young lady in the room with me said, "We'll then, let's figure out how to get angry enough before something horrible happens". I have lots of ideas for how to set things on fire. This isn't one of them. That should also make the people who know me a bit happy.

This guy we know, @Amal Graafstra, is doing a GoFundMe.
To protect our rights as transhumanists and as grinders utilizing the hand we've been dealt.
This is a logical appeal to the loophole in the rules. It's a thing that has been discussed here before.
The fact that this seems like a logical option is sad and depressing.
I know that we're all selling plasma for lab equipment, sleeping on couches, being students, renting from parents....
I'm just bringing this up because it's so bad. Because it's gotten. This. Bad.
I'm not linking to the thing, you can use the Googles, you're smart kids. Go ahead, I can wait. Read what he has to say. It's stripped down and logical. He really hits all the bullet points.This here is not a shameless plug, this is a shameless appeal.

The reason I am writing this is because of the push back I have seen in the last 12 hours since it went live. Classic fringe group activities, picking and poking at each other. A cohesive desire to stand apart.

Let me spell it out. If you're so much of an atheist that you won't use the tools available to you, you're a bad scientist. Religion has been exploiting the legal systems for lifetimes. Go get that tax exemption! (And do it without becoming an intentional community that get set on fire by the militarized police state).

Objections on the side of "I hate the word religion" fall into the category of "ways to not acknowledge the reality of the situation". Scientists are hoarding databases of papers before they are removed from public record. @chironex was downloading wikipedia and then trying to download all of scihub. You think that it was hard to get a paper a year ago, think again pal. It's a brave new world where climate change doesnt exist and the phrase open access doesn't show up in the dot gov database.

(need to tap out before I finish? Go support the Transhumainst National Committee. They're really good people and they don't use the scary words like religiosity).

America is in this current political climate because people refuse to use these tactics.  Be better than them. If you think that things are ok because you are in another country, think about the US military, and then think about the current political climates in Russia, Great Britain, and just about anywhere else.

If you balk at the exploitation of the elements that oppress you due to a hangup on terminology, you're not much of a hacker.

Do whatever you want. Just do something.


  • Thanks for bringing this up, @glims.
    I’ve been meditating, thinking, praying on this since I saw it a day ago.
    In my mind, religion and science have been a couple of teachers; they had their own classrooms and taught the same students but they only met in the teacher's lounge during recess. I am a (lapsed) catholic. I am a grinder. I have been to mass with implants inside my body.
    I’m not worried about the hackers, I’m worried about the people with knee-jerk reactions who will lash out with belligerence and fear when they see this. Perhaps this is a slippery-slope fallacy but we’ve all met the type of people who react that way.
    Ultimately, this is a good idea. The political climate is getting treacherous and technology is integrating itself with our lives and bodies more each day. If there’s no one to stand up for our rights they’ll be ignored.

  • Very interesting indeed. Loopholes are great and this certainly will help with protecting the entire movement no matter what is created in politics.
  • I think this need's to be talked about more so I am bumping it up btw glims I am putting the link up if that's fine CoT

  • Link away. I just wanted the point I was trying to make be separate from a "sell".  No that there is a discussion emerging, the links are:

    and the group he mentions, that has also been working to develop more political level transhuman activity:

  • So, a question I have to ask, just for the sake of asking. Is this solely for the protection of our rights? Is it just a safe space where we can exist and be protected? 

    In other words, what is the ultimate goal of making our lifestyle into an institution of sorts? Are we trying to fit in, or make a change?
  • "At this time, the organization is not yet formed, so your donation to help launch the Church of Transhumanism will not be tax deductible. However, donors who give $100USD or more will have their names added to the Eternal Circle of Founders. Donors who give $1000USD or more will have their likeness and an inspirational quote be forever enshrined as an Ascension Elder of the Church."  
    This is hilarious to me Personally I think if we are going to institutionalize we can do better much much better, and we're going to institutionalize we should discuss how and the deatails. I know amal has an account on here so I am at a lost why he didn't at least post a link here
  • I am of the firm opinion that some sort of religious protection is vital, probably necessary if we want to continue to modify ourselves. What we need out of a church is a few things.

    1) Bottom up governance. We cannot allow some small group of people to decide where the movement goes, and having a religious hierarchy would be an incredibly powerful perch from which to do so. The philosophical diversity in the transhumanist movement is quite broad and imposing a hierarchy would winnow that down and exclude a lot of people.

    2) A "religion" would allow for protections f specific rights to our bodies. We can look to the Church of Satan for examples of this as a legal strategy. A transhumanist religion could well attract a lot of women interested in making sure abortion stays legal.

    3) Our right to control our body means the right to reject implants as well. As an organization we would need to take the lead on making sure that people are not coerced or forced to get implants. To allow others to play this role would give them ground to undermine the whole movement. This means speaking out loudly when it happens.

    4) I think that the "sincerely held religious belief" is an easy hurdle given that pretty much any judge will see physically implanting oneself with something as firm evidence that our belief is sincerely held.
  • Also, the right wing has been declaring that science is also a religion for so long that we might as well use their declarations to make it a religion.

    Science: The Religion That's Actually True
  • edited March 2017
    I find the idea of declaring science a religion very dangerous, because quite often, religion is associated with blind faith, which is contradictory to the skepticism that proper science requires. //Edit// Making a philosophy or a movement into a religion seems fine, though.

    So, is your first point a good thing, or a bad thing? 
  • It could be dangerous, but mainly because it introduces serious problems with education and not because people might think it is suddenly based on faith and not experiments. I think there is a way to separate the knowledge and process of the scientific method from the belief structure that undergirds it. Clearly Christians who are also Scientists do this already, so why not from the other direction.

    Science as a religion would be a metaphysical commitment to empiricism rather than a methodological commitment to empiricism. That is to say, it is a commitment to the belief that scientific theories describe the world rather than just being a convenient model to base our experiments and technologies on. 

    Maybe it's a can of worms not opening though. Certainly, there would be huge amounts of pushback.

    The main problem that you run into with a religion is that it will mean more of a focus on the philosophical tenets of the movement, and I don't think that there's really a cohesive set of philosophical tenets at this point. I certainly don't conform to a lot of the beliefs I see around transhumanism.
  • The subject at hand here is the Church of Transhumanism. Science as a Religion is way out of scope. Now, I'm all for discussing tangents but I think we're falling victim to exactly what glims said in the first post. We're losing focus on the here-and-now, which is a fundraiser for a church started by Amal.
    I've read every post as it appeared and I kept stopping myself from interjecting my own viewpoints because they weren't relevant to the subject but HOLY CRAP did I want to chime in.
    I've given my two cents to this discussion and $50 to Amal's church. Yesterday I went to mass and put $20 in the collection plate. I doubt Amal would object if I held other beliefs while contributing to his church.
    Amal is in business to sell to biohackers and if legislation threatens to take that away from him he's smart to protect his business interests. That's what I see this as; a way to continue doing business and furthering grinding. Calling it a church, with all the trappings, is the shortest path. The hacker way
  • If this is just a way to keep this stuff legal then I see no problem with it in the short term. Ignoring the problems that will happen in the long term with religious designation isn't a good plan though. Part of the up side of making it a religion is that we can have a broader discussion of our goals beyond doing cool stuff. I'm a big fan of doing cool stuff, but I am not doing cool stuff to just do cool stuff. This is about building a better future as well.
  • So what should be the tenants or core beliefs of the CoT

  • While we do need to have a certain focus on the here-and-now, I would like to say that we mustn't completely ignore consequences and long term problems either. There is no point in preserving the movement with a solution right now if we ignore the fact that same solution will destroy the movement later.

    Now, I don't know enough about US to comment on whether or not this is a good idea. But if this is the only method that is quick, easy and efficient enough (no need to be the most, mind you) to handle the current crisis I'm up for it - provided people are prepared for any problems that being a "church" might be coming.
  • I don't post much but I read with interest, especially on developments like this. I find it fascinating that this is the course that is being taken with transhumanist philosophy and hope to continue watching and participating in this.

    This is particularly interesting to me as I am in the fledgling stage of work on a PhD in theology of transhumanism. I am a "Christian" (though I don't enjoy the baggage the term drags around with it) and also strongly resonate with many of the key tenants of transhumanism, at least as much as people like the Mores and Bostrom have tried to specify. I would be more of a Thomas (the doubting one in the Bible) type of Christian that wants to put my fingers in it (or a magnet in the finger) and to test, try, and taste whatever is out there.

    All that to say: I work in a formal religious setting (in Africa) and I am a bit perplexed that Amal would take things in a "rights" direction for protection. I suppose that this confers some protections on a temporary basis in the US but the religious affiliation thing isn't so great in a good chunk of the world. I would hope that much like a goal of a church, transhumanist practices would become indispensable to the benefit of humanity and be a valued contributor toward progress toward the "Omega Point" (thank you Teilhard). Religion has tended to be a concept that causes such strong responses that to tie it to transhumanism could be a mistake. I guess we see what direction it goes from here but I definitely appreciate the attempt to have it be taken seriously and to attempt to protect it from those who would wish to persecute it.
  • Even in the US religious rights are pretty narrow. Most of the things that this is in response to wouldn't be affected by transhumanism being a religion. There hasn't been a huge amount of success by non-Christian religions in the US enforcing the "rights" that christian sects are claiming. The Church of Satan hasn't managed to do much to my knowledge. These laws are really just a cover to insert Christianity into public life via the government.
  • edited March 2017
    Wait what the hell is going on?
    They do the same with Islam....

    In Texas car builders wanted a law that would protect there home built chassis for street use, now we can't get a chassis vin stamped at all. My point is keeping a ear to the ground to oppose someone who would appose us is a must. However we need to be mindful of not making our own demons in the sense of trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist, I didn't see any links to where someone credit able was attacking this ideaolgy.
  • "They do the same with Islam...."

    Not sure what you mean here.

    " However we need to be mindful of not making our own demons in the sense of trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist,"

    Very good point. No need to pick fights that aren't necessary.
  • When I read your comment it sounded like you were implying that Christians force there beliefs on people, in Texas at least every time I have have been in any situation requiring interaction with anyone of Islamic faith it always ends in me getting attacked. (Not physically, just verbally) Then I am the asshole for being a "instigator" over some nonissue like asking how a name is spelled. Another thing I have whitenessed is that they are a very closed group and do not take kindly to outsiders. Just my 2 cents form my limited experience. Granted none of that could be relevant to what you meant....
  • @JohnDoe I completely disagree maybe it's just in texas but I am originally from Detroit and there is a large Muslim community who live in dearborn(right outside of Detroit) and they are some of the kindest people I know. It might be that in texas a predominately Christian state they are often misunderstood so they are on the defensive. 
    BUT this is not what I would discuss here I think that we should more importantly discuss how 1. amal's actions relate to what we are doing here  2. what a good COT (church of transhumanism) looks like and 3. what should we do going forward in regards to rights funding and getting mainstream 
  • I was speaking about legal protections only, the Hobby Lobby case being an example of Christians successfully using religious protection laws and the Church of Satan's failure to get anything they want implemented in reality being the other religions. This isn't about social interactions, just legal ones.
  • Thanks for your explanation @Cathasach

    Like I said that's my personal first hand experience. I am honestly not surprised that it's not like that else where.
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