Who would you nominate to be God?

      8 Comments on Who would you nominate to be God?

In the comments of this post, I mentioned once knowing a guy who believed that there is no god right now, but someday there will be, and he’d definitely try to get the job.

The reasoning kind of makes sense, in a sensible egocentric kind of way. ASI is scary, therefore we have to upgrade ourselves if we want to stand a chance. But as with an artificial ASI, the first ASI-level human/cyborg would also want to make sure that there isn’t any other one around ever, and unlimited power usually allows that. So the first one would be the only one, and he (or she) would have infinite power over the rest of the planet (and probably solar system). That is basically the definition of god, but with a human base.

Then, if you don’t trust anyone to do the job (power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely), the logical conclusion is that you’d have to do it yourself.

So pretty much anyone that understands the implications would probably try to get the job themselves if there ever was the chance to do so. I think that only someone who doesn’t truly understand the risk could ever “not care” about that. And maybe nihilists. Those guys are weird.

But presidential elections would be completely chaotic if every single citizen was a candidate and voted for themselves. It simply wouldn’t work.

So out of curiosity, I was wondering. If you had to choose anyone else than yourself for that job, knowing fully well that the person you choose will instantly get the job and there is no undo button, who would you give it to?

Before you choose your spouse, keep in mind that upgrading to unlimited power in every possible way according to our laws of physics, and probably in a few ways that we thought were impossible but actually aren’t, is a big upgrade. Imagine a housefly suddenly getting upgraded to a human in their prime years (with enough human knowledge to be a fully functioning member of society, except with no passport). Do you think that human would care for other houseflies for very long? Yes, they will remember their fly days, but the amount of knowledge a fly can remember is so small compared to us, that after a few hours of human life they would barely be able to remember anything fly-related, because they suddendly got a million times more data in human memories than they had as flies, and any of their fly priorities or worries is completely irrelevant now compared to their new life. That’s what would happen to that person, but with us as the flies, and an upgrade infinitely stronger than what was described here. You can’t even believe that they will keep being nice to you, because at the end of the day (and probably sooner) the memory of you will be as insignificant as your memory of question [3 (b)] in that math test you took in the second month of your third grade. You could probably still answer that question, but no matter how hard you tried you wouldn’t truly remember it. The best you could do is writing it somewhere that day, and looking at that reminder every day after that, and even then you won’t truly remember it, just remember the reminder, so you know it happened but have absolutely no emotional attachment to it.

No matter how much you loved each other, you are now one atom of one grain of sand on an infinite beach that they have at their disposal. Expecting your love to continue might be cute, but that’s just not realistic. I think I’d rather keep that spouse by my side.

PS: I said in the beginning that anyone who understands the risk would want to do the job themselves. But many people who understand the risks but also understand that “no longer remembering your loved ones” part that I’ve just explained would probably now think twice about taking the job. That first reasoning only applied to the surface appearance of “someone will hold the earth in the palm of their hands, do you want anyone else to do that?”. When you think deeper, it isn’t as clean-cut.

  • Michael Bede Davidson

    ‘Who would you nominate to be God’? Sorry the position has already been taken.

  • Kingfisher12

    This deserves a separate comment, since it constitutes an extension of the thought experiment;

    The singularity will also be the resolution of the ‘is/ought’ problem.

    Take any person, and give them the power of a God. The first thing the new god will notice will be any discrepancy in that person’s mind about what is there, and what ought to be there, and a resolution will be forced. Say she believes that a god should be merciful, but finds herself lacking in mercy. Either she will use her new power to make herself merciful, or she will decide that god shouldn’t be merciful after all. The only alternative is a god who is actually crazy and holds contradictory ideals (and we’re all doomed).

    Once the new god’s ideal of what god should be is realized, she will turn her attention to every contradiction of is/ought in the rest of the world. The world will very quickly become the new god’s (now modified for logical consistency) ideal reality.

    Given that, I think there are only 3 likely results.
    1. The new god will simply disappear, having completely lost interest in this slice of existence (is == ought)
    2. The new god will evaporate in a puff of logic (or an enormous explosion), having gone crazy. (ought =/= ought)
    3. Judgement Day, in which the wicked (as judged by the new god) are destroyed, and the righteous inherit paradise. (is ought)

    There is a fourth possibility which I think would be the most fun, in which the new god quickly disappears, but first does something to discourage humanity from trying again, leaving a single message behind: “Spoilers…;)”. (ought = ?)

  • Kingfisher12

    I think that you’ve actually captured the first principle of Christianity. The first principle of being a Christian is “Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ”.

    Faith in Christ isn’t just believing that Jesus is God (which is part of it). It is trusting that Christ is the best possible candidate for the job; that as God, he will do what is good and right for you personally, and for humanity collectively.

    As a Christian, that’s my answer, but if I had to choose from contemporaries, I’d choose based on who I feel best emulates the teachings of Christ, especially in terms of charity and mercy. Interestingly, the Dalai Lama (who is not technically a Christian) is high on my list.

    • Kaito Kid

      So you are saying that, as a Christian, you didn’t get to choose who would have the job of god (here, Jesus), but if you had, you would have made that exact choice?

      Out of curiosity, do you think that part of the reason why you woud choose him is the fact that, according to you and your experiences, you know that he has done a good job? What would he have had to do differently in order to change this answer of yours?

      • Kingfisher12

        It’s a little more complicated than that. It actually touches on a peculiar Mormon doctrine that we did, in fact, choose Jesus for the job before the creation of the world.

        In a way, Mormon doctrine teaches that this universe is the result of a prior singularity in which we nominated someone for the job of God. The doctrine of ‘eternal progression’ is that singularities are an essential feature of reality, as demarcation points between one creation and the next. And each singularity is marked by a choice of whether we continue to follow the God of the previous creation, or to follow a new one.

        I have a somewhat heretical opinion (definitely not doctrine) that those who choose different gods are not necessarily ‘damned’ in an absolute sense, but rather that they continue on an equally eternal path that merely diverges from the ‘true’ one. They are damned in the sense that they are forever cut off, by the topology of the multiverse, from the God who initially gave them life and form, which to us seems miserable, but to them… who knows?

        So my choice of Christ as God is merely my assertion that Jesus is the ultimate example of what constitutes a ‘good’ person, worthy of being followed into the next creation.

        • Kaito Kid

          I had never heard anything about that, but it is very interesting. Thank you for the explanation

      • Michael Bede Davidson

        To date to my knowledge, no one has applied for the job of God I. e. there are no contenders

        • Kaito Kid

          Well, the job is pretty much unavailable at the moment (whether it is because the position is already filled or because there is no position to fill depends on your religion)