At ABC Science, professional skeptic Michael Shermer lays it out for us in “God or ET? You decide” (June 29, 2011), an excerpt from his recent The Believing Brain :
Computer scientists calculate that there have been thirty-two doublings since World War II and that as early as 2030 we may encounter the singularity — the point at which total computational power will rise to levels that are so far beyond anything we can imagine that they will appear nearly infinite and thus, relatively speaking, be indistinguishable from omniscience. When this happens the world will change more in a decade than it did in the previous thousand decades.Deduction 2: Extrapolate these trend lines out tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years — mere eye blinks on an evolutionary time scale — and we arrive at a realistic estimate of how far advanced an ETI will be.
Consider something as relatively simple as DNA. We can already engineer genes after only fifty years of genetic science. An ETI that was fifty thousand years ahead of us would surely be able to construct entire genomes, cells, multicellular life, and complex ecosystems.
The design of life, is after all, just a technical problem in molecular manipulation. To our not-so-distant descendants, or to an ETI we might encounter, the ability to create life will be simple a matter of technological skill.
That’s the afternoon project; the universes was the morning project. Shermer’s point is that we would call ET God?
Would we? Thoughts?
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