Thursday, February 07, 2013

Computational Theology, the Next Generation

In the distant past, back in the primeval era of the Internet, I started an organization called the Institute for Computational Theology. This institute lived in a post-office box in Kendall Square, Cambridge, and was mostly a front for ordering various kinds of High Weirdness by Mail back before the web made all sorts of weirdness instantly available in seconds. While there was a bit of serious discussion around the topic, the name was about 95% joke. Unfortunately this was in the era before everything was automatically archived for all time, so any great insights that were developed have been lost.

Today in a fit of nostalgia I googled the name and discovered the Computational Theology blog. This looks to be at least 50% serious, and some of it is quite good, although there aren't a lot of posts yet. It hints at God/Logos as an “attractor in Platospace”, which resonates strongly with some of my own thinking. It may end up being too rooted in traditional Western philosophy/Christianity to really appeal to me, but I look forward to more efforts to try to decompile the cosmos into its source code.

3 comments:

jlredford said...

One item on the course syllabus, then, should be the classic short story, "Non Serviam" by Stanislaw Lem, from his collection "A Perfect Vacuum: Reviews of Non-existent Books". An AI researcher creates a virtual world populated with sentient creatures, and rather than having them experiment with sex (as the Americans do), he has them argue theology. What should be their attitude towards their creator, namely him? The answer is in the title. He agrees, and realizes that they are now independent beings, so the project can no longer be halted.

mtraven said...

And of course there is the Clarke story "Nine Billion Names of God". Many other SF stories too I'm sure.

fsascott said...

Raymond Lully was perhaps the first computational theologian:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramon_Llull