Why Christians should have no opposition to Super-intelligence.

by TaylorJns16th Dec 20183 comments


Effective Altruism for ChristiansReligion

These are some arguments that I made following a conversation with my family of Christian background. Before I make these arguments to anybody, I would like to hear the feedback of the Effective Altruism community, Christian or otherwise. I welcome all criticisms, including "that makes no sense".

I am not interested in arguments for and against the truth/validity of Christianity, but simply whether the logic of this argument is stable.

Also, if this is an inappropriate post for the forum, I will remove it.

Why might a Christian oppose Superintelligence?

1. In Revelations, it instructs that Christians should not accept the 'mark of the beast' - many Christians consider this to be the point at which they alter the physiology/makeup of their God-given body (to some this may also mean prosthetics?). Elon Musk's Neuralink (electronic circuitry injected into the brain) and other human-tech integration technologies claim to be the safest way to introduce Superintelligence to the world, and thus might be opposed by Christians.

2. Throughout the Bible, God instructs us to 'believe' and not to 'know' - the basic principle of faith. As a result, the pursuit of human knowledge (specifically, devotion to the scientific method = to seek and accept truths, no matter what they are, based on evidence) might be frowned upon by Christians as misguided or anthropocentric.

3. If we believe that we have created a Superintelligence that is superior to the human mind and capable of self-reflection, we are essentially 'acting God' by creating a sentient lifeform.

4. If humans are sacred then it is likely that God would not approve of them being 'bested' by a human creation.

The Argument

Some Questions to establish that my argument is based on Biblical principles:

  • Do you agree that God wishes us to know the truth?
  • Do you believe that we require certain tools in order to 'access' God (The Bible, Church, the Holy Spirit, etc.) and that more access is a good thing?
  • Do you agree that God wishes to minimise suffering and maximise deliverance?
  • Would God discriminate between different species with the same level of consciousness? Would he discriminate Aliens/animals capable of believing? ("For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.1 Corinthians 12:13)
  • Do you agree that believing in a false religion is not a practically/ethically good thing?


Each level of consciousness allows us access to much more information about ourselves and the world. It provides us with more truth. Humans are psychologically capable of far more things than monkeys, and are therefore capable of religious belief.


What is sacred? Is it humanity? Is it our level of consciousness?

If it is humanity, then that principally discriminates other species with the potential for higher consciousness (aliens, engineered animals, computers).

If it is our level of consciousness, then this makes no sense! If anything is the ‘truth’, then higher consciousness should only bring us closer to it. God decreed this to be true when he set humans apart from the animals:

The only principally ‘good’ way to separate us from animals is based on physical constraints - the ability to believe. If a being is capable of belief then there is no reason for it to be discriminated against! Therefore it must be our ability to believe that makes us entitled. Gaining access to a higher consciousness should be no obstruction - it will only get us closer to any existing God, and if this is not the case then animals and other higher-consciousness-capable beings have been discriminated unethically, as if by race. This cannot be Biblical. Thus no religious person that believes in a higher being should resist super-intelligence.


In summary:

  • Humanity’s higher consciousness is what allows us exclusive access to God (unless there is some discriminatory reason for humanity to be sacred).
  • It is people’s self-consciousness, Biblical knowledge and wisdom + the use of Biblical tools that brings us closer to God.
  • Therefore, access to a higher level of knowledge and consciousness can only be good:
    • It will reveal to us more about the truth of God and bring us closer to him
    • OR if we assume that there is no more truth to know about God, it will confirm the validity of our current understanding of God to many people who were previously estranged
    • OR it will reveal that Christianity is a social construct

Based on the principles established by the questions I ask at the beginning of the argument, Christians should have no objection to any of these outcomes, and therefore should not oppose Superintelligence.

If the principles I have established are in fact not in alignment with Christianity, then of course this argument is invalid.

3 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 5:50 PM
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As a Christian, I think these arguments miss the point for a couple reasons, but I have a bigger question: how are you planning to use these arguments? In practice, I usually find people more open to being persuaded if I spend more time trying to understand their concerns, rather than presenting arguments - especially when it comes to family.

I hope not to cause concern; of course I do not wish to ‘philosophise’ my family into submission, but I simply wish to make the case that my interest in Superintelligence is not misaligned with their values. Of course if you disagree with this I would like to know why?

Honestly, I don't have time to write up my objections to the theology in your post, but I also don't think my objections would be very helpful. Every flavour of Christianity has its own belief system; perfectly adapting your argument to my belief system wouldn't necessarily help convince your family. Why not just talk to your family about their concerns first, and then if you discover something useful, you can post it on the forum to share with others?

Edit: To be clear, I don't think all forms of superintelligence are necessarily anti-Christian, I just object to the theology in this post and think it is better fixed through an in-person conversation. The EA Forum is not the place to go to for theology advice!