Most Theologians Misunderstand Theosis
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
2w ago
Most theologians misunderstand theosis. They insist on a perpetual distinction that the doctrine doesn’t entail, and that undermines its potency. Humanity shall not remain ontologically distinct from the Creator, except insofar as ontological distinctions persist within the Creator. Some would respond that theosis, as generally expressed in Christian tradition, doesn’t entail a loss of creaturehood or identity. I agree. But they can’t see past their exhaustive Platonism and recognize that all aspects of the body of God have creaturehood and identity. All! “Deified humans are gods by grace, no ..read more
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AI Predicts Human Evolution
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
1M ago
What will humans look like in the future? Given trends in biological, cultural, and technological evolution, how will humans appear in 10, 100, or 1000 years? I was curious what AI would predict. To figure that out, I used a combination of ChatGPT and Midjourney. ChatGPT takes text prompts and provides text responses. Midjourney takes text prompts and provides image responses. I chose to use Midjourney for images because they are generally higher quality than images from ChatGPT. Here are the text prompts that I used for ChatCPT: Given trends in biological, cultural, and technological evolu ..read more
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The Second War in Heaven
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
2M ago
I’m happy to be here with you, at the 2024 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, in the morning of a day that promises to illuminate our imagination, perhaps even to spark action. Eighteen years ago, fourteen of us began to share words, words powerful enough to change people, words that some have called “machines for making Gods.” And now our association numbers in the thousands. We’re champions of a legacy that stretches back, through visions of the prophet Joseph Smith, to myths of God parents and spirit children, gathered to Council in Heaven. There, enshrined in the sublime ..read more
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Aspire to Embodied Immortality
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
2M ago
This Easter morning, while thinking about the hope of resurrection, a friend reached out to me with questions about Bible descriptions of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He had asserted to some Christians that “Jesus was resurrected with his own flesh and bones.” The Christians disagreed, observing “the Bible says, … ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven.” How might a proponent of embodied immortality respond? Despite some Christian contestation, the idea of material embodied resurrection is rooted deeply in Christian tradition. And the idea has seen a modern resurgence, par ..read more
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What Is True and Good?
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
3M ago
Consequent to discussion about epistemology at a meetup of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, a friend asked me to remind her of my definitions of “truth” and “good.” This article will serve that purpose. It will also provide a brief account of esthetics. I use the concepts associated with these words, in relation to each other, as part of a holistic ontological matrix. Epistemics Let’s begin with “true.” As we discussed at the meetup, “true” has many meanings. My preferred definition is something like “shared knowledge,” or even “communal knowledge of experience of existence” – perhaps re ..read more
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The Church on Artificial Intelligence
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
3M ago
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published some statements about artificial intelligence (AI). The Church is by far the largest Mormon denomination – and that of which I’m a member. Its statements influence the perspectives and actions of millions of Mormons worldwide. Friends called the Church’s statements to my attention, asking for my thoughts. A press release from the Church on its use of AI provides guiding principles introduced by Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder John C. Pingree of the Seventy. They shared these principles with employees ..read more
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How to Conduct Future Shock
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
3M ago
After watching a demonstration of Sora, Tyler Perry canceled plans for an $800 million expansion of his movie studio. “It’s shocking to me.” Sora is an AI that converts text into video. It’s the latest iteration of development from OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT. If you haven’t yet seen what it can do, take a look at Sora’s demonstration videos. Even for many who aren’t experts in the film industry, who may not intimately know the complexity of the art, it’s shocking. Referring to the film industry, Perry observed, “I just don’t see how we survive.” For better and worse, it’s just the beginn ..read more
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Great Works Begin with Small Tools
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
4M ago
During Sunday School, I led the congregation in a discussion about chapters 16 through 18 of First Nephi in the Book of Mormon. While preparing for and during the discussion, I was again inspired by the way these chapters repeatedly position technology in service of divine goals. Lehi finds a brass compass or Liahona, of “curious workmanship,” which serves to guide his family through the wilderness, pointing the right path forward. Nephi fashions a bow, and follows instruction from the Liahona to find prey, saving his family from starvation. God commands Nephi to build a ship, also of “curiou ..read more
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The Practical Power of Created Truth
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
5M ago
Philosophers and scientists have pursued truth for at least millennia. Most seem to want something rigid that we might associate with “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” But I contend that pursuit of truth, depending on how we conceive it, may be and often is less important than the pursuit of what works and what creates, contextualized by our shared goals, ultimately informed by our harmonizing esthetics. Truth, as commonly conceived, is that which corresponds to “reality” or something like an actual state of affairs beyond any appearance or supposition. And it’s something that we c ..read more
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Cosmic Expansion Driven by Mormon Transhumanism
Lincoln Cannon
by Lincoln Cannon
5M ago
Humanity will soon embark on an unprecedented journey – or at least our technology will soon go where none of it has gone before. As described by Pam Weintraub writing for Aeon, someone will probably launch an automated spacecraft that initiates a recursive process that eventually saturates the universe with intelligent life. The spacecraft would be a von Neumann probe, designed to replicate itself using resources found in the cosmos, expanding exponentially across star systems and ultimately even between galaxies. Yet again, science fiction is poised to become fact. Religion May Drive Cosmic ..read more
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