The NerdGod delusion

Warren Ellis writes:

The IEEE Spectrum “special report” on The Singularity makes for interesting reading, but I’d like you to try something as you click through it. When you read these essays and interviews, every time you see the word “Singularity,” I want you to replace it in your head with the term “Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

(My personal favourite right now is “The Flying Spaghetti Monster represents the end of the supremacy of Homo sapiens as the dominant species on planet Earth.”)

The Singularity is the last trench of the religious impulse in the technocratic community. The Singularity has been denigrated as “The Rapture For Nerds,” and not without cause. It’s pretty much indivisible from the religious faith in describing the desire to be saved by something that isn’t there (or even the desire to be destroyed by something that isn’t there) and throws off no evidence of its ever intending to exist. It’s a new faith for people who think they’re otherwise much too evolved to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other idiot back-brain cult you care to suggest.

Vernor Vinge, the originator of the term, is a scientist and novelist, and occupies an almost unique space. After all, the only other sf writer I can think of who invented a religion that is also a science-fiction fantasy is L Ron Hubbard.

Does George Lucas count?


  1. Does George Lucas count?


    Here’s to hoping the Jedi beat the Sith… er ah Scientologists in the long run.

  2. not in my book , hubbie was more of a redhead and his aliens are better researched.

    watched The Pharmacratic Inquisition, woooh what a ride.

    I also dig that Vault of Doom cthulhu comics you posted.

    When i was praying to be saved from what’s not there (birds that don’t sound same after recorded and whatn’t) by who’s not there I checked myself in to the mental hospital but the drugs were bad and I had to get out.

  3. May the gods forbid Jedi EVER being a real religion.

    It involves strength-through-blood war bonding, a sense of sexist entitlement (how come Leia never gets to join the ‘brotherhood’?), genetic determinism, anti-democratic theocracy, bogus bonged-out surfer wisdom, medaeval class relations, manifest destiny, stage tricks (mainly hypnosis and levitation) and tradition for its own sake.

    It combines the worst aspects of every millenial cult, religious or otherwise!

    it also encourages men well over thirty to get all worked up about a plagiaristic* kiddie movie that’s done more damage to cinema than the advent of TV. Get a life, boys!

    *’A New Hope’ is almost a shot-for-shot remake of Kurosawa’s ‘Hidden Fortress’.

  4. You say that the singularity is “rapture for nerds” like it’s a bad thing, honey! 😉

    I assert that the Rapture for Nerds would be pretty great; lots of bandwidth, ubiquitous and free wi-fi 24-7, and unlimited reruns of The Family Guy playing on your secret decoder ring.


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