Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hoping to Beta Test New Facebook Answers Product

Yesterday I applied to be a beta tester for Facebook's new project, which allows members to answer questions submitted by others (similar to the start-up Quora, founded by early Facebook employee Adam D'Angelo). To apply, I had to submit a "provocative" question and answer. Here was what I wrote:

Is there a place for religion in modern society?


In short, yes.

Religion has proven itself remarkably resilient, rivaling only our capacity for speech in terms of its presence and impact on human civilization. And although I myself am not a religious person, I confidently believe this deep-rooted institution will continue to evolve with society, playing whatever role is necessary to survive.

In his book The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins coined the term "meme" to describe certain inherited human beliefs and behaviors, such as religion. [In the contemporary vernacular, a meme is a popular (viral) concept or catchphrase that spreads via the internet.] Dawkins goes on to compare genes to "memes," saying that as the former influence biological evolution, so too does the latter influence cultural evolution.

As long as there is mystery and misery in the world, people will continue to turn to religion for answers and comfort. Bioethics, artificial intelligence, and other emerging sciences will provide new arenas for the application of moral/religious analysis, and for this reason I foresee the future of religion being long indeed.

For further information, I recommend the following Wikipedia articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

3 comments:

  1. haha, yes. i get these annoying chinese spam comments several times a week. can't figure out how to block them....

    ReplyDelete

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