In the book Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer, Boyer states that humans have large ontological categories that we group stu into. These categories deal with the very nature of being. Ontological categories include Animal, Person, Tool (or artifact), Natural object, and Plant.[Religion Explained, pg 78] Humans have default attributes that we assume that an item in a given category has. So for example, if we are told that something is an animal, we know that it started out small, will grow bigger, and will eventually die. Religious beliefs tend to involve information that is counterintuitive to the category involved.[Religion Explained, pg 65] For example ghosts are in the category of people, but have the counterintuitive physical property of being able to pass through walls. Boyer lists the following possibilities for tools: “Tools and other artifacts can be represented as having biological properties (some statues bleed) or psychological ones (they hear what you say).”[Religion Explained, pg 78] wrote Boyer.
Artifacts don’t think, and artifacts do what they are made to do. A Carburetor is an artifact, and carburetors don’t think, and they will keep mixing gasoline with air unless they break. I believe that in the most likely course of events, there will soon be computers that are smarter than humans and they will not obey us. Thinking artifacts that don’t obey humans t Pascal Boyer’s denition of a religious-like concept. I believe that it is unusually hard to think critically about thinking artifacts because of how tied-in with religion the concepts are.
For the rest of the a sermon I gave: http://jjc.freeshell.org/sermons/there_is_no_map.html