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My beliefs

On Morality

  • Being good/moral increasingly becomes our default state as we learn more about the world and are more connected with others
  • Gay marriage should be legal everywhere
  • Abortion should be legal everywhere
  • Assisted suicide should be legal everywhere
  • Health care should be available to everyone who needs it
  • The death penalty should be used in extreme and certain cases to protect the public
  • Prisons should be about protecting the public, not about punishment
  • Marijuana should be legal to grow, sell, buy, and carry
  • Owning a gun should require certification from a firearms officer verifying that they've taken a safety course, are free of criminal record, and pass a psychological mental health check every few years

On Spirituality

  • Frequently remembering we will die increases the quality of our life
  • Souls don't exist separate from the physical body
  • The Gods of organized religion don't exist
  • Intention can't create reality (it just primes our perception of it)
  • Astrology is entertainment
  • Magic and miracles don't exist
  • There is no heaven/hell
  • We don't have a purpose given to us, but we can make one up

On Science & The Universe

  • Chances are, we live in a simulation
  • Other dimensions and universes exist
  • Micro and macro evolution happens
  • Something like the Big Bang happened, and will probably happen again
  • Something existed before the Big Bang (outside of time and space as we know them)
  • Nothing in our universe will travel faster than light
  • The human brain (in its current state of evolution) can't comprehend the universe
  • We have no cosmic significance
  • Aliens exist
  • Non-carbon-based life forms exist
  • Space travel throughout the universe is probably entirely the domain of robots and cyborgs
  • Perception of time can be sped up or slowed down, but not reversed (forwards time travel is allowed, backwards is not)

On Health

  • We can change our behavior and habits (it requires a lot of energy)
  • Consistently eating well and exercising is the only way to be sustainably healthy
  • Acupuncture works, somehow
  • Vaccinations are good for babies and society

On Technology

  • Computers will be building better computers than humans by 2050 (the Singularity)
  • Humans, computers, and Earth will evolve into a super organism by 2200 (if we're still around)
  • Humans that embrace change (and give up some of their humanity) will survive the Singularity
  • Technology will eventually disrupt all other human-created institutions (politics, religion, identity, economics)

On The Self

  • Free will is mostly an illusion (but does exist in limited form)
  • Pure altruism is an illusion (but kindness is not)
  • We tell stories in order to create and remember meaning
  • Consciousness is the result of a feedback loop between our story-making cortex and our subconscious, so that it can better predict/act on long-term threats
  • Privacy is just a side effect of people not being truly connected
  • People, organizations, and governments will exchange privacy for connection when they trust each other
  • Future-thinking people, organizations, and governments will make great strides towards being more trustworthy in order to earn this privilege of connection by 2050
  • Giving up our privacy and individuality in exchange for better connection will be the norm by 2050

On Logic

  • Most questions have no answer (asking them anyway is sometimes entertaining, but nothing else)
  • Logic is a helpful tool, but has flaws and can't be relied on entirely

On Education

  • Something will replace universities as we currently know them by 2030

On Politics & The Economy

  • Most jobs lost in 2008-present aren't going to come back, new ones have to be created from scratch (or not)
  • In the future, working will be more thoroughly decoupled from having the means to live (see disability trends as proxy for this)
  • We'll have a President that admits to being atheist or agnostic by 2025
  • Power will be more quickly redistributed when it gets too heavy at the top

On The Future Of Earth (2100)

  • Global warming is real and will continue to cause big problems
  • There will be 10 billion people
  • 80% of people will live in cities and new mega-cities by 2100
  • The number of living languages in the world will drop to under 100
  • Genetically modified foods will become the norm
  • Coral reefs and the ocean ecosystems are going to break with unknown consequences
  • Solar and wind will slowly replace gas and oil

On Biases

  • We tend to favor the beautiful
  • We tend to see what we expect to see
  • We tend to attribute too much credit to success (and under-credit luck)

On Love

  • Soulmates exist
  • Love at first sight happens

Meta

  • We have very little control over what we believe in
  • Some of my beliefs will be proven wrong
  • I'm willing to be convinced that my beliefs are wrong
  • Making and maintaining this list is useful and fun (you should do it too)

Wagers

  • With Carinna. By 2028, the equivalent of a college education (both in breadth of knowledge and value to career) will be available to anyone with an internet connection.
  • With Rick Webb. By March 1st, 2016, descendants of Google Glass will be seen regularly in the wild (in the same way that Fitbits, NikeFuel bands, and retina MacBook Pros are in 2013).