This is quoted from the betterhumans forum (March/April '06):

Will we one day transcend any need for spirituality or mysticism?

Maybe not.

In an extremely general sense, mysticism is ultimately a search for meaning. It is a search for meaning in what appears to be a meaningless existence. It is usually a search that works in very personal, subjective, nonrational and non-empirical ways. Currently many people need a reason why. Some need this explanation of why so desperately that they'll manufacture one and convince themselves it's true.

Science also can also be a search for meaning. As yet, it very rarely tells us why but it often tells us how with utterly ruthless consistency. Science also has the virture of stepping outside the subjective into the objective. People can share scientific data and theories and have very strong assurances they are talking about the same thing. But as it does so, it often has to discard the personal. This is one of the reasons why science hasn't always been sufficient for many people who are searching for meaning in their lives.

Will science ever evolve towards a point where it can answer the needs for personal, subjective meaning?

I guess if it does, at that point we'll have the ultimate, perfect religion. It will be entirely self-consistent and be strongly based on rational, empirical and objective information that would be impossible to rationally argue with. With it you'd be able to understand why there is evil, error and suffering in the world with the elegant, eloquent explanatory power of Maxwell's equations.

Personally I doubt such a goal is possible for science. I say that as a lifelong atheist. I say that because I believe that science is infinite process without a final goal. Each scientific question, when answered, usually creates a whole new range of scientific questions. I can't prove this, except as an appeal to Gödel but, I think science is endless because it keeps trying to explain various finite aspects of infinity--infinity has infinitely many aspects.

On the still another hand it may be that this desire for subjective meaning may only be an side-effect of the limitations of the human mind. Perhaps as our minds expand into unimaginable realms of superhuman thought, this need may cease to matter. Your guess is as good as mine. Superhumanly intelligent creatures will have mental processes that we simply don't have the brain hardware to run. Ants don't have brain hardware to appreciate cable television. It may be the same for us now as we vainly try to understand superhuman intelligences.

As I hope I've made plain here, these are some of the deepest questions there are. At this moment, even we atheists are only scrawling cartoons on the cave walls. I think our cartoons are slightly more accurate than the ones scrawled by the more mystically inclined but in the end even we atheists have to admit they are only cartoons.

Maybe, as posthumans, we'll get better at scrawling cartoons. On the other hand we may discover that we are on an infinitely long chain of being. We may discover that we have to be infinitely smart, not merely superhumanly smart, to draw truly accurate stories and cartoons about the meaning of an infinite universe. As long as we are finite our cartoons will always fall short.

-Mr. Farlops

and in another post in the same thread:

I agree that the search for meaning is actually a deeper issue than the existence or lack thereof of god(s).

As an atheist, I've arrived at my own solutions, which I realize won't work for everyone. Some may find my position, that existence and the universe are meaningless, that meaning is, and must be, entirely manufactured by individuals under emergent competitive and cooperative pressures*, rather disturbing. But that's okay; they've got their own solution.
...
* Essentially what I'm saying here is just because ethics is an emergent behavior from cultural and biological evolution, we shouldn't assume that fact means something. Evolution is a process that can work entirely without intent.

-Mr. Farlops

and in yet some more posts:

...There is no happily ever after. It's just an endless succession of interesting stories which may be ultimately meaningless in the grandest sense.

-Mr. Farlops

...let me explain where I'm coming from.

I believe that all organisms are machines. Organisms are machines that result from emergent, unguided, selectional processes. The machines we make are still very simple in comparison but, this gap is rapidly closing. The other difference between our machines and emergent ones is that our machines are designed and engineered by guided, planned processes. This means that synthetic organisms will change and adapte faster than the unguided evolution of emergent organisms.

That's the position I take. It's a position that allows me to discard unnecessary complications like souls, gods or ultimate cosmic meanings.

Even if I believe that there is no grand cosmic meaning doesn't mean that I don't care deeply about justice and moral issues. I only say that these things are novel human inventions that have nothing do with the ultimate nature of reality. That said, they still matter very much to us and to me.

Emotionally I'm not some cold fish. If anything my own emotions are so powerful to me that I feel the need to occasionally distance myself from them to keep a sense of perspective and calm. I think that's healthy.

All those big abstract issues aside, I enjoy life. Even with its daily petty annoyances or its international tragedies, I love the world. Even the boring bits I've come to love. There are worlds inside all the boring bits. All their foibles aside, humans really aren't that bad. On the balance, I find that experience of existance to be wonderful.

I dislike the growing frailty of aging. I'd like to have as much life without frailty as I can. If this can be technically achieved, I say go for it. Is that such an unreasonable position to take?

-Mr. Farlops