The often suggested image of ourselves that emerges from such a purely scientific world-view is that we are just an ensemble of protons and electrons; we are nothing but a very efficient computer. This conclusion which some scientists promote, is, of course, the result of a circular argument. Modern science is based on the exclusion of anything which is not measurable, repeatable, and quantifyable (something a few modern cosmologies tend to forget), and hence the only things scientists will ever find are those which are measurable, repeatable, and quantifyable. As scientists we have ab initio defined the world to be that way, yet, some misuse this as a conclusion and claim that their restricted world is the whole world. That is the moment where science turns into religion (sometimes called ``scientism'') and scientists can turn into zealots.
Marvin Minsky, a Professor at MIT, for example, may be one of the more extreme proponents of this scientific religion. In an article in the Scientific American (October 1994), he preached his vision that ``in the end, we will find ways to replace every part of the body and brain and thus repair all the defects and injuries that make our lives so brief'' (p. 111). He basically dreamed of the final evolutionary step from humans to computers --- our mind-children. He went on to say that ``we must change our ideas about making additional children. Individuals now are conceived by chance. Someday, instead, they could be `composed' in accord with considered desires and designs'' (p. 113) and he asked ``How many people should occupy the earth? What sorts of people should they be?''. Humans turned roboters, and designing of children? Minsky was apparently carried away by his own success in creating ``artificial intelligence''. His scenario, if considered with all its consequences, sounds like a bad movie, where a genius with mad-scientist-disease tries to create his own, brave new world (thank God, we have James Bond and Captain Piccard!).
Certainly, as a Christian and a German, who is very aware of his nation's recent history, I may be more sensitive to some issues, especially if it comes to creating a new and better race, but can we really afford to let scientists like Minsky define humanity? I am convinced the consequences would be terrifying. I remember very well one late-night conversation with one astronomer and Minsky follower, who believed that he himself and every other human being is nothing but a machine --- a walking computer. ``So what do you do if the computer is broken or outdated?'' was my question, and sure enough, the logical answer was, ``Throw them away!''. Maybe it is consistent with this philosophy to throw those away who some consider not fit for life, but I categorically deny anybody's right to play God himself. What kind of society would we have to live in, if it were shaped by prophets-turned scientists who do not know where their limits are? Fascination may be an important driving force of science, but if it runs out of control it could take us hostage.