you navigate into perillous waters. Your statements are extremely smart and
applicable - to a certain limit, at which they vanish into undecidedness.
You chose arithmetic thinking as your anchor to firmness - it is your choice
and it works for you. It does not work for me: I am still in the
undecidedness and whatever I want to grab dissipates upon touching.
I do not state to be an atheist, for - as you correctly pointed out - it
would necessitate a 'god' to deny and I do not get to such definition. I
claim to be a "scientific" agnostic, questioning whatever traceable to a
human 'mind's' (?) understanding and its limitations (including numbers -
cf: David Bohm).
In my approach we are limited and can extend our thinking only within our
limits. I try to do my best - knowing that it is not enough.

The developing human 'mind' (= mental capabilities altogether) went through
stepwise enwidenment including the religious faith and your extension into a
universalized 'god' idea etc. This is why I cringe when accepting ancient
ideas - definitely in an earlier stage of our development - *to be
applied*to our   'later stage' (I almost wrote: more advanced -
assuming  we

I climb on the shoulders of giant oldies - not to see exactly as far as they
do, but further. What do I see? something unexplainable - beyond my
And definitely beyond the horizon of those whose shoulders I climbed onto.
What does not mean that I am smarter. I just have a vision I don't

I enjoyed your post - thank you - and warn you: going all the way may lead
you into deep agnosticism and you may lose the grip on the assumed 'reality'
that  you are holding on today. I can afford it at my age, but you have work
to do in a world that does not appreciate in science the "I DON'T KNOW"

Best regards

John Mikes

On Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 12:44 PM, Bruno Marchal <> wrote:

>  Hi Kim,
> Thank you very luch for the link to Carolyn Porco's presentation. Very nice
> talk. I appreciate a lot.
> She is correct (even comp-correct) on the main thing:  Science is
> agnostic.
> "I believe in God" (Bg) is a religious statement.  (B = I believe, g =
>  'God' exists", "~" = negation)
> But B~g, the athesist statement, is a religious statement too. Atheism is a
> religion. (and doubly so for the materialist atheists).
> Crazily enough, I note she shows this in the exact manner of the
> introductory chapter of "Conscience et Mécanisme"). So honest atheists
> exists.
> Not so sure why she said she believes (religiously) in the non existence of
> God, without saying what she means by the word, especially that later she
> talk of science as the "quest for the truth", but with comp the mathematical
> notion of truth (relative to a machine and relative to the possible machine
> views) obeys literally to the notion of "God" in the Greek Theology of Plato
> (according to my own understanding of Plato, but confirmed by Plotinus and
> Hirschberger).
> Mainly 'God'  = the transcendent human-ineffable truth we are invited to
> search/explore/contemplate.
> Making "Science", the quest of the truth, like Carrolyn Porko did (two
> times, at the two third of that video), is the basic axiom of Plato's
> theology. It makes science and reason (and mathematics, and music, ...) the
> most basic tools in the search of the admittedly religious (by science
> modesty!) truth.
>     * * *
> Let me give you 3, (3! yes there is one more!) basic reasons to consider
> "Digital Mechanism" as a theology (actually a framework for variate
> theologies (Mechanism will not stop all possible religious conflicts, on the
> contrary given the existence of very different possible practices, like
> overlapping or not with the duplicate ...  ).
> - 1) To say "yes" to the doctor, even if some oracle guaranties the
> competence of the doctor and the accuracy of the comp substitution level,
> etc, is an irreductible act of faith in the possibility of a (relative)
> digital reincarnation.
> - 2) It is a "scientific theology" in the following precise sense: To each
> machine, or machine's state,  (or machine relative description) we associate
> the set of true arithmetical sentences concerning that machine (described in
> arithmetic, say). Roughly speaking:
> Science = provability
> Religion = truth  (in the spirit, I am humble and modest, and I search)
> Then, not only a universal machine can introspect itself and discover the
> gap between truth and provability. It can not only discover the
> unnameability of its own truth notion, but a very rich (in term of
> provability power) machine (like ZF) can study a big (not all) part of the
> theology of a more simpler Löbian machine, like Peano-Arithmetic. So
> although a machine cannot know that she is correct, she can lift the
> "invariant" theology of simpler lobian machine. Of course she cannot assert
> she has proved those statement, but she can assert that those are probably
> true as far as she is "correct", and comp is correct.
> But there is a third reason.
> -3) Church thesis. Also called Church Turing Thesis, and which I call
> sometimes Post law, or Gödel Miracle, or Post, Church, Turing, Markov
> thesis. Its truth entails the truth of the weaker thesis according to which
> there exists a universal machine. But do we know that? can we know that?
> Do we know if there is a universal language, or a universal machine?
> No one can prove that, of course. So here too you need to do a bet: an
> axiom, a thesis, an hypothesis. The miracle (Gödel) is that the set of
> partial computable functions is closed for the diagonalization, it cannot be
> transcended. As Gödel said, for the first time we get a mathematical
> definition of an epistemological concept. Gödel did hope that a similar
> thesis could exists for the notion of provability, but its own theorem,
> together with Church thesis prevents this (I think).
> And then all attempts to define the computable functions leaded to the same
> class of partial computable functions. We get all the (total) computable
> functions, but they have to be situated in a non computable sequences among
> all the partial functions, as shown by Kleene's diagonalization (as shown in
> the last "seventh step serie thread", but I guess I have to come back on
> this). I recall that a total function is a partial function with subdomain
> equal to the whole N (N is included in N).
> So comp, by Church thesis, is also a positive belief in a *universal
> machine*, despite the lack of proof of existence).
> Of course Turing *did* prove its famous theorem saying that A Universal
> Turing machine exists. It is a theorem (even of arithmetic) that universal
> TURING machine exists, and that universal CHURCH lambda expression exists,
> and that universal SHOENFINKEL-CURRY combinators exists, etc.
> For each universal language it can be shown a universal finite entity
> exists. But this does not prove that there is a universal machine for all
> computable functions, only that all those class have a relative universal
> entity. I mean Turing's theorem is not Turing's thesis. But Turing (Church)'
> thesis makes its universal machine "really" universal (with respect to
> digital computability).
> What can arithmetic still prove is that TURING system, and CHURCH, one, and
> algol, fortran, lisp, etc. are all equivalent, making the universal TURING
> (or Church, ...) machine universal for all of CHURCH lambda expression, etc.
> They are all provably equivalent.
> Now to prevent any misinterpretation, let us address the question:
> Is the universal machine God?
> I would say no. Sometimes I like to call it the baby god, though. In the
> arithmetical interpretation of the hypostasis the universal machine, once
> she knows that she is universal, (in a weak technical sense) can play the
> role of Plotinus' man, or discursive terrestrial intellect. It is man, not
> God. man means humans.
> Universal machine are always finite entities, and exists always relatively
> to many other Universal machines (even if you can define the whole set of
> relations into arithmetic, or combinators, quantum topologies, ...).
> I may refresh the arithmetical hypostases (cf AUDA). I limit myself to
> correct machines (they prove only correct arithmetical sentences, by
> definition). So when the machine says "p", it means that "p" is true. By
> Tarski theorem, it is the only way to say that "p is true". She just say p.
> So by "p" below, I mean the assertative proposition by the (correct)
> machine.
> Plotinus one = arithmetical truth = p.
> Plotinus divine Intellect (or intelligible) = Bp  (Gödel's arithmetical
> "BEWEISBAR" provability predicate). But by incompleteness that INTELLECT
> admit an effective part borrowed by the machine: it is Plotinus' man.
> That is, here, the INTELLECT splits into the true Intellect and the
> provable intellect. By Solovay theorem those two logics are axiomatised (at
> the propositional level) completely by G for the provable (by the machine)
> part, and by G* for the true but unprovable (by the machine) part. For
> exemple ~Bf (I will not assert a falsity) belongs to G* \ G. It is true, but
> not provable, by the correct machine.
> Plotinus "universal soul" is the Theaetetical first person. It is the logic
> of the knower "inside the machine". It is given by the logic of the
> conjunction of Bp and p: Bp & p. It obeys, and is characterized by the modal
> logic S4Grz. Amazingly, it is not splitted by the incompleteness phenomenon=
> S4Grz = S4Grz*.
> Then intelligible matter and sensible matter logics are given by the logic
> Bp & Dt, and Bp & p & Dt. respectfully. They both split by the Solovay "*"
> incompleteness results.
> Plotinus admit at least this very precise arithmetical interpretation, and
> shows how incompleteness and insolubility structures the ignorance space of
> the (universal) machine.
> Seen from inside, that space is *very* big, but incredibly richly
> structured, and the physical world, if the neoplatonist are correct, or if
> comp is correct, is given by the "mathematical bord of that ignorance space.
> This is a verifiable (refutable) statement, making machine's theologies
> testable. Note that all correct Lobian machine (or even non machine, but
> still self-referentially correct entity) have the same abstract
> propositional theology (given by G and G* and their intensional variant).
> ***
> Kim, thanks. I think I will send your Carolyn Porco's link to the salvia
> forum where discussion on atheism appears a lot. I was just abou trying
> to,explain the problem with *some* atheists.
> Probably in the thread "Atheists, be nice!".
> (my username is "salvialover24", well sorry for that ...)
> It will help me to explain that there is no problem with atheists, only
> with dishonest atheists (saying that atheism is not a religion, that science
> is on their side, etc.).
> Of course, as a scientist,  I am agnostic on ALL the Aristotelian Gods.
> This includes Matter (primitive matter).
> Bruno
>  On 13 Nov 2009, at 12:17, Kim Jones wrote:
> Carolyn Porco - the genius behind the Cassini mission. My favourite
> female on the planet.
> If you ever read Carl Sagan's only novel "Contact" (or saw the movie)
> - this is the person on whom Sagan modelled Ellie Arroway (Jodie
> Foster in the film)
> Introduction by Richard Dawkins
> cheers,
> Kim Jones
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