On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:35 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> Rex Allen wrote:
>> What is your alternative to the "everything" universal acid? That
>> things just are the way they are (uniquely), and there's ultimately no
>> explanation for that. Right?
> Exactly so. "It's just happened that way" and "Everything happens and
> so this happens too." are both equally useless. Progress is only made
> when we can explain why this rather than that.
So, we have our observations, and we want to explain them, so we need
some context to place them in. So we postulate the existence of an
external universe. But then we want to explain what we see in this
external universe, and the only option is to postulate the existence
of a multiverse.
Nothing can be explained in terms of only itself. To explain it, you
have to place it in the context of something larger. Otherwise, no
explanation is possible, you just have to say, "this is the way it is
because that's the way it is."
Basically there's only two way the process can end. Two possible
answers to the question of "Why is the universe this way instead of
some other way?":
1) Because things just are the way they are, and there's no further
2) Because EVERYTHING happens, and so this was inevitable in that
larger context of "everything".
What other option is there, do you think?
>> So we can take our observations of the world around us and construct a
>> narrative that is consistent with what we see...a narrative that
>> involves big bangs and electrons. But what caused the big bang? Why
>> do electrons have the particular properties that they have? If you
>> propose a particular cause for these things, what caused that cause?
>> How is that better than a narrative that allows for "everything"?
>> They would seem to have equal explanatory power. Which is to say:
> We have much evidence about the big bang and some theories as to how it
> may have happened which are testable.
So the existence of a big bang event certainly seems consistent with
our observations. But so does the idea of a Boltzmann style
statistical fluctuation from thermal equilibrium. Or the idea that
this is just the dream of the infinitude of relations between numbers.
We construct narratives that are consistent with our observations, but
these narratives are about our observations, not about what really
exists. You seem to have jumped to some unfounded ontological
You can talk about big bangs if that helps you think about your
observations, helps you identify patterns in what you experience.
But, that's as far as it can reasonably go, right?
At the end of the day, we're always right back at where we
started...with our observations...with our subjective conscious
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