On Sep 19, 2011, at 2:59 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

On 9/19/2011 8:19 AM, Jason Resch wrote:



On Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 1:27 AM, nihil0 <jonathan.wol...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi everyone,

This is my first post on the List. I find this topic fascinating and
I'm impressed with everyone's thoughts about it. I'm not sure if
you're aware of this, but it has been discussed on a few other
Everything threads.

Norman Samish posted the following to the thread "Tipler Weighs In" on
May 16, 2005 at 9:24pm:

"I wonder if you and/or any other members on this list have an opinion
about the validity of an article at http://www.hedweb.com/nihilism/nihilfil.htm


Jon,

Thank you for your post. I actually came across that page many years ago, before joining this list. It is interesting to go over it again and I am glad to see it still online. I appreciated the Liebniz quote he cites "omnibus ex nihil ducendis sufficit unum" which he translates as "For producing everything out of nothing, one principal is enough". I searched for this, and also found by John Wheeler:

The Universe had to have a way to come into being out of nothingness. ...When we say “out of nothingness” we do not mean out of the vacuum of physics. The vacuum of physics is loaded with geometrical structure and vacuum fluctuations and virtual pairs o f particles. The Universe is already in existence when we have suc h a vacuum. No, when we speak of nothingness we mean nothingness: neither structure, nor law, nor plan. ...For producing everything out of nothing one principle is enough. Of all principles that mig ht meet this requirement of Leibniz nothing stands out more striki ngly in this era of the quantum than the necessity to draw a line between the observer-participator and the system under view. ...We take that demarcation as being, if not the central principle, the clue to the central principle in constructing out of nothing ever ything. — John A. Wheeler

Yet the central premise of this list is that there is no such demarcation.

First, I should say I disagree with wheeler that our existence comes out of nothing. It is a fault of our intuition which equates zero information with nothing, rather than with all possibilities. And as a consequence our intuition tells us the "default case" of the reality ought to be a void.

Second, Wheeler's idea of a partipatory universe I think was more similar to a many-minds type of interpretation, rather than the CI which suggests observers are somehow different from the system.

Every distinct observation defines a distinct observer because observer and observed are both quantum mechanical.



I think Liebniz's words are insightful, but more to the point was when he said:

"There is an infinity of figures...of minute inclinations....Now, all of this detail implies previous or more particular contingents, each of which again stands in need of similar analysis to be accounted for, so that nothing is gained by such analysis. The sufficient or ultimate reason must therefore exist outside the succession of series of contingent particulars, infinite though this series be. Consequently, the ultimate reason of all things must subsist in a necessary substance, in which all particular changes may exist only virtually as in its source: this substance is what we call God."

This just Aquinas argument from infinite regress in different words. It's a demand that the world be comprehensible in anthropomorphic terms. That everything must have reason as we conceive efficient causes. If the world is infinite it must not be infinitely contingent because then I couldn't comprehend it; so it must be comprehended as the effect of necessary being.

Even if it were infinitely contingent it would have no ultimate cause, just as there is no largest negative number. Thus an infinite chain of contingencies is also uncaused and self existent.



Brent
“People are more unwilling to give up the word ‘God’ than to give up the idea for which the word has hitherto stood”
    --- Bertrand Russell

That might be true, but I think the same happens for anything we develop an understanding of over time. Think of how the word "universe" has evolved over time.

Let me ask you, what is your theory of reality? Why does this universe exist with the laws it has? I realize you have a degree of uncertainty on these questions, but if you had to correctly guess to save your life, what would your guess be?

Jason




He says that the source of our existence is something that has to exist, it's existence is a necessary property. Of everything humans have discovered, I think mathematical truth most closely fits. It seems to insist on its own existence unlike any physical contingency or the universe itself. Yet as Bruno has helped to illustrate, the universe, or our perceptions, follow from the existence of mathematical truth.

Jason
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