On Feb 17, 3:59 pm, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 17, 2012  Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > How and why did evolution or physics or statistical laws come to be? How
> > is that really different from the God hypothesis?
>
> Neither can explain why there is something rather than nothing, but the
> Evolution theory can explain how Evolution did what it did. However the God
> theory can NOT explain how God did what he did.

It's not trying to explain how God did it though, it gets around that
by collapsing all whats and hows into a single overarching Who and
Why. This is what the universe looks like when you completely
anthropomorphize it. Mechanism (which evolution does not universalize
to the entire universe) is the contrary thesis: All whos and whys are
collapsed into whats and hows, leaving you with a completely de-
anthropomorphized (or mechanemorphic) model of the universe. The
mechanemorphic model is certainly a tremendous improvement over the
anthropmorphic but it is still half wrong. The only reason it's better
is because empiricism takes the who and why for granted rather than
eliminates it, whereas anthropomorphism is ignorant of the the what
and how. It is only through empiricism's development as an extension
of natural philosophy/Hermetical alchemy that these principles are
incorporated to begin with. If we were to take the worldview of
mechanism literally, we would have no idea who we were, nor would we
care.

> And explaining how physics
> and statistical laws came to be is very very hard, but the God theory must
> do something even harder, explain how the thing that made physics and
> statistical laws came to be.

I don't see that it would be a problem for God to make physics (I can
make a castle out of sand, so God can make a universe out of physics),
but the question of why would be more of a problem. The biggest
problem for me with the God idea is that it is arbitrarily humanoid.
The universe is not very human friendly so it doesn't make much sense.

>
> > > And physics does the same by kicking everything downstairs to simple
> > mechanisms.
>
> Yes, SIMPLE mechanism. Kicking things downstairs is exactly what a good
> theory should do, using the simple to explain the complex.

Unless the thing you want to explain cannot really be reduced in some
sense but can be in another. I don't see that the universe has any
particular preference for simplicity over complexity, it seems to make
good use of both.

> The God
> hypothesis does the opposite and uses the complex to explain the simple and
> that does no good at all, far better would be a truthful "I don't know".

We can only say that in the luxury of hindsight. You are a product of
20th century empiricism. Your senses are atrophied and conditioned
into a stoic logical focus. This is nothing like the universe of your
ancestors, who for thousands of years existed in direct communication
(or so they assumed) with their environment. You must understand that
spirituality is an anthropological universal: we have never, ever come
in contact with any culture which does not have spiritual concepts.
This cannot be brushed aside, nor should it be assumed to validate
religion. What I think the universality of spirituality means is that
our first natural impulse to relate to the universe is to treat it
like we treat ourselves...only more so. This is why the gods are all
human superlatives: God of Strength, Beauty, Wisdom, etc. Monotheism
is that principle amplified to it's ultimate extreme. No tribe wanders
out of the desert saying 'I don't know what I am or how the universe
works, but I wonder if there is a microscopic double helix inside each
of my trillion cells of my body replicating according to abstract
symmetrical principles'. 'I don't know' is new. It's very very
important, but only because beneath the 'I don't know' is an implicit
'I know that I don't know' or 'I know that what I think I know might
be false'. Without that underlying sense, the confidence to know that
even though you don't know you might be able to figure it out, you
have nothing. Science is measured faith, faith diffracted through the
the suspension of blind faith and with it's opposite: methodical,
measured curiosity.

>
> > > Quantum physics and computationalism may be doing exactly that right
> > now. Our chasing ever more insubstantial chains of logical causality may be
> > entirely misguided.
>
> There doesn't seem to be any "may be" about it, chains of causality are not
> infinity long, eventually they stop and you will reach randomness.

Then randomness becomes another name for God. It is the result of the
same function run in reverse. Causality magically appears from
randomness. Why?

>
> > At some point it may be necessary to realize that the universe cannot be
> > understood by relying exclusively on the knowable,
>
> Maybe, but then the universe is not knowable period.  If it takes something
> you can never know to understand the universe then obviously you will never
> understand the universe; and the God hypothesis is still totally useless.

That's an assumption though. Our actual human experience suggests that
in fact it 'seems like' we know a great deal without being literally
certain of anything. I think that this ordinary process which
dominates every waking moment of every living person should be
factored in as a legitimate part of the fabric of the universe itself.
It is not just a universe of literal billiard balls, it is a cartoon
characters who think they are made of billiard balls too, and cartoon
billiard balls who think they are physical bodies.

>
> > but we may have no choice but to investigate choice itself.
>
> But there is nothing to investigate, there is no great mystery about
> choice, it's either causal or random.

According to your theory, all causes are eventually random. I guess
there is no such thing as the universe. Case closed.

Craig

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