On 7/17/2012 12:32 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 16 Jul 2012, at 19:37, John Clark wrote:

On Sun, Jul 15, 2012  Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be 
<mailto:marc...@ulb.ac.be>> wrote:

    >> Theology is about believing in something when there is absolutely 
bsolutely no
    reason for doing so, it is called "faith".
    > Then the danger of cannabis belongs to faith,

Yes, absolutely.


    > The definition you give of "theology" seems to me to be the definition 
given by
    the fear sellers and the bandits.

I don't know what that means.

For the greeks "theology" was the search of the truth, considered as unknown. It was by definition the search of the fundamental theory of everything. The term "Gods" was close to the notion of concepts, including natural phenomena. The term "God" was used for the ultimate concept, and this was the base of dialog and research.

I think you are remaking the Greeks in your image. First, they had many gods, so "God" could not have referred to a single fundamental. Second, their attitude toward the gods was as political as it is now - they condemned Socrates to death for the impiety of being a truth seeker.

They come up with mathematics and science. But, as we know, there is a temptation by the political world to control what is considered as fundamental as a foundation for controlling the people, and theology/religion has become the "opium of the people". To oppose science and theology has been useful to save natural science from dogma, but we have not yet succeeded to save theology for the dogma, but this is part of human history. The fear sellers are those who use theology as argument from authority, by building on legend involving temporal relation between the atemporal and terrestrial power, which has prevent theology to remain done with the scientific attitude. The problem is that it looks like science is serious and religion frivolous, but that separation makes science into a new theology. Basically science has followed the religious in making primitive matter like it was fact. But even Aristotle was aware that is was a religious/metaphysical hypothesis, in need of being approached with scientific skepticism.

    >I am not sure why you credit them on anything.

Nor that.

I feel like you give credit to the definition of theology given by the Roman 

And all other Christian churches, and Muslims, and Mormons, and Scientologists, and Jews. My dictionary defines "theology" as the study of God and his relation to the world; especially by analysis of the origin and teachings of an organized religious community. Use of the word "his" is already incompatible with your idea of a fundamental theory of the world.

instead of using the term in its more general sense, which is well illustrated by the non necessary exclusively christian history.

    > On the contrary, I would even defined God/Religion by what you still 
believe in
    once you succeed in abandoning *all* argument from authority.

So 2+2 = 4 is God/Religion.

We can doubt even that, but I appreciate you don't. Still, we have to assume it explicitly (or other axioms) to progress, and we are already in the theoretical realm.

Face it, you throw around the words God, Religion and Theology all the time but without any clear non-contradictory definition of any of them, nor can you come up with a example that is not completly ridiculous.

Theology is the search of truth, but with the awareness that a part of it is not rational, like the beliefs in a primary physical universe or a god.

What do you mean by 'not rational'?  Does it mean without proof, or without 

I have used the term "biology" and "psychology" in place of theology, but then it generates more confusion, especially in AUDA where we separate clearly what is provable and what is not provable by self-observing machines.

Why not use "philosophy" or just "science".

The closest you have come is that when arguing with a atheist like me "theology" is a convenient insult you can throw if the atheist says something you disagree with.

But I do not use it as an insult. Atheism is a respectable belief. But it is dishonest to pretend that it is not a religious belief. Atheist accepts the definition of God given by the Church, and makes the theological proposition that such a God does not exist.

But it does not make the assumptions to attribute to it below. Atheism is just a-theism, the failure to believe in a personal god.

It makes also the theological (unprovable) proposition that primitive matter exists, that physics is the fundamental science, etc.

Maybe physics is fundamental; it underlies chemistry and biology. But it is already physicists like Wheeler and Tegmark who have speculated about why this physics instead of that, and whether there is some more fundamental principle that determines physics. Personally I don't care what you call it, except I don't think it should be misleading to educated English speakers - and "theology" is definitely misleading; although it is perfect if you want to apply for a Templeton.

many atheists believes that death is the end of personal life, etc.

And many believe in quantum immortality and many are agnostic on the point.

It is theology.

So is that why your ideas about what is fundamental science are "theology", because they imply immortality?

Science here observes relation between observable/measurable numbers, and extrapolate on mathematical relations between them, and possible interpretation, but remains cautious in any definitive statements, especially when big problem, like the mind-body problem, is still unsolved.

So why not just call what you do science? Tegmark obviously thinks of his proposals to base all physics on computational mathematics as science and I don't think it has confused anyone.

And calling someone that you know doesn't like religion religious is not exactly a new putdown, I believe I first heard it around 1964.

Even before. Cantor's theory of the transfinite has been dismissed as theological, but Cantor actually vindicated that it was theology indeed, and he discussed it with important bishop of his time. When I use "religion" pejoratively I put quotes, or I use the prefix pseudo. If materialists were religious, they would be less pseudo-religious, and insists on the hypothetical nature of their conception of matter. They would not qualify as crazy someone doubting that primitive matter exists. In my country it is no secret that my work made angry atheists, and this only because it put a doubt on what they defend as a dogma.

Probably what made them angry was your calling it "theology" and thus implying that it supported organized Christianity.

Eliminating the word "theology", like I did in my thesis in France, has made this even clearer. The problem is not in the words, but in the conception of reality.

    > With comp, I can argue that the "inner God" (alias the first person, the
    universal soul, Bp & p, S4GRz1) can play that role for the ideally correct 

And in spite of your frequent use of the word, or more likely because of it, I am no longer even clear about what exactly your homegrown term "comp" is supposed to mean.

Put shortly, it is the belief that you can survive with a digital brain. This can already be seen as a belief in a form of reincarnation, and the math confirms that ideally correct machine cannot prove such survival, so it respect the large definition I give of theology.

All propositions about machines can be translated into proposition about numbers. You can defined science, or terrestrial science, by the set of provable proposition, and (proper) theology by the set of true arithmetical sentence (non provable by the machine). Gödel's incompleteness makes that set non empty, and actually quite large and quite complex. Despite not being provable, machines can indirectly bet on those proposition and develop conceptions of reality.

But they are non-provable relative to some specific set of axioms and rules of inference. Each one is provable relative to *some* set of axioms. Which raises a question I am curious about: relative to Peano's axioms are there any known arithmetical propositions that are undecidable?


You might take the time to read Aldous Huxley "philosophia perennis" which illustrates well what is common in basically all human theologies. It is just striking how this looks like the discourse of the ideally correct machine about what is true and partially accessible,, on her and by her, but not provable by her. The ideally self-referentially correct machine is mystical/theological at the start, for logical reason.


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/ <http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/%7Emarchal/>

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to