Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Q and A to “Dead or Alive”
Q and A to “Dead or Alive”
Steve Bass ; Darrell Dooyema
1 April 2009
Your query: “Missing some info?”
Discussion: I figure this pertains to the underlined, “leap of faith” of mine (p.1), and this is absolutely so. According to current thinking in the field of “Information Theory,” information is an infinite resource, so of course it is impossible for us to incorporate all possible information into consideration of any topic, let alone one that addresses the infinite at its core. The book, Zeno’sParadox flirts with this notion; I hope you have fun reading it.
Query: “How does the idea of God, or a necessary being, ‘jump out of the system?’ Is there anything intrinsically illogical or self-contradictory about the idea?”
Discussion: This is two questions:
A) The system is that of cause and effect. It is entirely Newtonian/Euclidian in nature, (Deterministic), and it constitutes, I think, the sum of experience for at least the vast majority of humans. Some mystics claim more advanced experience, but they have and acknowledge difficulty expressing it coherently, (Paul the Apostle, for example), and some advanced physicists seem capable of demonstrating some truly bizarre effects mathematically and experimentally, but they, too, generally acknowledge their own limitations in mentally grasping the phenomenon. The system itself, and the experience of humans, allow for no First Cause--what caused the First Cause, or the Necessary Being? This is a “jumping out of the system.” Gödel shows how this works out mathematically, applied generally to any such system and his complete theory, titled, On Formally Undecidable Propositions, is available translated online. I believe I included a link in my cited works, but the theory is largely described in 8 or so full pages of high math. It’s over my head, I’m afraid. The rational/linguistic essence of it is simple enough, though, and acknowledged by writers from Kant to Manly Hall. While the First Cause/Necessary Being solution is elegant and simple, even Billy of Ockham recognized that the simplest solution is only the most statistically likely. “Jumps” in other directions are possible, such as that demonstrated by experiments showing the super-freak phenomenon of “backward causation,” -- effects that precede cause along the “arrow of time,” (this was particularly vexing to Prigogine, a physicist cited in my little discussion), or the notion that all experience is illusory, many supporters of which assert that we create the whole business ourselves. This is also addressed by both assorted mystics, as well as physics. Einstein stated that though he believed the Quantum Field equations contained some deficiency, all our concepts of here/there/past/present/future are strictly illusory. Since his death, many of the postulates of quantum theory he found the most unacceptable due to the radical structure of reality they suggest have, in fact, (whatever that means), been demonstrated experimentally.
B) No, there is nothing illogical or contradictory to these ideas, unless one suggests a non-sequitur, which they may well represent, I suppose. However, they can be neither demonstrated nor disputed, so far as I can tell, because yes, we are missing information. We will always be missing information-- the system is bound to be incomplete in its compass of All-There-Is.
Query, (so to speak): “What do you think best accounts for this information?...[C]larify...your point....[C]ompare the opposition’s point...[emphasis in original].”
Discussion: This was associated with my assertion that the evidence at hand “points in [a Theistic] direction." I suppose that the lack of a conclusive statement on this may constitute a failing on my part, but I don’t believe the question is entirely settled. I do believe quite strongly that I addressed some key opposition points, both from Theists and Atheists. Though evidence suggests strongly that Russell’s questions about the Universe can be answered in the affirmative, the nature of the Principle I sought to define remains ambiguous. I could have made this clearer only by stating it explicitly, as such. The thing is, I rather prefer to allow some ambiguity for the sake of the fact that ambiguity pervades the entire discussion. I realize the problem with this in an academic, and perhaps a philosophical context, but what can I say; I remain comfortable with its presence, and I rather like to foist it on my conversational partners....
I’m afraid I had no idea that we were meant to personalize this--such a thing is quite unusual, in my experience. What I believe is this:
Reason and Science can get us close.
Mystical experience gets us closer still.
Then we should admit that we’re completely wrong.
A leap of faith is necessary for us all--existentially mandatory and unavoidable.
“God is essentially in all things....The existence of all created things is His existence. Thou dost not see, in this world or the next, anything besides God.”--Ibn alArabi, (Sufi)
P.S. Sorry about the weird centered indentation at the end. Don’t know how that got there.