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These Are Special Imported Herbs And Spices

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Posted by Harvey on January 30, 2002 16:49:32 UTC

Hi Paul,

***H: For example, He should pay attention to whatever is in Osama's head and then warn everyone else before he does his evil, He can at least do that, right? P: Wrong. The problem is that when he is in there driving Osama, he is oblivious to whatever is in anyone else's head. Furthermore, the information available to him via the on-board computer (Osama's brain) has been distorted and confused as a result of Osama's history. He's doing the best he can with what he has available.***

So, God cannot extract the multitude of experiences and somehow synthesize these into one coherent consciousness? Why not?

***Flies don't understand English (or any other language). And even if they did, they can't communicate with us. And even if they could, nobody would listen to them anyway. You have to keep in mind that the only ears god has to hear things with at the macro level here in our world, are our ears.

But they detect sound vibrations, etc. Why can't God treat these sound vibrations as incoming information from the fly on the wall, and then synthesize this with human languages, human actions, etc? In other words, if humans had the technology to connect an RF nerve transmitter to the nervous system of a fly so that we could receive these signals from the fly's nervous system, I'm guessing that we could decode these sense impressions and use the fly for espionage (i.e., 'fly spies'). Why can't God do that?

***I think there is such a great disparity between our world and existence at higher levels, that it is extremely difficult to communicate very much that is meaningful with our limited sequential languages and our limited brains. It is tantamount to explaining a nuclear reactor to an ant. Nonetheless, I think he does put thoughts into our heads in the form of conscience. I also think he attempts to communicate directly to some people via direct revelations, ouija boards, mediums, and who knows what else. Of course all of these are unreliable and subject to misunderstanding and distortion.***

I have to ask whether you are applying a consistent set of rules in God's communication with the world. For example, does God participate in the process of biological evolution? If so, then wouldn't that need to be rather precise? If God sets the physical constants of the laws of physics, wouldn't that also need to be rather precise manipulation? I wonder why God can act so precisely when he needs to, but so imprecisely when it comes to communication with humans.

***H: I don't know if you would consider this, but generally I think you might have the right concept but the wrong approach. The concept that God is 'becoming' into being through his universe makes some sense to me (process theology). I just think that you've anthropomorphized this a little more than my taste buds can muster. P: Now there's a turnaround. Not long ago, you beat me down with the idea that you cannot consider mathematical concepts that are devoid of meaning. You claimed that all concepts, no matter how esoteric, are suggested or colored by real life experiences. As I see it, anthropomorphizing is simply a way of imparting a little of our experience onto profound concepts that would otherwise be too abstract for us to make any sense of. How come your taste buds are so discriminating in this case, but yet you demanded all those herbs and spices be sprinkled on mathematical axioms?***

As my title suggested, these herbs and spices are special imported ones. That is, every notion, idea, thought, etc relies on anthropomorphic reasoning as you suggest. It is quite impossible to take 'us' out of our thoughts to make them entirely objective. That's not to mean that all ideas are completely subjective. We gain some reasonable sense of objectivity by limiting our assumptions to the fewest number of axioms and rules of inference as possible. This is why mathematics is far more objective than bar room opinions. Bar room opinions are usually thought of as completely subjective in that assumptions vary enormously and rules of inference are entirely happenstance to each individual. Science is very close to mathematics in that the assumptions should be realized as much as possible and the rules of inference should be also monitored (of course, this is not nearly as controlled as it is in mathematics).

When considering the notion that God is 'becoming', we are definitely anthropomorphizing even more so than in science. First, we are dealing with an unobservable (God), we are considering a human characterization (becoming), and we are applying this human characterization to God.

On the other hand, I think this level of anthropomorphizing is much more limited then a God who consciously tweaks creation through his visualization through animate matter. Why? Well, for one, the concept of becoming can be retranslated as a transformation which is certainly a mathematical concept. Process is also basic to science where the most fundamental action of nature is process (in fact, I don't see how one can define nature without process either directly or indirectly inferred in that definition).

If we consider the world as transforming via higher complexity (which there is a great deal of evidence in the evolutionary record that life evolves to higher and higher complexity), then it is reasonable to suggest that the transformation process of the universe is an act of becoming (i.e., where more and more features come into existence).

I think the key is to be cognizant of our anthropomorphizing. We cannot rid ourselves of it, but if we can limit it to deductions using a limited set of assumptions and a limited set of rules to infer, then we can at least target interesting concepts that might underlie the reason that a universe such as ours exists.

What is so appealing about process thought is that it solves a perplexing theological question. That is, if humanity is the end or close to the end of God's creative endeavor in the universe, then why did he take a roundabout way to get to us (i.e., 4 billion years)? If the process was direct then evolution could have probably produced us in a mere billion years if that direction was really that so determined. Also, it answers questions about God's involvement in the world, etc.

I have some preference to process thought, but I am not entirely convinced of adopting it fully. This is why I have adopted a formulation of God where boundary conditions, symmetry breaking, and the minimum principle (sort of Liebniz-esque) play a much larger role in God's interaction with the world. Process is occuring, but it is only half the story. The fuller story is that process is a consequence of a path integral creation approach which I consider fundamental. Am I anthropomorphizing? Yes. But, I think my assumptions and inferences are strictly limited to first principles. That's why I think I'm entitled to say so rather than if I was advocating demons, angels, etc.

Warm regards, Harv

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