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I'm Not So Sure About That

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Posted by Harvey on May 20, 2002 14:11:03 UTC

Richard,

Liebniz, as far as I know, was the first to advocate the 'minimum principle' when it comes to God's role in the world. Of course, he didn't know about natural selection, biological evolution, but he did observe how nature used a minimum amount of energy.

I think the minimum principle (MP) is a good answer to the question of how God becomes involved in the world, but I think there has to be more to the story. For example, if you had a child who was playing in the street while a car speeding toward her, you wouldn't say that to preserve energy you ought to use as least amount of energy in saving her. You wouldn't care. If you have an infinite amount of children that you couldn't save each one, then that would indicate that you are irresponsible - not efficient.

Where I think the MP is very appropriate, especially in light of natural evolution, is in terms of identifying God directly with the MP. In this case, you have a goal (or God's will) that must happen, but how it happens is according to the MP. The MP (or Logos) acts as a teleological force in the universe that causes the universe to behave according to 'laws' that somehow direct the universe according to this underlying goal. In the case of biological evolution, the biological laws of natural selection, complexity, chaos, etc all work together to conform to the will of God. In most cases this is a perfectly naturalized development, but as systems build up criticality, there is spontaneous symmetry breaking. At those times, the system in question behaves quite unpredictably and a symmetry is spontaneously broken that leads nature in an unexpected direction. If the MP is guiding the system toward some underlying goal, then at those times the 'force' of God causes symmetry to be broken in a particular manner such that God's overall will is accomplished.

This still begs the question on why the MP. The answer, I believe, can only be that the MP is part of the goal itself. That is, process and goal are somehow joined at the head and to speak in terms of goal is to also speak in terms of process. That is, God is ultimately one (original state, transformation, end result). Or, in more technical terms, God is Symmetry.

Warm regards, Harv

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