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Self-running Universes

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Posted by Harvey on October 24, 2002 04:50:32 UTC

***H: "However, I don't [know of] anything beyond God that can prevent the universe from changing course and behaving a different set of 'laws'." H: Well, this is an indefensible statement. I take the predictability of the universe as a sign that it's self running, you say "No no no, it's just that God doesn't feel like changing anything." How am I to reply to this? It's a violation of Occam's Razor, first of all. If Sam or Aaron were to suggest that distant starlight never came from a star, you'd be rightfully all over them, but you're making arguments on the same intellectual foundation here.***

Not at all. Sam and Aaron are arguing against the physical evidence of science. The issue that we are discussing is within the philosophical domain by which scientific evidence must be interpreted. Everything that I see from science is that causation is the principle by which explanation of the universe is even possible. If we rid science of its ability to provide effective causes for phenomena, we would be left with definitions and not much more. However, if we assume that causation is a valid concept (which is, I think, more than reasonable), then we should ask what causes transitions from one material state to another material state. One possibility is that material bodies striking other material bodies is able to physically transfer its effects. Yet, this is a more or less classical view of physical bodies which I think quantum physics generally rules out.

So, then, what is the alternative for causation? I think a much better explanation and fitting in better with modern physics is that physical principles are what best explains the transitions of material states. These principles do not appear to be material entities or physical transfers, they are limitations that are easily summarized and efficiently explained in terms of algorithms. If this is the best explanation for cause in the universe, then the question is why does the material universe continue to exist. If it is not the impact of material 'billiard balls' that provides persistent existence through time but it is principles of physics, then what keeps the principles from changing or ceasing altogether?

The story becomes even more complex in that principles are reducible to yet more general principles and so on. If the trend continues, it would seem that more and more general principles will be found, and either some unique general principle(s) will be seen as the Cause for all that exists, or the process is infinite (i.e., an infinite set of principles exist). However, if infinite, then the whole set of infinitie principles is itself one general principle(s) that dictates an infinite set of principles. So, either case we are left with a general set of principle(s) which somehow explain why the universe persists through time.

I call these general set of principle(s) 'God'. It is, in my opinion, a much better explanation in all facets than the materialist explanation - which in my view, is not explanation at all. This approach actually violates Occam's razor in that it is much simpler and parsimonious to believe in principles rather than some kind of Demitrius 'atom' having atomic features while still conforming to the requirements of quantum physics. In fact, Occam's razor is itself a principle and makes far greater sense if a principle actually exists in nature that enforces simplicity in nature. Considering that the author of Occam's razor was William of Ockham (ca. 1285-1349), and that he was also a theist, I don't lay awake at night worrying about Occam's razor.

***H: "I Consider God As Sentient" M: Why?***

The universe has a great deal more meaning to me to believe that Sentience is not only aware but actually providing hope for the universe. In addition, looking at the whole of what we see, I personally don't think one can realistically expect a random force or act to cause the world. There's absolutely millions of events that had to be 'just so' in order to bring about such wonderful events, that I think Sentience is the only valid explanation. Look at this way, if you ever go to Vegas with only $1 in your pocket and bet (maybe you're still too young), the likelihood of coming back as a millionaire through successful bets is astronomical. Now multiple those odds by infinity and I think you can barely glipse the kind of luck needed to cause 'all of this'.


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