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Posted by Paul R. Martin on April 24, 2001 17:42:18 UTC

Hi Phil,

I am not exactly sure I understand your objections to what I wrote, so correct me if I misunderstood.

What I think you are asking is that if there is a god, how could he possibly tolerate the terrible consequences of war?

Here's the way I see it. I think god is first of all limited in his foresight and doesn't really have knowledge, much less control over his creation.

An analogy that might illustrate what I mean would be that when Dr. Mandelbrot first wrote the algorithm to generate the famous Mandelbrot set, I think he was unaware of the details of the features that would be produced. He was also powerless to get that particular algorithm to generate anything else.

I think god's creation of this physical universe was done by an action similar to the choosing of a particular algorithm. I think he chose the laws of mathematics of numbers and a number of physical constants and then let it go, in the sense of Newton. I think any subsequent interaction or interference is limited to the relatively small choices of Einstein's "hidden variables" in order to deliberately cause something to happen. These, of course, can only affect quantum randomness on a very small scale. There has to be a fairly complex configuration of matter and energy for any such small perturbations to have macro effects. I believe that living cells are among such complex configurations.

So the act of war is vastly removed from this small arena in which god can be effective in altering this universe without utterly destroying it. There are many levels of complexity in the gulf.

I think E.O. Wilson did a good job of describing these levels. He started with the laws of physics and described how they determine the behavior of chemicals. Then how chemical interactions determine the behavior of living cells. How they in turn determine the behavior of organisms, and they determine the behavior of societies, etc.

I think Wilson missed the first two levels, however, which are pure thought and mathematics respectively. Pure thought is the beginning point of everything in my model of reality. The next step is the development of the mathematics of numbers, which is familiar to humans since we have discovered how to build that edifice within the past couple hundred years.

Dick Stafford has shown that the laws of physics can be derived directly from the mathematics of numbers. This completes the complete causal chain from god's initial thoughts to the behavior of societies on Earth.

My guess is that god was disappointed in the outcome of some of the results along the way. The appearance of animals in a world of plants, bacteria, fungi, and whatever else, was probably a promising and exciting venture. By tweaking the right chemicals at the right time over the eons, he was able to get animals to evolve.

But the unfortunate unintended consequences were that in the process of Darwinian Evolution, the strategies of predation and parasitism proved to be extremely successful. These strategies cause all kinds of anguish and suffering among animals.

It could be that he was "still checking us out, [and he felt] such overwhelming after affects of compasion, that [he wanted to] come on down and change things."

Since he couldn't interfere with the laws of physics, the strategy was to send his "awareness" down into the brains of at least some animals so they could fix the problem. Thus, by tweaking some "hidden variables" in some hominid brains, they were caused to enlarge over a period of time, and reach the level of complexity where they could serve as a conduit to the consciousness of god.

This scenario almost follows along the scripts of religious doctrines if you stretch the allegories a little and forget about the dogma that religious organizations have encased the scriptures in.

The fix is obviously agonizingly slow, but you can see the path we are on. At least in this century, the average person is aware of, if they have not themselves "experianced the destructive power of warfare and its lasting effects on humanity which we are living in today". This is a better attitude than in the past when war was glorified or at most just taken for granted as inevitable.

You can also see the day coming when we are in a position of synthesizing all our food, or at least the protein. That will make it possible to thrive without having to slaughter millions of animals raised just for that purpose. Whether you like it or not, it is evident that we are transforming the earth so that the large predators have no natural habitat any more and will only be able to survive in zoos, where ultimately they too will be eating synthetic meat. You can consider this good or bad, but the fact remains, that's what's happening.

In the case of cats and dogs, we see that these previously predatory species live in a new unnatural world that doesn't seem to be so bad for those of them that are treated well. (I am just making the logical case; I am as chagrined at this prospect as E.O. Wilson is, and as I suspect you and most other thinking people are as well.)

As for parasitism, it's a harder problem, but science has made remarkable inroads into the control of them, at least as they affect humans.

The point is that I think god is limited in what he can do: he can't interfere with the laws of physics. We, as humans, can't either, but what we can do that god can't is to control the configurations of matter and energy in such ways that we can exploit the laws of nature and get her to do things according to our plans.

I give humans the credit, but I think at the root of it, it is god's consciousness working in us, just as if we are remote-controlled devices operated by a conscious remote operator. The communication link is completely unknown, unacknowledged, and even unimagined by most scientists, but then so was EM radiation not all that long ago.

But whatever the communication link turns out to be, I think Penrose is maybe getting close to an explanation of how brain functions might be deliberately controlled by coherent quantum effects. I simply posit that these effects are ultimately controlled by 'god' from 'outside'.

You said, "All the assumptions used for the majority of gods today are as stupid as going against the govt."

I think my assumptions of a finite, limited god are in the minority of opinions, and so, maybe not as stupid as those of an infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god.

"See what im saying?"

I'm still not sure if I did see what you were saying, Phil. If I didn't, please set me straight. If I did, let me know if you "see what I'm saying".

Warm regards,


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