Saturday, December 10, 2005

Intelligent Evolution


My own conclusion is that man has been given the capability to alter and accelerate the evolutionary transformation of the a priori physical environment that is to participate objectively, directly, and consciously in universal evolution and I assume that the great, complex integrity of omni-coordinate and inter-accommodative yet periodically unique and nonsimultaneously co-operative generalized principles, and their myriad of special case realizations, all of which we speak of as universe and may think intuitively of as God, is an intellectual invention system which counts on man’s employing these capabilities. If he does not do so consciously, events will transpire so that he functions subconsciously in the inexorable evolutionary transformations.

--R. Buckminster Fuller, Education Automation
The previous article, “ID Theory: A ‘Design’ for Failure” argued that the scientific contentions of “Intelligent Design” theory, even if proven true beyond doubt, do not accomplish their proponents’ aim of offering scientific support for the anthropomorphic deity of the Abrahamic religions and a system of human values based thereon.

What then are we to make of the panoply of elegance, beauty, and what looks very much like “design” in the world around us? Looking at the geodesic structures of viruses, diatoms and compound eyes, the Fibonacci spirals in Nautilus shells, pine cones and galaxies, or the fractal branching of trees, lightning bolts and river deltas, it is not hard to imagine we’re seeing the signature of a “Designer” or “Designers” written in elegant mathematics.

Evolutionary scientists maintain that all of the “design” in Nature can be traced to the workings of evolutionary mechanisms that need no help from any “outside” intelligence:


Behe's contention that each and every piece of a machine, mechanical or biochemical, must be assembled in its final form before anything useful can emerge is just plain wrong. Evolution produces complex biochemical machines by copying, modifying, and combining proteins previously used for other functions. Looking for examples? The systems in Behe's essay will do just fine.

He writes that in the absence of ‘almost any’ of its parts, the bacterial flagellum ‘does not work.’ But guess what? A small group of proteins from the flagellum does work without the rest of the machine -- it's used by many bacteria as a device for injecting poisons into other cells. Although the function performed by this small part when working alone is different, it nonetheless can be favored by natural selection.

The key proteins that clot blood fit this pattern, too. They're actually modified versions of proteins used in the digestive system. The elegant work of Russell Doolittle has shown how evolution duplicated, retargeted, and modified these proteins to produce the vertebrate blood-clotting system.”

-- Kenneth R. Miller

In other words, evolution is able to form complex systems by taking elements that work in other systems and adapting them, in concert with other elements, to function in entirely different ways, with each stage of the process being functional enough to enhance the survivability of the organism. Doesn’t that seem just a little bit…clever?

Isn’t the idea that a natural process can “recycle” a protein from the digestive system and convert it to the function of clotting blood without any help from an “outside” intelligence even more awe-inspiring and mind-boggling than the notion of a humanlike person doing it, no matter how “super” he may be?

The evolutionary process itself qualifies as an “Intelligent Designer.” What is “intelligence?” For the purposes of this essay, “intelligence” will be defined as “the ability to identify, integrate, and utilize information. We humans tend to operate on an anthropocentric mode that assumes that only humans (and perhaps super-human beings such as aliens or gods) are intelligent, and everything else is non-intelligent.

However, there is no reason to assume without proof that intelligence cannot exist on a broad spectrum of amplitude (how “intelligent” something is) and frequency (how fast information is processed). Let us consider the humble electron. It has a negative electric charge that enables it to “detect” the presence of other charges. If it detects another negative charge (e.g. an electron), both will react by moving away from each other. If it detects a positive charge, such as that of a proton, it will be drawn toward the source, joining with it to form a new entity, a hydrogen atom.

By itself, the electron has a very, very minimal ability to “identify, integrate, and utilize” a very simple information set—the presence or absence of electromagnetic charges. Likewise for its counterpart the proton. But if you get enough hydrogen atoms together, their mutual interactions (their ability to “detect” each other via electromagnetism and gravity, and “respond” by drawing together) will be sufficient to generate a vast cloud of gas collapsing on itself to form a star. By forming a star, the hydrogen is able to engage in a whole new form of interaction: fusion into helium, and then into a range of other, heavier elements as the star perishes in a supernova explosion.

These new heavy elements then gather together into new solar systems with planets, which eventually generate life, and that life evolves to greater intelligence until it is able to think about that ancient star that gave itself to forge the “stuff” that made the intelligences possible. In a sense, the star has become aware of itself.

At each stage, the material “identifies, integrates, and utilizes” information to self-organize, bootstrapping itself to “intelligence” of higher amplitude and frequency. The “intelligence” of Universe (such as that in the “hydrogen-atom network” that is a cloud of hydrogen gas) is not noticeable to us because we are operating at such a high frequency that it is a major scientific accomplishment on our part to discover that the hydrogen clouds are doing something as interesting as giving birth to stars.

Even unambiguously "intelligent designers"--humans--have taken to using evolutionary processes to design new technologies. Using computers programmed with evolutionary algorithms (also called genetic algorithms), scientists can not only demonstrate the workings of evolution by natural selection, they can put the process to practical use.

If we look at the ordinary sort of "intelligent design," say, an architect creating a bridge, we can see an evolutionary process at work. First, the architect considers the "environment"--the span that is to be crossed by the bridge, the amount of traffic it must bear, the resources available for construction, the nature of the land at each end of the bridge (basaltic rock, clay, granite bedrock under soil, etc.), and so forth.

Then, the architect will consider evolutionary ancestors: other types of successful bridges (suspension, wooden tressel, stone with arches, etc.). Then the architect starts sketching out possible designs and seeing how well they meet the design criteria (the "environment," which now includes the architect's aesthetic preferences). Modeling different bridge designs in his mind, on paper using physics equations, or using computer models, the architect will winnow out designs that won't work (those that cannot support the traffic volume, are too expensive to build, etc.) ultimately resulting in a final bridge design that gets built.

All of this can easily be seen as an evolutionary process. The major difference is that in "design," the evolutionary process of "mutation" (the addition of new information) and selection takes place in a "virtual" environment of a human mind (perhaps supplemented by the virtual environent of a computer simulation) instead of out in the world.

By looking at designed artifacts, it is possible to trace their evolutionary ancestry back to common ancestors. Automobiles can be traced back to the Model T, and to "primitive ancestors" like Henry Ford's quadricycle and the Stanley Steamer, which clearly show descent from other "species"--the horse-drawn wagon, the bicycle, the locomotive.

Though "design evolution" has a greater degree of flexibility than the biological variety (it can produce a mutant offspring of a wagon, bicycle, and a locomotive, while biological evolution cannot produce an offpsring of a horse, eagle, and a lizard to combine elements of the three), the process is the same. In "intelligent design" it is human ideas of structure, rather than genes, that evolve.

A Thought Experiment

Imagine a race of intelligent nano-scale organisms, about the size of virus particles. Being as small as they are, their quantum-molecular computer brains can process information millions of times faster than ours, since their thoughts need traverse only the tiniest distances.

Now, some of these creatures make their way to Earth, and take up residence in a neuron in someone’s brain. Eventually, they forget their origins, and come to think of the neuron as their world. But they begin a process of scientific discovery, and come to learn the astonishing fact that their neuron is not the Universe, but only one of billions. Then, with long-range scientific observations, they discover that, over a process of millions of their years, electrical charges move from neuron to neuron.

At first, these impulses seem totally random, obviously a ‘natural’ process. But a few microseconds—and many virus-years later—some of their scientists begin to suspect there’s some kind of order to the pulses. Taken alone, each appears random, but treated as a whole, they seem to form cohesive patterns incompatible with purely random chance.

Two theories spring up among the virus-people. One claims that the pattern the impulses seem to form must be the result of Intelligent Design. Therefore, there is a Super-Virus that resides in some dimension beyond the physical universe telling each neuron when to fire, according to His Divine Plan. The other school of thought teaches that the impulses are just an unguided, random product of ordinary chemical processes, and they produce a great volume of scientific data explaining how a neuron fires, showing how each aspect of the electrochemical reactions involved takes place without any need for an invisible Super-Virus to pull the strings.

Both “sides” are wrong in one sense, and right in another. Could this be our situation in relation to Universal evolutionary processes, with time-scales in the millions and billions of years?

A critic could argue that this sort of “cosmic intelligence” is not real intelligence because it is not self-reflective and volitional. Electrons don’t choose to combine with protons, nor do they perceive and reflect on the electrical charges in their environment the way we perceive and reflect on things in ours. However, our self-reflective consciousness appears to be an emergent property of networked interactions of…electrons, in our brains. [1] It could also be argued that we are the self-reflective, volitional aspect of “cosmic intelligence.” Furthermore, as "designers, we manifest the process of evolution in an accelerated, volitionally-directed form.

In the words of Buckminster Fuller:



We are quite possibly the most complex of the problem-solving challenges of the invention that is eternally regenerative Scenario Universe. In this way, each of us might be a department of the mind of what we might call God.

--R. Buckminster Fuller, Synergetics 2: Further Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, p. 64 (311.14)

[1]Neuroscience has provided quite compelling evidence that consciousness is a function of the brain, and that alterations to our brain (via damage) or brain chemistry (through drugs or medication) can alter or even totally transform our consciousness. This article, though written by an author that favors "spirit" rather than the brain as the seat of consciousness, fairly presents the evidence of both sides. One problem for the notion of "spirit-based" consciousness that he does not address is that the concept of "spirit" remains undefined and un-verified

33 Comments:

Blogger David Spoey said...

Wow- this is great stuff. Do you see the average human respecting the universe as intelligent in the near future? It seems Science and Spirit are bridging in innovative creative abundance.

12:09 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Thanks! That is an excellent question. One approach would be to deny that the "average" person exists. Another approach, taken by Ray Kurzweil in his book The Singularity is Near, is that thanks to ever-increasing computing power and technological advancement, the "average" person will cease to be "average" in the sense we mean, and that we will not merely recognize Universe as intelligent, we will expand into space and make it trillions of times more so as we rapidly amplify our own intelligence.

The scientific discovery of things like synergy and emergent order--not to mention quantum mechanics and neuroscience--is another "path" leading to this kind of understanding.

It does seem to me that a revolution in human thought is underway. Our age of easy, cheap global communication means it is no longer possible for fundamentalisms, ideologies, and dogmas to develop and hold sway in isolation. The rise of "integral" approaches to knowledge such as the works of Buckminster Fuller, Ken Wilber, etc., is a natural response to the inescapable knowledge that innumerable belief-systems not our own exist as genuine alternatives.

A medieval Christian had little opportunity to meet someone of a different belief system except perhaps on a witch-hunt or a Crusade--not an ideal situation for dialogue. A modern Christian can chat with a Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Mormon, Pagan, etc. online, all in the same day, and google virtually any sacred text.

One response to this is for the mind to open and seek an "integral" understanding. Another is to reflexively lash out at the Not-Us with violence as George Bush and Osama bin Laden are doing.

Buckminster Fuller said that humanity's choice between Utopia and Oblivion would be "a touch-and-go relay race right until the final moment." That sounds about right.

4:10 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

I think you may be on the right track with many of these ideas, though the functionalist viewpoint of consciousness is not likely to be one of them I think…

You say … “Neuroscience has provided quite compelling evidence that consciousness is a function of the brain…. One problem for the notion of "spirit-based" consciousness that he does not address is that the concept of "spirit" remains undefined and un-verified”

But this is just one view. Phrenology at one point was considered a manifestation of character, and that conscious behavior could be found in the functional bumps on ones skull – not a view popular now of course! The functional expression of ones face is said to give light into ones conscious state. If you make a smile (by a conscious act of will) you feel happier, if you make a frown you feel sadder. If you see these on others you develop an empathetic feeling. Again I am not so sure this will lead to understanding consciousness at a functional level, but it is a indicator that Embodied Intelligence is involved, i.e., consciousness is more than just the functional state of once neurons, bumps, facial configurations, etc. E.g., MRI images of neurological “states” may give more information than phrenology, but does it give all the information you require for consciousness?

I personally don’t think the answer lies on the path, supported by Marvin Minsky, that human beings are "meat machines." In which the mind is simply the functional processes of brain states. A rather dogmatic position I would say. Functionalism alone is suspect as a complete answer. For more on this I refer you to Anne Foerst recent book “God in the Machine”. See http://www.onrobots.com/

Other worldviews worthy of consideration include recent work in the development of the Quantum Mind hypothesis. Take a look at http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/

In this case you gain a model that enables some very interesting explanation of phenomena sidelined by “hard” AI specialists and others in the “Scientism” camp. It helps to provide a model for group mind interaction, such as collective unconscious and synchronicity phenomena discussed first by Carl Jung, and other issues relating to the need for sleep, “Mind/Body” interaction, OAA phenomena, etc. A very interesting source for lay access to this model can be found in Evan Harris Walker book “The Physics of Consciousness”. In this model the Human observer interaction with the universe is a key, and it seems to fit well observed phenomena, as well as giving support for the concept of ones “soul” and its place within an “intelligent” universe (an immanent worldview that can be also supported with a transcendent worldview).

Quantum Mind and Consciousness is defined in Wikipedia as a “protoscience” (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind ). But so they say is M-theory, Sociobiology and Technological Singularity (mentioned elsewhere in this blog). My point is merely that there is still a lot of work to be done here and we should keep an “open mind” to all possible interpretations, and not take a dogmatic position.

11:58 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Martin:

I can agree with pretty much everything you say here, especially the last part about keeping an open mind and not taking a dogmatic position.

Which is why I do not emply "Fideism," "Mythos," or whatever you choose to call believing by faith. To believe something by faith is to close your mind to critical, skeptical inquiry on that subject by definition. Faith and doubt don't mix.

However, you seem to have mistaken my position on consciousness. I say that cognitive neuroscience has provided "quite compelling evidence" that consciousness is a function of the brain. It has. It has been demonstrated that if a brain is damaged in a certain way, the entire personality of an individual changes. Damage certain sections of the brain, and their corresponding functions of consciousness are damaged. Ingest a certain compound (e.g. Prozac), and the personality can also change radically. Stimulate certain areas of the brain with rotating magnetic fields, and you can generate various "spiritual" experiences.

Phrenology never came close to the level of evidence in its favor that the "brain as seat of consciousness" model has.

This is not to say that there is no contrary evidence. If you read the article I linked to in that comment, you will notice that it is from "What is Enlightenment?" Magazine, hardly a bastion of Minskyan materialism. The author cites some of the more compelling evidences given by cognitive neuroscientists...and then goes on to argue that consciousness transcends the brain.

I linked to that article (rather than one presenting just the "brain-only" model) precisely because IMO it fairly presents both sides of the issue.

I agree that there is evidence that consciousness may be able to transcend the brain. For example, some of Rupert Sheldrake's findings, remote-viewing experiments, the ganzfeld ESP studies, etc.

This evidence does not seem as compelling to me as that provided by cognitive neuroscience, mainly because the effects measured are often very close to the "noise" level of the study, and the use of debateable methods of statistical analysis by the experimenters.

Even so, the evidence is there, and should not be dismissed out of hand. Likewise for the evidence in favor of the "brain-only" model. It just seems to me that cognitive neuroscientists have much more and higher-quality evidence in favor of their model, so far.

Unfortunately, the quantumconsciousness.org URL you provided hasn't worked yet. I am open to the idea that consciousness could be a quantum phenomenon. Ultimately, it's all about the evidence.

I reserve the right to completely revise my entire worldview, or lesser segments of it as more and better evidence for a different (or modified) model comes in.

Faith such as yours requires one to defend a given worldview, come what may. To the point of taking a lack of conclusive evidence for your beliefs as evidence, along with the sorts of theological ledgerdemain necessary to explain why a Perfectly Good, Loving God(tm) would give a little kid leukemia.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

Thanks for the clarifications. I am sure the functionalist approach has a good amount of truth to it also, it just does not answer the whole picture and as a premise expressed in the hard AI form sort of “outlaws” alternative worldviews, I bristle against such exclusivism. I suspect some aspects of the mind are adequately functionalist and other aspects requires further exposition, and I feel the quantum mind/consciousness model is an interesting one that could fill in some of the gaps in this respect.
The other reference I gave regarding Evan Harris Walker’s book the “Physics of Consciousness” provides a good deal of supporting scientific evidence, matching consequences of the theory to experimental evidence in a remarkably good fit. See Evan Harris Walker, "Quantum Mechanical Tunneling in Synaptic and Ephaptic Transmission," International Journal of Quantum Chemistry 11, 103-127, 1977
Is this work complete? Certainly not in my opinion, a lot of work is still yet to be done.

Moving on … You make comment on Fideism. I think we have made a lot of progress in understanding each other in other links within your blog, and I appreciate that. Let me clear up one aspect here though that may help us a lot…

You say … “Faith such as yours requires one to defend a given worldview, come what may. To the point of taking a lack of conclusive evidence for your beliefs as evidence, along with the sorts of theological legerdemain necessary to explain why a Perfectly Good, Loving God(tm) would give a little kid leukemia.”

I say (apart from not wishing to claim copyright, trade marks or registration – since I think the eminent domain for such is not with us!)…

1) Taking a bottom up perspective I think that we must exhaustively apply our method of Logos (rationality and scientific method) to provide us with as solid foundation as we can for “objective” truth. Only when we find (and it comes surprisingly early, and for some unnervingly so, in trying to fathom our “beliefs” in areas relating to our ethics, morals and other existential questions of meaning) we must be humble enough to understand there are limits to the method of Logos ALONE in this area. From there you can choose to halt if you want to. Or if one makes the choice to continue then be willing to accept that the Mythos that one builds, whilst not necessarily irrational will be a PERSONAL and SUBJECTIVE choice. One can be guided in this ongoing search, and elsewhere in you blog I discuss this, so no need to go on and on any more here I trust.

If you believe that a loving God would grant us Free Will to make such a personal choice, you would expect circumstances relating to “conclusive evidence” to be finely balanced. The fact that it seems to be so is merely consequential evidence, it is by itself though not conclusive (or else it would form a logical self annihilating argument).

2/ This hypothetical little kid and his parents perhaps might be devastated if you undermined the meaning of their belief in God who would wipe away all the tears of the suffering that exists in this world. Their existential suffering may be alleviated with Faith. Why would you wish to deprive them of that? Faith can give suffering meaning that would otherwise be intolerable. Don’t be too quick to dismiss this. As for what good God could bring out of suffering of diseases such as leukemia? Have a look here for one example …

I just found out today that Evan Harris Walker passed away just a few days ago on the 17th of August. (I dedicate my blog contributions to your site to his memory and his contribution to the Physics of Consciousness). Apart from his work in that area Evan Harris Walker founded the Walker Cancer Research Institute. His teenage sweetheart died of cancer and he dedicates his book to her – perhaps a “synchronicity” event, that Jung would explain within his theory of collective unconscious. See …

http://www.parapsych.org/members/e_h_walker.html

There is a big picture out there, that we often miss.

Making this personal and subjective choice takes in part, faith. I am not insisting you take this step (how could I?!). You may feel unwilling to make that leap for many reasons, not just rational ones (since I trust both agree fideism is a non-rational exercise, though not necessarily irrational, merely “arational”). Perhaps these reasons include emotional attachment and deep seated psychological ones (I invite you to at least consider if this is a possibility?). In the end it’s your personal choice. But I think you will miss out on a lot of things of meaning and value so I would personally be disappointed if you do not at least give it really deep consideration. Since I think all folks who persevere in seeking truth will have the door opened to them, they need but knock, with an open mind as a little kid might.

9:21 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Martin wrote:

[W]e must be humble enough to understand there are limits to the method of Logos ALONE in this area.

You are very clever at linking disagreement with your views to moral failings on the part of your opponents, while giving yourself the wiggle-room to claim the mantle of "tolerance." In this case, if someone does not agree with you that it is impossible to discover a rational ethics, approach to "existential questions," etc. there are not merely incorrect (assuming your position is correct), they are guilty of arrogance.

Likewise, you say that a person's 'Leap of Faith' is a personal, subjective choice (hence, not subject to anything like a burden of proof), and then say that your God will "guide" the Leaps of those who are "sincere" in their search. By implication then, all those Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, etc. are less than "sincere" in their search, since they did not follow the divine guidance and become Christians.

This is quite ingenious, as it lets you be exclusivist on the level of innuendo while claiming the moral high-ground of tolerance, open-mindedness, and so forth in your explicit statements.

"Humility" has nothing to do with the choice to use faith or reason (or any other method, such as a Ouija board) to arrive at truth.

In choosing an epistemology, only one question is relevant: what works? It is a demonstrable fact that the scientific method works as a technique to root out error and gain progressively more accurate pictures of reality. The built-in criticism protocols (peer-review, repetition of experiments or observations by other scientists for verification, etc.) even help counter the foibles of arrogance.

Faith, OTOH, allows an arrogant person who believes himself to be a spokesman for God to make ex cathedra proclamations that are not subject to criticism or rejection by those without his "inside track" to the Divine. You do not engage in this form of arrogance, but plenty do, in any religion you could name. Therefore, faith is not necessarily "humble."

I'm more than willing to try "Mythos" or Tarot cards, or shamanic trances, or scrying, or any form of alternative "reasoning mode" you can name--if you can provide evidence that it works.

Does Fideism work to provide answers to moral questions, issues of meaning, or anything else? Does it provide a method by which people who disagree can determine which, if either is correct?

Answer: No. Even if I grant you the premise that Christianity is the "truest" religion (thus avoiding the question of using faith to reconcile conflicting relgions), Fideism does not produce agreement even among Christians.

Is homosexuality immoral? Jerry Falwell: Yes. Bishop Spong: No. Should we burn witches at the stake? Torquemada: Yes. Martin Ciupa: Absolutely not! [I'm guessing here, but I'm pretty sure you'd be opposed :) ] Etc.

Fideism cannot even produce agreement among Christians about the nature of God. Is He a Trinity? There was fierce debate (followed by persecution of the losing side) at the Council of Nicea, and that debate goes on today. Jehovah's Witnesses and others reject the Trinity, claiming that God is a single persona, not three interlinked ones.

Does God predestine some to salvation and others to Hell? Calvinists: Yes. Arminians: No.

And so on. All of these are important questions Christians have literally fought to the death over.

The bottom line: Fideism doesn't work as a method of correcting error and arriving at truth. Whether you and I want it to or not, whether we're arrogant or humble, is completely irrelevant. It. Simply. Doesn't. Work.

10:50 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Martin wrote:

This hypothetical little kid and his parents perhaps might be devastated if you undermined the meaning of their belief in God who would wipe away all the tears of the suffering that exists in this world. Their existential suffering may be alleviated with Faith.

Here you seem to be implying that the truth-status of a faith-based belief is unimportant, so long as the belief is useful in some way.

So let's say I had faith in the ancient Egyptian prosperity-goddess Renenet, and that if I burned incense before Her statue regularly, that She would draw prosperity to me.

I perform this ritual before a job interview. Convinced that the blessings of Renenet are upon me, I go into the job interview with greater confidence than I would have otherwise, and get the job as a result.

Whether the Goddess Renenet exists and transcends the limits of Universe or not is irrelevant. It is not the object of faith that is efficacious, but the faith itself As Jesus put it, "Your faith has made you whole."

The Placebo Effect is such a well-known demonstration of this principle that any medical trial must be set up with a control group specifically to account for it and rule it out as a cause for the success of the new treatment or medication.

Arguably, the PE could be enhanced by such things as majestic temples, cathedrals, or other "sacred sites," intense prayer, altered states of consciousness, charismatic spiritual-healers, hypnosis, etc. to generate stronger effects than created by the simple expediant of having a Doctor In A Lab Coat offer someone a sugar-pill telling them it is medicine.

Thus, within certain limits [1], faith has demonstrated healing properties. It could potentially be useful in other areas as well (e.g. psychotherapy).

Taken in this fashion, faith is not a "reasoning mode" for arriving at truth, it is a tool to focus consciousness toward changing truth, again, within certain limits.

Faith could not tell me whether or not the Goddess Renenet is real, nor could faith I decide to have in Her convince you that She is real, no matter how good my results might be. Would my faith in Her provide practical benefits? Arguably, yes. You could accomplish similar results with faith in Jesus or the Invisible Pink Unicorn, so long as your faith was strong enough.

The authors of Why God Won't Go Away were able to demonstrate that the brain is set up to generate--or perhaps, receive from outside--experiences of "the divine" by employing Catholic nuns and Buddhist monks as demonstrators.

This strongly indicates that spiritual experience is "tradition-invariant." That is, it is not confined to any particular religious tradition.

This reinforces the model that "spiritual" phenomena such as mystical experiences and the efficacy of faith (to whatever degree it is efficacious) exist independently of religions as such.

The occultist Aliester Crowley encouraged people to employ certain techniques to commune with a god. Then, as soon as the student achieved two-way interaction with a given god, they were to immediately choose a different god and repeat the process.

IMO, this comes pretty close to how one could apply the scientific method to "spiritual" matters. Instead of getting trapped in a particular religious dogma, a theologist (as distinguished from a theologian) can begin to explore the phenomenon itself directly.

This model would make it possible for you to choose to believe in Jesus and use that faith while accepting other faiths as well, and serve as a basis to reconcile our positions.

However, if you want to claim that your deity exists objectively and "guides" the morally upright (i.e. the more "sincere") to Christianity, you have a burden of proof for that contention before you can expect others to accept it, or consider the moralistic innuendo as anything more than a subtle red herring.


NOTES:

1. I know of no example of faith-healer being able to restore an amputated limb. The grandiose claims made in ancient times, such as walking on water or re-attatching the severed head of a goose and restoring it to life (a feat attributed to the Magus Djedi in ancient Egypt) seem to be many orders of magnitude beyond what faith and psi/quantum consciousness (assuming the latter is real) are capable of.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

The “common proposition” I have made to help us come to a conclusion is simple enough and surely can be a framework for us…

Part1 “Our common perspective is that we must by all means exhaustively apply the reasoning method of Logos to arrive at the truth that it can offer. But once arriving at its limits, we are humble enough to acknowledge that we will not “breach the gap” of arising issues of subjectivity and meaning.”

Question 1: Do you or do you not agree to part 1, i.e., That we must use the best of our Logos faculty to such point where we find it no longer helping us with our questioning and search for meaning and truth.

Part 2: “At this point we can EITHER halt our search for meaning, OR if we wish to further move forward we must be prepared to use our Mythos reasoning modes such as we are personally able to manifest them. Such meaning arrived at will be by necessity personal and subjective, but it will be as fully reasoned as we are able.”

Question 2: Do you or do you not agree to part 2, i.e., allowing me the right to make my Mythos as a personal worldview, whilst reserving your right to make your own or not as you personally are comfortable with?

I am attempting a genuine humilty within these postions, don’t belittle it. Rejecting it is likely to fall into either the arrogance of the “hubris of scientism” and/or the “fundamentalists exclusivity and intolerance” of others worldviews. IMHO

Some other questions …

Question 3: Are you not able to accept the followin ... Leaps of faith that are personal DO NOT REQUIRE burden of proof for others. Merely that they should respect and tolerate the principle that a persons fideism should not be at the expense of others human rights – this is a reformulation of the Golden Rule.

Questions 4: Do you not accept that we are free to hold an opinion of another persons worldview is in some respects wrong whilst still respect that person? Surely we may debate, as a Republican might debate a Democrat, both accepting the limits to that debate that preserve human dignity and freedoms?

You still seem to be stuck on the point about faith OR reason, as opposed to my point which is an integration. Perhaps as Stephen Jay Gould might say they are entirely appropriate in their relevant and separate domains or magesteria. Still they can work together on issues that traverse the boudaries.

With this said you ask me about picking an epistemology on the basis of what WORKS. OK, easy challenge. This is my testimonial …

“My personal Christian worldview works for me and relieves me of my existential suffering as I experience it. There is fair evidence that it works for others on the same basis. Clearly many have considered alternative worldviews and have come to their fideism after careful consideration. Consequentially many of us over the ages have formed what we call “Church” and actively support each other. Though we sometimes have differences of opinion, we are working to make that less of a problem going forward.”
I trust this satisfies your point about efficacy, it WORKS, it is EVOLVING, and it is USEFUL.

Finally as you mention Faith seems to help people, certainly faith seem to really have an impact on physical health as has been documented in many medical studies.

For sure there is diversity of faith. That does not bother me as much as it seems you, this is because I am an inclusivist and it seems to me that you are exclusivist.

5:02 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Martin wrote:

But once arriving at its limits, we are humble enough to acknowledge that we will not “breach the gap” of arising issues of subjectivity and meaning.

I think we ought to be humble enough to admit we don't know the limits (if any) of the scientific method. Even if none of the proposed rational or scientific philosophies concerning ethics/meaning (e.g. Humanism, Objectivism, etc.) are valid, we should consider the likely probability that many our notions of the "limits" of science will sound as quaint to people 100 years from now as the recommendation that the Patent Office be closed in the 1890's because "everything has been invented" does to us.

Question 1: I agree that we should use critical thinking and reality-interfacing (the scientific method/experimentation/observation/experience) as consistently as we can. There are some questions where we ought to be humble enough to say "I Don't Know."

Question 2: Of course you have a right to believe as you choose! However, by disagreeing with you on my own blog, I don't think I'm impinging on that right in any way. Even if I deleted your every comment (which I won't), I wouldn't be infringing your rights to believe as you choose.

Question 3: A person adopting a personal belief by Fideism has no burden of proof until they try to persuade someone else of the objective validity of that belief.

Example: if I had a personal belief that aliens crashed at Roswell, no burden of proof. If I tried to convince you that aliens crashed at Roswell, you are entitled to withhold your agreement until I provide you with sufficient evidence. I cannot appeal to my faith in aliens and expect it to convince you.

Question 4: Yes, I agree.

12:22 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Regarding your testimonial, I think there is an important distinction between adopting a Fideistic belief because it's useful (as you seem to have done) and claiming that a Fideistic belief is objectively true (which you do not seem to do).

My nation is at war in Iraq because its President believes, by faith, that God told him to attack Saddam Hussein. The people who attacked us on 9/11 did so largely because they believe, by faith, that Allah has commanded it and will reward them in the afterlife.

Then there's things like Jehovah's Witnesses letting their kids die because their faith tells them blood transfusions are forbidden by God.

If I understand you correctly, this is a qualitatively different approach to faith than you use. It is faith as an epistemology--as a proposed method of finding objective truth that I say "doesn't work."

I have already agreed that faith can "work" and "be useful" in the way you seem to apply it in practice. But then, if I understand you correctly, you're not really applying it in an epistemological sense.

It seems that the "truth" of Christianity for you is measured by how useful/efficacious it is for you, personally, in your life. In this case, you have a testable hypothesis that appears to be valid: "Belief X provides benefits A, B, and C for Martin Ciupa. It also provides these (or other) benefits for certain other individuals."

That, IMO, is an entirely different concept and application of faith than "God said it, I believe it, that settles it"--which could be more accuarately stated as: "I believe God said it, that settles it."

This latter is epistemological faith, the claim that faith is a method of arriving at objective truth that applies equally to everybody in the same way generalized principles of science do (e.g. gravitation, electricity, etc.).

I think we can both agree that faith does not work that way, right?

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

Thanks for your response to my questions. Broadly speaking it indicates we have been able to make a consensus agreement, with respect and tolerance which I am very pleased about.

Some issues remain naturally, but perhaps we can close in on these a bit more precisely, and then wrap up this discussion and move on to others perhaps (?!)

...

You say… “I think we ought to be humble enough to admit we don't know the limits (if any) of the scientific method. Even if none of the proposed rational or scientific philosophies concerning ethics/meaning (e.g. Humanism, Objectivism, etc.) are valid, we should consider the likely probability that many our notions of the "limits" of science will sound as quaint to people 100 years from now as the recommendation that the Patent Office be closed in the 1890's because "everything has been invented" does to us.”

This is basically true I feel. We can hope that rational and scientific methods develop to better handle their gaps in handling subjective issues, though theories of Language from Wittgenstein, Mathematical Symbolic Logic of Godel and Physical measurement arising from Quantum Theory suggests it’s a “halting” problem. It takes a significant degree of faith (from where we are now) to support that hope. But I would not wish to say it is impossible, the only certainty is our human uncertainty in our understanding of deep truths.

I agree with your comments about our mutual rights to disagree. It’s a well established principle of the Scientific Method first championed by Karl Raimund Popper that Falsification and Critical Rationalism is requirement for good theory, if we could not disagree ICR&CF could not be called a good theory. Furthermore Thomas Kuhn says that “paradigm shifts” only really occur when people are free to disagree, but nevertheless try their best to find a solution that fits both sets of observations on either side of the “gap”. With creative exchange a new paradigm emerges. I hope we are doing this.

You say … “A person adopting a personal belief by Fideism has no burden of proof until they try to persuade someone else of the OBJECTIVE validity of that belief.”

But if I say openly to another person that your Fideism is a personal and subjective one, that I make it clear that for me the Bayesian statistic for the “Belief in God is true proposition” is no better than p=0.5. Explaining (being genuine and sincere) that you feel it has benefited you in your understanding of truth and meaning in a world of existential suffering. Then if as a consequence of that personal testimonial and “witnessing” the other becomes persuaded (maybe just in part) and personally chooses to adopt (just in part perhaps) that Fideism themselves then that is OK. Of course there must be no coercion or exploitation of the other. I hope you agree.

You see I think this kind of transfer is part memetically explained (this why I first was drawn your excellent blog), but crucially I also think it is in part explained as a kind of “deep calling on deep” experience, where an actual “spiritual” exchange takes place in a similar way that one tuning fork that is struck induces another nearby tuning fork to hum if they are of similar resonant morphology, except the medium of “energy” transfer is through a non-localized form of “consciousness” rather than acoustic waves.

I also think in this analogy we have a mechanism on how we as individuals find communication with God a possibility, because if we still our mind, and tune it with faith, our consciousness begins to hum the same tune as God “whistles” to us, a small quiet kind of melody that we always knew, even before we where born. It’s just an idea. I’d be interested in your opinion.

You then make some thoughtful comments about the epistemology of faith as opposed to the efficacy of faith. Let me add some comments that may help further your understanding of my emerging view.

Belief in God cannot be claimed to be OBJECTIVELY true if p=0.5 in actuality to our human observation, for it to be objectively true it needs to be proved to be p=1. As I have said earlier I think because of current well established theories of language, logic and measurement this is challenged objectively for us by our limited selves.

BUT consider this … if God actually exists and God wants us to have “Free Will” to choose to believe in him, then he must make p=0.5 to our human observation, forcing us to make an unhindered choice.

This Duality is a conundrum (remember the Babel fish!). Fortunately we have similar conundrum in particle-wave duality in Quantum Theory. There it is resolved by understanding that all observable phenomena have both properties at the same time. Quantum Theory is interesting in this respect, since as I have mentioned elsewhere in your blog there is a growing “protoscience” in theories of Quantum Consciousness, and I suspect consciousness is the medium for communication with God as mentioned a few paragraphs ago.

So using that Quantum model maybe we can say that its not important for God to be able to be PROVEN by us to be objectively true, if we are to be obliged to have the free will to choose him or not. Let me render this into an equation for us…

p * W = 0.5 (ICR&CF uncertainty principle)
Where ;
p = Bayesian statistic of the proposition “Belief in God” is true
W = Bayesian statistic of the proposition “I have Free will” is true

Case a: If personal Free Will is true (“W” = 1), you have no ability to objectively measure the Bayesian statistic p, it is p=0.5 (perfect choice).
Case b: However if you subjectively measure p=1 (perfect faith), i.e., God exists for you, then your Free Will is W=0.5, i.e., Your Free Will is unproven as a proposition. And as this is Gods will, your Free Will becomes Gods will.

So does objective truth exist?

For ME the only way to say yes to this question is If God is true (p=1) and choose to commit himself to our limitations in a person who had perfect faith (p=1). In this person we can write the ICR&CF uncertainty principle as …

p * W = 1

God Exists and Objective Truth exists in the incarnation of the God-man Jesus Christ, The Mythos became Logos.

This is my personal view, based on ICR&CF and my affiliation to Christianity, I expect there to be other formulations, and it’s merely a work in progress. I’d be interested in your comments.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

Sorry made a typo above, please read final paragraphs as follows



So does objective truth exist?

For ME the only way to say yes to this question is If God is true (p=1) and choose to commit himself to our limitations in a person who has Free will (W=1). In this person we can write the ICR&CF uncertainty principle as …

p * W = 1

God Exists and Objective Truth exists in the incarnation of the God-man Jesus Christ, The Mythos became Logos.

This is my personal view, based on ICR&CF and my affiliation to Christianity, I expect there to be other formulations, and it’s merely a work in progress. I’d be interested in your comments.

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

The reason I needed to make the typo correction is to enable the necessary logical train of argument (which as they say in the text books "I left to the reader", which on reflection maybe asking too much given I caused some confusion with the typo)...

a) Assertion: God is truth
b) If God is an Objective reality, then p=1
c) Then Objective truth exists with God
d) Assertion: Man has Free Will (W=1)
e) Thus for the "God-Man" p*W=1, and he has access to Objective truth because of his incarnation
f) But for Man the ICR&CF uncertainty relation applies, where p*W=0.5
g) Thus man alone objectively has p=0.5, and Objective truth in not accessible directly to him
h) If man has faith in the God-man he can acquire Objective truths indirectly through his teachings.

Hope this helps clarity.

2:24 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

In attempting to extend the logic presented above to look at other formulations, e.g., Atheism and Agnosticism (then formulation above is one for Monotheistic Panentheism, it can be done for other formulations as well, e.g., Polytheism, Pantheism). I wanted to share this with you as it demonstrates the utility of the theory I trust – I’m interested in your comments.

First of all let’s make the ICR&CF uncertainty principle more generic and formal…

0.5{p*W}1 = 0.5 … (1)

Where the p and W are as before, however it is now places in curly brackets with numbers to the left and right, this is a function to denote that the terms p & W can take values between those numbers, i.e., p can be a number between 0.5 to 1 as can W such that the product = 0.5. It does not have a reality for numbers outside of these limits.

In Quantum theory it is significant that the conjugate of a wave function may have a real manifestation. For example in a powerful demonstration of the utility of Quantum theory, before evidence of experiment, Dirac through Quantum Electro Dynamics was able to propose the theoretical existence of the conjugate of an electron, termed the “positron”, this anti-particle in the lepton family was subsequently found to be “real”. See …

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quacon.html#quacon

If we take the conjugate of p and W what do we find?

Let us write this as …

0.5{p~*w~}1 = 0.5 … (2)

Where;
p~ is the conjugate of p, i.e., the proposition “Disbelief in God is true”
W~ is the conjugate of W, i.e., the proposition “Fatalistic Determinism is true”

When for a particular observer p falls to less than 0.5, e.g., p=0.2, then equation 1 has no value, however equation 2 has a value for p~ is 0.8, and W~ is found to be 0.625.

For the Atheist it means;

Case a: Weak Atheism - When p~=0.5, W~= 1 this means they have no evidence to refute W~ and they must allow the possibility that a “Demon Haunted World” as Carl Sagan might.
Case b: Strong Atheism – However when p~=1 (requiring a personal “leap of faith” in a subjective world that does not have Objective truth), W~= 0.5 this means they now have sufficient evidence to claim there is no validity to the proposition that Fatalistic Determinism is true, and they have perfect freedom to act according to their personal will independent of consideration of providence from an external “rule giver”.

I think this is a fair representation of the Atheistic worldview. The value of p~ is set to 1 to achieve the freedom of W~=0.5 as a personal desire.

However since the Strong Atheist has abandoned God’s existence in “Case b” through a leap of faith, he has also abandoned that Objective Truth exists external to his system (since with p~=1 God is not an objective reality, and assertion “God is truth” is meaningless, thus “Objective truth is meaningless”), so his faith is not able to be supported objectively. It becomes a self annihilating position. It is not a logical position it is a personal and subjective one.

For the Agnostic it means;

He believes the p and p~ propositions of equations 1 and 2 have no meaning, i.e., neither proposition can be found to have any supporting evidence as a matter of principle. However if he accepts the validity of equation 1 and 2, since he can set p and p~ to = 0.5 simultaneously (only this circumstance allows both equations to render a real value), by consequence he is thus compelled to believe that he has W and W~ = 1. This implies the Agnostic accepts Free Will and Fatalistic Determinism as being true, he acts in the illusion of Free Will since he accepts the possibility of Providence from outside.

I think this is an accurate description of the Agnostic hedging his position from the fence so to speak.

I apologize for the length of the posting, but I though you might wish to see the above.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

I want to be fair to Atheists who fall in what I will call “Principled Atheism”, i.e., Case c. I think if I understand you correctly this is where you stand in part from your last posting.

Case c: Principled Atheism – Here the worldview accepts that objective reality is insufficient to set p~=1, however it is at a point in time personally believed that evidence is for p~ to be a value in between 0.5 and I (more evidence in favor of p~ than against it), e.g., 0.8 , hence W~= 0.625.

This means they have some personal evidence to support W~ claim that there is probably no validity to the proposition that Fatalistic Determinism is true, and they have a consequential reasonable expectation of freedom to act according to their personal will independent of consideration of providence from an external “rule giver”.

Apart from possible errors arising from such “consequentialism” (the problems that arise out of relativism of truth can be significant), they may say that they personally expect the p~ statistic to increase in time, though perhaps never arriving at 1 as a matter of principle. For them this is sufficient, even if it is an accepted subjective reality. It’s important however to note that this is a personal choice, and is not and cannot be proven as an objective truth.

Still in my opinion in it worthy of a degree of respect and toleration. The principled atheist is searching for truth as an ongoing process, and accepts he may be wrong. He accepts the ICR&CF Theists position may be right, just that he has not found the ability to accept the transcendence of objective truth, at this time at least. His “pilgrims” journey for truth is ongoing and he has not absolutely prejudged where it will arrive at (just “senses” a direction at a given point in time.

From an inclusive Theists perspective I think it is fair to say this worldview is in some respect prefigured by the ICR&CF worldview, e.g., common possession of intellectual honesty and searching for truth virtues. So he needs to humbly accept that the principled atheist may be in his God’s perspective worthy of salvation in some form. He has no right to judge on behalf of God another’s salvation.

But the Principled Atheist in my view must be willing to accept that his “sense” of the direction of p~ or p for that matter is not prejudiced by his external framework of his personality. It behooves him/her to really question their preference for the direction of p,p~. It’s like a preference for light or darkness. Some folks find that living in the dark for so long makes it hard to go into the light. But once the pain of transition has occurred, they may see things much better.

9:24 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Martin wrote:

if God actually exists and God wants us to have “Free Will” to choose to believe in him, then he must make p=0.5 to our human observation, forcing us to make an unhindered choice.

This rests on the premise that God (if She exists) is centrally concerned about whether we believe in Her or not. If Her main concern is to share in a loving relationship with us, then belief, per se, is not the issue, the relationship is.

For example, say I see a girl I fall in love with at first sight. Even if I were to send her gifts from a "secret admirer" at first, I would, from the start, want to convince her that I actually existed, that p=1.

I would certainly not do anything to bamboozle her into thinking P=0.5. Where her free will would come in is in the choice to accept a relationship with me or not.

IOW, even if God provided babelfish or some other evidence to make p=1, She could still give us total free choice whether to have a relationship with Her or not.

Even taking the assumption that "God=Biblical deity" (which is only an assumption, there are lots of things called "God" out there), whether the Biblical deity intends for humans to have free will or not is a highly debateable proposition.

Biblical support could be found for either position. Deteriminism/Calvinism: Romans 9. Free will: "Choose this day whom you will serve." Etc.

In short: there is no inherent link between p (the existence of God/-dess/-s) and W (human free will).

9:23 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Furthermore, your argument that p*W = 0.5 is based on the assumptions A) The Christian deity exists, and B) The Christian deity wants us to have perfect free will to choose whether to believe in Him or not.

But the existence of the Christian deity is what you're trying to substantiate in the first place. Hence the whole argument is circular reasoning.

Also, if assumptions A and B are both true, then p=1 (your God exists) and W=1 (He has granted us perfect free will to choose to believe in him or not). Therefore, p*W does not equal 0.5, it equals 1.

If either assumption (A or B) is false, then there is no reason to link p and W instead of treating them as independent questions.

Either way, I do not see this argument as persuasive.

9:35 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Martin wrote:

a) Assertion: God is truth
b) If God is an Objective reality, then p=1
c) Then Objective truth exists with God
d) Assertion: Man has Free Will (W=1)
e) Thus for the "God-Man" p*W=1, and he has access to Objective truth because of his incarnation
f) But for Man the ICR&CF uncertainty relation applies, where p*W=0.5
g) Thus man alone objectively has p=0.5, and Objective truth in not accessible directly to him
h) If man has faith in the God-man he can acquire Objective truths indirectly through his teachings.


Which GodMan would that be? Jesus? Sai Baba? The Emperor of Japan (pre-1945) The Pharaohs? Each of us (the New Age version)?

Of course, it's obvious you mean Jesus. However, that's just an assumption. If you're starting out with the assumption that Jesus was "the" GodMan, then Christianity is true, period, and all of the fancy mathematical argumentation is unnecessary.

You're not going to persuade any atheists, pagans, agnostics, etc. with any argument based on the assumption that (your version of) Christianity is true.

That's called circular reasoning. Besides, isn't it a little odd to start with p=1, W=1 (your God exists and wants us to have perfect free will) as initial premises so you can use complex mathematical argumentation to get to p=0.5 (your earlier position on the value of p)?

That's like spending a million bucks ($M=1) to get 500,000 dollars ($M=0.5). A bad investment even if the whole enterprise weren't logically invalid.

9:52 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

One more thing: You oughta come up with a snappier acronym than "ICR&CF". It almost hurts to look at that one. :)

9:56 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Martin wrote:

Case c: Principled Atheism – Here the worldview accepts that objective reality is insufficient to set p~=1, however it is at a point in time personally believed that evidence is for p~ to be a value in between 0.5 and I (more evidence in favor of p~ than against it), e.g., 0.8 , hence W~= 0.625.

Here you go again. By implication, an atheist who thinks p~=1 (perhaps because the term "God" is undefined or self-contradictory, thus the statement "God exists" is meaningless) is, by implication, unprincipled.

Furthermore, your idea of a "principled atheist" is someone who accepts the linkage of p and W--which is itself based on the assumption that your God exists!

A person who accepts the premise that p*W=0.5 because the pomo-Christian God wants us to have free will isn't an atheist, "principled" or otherwise. S/he is a pomo Christian.

To me, this looks an awful lot like another example of you using implication and innuendo to guerilla-attack your opponents.

10:23 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

In order to help you understand where I'm coming from, here is a tongue-in-cheek example:

Since there are numerous, widely differing meanings attributed to the word "God" by theists of different stripes, we will represent this as the set {G1+G2+G3...Gn) where Gn is the total number of "Gods" believed in by humanity, and G1,G2, etc. represent each particular concept of the Divine. The numbers could also be replaced by letters, e.g. "Gc" for Christian God, Gh for "Hindu God," Gm for "Muslim God," etc.

A non-wife-beating Christian understands that, while p=0.5 for the existence of any or all gods, the formula for the existence of any particular god (in this case the Christian god) is as follows:

p=0.5*(Gc/Gn).

If we take Gn to be 1,000 [1] then the non-wife-beating Christian understands that for the Christian god, p=.0005

So, have you stopped beating your wife yet? :)


NOTES:

1. This is a considerable under-estimate. If we were to include each god/-dess from each known pantheon, and all of the differing versions of the monotheistic gods (e.g. the Evangelical Fundamentalist, pomo, Calvinist, and Gnostic versions of the Christian God), Gn would go much higher.

Also, since the existence of gods is a question of cosmic import, it would be logical to consider the likely existence of many billions of alien faiths existing on other planets, which would drive Gn ever higher.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

Thanks for your response(s). I ask you to trust me that I am not building an agenda here other than to dialog you for the sake of my personal interest, no tactics, no ulterior motives.

I think you made several constructive and interesting observations…

1/ Defining God

Following from the above…Yes, it is possible to build other operator expressions (p, q, r, …) and look at their conjugates expressions (p~, q~, r~, …) to see if they make “interesting” dialectic arguments, we might say this is a valid part of the “Socratic Method” for dialog. I use these to build a paradigm to explore the theological concepts of truth and freedom. Defining God is part of this process.

FYI … The particular logic I am using is part of the recent philosophical form of Realism (where p is either true of false, 1 or 0) and Anti-realism (where p = x is a Bayesian statistic offering us a view of the evidence of truth within the range of 0 - false to 0 - true) of Michael Dummet (Professor of Logic at Oxford University and, BTW - the only Philosopher I have mentioned in my positing on your blog that is still alive!). See …

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Dummett

I think it is valid to look at the attributes of the “being” of “I AM” , i.e., the Abrahamic God, for example; God is a “hidden God” (p=0.5), ( Isaiah 45:15), but is nevertheless a God that we can discover, as we do not “seek him in vain” (Isaiah 45:19).

We could go on making a further Being-Attributes (“beattrtibutes”) to define our language “atom of meaning” or category definition, (i.e., when we say God we mean an entity that has a certain set of attributes = (a1, a2, a3, …). Building language like this is an issue of consensus and acceptance for people wishing to use the “same” language. If people recognize the category then it can be a useful meaningful atom of language.

Clearly though some people build different atoms of meaning for their convenience and fit to reality as they see it, constructing “standard models” of potentially many reductive parts, SM = B(b1,b2, b3, …) + F(f1, f2, f3, …) + E + S + W (but still missing the G). See …

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Model

We can extend this logic to help us define non-Abrahamic “God(s)” in this way, we may find in doing so that sometimes the definitions overlap from one tradition to another. (FYI for Inclusivist Christians when they see this they consider the other traditions pre-figure their Christian beliefs)

It would be convenient to be able to seek a rational and empirical model that would unify all these attributes, so that our language would be universal and of maximum utility to all men, but that is either a exclusivist position (“my definition is true for all, and others false”) or a pluralist one (“all attributes are valid, and we can perhaps find a minimum set of attributes that we can all agree on, at least for today”).

Interestingly Inclusivist Christians have a different model for the problem of “language”, based on the story of Pentecost in Acts Chapter 2. In this a “miracle” occurs whereby the attributes of God are able to be articulated by a bunch of uneducated Galileans in a diversity of languages, but crucially in this language it is the same “truth” being conveyed in all of them, i.e., Acts 2:11 “…we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”. Somehow it appears “Deep calls on deep”, at least for some, as they find a transcendent understanding of objective truth being spoken. However some of the perplexed observers apparently found the whole thing risible, i.e., Acts 2:12 “…some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine’.” Inclusivist Christians should not be to surprised therefore if their "language" still falls on deaf ears.

Clearly we will find language problems arising in using religious atoms of language. As mentioned elsewhere in your blog perhaps Wittgenstein has explored this the most significantly in recent times. Coming up with a conclusion (for him) that it is ultimately objectively meaningless in areas such as religion. As meaningless he was reported to have said as a person saying “they are in Love”. See G E M Anscombe “On Certainty”.

As you say I think the beattribute of God “desirous of establishing a relationship” with us is also valid, and we can posit many more. You can certainly find many supported in scripture in many places. Furthermore I think you are you are right to say that many people do debate endlessly the beattributes of God, and have sought to find Biblical support to justify their worldview, almost as if their intention is to “win” an argument. So on one hand it looks like we might not be able to find an atom of meaning that can suffice us all, all of the time.

Notwithstanding the above, are we able to build a model of the beattributes. At least to a level where we can proceed? Since OTOH if one is prepared to keep things positive, avoiding negative definitions that tell us what not is a beattribute, then I think we can.

The best way for this (IMO) is for us to keep our language simple, constructive and true to our everyday experience and actual use. In this respect most Christians these days are willing in this respect to accept a basic definition found in 1 John 4:16, i.e., “God is Love”. We can find an expansion of the attributes of “God is Love” in 1 Corinthian 13, e.g., Love is Patient, Kind, Altruistic (I avoid saying “not-envy”), Peaceful, Humble, Forgiving, Good, True, Protective, Trust, Hopes, Preserves. (based on NIV version with my use of positive transliteration).

These two sections of Christian scripture are very popular and often find themselves as part of a Christian marriage ceremony, where partners celebrate their Love before God as a commitment. They call to these definitions of terms because to the parties they are meaningful, accepted and true. It may not be recognized as such at the time but the process is similar to the purpose of “recitals” in contract law!

Love is something most people acknowledge as real and understand it when they are in it (something that engages their whole being; mind, body, heart and soul).

This topic was the subject of Pope Benedict XVI 1st encyclical “Deus Caritas Est”. See…

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html

For many Christians “Love” thererfore is the revealed Objective truth of God, it is the principal defining beattribute, from which others may be recognized, e.g., truth.

So in the argument I have offered you above it is the “atom of meaning”, that we need to proceed. It is not something to be "proved", it is simply something to be asserted by folks who wish to speak the same language. As such it can thus define God forthem.


2/ The Generic Dummet Logic of the ICR&CF Paradigm:

This Dummet logic is merely a tool to provide a framework through which we can explore meaning of terms, and their implications.

You say … “In short: there is no inherent link between p (the existence of God/-dess/-s) and W (human free will).”
But … We are free to set up p and W as well as their conjugates p~ and W~. It is merely a Dummet framework. If this done correctly (logically) the result is a paradigm we can explore, we can push it to its limits and see if the argument holds and corresponds to observables. This is a kind of hypothesis and predictive test approach to model building that is empirically sound and is supported by the doyens of Philosophy of Science; Popper (it is Falsifiable if the resulting arguments are not consistent with observation) and Kuhn (we are building a testable framework for the communication of a paradigm).

You say … “Furthermore, your argument that p*W = 0.5 is based on the assumptions A) The Christian deity exists, and B) The Christian deity wants us to have perfect free will to choose whether to believe in Him or not.” …
Yes this is one case application of the paradigm I am proposing we test. But crucially the model is not specific for testing the logic of Christian theism alone. All belief systems that are predicated in Free Will/Fatalistic Determinism, and Belief/Disbelief in God(s) are able to be examined in the paradigm (or its derivatives if you prefer), these include all of the Abrahamic traditions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) as well as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism AND Agnosticism and Atheism (indeed these latter I specifically explore in my positing). This is not circular reasoning, you are just examining traditions logically within their OWN terms.


You say … “Also, if assumptions A and B are both true, then p=1 … and W=1. Therefore, p*W does not equal 0.5, it equals 1.” … “If either assumption (A or B) is false, then there is no reason to link p and W instead of treating them as independent questions.”
But … I do say this identity exists p*W = 1, though it is NOT for Man, since man is part of the subjective world system whereby objective truth is not directly accessible, in his case p*W = 0.5. I argue that for Christianity the model case for p*W = 1 fits ONLY the case of a person who is Man and God through “homoousios”, i.e, the same being for the case of Christianity.

But the model is generic and still useful for examining other traditions. By example I give the case for "Islam" as I understand it later on as a different example using the same paradigm.

As for the comments about Case A and Case B not being simultaneously possible for interpretation, this is because the system is set up that way to be logically consistent (the logical Principle of Bivalence).

Using the analagous model of Quantum Mechanics that I included in my earlier posting this is equivalent to saying that the Observation (testing p or p~) causes the Wavefunction to collapse, you can only examine Case A or B independently.

Now for the example of Islam. As I understand it, it is able to state it has access to Objective truth through the absolute Revelations made to the Prophet.

In that case you work out an Islamic logical flow, perhaps like this …
a) Assertion: God is truth
b) If God is an Objective reality, then p=1
c) Then Objective truth exists with God
d) Assertion: Man has Free Will (W=1)
e) God revealed his Objective truth through the Prophet and it is faithfully conveyed in the Koran
f) For Man the CRF uncertainty relation applies, where p*W=0.5
g) Thus man alone objectively has p=0.5, and Objective truth in not accessible directly to him
h) However if man has faith in the Prophet, Revelation and its Transcription he can acquire Objective truths through the Koran.

They key point for me to help remove your misunderstanding here is that I am NOT trying to PROVE any particular belief system. I am merely trying to build a model so we can understand the logical implications inherent within them.

As for some other of the comments, you make you need to see it now I hope better in the light of my comment in the above paragraph.

3/ Does it Work?

Moving onto your comment about my use of the term “Principled Atheist” (P), is just a term I use to differentiate a position inbetween the Weak (W) and Strong variants of Atheism (S). It does not imply that the P, W, or S variant is “better” than one or the other, since the framework is based on personal judgements and values.

So does the framework work as a tool?

I think it does. I believe the comments I make on Agnosticism (i.e., sitting on the fence with W and W~ leads to bivalent positions on p and p~) as well as the comments on the S, W and P variants of Atheism are fairly reasonable character definitions of these positions. IOW it predicts and exposes.

For example with regards to the S Atheism case. The “compelling desire” for W~=1, so that p~=0.5 can be asserted leads to an undertsanding “that Man has freedom from divine intervention”, is IMO is the crucial defining character of the S Atheist. In this respect consider J P Sartre’s strong form of atheistic existentialism. See …

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Paul_Sartre

For him setting (having faith) that W~=1 as a radical existential belief results in Man becoming free of transcendent interference (p~=0.5), he has complete relativism of objective truth. The result is a vacuum of meaning, an anarchist’s paradise (look to my next posting for more on how the paradigm has logical implications regarding “end-states”).

This was the position advocated by Sartre as the human condition. It is to his credit (from my value system) that later in his life some of his confidants say he abandoned it (much to the chagrin of his existential admirers with their ongoing values) in favor of a form of Messianic Judaism.

Crucially though the paradigm demonstrates that it works as far as it goes in demonstrating the logical position of the existential worldview. I don’t agree with it as a “good choice”, but that just my personal comment based on my values.

Also I think I demonstrated above the system works for Islam also. It is logically consistent as far as this paradigm works, it arrives at very similar end-states (see next posting). I think this is a good thing when it comes to issues relating to inter faith dialog and understanding between Christians and Muslims.

4/ Final Comments

BTW You are certainly right about “the need for me to come up with a snappier acronym than "ICR&CF". It almost hurts to look at that one” … I am working on that! Maybe I should use just “CRF” from hereafter (?)

I invite you to work with me in developing this CRF formalism further. I think you can offer some interesting insights, though the wife-beating example is not a good start since as I have mentioned above (specifically for Christian married couples at least). Since given that God is Love, and that means he is; Patient, Kind, Slow to Anger, … etc. No part of that is going to support spouse abuse!

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

Sorry another typo...the paragraph on J P Satre and existensialism hs the p with the W should be. It should read...

For him setting (having faith) that p~=1 as a radical existential belief results in Man becoming free of transcendent interference (W~=0.5), he has complete relativism of objective truth. The result is a vacuum of meaning, an anarchist’s paradise.

Apologies for any confusion caused.

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

End States

I have looked at building around the above a formulation using Information Theory, in particular a Binary Entropy Function based on Bernoulli trials. It has two states 1 and 0 (heads or tails, success or failure, heaven or hell)…

H(X)=-p*Log(p)–(1-p)Log(1-p)
# Binary Entropy Function (Logs are in base 2)
#Where H(X) represents a measure of the Information Entropy of a system
# And where p represent the probability of event 1 or 0 happening, or a true-false Bayesian statistic proposition

This is an interesting area because it’s conceptually close to integrating the CRF uncertainty functions I feel, where depending on the values you can make one part of the equation cancel out the other – collapsing the wave function so to speak.
a) When p has values in the range between 0 and 1, H(X) has positive values where H(X) has values between 0 and 1.
b) When p = 0 or 1 (the End-States of the system), because as Log(1) is 0 the value of H(X) is 0 for both cases p = 0 or 1, these are the minimum values of H(X).
c) When p = 0.5, then (1-p) = p. As Log(0.5) = -1 the value of H(X) is 0.5 + 0.5 = 1. Thus the binary entropy function attains its maximum value at this value.
The shape of the curve you can see at … (I am unable to upload this to my text box, perhaps as the owner of the blog you might like to consider that – a picture is worth a thousand words as they say.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Binary_entropy_plot.png

What is interesting to me is that when p=0.5. the system has Maximum Entropy, that means maximum disorder. But at p=0,1 the Entropy returns to maximum order. Within the formulation these End-states are very important. We seem to be as Mankind pretty much in H(X) = 1 state, and that’s not necessarily a good or bad thing. From Chaos can emerge intelligence.

Some speculation of the meaning on the Entropy States for H(X) = 0 …

END-STATE p=1: An End-state of p = 1 as I have articulated it in the CRF paradigm above implies being fully united with one transcendent entity. Where there is one there is no disorder and H(X) = 0. Freedom of Will is absorbed as is determinism into a larger entity. The Monotheists encounter with the “Thou”.

END –STATE p=0: The End-state of 0 is equally interesting. Order is achieved by the system only interacting with itself. Where there is no interaction H(X) = 0. Where there is no meaning, only freedom to act for oneself, without responsibility for others is a direct analogy to this state. This may be indicative of an “enlightenment” state in the sense of a certain kind of “Buddhist” encounter with a “universal intelligence”, but it is also similar to the nihilistic end of existential futility that we discussed earlier in the work of J P Sartre.

More work in progress here, it certainly does not prove one Worldview “Right” and others “Wrong”, it was never set up to do that, just give a framework for discussion. To early to make conclusions for sure, I need to check the logic, I have made a couple before ;-). Yet I have a feeling there is a lot to this CRF Approach. I’d appreciate your comments.

However I think that exhausts me for now otherwise. So unless we have some errors to correct or other tidy up, I’ll leave your to you blog without my interruptions

Good luck on your journey!

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

Despite having more or less signed off, in my last posting, I thought I did not do proper justice to answering/clarifying the point in your earlier posting about the p=0.5*(Gc/Gn) expression.

Aside… I prefer the P{Q*R}S=T formalism and its conjugate form P{Q~*S~}=T, since they give us a trivalent logic, where things are true, false and unproven. But for this posting I’ll use the expression you made (but remember when p=0.5 we are merely saying the proposition is unproven, and that it does not make sense for values between 0 and 0.5 (you need its conjugate for that or make conjugate substitution).

Coming back to the clarification … I believe I may have mentioned earlier when you first brought it up that I thought it does not work since you are mixing personal beliefs with all other beliefs (some that you may not even be aware of). The standard way to handle such situations in mathematics where you include terms in an expansion is to “renormalize” the expression. If you do this the expression you have made has a grain of truth that is very representative of the “Pluralists” worldview, and this is very topical and worthy of expansion on. In a way I believe it further verifies the efficacy of the model (so thanks for that).

# You say … p=0.5(Gc/Gn), but this needs to be normalized
# For this we can say that … p=Gn*0.5(Gc/Gn) (when all conjugates of the Gn set = 1)
# But this is just p=0.5Gc (when it’s conjugate, in this case Free Will =1, and the other conjugates are 0).

This remark about conjugates in brackets is what is important and new to be considered, Pluralists to be able to accept all traditions need to accept all the conjugates of G(x) as being = 1, equally true.

BTW - For completeness sake you need to consider for this Pluralist position to include the form of the Atheists "faith", i.e., the transcendent principle that he believes in (has faith in, p =1), i.e., Scientism, Rational Empiricism, or Existential Humanism, etc., can be represented as "Ga" in your formulation (it’s an anathema for an Atheist to call this a “God”, but for the Strong variant that is what it is). Since it is a personal belief you could express that separately if you wish as p~=0.5*Ga (when Fatalistic Determinism = 1)

As p=(1-p~)
And define “Free Will” = W
And define “Fatalistic Determinism” = W~
Then W=(1-W~)

By the logical principle of bi-valance therefore a Pluralist cannot both have W and W~ in his personal worldview, therefore Pluralism (that seeks to include Theism) cannot have Atheism within it (this is a kind of a “duh!” logical proof, but it is necessary to make the next step, and if was not true the logic would not be consistent.

With this said if you want to look into “normalization” of the formula so as to generate a total "Pluralists worldview", in this Gp is a set of all theists’ worldviews (G1, G2, G3,…). (G(X) is the general terms of this set. For this we can say…

p=Gp*0.5 (where all conjugates G(X) of the Gp set = 1)

Can we really accept this? Can all worldviews conjugates be believable, maybe, but it needs a lot of work up front, as it will almost certainly need a very long process of inter-faith dialog so as to produce definitions of the conjugates. Such that all pluralists, can accept all conjugates all the time (Do I sound like Lincoln at the Gettysburg Address?). This process of redefinition may also be impossible to some Theists who believe “their” conjugate is not in need of redefinition for the sake of an overriding pluralist cause. They don’t want to be bullied into a relativistic cause that is not theirs, some truths they say are self evident and their revision for the sake of a utilitarian end is not a means they can accept (Do I sound like the American founding fathers; Declaration of Independence and “no taxation with representation”?).

As an aside … You should not be surprised by my quips about politicians. These secular values of Freedom, Tolerance and Respect have a central role to play in the political world that deals with the “subjects” of the state. But we are not playing politics with religion, we are rather trying to establish objective truths and determine their inner logical consistency. These objective truths when found will help the secular political process to develop a moral and ethical society it is to be hoped, though they have different though overlapping magesteria.

Coming back to the Pluralist problem with relativism… It would be easier for considerate Theists that desire to avoid the pitfalls of intolerance and disrespect of exclusivism, but not fall into the relativism of pluralism to look for a third way, i.e., inclusivism.

In this formulation some expressions in the set G=(G1, G2, G3, G4) may be seen to be redundant as the God of Christians, Islam, Judaism, as well a pagans such as Melchizedek, the Unknown Greek God outside the Athens city wall (see Paul in Acts 17:22-31 – another example of inclusivism by the way), Brahman as God, Zoroastrian God, etc., may be the same. Or so nearly the same as to be considered a “pre-figured” relationship. Perhaps it is the same God that is prefigured in all other manifestations of God in religions that seek him. He should engage in interfaith dialog in respect and tolerance, but ultimately it is to his personal God that he cleaves and is responsible to. That is how an Inclusivist sees things. In other words …

Gi = (f(G1)+f(G2)+f(G3)+…) ………. Inclusivist principle

Where f(Gx) is a function that generates that subset of the Beattributes of Gx that are part of the superset that is Gi


In this case we can say therefore

p=0.5((f(G1)+f(G2)+f(G3)+…)
Where for the general terms G(x)
f(G(x) = Gc for the Christian, Gm for the Muslim, Gh for the Brahman Hindu, etc.
Thus all conjugates of the Gi set = 1

Over a period of time, in God’s time, we may find that we learn from each other the true nature of God, his Beattributes, and evolve memetically G(x), till we become a unity. We will get to the pluralists objective, but with human dignity and diversity being valued over conformity.

PS: I really hope we can move on now, forgive me for loading up your blog with more CRF stuff. Of course I will clarify issues if you want me to, but it’s my intention not to bother you anymore with postings on this issue. It’s your blog after all!

Bye for now - really ;-).

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

I spotted a typo in my 2nd para above, it should read ...

"Aside… I prefer the P{Q*R}S=T formalism and its conjugate form P{Q~*R~}S=T, since they give us a trivalent logic, where things are true, false and unproven...."

Thanks

2:18 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

Wow...those are some massive word-walls there... Weren't you the one who said we ought to work on making briefer responses? :)

In the interest of brevity, I'm going to dig through the verbiage and try to pull out a few nuggets that (as I perceive it) concretize your position.

For many Christians “Love” thererfore is the revealed Objective truth of God, it is the principal defining beattribute, from which others may be recognized, e.g., truth.

You seem to have a different concept of "objective" truth than I do. To me, it makes no sense to say, "For many Christians the objective truth..."

The "for many Christians" clause is an indicator of a relative or subjective viewpoint. Especially since the predicate--that the Christian God exists and "is" Love in some sense--is the issue at controversy.

In short, it makes no sense to me to say "For Muslims, the objective truth is that Mohammed is a greater prophet than Jesus was."

I define objective truth as that which is true "for" everybody. Objective truth is truck-like. If you're standing in the path of an oncoming truck, it doesn't matter whether you believe in the truck or not. It will still run you over.

It doesn't matter if you have your back turned and your I-Pod cranked up, and don't know the truck is there. It doesn't matter if you're a raccoon and can't even form the concept of "truck." It will still run you over.

That is the defining "beattribute" of objective reality is that it is real "for" us whether we believe it to be or not. A corollary of this understanding of objective reality is that objective validation or falsification is possible, within the limits of our nervous systems and scientific instrumentation to access objective reality.

It is this process of validation/falsification that makes it possible to claim that a given idea is objectively true vs. holding it as a relative proposition, like the claim that proper table manners entail the use of chopsticks.

To say "X is objectively true" is to say that it is equally true "for" everyone. Therefore, it is possible to validate X, falsify X, or show that the claimant lacks the evidence to support the claim that X is objectively true.

Thus, when you try to claim "God is Love" as an objective truth "for Christians," after having admitted that:

A) the evidence to validate that position is not there because of the Babelfish Paradox, and

B) that you accept the existence of the Christian God on the basis of a purely subjective Leap of Faith, you are not making sense.

You seem to be using the concept of "objective" truth in an entirely different way, something like saying, "For Chinese, the objective truth about eating is that it is done with chopsticks."

Which, as far as I can tell, is making "objective" synonymous with "subjective."

11:02 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

We can extend this logic to help us define non-Abrahamic “God(s)” in this way, we may find in doing so that sometimes the definitions overlap from one tradition to another. (FYI for Inclusivist Christians when they see this they consider the other traditions pre-figure their Christian beliefs)

This seems presumptuous to me. I wonder how Christians who use this technique to "include" other religious traditions (in the same way the Borg "include" other cultures) would react to the idea that Christianity merely "prefigures" Islam (or Mormonism, or Scientology, or the New Age movement...)

To hold to the "prefigure" theory requires time travel, e.g. the transmission of relative-future information such as the story of Jesus "prophetically" to relative-past figures, so that it can show up "prefigured" in the myths of Osiris, Adonis, etc.

Occam's Razor calls for the more parsimonious solution: that Christianity adopted certain aspects of pre-existing traditions, as later traditions (Islam, Mormonism, the New Age, etc.) adopted certain aspects of Christianity.

No time-travel necessary. Furthermore, each religious tradition is allowed to stand on its own, which is IMO more fair.

11:43 PM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

For him setting (having faith) that p~=1 as a radical existential belief results in Man becoming free of transcendent interference (W~=0.5), he has complete relativism of objective truth. The result is a vacuum of meaning, an anarchist’s paradise.

There you go again. Now you're conjuring the spooky spectre of "anarchy" to scare people into believing in your god. If "p~=1" (there is no Christian God), then there's a "vaccuum of meaning" and we're in an "anarchist's paradise." So, by implication, atheists are bomb-throwing anarchists sans morality since they don't believe lighning bolts will come down from Heaven and smite them for their evil deeds.

Of course, you've got your path of retreat already laid out, now that this tactic has been pointed out. You just say, "Well, this position is only 'for him,' for Sartre. The fact that I'm citing it approvingly doesn't mean I agree...you intolerant, exclusivist hosebag."

So, let's take a closer look at the proposition that if there is no "transcendant interference," that we live in an "anarchist's paradise."

If there were "transcendant interference" sufficient to prevent "anarchy"--that is, to establish Divine government--then the existence of God would be self-evident. The sizzling grease-spots left behind by God's thunderbolts of smiting would establish His existence beyond any doubt.

However, since your position requires that p=0.5 so we can have "free will" to believe in God or not, that rules out the kind of "transcendant interference" it would take to keep this from being an "anarchists' paradise."

A "government" whose active law-enforcing presence is so nil as to invite skepticism and open disbelief regarding its very existence is not one that can impose any sort of order.

Therefore, your version of Christianity is just as subject to the charge as is atheism.

12:23 AM  
Blogger P.T. Galt said...

You say … “In short: there is no inherent link between p (the existence of God/-dess/-s) and W (human free will).”
But … We are free to set up p and W as well as their conjugates p~ and W~. It is merely a Dummet framework.


We are also free not to, IOW, to treat p (the existence of "God") as entirely separate from the question of human free will (W).

In accordance with the usual principles of burden of proof, Occam's Razor and clarity of thought, we should treat them as separate issues until it can be demonstrated that they are inherently linked. You have not presented a single bit of evidence that p and W are linked at all.

Your claim that we are "free to set up" p and W however we like assumes we're engaged in an entirely arbitrary game and can make up the rules as we choose.

Likewise, we are free to set up the equation S*W=0.5, where S refers to the existence of Santa Claus.

Either we're just playing an arbitrary and pointless game with "logic" entirely disconnected from reality, or we are attempting to examine and compare different world views with the aim of discovering a more accurate picture of reality.

If it's the latter, it's up to you to substantiate your proposed link between p and W before you can base any other propositoins on it (e.g. your "anarchists' paradise" remark).

Otherwise, you're just engaging in the question-begging fallacy.

If this done correctly (logically) the result is a paradigm we can explore, we can push it to its limits and see if the argument holds and corresponds to observables.

Very well. If p*W=0.5, it should not be possible for people who hold the same value for p to have different values for W.

Calvinists (the "5 Point" type) who claim the existence of God as a certainty (p=1) also claim that for God's sovereignty to be total (one of his beattributes according to their belief), there can be no "free will" for humans or other entities (e.g. Satan). So for them, W=0.

Other Christian fundamentalists who take the Arminian position also hold that p=1. However, they believe that God has given people the choice whether to accept Jesus as Savior and go to Heaven, or reject him and go to Hell. Thus, for them, W=1.

We can find differing values within other religions as well. Some believers adhere to strict concepts of "fate" "karma" or "destiny," while others emphasize human choice, e.g. the fatalism of Greek tragedy vs. Ulysses' plucky (and eventually successful) defiance of the Gods. The failure of "p*W=0.5" is not limited to Christian religion alone.

Therefore, the linkage of p and W is not only unwarranted, it flies in the face of centuries of religious belief.

Model falsified.

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

I beg your pardon for writing so much “word-walls”, as I develop the theory of CRF I hope I find ways of being more concise! ...

1/ Objectivity/Subjectivity and Truth

I understand that you define objective truth as “that which is true for everybody”. And for some aspects of the natural world this is fine, albeit upto certain subjective limits of measurement, communication and logic as we have discussed previously.

An example of which is “the triple point of water at standard atmospheric pressure is O degrees Celsius”. We understand the limits to this statement in aspects of concepts of the “laws” of Physics will remain invariant over time, not to mention that the measurements being described are assumed to be in a classical and not a quantum domain, where a single molecule of H20 is not being attempted to be addressed by the statement. But I accept the point is that for certain phenomena “objective truth” statements can be made, that are rational, empirical and in high probability “true” for us all. We find it very useful and illuminating, so we believe it. In that respect we have faith in it, and can then build on it a variety of complex thermodynamic analysis. This is physics, it’s not objective truth, it’s merely our best reasoned understanding of it.

Clearly some issues do not fall into this class. For example personal statements about ones beliefs. E.g., “I am in love with X”. I can believe it true with the whole of my being, but it’s a subjective statement because of the 3 issues, “I”, the party “X” and the relationship of “Love”. But we can make reasoned discussion by a similar process

What some Theists mean when they say “God is Love" as an objective truth, is because they see it revealed through eyes of faith, i.e. the p=1 argument (so called Dummett “Realist” position in logical terms). It renders it an objective statement. For them the relationship “Love” has meaning as does the “I” and the “God” terms. They find it very useful and illuminating, so they believe it, in that respect they have faith in it, and can then build on it a variety of theological analysis. This is metaphysics, it’s not objective truth, it’s merely our best reasoned understanding of it.

There is a difference between Metaphysics and Physics. For some it is not as huge as it is for others, in part it becomes an issue of where you stand on the anti-realist/realist debate current in Philosophical discourse. Once you realize that Objective truth is NOT available to be discerned by you from within the system that contains you, only statements of probability and approximation are possible, i.e., the anti-realist position. But if you want to say you “believe” and invest “meaning” to human truths, such as “Love” you need to take a realist position. I trust you can see the problem, it’s at the very heart of this CRF theory.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying that Scientific inquiry is ultimately futile, it most certainly is not. All I am saying is that Faith is bound up in it. In addition I am saying that Faith in aspects outside of Scientific domain is fine, but needs to rigorously reasoned, as best we can, with all of our faculties engaged. I had hoped we could by now be both prepared to accept this point.

Moving on therefore …

2/ Inclusivism/Pluralism

As for other issues you bring out. Sometimes (particularly from a Pluralist perspectives) a particular Inclusive Theist can be criticized as being “imperial” and “arrogant”, in that he/she presumes other religions may be pre-figured to their worldview. But if a particular Theistic view is true, then that is how it is (at least to that particular Theist). The relativism of Pluralism can also be seen as imperial and arrogant, forcing people to give up their “truths” for the sake of the “higher” truth of universal acceptance of all views, a kind of “freedom for all” over riding principle.

I think it is true that Muslims see Judaism and Christianity as pre-figuring the truth of Islam. That’s how it works. I respect and tolerate that point of view, even though thoughtful Jews, Muslims and Christian will agree to differ on that aspect, as well as many others. As their inter faith dialog continues it is to be hoped that traditions will evolve, so that what is true is refined and accepted by all. This is a long process no doubt, pluralism is an attempt to short circuit that process with an “all is true” view IMO. But that devalues tradition, the diversity of traditions is a kind of richness, that should not be thrown away on the altar of a pluralistic dogma in that sense I feel. The saying “resistance is futile”, might be a Borg quote, but it is found most often by those ideologues oppressing those who value their diversity.

But to be fair, this is a vigorous debate right now in religious circles. I am much in favor of inclusivism as you can tell, and this is the position of perhaps the majority of Christians, e.g., it’s broadly the position of the largest denomination.

By the way no “time travel” is necessary for Christians that hold this view, they believe that Jesus Christ was of one being with God from the beginning. In Genesis the mythical story of Adam prefigures Christ, but fails the test of obedience to God’s will, a kind of “love-sacrifice” requirement, Abel love-sacrifices to God a blood offering, but is killed by a jealous Cain. Melchizedek makes a love-sacrifice of wine and bread to the “God most high”, and Abraham tithes to him. Abraham love-sacrifices a sheep after passing a the test with Isaac,…etc., etc. In the case of Abel and Melchizedek their concept of “God” was made before Abraham – who is the Christians, Jews and Muslims “Father in Faith”. The point is you can make a scripturally supported case that from the beginning Christ’s love-sacrifice of the last suppers bread and wine and the fulfillment of the ultimate love-sacrifice of his own body and blood, was pre-figured not only in the Messianic prophecy of the Patriarchs after Abraham but also in Pre-Abrahamic “Pagan” understanding of God.

This is just an example, we need not go into the specifics, it merely shows that pre-figuration can be argued once you have arrived at a perspective sufficiently developed so you can look back on the whole journey that took you to where you are.

All I wish to say at this point is the pre-figuration view is a valid perspective or method of analysis, it is not by itself something that can prove a worldview is right or wrong by itself. But it does allow a useful and tolerant tool that allows people of differing traditions to recognize the truth that exists in the others perspective without being obliged to merge or water down their own beliefs as a pre-condition to the dialog. This kind of mutual understanding is a good thing I feel.

Moving on therefore …

3/ CRF and Existentialism

On your comments at the CRF analysis of (p~=1, W~=0.5) worldview, that I associated the worldview of J P Sartre Existentialism with. At one point interpreting my personal judgment of it (which I openly declared as a personal viewpoint) as “exclusivist” and worse – which given what I actually said is simply unfounded. I’ll skip over the personal remarks.

One more time: My personal comments and judgment statements on worldviews exposed by the logic of CRF are mine, they need not be shared with yours, nor anyone else’s. But if they tend to expose accurately the characteristics of certain “types” by a consensus view then the model has a certain utility, at least to that consensus. It does not, nor was it ever designed to, support any particular worldview to the exclusion of others. If p and W don’t work for you as they are defined you can look for others that do. More on this later.

Case in point, you take exception to the term “Anarchist”, which I actually took from the Existentialism website that I quoted. Surely you appreciate the consensus of many historians is that certain intellectuals who wanted to break down the world order in the mid to late 20th century often felt supported by existential theory. It is a historical judgment that you can agree with or not as you wish. However keep in mind it was Albert Camus (one of the original Existentialist Philosophers) who said “Whoever today speaks of human existence in terms of power, efficiency, and "historical tasks" is an actual or potential assassin.”, the association is certainly not wild. See …

http://batr.org/solitary/102203.html

Furthermore in your attempt to disprove some of the comments from within the CRF Formalism I am afraid you make some basic mistakes and/or misunderstandings, maybe I have poorly explained myself hitherto (keep in mind one more time please that the assignment of an individual of the values of p,p~, W, W~ are PERSONAL (remember our discussion in 1 above about objectivity/subjectivity).

You say … “However, since your position requires that p=0.5 so we can have "free will" to believe in God or not, that rules out the kind of "transcendent interference" it would take to keep this from being an "anarchists' paradise."”

But there are on three “realist” positions in the model (there are infinite anti-realist ones);

Case A: When p~=1 and W=~0.5 this is the state that I associate to descriptive of the Existential/Atheist position. W~ being the proposition that “Fatalistic Determinism is true”, has a statistic of 0.5, meaning it is unproven. And p~ being the proposition that “Disbelief in God is true”. By method of substitution as W=(1-W~) we can set W=0.5 for this case. As such this person believes Free Will is also unproven.


Case B: p=0.5 (the statistic for the Proposition that “God exists is true”) when at 0.5 is the case when it is unproven. It is the state of the Agnostic in CRF. The Agnostic in CRF believes W (the proposition that “Free Will is true” = 1). When p=0.5, then p~=~0.5, thus W~=1 also. So the Agnostic also believes in Fatalistic Determinism, it is this dilemma that characterizes the Agnostic in CRF. To avoid the contradiction he states says the questions cannot be resolved and exits the debate. Does this not sound true to you of the Agnostic position? It does to me.

Case C: When p=1 it is the state of the Theist. In this case W=0.5 (Free Will is unproven). By method of substitution as W~=(1-W) we can set W~=0.5 for this case. As such this person believes Fatalistic Determinism is also unproven.
Now compare Case A and C. In both cases W,W~ is the same, does this mean they believe the same? Absolutely not, because W,W~ are a conjugate pairing with p,p~, and crucially p and p~ are not the same. Even though she has no proof from W,W~ an Existential/Atheist does not believe she is determined by Gods Will since to her she holds that God does not exist. But to the Theist because in her worldview p=1 she see’s her Will to be united with the Will of God, he/she cannot differentiate her Will from God’s Will. Does this not sound true to you of the Atheistic/Theistic position? It does to me.

You say … “We are also free not to, IOW, to treat p (the existence of "God") as entirely separate from the question of human free will (W).”
But…In this framework this is the axiom or hypothesis we are testing. You can build another framework and test that where you make and assumption that they can be managed an independent operators, but that is not CRF.


You say … “In accordance with the usual principles of burden of proof, Occam's Razor and clarity of thought, we should treat them as separate issues until it can be demonstrated that they are inherently linked. You have not presented a single bit of evidence that p and W are linked at all.”
But … As I say this framework is designed to test the Hypothesis that they are linked. And if the Hypothesis predicts and exposes Atheist, Theist and Agnostic worldviews accurately (I believe it does) then it is a useful tool for further analysis on other aspects of the Hypothesis. That is how we have progressed in many Mathematical Logic applications to Language and Meaning. Axiomatic Set Theory to a certain extent was built using this approach to avoid some of the Logical inconsistencies of Naïve Set Theory.


It’s true you can you substitute other propositions for p,W & p~,W~ and if these expose meaning then you are testing potentially good axioms. Its good advice when doing this that you try and stick to pairing that make “common sense”, otherwise you will need a computer search algorithm type approach that hunts unintelligently for “proofs”. E.g., p=1 that “Belief in Santa is true” is not something I think will have much application outside of certain Hollywood movies, such as “Miracle on 34th Street”. 

When I was looking for the right pairing of W and W~ to the p and p~ it was fairly natural to look to Free Will and its conjugate (an application of common sense). As I was intrigued by the atomic relationships of Love, Truth and Free Will. I was frustrated also by many religious traditions in advocating strong “Intelligent Design”, it seemed to me then as it does now (reinforced by this emerging CRF model) that with people of good will we can integrate Science and Faith with such a critical reasoned approach.

Moving on…

4/ CRF Applications to Calvinism & Arminism debate

What you say about Calvinism is certainly interesting. For cases where people assert p=1 and W=0 are setting the p*W equation as 0 and not 0.5. CRF would thus challenge that position for further theological exegesis (and certainly this is what has happened a lot over this “fatalistic” position since it was made by Calvin). The fact there is a debate is predicted by the model. And many thoughtful Calvinists are still arguing against this Hyper-Calvinist exegesis (that I say would be defined by p=1,W=1). Take a look at …

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm
http://www.postmodernclog.com/archives/001110.html


However Arminism (and other faiths that believe that God grants us Free Will to choose to believe or not believe in him as a gift of Love) and CRF is fully consistent (it tests that hypothesis).

Remember as an individual moves from a neutral position of belief p=0.5, accepting he has full Free Will (W=1) he surrenders his Will to God, which he achieves (W=0.5) when he has perfect faith p=1. Choice is a process, there is a time before the choice and after it.


As you say you can test the framework with other traditions, and it can help us dialog. Faiths that are challenged because of their memetic failure to perceive the beattributes of a “God of Love”, where challenged before CRF was invented. Many have now pretty much been assigned to ancient myth, models that failed to evolve, such as some of the pagan myths you mention.

Therefore the hypothesis of the linkage of p and W is clearly of some value, it certainly appears to underpin centuries of memetic religious belief and its evolution to the current day.

You’re taking a very critical stand on this. I am wondering what your motivation is. I would like you to see that this CRF stuff is an honest attempt at integration of a full scientific empiricism with a rational fideism. It helps provide a Theist answer to the ID debate that is broadly acceptable to Darwinian science (which is why I cam onto your blog). It hopes to deliver a framework that predicts and exposes ramifications of its hypothesis for tests against results. And as shown above and in earlier posting it’s fairly consistent with certain views of Atheist, Agnostic, Theist, and other positions, at least to my understanding of them. I believe it can help us build focused interfaith dialog. It has definite utility.

In those respects I can say so far … “Model validated”.

I hope that clarifies things a bit. Again sorry for the length of the response. I am not introducing new issues here, just trying to clarify points from your response.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

Sorry yet another typo...the section on Calvinism should read...

"And many thoughtful Calvinists are still arguing against this Hyper-Calvinist exegesis (that I say would be defined by p=1,W=0)"

Apologies for that. (If you know of a MS Office Word "add in" that checks for logic errors be sure to forward me the link!)

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Martin Ciupa said...

After a fuller consideration I think we have come to a point where we will not be able to progress our dialog further, and where we disagree we must leave it at that.

I wish you well and hope what we have said can be a source of reflection for us both.

4:03 AM  

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