• Henri
    184
    Here is an argument which determines the minimum probability of the existence of the conscious creator of the universe. I'm interested to see confirmation or critique of this argument:

    (1) The universe is created either by conscious means or unconscious means, where "conscious means" includes consciousness at or above human level.

    (2) Without further measurements and observations, there is a 50% chance that any of the two possibilities is true.

    (3) As far as we are aware, humans cannot reach and measure any conscious means - at least nothing of essence of any such entity that is powerful enough to create a universe.

    (4) At the same time, humans do measure various aspects of unconscious means within the universe: primarily those that are labeled as elements and laws of nature. (5) But measuring those things cannot in any way affect the probability of the existence of the conscious creator of the universe. (6) For example, regardless of how large or small the universe is, that reveals nothing about the probability of the existence of it's creator, because there is no known law that says that if the creator of the universe exists, then such a creator would create the universe within certain distribution pattern of sizes and scopes. (7) And with no such law, the creator can create any kind of universe, including the one with measurements for this universe; and we cannot understand what the probability is of that specific creation, relative to other creations which the creator could have created. (8) Measurements available to us therefore do not effect the probability of the existence of the creator, and, at most, point to some seeming characteristics of said-creator.

    (9) As a result, there is no possibility to diminish the starting 50% chance that a conscious means, or conscious entity, created the universe. (10) And that means that there is a minimum of a 50% chance that the conscious entity, the creator, created universe.
  • fdrake
    4.7k
    You can ascribe a 50% chance to a conscious creator with blue hair, a 50% chance to a conscious creator with red hair, and a 50% chance to a conscious creator with neither red nor blue hair, using exactly the same argument. The assignment of probabilities it allows doesn't give you a probability distribution when averaged over the possible creators, so there isn't a 50% chance for the conscious creation of the universe, whatever that may mean.

    It's probably more worthwhile to ask, 'Does the creation of the universe work like the creation of things we are familiar with?', and, 'Is an intentionality and folk-physics reliant notion of creation appropriate to apply to the entire universe?'. The answer to both questions would be a resounding 'No'.
  • Henri
    184


    One absolutely cannot do what you said.

    You tried to make a probability of what hair color creator has. There is a measurement that human can see about 10 million different colors. So from what we know, chance that creator with hair has any one hair color is 1 in 10 million, or 0.00001%, being aware that there is no known law that says that if creator has hair it's color must be within certain distribution pattern of colors. But more so, you first have to calculate probability that 1) creator is material 2) if so that creator has physical attributes that lend themselves to have hair 3) if so that creator does have hair 4) if so that hair color of creator is within spectrum human eye can detect.

    So it's nothing analogous to OP.

    As for your question "does the creation of the universe work like the creation of things we are familiar with?", any answer a human can give doesn't affect minimum 50% chance that a conscious means, or conscious entity, created the universe.
  • fdrake
    4.7k
    You're leveraging the principle of indifference to assign these probabilities, which is inappropriate without constraints on the situation. You also start at arbitrary points in your evaluation of conditional probability.

    What I tried to convey with my previous comment was the absurdities that you can derive using the principle of indifference. By substituting in a creator with some extra, non-necessary property into jyour argument, you can derive the same probability estimate as the original. The properties are arbitrary, and repeated application is absolutely allowed if the argument form is valid, so you can form a tapestry of inconsistent probability assignments - as I did.

    Another thing you're doing is conflating a probability distribution expressing our lack of knowledge of a phenomenon (an epistemic probability, what do we know about a possible creator) with a frequency distribution (the non/existence of a creator in a set of universes), at best you can conclude 'there is no reason to prefer the presence of a creator from the non-presence of a creator in terms of evidence' rather than 'there is a 50% chance of a creator existing'.
  • Henri
    184


    There are only two states, which are defined in premise (1). As said in premise (2) - without further measurements and observations, there is a 50% chance that any of the two possibilities is true.

    Your additions of "creator's hair color" doesn't answer OP but change it to something else. I cannot say that there is "50% chance that a conscious creator has blue hair", as I described in my reply.

    What "constraints on the situation" apply to OP that render premise (2) "inappropriate"?

    Also, how am I "conflating probability distribution expressing our lack of knowledge of a phenomenon (an epistemic probability, what do we know about a possible creator) with a frequency distribution (the non/existence of a creator in a set of universes)" since OP works with only this one universe?

    And how can one conclude that "there is no reason to prefer the presence of a creator from the non-presence of a creator in terms of evidence", since what you call evidence are only our measurements within our universe, created environment, that's within our reach? Fish in deep ocean can measure or sense some things, yet it cannot conclude what's outside of it's environment. For that fish to conclude that "there is no completely different and alive world outside of this place" would be 100% wrong, for example.
  • Meta
    185
    Here are a some more possible scenarios:
    1. The universe does not exist.
    2. The universe does exist but everything we know about it is most likely wrong and your question has no answer.
    3. The universe does exist and our knowledge is right about it but your question is meaningless because we cant even comprehend what happened at the start.
    4. The universe has no beginning.
    5. The universe is a fractal like object so it has and also doesnt have a beginning. It is its own cause. I contains itself.
    6. Consciousness is a meaningless word.
    7. Counsciousness exists but is completely material so there is no difference between the two versions.
    8. The universe is created by unconscious means.
    9. The quesion is subjective.
    10. The universe was created by conscious means.

    We dont know which scenario is true therefore each has 10% probability. Do you see now fdrake's point? (Of course the examples are so bad but thats what im capable of... We could list 9999999999..... scenarions all with the same probability and only one of them would be conscious creation. So according to your logic the probability of conscious creation is 0. )
  • Henri
    184


    Problem with yours and other poster's (fdrake) answer is that you stop at premise (2), as it seems.

    Yes, you can say "The universe does not exist."

    But after that premise and initial understanding of probability we go into measuring things.

    And since we can measure something, anything, and collection of everything we can measure is part of our universe, then it follows that based upon our measurements our universe in fact does exist and there is 0% chance that it does not exist, which corrects our initial understanding of probability for that premise.

    Or you can say that there is 50% chance that a rabbit created the universe, as your starting premise.

    But since rabbits are at our disposal to be measured and observed, we can conclude that based upon our measurements of behaviour and abilites of rabbits, through extensive lab and field work and through testimonies about rabbits througout history, there is actually 0% chance that a rabbit created the universe.

    Or you can say something like fdrake said, about 50% chance that creator's hair is blue. But that claim has two elements that we have some measurements about - hair and color. We can't reach to measure color of creator's hair, if there is hair at all, but we know what hair and color is, so we can measure part of the claim from here. And we find out that even if in creator's environment there are only colors our eyes can detect, that would make a claim about any one hair color to be one in ten million, or 0.00001%, so there's immediate correction of that starting premise.

    But as for OP, you don't have access to measure anything about conscious entity that's powerful enough to create a universe, in relation to presented premise. That leaves you to measure only elements within this universe that are within our reach, and those measurements cannot in any way diminish starting probability of existence of the creator of the universe. Those measurements can only potentially reveal some characteristics of said creator.
  • Meta
    185
    Since the only conscious beings we have ever oserved are humans we have no reason to conclude there is anything with conscience capable of creating a universe. Your argument fails either way.
  • Henri
    184


    Even if what you say is complete true measurement, that doesn't affect starting probability from OP, since there is no known natural law that says that human beings have to observe all concsious beings that exist. So there's still minimum 50% chance that creator of the universe exists.

    But you ignore many additional measurements and observations regarding your argument. All the species that exist apart from human beings have no knowledge, understanding and awareness of many parts of our reality. Since we can see all those species oblivious to parts of reality that we can observe and experience, we can conclude that we too could be oblivious to some parts of reality which is out of our reach.

    Also, all human beings, as babies in mothers' wombs, are oblivious to outer world and all the activities and knowledge and experiences a human being will get after being born. They are probably oblivious to the concept of being born and getting into another environment. That's also an observation that makes it logical to think that an adult human can be oblivious to some higher aspects of reality, paralleling a baby being oblivious while in womb.

    But those observations are an extra. None of those observations are needed because, again, there is no known natural law that says that human beings have to observe all conscious beings that exist.
  • Meta
    185
    No natural law says that the existence of a mutant rabbit that is capable of creating a universe is impossible. Therefore we have at least 50% chance that a rabbit has created the universe.
  • Henri
    184


    In fact, we can measure and observe rabbits and conclude that based upon our measurements there is 0% chance that a rabbit can mutate to become capable of creating anything substantial from human perspective, let alone universe, so actually there is natural law about it.
  • Meta
    185
    In fact we can observe that anything that has consciousness is a human being so there is 0% chance that there is anything conscious capable of creating a universe.
  • Henri
    184


    Animals also have some consciousness, as far as we are aware of. We can't measure the degree like we measure blood pressure, for example, there is currently no such tool and scale.

    So we observe that various living beings do have some consciousness and that they lack awareness of various aspects of reality. Since there is about 10 million different spieces, we can say that only 0.0001% of all forms of life on earth have understanding and awareness about reality that's in line with all available earthly measurements and observation about reality.

    But even if we could observe that anything that has consciousness is a human being, it doesn't follow that there are no other beings with consciousness. It just means that that's what's within our reach.

    There is no natural law that says that human has to be able to reach and measure everything within reality. That still leaves minimum 50% chance that a conscious means, or conscious entity, created the universe.
  • Meta
    185
    I dont get your logic. You say:
    1. We have always observed (not X) and never observed X but there is no natural law saying that X is impossible. Therefore the probability of X is at least 50%.

    And 2. We have always observed (not Y) and never observed Y therefore there is a natural law that Y is impossible.

    Here X is the possibility of a conscious entity being able to create a universe and Y is the possibility of a rabbit being able to create a universe.

    Your argument seems to be totally subjective.
  • Henri
    184
    Of course something you didn't observe and measure is possible to exist. No law says that you have to observe and be able to measure everything about reality.

    But based upon our available measurements we understand both natural laws and probabilities, and how they apply to a claim.

    For example, there is a claim that Santa Clause exists. We can't reach Santa Clause to measure him, but claim about Santa Clause involves him riding on sledges through air, going from house to house and leaving presents to children. That's a lot of physically observable activities, with massive clues left - unexplained presents distributed, and it's all around the world. Since there are no credible testimonies that anybody actually saw person in red flying through air in sledges, entering home after home and leaving presents, nor are there any credible clues left about such things, we have precise measurement against claim, and can conclude that based upon our measurements there is 0% chance that Santa Clause exists. Mind you, measurements here are not about not observing Santa Clause in some general sense, but that there was no observable and measurable Santa Clause in specific places on earth, during specific times and with specifiic clues that come along with basic claim of existence of Santa Clause, all of which is available for us to measure.

    For existence of the creator of the universe, on the other hand, nothing can be measured about that claim, as it seems to me and as presented in OP.

    Consequently, the fact that you don't have any measurements doesn't diminish probability of existence of the creator, but can reveal some characteristics about the creator. For example, that creator doesn't want to be seen.
  • Meta
    185
    There is always a theoretical possibility for everything. Santa Claus could be time travelling or quantum jumping or whatever. Your claims are totally subjective as Ive said in my previous post.

    There is always an interpretation outside of our logic.

    Laws of nature are merely observational facts (or theoretical interpretations of them) and not dogmas. Newton's laws were the ultimate laws of nature until proven wrong.

    In my opinion there is a law of nature that no conscious entity could have created the universe. Why? Because there is 0 observational evidence for anything like that and that consciousness can exist only in time and not before time and because every conscious entity has waaaaay less energy than is needed to create a universe etc.

    But if you accept that there can be a conscious entity capable of creating the universe you also have to accept that this entity can be a rabbit. There is the same observational evidence for each: 0. Laws of nature are based on observation so dont come with those.

    And we are back at the first answer. There is at least 50% chance that the universe was created by a rabbit.
  • BlueBanana
    920
    where "conscious means" includes consciousness at or above human level.Henri

    Why?
  • Henri
    184


    You are in fact subjective about this and want logic and probability to fit how you think should be.

    You say that "Santa Claus could be time travelling or quantum jumping or whatever". It doesn't matter if he is, there is still basic claim that he is flying through air, entering one home after another and leaving presents. Those claims can be measured physically. There is no claim that Santa Clause is doing all these things in some parallel space and time, invisible to us, including leaving presents which cannot actually be seen but are there. If we are only to measure Santa Clause claim by scientifically confirming or denying testimonies about presents inexplicably being left in living rooms during Christmas for children throughout the world, that would be enough to conclude that Santa Clause doesn't exist.

    You say that in your opinion "there is a law of nature that no conscious entity could have created the universe, because there is 0 observational evidence for anything like that."

    You confirm that it's your opinion, making it subjective, but your core statement is flawed. Because, there is also 0 observational evidence for what you claim - that no conscious entity created the universe, while something unconscious did.

    You don't have any means to make any observational evidence, positive or negative against a claim, about source of creation of the universe. It is one thing to measure if there is magnesium in water, for example, and conclude that there is none, and another to be able to measure source of creation of the universe. In first case you really end up with 0 observational evidence for claim that there was magnesium in water, but in second case you don't have means to make any observational evidence.

    Because you can't make any observational evidence against a claim, neither positive nor negative, you can't make a deduction about it.

    You also say "if you accept that there can be a conscious entity capable of creating the universe you also have to accept that this entity can be a rabbit."

    Claim in OP is defining conscious entity that created the universe as one that includes consciousness at or above human level, so what you say is not related to OP claim which means that it doesn't follow that if OP claim is true then yours is true too.

    But furthermore, if you want to make a claim about a rabbit, I have already explained it. We have rabbits at our disposal, other species too, and we can do many measurements and observations about them all. You cannot discard all those measurements and observations and continue to proclaim 50% chance.
  • Henri
    184
    Why "conscious means" includes consciousness at or above human level.?BlueBanana

    We don't have tools and understanding to measure and grade consciousness, so human level consciousness is used as a reference.
  • BlueBanana
    920
    Using it as reference does not exclude the levels of consciousness below it.
  • Henri
    184


    Yes it does, in this claim.
  • BlueBanana
    920
    That can be derived from none of your premises.
  • Henri
    184


    That's premise (1).
  • BlueBanana
    920
    Yes, it is. But it can't be derived from any. The premise is false.
  • SophistiCat
    1.6k
    Problem with yours and other poster's (fdrake) answer is that you stop at premise (2), as it seems.Henri

    Well, if there is a problem with a premise, there is no point in going further until that problem is addressed. As it is, your premise comes out of the blue with no justification whatsoever, so there is no reason to accept it.
  • Henri
    184


    It's not false. It's premise (1). Rest of claim confirms what's said in premise (1) and (2).
  • Henri
    184


    What justification you need? There are premises (1) and (2) and they are confirmed by rest of premises.
  • SophistiCat
    1.6k
    I am talking specifically about premise (2), and no, it is not "confirmed" by anything, as far as I can see. If I missed some reasoning, please point it out for me.
  • Henri
    184


    What can I point to, since you really didn't say anything, just voiced that you don't agree? Voicing disagreement doesn't mean that you are correct.
  • SophistiCat
    1.6k
    You can point to some reasoning that justifies premise (2). I don't know how I can make this point any clearer than I have already done.
  • BlueBanana
    920
    Which premises lead to the claim 1? You don't even mention the humans' consciousness' level or that of the beings with a lower one after that.
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