• Agent Smith
    6.2k
    IMO, 'folk psychology' from early metacognitive development: magical thinking + anthropomorphization as we – babies – develop a 'theory of mind' and, as a refinement of instinctive false-positive pattern detection, gradually learning to differentiate intentional agents from non-agents (e.g. puppies from stuffed teddy bears ... people from 'talking trees').180 Proof

    Nice! You mean to say religion is infantile, a case of arrested (mental) development! What puzzles me is this: adults don't believe in Santa Claus, that he lives in the north pole, that he has flying reindeer, and that he visits all the children on Earth on Christmas, and yet God, they cling to even till dotage and at death.

    There's a pattern I sense in theism in the modern world:

    Childhood (ignorance/theism) Adulthood (knowledge/atheism) Old age (fear/theism). It's the god sandwich/burger (theism on top and below, atheism betwixt).
  • Gnomon
    2.5k
    Why is there a universe? — Gnomon
    This ↑ is the million dollar question!
    HOW (science) is an anagram of WHO (religion).
    Agent Smith
    Actually, there is not much money to be made in asking "why" questions. That's a philosophical query, and Philosophy is traditionally a low-income profession. If you want to make money, figure-out "how" a system works, and patent the process. On the other hand, some have figured-out "how" to convince others that they know "why" the world exists. But their money-making answer is typically not a simple mechanical (scientific) or logical (philosophical) concept, but an emotional (religious) myth, which has ME in a key role. By revealing the mysterious "who" of creation, they make their answer personal and meaningful. "Why" is a child-like question, and is often answered with "because . . .", or with assurances that the ultimate solution to the mystery will be revealed only to the Faithful.

    Unfortunately, the Enformationism answer to the "why" question is logical, but impersonal. It's not final, but suggestive, and plausible. Like physicist/cosmologist Paul Davies' "who", of God and the New Physics, my Enformer is a postulated abstraction -- similar to Plato's LOGOS -- with no specifically human qualities, such as an emotional attachment to particular persons, populations, or polity. So, it only pushes the "why" question one step farther than the Big Bang, to propose a certain kind of First Cause that lit the fuse of that primordial event. From the Information perspective, there does seem to be Intention behind Evolution. But the Final Cause (the goal, the purpose, the "why") is not apparent to observers in the midst of evolving toward some future Omega Point.

    The only revelation of the Enformer is the logical structure of the World itself. From which we gather clues, by empirical examination, or by philosophical Induction into theory. And the "new physics", that Davies refers to, is the Quantum infrastructure that undermined our old classical views of reality. "They learned to approach their subject in totally unexpected and novel ways that seemed to turn commonsense on its head and find closer accord with mysticism than materialism." Enformationism is one of those novel ways of looking at the world, and begins at the Information foundation, to construct a model that accords Mysticism with Materialism. :nerd:


    "I want to know how God created this world." ___Albert Einstein

    Aristotle's Four Causes :
    End or Purpose: a final cause is that for the sake of which [purpose] a thing is changing.
    https://www.mun.ca/biology/scarr/4270_Aristotelian_Causes.html

    Induction is a specific form of reasoning in which the premises of an argument support a conclusion, but do not ensure it

    God & The New Physics :
    "There are many mysteries about the natural world that would be readily explained by postulating a natural Deity."
    Note -- his "deity" is natural in the sense of being embodied in the world as the informational structure of reality.
    " . . . a fascinating look at the impact of science on what were formerly religious issues."
    Back Cover
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k


    Just curious,

    1. How do you connect information to BothAnd?

    2. What's the significance of Quantum mysticism in re EnFormaction?
  • Gnomon
    2.5k
    Just curious,
    1. How do you connect information to BothAnd?
    2. What's the significance of Quantum mysticism in re EnFormaction?
    Agent Smith
    1. The path to that connection is a long story. And it's best understood by following the logic of the original thesis, as described in the Enformationism website. Basically, the concept for that thesis began from the sudden insight that Quantum & Information theories are "connected" at the root. I trace it back to reading an article about measuring Quantum particles, in which the physicist exclaimed "it's all [only] information". [my bracket] By that he meant, I assume, that we never know the particle as a ding an sich, but only extracted (abstract) information about the particle that is embedded & entangled in a larger system. "Aboutness" is an Information-theoretic concept.

    2. The connection between Enformationism and Mysticism is the concept of Holism, as discussed in the Quantum Measurement thread (https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/705340). Most Spiritual traditions include some notion that we are all "entangled" in a Greater Whole. Some call it "God", but I prefer to use the less baggage-laden, and more philosophical concept of LOGOS. From a holistic-mystical perspective, you can imagine EnFormAction as the Will-of-God (Holy Spirit) flowing through the world, and causing meta-physical change. Or, from a reductive-scientific angle, you can imagine EFA as Energy flowing through the material world, and causing physical changes. Take your pick -- or just accept it as BothAnd. :cool:

    Enformationism :
    http://enformationism.info/enformationism.info/
  • 180 Proof
    9.3k
    I fail to see a non-trivial (woo-free) difference between "Enformationism" and the synopsis of "digitalism" featured in this 2002 Wired magazine article:

    https://www.wired.com/2002/12/holytech/ :smirk:

    which, of course, doesn't mean it is (they are) vacuous or nonsensical, just without much merit as thought-experiments (i.e. research programs ~ Lakatos) in either physics or metaphysics. What I think Gnomon's "Enformationism" attempts to get at has been much more coherently formulated in Max Tegmark's computable universe hypothesis (CUH) re: Church–Turing–Deutsch principle.
  • Gnomon
    2.5k
    ↪Agent Smith
    ↪Gnomon
    I fail to see a non-trivial (woo-free) difference between "Enformationism" and the synopsis of "digitalism" featured in this 2002 Wired magazine article:
    180 Proof
    That's OK. The one-eyed man fails to see in perspective, but gets by with a 2D image of the world. On this forum, we don't discriminate against the handicapped.

    Digital Physics is a non-trivial hypothesis for those, like Fredkin, who view the world in terms of abstract mathematical forms. But most of us non-geniuses need a little more flesh on the bones, in order to see the beauty of the world.

    If natural beauty is woo, I say "woo woo" to you too Boo Boo. But do you really want to continue that childish tongue-sticking & ear wagging on a mature-rated philosophical forum? :joke:

    Digital physics suggests that there exists, at least in principle, a program for a universal computer that computes the evolution of the universe. The computer could be, for example, a huge cellular automaton.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics

    What does woo woo mean? :
    Noun. woo woo (slang, derogatory) A person readily accepting supernatural, paranormal, occult, or pseudoscientific phenomena, or emotion-based beliefs and explanations.

    DO YOU SEE THE NON-TRIVIAL DIFFERENCE
    BETWEEN FLESH & BONES ??
    7d47ebef-a057-48f4-9530-82d1de4b2795.jpg

    WOO WOO !!!
    TheMask_featureshot.jpg

    JUVENILE PHILOSOPHY (woo free)
    Clipart-Boy-Teasing-Sticking-His-Tongue-Out-And-Wiggling-His-Fingers-By-His-Ears-Royalty-Free-Vector-Illustration-10241113968.jpg
  • jgill
    2.3k
    The computer could be, for example, a huge cellular automatonGnomon

    Wolfram (creator of Mathematica) attempted to convince the scientific community that cellular automata were at the heart of virtually everything physical. He failed.
  • Gnomon
    2.5k
    Wolfram (creator of Mathematica) attempted to convince the scientific community that cellular automata were at the heart of virtually everything physical. He failed.jgill
    I don't know if Fredkin & Wolfram took their proposals of a Computer Universe literally, but the obvious determinism of the Cellular Automata notion may have suggested that the dynamic life-like-behavior & evolution-by-rule-based-selection of matrix-array computer algorithms could serve as a theoretical model for how the universe could work as an inter-active mathematical structure. Other mathematical geniuses have proposed the similar idea of a Mathematical Universe (relational reality) that processes its own internal Information in a logical manner. Even Pythagoras seemed to have a similar worldview 2500 years ago. So, perhaps there is some substance to the idea that mathematical (geometric) logic is at work on the (quantum??) foundation of reality, to produce the classical physical objects that we encounter on the human-macro-scale of reality.*1

    Unfortunately for those visionary math geniuses, most scientists are pragmatists, and "radical Platonism" does not compute in their worldview. Moreover, any Theory of Everything is difficult to prove via the typical reductive methods of empirical science. Nevertheless, the "Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics" in describing & predicting physical objects and processes is suggestive that logical structure may be at the root of Reality. So, I wouldn't worry that such an abstract Platonic worldview has failed to get traction in a concrete non-Platonic profession. :smile:

    Cellular automata :
    Their characteristic patterns appear faster than in other computing models and are shown visually in a compact manner as a result of their synchronous nature making them suitable to be studied both quantitatively and qualitatively, and also to be compared to physical and natural phenomena.
    http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Cellular_automata

    The mathematical universe hypothesis :
    I was quite fascinated by all these mathematical clues back in grad school. One Berkeley evening in 1990, while my friend Bill Poirier and I were sitting around speculating about the ultimate nature of reality, I suddenly had an idea for what it all meant: that our reality isn't just described by mathematics – it is mathematics, in a very specific sense. Not just aspects of it, but all of it, including you.
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-universe-made-of-math-excerpt/

    *1 The Schrodinger equation describes the geometry of the oceanic phase/form of quantum "particles".
    A geometric interpretation of Schrödinger’s wave equation
    https://vixra.org/pdf/1812.0202v1.pdf
  • Michael McMahon
    334
    Does the Hindu belief in karma and a cycle of ribirth require divine intervention to punish the souls of evil individuals? We don't attribute much agency to insects and so their carniverous behaviour isn't interpreted as evil. Yet if we took seriously their habit of killing other species then we'd be left to conclude that many insects have a genocidal mindset. So maybe a human serial killer might inadvertently assimilate the evil desires of non-human species. Thus they might actually get their wish and voluntarily reincarnate themselves in animal form! In other words there might be some sort of post-death justice even if there wasn't a God.



    A Bug's Life Clip: Scene of the secret base of the grasshoppers
  • Tomseltje
    220
    I believe the idea of an omnipotent God to be problematic.Michael McMahon

    I believe the word 'omnipotent' to be too problematic already. Since if someone or something is claimed to be omnipotent, people tend to counter the claim with examples like "So he/she/it can do something that cannot be done" or a similar contradictio in terminis. though obviously the religious traditions never intended this to be the case when using the word. Mostly they mean with omnimpotent more potent than what a single human being could do on his own.
  • javi2541997
    1.7k
    obviously the religious traditions never intended this to be the case when using the word. Mostly they mean with omnimpotent more potent than what a single human being could do on his own.Tomseltje

    It is all about hope. This is why religious traditions have always intended to create a “super” (or even “titanic”) figure. To pursue their credibility through fear rather than knowledge

    "So he/she/it can do something that cannot be done" or a similar contradictio in terminis.Tomseltje

    :100: :clap:
  • Michael McMahon
    334
    Mostly they mean with omnimpotent more potent than what a single human being could do on his own.Tomseltje

    In physics there is a perennial debate between the quantum mechanics of atoms and the gravity of planets. The two best theories don't interact well with each other in trying to discover quantum gravity. The same could also be said between science and religion. Our two best theories of reality are struggling to reconcile and create religious science. Radical theories are often speculated for quantum gravity given the intensity of the problem. Likewise far out ideas like Pantheism or Deism might help combine science and religion that bit better.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    Pantheism is just an idea, it doesn't seem to be a hypothesis. What's divine about Hitler?
  • Michael McMahon
    334
    Pantheism is just an idea, it doesn't seem to be a hypothesis. What's divine about Hitler?Agent Smith

    This reminds me of those time travelling questions about the ethics of killing baby Hitler. It seems like a gruesome question because all babies are born with a speckle of the divine but it's clear that Hitler rejected his capacity to do good. All I can say is if he isn't in hell then he'll suffer karma to the highest extent.
  • Michael McMahon
    334
    "Most sodomy, most anal intercourse takes place between men and women."
    "I'm not interested in sodomy and buggery, I am not interested, so forget about it... Under the cloak of caring, you have designated homosexuality to be a vicious, perverted disease."
    - Peter Fry

    I support the LGBT community and am very libertarian in my outlook towards the personal relationships of others. I'd support gay adoption rights and the whole shebang. Nonetheless I'm also somewhat of a pragmatist when it comes to international affairs. If conservatively religious countries have not yet embraced the LGBT movement then I view it as unlikely that they'd change their stance within the next two or three decades. After all the first Pride Parade was over 50 years ago and yet homosexual welfare has actually declined in certain countries. A possible compromise in extremely strict countries might be allowing public displays of affection like holding hands, hugging and kissing but banning cohabitation. This way there'd be no way homophobic people could distort homosexuality into an obsession about sodomy. Needless to say I wouldn't agree with such a ban but it may be the lesser of two evils when we consider the horrific death penalties that have occurred in countries like Iran.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    all babies are born with a speckle of the divineMichael McMahon

    Minds are little gods — Gottfried Wilhelm Liebniz

    God has been attributed with omnipresence - that feels like a good place to start arguing for pantheism.
  • 180 Proof
    9.3k
    I think "pantheism" overstates the case (though not as flagrantly as "pan-en-theism" or "pan-en-deism"). A woo-free speculation much more consistent with the observed universe of natural science is (something like) this:
    0. Deity (Boltzmann brain?) ...

    1. Deity becomes – fluctuates until symmetry breaks – not-Deity (aka "planck universe").

    2. "Non-planck universe" begins @maximum degrees temperature and rapidly – explosively ("Big Bang") – expands as it cools off.

    3. Cosmic + thermodynamic entropy.
    (WE ARE nowHERE.)

    4. "Non-planck universe" ends eventually – dissipates completely – having become an absolute zero degrees vacuum.

    5. Absolute zero degrees vacuum – unbroken symmetry restored – is indistinguishable from Deity.

    0. "Omega point" > the universe (or multiverse) constitutes memories (or dreaming) of Deity
    (Boltzmann brain?)
    — 180 Pro0f's *pandeist fairytale* (in sum)
    180 Proof
    which paraphrases Epicurus' observation about death: when we are, "God" is not; when "God" is, we are not. :fire:

    Re: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandeism.
  • Michael McMahon
    334
    The Devil is often portrayed as extremely violent which leads some religious people to reject the very existence of hell. It's becoming more common to believe only in heaven where evil souls simply disappear or reincarnate into their next life. Perhaps hell is deemed so abysmal that even a temporary stay would be deemed grossly disproportionate. Imbuing the Devil with one or two redeeming qualities like sarcasm and self-deprecation might make hell more tolerable for those who are punished in a supernatural version of jail! Hell doesn't have to entail torture where secular ideals of confinement as punishment could be thought about! For all we know hell could entail break periods much like how good behaviour is rewarded in modern prisons. Maybe hell could be interpreted as rehabilitation before the evil is cleansed from the penalised person. This might allow them to enter heaven afterwards or reincarnate with a clear conscience. If a criminal freely chose to atone for some of their sins in hell then perhaps they'd be less at risk of bad karma in their next life. Bad souls could be deceived through their own perversion and self-indulgence into choosing hell without requiring the use of force. The separation of powers is a useful concept for divine judgement. Could there be a scientific way to determine whether or not someone goes to hell? For example if we view happiness as a conserved quantity in a person's life, then the hedonism of evil might have the capacity to diminish their happiness reserves for the afterlife.

    Hercules... James Woods/Hades/Susan Egan/Megara/Pain/
  • Michael McMahon
    334
    If God gave Hitler a choice of being mercilessly killed thousands of times in future of lives or else to endure thousands of years in a hellish dungeon, there might well be a high likelihood that Hitler would choose the latter. So Hell could be viewed as voluntary even if it entails an element of external pressure. We also need to remember that Hitler didn't personally kill anyone; rather he ordered others to carry out the genocide on his behalf. So the idea that only eternal hell would be sufficient as punishment isn't proportionate. To elaborate on the Holocaust analogy there were a lot of other nazis that helped Hitler and in doing so absolved him of total 100% responsibility for the genocide. So if God handed out millions of years of jail then it'd be spread out among all culprits even though Hitler would obviously get the highest number of years.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k
    Godwin's law, short for Godwin's law (or rule) of Nazi analogies, is an Internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison to Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches 1. — Wikipedia

    Hitler didn't exist! It is ~◇ for such a person to exist at all. Similarly Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were/are all fictional characters, invented, not real! A malus deus is a contradictio in terminis!

    :snicker:
  • Michael McMahon
    334
    I heard some right wing pundits claim that the onus is more on Islamic countries to have accepted Syrian refugees. Needless to say we've an equal responsibility to help people irrespective of their religion. Although if we were to go along with such tribalistic logic, we'd realise that most of mid and southern Africa is Christian. This would mean that Christian first-world countries would bear the most responsibility for helping them. Sometimes African poverty is seen as a global issue even though through colonialial, linguistic and religious affiliations Europe bears the most ethnical resemblence to Africa. Some criticise Saudi Arabia for insufficient help towards refugees even though the Christian world has dozens of wealthy countries that could have helped feed more Africans during the famines of previous decades. Besides, sending food charity is significantly cheaper than welcoming refugees for shelter and assimilation into a first-world nation. Indulging in ethnical reasons for charity would indeed be a slippery slope to racism. Yet Jesus would likely hold his own flock much more stictly for inadequate charity to fellow Christians as opposed to relying on Hindus or Buddhists to act first towards African poverty. When we think of how protective Catholics and Protestants were about members of their faith being harmed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, should they not have been more aggrieved by the larger number of Christians being killed in the Ethiopan famine of the same period?

    "In response to those who consider that the humanitarian relief granted by the governments of Gulf countries is insufficient, they have defended themselves by showing that a considerable amount of financial aid is granted to the Syrian refugees through NGOs and donations from the United Nations. Since 2011, these countries have supplied them with 900 million dollars. A few days ago, a Lebanese newspaper revealed that Saudi Arabia had offered to fund the construction of 200 mosques in Germany to allow the new arrivals from Syria to practice their faith within the country."
    https://www.lejournalinternational.fr/Syrian-refugees-why-won-t-the-oil-rich-Gulf-States-take-them-in_a3477.html
  • Michael McMahon
    334
    If we did see someone like Jesus when we died, depending on your religion, then he'd be over 2000 years old. We often use the BC and AD reference points for the current year without always realising that this would literally translate to His current age in heaven. This isn't quite eternal but it'd still be an impressive age for mortals like ourselves to witness.
  • jgill
    2.3k
    :chin:
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    632

    You might like "Information and the Nature of Reality," which Davies edited with Niels Henrik Gregson. Good combo of articles on information theoretic approaches from physics, biology (some by Terrance Deacon, who I always appreciate), semantic information/consciousness, and even theology at the end.

    It's my late night book for when Floridi's Philosophy of Information stops making sense. That book is good too but very technical. I am regretting getting it instead of his Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Information, which is apparently more accessible.


    I never liked these "arguments from psychoanalysis." For one, they can always work both ways. I've seen it that most physicists misinterpret the delayed quantum eraser experiment because they are emotionally invested in free will (which often gets conflated with experimenter free choice in these arguments). Superdeterninism is the logical conclusion and neatly deals with no locality to boot; dissenting opinions are due to emotional immaturity.

    But then exactly the opposite charge is made by partisans on the other side. People commited to super determinism, who assume every measurement that would ever be made was specified "just so" during the Big Bang, are the ones who are letting emotion dictate reason. They can't handle non-determinism, and so they look for any conceivable gaps to keep it alive.

    With arguments for or against the myriad conceptions of God, I've seen juvenile and mature arguments on both sides, with varying degrees of merit. You can also come up with all sorts of emotional reasons that people want to deny any conception of God and then project that on to athiest arguments as well.

    For my money, I think the fact that very accomplished scientists and thinkers, who show every sign of being open minded, can dedicate their lives to this question and still come to different conclusions (or switch sides throughout their lives), should give us pause when looking for simple descriptions.


    The ontological "It From Bit," thought experiment fits what you're describing. It's hard to see how observations would differ if it was somehow "true" or if it was merely an artifact of how we interact with the world.

    But the larger model is useful when applied to other, more limited thought experiments. The big one I'm aware of is Maxwell's Demon, which haunted physics from 1867, to 1982, when Charles Bennett came up with an answer that made most people happy (lately, this answer has come into question). Here the information theoretic question was essential for determining why the Second Law of Thermodynamics couldn't be violated. Information Theory informs understandings of Leplace's Demon, the entity which knows the exact position and velocity of all particles in the universe, and so can retrodict the past and predict the future. Such an entity turns out to be impossible because information is only exchanged across surfaces, and so the Demon has no way to attain this information, while at the same time, said demon would need an energy equivalent equal to the algorithmic entropy of the entire universe, and thus would presumably have to be close to universe sized to avoid collapsing into a singularity.

    But as interesting and useful as It From Bit is, it seems like we should be cautious about thinking we've hit rock bottom. Every time mankind makes a technological leap, we seem to theorize that the universe and our minds are set up like our most advanced technology. For the ancient Greeks, the universe was like stringed instruments and their new geometry. After Newton, the universe was like a great clock. In Maxwell's time, the universe was a great steam engine, and entropy was the primary concept for understanding it. Now we have a universe in the image of a computer, with the caveat that most theorists say the universe is really in the image of a quantum computer, which is still in its infancy, making the comparison fraught. Each of these new ways of thinking hits on certain essential truths, but none has proven complete so far.

    I'll admit that I find it hard to see how to reduce things beyond 1 and 0, but intellectual history seems to have plenty of examples of how reality has been winnowed down to 1 and 0, only to be expanded again with new findings, just to collapse into binary again. I won't hold my breath on having hit bedrock this time.
  • Agent Smith
    6.2k


    Well, it's intriguing that someone with a dim view of psychoanalysis knows so much about the subject.

    Anyway, I've always had problems in re logical vs chronological order in re history. Chronologically, in the most general of terms, religion precedes philosophy, but the possibility remains that religion could be post-philosophy, logically speaking. I hope this isn't tangential to your point.
  • Gnomon
    2.5k
    You might like "Information and the Nature of Reality," which Davies edited with Niels Henrik Gregson. Good combo of articles on information theoretic approaches from physics, biology (some by Terrance Deacon, who I always appreciate), semantic information/consciousness, and even theology at the end.

    It's my late night book for when Floridi's Philosophy of Information stops making sense. That book is good too but very technical. I am regretting getting it instead of his Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Information, which is apparently more accessible.
    Count Timothy von Icarus
    I have read most of Davies' books. His Information-centric worldview seems to be very similar to my own. And Terrance Deacon has offered a novel way to think of the ding an sich problem. Floridi's book, Philosophy of Information, stuck a little too close to Shannon's narrow mechanical application of "Information" for my taste. I prefer the books that are presaging a broader new paradigm of science & philosophy. :smile:
  • Michael McMahon
    334
    Yes, you essentially are hurting yourself by being unethical in a pantheistic universe.Shawn

    There are different kinds of evil. Angry violence is one kind and the fake love of perverts is another type. Both are very wrong and exploitative for somewhat distinct reasons. Viewing yourself as actually being another person in real time might be vulnerable to megalomania or fetishising. Yet viewing yourself as being existentially cut off from the other person could also be distorted into perhaps aggression or apathy. So no metaphysical point of view is incorruptible.
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