Reality consists of 3 spatial dimensions with time adding a fourth dimension. But what reason could we possibly have for putting such limits on reality? Do higher dimensions have any reality apart from their construction within a mathematical framework?
This past Friday, I bumped into Dr. Michael Behe, and again on Saturday, along with Drs. Brian Miller (DI), Research Coordinator CSC, and Robert Larmer (UNB), currently President of the Canadian Society of (Evangelical) Christian Philosophers. Venue: local apologetics conference (https://www.diganddelve.ca/). The topic of the event “Science vs. Atheism: Is Modern Science Making Atheism Improbable?” makes it relevant here at TSZ, where there are more atheists & agnostics among ‘skeptics’ than average.
On the positive side, I would encourage folks who visit this site to go to such events for learning/teaching purposes. Whether for the ID speakers or not; good conversations are available among people honestly wrestling with and questioning the relationship between science, philosophy and theology/worldview, including on issues related to evolution, creation, and intelligence in the universe or on Earth. Don’t go to such events expecting miracles for your personal worldview in conversation with others, credibility in scientific publications or in the classroom, if you are using ‘science’ as a worldview weapon against ‘religion’ or ‘theology’. That argument just won’t fly anymore and the Discovery Institute, to their credit, has played a role, of whatever size may still be difficult to tell, in making this shift happen.
A question arises: what would be the first question you would ask or thing you would say to Michael Behe if you bumped into him on the street?Continue reading
As most of the readers at TSZ already know, quantum mechanics, but especially a fairly new branch of it – quantum biology, are some of my favorite subjects and a part of the many hobbies I have. Quantum biology is not only fascinating but it is clear that it is going to be, and it already is in many cases, the science of the not so distant future.
Let’s just quote one article:
” …by applying quantum mechanics to biology, we’re beginning to unravel some of science’s biggest and longest running mysteries. The burgeoning field of quantum biology is today, helping us to understand bird migration, photosynthesis, and maybe even our sense of smell…” Continue reading
Why does the soul need the brain seems like a logical question especially in the context of the belief held by the leading ID proponent of the Discovery Institute Michael Egnor. He has written extensively on the theme of the immaterial soul that, in his view, is an independent entity, separate of the human body. What Dr. Egnor consistently fails to acknowledge is the obvious connection or interdependence between a functioning brain and self-awareness or consciousness. I wrote about it here.
If certain parts of human brain are damaged or disabled, just like in case of general anesthesia, the human brain loses the sense of consciousness or self-awareness either permanently or temporarily. The immaterial soul fails to make up for the damaged or disabled brain…
Ever since the implications of quantum entanglement between particles became unavoidable for physicists and cosmologists, the doubt of the accuracy or completeness of Einstein’s general and special theory of relativity became real… Einstein himself called quantum entanglement “spooky action at a distance” because the possibility of faster than speed of light transfer of information between two entangled particles (no matter what distance between them) would violate relativity and the fundamentals of one of the most successful theories in science…
Recently, however, several experiments have confirmed that entanglement is not only real but it seems to violate relativity.
This is a follow up to Earth is the Center of the Universe? OP with the link to the full documentary entitled The Principle. It is really worth to watch it in its entirety just to get the sense of how cosmologist, like Lawrence Krauss, and many other scientists deliberately resist the data (verified by 3 different probes) that Axis of Evil are pointing to the special location of the Earth in the Universe…
While researching the evidence for Cosmic Consciousness, the implications of the collapse of wave function, QM and so on, I came across some interesting evidence pointing to the fact that the Earth not only resides in the special place of the universe, it is the center of the universe…The evidence comes from the so-called “Axis of Evil – the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle, which “appears to give the plane of the Solar System and hence the location of Earth a greater significance than might be expected by chance.”- Wikipedia
This is a follow up to my previous OP Is Cosmic Consciousness responsible for reality?
There seems to be some confusion regarding the causes of collapse of wave function(which seems to creates reality) whether a conscious observer can collapse the wave function ONLY or can a designed robot/computer perform the same role. Instead of pointing out the facts, I’d like “the seekers of truth” to do it for themselves. Since apparently ‘a picture is worth 1000 words’, I attach 2 videos that cover 2 breakthrough experiments in the understanding of well known double-slit experiment and the implications of collapse of wave function by an observer on the nature of reality…
According to the most successful theory of physics – quantum mechanics – nothing really happens in the physical world unless a conscious mind observes it.
A reality independent of observation doesn’t exist.
Particles don’t exist (they are waves) unless someone conscious looks at them or takes a measurement of them.
If Cosmic Consciousness is responsible for the nature of reality then all the materialistic theories, like the origins of life, mindless evolution etc. should be scrapped, shouldn’t they? Unless materialistic, unfounded belief system supersedes scientific facts…
Theoretical physicist Paul Davies wrote:
But what are these ultimate laws and where do they come from? Such questions are often dismissed as being pointless or even unscientific. As the cosmologist Sean Carroll has written, “There is a chain of explanations concerning things that happen in the universe, which ultimately reaches to the fundamental laws of nature and stops… at the end of the day the laws are what they are… And that’s okay. I’m happy to take the universe just as we find it.”
Assuming that Davies is correct, I find it odd that there is little interest for understanding the laws of nature. There are some interesting questions to be answered, such as: Where do the laws come from? How do they cause things to happen? Continue reading
It is a little known fact that scientists who argue that the paleontological record of life is hundreds of millions of years old, when confronted with astrophysical facts, must eventually rely heavily on the hypothesis of finely tuned, large scale global warming. The problem is known as the Faith Young Sun Paradox. A few claim they have solved the paradox, but many remain skeptical of the solutions. But one fact remains, it is an acknowledged scientific paradox. And beyond this paradox, the question of Solar System evolution on the whole has some theological implications.
Astrophysicists concluded that when the sun was young, it was not as bright as it is now. As the sun ages it creates more and more heat, eventually incinerating the Earth before the sun eventually burns out. This is due to the change in products and reactants in the nuclear fusion process that powers the sun. This nuclear evolution of the sun will drive the evolution of the solar system, unless Jesus returns…
There’s no question in my mind the “Intelligent Design” movement has lost all its arguments with Science. Unfortunately, post Trump-it, that fact is now an irrelevance. With Trump’s appointment of Betsy de Vos as Education Secretary, it looks like religious fundamentalism no longer needs its figleaf. What concerns me much more is that a similar fate awaits climate research if his appointment of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State is any indication of future policy on combating climate change. Continue reading
In the “Elon Musk” discussion, in the midst of a whole lotta epistemology goin’ on, commenter BruceS referred to the concept of a “Boltzmann Brain” and suggested that Boltzmann didn’t know about evolution. (In fact Boltzmann did know about evolution and thought Darwin’s work was hugely important). The Boltzmann Brain is a thought experiment about a conscious brain arising in a thermodynamic system which is at equilibrium. Such a thing is interesting but vastly improbable.
BruceS explained that he was thinking of a reddit post where the commenter invoked evolution to explain why we don’t need extremely improbable events to explain the existence of our brains (the comment will be found here).
What needs to be added is that all that does not happen in an isolated system at thermodynamic equilibrium, or at least it has a fantastically low probability of happening there. The earth-sun system is not at thermodynamic equilibrium. Energy is flowing outwards from the sun, at high temperature, some is hitting the earth, and some is taken up by plants and then some by animals, at lower temperatures. Continue reading
After analyzing the behavior of these sub-atomic particles – which can move faster than the speed of light and have the ability to “unstick” space and matter – using technology created in 2005, Kaku concluded that the universe is a “Matrix” governed by laws and principles that could only have been designed by an intelligent being.
Let the mudslinging begin!
Moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum’s Hayden Planetarium, put the odds at 50-50 that our entire existence is a program on someone else’s hard drive. “I think the likelihood may be very high,” he said…Somewhere out there could be a being whose intelligence is that much greater than our own. “We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence,” he said. “If that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment.”
In the “The Disunity of Reason” thread, Mung suggested that “the typical non-theist will insist that organisms are machines, including humans.” And there is a long tradition of mechanistic metaphysics in Western anti-theism (La Mettrie is probably the most well-known example). However, I pointed that I disagree with the claim that organisms are machines. I’m reposting my thoughts from there for our continued conversation.
A machine is a system with components or parts that can be partially isolated from the rest of the system and made to vary independently of the system in which they are embedded, but which has no causal loops that allow it to minimize the entropy produced by the system. It will generate as much or as little heat as it is designed to do, and will accumulate heat until the materials lose the properties necessary for implementing their specific functions. In other words, machines can break.
What makes organisms qualitatively different from machines is that organisms are self-regulating, far-from-equilibrium thermodynamic systems. Whereas machines are nearly always in thermodynamic equilibrium with the surrounding system, organisms are nearly always far from thermodynamic equilibrium — and they stay there. An organism at thermodynamic equilibrium with its environment is, pretty much by definition, dead.
The difference, then, is that machines require some agent to manipulate them in order to push them away from thermodynamic equilibrium. Organisms temporarily sustain themselves at far-from-equilibrium attractors in phase space — though entropy catches up with all of us in the end.
It is true that some parts of an organism can break — a bone, for example. But I worry that to produce a concept general enough that both breaking and dying are subsumed under it, one can lost sight of the specific difference that one is trying to explain.
Indeed, that’s the exact problem with Intelligent Design theory — the ID theorist says, “organisms and machines are exactly the same, except for all the differences”. Which is why the ID theorist then concludes that organisms are just really special machines — the kind of machines that only a supremely intelligent being could have made. As Fuller nicely puts it, according to ID “biology is divine technology”.
I’ve just completed the book A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design by Nobel Prize winning physicist Frank Wilczek.
This book is a long meditation on a single question:
Does the world embody beautiful ideas?
Our Question may seem like a strange thing to ask. Ideas are one thing, physical bodies are quite another. What does it mean to “embody” an “idea”?
Embodying ideas is what artists do. Starting from visionary conceptions, artists produce physical objects (or quasi-physical products, like musical scores that unfold into sound). Our Beautiful Question then is close to this one:
Is the world a work of art?
Michael Behe is best known for coining the phrase Irreducible Complexity, but I think his likening of biological systems to Rube Goldberg machines is a better way to frame the problem of evolving the black boxes and the other extravagances of the biological world.
In a recent OP at Uncommon Descent, Vincent Torley (vjtorley) defends a version of libertarian free will based on the notion of top-down causation. The dominant view among physicists (which I share) is that top-down causation does not exist, so Torley cites an essay by cosmologist George Ellis in defense of the concept.
Vincent is commenting here at TSZ, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to engage him in a discussion of top-down causation, with Ellis’s essay as a starting point. Here’s a key quote from Ellis’s essay to stimulate discussion:
However hardware is only causally effective because of the software which animates it: by itself hardware can do nothing. Both hardware and software are hierarchically structured, with the higher level logic driving the lower level events.
I think that’s wrong, but I’ll save my argument for the comment thread.