Love, Gray holes, Supernatural Ladybugs, and Scripture

Hi Pascal!

I enjoyed our breakfast together! Thank you for your Confessions.

What would you point out that I had missed?  Did I see the differences in genealogy in Matthew and Luke?  Yes.  I remember asking a trusted teacher in middle school.

It sounds like we had a similar progression in our biblical awareness. I, too, was aware of the genealogical differences very early on. I was also aware of the “supposed issue” where Jesus was claimed to be fulfilling a prophecy of lineage even though he wasn’t in the specific paternal lineage that the prophecies required. At first, I didn’t concern myself with trying to resolve them. I just trusted that the Bible was inerrant and other people I respected in my faith circles had resolved them, so I didn’t question it further. Later when my doubts were more serious, I looked into apologetic responses and found them plausible. Not as convincing as I’d like, but plausible. It wasn’t until recently that I learned of the parts you didn’t respond to, such as Jesus being a descendent of an ancestor who’s lineage was cursed by God, the misleading or false “begat’s”, the average age of the fathers, the conflict with Paul’s “in the flesh” statement, etc. So, when you say, “Did I see the differences in genealogy”, are you implying that 1) you knew of all these issues already and have overcome them, 2) you didn’t know of all of them but you’re just responding to the easy parts right now and will get to the others later, or 3) you didn’t know of all of it and you plan to not address the more substantive issues in future posts? 🙂

Did I question the sequence of Paul’s conversion in Acts and Galatians?  Yes.  High school.

Ditto for me, but I mentioned this was a minor issue that I’m not concerned with even now, I just wish it was more convincing since it could be argued that it is the basis for our record of Jesus.

Did I know about Deuteronomy 20?  Dear God – – this is genocide – – how could you be good?  College.

I think that I was about 18 when I finally read it. I struggled as well and got past it, because His ways are above ours and He is Love. I don’t think I mentioned that chapter in the post you were responding to. I tried to keep it on topic of Romans 1:1-7. Even though it seemed to stray, it was all relevant to claims made in that set of verses.

Love

Why do I still believe and why have I not met you tit for tat, query for answer?  I’m in love.  There.  I said it.  The Bible has always been a love letter to me.  Even if, especially because, it argues with itself.

OK. I understand. I used to feel the same way. I really do empathize. I don’t want to change your mind, only help you understand my point of view. What that statement says to me is that you want to engage in special pleading because you are emotionally invested in your beliefs. It’s not rational, but you believe it all the same. Is that correct? If not, please forgive me and clarify. If so, I think we’ve come to a great point in this dialogue.

I used to believe and now I do not. It’s not because I didn’t want to believe any longer. It’s because I felt my rational mind would no longer allow me to put my desire first. The biblical problems finally stacked up too high and I could no longer sustain my faith. That’s it. As I see it, that’s the only difference between our points of view. You question some parts of the Bible, but not enough to make your faith insufficient for belief. I questioned more of the Bible and eventually hit that threshold and went past it. It was not a choice or a desire to do so. As I mentioned, in seeking to fulfill 1 Peter 3:15, I feel like I was robbed of my faith. I could no longer justify my belief. You still can. I hope that remains true.

Does your statement above mean you won’t be answering the more difficult challenges against the Bible? And is arguing really a sign of love? Isn’t part of the rationale that the canonizers used for picking the books they did based on the notion that the various books of the Bible represent a single, cohesive message written over time, and that this cohesion could only have been accomplished with the aid of God? If you’re saying that the Bible does indeed argue with itself, doesn’t that provide further evidence that the Bible is not “inspired” by God? You started a few posts back supporting inerrancy (or the trustworthiness of the Bible). After a few exchanges it seems like you have one foot still on the trustworthiness of the Bible, the other on the Bible arguing with itself (i.e. contradicting itself) and yet you claim that your rationalization for standing on both is that you really don’t want to move because you’re in love. This is not a judgement. If that is where you are, I believe I have experienced that position myself. I couldn’t stay there for long, though. I eventually had to take my foot off the “trustworthy” spot and stand firmly with both feet in the arguing/contradictory/untrustworthy spot.

Your approach is that of rationalism.  I would suggest that you are employing strong rationalism.  By that I mean that you are applying the requirement of empiric proof.  Hypothesis generation, appropriate testing, collection of data, interpretation of results, conclusion yielding hypothesis refinement and generation.

Do I hold to strong rationalism for all claims or would a competing view more accurately describe my philosophy? I’m not ready to commit completely until I understand all the nuances that might entail. I’m sure we’ll explore that further. I haven’t put myself in one of those categories yet.

What work of philosophy or history survives this approach?  We can’t even talk about Socrates or Aristotle.

If you mean, “What work could survive this approach and leave us absolutely confident that the entire tome is absolutely trustworthy?” None of them can. That’s the point. We shouldn’t implicitly trust all claims in ancient (or even modern) non-fiction books. Every claim needs to have a probability of truth assigned to it. Not a certainty. It’s mainly religious texts that attempt to gain certainty and only for the express purpose of getting us to trust them in supernatural claims. It’s unjustified.

Gray holes

I disagree with Hawking that philosophy is not necessary.  I know that I am at risk of taking his quote out of context.  Please forgive me.

No worries. I do it quite often. 🙂 As we discussed at breakfast, I think Hawking (who recently said “There are no black holes” and meant they are actually slightly gray) is being slightly misunderstood when he says “Philosophy is dead” (the statement is made at 1:12 into the video, but listen to more for context). Due to Hawking’s disabilities is hard to have a back and forth dialogue with him and he didn’t expound much, but from his other resources and similar comments from other astrophysicists, I have an idea of his meaning. His view seems to be that philosophers who do not touch empirical tests and are unfamiliar with science are a dying breed. Most topics that used to be in philosophy have now branched out into various disciplines of science. Science is progressing where philosophy has not been (recently), and now science is able to contribute to philosophy much more than sitting-on-a-couch thinking. His statement is not meant to say that there is no benefit in philosophy or that it is “not necessary”, as Hawking is well aware that his own field of cosmology started as primarily a philosophy, and is largely involved in philosophy today. What he’s trying to accomplish with that “jaw-dropping” statement (like “there are no black holes”) is to get people to realize that the philosophy of the future will be tied inextricably with observation and scientific testing, not isolated from it. He admits to being “something of a dreamer.” But then, maybe I’m taking him out of context. 🙂

You have a philosophy.  I just don’t know what it is yet.

Haha. Thank you. I don’t know what it is either. I’m still trying to identify the one(s) that fits best, or build a new one. We both know my epistemological belief position is technically an agnostic weak/negative atheist. In my humble opinion, that is the only justifiable position I could possibly hold given my experiences. I’m not done looking and my life isn’t over, that’s just where I currently find myself. But that is not a specific philosophy. You are pushing me to identify where I stand on many issues. Thank you for that!

Science was never a philosophy.  It was and is a method seeking explanation.  Philosophy seeks meaning.

I don’t know. Before science was science it was called natural philosophy. There is a whole lot of overlap. I think it depends greatly on our definitions. As we discussed at breakfast, I hold to the more inclusive definition of science. Does it seek meaning? Absolutely. In my view, that’s much of what science does. We’re not just seeking to learn the hows, but the whys.

Supernatural straw man

The first five words of the Bible claim something – – In the beginning God created.  I disagree with you that the natural explanation is more likely than the supernatural claim.

You got me. In my rush and torrent of words I failed to put in the qualifier that was in my head. I assumed it, so I didn’t think to write it, which was my mistake (see “The Curse of Knowledge“). So, here’s the context I left out. Let me write it again, correctly this time. “There’s nothing [inside of nature] for which a natural explanation is not far more likely and more plausible [given the evidence I’ve seen] than a supernatural explanation.” More on this in the next point.

Here’s my straw man that only you can knock down:

1)  You do not believe in a supernatural

2)  I do

…If I am wrong about number 1, demonstrate my error empirically by replying with one supernatural belief that you currently hold (more likely true than untrue). … Come clean.  Do you currently believe that a supernatural is more probable than not?  We can and will continue if you answer either way.  It just frames the discussion better for us and for our five readers.  And maybe I’m proposing an inappropriate binary branch point.  A complex fractal algorithm may be better.  But I don’t exactly know what that is.  Insert wry smile.

Haha. OK. Step back a bit. I just picked up my club. 🙂 Metaphysical naturalism. Swing, bamb, crash, straw-man-down. That’s it. Based on the line of reasoning I’ve heard and read from you so far, that’s the position that I think you’re wanting to argue against. However, just to clarify, I’m not standing there. I’m over in another Venn circle, the one of methodological naturalism. What’s the difference? I was trying to find a way to explain this when I googled something and that came up. These aren’t terms I use every day, so thank you for providing me with the opportunity to learn more about them. This also helps hone-in on my philosophy with more accuracy. As you know from our talks, several blog posts, and iMultiverse, I do not believe there is no supernatural, in the same way that I do not believe there are no Gods. It is true to say that I presently lack belief in a supernatural, but that does not mean I start from the position that it is not a possibility, or even that it is not likely. I am 50/50 on the matter. As soon as I see evidence for it that meets some basic criteria, I will believe. Until then, I reserve belief. My belief will never be on the side against supernatural. Ever. In other words, I will never be 70% convinced in the non-existence of the supernatural. To me, that is indefensible. I simply cannot imagine anything in reality that could tell us about what doesn’t exist outside of reality. I make no judgement in the negative about it. If I find convincing evidence of something supernatural, I may be 51/49 for it, or 80/20, you get the idea. I’ve given examples of such hypothetical evidence that might someday appear and be convincing. Further, while my belief in the supernatural will never be at less than 50%, it will raise with my belief in a God (if that God-belief is over 50%). It used to be 100%. Any particular God-claim you mention is going to be (at least right now) less than 50%, so my supernatural belief stays as low as it will go (which is 50%). Make sense?

Do I need to demonstrate an example of a supernatural claim I hold in order for you to believe that I do not presuppose there is no supernatural? Why? I’m telling you that I do not oppose the supernatural. This means it is not an unjustified presupposition. My only reticence for assuming an effect has a supernatural cause is due to the base-rate… e.g. the fact that a) despite the many claims of supernatural causes, each are either disproved or lack evidence to justify themselves, b) we have no examples of an effect that could only be explained by a supernatural cause, and c) science (which assumes natural causes) works. If those facts change, my beliefs will change with them. A supernatural cause could be behind a few, many, or even all effects in natural. If it weren’t for Occam’s Razor, I would be much more likely to believe the former was true. I think you understand my position here, but this has come up in conversation and on the blog several times so I think it deserves more time. The statement, “You do not believe in a supernatural” may be throwing us off. It is technically correct to say that I do not believe (if by that you mean I presently lack belief) in a supernatural, but I don’t know that it get’s you anywhere. I don’t know how you intend to argue against that position, so I’ll let you determine that. But remember, I believed in the supernatural before and I’d be happy to again – that’s actually my desire. Let me clarify my position further with a quickly conjured hypothetical dialogue.

Supernatural ladybugs

Two biologists are investigating an area of the forest. The guy is working on a paper and really wants to find evidence of a ladybug with purple circles on its back, but so far neither scientist has seen any they can demonstrate. They both see a bunch of footprints (it’s a hypothetical, so just imagine they can detect the footprints) 6-legged in an area where they know there are ladybugs.

Guy: “See, here is evidence of the purple-circled ladybug.”

Girl: “All I see is evidence of something with six-legs, and here are these 6-legged ladybugs that leave the same footprints. There’s no evidence that it was a purple-circled ladybug that made these footprints rather than this group of regular ladybugs (which is far more likely because we know they exist and we can see them right here making similar marks).

Guy: “But you’re just saying that because you presuppose there is no purple-circled ladybug.”

Girl: “I don’t presuppose there isn’t. I have no idea. It sounds perfectly possible. I just see this evidence and a likely explanation that matches this evidence (these regular ladybugs).”

Question: who, if anyone, is the one doing the presupposing? The one who makes no assumptions about the purple-circled ladybugs until they see evidence, or the one who believes it exists before they see the evidence (and attributes effects to it unnecessarily)? If this analogy makes sense, then you know my position on the supernatural. In case anyone read that and it didn’t make sense, the regular ladybugs represent natural explanations (science) and the purple-circled ladybugs represents the supernatural.

So, at the risk of seriously belaboring this – what I if said, “1) you do not believe in a purple-circled ladybug. 2) I do.”? And if I then said, “If I am wrong about number 1, demonstrate my error empirically by replying with one belief about a purple-circled ladybug that you currently hold (more likely true than untrue). … Come clean.  Do you currently believe that a purple-circled ladybug is more probable than not?” How would you reply? You might say that the fact that you currently have no idea (i.e. 50/50) on whether or not such a ladybug exists does not mean that you presuppose that it does not exist. You will not reject evidence that favors its existence due to a presupposition against it. Such evidence does not have to overcome and negative bias against it. In order to believe in the purple-circled ladybug you just need evidence that points to such an ladybug rather than a more common, already known ladybug, simply because that explanation is more common and has been demonstrated, not because you think the purple-circled ladybug is impossible or even unlikely in itself. Such a ladybug is perfectly capable of existing. It’s a question about base-rates and justified beliefs, not about presuppositions and personal biases.

OK… pop-quiz. 🙂

Question 1: Does Russell presently hold a positive belief in at least one supernatural claim?

Answer: No.

Question 2: Does Russell presuppose that a supernatural does not exist?

Answer: No.

If you’re going to argue something based on my beliefs about the supernatural, I hope this helps. 🙂

Scripture

I love God.

I know. And I love that you do. 🙂 I do too, in a way, as much as you can love an idealized version of something you used to believe in and still hope for.

Scripture is precious to me because it has changed me.

I admire that, greatly. I miss it, too. Unfortunately, it’s the same claim that could be made by many committed adherents other major religions.

That was a miracle – – not a bending of the laws of physics or quantum chaos, but a reshaping of my nature and the genesis of hope when I was hopeless.  I love God with my whole heart, whole mind, whole soul (energy or ethereal).  I love him and I know that my love could have blinded me.

It sounds like you and I had similar experiences. This is how I used to feel as well. I eventually questioned whether my transformation was explainable by natural causes. I have since determined that it was. Therefore, I can no longer claim it was a miracle for any reason other than my desire to do so.

Is scripture reliable?  Yes.

OK. You know I disagree here. Granted, we’ve only been over a tiny fraction of the potential problems with scripture and I’ve yet to hear your responses, but whether or not you think the Bible claims to be entirely trustworthy, if you see some verses that can’t be reconciled with each other or with logic doesn’t that mean it is not reliable? At least not fully? Why do you say “Yes” instead of just “I think so”? Is it because of love? As in, “Yes, my wife loves me” even if she wasn’t nice to you that day? Not that mine is ever not nice. (You’re very nice, cutie. :))

Do I think it contradicts?  It appears to sometimes.

It appears to contradict? If you take away the presupposition that it cannot contradict, doesn’t it graduate from an appearance of contradiction to an actual contradiction?

Is it absurd?  Never.

This is another assumption that stands on love, right?

Sign-off

I hope this is helpful. I’ll be posting again very soon. 🙂

Gentleness and respect,
–Russell

24 comments

  1. When you say “inside of nature” it makes me think of other language that assumes a dualism that does not necessarily exist, such as when a person is said to “have a body” rather than is a body. If the supernatural is detectable in some way, other than through private emotions or visions, then it’s natural. The “super” cancels out. If the supernatural is undetectable, then it is precisely equivalent to non-existence. Neutrinos, which can pass through a light-year of solid lead before a scattering event occurs, almost qualify as undetectable. If they were never scattered and thus completely undetectable, then even if they existed and satisfied all the equations to the satisfaction of physicists, they would be identical to supernatural things which people also claim exist without any evidence whatsoever.

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  2. Hi Linuxgal,

    Thank you for this excellent comment. We are in agreement. Though, as a point of clarification, something for which there is strong mathematical evidence is not strictly identical to something for which there is no evidence whatsoever — but that’s probably not what you meant. 🙂

    More to your point — I agree that effects that are measurable are in some sense “natural” by definition (probably even including emotions and visions). The point of language like “inside of nature” is not to dispute this, but rather to acknowledge the lack of justifiable epistemological certainty about the causes of those effects. Occam’s Razor only takes us so far. To claim we are certain that effect Y is fully caused solely by the set of natural causes X is to commit the fallacy of affirming the consequent. There’s always a possibility of a supernatural influence that we can never fully rule out. Is it likely for any given event that has an obvious natural explanation? No. But for something like the creation of the universe (assuming there was a creation)? It’s a coin toss for me. For more on that, read iMultiverse).

    Gentleness and respect,
    —Russell

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    1. We have observed that there are effects in this universe with no ultimate cause. One such effect is called the Casimir Effect, detected as a very small attraction between two metal plates that are placed very close together. The narrow gap constrains the creation of pairs of virtual particle pairs (mostly electrons and positrons) between the plates, while the other side of the plates has no such constraint, with the result that the plates are pushed together, and this is measurable, but the constant creation and destruction of virtual particles which results in the pressure differential has no cause whatsoever. If one were to claim that virtual particles have a supernatural cause, that would be the final refuge of the “god of the gaps” process, since science cannot proceed to a deeper explanation, but it would a very small victory indeed.

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      1. I would never argue this. Science can and does unfold the mystery of the gaps. Consider Einstein’s greatest blunder and his humility in calling it such. My interest in this particular discussion, whether Casimir Effect or quantum pairing, is to help Christian’s think critically and not to invent a god of the gaps. Small victory, little “g”. If I believe in creation, then the mystery of creation explained and phenomena explained would be beautiful to me. And indeed they are. No cause, and no cause yet explained are different. I know you know that.
        Quantum pairs now, viruses then, what will invisible or non-existent be with a millenia’s hindsight?

        If one is to reject Christ, then I want it to be for the right reasons. To do so because it conflicts with science is a false dichotomy in my opinion. That’s why I’m careful where I stand. So many of my dear brothers and sisters have stood on the age of the earth. I don’t know why. I think the answer has to do with reliability of scripture and a literal interpretation of Genesis. But truth is truth. I respect the scientific method for what it can do.

        Can it make more of emotion than neurotransmission and neuroanatomy? Perhaps. But I don’t really think so. Is that special pleading? That’s what Russell has asked and that is what I’ll answer.

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        1. All through scripture we see a progressive revealing of God which completely overthrows the prior theology, from henotheism to monolatry to monotheism to a hybrid with three persons in one God, and at each point the religious authorities said, “This is the final revelation!”. That’s why when Jesus said we should call God “Daddy” it was too much for them, such a God was too close. And now here we are again, with an end-times scenario involving a rapture and the temple and the antichrist which is the “final revelation” to wrap up six thousand years of human history, but such Christians might be dismayed to find that unbelievers are the new apple of God’s eye, because we are probing deep into his creation and discovering his handiwork with unspeakable joy while the inerrantists close their eyes stand on the dead letter of their “infallible” texts.

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          1. On this we agree completely. Unbelievers are the apple of God’s eye. Perhaps that is why I feel a sometimes challenging, always exciting call to the skeptic. Intelligence should never be dismissed if it is indeed a gift from God. How our revelation of God has changed as we have changed is fascinating. Indeed, it makes more sense to me than less. As to eschatology – – I fully expect to meet God through death by disease or trauma. It is what it is. But what to do with this blinking century of life? Time conversing with you seems to me time well spent.

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            1. Thank you Pascal. I do have a form of spirituality in a way, though I like to think of it as philosophy rather than religion. I’m a student of daojia, the Taoism of Master Lao, which I find to be very quiet and feminine. When I discuss things with people on line I try to maintain respect and avoid harsh words. I do not consider it a personal affront that people have different views than mine on many topics.

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              1. Sorry for my delayed reply. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading your site. You are either a full-time blogger or an insomniac. I find your writing eclectic and engaging. And I find your invitation to join the Mary Queen of the Universe Latter-day Buddhislamic Free Will Christian UFO Synagogue of Vishnu rather funny. So thanks for being here – – you can take either side of our discussion, but I hope that you’ll continue to bring that fresh perspective that surprises us both.

                Blessings,
                Pascal
                –1:16

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      2. Hi Linuxgal!

        Thank you, once again. I’m familiar with the Casimir Effect, transient virtual particles, the pervasive energy caused by these particles in a vacuum, some effects they have in electro-magnetism and other normal/classic phenomena, etc. My position is this. I don’t think it’s conclusive that virtual particles have no cause. All things that are thought by some scientists to break causality should be viewed in light of the fact that we don’t have a full understanding of quantum mechanics. These theories are in development and far from concrete, so to say that we have observed effects “with no ultimate cause” is taking it too far. I think we can say we have observed effects with no presently known cause (which ultimately may break causality). We cause as much damage to the reputation of science by taking it too far as we do by not giving it the credit it deserves.

        I don’t believe virtual particles are the final refuge for a supernatural influence. Creation itself, many of the phenomena in quantum mechanics, dark matter/energy, other dimensions, etc., all hold pervasive influences on nature and their causes (much less their effects) are not fully understood.

        I think the caution is that “science cannot proceed to a deeper explanation” would be more accurate if it was “we currently don’t have a deeper explanation”. It’s not just that our knowledge grows with time and experiments. The methods of science evolve as well. In the future, who knows what things that are currently off-limits will be available to us. But I think I’m preaching to the choir here. 🙂

        Thanks for your very-welcome insights. Please keep commenting!

        Gentleness and respect,
        –Russell

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        1. When I said science could not proceed to a deeper explanation, my line of thinking was something like this:

          Human politics is rooted in anthropology, which is rooted in biology, which is rooted in chemistry, which is rooted in the quantum electrodynamics of two fundamental particles, electrons and photons. Some have remarked on the fact that fermions come with electric charges that are either 1/3 that of an electron, or a whole number multiple of the charge, and this leads to speculation that the two dozen or so fundamental particles of the Standard Model might have two component particles with those charges, but since the 1970s research in that area has been stagnant. I cannot rule out that in the future we will uncover a deeper strata of reality, but even if we do, that just kicks the can down the road. Ultimately we will have to be satisfied with a termination to the “why” chain, just as we will shut up a little girl when she starts a line of questioning about the blue color of the sky. Along the way, we do seem to be pushing God further and further down the rabbit hole even as we pushed heaven further and further into space with the invention of aircraft and interplanetary probes.

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          1. Hi Linuxgal,

            Well said.

            It sounds like what you’re describing is the field of quantum mechanics which has been far from stagnant in recent decades. We have a very good understanding of many classifications of subatomic particles, but there is much to still be discovered and several competing theories that are far from complete. Who knows if that is the bottom of the rabbit hole?

            I don’t know the limits of consistency in the universe and the limits of our future measuring devices, but our ability to imaging and mathematically model potential states of nature that might be correct (and therefore have a set of possible realities that fit ours) is potentially limitless. We will very likely never “know” the ultimate why, but we have, at least in principle, the potential to find it by weeding out the competing unlikely mathematical scenarios. We do this even now, at our current early level of scientific understanding. If things continue as they are and advanced far into the age of quantum computers, the future will just continue to open new possibilities for the ultimate why and bring different or more refined ideas to the top.

            With that said, our scientific conclusions will always need to be measured in units of probability. While we may never truly “know” why with certainty, we may at some point be justified in believing a certain why based on evidence. The fallacy of affirming the consequent will always be there as a warning against both theists and non-theists regarding the true ultimate why of nature. It is the final arbiter of the statement, “I know the ultimate cause is this or that.”

            Gentleness and respect,
            –Russell

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            1. You do know something of quantum physics, I see, so you probably know that vacuum fluctuations are a consequences of the uncertainty principle, and that in turn is due to the fact that a Fourier transform of a spike in amplitude space (which corresponds to the position of a particle) results in a very broad spectrum in frequency space (corresponding to the momentum of the particle), and the reverse is true. And all that is a bare fact of mathematics which has no deeper explanation, any more than does the distribution of primes among the set of integers. We hit rock bottom.

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              1. I love this thread! Thank you.

                Yes, I’m familiar with this. The only potential issues I see are in this statement,

                And all that is a bare fact of mathematics which has no deeper explanation, any more than does the distribution of primes among the set of integers. We hit rock bottom.

                Why does the math not have a deeper explanation? I think it’s the same reason it didn’t have a deeper explanation before each new experiment that gave the mathematicians more or different data to work with. When we make claims like, “We hit rock bottom.</em", we should be careful to remember that the math and models of quantum theory are not yet fully developed. It seems a bit premature to make absolute statements about where the bottom is. We are talking about a universe that is still theorized to be infinite by some (and that isn't necessarily just infinitely large, but infinitely small). Also, “mathematics which has no deeper explanation,” gives me pause because our math often follows from our observations. When we create new ways of modeling the consistencies of nature with symbols, we often invent new symbols and relationships (i.e. new math) to represent those models. The fact that our math does not have a deeper explanation is not, in my opinion, a fixed limit on our future ability to explain. We didn’t start the process of natural philosophy thousands of years ago while wielding the math of M-theory.

                What is the current idea of the uncertainty principle (claimed to be a misnomer by some) precluding us from, exactly? Isn’t it contingent upon our current knowledge? Is it really justified to say with certainty that principle is a fixed barrier to our future knowledge? Might it not be the type of uncertainty that we once had about weather patterns and every other deep complexity for which we had no way to model? It could be that it only appears uncertain because we currently lack the body of math and the observations (the sufficient body of science required) to identify the consistency behind the complexities that we’re presently seeing. To say it’s a fundamental nature of physics and we can go no further is to claim that the consistent record of scientific discovery and progress is broken because we’ve currently hit a wall, and how well has that position held in the past? What is the base-rate for that? I think one can argue that we may be at an impasse, and I would agree that we may (especially for the immediate future), but anyone who says we are definitely at an impasse for what we will ever be able to infer about the bottom of reality is probably going too far. I don’t see the advantage of making such a claim (beyond our own desires to feel like we’ve finally found a boundary to nature – our psychological preference for resolution) and I think the result is somewhat similar to the theistic god of the gaps argument you mentioned. Specifically, the effect of such an opinion is to squash the public and individual interest (and the financing) to pursue a deeper answer.

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    1. Apparently so.

      Legs

      The six short little legs of a ladybug help it to walk, but they do more than that. The feet of a ladybug helps it smell, and when a predator captures a ladybug, the bad tasting and poisonous gel will ooze out of the legs, sometimes saving the ladybug’s life. Wouldn’t you spit that out?

      Our articles are free for you to copy and distribute. Please give http://www.ladybug-life-cycle.com credit for the article

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      1. Haha. I had no idea. I was going to look it up but hadn’t yet, so thanks Pascal.

        If I found they don’t have feet, my first thought was to just declare that the supernatural ones, at least, have feet. Then I immediately realized that would break my whole point – since they would have feet and normal ones wouldn’t and they were seeing evidence of feet. Bummer. 🙂

        Then I decided I was just going to tell CC that he/she who creates the hypothetical can add and remove feet as he/she wishes. 🙂 So thanks for rescuing me, Pascal!

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      1. I sometimes get so lost in your brilliant posts that if I find something that my simple mind can understand (even enough to ask a question about it), I latch onto it.

        Just so you know, I agree and strongly identify with most of what you write–there’s no need for me to reiterate the things you have said, because you have said them better than I ever could. There may be some areas where I disagree (still figuring that out), but I don’t know that I could ever address them with you in a public forum without looking like a ladybug (of the non-supernatural variety) challenging a scorpion. So I don’t comment often on your posts here–but we’re on the same page. Pascal is brilliant too, in different ways, and his posts are more reflective of “my style” of thinking.

        I feel like you and I speak the same words in different languages. Pascal and I speak the same language with different words.

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        1. I agree that Pascal is brilliant and the two of you do seem to think alike. I honestly think you give me too much credit, but thank you. We each hold beliefs that benefit from feedback and refinement. I most definitely do not have all the answers, and many of the ones I do have are wrong. I may never know which ones until someone like you calls them into question, so I greatly value your input.

          Also, I’ve read your blog, linked to it, and recommended it to people. Why? Honestly, it’s because I find you to be an extremely intelligent, amazing storyteller with a very human voice. That is something that doesn’t come as naturally for me. I respect your words and identify with your struggle, and I think many theists do too. You provide for them a window into the real life of a real person who is trying to find out how and where to stand in the aftermath of a faith that fell into and drown beneath the ocean – an ocean whose waves are still rocking your soul. It’s a process, not and on and off switch, and you capture that well. Your words draw the reader in and compel them to read more, to identify, and to care. This leads to understanding, compassion, and the breaking of misconceptions in the minds of theists. Keep up the great work that I could never do because I lack your skill.

          Finally, please don’t ever feel too intimidated to chime in here. If you think you might disagree but want clarification (in different terms) in order to find out, feel free to just ask a question. I may speak a different language, but I’ll try not to sting like a scorpion. 🙂

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