God vs The Multiverse

Click here for God vs The Multiverse: a rational argument for the Existence of One God who intelligently designed one universe.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

God vs The Multiverse (Part 16: Scientific Consensus)

We want to openly address a doubt that someone might harbor about the proof, based on the fact that most current scientists don't believe in God.  If it is really as clear as we are presenting it, why don't these brilliant people accept it?  If multiverse theory is actually as ridiculous as it appears, how is it that so many great modern day scientists have faith in it?

This question is based upon a seemingly very rational appeal to the authority of great scientists.  However, we think that the conviction about the existence of an Intelligent Designer can not justifiably be resolved by reliance upon scientific authorities for many reasons.

The value of scientific consensus as an authoritative position has applicability when it is about science itself.  This requires that almost all knowledgeable scientists claim that a theory has made credible predictions, which are confirmed through observation.  In that situation, it makes no sense to doubt their authority, as it is something that would be revealed as a lie if it were false.  For a layperson to doubt scientific consensus that has developed through experimental confirmation, borders on positing a conspiracy theory.  However, we hope it is clear by now that multiverse theory does not come under this category at all, as scientists are not claiming that it makes credible predictions which are confirmed by observation.

In addition, the question of whether there really exists an Intelligent Designer of the universe, is an issue that many people come to with a strong prejudice.  There are deep emotional reasons motivating some people to believe in an Intelligent Designer, and just as powerful emotional reasons motivating others to deny Him.  We do not pretend to be free of emotional biases either.  As such, to blindly accept authorities (philosophic, scientific, religious, etc.) in such an area is a mistake.  You have no choice but to honestly investigate and freely decide what you believe to be true using your mind.

Moreover, this is an area in which there isn't a consensus of authorities among scientists themselves.  There are numerous modern day scientists who maintain that there is an Intelligent Cause, and an even greater number who consider multiverse theory to be speculative and unscientific.  We have shown their opinions throughout the proof, in the articles and videos we have linked to.

While most modern day scientists would rather posit meaningless randomness which gives forth the illusion of order and structure by pure chance, the two greatest scientists of all time had a deep unshakable conviction in an Intelligent Cause responsible for the order and beauty in the universe.  Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein arrived at this knowledge without the proof from the fine tuning of the constants.  They were able to see this Intelligence from the harmony of the natural laws and the wondrous order of the cosmos, and they realized that this Intelligence was incomparably greater than any human intelligence.

We sometimes hear atheists attack this proof by saying "it's just the old design argument."  There is a reason that great thinkers throughout the ages have seen the design and intelligence manifest in nature, and have inferred the reality of an Intelligence behind it all.  The wisdom in the creation has always been apparent to those who studied it; whether through the model of Aristotelian physics, Newtonian physics, or Modern physics.  Every significant model of nature has reflected the work of an Awesome Intelligence.  Yes, the design argument has been around for along time, and it's not going anywhere.

We will bring some quotes from Newton and Einstein on this issue, but we want to preface these quotes with two points.  Firstly, we want to make it clear that we are not quoting Newton and Einstein in an attempt to argue from authority.  The opposite is true (and is evidenced by our not mentioning them until this post).  We mention them to show that you can not rely on the authority of modern day scientists who deny that intelligence is responsible for the order in nature.  There are even greater authorities, like Newton and Einstein, who did recognize this Intelligence. The philosophical issue of an Intelligent explanation for the order in nature, is an ancient dispute in which appeal to authority is totally useless.

Secondly, we are mentioning Newton and Einstein in the context of their recognition and appreciation of an Intelligence responsible for the universe they studied and admired. Their metaphysical beliefs about God Himself which do not emerge from the science (Divine Providence, miracles, prophecy, etc.) are not relevant to this point.  In fact, they didn't even agree with each other on these points.

Isaac Newton wrote in the General Scholium of his famous work Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy:
"This most beautiful System of the Sun, Planets, and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being...This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all...He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, not touched...much less then have we any idea of the substance of God. We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final causes...and a God without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find, suited to different times and places, could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing."
One of the most famous quotes of Newton is:
"I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. "
From Walter Isaacson's biography of Einstein, in the chapter called "Einstein's God" on page 386, Einstein is quoted as saying:
"I'm not an atheist.  The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds.  We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages.  The child knows someone must have written those books.  It does not know how.  It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is.  That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.  We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws."
From page 388:
"My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we can comprehend about the knowable world. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."
From page 389:
"There are people who say there is no God.  But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views."
From page 390:
"The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who - in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses' - cannot hear the music of the spheres."
Ultimately, this is something that you have to freely decide using your own mind.  You can not rely on the authority of Newton and Einstein, much less that of modern day scientists and philosophers.  There is no substitute for investigating the area yourself and having conviction based on first hand knowledge, especially in an area like this where there are strong emotional biases on both sides of the argument.

27 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Christians dont venture into the fields of origins (Cosmology etc)--as they have no obsessive desire to find an answer they already have. Thats the Obvious answer why atheists dominate the field. Over 70% of Doctors are theists which shows those which an aptitude for science are not "becoming" atheists through their research..they already are atheists

      Look, an atheist in doubt is a scary thing because they usually mock the idea of God and ridiculous believers. They have the greatest bias in the world. If Im wrong ---Im going to suffer for eternity. So its no mystery why those who are atheists with an aptitude in science enter the field of origins. They need to collect data against God. This is why they are rushing to judgment because this is about what happens when they die. They cant wait--they need an answer now..because Fine tuning has caught them with their pants down.

      Now that it didnt go as planned they grasp for absurdity--an infinite universe machine that makes everything...including talking puppets,Stars with consciousness, and unkillable people. I think once people really settle on the topic all of the insane absurdities will come to the foreground--which are much more ludicrous than Boltzman brains.

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    2. One more point.
      The OJ Simpson jury proved something we already know very clearly. Even the greatest mountain of evidence can be completely disregarded if the people cannot accept the answer.
      These are ATHEISTS. Its not a stretch to say they cannot accept they are going to hell.

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    3. While we agree that multiverse scientists manifest bias is clinging to a theory of infinite tries plus randomness to explain the perceived order in the universe, we also believe that the bias cuts both ways.

      Theists as well as atheists approach the issue with certain prejudices, and it is for that reason that an honest person has no recourse other than to think for themselves. In an area as emotionally charged as this one, there is no substitute for an honest investigation followed by an informed free choice about what is real and what is fantasy.

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  2. Dr. Manhattan, I would love to hear your comments on this post...

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  3. Since Jeff Beer has lit up the Bat-sign... Here is my take.
    The post makes several points.
    1). Multiverse theory is ridiculous, why don't the brilliant scientists not accept this?
    The quick answer is that it's not ridiculous. There are a lot of problems with the several multiverse theories now on the market, but certain things we see about our own universe, if abstracted as models, and played back in time, or forward in time, seem to imply other universes. Even physicists sympathetic to the theistic fine-tuning argument amply quoted here (Ellis, Carr, Barnes) are not saying multiverse is "ridiculous". One who is (Paul Steinhardt, also came up here) is a cyclic universe proponent, which is just extending the multiverse in time as far as this blog's argument is concerned I imagine.
    2) There are numerous authorities who believe in the intelligent cause.
    There are also "numerous" doctors who believe in the effectiveness of holy water. I suspect this is less so amongst the top doctors. It is certainly true of the top scientists - deistic beliefs diminish as you get into the upper echelons: only 4% of Royal Society and 7% of National Academy identify as believing in a deity of some sort. And it is also interesting that many, though not all, of the famous cases are notably irrational (despite having done some good scientific work): Carr is into proving psychic powers, and Francis Collins (head of NIH) discovered Jesus when he saw a three-headed waterfall...
    3) Scientists have no authority over multiverse theories because they cannot be tested.
    This is half-truth factually, not completely relevant as far as "looking for people best suited to get to the truth". Half-truth because while testing the existence of other universes directly is difficult (though not theoretically impossible for some of the theories) for some of the theories the existence of other universes is an outcome of models that are testable and disprovable, such and dark energy, inflation, string theory - they all make some predictions that are verifiable within our humble universe; multiverse flows as a tentative conclusion from these models. We never exploded a 1000 megaton bomb either, but what happens in that case is completely a scientific matter. That is not to say that the current theories are not somewhat slippery and full of problems, they are - but they are legitimate outcomes of scientific process. As far as relevance even for the theories that can never be disproven, I do not understand how scientists immediately lose the right to speculate on them - I would take their opinion any day over someone who read popular books to gain knowledge in the area. Even if you don't trust the scientists, wouldn't you go to the philosophy department? Philosophy of science maybe? Has this been done?

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    1. ...continued
      4) Scientists have "strong prejudice".
      True, but... Historically many of them came from strongly religious families, such were the times. So the question can almost be posed the other way. But let's assume that the scientists were "born into (atheistic) prejudice", as were the (opposite) authors. I still claim that the issue at hand here, proof of non-personal deity, is not subject to as much prejudice as is claimed. The prototype aggressive atheist, Dawkins, has openly said that he is technically agnostic. He also wrote about the few religious scientists that "Dawkins writes that he is not so much bewildered by their belief in a cosmic lawgiver, but by their beliefs in the minutiae of Christianity, such as the resurrection and forgiveness of sins". This, and the Problem of Evil is where the main thrusts of the "prejudice" component lies for most scientists. The fact that so many of them do not believe in deism (not subject to either objection) either is not satisfactorily explained by prejudice, in my opinion.
      5) We sometimes hear atheists attack this proof by saying "it's just the old design argument."
      This is completely false. Any intelligent atheist know the difference between "design argument" and "fine-tuning argument". I call BS.
      6) Two great scientists were inspired by the "design" of the universe.
      Ok. Having an inspired feeling from the universe is not an argument. Design argument was made legitimately from observing the well-functioning living organisms, which no natural law explained until that point, and answered by evolution. It's over and done with. Being inspired by planets obeying physical laws is not an argument, even if you stick "and god created those laws!" into it. I'm sure people were inspired and awed by thinking about all those angels pushing the planets. Atheists, by the way, get inspired by the same things - Feynman wrote about this, not that it needs a source much. If someone wants to make an argument that this feeling is indicative of the existence of an actual Intelligent Designer, I'd like to hear it.
      7) Two great scientists believed in an "intelligent agent behind the laws of physics"
      True, sort of. While Einstein did not want to be called an atheist he clearly was not in a rush to be called a deist either. It seems he did have some philosophical basis for his opinion from his references to Spionza's pantheism, but he did not elaborate any specific argument as far as I'm aware of. Newton was a great scientists, but calling him a philosopher is a big stretch. True he rejected the trinity, but he was otherwise batshit crazy as far as philosophy is concerned, spending lost years in numerology.

      Dr_Manhattan

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    2. We think you have failed to grasp the main concept of this post, which is that you can not simply rely on scientific authorities to answer the question of an Intelligent Designer; rather, you are forced to use your mind to evaluate the veracity of multiverse theory.

      1) > There are a lot of problems with the several multiverse theories now on the market, but certain things we see about our own universe, if abstracted as models, and played back in time, or forward in time, seem to imply other universes.

      You can make a bad model for anything. You can model the writing of Shakespeare with infinite number of unobservable monkeys banging on typewriters. The observation of Shakespeare's plays does not validate the monkey model, so long as there are other finite possible models like one actual intelligent person named William Shakespeare.

      3) > while testing the existence of other universes directly is difficult (though not theoretically impossible for some of the theories) for some of the theories the existence of other universes is an outcome of models that are testable and disprovable, such and dark energy, inflation, string theory - they all make some predictions that are verifiable within our humble universe; multiverse flows as a tentative conclusion from these models.

      See our response to your point 1 above. See post 11 and post 12 for why the flawed models of eternal inflation and string theory, do not support the multiverse. Rather they represent fatal defects of those respective models.

      4) > I still claim that the issue at hand here, proof of non-personal deity, is not subject to as much prejudice as is claimed.

      Einstein seemed to disagree. He explained it with this quote, that might elucidate the emotional source for the prejudice:

      "The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who - in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses' - cannot hear the music of the spheres."

      5) Please define the conceptual difference between the design argument and the fine tuning argument.

      6) Einstein and Newton were not claiming a mere subjective feeling. Rather they believed that the wisdom and order they saw from science, was evidence for a real Intelligence.

      2 & 7) Reread the post. You seem to have missed the main point. You maintain that the authority of Newton and Einstein and other scientists can just be dismissed by claiming that their philosophy is crazy, while you accept the authority of multiverse scientists because you like their philosophy.

      In any event, you undermine your own point by using your mind to select the philosophy of whichever scientific authorities you like and dislike. That is our main point. You can not simply rely on any authorities, but you have to think for yourself.

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    3. One final point about your claim that we should look to philosophers of science as authorities in determining this issue. You said in this comment in point 2:

      > As far as relevance even for the theories that can never be disproven, I do not understand how scientists immediately lose the right to speculate on them - I would take their opinion any day over someone who read popular books to gain knowledge in the area. Even if you don't trust the scientists, wouldn't you go to the philosophy department? Philosophy of science maybe? Has this been done?

      We have brought the speculations of the great philosopher of science Nick Bostrom and the simulation hypothesis in post 15. Bostrom seems to be a philosopher of science that you deem to have a lot of credibility and authority. For instance, you said in a comment on post 3:

      > David, look at Nick Bostrom's degrees and publications. He is a full-time philosopher of science and an Ivy-class school.

      You said again in post 4:

      > I deviate from consensus here because it feels like Bostrom is a better philosopher of science than most scientists (that's sort of his job) and this is a philosophical question.

      You also seem to accept Bostrom's authority on the simulation hypothesis. You wrote in post 4:

      > I cannot doubt myself due to cogito ergo sum, but living in the matrix is not a dead possibility. http://www.simulation-argument.com/. Call me crazy, but don't call me incosistent. Despite all this I'm certainly practical enough (you'll have to take my word on it).

      We hope we have clearly addressed in post 15 why we do not accept the authority of the great Nick Bostrom for these matters. Perhaps you would like to defend Bostrom's philosophical speculations.

      (As an aside, what probability does you model give you for the chance that you are merely a simulation in Bostrom's matrix? Do you just take Bostrom's probability estimate, or do you use your own mind to evaluate it?)

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  4. surprisingly, regarding feynman, despite his Atheism he described an experience remarkably like ahava and yirat hashem. Compare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRmbwczTC6E
    with Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah 2:1-2 and 4:12
    2:1-2
    א האל הנכבד והנורא הזה--מצוה לאוהבו וליראה ממנו, שנאמר "ואהבת, את ה' אלוהיך" (דברים ו,ה; דברים יא,א) ונאמר "את ה' אלוהיך תירא" (דברים ו,יג; דברים י,כ). [ב] והיאך היא הדרך לאהבתו, ויראתו: בשעה שיתבונן האדם במעשיו וברואיו הנפלאים הגדולים, ויראה מהם חכמתו שאין לה ערך ולא קץ--מיד הוא אוהב ומשבח ומפאר ומתאווה תאווה גדולה לידע השם הגדול, כמו שאמר דויד "צמאה נפשי, לאלוהים--לאל חי" (תהילים מב,ג).

    ב וכשמחשב בדברים האלו עצמן, מיד הוא נרתע לאחוריו, ויירא ויפחד ויידע שהוא בריה קטנה שפלה אפלה, עומד בדעת קלה מעוטה לפני תמים דעות, כמו שאמר דויד "כי אראה שמיך . . . מה אנוש, כי תזכרנו" (תהילים ח,ד-ה).


    4:12 יט [יב] בזמן שאדם מתבונן בדברים אלו, ומכיר כל הברואים ממלאך וגלגל ואדם וכיוצא בו, ויראה חכמתו של הקדוש ברוך הוא בכל היצורים וכל הברואים--מוסיף אהבה למקום, ותצמא נפשו ויכמה בשרו לאהוב המקום ברוך הוא; ויירא ויפחד משפלותו ודלותו וקלותו, כשיערוך עצמו לאחד מהגופות הקדושים הגדולים, וכל שכן לאחד מהצורות הטהורות הנפרדות מן הגלמים, שלא נתחברו בגולם כלל. וימצא עצמו, שהוא ככלי מלא בושה וכלימה, ריק וחסר.

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    1. Nice video!
      We think that anyone who gains insight into the deep workings of the laws of nature is filled with a profound sense of amazement about the beauty, order and structure found in our universe. This realization has an intense emotional impact on a person. The question is where a person goes from there. It seems to us that there are three further routes:

      1) This realization can be awe-inspiring to a person. He realizes, as Einstein and Newton did, that there must be a cause for this beauty and structure. He is drawn to seek out and understand, to the best of his abilities, the source of this unbelievable Wisdom in the universe. This is the basic description in the Rambam of love and fear of God cited above.

      2) Feynman was a man of science and had a strong distaste for anything philosophical. He realized that pursuing the cause of the beauty in the universe is a matter beyond science, but of philosophy. As such, he refused to pursue the matter any further.

      We think that he was mistaken in this regard. We think that although the scientific method has proven to be very successful in attaining knowledge, it is not the only source of human knowledge. A person should not turn off their mind just because an area is not as emperically based as science.

      3)Multiverse scientists would probably claim that they have the same experience and attitude as Feynman (Recall that Feynman called multiverse 'ridiculous'- see post 14). However, if they are consistent with their theory, they should realize that this emotional experience is baseless. In an infinite universe, there are bound to be a few universes which have the illusion of beauty and order (there are actually infinitely many). However, this is not true beauty and order, but meaningless chaos.

      If one went into an infinite gallery with paint randomly splattered all over infinitely many canvases, and found the Mona Lisa, he should not be impressed or moved by this masterpiece any more than he is moved by any other random splattering of paint. A superficial person would certainly be impressed (just as he feels special when he happens to have the lucky lottery ticket). But an honest intelligent multiverse theorist should rise above this experience and reject it as based upon an emotional error.

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    2. If Feynman's reaction is surprising - perhaps you have the wrong theory?

      Can't I have a profound experience because my brain is built this way? I don't require some magical meaning to have emotional amazement. Who cares if it's baseless? I do not need magic purposes to appreciate the experience. I also experience love for people because there are certain brain structures and hormones involved. It does not make it any less real to me, and in a sense makes it more precious and fragile. Actually, so does everyone. If certain brain structures are damaged or chemicals out of balance these feelings could be lost.

      Trying to "prove" that people do not have the experience they actually have is really silly.

      Dr_Manhattan

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    3. If you are intimating that we are likely wrong because we disagree with Feynman, please reread the post and our comments above.

      Also, we do not think it is silly to say that it is irrational to believe in certain profound emotional experiences which are generated by the structure of your brain and your hormones. For instance, consider one who had a profound psychic experience convincing him that he created the world and that all should worship him, or that he "saw a three-headed waterfall...". Would you call it silly to dismiss these people and their experiences, and label them as irrational? That was not your attitude in your comment above.

      There are many instances of lost years and, even worse, terrible tragedies which have resulted from the lack of discernment between varied emotional experiences caused by the structure of the brain and the related hormones. A person must be able to differentiate between which of those experiences are grounded in the real external world, and which are baseless and illusory due to his, often irrational, internal nature.

      We do mean to deny a person the private, internal appreciation of his precious and fragile experiences, but we recommend that he do a reality check before he brings these experiences to the outside world.

      It is silly and dangerous to equate all profound experiences which are based upon the structure of people's brains.

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    4. http://www.thairoots.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Waterfall-at-Bokarani-National-Park-Thailand-1024x768.jpg

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    5. > If you are intimating that we are likely wrong because we disagree with Feynman, please reread the post and our comments above.

      No, I am saying you're wrong because you're disagreeing with someone's feeling. It's a confusion of categories.

      > Also, we do not think it is silly to say that it is irrational to believe in certain profound emotional experiences which are generated by the structure of your brain and your hormones. For instance, consider one who had a profound psychic experience convincing him that he created the world and that all should worship him, or that he "saw a three-headed waterfall...". Would you call it silly to dismiss these people and their experiences, and label them as irrational? That was not your attitude in your comment above.

      Come'n. In this case the person believes that which is clearly not true. You're disagreeing with his idea, not the feeling. You can say the feeling is based on the wrong idea, but you're still disagreeing with the idea.

      > There are many instances of lost years and, even worse, terrible tragedies which have resulted from the lack of discernment between varied emotional experiences caused by the structure of the brain and the related hormones. A person must be able to differentiate between which of those experiences are grounded in the real external world, and which are baseless and illusory due to his, often irrational, internal nature.

      Did you notice that I'm not actually saying that?

      > We do mean to deny a person the private, internal appreciation of his precious and fragile experiences, but we recommend that he do a reality check before he brings these experiences to the outside world.
      > It is silly and dangerous to equate all profound experiences which are based upon the structure of people's brains.

      More stuff I obviously agree with. The only point I made is that your claim, quote

      "Multiverse scientists would probably claim that they have the same experience and attitude as Feynman (Recall that Feynman called multiverse 'ridiculous'- see post 14). However, if they are consistent with their theory, they should realize that this emotional experience is baseless".

      is crap.

      For one, Feynman was talking about Boltzman's multiverse, ok? Linde, Guth and co were probably in diapers when this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=tGrsK4PVgsM&NR=1) was recoreded. He is clearly talking about fluctuations in Boltzmann's universe.
      Second, multiverse or not, he did not believe in any "intelligent designer". Multiverse or not, he thought there is a scientific explanation for what we see. In that sense he is exactly in the same camp as the multiverse theorists - all the beauty and order that we see are explained without a recourse to some kind of "intelligent designer".
      Third, "emotional experience is baseless" - yes it is baseless! Congratulations, you're getting it. Atheists are acutely aware of this.

      "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
      - Douglas Adams

      The universe, great litrature, pets, children, sunny days are plenty wonderful even if no deity has "thought them up".

      Dr_Manhattan

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    6. The essence of what we are saying is that the emotional experience of wonder and awe is based upon the mind believing it is perceiving order.

      If a person it fooled into thinking something is ordered, when in truth it is really infinite chaos that he happens to be observing under the guise of order, he will also have that same emotional experience.

      A mad man can have the emotional experience of Majesty because of his delusions that he is a king. However, no sane person would choose to live a deluded life, even though the emotional experience is enjoyable.

      We are saying that if a multiverse theorist truly believed they were perceiving chaos under the illusion of order they should not be awed and amazed. There is nothing awesome and amazing to us about infinite chaos randomly producing an illusion of order.

      If somehow illusory order does produce that emotional response in you, we can't really argue. People we know do not react that way, but maybe false order really gets you going. Each to their own, as that point is not relevant to the proof.

      As an aside, Feynman did not believe that the order in the universe was an illusion produces out of the infinite chaos. Irrespective of what he held, our main point is that you can not rely on authorities (or atheist friends) to make this choice.

      You can only rely on your mind to determine what you actually believe to be real and true. We hope that these posts have assisted in giving you the information you need to have the freedom to choose, independent of other people's opinions.

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    7. > If a person it fooled into thinking something is ordered, when in truth it is really infinite chaos that he happens to be observing under the guise of order, he will also have that same emotional experience.

      The feeling of awe is not based on the global entropy of the universe. You’re just being silly. Our brains are not that inclusive. I’m sure Boltzmann enjoyed a nice mountain or a bird. Our brains like order and get enjoyment from it, most likely because it’s an evolutionary advantage.

      >We are saying that if a multiverse theorist truly believed they were perceiving chaos under the illusion of order they should not be awed and amazed. There is nothing awesome and amazing to us about infinite chaos randomly producing an illusion of order.

      Do you enjoy looking at a beautiful animal? A horse running? Smooth torpedo of a shark? Poise of a cobra? I do. What created them? Death (of the weakest), plus passing on of the surviving information. So what.

      Why why why are you arguing with a feeling again? Locally low entropy is a nice show, why not just let other people enjoy it. Anyway, I don’t know what the global entropy of “the multi-universe” is, I just don’t care.

      > If somehow illusory order does produce that emotional response in you, we can't really argue. People we know do not react that way, but maybe false order really gets you going. Each to their own, as that point is not relevant to the proof.

      What people that you know? You know someone who was enjoying a nice picture of the milky way and all of a sudden, upon being explained that it came from a fluctuation is quantum vacuum, they stopped? BS.

      > As an aside, Feynman did not believe that the order in the universe was an illusion produces out of the infinite chaos. Irrespective of what he held, our main point is that you can not rely on authorities (or atheist friends) to make this choice.

      So you came to your choice after a fair evaluation of the alternatives, and not relying on authorities, lol, return your bar mitzvah bonds. I highly doubt that you did enough independent research and compensation for your biases to ever have thought through the issues the independence standards you’re calling for here. In any case I was brought up like you I suppose so at least it’s proven (intermediate value theorem :) that I went through a point when I was independent of the authorities I grew up with.

      Anyway, my opinion that I expressed plenty here is that I evaluate different sources of evidence. Expert opinion is a significant component of it until I understand the area better myself. I’m sure you believe this yourself also, let’s say when it comes to medicine. If you think you've researched modern physics enough with your popular books and youtube links, I've got a bridge...

      > You can only rely on your mind to determine what you actually believe to be real and true. We hope that these posts have assisted in giving you the information you need to have the freedom to choose, independent of other people's opinions.

      Is that your intent? Giving intellectual choice to people? From the constituency of this blog it sure seems your intent is to give support to preexisting opinions. Maybe you should make a blog showing how crazy religious authorities are, to give them some more freedom.

      Dr_Manhattan

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    8. We're sorry we don't know how to make the point any clearer to you. We do not think that it is essential to the post, so long as you recognize the proper role of authorities in making life decisions.

      Our intent is only to give our readers the knowledge that is prerequisite to their making a free choice. We are not missionaries. The responsibility for the choice lies with the reader, not us.

      It is your life to live as you choose, and our only wish for you is that you choose based upon genuine belief.

      As an aside, we would like to thank you, (and all our other readers) for contributing so much to these posts through your questions and comments. We hope you have gained as much from these posts as we have from your involvement.

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  5. Dr_Manhattan
    What process are you suggesting for thinking about these issues to deal with bias?
    Also, What led you to reject Judaism?

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  6. As far as process ideally you sort out what you believe because of authority vs. good logic. There are mechanisms in the system that will try to prevent you from deep examination explicitly (don't think of this or that, telling you this is only for smarter people, wait till you're 40, general anti-heresy provisions, telling you secular world is terrible and scary) but the strongest bias is the desire of someone/thing out there that is powerful, knows and understands you, straightens out wrongs in some fashion, etc. Letting that go was the hardest for me, so I imagine it's the strongest component of the bias.

    In practice I don't know if trying to mentally "subtract" biases really works. What you can do is counteract them for to some degree with things in religion that seem stupid or self-serving. Some things that gnawed me when I was frum was 1) endorsement of slavery 2) basically treating women as stupid as a class 3) subtle racism 4) inexplicable persecution of gays (knowing some of them they seemed perfectly nice people and were not ruining society in any death-deserving way. never mind that the basic desire is clearly genetically determined in many cases). 5) legal control of sex, even between married people (never mind consenting adults in general). not that there weren't rationalizations for it, but when you need a women to go to a rabbi to decipher what her underwear is saying, it smacks of a cult-like control - once you do something this embarrassing, it's that much harder to just admit that was stupid.

    Thinking of these things might arouse enough suspicion to get you to a point of fairer evaluation of existing evidence - maybe it's all very wise and for the good, or maybe it's another self-serving religion. "It's not a crisis of faith until it can as well go the other way" - this is the point when you know you can impartially look at the evidence.

    As far as me personally while these things gnawed at me, I stayed frum and brushed them under a bulging carpet. What made a big difference is interest in of modern science, especially psychology, which experimentally showed how flawed our thinking can be. It made me trust myself less, and suspect a lot or rationalisation. This was a slow-burning thing. The thing that broke the camel's was the problem of evil. Seeing kids' bodies same age of mine being piled up after a calamitous natural event made me realize that there can't be possibly anything that cares about us (for some reason Holocaust never did that for me, perhaps because if happened before I was born). Maimonides tried to work this out logically with providence-is-for-smart-people, but I find it to be a rationalization, and rather morally repulsive at that. What happened about helping the weak "orphans and widows" ideal of Torah I really could appreciate?

    Anyway this was enough of an impetus to reexamine the strongest shred of rational evidence I had for Torah - the "historical proofs" that I was taught as a kid. Without going into lengthy details there are documented gaps in the transmission that, which ironically many Rishonim freely admitted - I suspect that providing a reason to believe was not much of a concern back then. Then you look at external historical evidence for all the things that supposedly happened, and it seems very much lacking.

    I just suggest that before you embark on a reexamination you decide whether the possible truth on the other side would not make you unhappy. I have some very intelligent friends who factually agree with me but decided that religion is important to them and is a good for humans in general, and stayed within Judaism. I think Judaism is better for it as due to people like them it becomes a "milder" and more morally acceptable religion, even if false. In any case, it's was an emotionally turbulent process despite me being generally psychologically stable. I feel happy about my choices in retrospect, but a word of caution was due.

    Dr_Manhattan

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    Replies
    1. I can't help but notice how little your approach has to do with truth.

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    2. I'm totally on board with abandoning lies and embracing the truth wherever it may lead, but to first decide that a conclusion is wrong and then go about showing it is intellectually dishonest.

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    3. I didn't decide anything first. It took 3 agonizing month before I mad a "decision", hardest one on my life at the time. In retrospect it seems simple.

      Dr_Manhattan

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    4. We're sorry to hear about your personal struggles. However, we think that the issue serves merely as a distraction from the proof of God's existence. We have been very clear from the outset that we are discussing God and not Divine Providence.

      Invariably, when atheists are proven wrong, they seek to shout out other questions on different topics to avoid the fact that they are choosing a path of falsehood.

      We have answered all your genuine questions pertaining to the proof. We would appreciate if you do not take some anonymous question as an opportunity to run from the fact that your denial of God's existence is rooted in personal experiences that are logically (but apparently not emotionally) disconnected from an Intelligent Designer.

      This blog is for rationally examining genuine questions. It is not a therapeutic session for atheists who need to vent their anger and attempt to justify their life decisions. There are many other blogs and web sites where you can find people like you, who want to spend their day attacking various religions.

      Your questions are not new, and have been dealt with by many great philosophical minds throughout the ages. While you seem to think that the position of one of the greatest philosophers, Maimonides, can lightly be dismissed, we believe there is much more depth to these issues than your shallow analysis portrays. In short, we believe that these matters demand a far deeper analysis than you are presenting.

      Finally, we think Albert Einstein summarized your approach to dealing with the fact that there is obviously a great Intelligence behind the wonder of nature, and the emotional need for atheists to deny God. He wrote:

      "The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who - in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses' - cannot hear the music of the spheres."

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    5. 1) I answered a question I was asked directly, not knowing how to answer otherwise.

      2) I agree that my initial impetus to reexamine the jewish religion did not have anything to do with deism, but did very much have to do, logically, with a "Personal God". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil#Logical_problem_of_evil

      3) Let's not hide the fact that you would not likely be going through this exercise if deism was your only objective. I have never seen a deist argue so hard, honestly.

      4) I have a lot of respect for Maimonides, and for Aristotle. But as far as their scientific endowment to us, it's close to 0 (except perhaps Aristotelian logic). Arguably Aristotle, due to his awesome writing and persuasiveness, retarded empirical science for centuries (probably not his fault, but of his dumb students). Maimonides also built castles in the sky; all the factual foundations (physics) for his higher philosophy (metaphysics) were worthless, and he had no tools to correct him.

      Anyway, this is a bit of a digression, since I was not really arguing on his science. You think I don't get his argument about Providence? You mean that providence is a naturalistic phenomenon stemming mind's interaction with the divine influence emanating from god? I think I do get it, at least as well as you do.

      "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

      Albert Einstein, Letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, January 3, 1954

      Dr_Manhattan

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    6. For any reader who is interested in honestly pursuing these matters any further, we would highly recommend you look at Rabbi Moshe ben Chaim's website at www.mesora.org

      He openly discusses all of these questions about Jewish philosophy and laws in a clear and lucid manner (except for Dr Manhattan's question about women's underwear. That might be a new one.) He is also willing to take up any new questions about Jewish philosophy and law.

      We believe that an honest investigation into these areas reveals the deep wisdom of God's Torah, and it is worthwhile for someone to pursue with an aim towards the truth.

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    7. Dr_manhattan if you would like to discuss any of these issues you may email me at ybenmichael at
      gmail period com

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