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PostAnthropic Principle and Multiple Universes (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 01/22/19 3:55 am)
I enjoyed reading Jordi Molins's post about the Anthropic Principle (19 January), even though I interpret things differently.
To me humans are normally too ignorant to be trusted with extremely complex subjects like God and the Universe, which after many thousands of years we know very little about. Our human inventions of God have been a dismal failure, with one invention being replaced by another and creating more problems than benefits. We need to be more careful, our new inventions of God should be more based on actual knowledge than blind faith in man-made beliefs.
I agree with Jordi that the evidence is clear against "God, the moralist." If there is a "God, creator of the Universe," then the automatic question is the endless question of who created God, opening the door to human imagination and man-made superstitions existing on faith alone. We can never solve this riddle and it is not important. If God is the Universe, there is no question that God exists, we just need to learn about it.
Jordi thinks the anthropic principle is able to reasonably justify why we do exist. But that is never a question to me, I know I exist and the Universe (however defined) exists. The important questions are what are we supposed to do in and with the Universe? Scientists think we should learn about the Universe and they have made significant progress in the last few centuries. The acquired scientific knowledge has produced wonderful benefits for humanity, even though, similar to religious efforts, we have not tried to or made much progress reducing evil behavior in our world.
Jordi asks why can't the Universe exist without a God: "Couldn't it be that all conceivable Universes... exist? ... it would be surprising that some (but not others) Universes were forbidden to exist. If all Universes can potentially exist, then our Universe has nothing in particular: we exist in a Universe with our physical laws, because these are the physical laws consistent with our existence as humans. If the physical laws were different, we would not exist as we exist now, so we could not ask ourselves ‘Why is our Universe the way it is?' In my opinion, the anthropic principle is a 'good enough' answer to the question of our existence. Of course, we cannot rule out that some day, somebody will be able to give a more precise answer, limiting in some way the potential number of Universes that 'can exist.' A dream would be that only one Universe (ours) can exist, while all the others are forbidden for some reason. So far, the anthropic principle is good enough for me, since a 'thinking mind,' the Great Engineer, is not necessary to create the Universe."
Anything is possible, and people are free to make up and have faith in whatever they want, just like any religion. Based on existing evidence I must disagree with Jodi that "there are an infinite number of possibilities: no Universe exists, our Universe exists, another Universe with other physical laws (even time-dependent) exists..."
We have no evidence of these other possibilities, just pure supposition with no support. So far we only have clear evidence that the our Universe exists and It was created according to by far (many tests by many observers using rigorous validated measures) our best theory: the Big Bang. Defining its components and how It does work is clearly a work in progress and will be forever be in such state.
Maybe someday in the future (if ever) the Anthropic Principle may be proven valid, but today, why think it is? After a huge amount of inspiration and work by many people, the great Newton's laws were partially true and we benefited from them, ditto for Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (GTR), ditto for Quantum Mechanics (QM). However, historically most people like to get ahead of themselves with their beliefs ahead of their evidence. Even today after we should have learned about the power of scientific methods, we like to talk about multiple universes, alternative laws of physics, as if they exist. This while we have a big problem right now with much stronger theories: we have failed to integrate GTR and QM and we don't know why?
GTR is at least partially incorrect, and we need a new way to understand gravity without having to make up constructs like dark matter and dark energy which we don't know even exist. QM has spawned several industry sectors but we don't fully comprehend its "magic." This is not religion or idle talk; this is hard work and we can have faith only in things that exist (can be observed by many, measured, and hopefully predictable).
JE comments: What a difference a day makes! Yesterday morning I was talking about my cat, and mulling over whether to post a photo. (He's very cute.) But WAIS is about loftier matters, as Tor Guimaraes proves here.
I'm still grappling with the Anthropic Principle. Doesn't it at least partially suggest the presence of an acting divinity? The universe has laws that allow humans to exist, yes, but this is a tautology that begs the question "why"? The Anthropic Principle was first proposed in 1973 in Krakow, Poland, at a conference marking the 500th anniversary of Copernicus's birth. The time and place may or may not be significant. Krakow is arguably the city where religion (Wojtyla/John Paul II) brought down Communist atheism.
Religion, Atheism, Communism...and Krakow
(Tor Guimaraes, USA
01/23/19 3:29 AM)
Commenting on my last post, JE stated: "The Anthropic Principle was first proposed in 1973 in Krakow, Poland, at a conference marking the 500th anniversary of Copernicus's birth. The time and place may or may not be significant. Krakow is arguably the city where religion (Wojtyla/John Paul II) brought down Communist atheism. "
Those are very interesting words but I see a totally different lesson. Krakow is indeed an amazing city. It is one of the many places where science debunked religion: a place where Copernicus, a member of the Church, despite his fear of getting in big trouble, was too honest not to share evidence that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
On the other hand, it takes a huge stretch to say that Krakow is where "religion (Wojtyla/John Paul II) brought down Communist atheism. " Atheism, Communist or otherwise, has nor been brought down. It is alive and well all over the world. Communism has suffered a deadly blow because the Soviet leadership were socially, politically, and economically incompetent. They were not democratic enough, did not allow for free competitive markets, did not promote entrepreneurship and even the healthiest manifestations of Capitalism.
JE comments: Poles consider Krakow to be the nation's most conservative major city. My thinking was that John Paul II (together with Reagan) delivered the death blows to the Soviet Bloc. If not Krakow, where did the Cold War end? Gdansk? Berlin? Kabul? Washington? Moscow itself? Any claim to this title is ultimately a metaphor, but the discussion could be interesting.
"Alternative Facts" and Morality
(Tor Guimaraes, USA
02/27/19 3:08 AM)
Based on the number of readers, let alone converts, my book God for Atheists and Scientists, the fruit of close to 60 years from my personal search for a god that is logical and constructive, must presently be viewed as a huge failure. Yet I am far from disappointed and continue to learn about the essence of issues like why do people have no respect for the truth, ignore obvious evidence, and more often choose wrong over right out of ignorance or wickedness.
By watching the process of adoption/avoidance/rejection of my book, I learned that most people actually find superstition more fun than search for the truth. Once they believe something, no matter how unrealistic, they seek to reinforce their beliefs, not improve on them toward the truth based on facts and logic.
Having to address the subject of Ethics which is a problem in business practice, I learned that the real problem is not a lack of ethics (dictated by the group) but morals (dictated by the individual's conscience). That is the source of most of our social problems.
It is obvious to any thoughtful person what a fact is (versus an opinion or belief). When facts and opinions are all considered to be truth, the result will be total chaos due to a complete lack of communication and understanding. That is why we have had the worst human atrocities; where ignorance and lies provided the source, the wrong facts prevailed, and people acted badly based on them.
We now live in a world of openly "fake news" and "alternative facts." The next step toward total chaos is making important decisions based on deliberately falsified data for religious or political reasons. The scientific methods ultimately provide the truth about a research question because nothing is trusted until checked and rechecked competitively by different people against established reality. Beliefs and opinions may or may not be true and can lead to horrible disasters. Take for example racism; the Genetics scientific evidence is absolutely clear that through the Law of Evolution mankind evolved from single-cell organisms, and that all mankind originated in Africa. How can there be racism except in very ignorant minds? Just as there are laws not allowing people to vote below a certain age, there should be a law whereby adults must learn the facts before expressing their beliefs and opinions. Otherwise we will be in the chaos where we are now.
That is the connection between gods, religions, ethics, and morals. As I stated before, perhaps because most people have not deliberately chosen their gods and accept them on faith, their beliefs seem to be relatively weak and vulnerable to the large variety of god-alternatives, various types of emotional pressure, circumstantial necessities and hypocrisy. On the other extreme we have religious fundamentalism where the chosen religion becomes unrealistically orthodox with no respect for other religions, for scientific truth, and in extreme cases leading to the many absolutely horrendous criminal acts and massive destructive behavior we've seen throughout history.
JE comments: Tor, I don't know how many copies you've sold, but I certainly do not consider your God for Atheists a failure among the WAISitudes. You've generated much discussion and feedback. Even criticism is an essential part of the scientific process.
Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts" quietly turned two on January 22nd. Will historians someday be studying the Era of Alternative Facts, like we now talk speak of the Gilded Age or the Greatest Generation?
- "Alternative Facts" and Morality (Tor Guimaraes, USA 02/27/19 3:08 AM)