xenophanean: (Default)
[personal profile] xenophanean
Ok, here's one which no-one's been able to adequately explain to me:

A person/thing wakes up in a universe. He/she/it doesn't understand, or know the universe, but does know three things (for absolutely certain,  really knows, they're True, (rules of the universe, what one might call 'divine knowledge')):

1) That this is the only universe
2) That he/she/it is the only possible conscious being
3) That this is the only possible universe that he/she/it could have existed in.

Is said individual right to think that there is some sort of creator/ceative urge who wanted/required him/her/it in it?

I'm told that the answer is No. I'm prepared to accept that he/she/it just doesn't know, not enough info.

I'd really like to be convinced of Yes or No. But I'd also like get an explanation of what "not enough info" means in this case too.

Re: Intelligent Design

Date: 2009-10-07 12:29 pm (UTC)
ext_159540: (Default)
From: [identity profile] leynos.livejournal.com
My question for this hypothetical person is, why does the state of the universe have to be explained with a conscience?

This person is anthropomorphizing (or whatever their equivalent is) their universe.

I'd suggest that their explanation for the state of their universe is one of myriad possible explanations, the correctness of which they can probably never know.

IMO, it's perfectly valid to use this explanation as a placeholder in a larger structure that allows them to understand their universe and their place in it, with the proviso that they do not make any extrapolations from this placeholder. I.e., no understanding should be derived from this placeholder belief that would come crashing to the ground were it to be replaced with any other possible explanation.

Therein, I feel lies both the greatest strength and weakness of belief as a tool for understanding.

That's my opinion on the matter. I know nothing about philosophy, so of course, it's probably wrong.

Date: 2010-12-03 01:54 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
If it's the only universe, and they're the only conscious being, then the only person who could have wanted anything is themselves. Therefore the most likely hypothesis is that they killed everything else in the universe, and then wiped their own memory of having done so, so that they wouldn't feel guilty about it.

Date: 2010-12-03 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xenophanean.livejournal.com
Which would be in the Yes camp. Not what I'd have initially have said was the most likely hypothesis, but along the same lines as what I'd be likely to think in the situation.

Unfortunately this is a fairly bad way of putting the question which I'm really trying to ask. I was trying to find a metaphor for the following complex situation:

1) We find out this is the only universe (there are other possibles, but they definitely haven't happened, and never will, in any sense).
2) We find out that the particular universal constants are the *only* exact combination of constants which could create any form of consciousness (all other possibles produce nothing interesting, point singularities etc.)
3) The constants in question are arbitrary (i.e. in one of the other possible universes, which definitely won't happen in any sense, the constants could have been of an infinity of different values)

Do we then have a good reason for suggesting some sort of intelligence or purpose behind the universe? This is part of an argument to show that a certain sort of agnostism is reasonable.

Date: 2010-12-03 04:24 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
If there are infinite possibilities, only one actuality, and that actuality is special in a unique manner, then that would seem to be a pointer towards something guiding the creation of that actuality.

However, that just leaves you with wondering where the guiding force came from - and if they created this universe, what would stop them creating a different one with different variables? Also, how would be prove that no other combination of variables would produce the required outcome?

Date: 2010-12-03 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xenophanean.livejournal.com
Yes indeed, it asks many more questions, however, I would come to the same conclusion, that this situation does point to some sort of guiding force. It's all terribly up in the air though, and still says nothing whatsoever about what sort of force.

Date: 2010-12-03 04:36 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Yup - that's one of the things that intermittently annoys me about creationists. They tend to go "People are complex. Therefore there is a creator. And he hates gay people." leaving me thinking that possibly there's a hole or two in their logic process.

Date: 2010-12-03 04:46 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The actual point of the argument is one against atheism. We won't ever know whether the three points above are actually true. Despite this it seems like those three statements are a reasonable possibility for what the true status of the universe could be.

As such, there could be reason to think there is some sort of guiding force behind the universe, albeit, given the number of unknowns involved, we have no idea how to assess the likelihood. Thus, atheism requires a certain amount of faith that this situation (or a similar one) isn't the case, without any evidence either way. So to be completely and firmly atheist is very slightly irrational.

Date: 2010-12-05 10:16 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
My basic argument against atheism is that "lack of proof" does not equal "proof of lack". Just because we've never seen God does not mean that there absolutely definitely isn't one.

It does make certain things a lot less likely, of course. And I find pretty much all of the conceptions I've run into pretty darn silly. But that doesn't mean it's impossible.

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