Information

Eric Hedin: Information and Nature

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In a short article posted recently at Reasons to Believe Scholars’ blog, I present some conceptual considerations of information, nature and life.

The question of the significance of human existence comes sharply into focus as we consider the origin of life itself. Do the laws of nature support the origin of life from nonlife, or do they argue against it? In order to address this question, it is helpful to consider a defining characteristic of all living things, namely their phenomenal information content. Naturalistic explanations attempting to reach the heights of information content found in even the simplest living thing have appealed to “dumb luck” or to some unobserved natural law. However, consideration of the known and observed laws of physics in conjunction with the finite limits of “chance” within our universe appear to rule out any natural origin of the vastly complex biomolecular metropolis found within the cells of life.

The information content of the universe exponentially increased with the formation of the first living organism. Since natural processes always work to lower the information content of any closed (or effectively closed) system over time, the origin of life represents an unnatural event in the history of our universe.

See full article at Reasons to Believe Scholars’ Blog

48 Replies to “Eric Hedin: Information and Nature

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “The information content of the universe exponentially increased with the formation of the first living organism. Since natural processes always work to lower the information content of any closed (or effectively closed) system over time, the origin of life represents an unnatural event in the history of our universe.”
    – Eric Hedin – Ph.D. in Physics

    To state the obvious, besides arguing against atheistic naturalism, this scientific evidence also argues against Deism (and/or Theistic evolution).

    Return of the God Hypothesis – Stephen Meyer – book review
    Excerpt: theism provides a better overall explanation than deism of the three key facts about biological and cosmological origins under examination: (1) the material universe had a beginning; (2) the material universe has been finely tuned for life from the beginning; and (3) large discontinuous increases in functionally specified information have entered the biosphere since the beginning. Deism can explain the first two of those facts; theism can explain all three.
    https://returnofthegodhypothesis.com/book/preview/

    Does Front-End Loading & Theistic Evolution Explain the Information in Life? – Stephen Meyer – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW0985W4rks

    Stephen Meyer – The Four Great Discoveries of Modern Science That Prove God Exists (‘competing worldviews’, 3:15 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hls6dawWQL0&t=194s

  2. 2
    jerry says:

    the origin of life represents an unnatural event in the history of our universe

    Certainly, the four laws of nature are unable to create the information we see in life unless initial conditions were set up to somehow channel these forces into forming the necessary steps to produce life. This is what atheists and theistic evolutionists (TEs) believe happened though the TEs most probably never express it this way. Both just assume the physical forces in the right environment would lead to life which is the same thing as having the right initial conditions.

    Similarly both mainly believe Darwinian processes or some other natural process created complex life. Darwinian processes are self refuting in that they couldn’t achieve the necessary complexity/advanced characteristics without killing the ecologies they must exist in. But they would accept another processes if founded that didn’t have that shortcoming.

    There could have been some other initial conditions long since gone that could have channeled complex life to where we see it today. I’m sure they would accept this. There is always the ecology issue no matter what material mechanism formed complex life.

    But a major problem for theistic evolutionists is why create life this way and then have a creator who they believe interacts with this life. The TEs also believe the highest form of life was created/modified personally by the creator.

    In this way the TEs differ dramatically from atheists. But in a lot of ways they are very similar. People here at UD who are mainly Christians may find it hard to believe that most who go to church each Sunday are TEs.

    Granted they probably don’t think about it very much or very deeply. But it doesn’t bother them.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    The information content of the universe exponentially increased with the formation of the first living organism.

    In an Intelligently Designed universe that is false. Information cannot be created nor destroyed. It was always there, just untapped/ unused.

  4. 4
    harry says:

    Consider the following imaginary scenario:

    I say to you “This will take a while but stick around and you will witness a miracle!” You agree to stay. I then proceed to flip a coin 1,024 times and you check my accuracy as I record at each coin toss whether it resulted in heads or tails. When I am done:

    Harry: You have just witnessed a stunning miracle.

    You: I’m not stunned at all. I couldn’t be further from being stunned. So what should have stunned me?

    Harry: The odds of getting that particular series of heads and tails by chance are 1 in 2^1024, or, in base ten, 1.79769 * 10^308. It has never happened before by chance and it will never happen again by chance.

    You: I can easily perform the same “miracle” although it will be with a different series of heads and tails. All that you say of your results will true of mine. You haven’t demonstrated anything miraculous.

    And you would be exactly right. Some result had to occur, the probability of which (before the event) was infinitesimal. But then I say “Okay, but remember, you watched as I recorded the coin toss results. Let’s say heads equals zero and tails equals one, and then map the zeros and ones into 8-bit bytes, which we will decipher according to ASCII encoding of the English alphabet and punctuation.” We do that and it results in the text:

    HEADS IS EQUAL TO ZERO AND TAILS IS EQUAL TO ONE TRANSLATED INTO ASCII ENDODING OF THE ALPHABET RESULTS IN THIS TEXT. A MIRACLE!

    You would be quite justified in accusing me of somehow having control over whether each flip of the coin resulted in heads or tails. Your accusation might be articulated along these lines:

    Give me a break! You cheated somehow. If the translation had resulted in a few short words spelled correctly among mostly gibberish, even though actually getting a couple of words spelled correctly would be unusual, that might still be believable, but your accidentally getting correctly spelled, coherent text that also resulted in a message related to the subject at hand is simply not believable.

    One might rationally believe, even though it would be quite unusual, that natural erosion had inscribed a pattern on a stone that looked somewhat like some kind of cryptic text; but believing that an inscription that turned out to be three versions of the same message written in two languages and three writing systems, as on the Rosetta Stone, was accidentally caused by erosion would be irrational – as it would be to believe your deciphered message was an accident.

    When multiple “miracles” are required, as in randomly arrived at zeros and ones the translation of which into ASCII character encoding results in words instead of gibberish, and those words just happen to be arranged such that a coherent thought was produced, and that thought also relates to the subject at hand, or, when scratch marks on a stone purportedly the result of mindless erosion are not only actual text, but also multiple versions of the same message in different writing systems and languages, then just assuming all that is a mindless accident, not the work of an intelligent agent, is irrational.

    The only rational thing to believe about your “miracle” is that it was the result of thoughtful planning on your part.

    And that such an argument can and should be made is precisely the point. First, we had an extremely unlikely event in that the natural Universe emerged from nothingness. Next, in spite of it being a virtual impossibility, physical reality emerged from nothingness with low enough entropy that biological life would be a possibility, even if it was an extremely unlikely one; thirdly, even though the a priori probability of life actually emerging verged upon zero, life did indeed emerge. That’s three extremely unlikely events in a row. The only rational thing to believe about that is that it was all the result of thoughtful planning, just as was the inscription on the Rosetta Stone and the message derived from coin tosses.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    ET at 3, I believe you are confusing quantum information with classical information.

    As the following article states, “In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.”

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    Moreover, even in ‘conserved’ quantum information theory, it is now shown that, ““The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”,,,
    quantum information theory,,, describes the spread of information through quantum systems.,,,
    Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,

    The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution – May 2017
    Excerpt: the 19th-century physicist James Clerk Maxwell put it, “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”
    In recent years, a revolutionary understanding of thermodynamics has emerged that explains this subjectivity using quantum information theory — “a toddler among physical theories,” as del Rio and co-authors put it, that describes the spread of information through quantum systems. Just as thermodynamics initially grew out of trying to improve steam engines, today’s thermodynamicists are mulling over the workings of quantum machines. Shrinking technology — a single-ion engine and three-atom fridge were both experimentally realized for the first time within the past year — is forcing them to extend thermodynamics to the quantum realm, where notions like temperature and work lose their usual meanings, and the classical laws don’t necessarily apply.
    They’ve found new, quantum versions of the laws that scale up to the originals. Rewriting the theory from the bottom up has led experts to recast its basic concepts in terms of its subjective nature, and to unravel the deep and often surprising relationship between energy and information — the abstract 1s and 0s by which physical states are distinguished and knowledge is measured.,,,
    Renato Renner, a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, described this as a radical shift in perspective. Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-thermodynamics-revolution/

    And as this earlier article stated, “(in quantum information theory) an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer.”

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 1, 2011
    Excerpt: Recent research by a team of physicists,,, describe,,, how the deletion of data, under certain conditions, can create a cooling effect instead of generating heat. The cooling effect appears when the strange quantum phenomenon of entanglement is invoked.,,,
    The new study revisits Landauer’s principle for cases when the values of the bits to be deleted may be known. When the memory content is known, it should be possible to delete the bits in such a manner that it is theoretically possible to re-create them. It has previously been shown that such reversible deletion would generate no heat. In the new paper, the researchers go a step further. They show that when the bits to be deleted are quantum-mechanically entangled with the state of an observer, then the observer could even withdraw heat from the system while deleting the bits. Entanglement links the observer’s state to that of the computer in such a way that they know more about the memory than is possible in classical physics.,,,
    In measuring entropy, one should bear in mind that an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer. Applied to the example of deleting data, this means that if two individuals delete data in a memory and one has more knowledge of this data, she perceives the memory to have lower entropy and can then delete the memory using less energy.,,,
    No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy.
    Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    As should be obvious, these findings within quantum information theory, of entropy being a property of the observer who describes the system, are VERY friendly to Intelligent Design presuppositions, even to Theistic presuppositions.

    Much more could be said about this subject, but I’ll leave it there for now.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  6. 6
    harry says:

    Bornagain77,

    You need to write a book with all the citations you provide in your posts.

    God bless you!

  7. 7
    ET says:

    The information is not deleted. It is just removed from a particular material substrate. All of the information we use and accept as information, already exists. And it existed before our arrival. In his book, “Why is a Fly Not a Horse?”, Giuseppe Sermonti hints at this. And in “In the Beginning was Information”, Werner Gitt makes that case.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    “All of the information we use and accept as information, already exists. And it existed before our arrival.”

    So ET, to ask the obvious question, do you actually believe that Hamlet existed in this universe before it was written by Shakespeare?

  9. 9
    polistra says:

    Nature is capable of making some highly organized and self-sustaining objects. Trying to distinguish life solely on the basis of organization isn’t likely to get there.

    Example of a highly organized object tonight:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10158389990556599&set=a.10150148744166599

    The distinction has to start with PURPOSEFUL NEGATIVE FEEDBACK. That’s the ONLY thing present in all life and absent in all non-life.

  10. 10
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Bornagain77

    ET

    “All of the information we use and accept as information, already exists. And it existed before our arrival.”

    So ET, to ask the obvious question, do you actually believe that Hamlet existed in this universe before it was written by Shakespeare?

    Hamlet is the effect of imagination of a man.

  11. 11
    William J Murray says:

    ET @7:
    Absolutely correct. If the information doesn’t already exist in the form of potential, it cannot be accessed or “drawn out” of potential into an observable state. All information that has ever been, or ever will be, accessed or made “actual” in any way, necessarily already existed in potentia.

  12. 12
    Silver Asiatic says:

    True. We can’t create something from nothing.
    Information that we move from potential-to-actual has to come from a pre-existing source.
    We can adjust and rearrange information in new ways (like Hamlet) but it’s not a creation from nothing — all the information already existed in potentia or even as actualized information reused and rearranged.

  13. 13
    ET says:

    Bornagain77:

    So ET, to ask the obvious question, do you actually believe that Hamlet existed in this universe before it was written by Shakespeare?

    Absolutely. We are not inventors. We are discoverers. We discovered math. We did not invent it. Everything math has always existed.

    Information cannot be created nor destroyed.

  14. 14
    JVL says:

    William J Murray: All information that has ever been, or ever will be, accessed or made “actual” in any way, necessarily already existed in potentia.

    Hang on, let me get my head around this . . .

    Let’s say the asteroid that smacked into the Earth about 66 million years ago had missed. That might have dramatically changed the way life developed on Earth. That means different books and plays and paintings and buildings and other information carrying objects would have been created. But all that is inherit in the system?

    Considering that there are literally countless events that potentially changed the ‘future’ dramatically how much information can be potential in the system? It seems to me that you are saying there is virtually an infinite amount of potential information somewhat ready to go. That sounds suspiciously like a multiple universes view of things.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    OMG, I agree with most of what JVL wrote.

    That’s scary! 🙂

  16. 16
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: OMG, I agree with what JVL wrote.

    Don’t get used to that!!

    But I am curious to see what the response will be. Just because I can’t wrap my head around these notions of information doesn’t make them incorrect. I’d just like the thoughts spelled out a bit more. Is it possible that all possible information is already inherent in the system?

    Does that not argue against free will and creativity? If I’m wrong then tell me.

  17. 17
    Jorge says:

    I’ve proposed a different view of information. I call it ‘Comprehensive Information Theory (CIT)’.
    I posted a short (13-minute) video on YouTube to introduce CIT.

    Below is the link – please comment or PM me (jor27ge@cfl.rr.com). Thank you.

    Title of YouTube video is: A General Introduction to CIT

    Direct YouTube video link is: https://youtu.be/qBzzL0_pZf4

    Jorge
    jor27ge@cfl.rr.com

  18. 18
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Let’s say the asteroid that smacked into the Earth about 66 million years ago had missed.

    Doesn’t matter. Most, if not all, of the big dinosaurs were already gone.

    That might have dramatically changed the way life developed on Earth.

    Might not have. Could have been another global disaster.

    That means different books and plays and paintings and buildings and other information carrying objects would have been created.

    Not necessarily.

    But all that is inherit in the system?

    Absolutely. Just like all the matter and energy required are inherent in the system. Information is neither matter nor energy. So, it doesn’t take up any space.

  19. 19
    William J Murray says:

    Jorge @17, I clicked your link and the page says the video is no longer available.

  20. 20
    William J Murray says:

    JVL said:

    Considering that there are literally countless events that potentially changed the ‘future’ dramatically how much information can be potential in the system? It seems to me that you are saying there is virtually an infinite amount of potential information somewhat ready to go. That sounds suspiciously like a multiple universes view of things.

    Multiverse theory is a conceptualization rooted in materialism, originally proposed as one explanation for the data from quantum physics experimental results. Further experimentation has disproved materialism, so the classical multiverse model is no longer viable.

    Unfortunately for pretty much everyone here on both sides of these debates, decades of experiments designed for the purpose of preserving some form of realism (materialism is a form of realism) have actually disproved realism, leaving only ontological idealism as capable of explaining the results of the experiments.

    This means that information is the currency of experience. Not objects with innate information. Not energy carrying information. Just information. It is information that constructs objects and energy and patterns and physical laws in our experience, just as it does in a dream.

    Under an idealist ontology, what does it mean to say there is a “universe,” or “many universes?” Under idealism, all you can be talking about when you say “a universe” is the aggregate information that has been transformed into the experience of a sentient being.

    There are as many “universes” as there are sentient beings because each sentient being is processing, to some degree, different information because of their individual perspective. Without some form of realism, that’s all that can be occurring. There is no set “universe” out there that everyone is accessing. To the degree our experiences correlate with each other, we may be accessing the same informational potentials and translating them into highly corresponding experiences, but that information is not “out there” in any innate “realism” format. All that potential information is within all of us being directly accessed and translated into personal experiences in mind.

    What all is in the potential? Anything you can imagine. (I would argue, anything anyone can possibly imagine, any possible experience.) If it wasn’t in the potential, you would not be able to imagine it, because the act of imagining something still requires the potential to experience it that way, even if only in one’s imagination.

    But, under an idealist ontology, what is imagination? It may not be what it appears to be under a materialist ontology. Under idealism, what is “real” has an entirely different meaning. Under idealism, what is real is experience, and imagination is an experience.

  21. 21
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    Is it possible that all possible information is already inherent in the system?

    If God didn’t possess all possible information, then where would he get the rest of it from? With infinite being, everything that could possibly exist, must exist in God. Nothing “new” can be created outside of His Being (which is the fullness of existence). So, all information already exists.

    Does that not argue against free will and creativity? If I’m wrong then tell me.

    If I build a house, I’m using materials that already exist. I’m using an idea that already exists (what a house is, what a roof, door, walls, floors are, etc.). I may make a house that never existed before, but all of the information already existed. Creativity is not harmed because I re-arranged already existing materials and ideas.
    The house is in a “new location” – but the location already exists. So, there’s “new information in that location”. But it’s really a rearrangement of existing information. Existing materials, ideas and the location already existed. It’s not a creation from nothing. It’s just positioning what was already there.
    It’s the same with an idea. The words already exist, the concepts used exist, the logic exists.
    We may discover a new mathematical process, but we don’t create it – it’s already inherent in mathematics, we just reveal the potential that was always there.
    We don’t have the power to create something from nothing. We have to make use what exists already. Whatever information we create existed potentially and inherently in reality already.

  22. 22
    ET says:

    That all information already exists explains why revelation is a way of knowing. Srinivasa Ramanujan is a perfect example of knowledge via revelation. As is Nikola Tesla. Their revelations were only possible because of the fact the information already existed. And somehow, they were able to tap into it.

  23. 23
    ET says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    If God didn’t possess all possible information, then where would he get the rest of it from?

    I honestly thought that would have come from bornagain77. Well played.

  24. 24
    doubter says:

    The notion that all possible information is already inherent in the physical system of Nature doesn’t make sense. For instance it totally denies human much less God’s creativity. For instance, the obvious artistic and musical creativity of the great artists and composers. This is claiming for example that Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 (Haffner) and Rembrandt’s self portraits always existed in some sort of potential that “only” had to be uncovered or decoded by intelligence. Or in another field entirely, that Edison’s light bulb already existed in the year 1500 AD. An invention with no inventor, ever. Nonsense.

    These works of music and art were humanly meaningful information consisting of organizations of musical tones of particular frequencies and other characteristics, and patterns of paint in colors, light and shade, etc., that simply didn’t exist before their creators slowly developed their unique personalities and backgrounds and created them as ineffable acts of sentient consciousness. Mozart and Rembrandt didn’t exist before being born and living their lives leading to these creative acts of imaginative intelligence informed by a deep knowledge of musical forms, sounds, etc. This should be intuitively obvious.

    I would challenge holders of this theory to find and reveal the patterns and information in Nature constituting these unique creative works, in Nature before the composer’s and artist’s and inventor’s births and lives. That information was simply not there to be found, for instance in the year 1500 AD.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    Doubter:

    The notion that all possible information is already inherent in the physical system of Nature doesn’t make sense.

    It makes perfect sense. All possible energy and matter already exist

    For instance, the obvious artistic and musical creativity of the great artists and composers.

    OK. Those people were the ones who discovered it.

    Information is neither matter or energy. Yet we accept that all the matter and energy that is available is inherent in the system.

  26. 26
    doubter says:

    ET:

    “All possible energy and matter already exist.”

    I suppose so, in the form of elementary particles and energy quanta, but all possible CONFIGURATIONS of energy and matter (as constituting these works of music and art and invention)? I don’t think so.

    “Information is neither matter or energy. Yet we accept that all the matter and energy that is available is inherent in the system.”

    Rather nebulous generalities. I notice that you don’t specify exactly where and in what form the information of Mozart’s Haffner Symphony, and Rembrandt’s self-portraits, and Edison’s light bulb existed in the year 1500. And if this pre-existing information was not instantiated in either matter or energy, then exactly how or in what form? And exactly how did these artistic and musical and inventive creators access that information? I’m waiting.

  27. 27
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Doubter
    Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 (Haffner) and Rembrandt’s self portraits always existed

    Indeed music ,art, all human inventions didn’t exist before. If you buy a Lego and build a new structure that doesn’t mean that structure existed before but just was on the set of all possible forms that Lego can build.
    A new information can be invented by a mind and doesn’t exist on an abstract shelf of all possible informations waiting to jump like a ghost in a new invention.

  28. 28
    ET says:

    doubter- research Srinivasa Ramanujan and Nikola Tesla. What else explains their revelations besides that the information already existed?

    How? Because that is how the universe was intelligently designed. Information cannot be created or destroyed.

    Form? Information doesn’t have any form.

  29. 29
    Silver Asiatic says:

    LCD

    A new information can be invented by a mind and doesn’t exist on an abstract shelf of all possible informations …

    Do you think we surprise God when we come up with a new thought? Do you think God is learning something new each day when He sees what humans do? Perhaps God is ignorant and we teach Him new things with all the new information we create?
    Did we invent music, for example?
    Or did God create the possibility for music with notes that fit a finite scale suitable for the human ear, and the genius of Mozart was to discover what was available within those scales and patterns and make them come to life?
    The potential for legos to be certain things exist within the reality of what legos are. That people can arrange them in new ways make “new information” from the human vantage point, but we’re talking from God’s perspective – where all information, truth and knowledge resides.

  30. 30
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Doubter

    And exactly how did these artistic and musical and inventive creators access that information?

    Mozart and Rembrant would have said they accessed it through the Holy Spirit enlightening them – or artistic inspiration. Mozart was a genius but he didn’t invent music. He just discovered what was possible within the notes, tones and structures that were given as part of human reality.
    We didn’t invent logic or math or music – or even the capability of pigment to go on canvas and portray human life (as with Rembrant’s portrait). Those were given to human life as sources of information — and the ultimate source comes from the intelligent creator of life and the universe.

  31. 31
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    .Form? Information doesn’t have any form.

    🙂 No form no information. Do you know an information that can be recognised without the help of a form ?

    Nobody can “see” an information without the help of a form (information is molded in matter or energy).

  32. 32
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Silver Asiatic
    Do you think we surprise God when we come up with a new thought?

    🙂 You are doing it wrong. Don’t use God card as if it’s your personal perspective because is not. Maybe you want to contribute to discussion with your more down to earth arguments , like using logic and reason until we reach the point of impasse and then you can use your “I know God’s mind” card . Was a time when there were no humans on earth and then after a while were humans on earth and you say that nothing is new. 🙂

    PS: But I could be wrong and you indeed know God’s mind so I would like to explain to us how God knows from the beginning of time the exact time /date/ content of your next message on this forum.

  33. 33
    doubter says:

    Silver Asiatic and ET

    Concerning the issue of your claim of the eternal pre-existence of all the information constituting all of the free-will sentient conscious creations of artists, composers and inventors, I suppose that in principle this information may have eternally existed in God’s mind. But this is totally irrelevant to human life. This information certainly has not eternally existed in this physical Universe, and humans live and work in this physical Universe, where artistic, musical, inventive and other categories of human activity have brought supremely meaningful and sometimes beautiful new organizational information into existence, works that are the result of great conscious sentient creative imaginative effort.

    Also, this claim of the eternal pre-existence of all humanly created and humanly meaningful information has some unfortunate implications.

    It is a spiritual view that totally devalues human creative accomplishment, sweat and tears. If God ultimately has forever known precisely what each of His created souls (with their Divinely imbued consciousness and free will) will accomplish and create in this physical world, then He has manipulated human life from the beginning, with human beings really puppets or robots carrying out preordained instructions.

    One implication of this is that there are no higher but still humanly meaningful justifications for suffering – it has been ordained for Man from the beginning. Your views seem to be along the lines of Calvinism and predestination, where Calvin himself defined predestination as “the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man.”
    A sure recipe for nihilism and despair.

  34. 34
    ET says:

    Again, how did the revelations of Srinivasa Ramanujan and Nikola Tesla work without that information already existing?

    Information, as with matter and energy, cannot be created nor destroyed.

  35. 35
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    ET
    Again, how did the revelations of Srinivasa Ramanujan and Nikola Tesla work without that information already existing?

    Information, as with matter and energy, cannot be created nor destroyed.

    This is false: matter and energy had a beginning so obviously can be created(not by humans ). Energy is
    consumed therefore is destroyed from the initial level of free energy (heat death of the universe).
    About information : God created the information about atomic bomb , ar about Hitler, Stalin killing millions before the creation of the world ? If yes, then you make God responsible.

    🙂 Not only Tesla or Ramanujan but many other people (that are focused much more than others) and have natural gifts toward a certain domain understand things earlier than “the majority” . Barbara McClintock (“jumping gene”) understood from 1944 what “the leaders of science” will understand only after 40 years .

  36. 36
    doubter says:

    ET and Silver Asiatic

    I notice that you have not responded to most of the points I have made in these posts, especially 33.

    Kekule famously visualized the structure of benzene in a dream. This can most readily be explained as the workings of the unconscious/subconscious mind, which has amazing capacities, including sometime access to the spiritual realm. The unconscious/subconscious mind sometimes works behind the scenes, in its own mysterious way, and has found its way to a solution. Typically, this is only after the often genius level person has spent many years totally absorbing and understanding the existing information and theory of the subject or area. This effort embeds this knowledge in the unconscious/subconscious mind to be used by it.

    Also famously, Mozart had entire scores of operas and symphonies and sonatas come to him as fast as he could transcribe them. This does not detract from the essential component of his having carried out many years of prior study and composition. Rather than the notion that Mozart read the entire inspired structure of his Symphony No. 35 from something like the spiritualist concept of the Akashic Records embedded forever (having no composer) in spiritual reality (surely an illogical concept since a massive structure of complex specified information only can come from intelligence), it is much more likely that higher spiritual beings were intelligent creative agents that greatly assisted Mozart in this endeavor, in addition to his own subconscious mind.

  37. 37
    ET says:

    Yes, the unconscious mind has the ability to tap into all of the existing information.

  38. 38
    ET says:

    LCD:

    matter and energy had a beginning

    So, God had a beginning? The cosmic egg had a beginning?

  39. 39
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Doubter

    it is much more likely that higher spiritual beings were intelligent creative agents that greatly assisted Mozart in this endeavor, in addition to his own subconscious mind

    Yes, that does seem right.
    Daniel Tammet’s story is evidence that the information exists in a spiritual realm and our mind taps into it:

    Daniel Tammet – The Boy With The Incredible Brain
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbASOcqc1Ss

  40. 40
    Silver Asiatic says:

    doubter

    It is a spiritual view that totally devalues human creative accomplishment, sweat and tears.

    Because we have been created by God and we owe our continued existence, as well as all the gifts of intelligence and even physical powers (our sweat and tears) and the opportunities we have to use such things – to the continued providence of God, does not devalue what we are or what we do.
    It may devalue it in the eyes of atheists, but they proclaim a devalued reality anyway. But if God has created us, we have great meaning and value, even if we cannot create things from nothing.

    If God ultimately has forever known precisely what each of His created souls (with their Divinely imbued consciousness and free will) will accomplish and create in this physical world, then He has manipulated human life from the beginning, with human beings really puppets or robots carrying out preordained instructions.

    That doesn’t follow. Knowing what we will do does not mean we have lacked freedom of choice to do things. God is omniscient because He exists eternally and there can be no new information added over an infinite span. He is fullness of being – our knowledge doesn’t add anything to His completeness. Otherwise, he would be ignorant and capable of learning more – and thus lacking perfection.

    One implication of this is that there are no higher but still humanly meaningful justifications for suffering – it has been ordained for Man from the beginning. Your views seem to be along the lines of Calvinism and predestination, where Calvin himself defined predestination as “the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man.”
    A sure recipe for nihilism and despair.

    It’s nihilism and despair because it confuses God’s care for His creatures with the idea that our actions are determined by God. The idea that we can freely choose and also merit reward or punishment for our free moral actions, is not in conflict with the fact that God knows all things. He has created the world for a reason and He gives his creatures a chance to participate in free decisions and choices to love or hate, to do good or evil.
    These are not forced on people as the Calvinist doctrine would have it. The freedom we have belongs to us – it’s what we experience and it is real. A parent may know what a child will choose in certain situations, but the parent is not forcing the child to choose those things.

  41. 41
    doubter says:

    Silver Asiatic

    The idea that we can freely choose and also merit reward or punishment for our free moral actions, is not in conflict with the fact that God knows all things. He has created the world for a reason and He gives his creatures a chance to participate in free decisions and choices to love or hate, to do good or evil.

    The problem here is that God is not just omniscient, but He is supposedly also omnipotent, all-powerful. That means that God would have known that for instance, 6 million Jews would be killed in the Holocaust unless certain multiple human free will decisions were changed. Given these assumptions about God, God knew what these free will decisions would be, yet rather than change these decisions (or other circumstances) chose to do nothing. Logical conclusions: either (1) God is not good, or (2) God either can not control (or chooses not to control) human free will decisions, or (3) cannot predict such evil free will human decisions. (1) is clearly unacceptable, so obviously either options (2) or (3) are the case.

    If God is truly and absolutely omniscient and omnipotent, then He is ultimately responsible for all that happens in heaven and earth, including all the painfully achieved human artistic, musical, inventive and other categories of creative endeavors. And that means that these human endeavors and works of artistic, musical, etc. creativity must have been preplanned by God, and therefore these human beings must have been controlled so as to create these works. This applies also to all other human actions. Again, the conclusion must be that humans must be puppets or robots that only seem to have free will.

    So our preferred Deistic metaphysics should be that God does have certain limitations, either absolute or self-imposed, so that our human lives can have meaning, purpose and goodness..

  42. 42
    ET says:

    God is not beholden to our definitions.

    This information certainly has not eternally existed in this physical Universe,…

    This physical universe hasn’t existed eternally. But all the information has existed in this physical universe. We will never add any information to it.

  43. 43
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Silver Asiatic
    Daniel Tammet’s story is evidence that the information exists in a spiritual realm and our mind taps into it

    What about all the evil that happens in the world(much more than good) ? Some people watched too many hollywood movies. Or maybe they taped in the wrong spiritual realm? To say that all wars/crimes in the world were already in the spiritual realm when those people didn’t even exist is to accuse God of preparing the evil and take the responsability from people who do evil.

    ET
    So, God had a beginning? The cosmic egg had a beginning?

    So, you’re telling me that Hitler “information” was in God mind from eternity ?

    ET
    We will never add any information to it.

    You’ve just added a new lie so it’s possible to add new information. 🙂

  44. 44
    ET says:

    LCD:

    So, you’re telling me that Hitler “information” was in God mind from eternity ?

    No. Just in our universe.

    You’ve just added a new lie…

    Your ignorance does not equate to me lying. 🙂

  45. 45
    Silver Asiatic says:

    doubter

    The problem here is that God is not just omniscient, but He is supposedly also omnipotent, all-powerful. That means that God would have known that for instance, 6 million Jews would be killed in the Holocaust unless certain multiple human free will decisions were changed.

    About 120 billion people have lived on earth – and all of them died. How many died “the second death”? That’s for you to consider or predict.
    But this blog isn’t the best place for us to discuss religion.

    Given these assumptions about God, God knew what these free will decisions would be, yet rather than change these decisions (or other circumstances) chose to do nothing.

    Nothing aside from creating your life, giving you personhood, creating the universe, and creating an eternal destiny for each person. I could go into additional gifts God has given humanity and the universe, but again – it’s a religious conversation.

    Logical conclusions: either (1) God is not good, or (2) God either can not control (or chooses not to control) human free will decisions, or (3) cannot predict such evil free will human decisions. (1) is clearly unacceptable, so obviously either options (2) or (3) are the case.

    Why do you skip over the most basic conclusion that life on this earth is temporary – it’s a proving ground, and there is recompense in the hereafter? Eye has not seen, ear has not heard of the glory and greatness given to those who love God. This is what believers think – so why exclude their idea from your “logical options”? Again, you’re probing theological and religious issues so I’d think you’d want to use religious understandings in your analysis. If you’re approaching the topic from an atheistic perspective then that doesn’t make a lot of sense. If God doesn’t exist, then there’s no sense in saying what God could or couldn’t do.

    If God is truly and absolutely omniscient and omnipotent, then He is ultimately responsible for all that happens in heaven and earth, including all the painfully achieved human artistic, musical, inventive and other categories of creative endeavors.

    By his omnipotence he has given us an opportunity to make free choices, practice virtue or sin and have ownership for our actions.

    And that means that these human endeavors and works of artistic, musical, etc. creativity must have been preplanned by God, and therefore these human beings must have been controlled so as to create these works.

    God has created human beings with the capability of having free choice, within limits. That’s why we have a conscience and feel good or bad depending on the nature of our actions.

    So our preferred Deistic metaphysics should be that God does have certain limitations, either absolute or self-imposed, so that our human lives can have meaning, purpose and goodness..

    Yes, omnipotence and omniscience does not mean that God does not have limitations. God cannot destroy himself, for example – if you want to call that a limitation. There are many other things that the reality of eternal being is limited on. If you want to say that God is limited in His relationship with human beings that works also. God allows humans to make free choices, so God has limits there.
    Again a parent may know what a child will choose but knowing that does not force the child to that choice.

    The point at the beginning remains – all of the information is known eternally to God. This does not mean that He forces people to do things.

  46. 46
    Silver Asiatic says:

    LCD

    What about all the evil that happens in the world(much more than good) ?

    I’d call the crucifixion of Christ the worst evil that happened in the world. You think Jesus didn’t know it (and He didn’t predict it) and that God Himself was surprised it happened? It was even predicted in the book of Isaiah.
    I thought you were a Christian of one sort – not sure on that. It’s a religious conversation at this point so off-topic here.

  47. 47
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Silver Asiatic
    I’d call the crucifixion of Christ the worst evil that happened in the world.

    Can you use an logic argument that is not related to religion?

    Theologic arguments don’t convince the materialists and who is already a Christian know your arguments and is no need to be convinced.

    First you say we can’t know the attributes of God from biology and next day you use directly the attributes of God to make “scientific” arguments . The foreknowledge of God is translated as :information (about all events from this world) is present before world is created. I know that by faith but I don’t understand how this happens , neither you but you present it if you understand it. You just believe that is the case but somehow you present a faith aquired knowledge as logical argument, which is not.

  48. 48
    Querius says:

    Lieutenant Commander Data @47,

    Theologic arguments don’t convince the materialists and who is already a Christian know your arguments and is no need to be convinced.

    Yes, I agree with you. Your observation is similar to what Blaise Pascal wrote in his notes, Pensées, that “Christian evidences are evidences for Christians.”

    1. While my Christian faith is the most wonderful and precious aspect of my life, it’s based on faith and not on science. With the exception of Darwinism, science is NOT based on faith, but on observation, careful experimentation, and logical conclusions.

    2. Conversely, my Christian faith not in conflict with the scientific method, although scientific understanding is in constant flux. Indeed, the earliest written description of the full scientific method is found in the book of Daniel often dated 2,600 years before the present.

    3. I’m not in favor about injecting speculations about God into the discussions at Uncommon Descent for the following reasons:

    (3a) Uncommon Descent is not a theological website,

    (3b) Intelligent Design is not a theological position (ID takes no position on the source of the intelligence),

    (3c) the probability that speculations about God, His nature, His thoughts, His motives are wrong is virtually guaranteed to be 100% because

    (3c1) the Bible clearly states this, and

    (3c2) extrapolating the mind-blowing genius and complexity of God’s presumed creation, the chance of our comprehending the Creator’s mind approaches 0%. Christianity and Judaism are revealed and NOT deduced faiths. Any human presumption beyond this is disrespectful of the Creator, ignoring the warnings from the Bible (both the Tanakh and the B’rit Chadashah).

    3d) Frequent posts here by Darwinists and trollbots to introduce God into the discussion have a purpose including, but not limited to

    3d1) Trolling for fun and ridiculing those who’ve chosen the presumption of design in their scientific endeavors.

    3d2) Demonstrating that ID is a theistic position.

    3d3) Promoting a doctrinal position.

    3d4) Reassuring those who have lost their faith through bitter experiences that their atheism is a logically inevitable conclusion (which it’s not).

    -Q

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