Fine tuning Intelligent Design

Eric Metaxas responds to critics of his WSJ column on fine-tuning

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Column. Critics. Metaxas’ response here:

Not surprisingly, the piece had plenty of critics. One scientist wrote to the Journal complaining about “religious arguments for the existence of God thinly veiled as scientific arguments” and “allowing a Christian apologist to masquerade as a scientist.”

This objection, which I’m told figured prominently in the comments section at the Journal, essentially amounts to saying that only scientists should be allowed to talk about the religious implications of scientific things. Scientists, it seems, can dabble as metaphysicians, philosophers, and theologians, but not vice-versa.

This is the foregone conclusion even when the person of faith is merely citing scientific findings, as I did. However, this objection is not rooted in science but in scientism, which holds that “empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints.”

The criticism wasn’t limited to comments from atheistic scientists. Several religious believers, including those whose work I respect, took me to task for saying that science can “prove” the existence of God, much less the God of the Bible. As one Christian philosopher put it, a god whose existence can be proved scientifically isn’t God.

That is true, which is why I’m happy that I never said anything resembling that. More.

It actually doesn’t matter what Metaxas said. He challenged the dhimmis for naturalism (nature is all there is) racket. The racket works both sides of the street (atheists and theists).

See also: In defense of Eric Metaxas: Is God a scientific hypothesis?

Note: Of course, from a naturalist perspective, God is not a scientific hypothesis. A scientific hypothesis supports naturalism. That is how you know it is a scientific hypothesis, pure and simple.

Evidence is irrelevant (or else an actual distraction or false trail, or a risk to faith), whether we are talking about cosmology, origin of life, or human evolution, the human mind, or a host of other questions.

Glad we got that sorted. You must not look for evidence for anything but naturalism because if it does not support naturalism, it is not evidence. There. Glad we got that sorted. 😉

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98 Replies to “Eric Metaxas responds to critics of his WSJ column on fine-tuning

  1. 1
    fossil says:

    Denyse, I am glad you are an old battle axe with a thick skin considering all the negativism constantly thrown at you. To me it is obvious that most of the objectors to what you write simply can’t see the forest from the trees. They seem to be so wound up in the world view they have that they fail to think outside the little tiny box they have built for themselves.

    So, thank you once again for sorting it out for us dummies.

  2. 2
    Lou Jost says:

    “A scientific hypothesis supports naturalism. That is how you know it is a scientific hypothesis, pure and simple.”

    Not sure if you were being sarcastic here or sincere. But regardless, I want to stress that for many scientists, science does not presuppose naturalism. Rather, naturalism is an empirical conclusion based on the lack of evidence for the action of Mind directly on nature without physical intermediaries. If it were possible to say some magic words and make miracles happen on demand, then scientists would have to reject most people’s versions of naturalism.

  3. 3
    JoeCoder says:

    I agree with everything in Metaxes’s WSJ article, and only point 2 in Krauss’s response (that we’re finding more exoplanets than ever before), but did anyone else think Metaxes’s response above was pretty underwhelming?

    I thought there was a lot more that could have been said in response.

  4. 4
    anthropic says:

    Lou 2

    Two words: Quantum mechanics.

  5. 5
    Lou Jost says:

    Anthropic, most scientists today consider it a completely naturalistic theory. Yes, there are a few who felt that minds are what collapse the state vector. QM pioneer Eugene Wigner was one of the main proponents of that idea. (I had the honor to converse with him about that before he died.) Today this is a minority position.

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    Completely predictable, Lou. They are obdurate:

    a) Because Wigner’s paradigm is repugnant to their world-view;

    b) Because they know which side their bread is buttered on.

    However, no evidence has ever been adduced, demonstrating that matter could create spirit, even in principle.

    In cosmology, the centrality to the universe of the observer has apparently been proved, according to BA77’s citations, suggesting that we, each live in a little mental world of our own, albeit seamlessly coordinated to mutually coincide at the level of classical, mechanistic physics.

    Our world as a product of our minds was identified by both Bohr and Planck at the very earliest juncture of pioneering QM.

  7. 7
    Lou Jost says:

    Axel, I don’t know BA77’s citations but I am suspicious of your interpretation of them, based on what I know of cosmology. Regarding your comment on Bohr and Planck and the pioneering years of QM, here’s pioneer Heisenberg’s thoughts on “the observer” (Wikipedia). This would certainly be Planck’s opinion as well, and probably Bohr’s opinion too:

    “Of course the introduction of the observer must not be misunderstood to imply that some kind of subjective features are to be brought into the description of nature. The observer has, rather, only the function of registering decisions, i.e., processes in space and time, and it does not matter whether the observer is an apparatus or a human being; but the registration, i.e., the transition from the “possible” to the “actual,” is absolutely necessary here and cannot be omitted from the interpretation of quantum theory.”[2]

  8. 8
    JDH says:

    Lou Jost@2,

    Upon reading your comment I initially thought I would respond in my usual frustrated manner. But I am trying to be a little bit different now and dialogue more than complain.

    You say, “naturalism is an empirical conclusion based on the lack of evidence for the action of Mind directly on nature without physical intermediaries”.

    I am curious what you mean by “lack of evidence”.

    1. There is abundant evidence that current scientific theories of self-organization, evolution over time, etc. are inadequate to explain…

    the amount of information that is contained in life, the fine-tuning of the universe, the uniqueness of human beings, the unbiased observation of consciousness, the unbiased observation of exercise of free will.

    PLEASE NOTE:This is not positive evidence for.. but negative evidence that all existing naturalistic theories can not account for these things.

    2. There is an appalling lack of evidence nor can I think of any way there could be any evidence that any of these things can be accounted for by just presupposing a multiverse.

    3. There is abundant evidence from the world of human beings and the tools and entertainments they invent, that design ( i.e. gathering of information which is specifically used to create something meeting a preplanned functional specification ) is a function of “Mind directly on nature without physical intermediaries”.

    This is positive evidence that it takes a MIND to create the design that we observe.

    4. There is zero successful theories which account for consciousness and some evidence from QM that consciousness is actually more fundamental than matter.

    I could make many more points, but in light of these four observations which I don’t think you can reasonably dispute, how can you claim that naturalism is an empirical deduction rather than an a priori faith assumption?

    IOW there is not a “lack of evidence” but rather a large amount of evidence you reject because of your a priori assumption of naturalism.

  9. 9
    JDH says:

    Lou Jost@2

    I am really curious Lou,

    You claim that there exists a subset of a class of people called scientists,that analyze the existing evidence with their MIND and because of what their MIND chooses based on empirical ( observation and analysis ) reasoning choose to use their natural bodies ( hands and speaking apparatus) to alter natural materials such as paper and electronic memories to create books, create articles, create blog posts, make speeches and many other ways create concentrations of information which are not possible to be generated by chance alone.

    Is the practice of these scientists whose bodies take direct action based on the decision of their MINDS

    1. evidence of “action of MIND directly on nature without physical intermediates.”

    OR

    2. Just deterministic conclusions based on neurons and hormones in their bodies.

    IF you choose option 1 then your argument is over because they provide the evidence you lack.
    IF you choose option 2 then your argument is over because they did not make up their minds based on empirical evidence because they actually do not have a “MIND” they only respond to physical stimuli.

    I don’t think this is a false choice. I don’t see a choice other than 1 or 2.

  10. 10
    Lou Jost says:

    #8 JDH, thanks for sticking to the substance of my comment.

    1. There is abundant evidence that current scientific theories of self-organization, evolution over time, etc. are inadequate to explain…the amount of information that is contained in life, the fine-tuning of the universe, the uniqueness of human beings, the unbiased observation of consciousness, the unbiased observation of exercise of free will.

    That’s quite a mix of statements. We could argue a long time just on this.

    For example, there is no paradox about the information contained in life. Information in the genome is accumulated through interactions with the environment. We can even mimic this in a computer in genetic algorithms.

    The uniqueness of human beings? Virtually all of our so-called uique properties have clear precursors in non-human animals. We are certainly unique in degree but there are no demonstrably unexplainable leaps from our non-human ancestors.

    Exercise of free will? The existence of free will is often debated among philosophers and scientists. There is some evidence that free will is just an illusion our brains present to us. For example, in an experiment on brain stimulation by electrodes, a patient was repeatedly made to move her arm. Her brain invented a narrative which preserved her illusion of free will: she would say “I wanted to wave at that nice doctor” or things to that effect. Yet her action was not really free. We may be poor judges of what is going on deep in our heads.

    2. There is an appalling lack of evidence nor can I think of any way there could be any evidence that any of these things can be accounted for by just presupposing a multiverse.

    You’re mostly right about that. Multiverses have nothing to do with most of those things. The only thing multiverses answer is the fine-tuning problem you mentioned. I hope you can see that they would help with that problem.

    3. There is abundant evidence from the world of human beings and the tools and entertainments they invent, that design ( i.e. gathering of information which is specifically used to create something meeting a preplanned functional specification ) is a function of “Mind directly on nature without physical intermediaries

    No. I don’t see that. “Mind” could just be shorthand for a complex set of physical things.

    4. There is zero successful theories which account for consciousness and some evidence from QM that consciousness is actually more fundamental than matter.

    You are right that we don’t have a theoretical explanation of consciousness. You are wrong about the evidence from QM, though. Yes, there are some fringe scientists and lots of fringe nonm-scientists who think that. But as I’ve pointed out in my other comments, most physicists (including the founders of QM like Heisenberg) think that “observer” is any irreversible recording device, conscious or not.

    Let me describe what would be convincing evidence (to me) that mind was fundamental and not just a shorthand for something based on matter. I would be convinced:

    (1) If merely thinking a particular thought would have a reliable, observable effect on some external object, not mediated by physical intermediaries. As you probably know, claims to do this reliably have uniformly proven to be self-deception or cons. A variation of this would be if sincere prayer were reliably effective.

    (2) If there were reliable evidence that our mind could function independently of our body.

    I do not have an a priori assumption of naturalism. I have come to a belief in naturalism because of the lack of empirical evidence for any other kind of forces acting on our world. (In fact I used to believe some of the same things as you; I changed my mind after much study, not by “assumption”.)

    .

  11. 11
    Lou Jost says:

    JDH 9, I of course choose your Option #2, but reject your unjustified assumption that this makes thought worthless. If a computer program comes up with a useful linear regression from some data, is that linear regression worthless just because it was all done by deterministic processes?

  12. 12
    JDH says:

    I changed my mind

    How did you change your mind? IOW – How in the world does the statement “I changed my mind” jibe with a naturalistic view of the universe.

    In a naturalistic view of the universe there is NO “I”.

    In an naturalistic view of the universe you do not have a mind to change.

    It really frustrates me that you can’t see this. How do you make statements like that without realizing the self-contradictory nature of it?

    IOW – IF you state that you don’t arrive at these things by a priori assumption, then YOU are stating that there is something which you identify as “I” or “MY MIND” that evaluates these abstract propositions and comes to a conclusion.

    This evaluator must be able to understand non-material things like semantic argument, grammar, symbols, words, infinity, zero, NULL set….

    This evaluator CAN NOT simply be something which responds mindlessly to physical input.

    This evaluator then must make conclusions and then tell your physical body to make actions.

    The existence of this evaluator you call your mind defeats your own argument.

    IMHO – the only self-consistent statement you can make is that your physical brain has received enough inputs to make it think that naturalism is correct. You can not make the statement “I CHANGED MY MIND”.

    But then you have no argument whatsoever that MY MIND SHOULD come to the same conclusion as YOUR MIND. The very fact that we argue about this should show you that your ideas are not coherent.

  13. 13
    JDH says:

    if sincere prayer were reliably effective.

    Lou,

    In all honesty, I see this as an incredibly ignorant statement. We can not know what sincere prayer is.

    See, I believe, part of our relationship with God is like this.

    1. He is greater than us, knows all things, and is completely sovereign.
    2. He can not be controlled by us.
    3. Making prayer a consistent way of getting our will would violate his sovereignty.

    So it is a cop out to demand evidence for God is “the reliability of sincere prayer”.

    I suspect you were initially a Christian, who got overwhelmed by the problems of faith and jettisoned your belief. I feel very sorry for you, and wish I could help you.

  14. 14
    Lou Jost says:

    12 JDH,

    How in the world does the statement “I changed my mind” jibe with a naturalistic view of the universe.

    In a naturalistic view of the universe there is NO “I”.

    You are making a caricature of naturalism. A computer can change its output when it obtains additional data. So can a person.

    What you call an "evaluator" can be a strictly natural process in a person's brain.

  15. 15
    Lou Jost says:

    JDH 13,

    Making prayer a consistent way of getting our will would violate his sovereignty.

    Fine, if that is what you believe. I didn’t say your religion would permit my test. I just said that if prayer reliably worked, I’d have to admit that mind was real.

    I should note, though, that some parts of the Bible (I assume you are a Christian) do suggest that your god will answer at least some prayers. Yet we have never seen a positive answer to any amputee’s prayer to give a limb back. Do you suppose those prayers were NEVER sincere? We’ve never seen any prayer answered that violated the laws of physics either.

    No need to feel sorry for me for losing my faith aka seeing through some of my culture’s myths. Life is far more interesting now.

  16. 16
    JDH says:

    What you call an “evaluator” can be a strictly natural process in a person’s brain.

    Except it can’t because you have no argument if it is.

    See this whole argument is based on a “SHOULD”. You think that someone “SHOULD” believe as you do. Your “evaluator” says “Life is far more interesting now.” Well you really do not know that.

    You are making truth claims throughout your arguments. A naturalistic entity (which is what your brain would be if your statements were true ) can not make any truth claims about itself. Your insistence that you have the correct way makes your arguments incoherent and inconsistent. I don’t know why you can’t see that, but it is sad.

    The only claim you can logically make is that you believe there is nothing beyond the natural. You can not conclude that this is true, you can not conclude that others should make the same conclusion. As soon as you do anything of this sort, you are going beyond what a purely physical entity could do.

    You must for logic’s sake either give up your arguments, or give up your premise that you have found the correct solution, but either way your current position is self-contradictory.

  17. 17
    Upright BiPed says:

    For example, there is no paradox about the information contained in life. Information in the genome is accumulated through interactions with the environment. We can even mimic this in a computer in genetic algorithms.

    You are, of course, stretching the truth a wee bit here. You can’t do what you say without inputting into the genetic algorithm the very thing you need to demonstrate, that is the unguided rise of the semiotic system that enables Darwinian evolution in the first place.

    By the way, what do you think of Koonin’s proposition that we must inject the multiverse into the conversation in order to even have a chance (!) of explaining the rise of the translation apparatus that organizes the cell? He’s not particularly known for carelessness. Is he just making up for lost time, or does he have a point given that it’s not possible for local dynamics to explain the system.

  18. 18
    JDH says:

    A computer can change its output when it obtains additional data

    No, it can’t. A computer can’t change anything. Software running on that computer can be programmed to change its output to fit a certain optimization of the data, and can even be programmed to change its optimization algorithm in response to input of data, but it cannot change the data. IT has to be programmed.

    I forgive you if you misspoke, but the difference between hardware ( the computer ) and ( software ) the programs that some engineer has painstakingly designed and implemented in order to make the computer function are important.

  19. 19
    Axel says:

    @Lou your #7:

    Does this not answer your objections, Lou ? Watch it. It’s quite brief, and covers BA77’s points, I believe. Possibly a little more.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5pq7W5yRM

    Your #15, Lou:

    http://www.faithandfamily.org......raynor.htm

    ‘I should note, though, that some parts of the Bible (I assume you are a Christian) do suggest that your god will answer at least some prayers.’

    So, as you have written it, it seems that you believe in a part-time or capricious god, but a miracle-worker just the same.

  20. 20
    Axel says:

    Lou, my reason for asserting that QM has established theism is, understandably, not on the scientific basis adduced by others, but that naturalism can’t handle paradoxes, logical impossibilities which happen to be true, nevertheless, and indeed, incorporated in the scientific proofs. I won’t say, ‘evidence’, but ‘proofs’. This, of course, is not to say that all scientists needful of it, use it.

    It seems clear that the reason why naturalists talk of some paradox being counter-intuitive, is that it is their best shot at evading the manifest truth that their ‘promissory note’ is simply absurd.

    As Bohr put it, ‘If you don’t – well, look, I was going to quote this and that, but if you are not too proud to look up the quotes on the Wikiquotes pages for Bohr and Plank, you will see – well just now I even heard Sean Carrol holding forth on the so-called, ‘counter-intuitive’ nature of the quantum world. And it wholly upends the atheist kernel of naturalism/materialism. Atheists are faced with mysteries they don’t even believe, want to believe exist.

    This quote seems particularly germane :

    ‘It was Planck’s law of radiation that yielded the first exact determination—independent of other assumptions—of the absolute magnitudes of atoms. More than that, he showed convincingly that in addition to the atomistic structure of matter there is a kind of atomistic structure to energy, governed by the universal constant h, which was introduced by Planck. This discovery became the basis of all twentieth-century research in physics and has almost entirely conditioned its development ever since. Without this discovery it would not have been possible to establish a workable theory of molecules and atoms and the energy processes that govern their transformations. Moreover, it has shattered the whole framework of classical mechanics and electrodynamics and set science a fresh task: that of finding a new conceptual basis for all of physics.
    Albert Einstein, “Max Planck in Memorium” (1948)

  21. 21
    Lou Jost says:

    JDH, you are making up categorical statements to fit your position.

    You think that someone “SHOULD” believe as you do. Your “evaluator” says “Life is far more interesting now.” Well you really do not know that

    No, I didn’t say someone should believe as I do. In my opinion, it would be more rational and accurate to believe as I do, but one may not care about rationality or accuracy.

    17 Upright biped,

    You are, of course, stretching the truth a wee bit here. You can’t do what you say without inputting into the genetic algorithm the very thing you need to demonstrate, that is the unguided rise of the semiotic system that enables Darwinian evolution in the first place.

    You are confusing the creation of a semiotic system with the gaining of information in the system over time. In evolution and in genetic algorithms, the system gains information over time by interacting with the world.

    18 JDH, my statement is exactly right. A computer can indeed change its output based on new input. Sure, software is involved. That doesn’t negate my statement.

  22. 22
    Lou Jost says:

    20 Axel, I’ll have to go through that first video more carefully, but my first impression is that it continually confuses observation with consciousness. This is the confusion that my quote from Heisenberg above was aimed at.

    Your quotes from Planck, Bohr, and Carroll are completely irrelevant; they are saying that QM is weird, not that it violates naturalism or says anything about atheism (Sean Carroll, for your information, is a vocal atheist). I (and all other physicists) grant that the quantum world is weird, and that the old view of Newtonian particles circling around in atoms is completely and deeply wrong. This has absolutely no bearing on naturalism. “Counterintuitive” is not the same thing as “non-natural”.

    Local realism, as defined by Einstein, is indeed falsified. As a physics student I followed the various experiments to test Bell’s inequality since 1976, and spent most of my time as a physics grad student studying this stuff and talking to the leaders in the field, including some who were quoted in BH77’s video. While the video is a great resource for bringing the strangeness of QM to public awareness, it goes off the rails toward the end.

    ‘I should note, though, that some parts of the Bible (I assume you are a Christian) do suggest that your god will answer at least some prayers.’

    So, as you have written it, it seems that you believe in a part-time or capricious god, but a miracle-worker just the same.

    That’s a remarkably poor misreading of my comment. I was talking about the Christian god, not mine (I am an atheist, as I said earlier in this thread).

  23. 23
    Upright BiPed says:

    Lou,

    I’m not confusing anything. There is no “information contained in life” without semiosis.

    Your comment that “there is no paradox about the information contained in life” is wholly gratuitous — given that it is not possible to explain the rise of the system by local dynamics (due to the physical discontinuity established in the organization of the system itself).

    If you are merely wishing to posit that translated information can occur once a semiotic system is in place to enable translated information to occur, then that seems rather trivial in comparison to what must occur in order to organize that system in the first place.

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    Lou Jost:

    You are confusing the creation of a semiotic system with the gaining of information in the system over time. In evolution and in genetic algorithms, the system gains information over time by interacting with the world.

    pure unmitigated verbiage

    mere words posing as knowledge

    In what sense do genetic algorithms interact with the world?

  25. 25
    Lou Jost says:

    19 Axel, last night I was thinking about that physics video you linked to. I realized that the experiments it cites show exactly the opposite conclusion from that of the video’s author (and yourself).

    Read any of the experimental papers cited by the video. Every one of them uses mechanical detectors as the “observer”. They had to, because they had to be able to change what was measured between the time a particle went through the slits and the time it hit the wall (or variations on this, for correlated particles). The fast timing was technologically difficult to achieve even using digital electronics; human synapses are far too slow to do this. It is likely that no humans ever experienced the individual experimental events, but simply read data summaries.

    And yet, in spite of no conscious human observations, the experiments still showed the striking effects predicted by QM. This confirms Heisenberg’s statement that “observer” refers to any irreversible process, not specifically a conscious one.

    So yes, QM is weird, but it is a naturalistic theory. The weirdness does not seem to be related to consciousness, much less to theism/atheism.

    The video is also very hasty in its dismissal of the many-worlds interpretation of QM using Occam’s razor.

  26. 26
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Upright Biped

    the unguided rise of the semiotic system

    Lou Jost

    You are confusing the creation of a semiotic system with the gaining of information

    The creation of the system requires the gaining of information.

  27. 27
    Lou Jost says:

    24 Mung, from the harsh tone of your comment, I gather you feel strongly about this. After the strong rhetoric, you ask

    In what sense do genetic algorithms interact with the world?

    All genetic algorithms go through a training phase, in which they are exposed to real-world problems and rewarded if they are able to make some progress towards solving them. Over time, they can get better at solving them. Sometimes they can make better predictions than the best humans. The information which enables them to do so is acquired from the training process, not inserted in advance. This is analogous to what happens in evolution.

  28. 28
    Upright BiPed says:

    Aurelio Smith,

    You asked me a specific question.

    I then spent about 1000 words (using four or five different examples) explaining exactly what I meant.

    You responded with a three–sentence post, ignoring everything I said, and simply repeated the original question.

    So I left the thread.

    Now you suggest that I really mean the word “transfer” when I use the word “translate”, while you simultaneously ignore the fact that every dictionary on the planet contains the sense of the word “translate” exactly as I used the word (…not to mention the fact that I explained the context of my usage in my previous 1000 word response to you).

    If I have not responded to you further, it is because I haven’t considered you a worthwhile conversation partner.

    I have no problem with having a dialogue with you going forward, but you’ll have to step it up. I have no desire to play definition derby over words and concepts that are not even controversial. There are plenty of other people and places on the web where you can exercise yourself without wasting my time.

    If you find this unfair, or wish only to justify your previous response, then we needn’t go forward.

  29. 29
    Box says:

    Lou Jost,

    On consciousness and quantum mechanics. Allow me to refer you to an article by forum member Bornagain77. It contains lots of information and references.

  30. 30
    mike1962 says:

    Lou Jost: in which they are exposed to real-world problems and rewarded if they are able to make some progress towards solving them… The information which enables [genetic algorithms] to do so is acquired from the training process, not inserted in advance. This is analogous to what happens in evolution.

    Which part of this is analogous to what happens in biological evolution?

    Where did the GAs get the ability to learn?

    Are you saying all information in a GA process is not inserted in advance?

    Where did the training parameters and algorithms come from that dishes out “rewards” towards certain goals?

    Where did the computational infrastructure come from, both hardware and software?

    How analogous are the answers to these question to biological evolution?

    Is it fair to say that GAs are designed to evolve toward certain goals?

    Does biological evolution have predetermined rewards towards certain goals?

    If so, what is their origin?

    If not, how are GAs analogous to biological evolution?

  31. 31
    Axel says:

    Thank you, Box, at #32 !

    I would have had to rely on the materialists’ invocation of ‘counter-intuitiveness’, when they mean counter-rationality, i.e. in relation to paradoxes, which of course, in reality, definitively confound their ‘promissory note’.

    When a materialist can explain how the back-history of a particle projected through the two slits, as measured at the last moment before hitting the target screen, can be reloaded, i.e. travelling backwards through time, as it were; and still not nullify their own, still quasi mechanistic world-view, they will deserve to be taken seriously.

    I might try to make good the loss ‘by indirections, but my atheist interlocutors seem so unfailingly courteous, I can no longer bring myself to utter my normal disparagements concerning their lack of nous.

  32. 32
    Lou Jost says:

    32 Box, most of BA77’s links don’t say what he thinks they say. He keeps thinking that quantum paradoxes, or limitations on the degree to which the future is deterministic (“free will”), somehow imply that consciousness plays a central role. This does not follow.

    QM strangeness is correctly described in his writing and his links, but he keeps putting “consciousness” into discussions about “observers” and “observation”. He is wrong that consciousness is an axiomatic part of QM in standard formulations of the theory, though he is right that a few have thought so, such as Wigner and a few others. (Most other physicists before and since Wigner think that he is wrong.)

    The observers mentioned in most of his linked articles are machines, not conscious beings, and the experiments described in the earlier video link cannot even be done with human observers, because they involve very rapid changes in what will be observed. For example, listen to BA77’s link to Alain Aspect’s discussion of John Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment:
    http://vimeo.com/38508798
    You’ll see that yes, the world is very weird, much weirder than most people imagine. But you’ll also see that there is no involvement of consciousness at all. And no coherent argument in favor of theism either. Those conclusions are unjustified additions by BA77.

    There is a whole genre of this type of reasoning about QM. Just because QM reveals the world to be very different from what we imagine with our primitive intuitions, some authors think it supports their own brand of strangeness. Whether it is Deepak Chopra promoting “quantum healing”, Buddhists promoting the Tao, or Henry and Palmquist or BA77 promoting theism, these are unwarranted inferences.

  33. 33
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Which part of this is analogous to what happens in biological evolution?

    It’s important to understand the concept. The environment is often modeled in a genetic algorithm, but is separate from the genome. The environment can be just about anything, from a complex curve to a simulacrum of a natural environment. The key is that there is a heritable difference in reproductive potential due to the environment.

  34. 34
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel,

    We are interested in direct answers to all of our specific questions @33.

  35. 35
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: We are interested in direct answers to all of our specific questions @33.

    It’s still important to understand the concept. The environment is often modeled in a genetic algorithm, but is separate from the genome. The environment can be just about anything, from a complex curve to a simulacrum of a natural environment. The key is that there is a heritable difference in reproductive potential due to the environment.

    mike1962: Which part of this is analogous to what happens in biological evolution?

    The relationship between replicators and the environment.

    mike1962: Where did the GAs get the ability to learn?

    It’s a consequence of replication and the inheritance of differential reproductive potential in the given environment.

    mike1962: Are you saying all information in a GA process is not inserted in advance?

    The information is the relationship between the genome and the environment. The genome incorporates information about that relationship. The environment is considered external for the purposes of the simulation, and can be external in fact.

    mike1962: Where did the training parameters and algorithms come from that dishes out “rewards” towards certain goals?

    Replication in an environment is the given.

    mike1962: Where did the computational infrastructure come from, both hardware and software?

    Algorithms are independent of the programming environment.

    mike1962: How analogous are the answers to these question to biological evolution?

    Some more so than others, but none are complete simulations of nature.

    mike1962: Is it fair to say that GAs are designed to evolve toward certain goals?

    Some certainly are customized, but it isn’t necessarily the case. There may be no goal, as such.

    mike1962: Does biological evolution have predetermined rewards towards certain goals?

    No. Evolution is opportunistic.

    mike1962: If not, how are GAs analogous to biological evolution?

    That presupposes that genetic algorithms necessarily have goals.

  36. 36
    Axel says:

    ‘He is wrong that consciousness is an axiomatic part of QM in standard formulations of the theory, though he is right that a few have thought so, such as Wigner and a few others. (Most other physicists before and since Wigner think that he is wrong.)’

    Lou, am I correct in thinking that you are asserting that Wigner and the rest of those holding the minority view are unaware that the terms, ‘observer’ and ‘measuring device’ are synonymous ?

    However, a measuring device is nothing more or less than an extension of our own senses. Are you not personally viewing something under a microscope ? You are assuming there is no medium whereby personalisation can be integral in remote viewing, unless it is simultaneously registered by the human operator.

    ‘There is a whole genre of this type of reasoning about QM. Just because QM reveals the world to be very different from what we imagine with our primitive intuitions, some authors think it supports their own brand of strangeness. Whether it is Deepak Chopra promoting “quantum healing”, Buddhists promoting the Tao, or Henry and Palmquist or BA77 promoting theism, these are unwarranted inferences.’

    And this last paragraph of yours makes no sense, since materialism is quasi mechanistic, even to the point of contending that dead matter can fabricate something as arcanely abstruse as consciousness – when there is no perceived point of contact o bridge !

    QM shrieks to the rafters, at the very least of deism, ‘for those with ears to hear.’ But for those who haven’t, be careful not to be as fatuous as the author of this article on Wigner, in his desperation to push his own atheism, in that notoriously, nay, infamously ‘parti pris’ organ of encyclopaedic atheism, Wikipedia :

    ‘Near the end of his life, Wigner’s thoughts turned more philosophical. In his memoirs, Wigner said: “The full meaning of life, the collective meaning of all human desires, is fundamentally a mystery beyond our grasp. As a young man, I chafed at this state of affairs. But by now I have made peace with it. I even feel a certain honor to be associated with such a mystery.” He became interested in the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, particularly its ideas of the universe as an all pervading consciousness.[citation needed] In his collection of essays Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays, he commented “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”

    The author of the article roundly states that Wigner was an atheist !

  37. 37
    Axel says:

    ‘When a materialist can explain how the back-history of a particle projected through the two slits, as measured at the last moment before hitting the target screen, can be reloaded, i.e. travelling backwards through time, as it were; and still not nullify their own, still quasi mechanistic world-view, they will deserve to be taken seriously. ‘

    Quoting myself in #35, I should have mentioned BA77 has posted about reverse time-travel in relation to entanglement, but has also set it within the eschatological context of near-death experiences, in which protagonists, whose clinical deaths were monitored and attested with very sophisticated medical equipment, spoke of living in an eternal now, in which past, present and future seemed to co-exist simultaneously ! I say, ‘seemed to’, only because it’s so paradoxically mysterious to our much more limited, analytical intelligence, here below.

  38. 38
    Upright BiPed says:

    Aurelio Smith,

    You seem to have some issues with situational awareness.

    If you’d like to have a dialogue with me, you can begin by actually addressing* what was said to you. I’m not in the least bit interested in hearing you restate your certainty that I have failed to make my case.

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    *for instance, when I explain the necessary discontinuity between a visual input and its resulting cognitive effect, don’t completely ignore that explanation only to turn around and tell me there is no discontinuity between the subject of the image and the eye.

  39. 39
    Upright BiPed says:

    I already did. That’s why you ignored it.

  40. 40
    Lou Jost says:

    40 Axel

    a measuring device is nothing more or less than an extension of our own senses. Are you not personally viewing something under a microscope ? You are assuming there is no medium whereby personalisation can be integral in remote viewing, unless it is simultaneously registered by the human operator

    You didn’t really read any of the links in BA77 or in the video, did you? No human made any observation of particle spin or position in any of these experiments. Everything (including the decisions about what to measure in a particular run) was automated. A human only reads out the final tallies on a computer screen. Even that could have been automated without changing any of the observations.

    QM shrieks to the rafters, at the very least of deism, ‘for those with ears to hear.’

    Maybe for those who really badly want to believe in such. Meanwhile I have worked with, and discussed philosophy with, quantum physicists much of my life, including some of those mentioned in BA77’s videos (Wheeler, Wigner), and including scientists who were Christian, Buddhist, atheist, and all kinds of other “-ists”, and NEVER did any of us ever find anything in QM supporting our “-isms”. It never comes up. QM is fascinating and very hard to fully understand, but none of those “-isms” are relevant to it.

  41. 41
    Upright BiPed says:

    AS: What do you mean?

    UB: …(1000 word explanation)

    AS: What do you mean?

    UB: nevermind

    AS: UB won’t answer me!!!

    UB: I already answered you and you ignored it

    AS: Where?

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    It must be disheartening to play an empiricist and be simultaneously incapable of addressing even noncontroversial concepts. No matter how many times we exchange posts, you will not do so. Say something witty instead.

  42. 42
    Upright BiPed says:

    AS,

    Can you derive the functional effect of translation from the physical properties of a medium?

    Do you know why you can’t?

    Why would a system of translation require a discontinuity between the arrangement of a medium and its post translation effect?

    Why would such a system be required to preserve this discontinuity during translation?

    (say something witty)

  43. 43
    Upright BiPed says:

    I’m sorry I can’t provide you with the intellectual challenge you crave.

    Yeah? Why not?

    (say something witty)

  44. 44
    Upright BiPed says:

    When I asked you if you could derive a song from the physical arrangement of pins on a musicbox cylinder, was that question too difficult for you to understand?

  45. 45
    Axel says:

    ‘You didn’t really read any of the links in BA77 or in the video, did you? No human made any observation of particle spin or position in any of these experiments. Everything (including the decisions about what to measure in a particular run) was automated. A human only reads out the final tallies on a computer screen. Even that could have been automated without changing any of the observations.’

    Lou, I don’t see the relevance of the automation of the process at all. If, as all the evidence suggests (there is none for materialism’s production of consciousnesss, is there ?) consciousness rules the roost, no matter how much the author of the experiment automates the measurement, no matter how remote he is from its operation, if he is the prime mover, then he is ultimately still the observer.

    I realise however that that would take science well out of its ‘comfort zone’, so I wonder how Eugene Wigner would address your criticisims.

    Would not the automated observations be the product of an algorithm devised by a person or persons ?

    PS: Yes, I did scan the links in BA77’s posts, but it could come hardly come as a total surprise to me if I missed or misunderstood parts of them. It’s easier for a non-technical person to get a rough overview of a subject by scanning a text, but of course scanning can prove significantly deficient for understanding something even in outline. Which is why I should have liked to question Wigner.

  46. 46
    Box says:

    Lou Jost: I have worked with, and discussed philosophy with, quantum physicists much of my life, including some of those mentioned in BA77?s videos (Wheeler, Wigner), and including scientists who were Christian, Buddhist, atheist, and all kinds of other “-ists”, and NEVER did any of us ever find anything in QM supporting our “-isms”. It never comes up.

    Good for you Lou Jost, it is an honor for us to have you here. You mention a lot of “-isms” that you believe are unsupported by QM, but left one out. Which is rather strange, because one thing is for sure: non-locality does not support materialism.

  47. 47
    Lou Jost says:

    54 Box, it depends on what you mean by materialism. If you mean the narrow view that all of reality consists of classical particles, that kind of materialism went out the window hundreds of years ago. I think most people now treat materialism as synonymous with “physicalism”. If the physical world always follows law-like equations, then physicalism is supported. If the physical world sometimes behaves as if meaning mattered (eg if prayer were regularly answered), then physicalism would be rejected.

    I was just looking online about delayed choice double-slit experiments (mentioned in BA77’s linked video) and found something amusing. A philosopher uses this to show (tongue-in-cheek, I think) that the concept of omniscience is self-contradictory:
    http://onemorebrown.com/2008/0.....um-eraser/

  48. 48
    Lou Jost says:

    53 Axel

    no matter how remote he is from its operation, if he is the prime mover, then he is ultimately still the observer.

    How do you know this? What if he sets up the experiment and then dies? What exactly are you proposing he does during this experiment, if the whole thing would run exactly the same whether he was living or dead? What difference does it make who wrote the algorithm that automates the experiment? What if he got it from a book? What if a code-generating computer generated it? In fact part of the algorithm WAS generated by a non-person; there was a QM random number generator making decisions about what to measure at particular moments. The human never even knew which measurements were being made at a given moment.

    On the other hand, your question “Why did Wigner think consciousness was fundamental?” is a good one. I’ll have to reread his stuff to give that a fair answer. It’s been several decades since I’ve looked at that.

  49. 49
    Lou Jost says:

    53 Axel part 2 (Wigner)
    I did some research and found out that in the 1980s Wigner changed his mind about consciousness being needed to collapse the state vector! Here’s an excerpt:

    This writer’s earlier belief that the role of the physical apparatus can always be described by quantum mechanics […] implied that “the collapse of
    the wave function” takes place only when the observation is made by a living being—a being clearly outside the scope of our quantum mechanics. The argument which convinced me that quantum mechanics’ validity has narrower limitations, that it is not applicable to the description of the detailed behaviour of macroscopic bodies, is due to D. Zeh’ (p. 240).

    This excerpt and many other similar excerpts from Wigner, with analyses of Wigner’s positions, can be found in:
    Wigner’s View of Physical Reality
    Michael Esfeld
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
    30B (1999), pp. 145–154, © Elsevier Science Ltd

    Here is more, from Esfeld:

    [Esfeld writes] In a lecture of 1982, he then regards the issue of solipsism as a sufficient reason to repudiate his earlier views on measurement in quantum mechanics (pp. 73–74, and also p. 230). In order to avoid solipsism, Wigner considers it to be necessary to admit state reductions independently of an observer’s consciousness. And his conclusion, based on Zeh’s argument, that quantum mechanics is not valid for macroscopic systems opens up the way for him to conceive state reductions when it comes to macroscopic systems. Changing his mind, Wigner makes a concrete suggestion for an amendment of the Schrödinger equation which is intended to describe a physical process of state reduction (pp. 75–77, 242–243). A state reduction is thus supposed to occur as an objective event in the physical realm before the von Neumann chain reaches the consciousness of an observer.

  50. 50
    Box says:

    Lou Jost,

    Box: non-locality does not support materialism.

    Lou Jost: it depends on what you mean by materialism.

    Not really. Forces beyond space and time are not included in any definition of materialism.

    Edit:

    Lou Jost: If the physical world sometimes behaves as if meaning mattered (eg if prayer were regularly answered), then physicalism would be rejected.

    I’m not sure I understand your point. Every post on this forum is testimony of a physical world which sometimes behaves as if meaning matters.

  51. 51
    Lou Jost says:

    Box,

    Forces beyond space and time are not included in any definition of materialism.

    I don’t think that is correct. Physicists often play with added dimensions. The important thing is not how many dimensions but whether nature obeys meaning-blind laws.

    Every post on this forum is testimony of a physical world which sometimes behaves as if meaning matters.

    I should have added the condition “not through lawlike physical processes”.

  52. 52
    Box says:

    Lou Jost: Like what?

    Like entanglement.

    Lou Jost: I should have added the condition “not through lawlike physical processes”.

    That would fix it because we know the lawlike physical processes involved – starting with consciousness – when we post on this forum?

  53. 53
    Lou Jost says:

    Box, you would have to prove that your consciousness was not a lawlike consequence of your brain state.

  54. 54
    Box says:

    Lou Jost, I see that you have edited post #59, so my post #60 is a reply to a no longer existing post.

    Lou Jost: I don’t think that is correct. Physicists often play with added dimensions.

    So? The fact that physicists are playing with added dimensions doesn’t make forces beyond space and time – like entanglement – compatible with materialism.

    The important thing is not how many dimensions but whether nature obeys meaning-blind laws.

    Why do you state that the amount of dimensions is not important? I’ve never even hinted at such a assessment. And important for what?
    On obeying blind laws: what is information under materialism (or physicalism)? Surely nature is obedient to information – whatever law is involved.

  55. 55
    Box says:

    Lou Jost: Box, you would have to prove that your consciousness was not a lawlike consequence of your brain state.

    That’s easy. If chemistry is behind the steering wheel – which is obviously not interested in reason, logic and the like – then I wouldn’t be able to write a single coherent sentence.

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”
    J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds

  56. 56
    Me_Think says:

    Box @ 62

    …doesn’t make forces beyond space and time – like entanglement – compatible with materialism

    How does a force beyond space-time explain entanglement ? How does the force (is it a ‘being’ or energy or field?) communicate, say, the spin of one photon to the other entangled photon ?

    Why do you state that the amount of dimensions is not important? I’ve never even hinted at such a assessment.

    When something is beyond space-time, it is in another dimension. (Or do you have another theory?), but I do think the dimension is important because depending on dimension, a lot will change in the ‘force’.

  57. 57
    Axel says:

    ‘How does a force beyond space-time explain entanglement ?’

    The exceeding of the speed of light, Lou.

  58. 58
    Box says:

    Lou Jost: Box, most of BA77?s links don’t say what he thinks they say.

    You are profoundly mistaken. The links do say what BA77 thinks they say.

    Lou Jost: For example, listen to BA77?s link to Alain Aspect’s discussion of John Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment: You’ll see that yes, the world is very weird, much weirder than most people imagine. But you’ll also see that there is no involvement of consciousness at all.

    “No involvement of consciousness at all”?? I suggest that you listen to Alain Aspect’s talk on delayed choice again. Our choice – our consciousness – determines what happens on a material level, even in the past.

    Lou Jost: I have worked with, and discussed philosophy with, quantum physicists much of my life, including some of those mentioned in BA77?s videos (Wheeler, Wigner), and including scientists who were Christian, Buddhist, atheist, and all kinds of other “-ists”, and NEVER did any of us ever find anything in QM supporting our “-isms”. It never comes up.

    So you have discussed philosophy with quantum physicists much of your life and NEVER did any of you find anything in QM supporting our “-isms”. And moreover “it never comes up”.

    Pardon me, but I find your account very hard to believe. Discussing philosophy with quantum physicists much of your life and not even once – Never – did it enter the discussion that some aspect of QM might support something else than materialism? “NEVER”, “it NEVER came up” really?

    One thing is for sure: you haven’t been talking to Antoine Suarez – one of the links of BA77’s article.

  59. 59
    Lou Jost says:

    Box 66,

    Our choice – our consciousness – determines what happens on a material level, even in the past.

    The choice of what to measure was made by an automated random number generator, and the choices were made so fast that no human could have made them or even kept track of them. No human was ever conscious of the particular state of any of the particles either. Even the analysis was automated.

    I notice you don’t say anything about my discovery that Wigner changed his mind about consciousness affecting the wave function. He was a great authority for you when he believed what you believe. Does his change of mind give you any second thoughts about your own position?

    Your Suarez guy makes some huge logical leaps when he claims that non-locality is spiritual and not material, or that “a mind outside space-time can purposefully control quantum randomness…”

    He is using what is to me an odd definition of materialism. There is no mindlike behavior going on here at all, everything is behaving exactly according to the mathematical laws of QM. In the experiments he discusses, there is absolutely no control of quantum randomness by mind. He is making these leaps purely to preserve his religious beliefs.

  60. 60
    Axel says:

    Your Suarez guy makes some huge logical leaps when he claims that non-locality is spiritual and not material, or that “a mind outside space-time can purposefully control quantum randomness…”

    That statement is more weird than any aspect of QM, Lou. Nothing about materialism whatsoever suggests matter could have produced mind. Utterly gratuitous speculation, like

    It amounts to a category error in your thinking. Like saying a sunset needs to take a couple of paracetamols, although I would have to concede that Eliot evisaged an evening spread out against the sky, like a patient etherized upon a table. Moreover your posts are full of irrelevancies, such as the automation, proclaimed as if knock-out arguments.

    Wigner evidently did not change his mind to any great effect, as even Wiki, so infamously biased towards materialism, states that as he grew older he became increasingly interested in Vedanta – not exactly the most materialistic of religions.

    Indeed, even arguing with a materialist is really madness, even in terms of that definition of insanity as repeating an action and expecting a different result. Like arguing with evolutionists : It’s true because it’s true. Evidence needn’t come into it. Least of all when contradictory.

    How would you – and Me_Thinks, for that matter – explain that light always hits an observer travelling at constant speed in the same direction at its absolute speed, whatever the latter’s speed.

    The unambiguous implication is that light or the agency governing it must, in every case, a) know every such individual on the planet, i.e. be omniscient, and b) adjust its speed to remain absolute, in each case.

    Ergo, clearly light-photons issue from a reference-frame outside of space-time – just like the stream of particles posited as issuing from the singularity at the Big Bang.

    Pardon me, folks, if that suggests to me an omniscient and omnipotent God operating our physical light, as well as our physical light.

  61. 61
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @ 65,

    ‘How does a force beyond space-time explain entanglement ?’
    The exceeding of the speed of light, Lou.

    That was me, not Lou. How does superluminal speed explain entanglement ? Which philosopher enlightened you ?

  62. 62
    Axel says:

    And what about the simultaneity of entanglements over vast distances, Lou ?

    And what about the reloading of the back-history of projected particles in the double-slit, when the measurement is delayed until the last moment ?

  63. 63
    Axel says:

    ‘The choice of what to measure was made by an automated random number generator, and the choices were made so fast that no human could have made them or even kept track of them. No human was ever conscious of the particular state of any of the particles either. Even the analysis was automated.’

    You discount the presence and action of a third party, don’t you, Lou ? One that could reload retrospectively !

  64. 64
    Box says:

    Lou Jost: The choice of what to measure was made by an automated random number generator, and the choices were made so fast that no human could have made them or even kept track of them. No human was ever conscious of the particular state of any of the particles either. Even the analysis was automated.

    You are joking right? You seem to hold that ‘measurement’ is a free agency which makes decisions instead of being merely instrumental. Physicists – consciousness – decide what to measure and how; by a random number generator or otherwise.

    Bottom line: “thus one decides the photon shall have come by one route or by both routes after it has already done its travel” (John A. Wheeler).

  65. 65
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @ 68

    light always hits an observer travelling at constant speed in the same direction at its absolute speed

    Which philosopher said that? Light need not travel at constant speed everywhere. What do you think is the speed of light in water and glass, cold air and hot air? If the refractive index of material is n, then speed will be c/n (c=speed of light)

  66. 66
    Axel says:

    Didn’t you know, Box ? Lou and Me_Thinks won’t tell you this, outright, but matter is infinitely resourceful. The equipment operates on its own initiative.

  67. 67
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @ 74,
    Yes Box, Axel is right. The instrument which measures is conscious. It inherits the consciousness from the group of scientists who decide what to measure in the conference room. So the machine is a conduit to the group consciousness of scientists. This group consciousness is what drives the photons. I wonder if the discussion over the phone call with Bob too matters ? So we have Bob’s ‘over the phone conscious’ and group consciousness combined which drives the photons to it’s destination.

  68. 68
    Box says:

    Me_Think: This group consciousness is what drives the photons.

    It’s a weird world isn’t it? Your (less weird ??) concept is that the measurement-instruments drive the photons non-locally and even in the past?
    Something non-local is driving the photons. I say that therefore consciousness is a valid candidate and instruments are not.

  69. 69
    Me_Think says:

    Box @ 76

    It’s a weird world isn’t it? Your (less weird ??) concept is that the measurement-instruments drive the photons non-locally and even in the past?
    Something non-local is driving the photons. I say that therefore consciousness is a valid candidate and instruments are not.

    No Box,everyone who knows QM experiments is aware that instrument interference is not the decider of photon path, but the experimenters consciousness can’t be the variable because even if the technician stays away from the instrument after setting it up, the photons exhibit the same weirdness. Everything from Sun, Rain, lighting, magnetism, earthquake was spooky till scientists toiled hard to unravel the mystery beyond various forces, so don’t be surprised if QM mystery too is solved ‘materialistically’. Every magic is mysterious till the trick is revealed. Wait for it.
    P.S: Hope you didn’t get ‘QM is conscious ‘ idea from Deepak Chopra – he is worse than Philosophers.

  70. 70
    Axel says:

    ‘Which philosopher said that? Light need not travel at constant speed everywhere. What do you think is the speed of light in water and glass, cold air and hot air? If the refractive index of material is n, then speed will be c/n (c=speed of light)’

    Let’s keep it simple, shall we, MT? You give me a relevant and remotely plausible answer to my simple question, and I’ll comment on the science relating to the other, more exotic contexts, to which I made no reference, but with the likes of which, you habitually choose to obfuscate the simple questions put to you, which expose materialism as a farce.

    I know it’s a safe bet I won’t have to, so I can promise what with my ignorance of science would be impossible.

  71. 71
    Axel says:

    ‘Everything from Sun, Rain, lighting, magnetism, earthquake was spooky till scientists toiled hard to unravel the mystery beyond various forces, so don’t be surprised if QM mystery too is solved ‘materialistically’. Every magic is mysterious till the trick is revealed. Wait for it.’

    Box: When in doubt or totally flummoxed, remember the promissory note….

    Note that M_T adduces ‘spooky action at a distance’ and all the mysteries of physics well established since gargantuan Einstein’s paradigm-shifting relativity theories, not to even speak of QM, as if they would in no way conflict with atheism/materialism !

    M_T, you people would never have hit upon either the former or the latter, although deists and theists would; for the simple reason that, casting things as counter-intuitive, is the atheists way of saying, ‘Well, we could hardly have imagined such a thing, since paradoxes are illogical, and we pride ourselves, above all on being logical.

    Of course, this hasn’t stopped the from following the proper scientists in forging careers by incorporating paradoxes in their research, as comes naturally to the latter, the deists and theists.

    Do you think any of the great, pioneering physicists of the last century, would not have believed in Einstein’s ‘illimitable spirit’ but, rather, believed matter could produce consciousness? I doubt if even Feynman would have believed that, whatever massive lacuna it left in his world-view.

  72. 72
    Axel says:

    ‘‘Everything from Sun, Rain, lighting, magnetism, earthquake was spooky till scientists toiled hard to unravel the mystery beyond various forces, so don’t be surprised if QM mystery too is solved ‘materialistically’. Every magic is mysterious till the trick is revealed. Wait for it.’

    There is a contradiction between :

    ‘Everything from Sun, Rain, lighting, magnetism, earthquake was spooky till scientists toiled hard to unravel the mystery beyond various forces,….’; and

    ‘so don’t be surprised if QM mystery too is solved ‘materialistically’. Every magic is mysterious till the trick is revealed. Wait for it.’

    Einstein, Planck and Bohr, to name but three of the great pioneers, did not solve the mysteries of relativity and quantum mechanics AT ALL. THEY MERELY IDENTIFIED THEM ! AND, IF ANYTHING, STRESSED THE UTTER IMPONDERABILITY OF THEIR NATURE AS PARADOXES ! THEIR MYSTERIOUS INSOLUBILITY ! THEIR PRIMA FACIE ABSURDITY.

    Even Feynman did as much, which, together with the company he was privileged to keep, if at a slight remove – would, I think, go some way towards explaining his less truculent and fatuous, atheist credo, than today’s atheist vacuously triumphalist numpties in the field theoretical physics.

    Even Newton, who, incidentally saw the potential limitations of the mechanistic physics he had inherited and which he embellished to such good effect, conjectured there might be different dimensions that had not yet been established. Also, as was pointed out here, a few weeks ago, gravity is as mysterious today as it was in the eighteenth century. Not an iota of progress re the encashment of that promissory note has been made, or even seems remotely in the offing.

    It is precisely this visceral lack of an affinity for mysteries qua paradoxes that has, with rare exceptions, rendered materialists as useless as a chocolate fire-guard, and religious people in the vanguard of scientific discovery.

    So regarding the decisive influencing of past events and the simultaeous enanglement of particles over enormous distances, there is absolutely no reason to believe that, at some later date, any kind of understanding of them will be become more accessible to our analytical intelligence.

  73. 73
    Lou Jost says:

    Still no comment from the “consciousness” crowd about Wigner changing his mind about consciousness’s role in QM. Will they go on quoting him later in support of their view, as if nothing had changed? Will they address the problems that Wigner saw in this view?

    You can’t get from nonlocality to mind. You can’t even get from nonlocality to faster-than-light transmission of information.

  74. 74
    Lou Jost says:

    81 Aurelio Smith, now I recognize you from BioLogos, where you made the same arguments about semiotics. There I not only showed you how your example of ant alarm signals could have evolved from attack behaviors, but I also showed you that this hypothesis has empirical evidence backing it up (the alarm signals have evolved from the attack compound, formic acid).

    But you just keep on going as if nothing has changed. That’s sad.

  75. 75
    Lou Jost says:

    80 Axel

    It is precisely this visceral lack of an affinity for mysteries qua paradoxes that has, with rare exceptions, rendered materialists as useless as a chocolate fire-guard, and religious people in the vanguard of scientific discovery.

    OK, I have to admit that is comic genius.

    In case some reader doesn’t get the joke, go look at the journal of this vanguard of scientific discovery, Bio-Complexity, and compare it with any normal physics or biology journal.

    Feynman seems to be mentioned here a lot in the comments.
    Here is what he thinks about god:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YltEym9H0x4

    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheis.....n_atheism/

  76. 76
    Upright BiPed says:

    Lou,

    It was not Smith you were arguing with at Biologos, it was me. You raised what you thought was a meaningful counter-argument. Your counter-argument fell apart.

  77. 77
    Upright BiPed says:

    AS

    UB: You can’t derive the cognitive effect “a photon” from changes in the arrangement of light on a LED display.

    AS: Who’s you, specifically? Just me? Any person? Sorry, I can’t really make sense of this sentence. People see by having a nervous system that reacts to photons via the rods and cones in the retina.

    When a visual image hits your retina, the organization of your visual system will transcribe that image to an arrangement of neural impulses (a mechanically transcribed representation of the image) traveling through your optical nerve to your visual cortex and brain, where it will be translated by other arrangement(s) of neural patterns, resulting in a cognitive effect.

    Can you intercept the arrangement of neural impulses traveling through the optical nerve, and from that representation can you derive the cognitive effect? Or, is the cognitive effect established by the onward translation apparatus in your visual cortex and brain?

    UB: You can’t derive a song from the pins on a music box cylinder.

    AS: Again, not sure what you mean. A music box has a comb of tangs that produce notes of different pitches when struck by a pin on a cylinder.

    Thank you for making my point. You cannot derive a song from the pins on a music box cylinder. It is not an innate property of the metal that the pins are made of. Instead, you must have the arrangement of the tines on the comb to establish the effect. One arrangement of matter evokes a functional effect within a system; the other establishes what the effect will be.

    UB: You can’t derive “attack the intruder” from the surface properties of a pheromone compound.

    AS: Ants! No indeed. At least we are into biology. There is no method yet devised (though I am sure it is an active area of research) to predict the properties of a a protein other than finding it in nature or by synthesizing it and seeing what properties it has…

    I can assure you that “attack the intruder” is not a property that can be measured in the surface properties of a protein. It requires the translation apparatus to establish the effect. One arrangement of matter evokes an effect within a system, and a second arrangement of matter establishes what the effect will be.

    UB: And you can’t derive an amino acid from the arrangement of three nucleic acids.

    AS: The genetic code is almost (with the few extremely interesting variations) universal across all terrestrial life. How this whole arrangement of parts came together is really an “Origin-of-Life” problem and must have occurred way back at the dawn of life, which estimates put between 3 and 4 billion years ago. We have no direct evidence to tell us what went on this long ago.

    Uh, okay.

    So can you derive an amino acid from the arrangement of nucleic acids in a codon, or is the correct amino acid established in temporal and spatial isolation by the aaRS?

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    One arrangement evokes an effect within a system, and another arrangement established what the result of translation will be. This is not difficult a material. All translated information has this same physical architecture, its a requirement dictated by physical law.

  78. 78
    Upright BiPed says:

    Followed your link, Biped, and that’s an interesting interpretation of events you have there.

    I’m not particularly interested in your assessment, since it would not make any difference whatsoever what the content of the conversation was — you would position it negatively regardless. In this, there is no doubt.

    The only thing I am interetsed in is do you yet realize that in order to translate an informational medium into a physical effect requires two physical objects operating in a very specific system, whereby one object evokes an effect within the system, and a second object establishes what that effect will be.

  79. 79
    Lou Jost says:

    87 Aurelio, very very sorry for my mistake! Don’t know how that happened.

  80. 80
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @ 78

    …and I’ll comment on the science relating to the other, more exotic contexts, to which I made no reference, but with the likes of which…

    Which Philosopher thinks light traveling through water and air is ‘exotic’ ?!!

  81. 81
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel @39: It’s still important to understand the concept.

    We do. And nothing you wrote was particularly interesting or enlightening.

    Thanks for the reply.

    Ho hum.

  82. 82
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: We are interested in direct answers to all of our specific questions @33.

    Zachriel: {Direct answers to all the specific questions.}

    mike1962: {Nevermind.}

  83. 83
    Lou Jost says:

    92 Aurelio
    Sure a decaying particle counts. I suppose that if we want an event to be defined independent of a reference frame, it does take two particles, but in decays we do have two (or more) particles at the moment of decay.

    Thanks for trying to help Upright Biped understand an evolutionary viewpoint for the acquisition of meaning. It won’t budge him, as we’ve seen on BioLogos, but maybe other readers aren’t so invested.

  84. 84
    Upright BiPed says:

    Lou,

    I am certainly not above mis-speaking, or stating a concept improperly. If you think I have made an observation that is factually incorrect, why not point it out?

    In our previous conversation, we were discussing the rise of the first semiotic system on earth from inanimate matter. As a counter-example to my comments, you pointed to the evolution of a pheromone among existing ants. I’m afraid I remain unmoved by that argument.

  85. 85
    Upright BiPed says:

    AS,

    I suggest we don’t bother with photons and music boxes.

    The same physical dynamics occur in all the examples. The photon example was your own, and I mentioned the music box to demonstrate the principle at a most self-evident level. Such examples are useful to those who are open to understanding how information is translated into physical effects.

    Let’s stick to the biological examples.

    At your pleasure.

    The only way to establish the functionality in a protein … is to see what it does.

    The functional effect of a pheromone is not determined by the properties of the pheromone, it’s determined by the organization of the system that translates it into a specific effect among alternatives. The effect cannot be derived from the arrangement of the medium because of the necessary discontinuity between them, which the system preserves during translation.

    Any event requires the interaction of at least two particles.

    The issue is not merely that two objects are required by the system. Ignoring context won’t change the physics.

    It’s templates all the way down. You’re anthropomorphizing

    This is incoherent. It’s unsalvageable.

  86. 86
    Axel says:

    Your # 87, Lou

    ‘Feynman seems to be mentioned here a lot in the comments.
    Here is what he thinks about god:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YltEym9H0x4

    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheis…..n_atheism/

    ————————-

    I seem to remember damning Feynman with faint praise, Lou. Your innocent incomprehension does you credit.

  87. 87
    Axel says:

    Me_Think @93

    ‘Which Philosopher thinks light traveling through water and air is ‘exotic’ ?!!

    I consider that any medium not ambient for the general run of human beings in their daily activities to be exotic in this context – particularly when intended as an evasion.

    Do you think you could answer my question now concerning daylight passing through the air at its absolute speed?

    Anyway, this is an observation of mine of longstanding, not a philosopher’s, yet no-one has answered it, never mind rebutted it. Your response to it is the first, and that, an evasion ! I have an ‘inside track’ from God on some things !

  88. 88
    Axel says:

    Lou Jost at #84

    Right at the beginning, at 0.22, you’ll see, Feynman starts evidently wishing to rail, but almost immediately, backs off from taking on the religious apologists.

    He’d obviously had some hard lessons about how little he knows or understands about the really deep matters, the non-material, spiritual ones. So, pardon me if I don’t bother to go any further with them.

    ‘In case some reader doesn’t get the joke, go look at the journal of this vanguard of scientific discovery, Bio-Complexity, and compare it with any normal physics or biology journal.’ – Lou Jost

    A very poor excuse for a rebuttal. The fact is, your fabled promissory note always belonged to the realm of the game of Monopoly. You all have to do what comes naturally to the Christian, theist and deist, accept paradoxes ‘as is’, and incorporate them as staging posts, stepping-stones, to new discoveries, without understanding how they could be.

    Admit it. Its paradoxes make quantum mechanics as absurd today as when Bohr used to hold forth on it with enraptured fascination. None of you have ever been able to explain how a paradox could be, could make sense.

    And a pound to a pinch of snuff, you never will, a priori. Only what deceptively appears to be a paradox. QM wouldn’t have too many of those, since approaching, as it must the interface with the spirit of the Creator, the great matrix, and matter, the analytical intelligence is well and truly put in its place – as time only serves to increasingly confirm. I’ve been going on about this since about 1974.

  89. 89
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @ 100,

    Do you think you could answer my question now concerning daylight passing through the air at its absolute speed?
    Anyway, this is an observation of mine of longstanding, not a philosopher’s, yet no-one has answered it, never mind rebutted it.

    If you insist. Light is an EM wave. It’s propagation direction is perpendicular to EM fields. In fact, the direction light travels is given by poynting vector, so obviously it ‘hits’ everyone from the direction of the vector. Everything with mass on Earth moves far, far below relativistic speed so light seems to hit at absolute speed. If you have particles traveling at close to luminal speed, you won’t observe ‘Light hitting those at absolute speed’.
    If you have inside track on God, you should know that Light can’t come from higher dimension as it doesn’t have a favored direction in the, say, 4th dimension outside our universe! (Just calculate the poynting vector and see).
    P.S: Feynman is one of the greatest physicist. Your ‘damning Feynman with faint praise’ is comical.

  90. 90
    Axel says:

    Yep, but a tad below the likes of Einstein, Planck and Bohr, I would venture – if not others, such as Schrodinger, Pauli.

    Anyway, whatever the hierarchy, as a top scientific thinker AND an atheist, Feynman stands out like a sore thumb. I think the Brethren of the Double Helix, Crick and Watson were atheists, and Rosalind Franklin for that matter.

    ‘If you have inside track on God, you should know that Light can’t come from higher dimension as it doesn’t have a favored direction in the, say, 4th dimension outside our universe! (Just calculate the poynting vector and see).’

    I was under the impression that the fourth dimension was said to be ‘time’ – which is very much of this universe, is it not.

    ‘Everything with mass on Earth moves far, far below relativistic speed so light seems to hit at absolute speed. If you have particles traveling at close to luminal speed, you won’t observe ‘Light hitting those at absolute speed’.

    More irrelevances, M_T. Why would it hit kindred particles at its absolute speed ? They’re birds of a feather. You can’t get aggregations of any size of such particles to approach luminal speed, can you ? I believe there are a few anomalies concerning luminal speed, such as when the photons are absorbed, but stick with the obvious day-to-day, ‘meat and potatoes’ version of light. You’re dong a Dawkins on us with this SEEMS TO nonsense. That’s what empirical science is about.

    Both Planck and Bohr stated that we can’t know reality, only what we perceive. Words to that effect. Like poetry. ‘There is no such thing as matter, as such’, was how Planck put it.

    And Bohr :

    ‘There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature…’

    So your demurral that it only SEEMS to hit objects of any mass on earth at its absolute speed,’ is nonsense.
    Otherwise, you should warn all the encyclopedias that their little illustrations of the cars and their headlights, are all nonsense.

    Tell them about the 4th dimension and the poynting vector, etc. It’ll be meat and drink to them. And tell them I referred you to them… as an egg-head who knows his onions better than their so-called experts.

  91. 91
    Me_Think says:

    I was under the impression that the fourth dimension was said to be ‘time’ – which is very much of this universe, is it not.

    Pity you can’t distinguish when we are talking about spatial dimensions and when we are talking about Space-Time. Just to be clear, I am talking about 4 space coordinates in 4th dimension- hope you didn’t think there were only 3 coordinates in 4th dimension !

    So your demurral that it only SEEMS to hit objects of any mass on earth at its absolute speed,’ is nonsense.

    ‘egg-head who knows his onions better than their so-called experts’ apparently has no idea about luminal velocities and frame of reference.

    Both Planck and Bohr stated that we can’t know reality, only what we perceive. Words to that effect. Like poetry. ‘There is no such thing as matter, as such’, was how Planck put it.

    Heh. When you describe matter as wave-function, matter doesn’t disappear. It is represented as wave function. If your dollar bill disappears, it is not because it is not matter, it was pick-pocketed.
    So much for ’egg-head who knows his onions better than their so-called experts’

  92. 92
    Axel says:

    Me_Think, do you think those encyclopaedias should remove those explanations and illustrations in relation to light’s absolute speed.

  93. 93
    Me_Think says:

    Axel @108,
    Of course not. Children’s science books and Encyclopedia are for gaining rudimentary knowledge and that’s good enough for general public. We all know E= mc^2, but of course it is not right. The complete equation is E^2 = (mc^2)^2 + (pc)^2 , so would you ask them to remove the shorter version? Of course not, but if you want to learn more, you should be working with the original equation,not approximations.

  94. 94
    Axel says:

    Me_Think @#104

    ‘Heh. When you describe matter as wave-function, matter doesn’t disappear. It is represented as wave function. If your dollar bill disappears, it is not because it is not matter, it was pick-pocketed.
    So much for ’egg-head who knows his onions better than their so-called experts’

    I see now It was written ambiguously, to say the least, though it was mean to refer to you ! Unfortunately, I can’t call you a dummy, now, right after calling you an egg-head!

  95. 95
    Axel says:

    I won’t hear a word said against Arthur Mee’s august children’s tomes, Me_Thinks !

    You missed the point entirely. Pedantry is of the essence of the empirical, scientific method, but it is risibly absurd to bring it up in the context of metaphysics, however rudimentary. For goodness sake, Einstein stated that his primordial criterion when selecting his hypotheses was aesthetic. And you’re blethering on about the niceties relating to how E = MC2 not really being the accurate mathematical formulation.

    And you STILL haven’t answered how the agency governing light could a) know the existence and whereabouts of every candidate for whacking with photons at their absolute speed!
    And b) the speed of such observers, in order to adjust its own speed to hit them at its own absolute speed, irrespective of their respective speeds in the same direction.

    It’s not rocket science is it ? It’s plainly a mystery, unless it’s the work of a theistic god – unless Goddidit. The latter explanation also very much favours the primacy of spirit, consciousness over matter; in the same way, as I believe God coordinates the individual personal worlds our respective minds, consciousness, creates.

    Try to find the time to watch this video-clip of the speech of a navy veteran who was sucked into the intake of a jet-engine on the flight deck of an aircraft-carrier, concerning the NDE he underwent. But, at least, to the part of it beginning at 40.26. Well, you’ll need to start a little earlier at least, in order to know the context.

  96. 96
    Me_Think says:

    Axel,
    Perched uncomfortably on the 4 legged bar stool,the ID agent in 4th dimension shouted -“Helper agent1, I have a meeting with photons of light which want to hit Axel on Earth, why the heck is it taking forever to tie my shoe lace?”
    Agent1 replied,” Sir, I can’t hear you properly, If you meant you can’t tie your lace, you should know we can’t have knots in any dimension above 3. All knots will be unknots”.
    ID agent -“Huh ? Ok” .
    Helper agent1- “Sir,because we are in even dimension, the sound waves are rippling back, I can’t hear what you said”.
    ID Agent – “To hell with shoes. I will go meet the photons”.
    Photon1 : “Sir, We can’t hit any one.We have no preferred direction in 4D. We can only diffuse around in all directions.”
    ID Agent – “Hmm…. so you can’t travel down to 3D?”
    Photon1: ” We could diffuse down but you know once we enter 3d, there will be patches of darkness and light. We wouldn’t look like light at all”
    ID Agent – ” Why not?”
    Photon1- ” because when we enter 3d from 4d, we will be seen in cross sections….”
    Loud noise outside.
    Helper Agent (shouting)-“Oh God, Oh God, my innards are falling off. I didn’t realize we are in 4D”. His cries echos in 4D as sounds waves ripple around the 4 dimensions.
    Meanwhile there is chaos outside the conference room. Every atom seems to be confused.
    ID Agent – ” Why is there so much noise ?”
    “Oh God, Oh God my structure is falling apart. The orbitals in 4D are not stable. Why wouldn’t the all knowing being know such simple things?”
    ID Agent – “Ok, everyone , listen up, we are officially abandoning 4D. We all are now going to 5 D. Let’s try our luck there”.
    Would 5D be any better than 4D ? Wait for our next episode !

  97. 97
    Axel says:

    Well, Me_Thinks, as long as thee_thinks tha’s written a witty satirical riposte…. !

    Another nice evasion…. Just remember, he who laughs last…..

  98. 98
    Axel says:

    Sorry, Me_Thinks. I forgot the link :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPc3DhDQ8Lk

    It seems strange that that veteran, who was ethnically Jewish, should have seen the world in front of him, emanating from his own revived self (at 40.26), when it had been a Jewish mystic, who observed that when a man dies, a whole world dies with him. Sorry I’ve not been able to find that quote again on the Net.

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