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Multiverse cosmologist positioned for a Nobel?

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universe shortly after the Big Bang

Fragments from a profile in the Boston Globe:

Guth (rhymes with “truth”) has had opportunity to trot out some version of that line for more than three decades now, ever since he came up with his revolutionary prequel to the Big Bang theory.

PERHAPS YOU WENT TO SCHOOL WITH someone like Alan Guth, a child so preternaturally gifted that the teachers didn’t know what to do with him.

[Actually, News went to school with children the teachers were worried would end up in slam, but never mind.] We also learn,

A little while later, as we walk through a different building on campus, an emeritus professor spots Guth and flags him down. “You know that when you win a Nobel, you lose a year of your life,” the man says. “So get ready.”

How did he get cred?

What made it so was the Princeton professor’s identification of the “flatness problem” with the Big Bang theory. The flatness refers to the geometry of our continually expanding universe, where its mass density and expansion rate remain exquisitely balanced. If that balance tipped even slightly in either direction, the universe would either fly apart or collapse on itself. Yet because the universe has been expanding for 14 billion years, even slight variations in the beginning should have become exaggerated by now, to disastrous effect. Dicke pointed out that for our universe to look anything like it does today, at one second after the Big Bang, the number describing the balance would have to have been within 15 decimal places of one, lying in the minuscule interval between 0.999999999999999 and 1.000000000000001.

Yet the Big Bang theory offered absolutely no explanation for how that exceedingly precise balance might have come about. It would seem crazy to assume that it was just a coincidence.

For Guth, the recent gravitational waves find, if it holds up, is confirmation of, you guessed it, a multiverse:

At this point, Guth’s thinking on the multiverse remains just theory and is by no means universally accepted in the physics world. But it’s already drawn influential backers, and even those who haven’t fully signed on yet find themselves intrigued. “It’s a very attractive picture, very plausible, and it leads to very interesting consequences,” says Steven Weinberg, the Nobel laureate whose talk at Cornell helped inspire Guth. “But we don’t have any way now of confirming those theories.”

Then again, that’s what people said about Guth’s revolutionary idea 35 years ago. So whether it takes 10 years or 50 years or 100 years for the evidence to emerge, the people who design the museum exhibits probably shouldn’t get too attached to their current signs presuming a single universe. More.

For one thing, the cool people at the Boston Globe are backing the multiverse, so there’s that.

So the multiverse is just theory and they are positioning this guy for a Nobel anyway on the basis of a disputable finding that may or may not support his theses?

Wait a minute, his name rings a bell, and not because it rhymes with “truth”:

Multiverse cosmologists are now so culturally secure that they no longer need confidence in their own assertions. Andrei Linde confessed, after offering a defense of multiverse thinking, “One can easily dismiss everything that I just said as a wild speculation,” a prospect that does not trouble him much. Leonard Susskind reportedly told Alan Guth, “You know, the most amazing thing is that they pay us for this,” and Nobelist David Gross (the fellow who “hates” the Big Bang) has admitted about string theory, “We don’t know what we are talking about.” But they do know what they are not talking about, and that is enough. More.

If this Globe puff piece is prophetic, it’ll say a lot about cultural decline at the Nobel. For now we’re calling it no.

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).

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31 Replies to “Multiverse cosmologist positioned for a Nobel?

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    So the multiverse is just theory and they are positioning this guy for a Nobel anyway on the basis of a disputable finding that may or may not support his theses?

    I don’t understand the use of the word “theory” any more.

    Evolutionists criticize people who claim that evolution or this or that “is only a theory”. They say that we don’t understand what the word theory means in science. Here is one explanation I found about this on a Scientific American web site:

    A scientific theory is an explanation of some aspect of the natural world that has been substantiated through repeated experiments or testing.

    OK, fine, then let’s use the word the way it is supposed to be used!

    But, if they stay true to that meaning, how can they turn right around and use the word “theory” for things that have little to no support – like the Multiverse idea.

    Shouldn’t we all refuse to call it a theory in protest?

    Shouldn’t we all call it a hypothesis?

    Let’s call them out on the meaning of the word and make them use it according to their own standards!

    Let’s not give it any more authority or credence than it actually has. It is a hypothesis and nothing more!

  2. 2
    Mapou says:

    The Nobel prize is a propaganda tool for left wing atheism, not unlike Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series. The multiverse hypothesis is the best explanation that atheists can come up with to support their anti-God, anti-religion ideology. So this does not come as a surprise. Pseudoscience as a tool to promote their stupid ideology has worked well for the materialists. But not for long. Soon, it will come crumbling down like the house of cards that it has always been.

  3. 3
    ppolish says:

    Nobel Prizes are a dime a dozen in the multiverse yawn.

    Discovery of the Best Universe in the multiverse would be something though. That Perfect Universe. Universe of perfect Love & Goodness.

    Maybe Science can discover how to get there.

  4. 4
    klasG4e says:

    Mapou: ” Pseudoscience as a tool to promote their stupid ideology has worked well for the materialists. But not for long. Soon, it will come crumbling down like the house of cards that it has always been.”

    And we can certainly hope and pray that The soon to be released powerful scientific documentary “The Principle” whose trailer is seen at http://youtu.be/p8cBvMCucTg will serve as a major jump start for the demise of The Copernican Principle.

    An excellent article on the movie by the producers of same managed to find its way into USA Today recently. It is still up on line at http://www.thefreelibrary.com/.....0366237498

  5. 5
    lpadron says:

    Someone please draw a flying spaghetti universe already!

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    OT: Too little of something can be a bad thing for ID

    How many and which of Salvador’s threads are now closed to comments? And why?

  7. 7
    mack7 says:

    It’s so weird. Millions of universes and we get stuck in the only that doesn’t have any convincing evidence of the multiverse.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    podcast – Physicist Rob Sheldon on the History of Cosmological Thought –
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201.....the_h.html

  9. 9
    VunderGuy says:

    @Bornagain

    Hey bornagain77. Where would you suggest I could learn the basics of philosophy in a speedy time frame for a lay man like me, and is this place friendly enough to folks like me?

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Well VunderGuy, IMHO, StephenB would be the guy to ask on UD. I’ve seen him go with the best.

  11. 11
    VunderGuy says:

    @bornagain

    Go with the best? What do you mean? Also, where can I find him?

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    I mean, StephenB, as a Theist, has taken some PhD level naturalistic philosophers apart pretty handily. He usually comments on UD fairly regularly, especially when a topis of philosophy gets going. Hopefully he will pop up soon.

  13. 13
    VunderGuy says:

    @bornagain

    Also, as a writer, I’ve always had difficulties with three separate concepts that under the dictionary definition, would all fall under the umbrella of ‘magic’ but which are often put into the same kind of stories with distinctions between them.

    If possible, could I tell you what these three concepts are and the definitions I have for them and see if they work?

    On that note, what is the difference between Dichotomists and Trichotomists in practice?

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Vunder, I just remembered; Stephen Meyer has a very quick overview of the main philosophies of the world here:

    A Cosmological Argument for God’s Existence, pt. 4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hCfSgw_yCsU#t=77

    as to getting into specific details of philosophy, I’m simply not qualified to help you. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  15. 15
    VunderGuy says:

    Ah yes. While that video is indeed a good tool (I have seen it many times in the past since it was posted), I was referring more to the basics of philosophy in general. Still, I appreciate the effort.

    Anyways, the three concepts that I mentioned earlier that I have a hard time squaring because they would all technically fall under the umbrella of magic thanks to the dictionary definitions are psionics, ki (also known as chi/chakra/qi/mana/etc), and magic.

    The definitions I’ve built work like this, and I think work more on a Trichotomist view of human beings:

    1. Psionics: the direct expression of a given mind’s ability over-matter.

    2. Ki: a ‘vital energy’ produced by the soul whose utilization is extremely dependent on the physical body. Though the soul itself cannot be expressed quantitatively by definition (though it can be expressed qualitatively), in essence, it acts as the generator of Ki, which itself can be expressed quantitatively and has a maximum output dependent on the condition of the physical body.

    3. Magic: This one is a little more tricky since I’m trying to avoid the dictionary definition, but I suppose that magic in this sense would very much follow the standard definition of ritual incantation the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature. However, it should also be added that the definition of magic I work with also holds a wider range of potential and powerful possible effects, though I admit that many of these effects could blend in with psionics and ki to the point that any distinguishing features breaks down.

    What do you think? Am I just pulling hairs trying to make functional definitions to separate all three.

  16. 16
    Querius says:

    VunderGuy,

    Are you familiar with Arthur C. Clark’s three laws of prediction? The last one is the most famous.

    1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

    2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

    3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    An advanced technology amplifies and projects our Will with a minimum of effort and visibility.

    The six currently dominant worldviews have been stated as Christian, Islamic, Marxist, Secular Humanist, Cosmic Humanist, and Postmodernist.

    Your homework assignment is to write a clear, one-sentence description of each of these. 🙂

    -Q

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks Querius, good insight.

    Vunder, as to,

    Psionics: the direct expression of a given mind’s ability over-matter.

    Here are a few studies that may be of interest:

    Dean Radin – Random Number Generators correlation to intention – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFULrlxTFsA

    Correlations of Random Binary Sequences with Pre-Stated Operator Intention: A Review of a 12-Year Program – 1997
    Abstract: Strong correlations between output distribution means of a variety of random binary processes and pre-stated intentions of some 100 individual human operators have been established over a 12-year experimental program. More than 1000 experimental series, employing four different categories of random devices and several distinctive protocols, show comparable magnitudes of anomalous mean shifts from chance expectation, with similar distribution structures. Although the absolute effect sizes are quite small, of the order of 10–4 bits deviation per bit processed, over the huge databases accumulated the composite effect exceeds 7 ?( p approx.= 3.5 × 10 –13). These data display significant disparities between female and male operator performances, and consistent serial position effects in individual and collective results. Data generated by operators far removed from the machines and exerting their efforts at times other than those of machine operation show similar effect sizes and structural details to those of the local, on-time experiments. Most other secondary parameters tested are found to have little effect on the scale and character of the results, with one important exception: studies performed using fully deterministic pseudorandom sources, either hard-wired or algorithmic, yield null overall mean shifts, and display no other anomalous feature.
    http://www.princeton.edu/~pear.....review.pdf

    Mind Effects Matter – Perturbed Randomness Following Worldwide crisis – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE1haKXoHMo

    Mass Consciousness: Perturbed Randomness Before First Plane Struck on 911 – July 29 2012
    Excerpt: The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre four hours before they happened – but in the fevered mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked back by sceptics. But it also appeared to forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated the epic tragedy.,,
    Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with apparently inexplicable powers. ‘It’s Earth-shattering stuff,’ says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus researcher at Princeton University in the United States, who is heading the research project behind the ‘black box’ phenomenon.
    http://www.network54.com/Forum.....uck+on+911

    I once asked an atheist, since he believed that his mind was ultimately generated by the ‘god of randomness’, ‘What in blue blazes is my mind doing pushing your god around?’

    Here is a little known fact, a fact that is very antagonistic to the genetic reductionism model of neo-Darwinism. It is found that, besides environmental factors, even our thoughts and feelings can ‘epigenetically’ control the gene expression of our bodies:

    Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, – December 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.,,,
    the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.
    http://www.tunedbody.com/scien.....ges-genes/

    Networks of Genes Respond to Social Experiences – October 13, 2013
    Excerpt: It is subjective mind and perception that changes genes, not just external situations.
    http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/net.....xperiences

    Genie In Your Genes – video
    http://www.genieinyourgenes.com/ggtrailer.html

    Here is a study that shows that ESP really does exist at a statistically significant level:

    Study suggests precognition may be possible – November 2010
    Excerpt: A Cornell University scientist has demonstrated that psi anomalies, more commonly known as precognition, premonitions or extra-sensory perception (ESP), really do exist at a statistically significant level.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....ition.html

    The following video is very impressive in its experimental evidence for the mind:

    The Mind Is Not The Brain – Scientific Evidence – Rupert Sheldrake – (Referenced Notes) – video
    http://vimeo.com/33479544

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Sheldrake, in the spirit of full disclosure, talks of a internet site that he has set up especially for skeptics (or whomever) so they could perform the experiments for themselves at home (or at school). Here is the online test site:

    Online Tests
    Excerpt: Rupert Sheldrake invites you to participate in his ongoing research. No previous experience is necessary, and the online tests can be done immediately. Most of these experiments are suitable for use in schools and colleges, and some make an excellent basis for student projects.
    http://www.sheldrake.org/Onlin.....index.html

    Here is a simple test that would be fairly easy to conduct at home with some friends:

    Telephone telepathy with the Nolan Sisters – video
    http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=22013

    Vunder as to:

    2. Ki: a ‘vital energy’ produced by the soul whose utilization is extremely dependent on the physical body. Though the soul itself cannot be expressed quantitatively by definition (though it can be expressed qualitatively), in essence, it acts as the generator of Ki, which itself can be expressed quantitatively and has a maximum output dependent on the condition of the physical body.

    Here are a few assorted notes in that regard:

    Coast to Coast – Vicki’s Near Death Experience (Blind From Birth) part 1 of 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e65KhcCS5-Y
    Quote from preceding video: ‘I was in a body and the only way that I can describe it was a body of energy, or of light. And this body had a form. It had a head. It had arms and it had legs. And it was like it was made out of light. And ‘it’ was everything that was me. All of my memories, my consciousness, everything.’ –
    Vicky Noratuk

    Strange! Humans Glow in Visible Light – Charles Q. Choi – July 22, 2009
    Schematic illustration of experimental setup that found the human body, especially the face, emits visible light in small quantities that vary during the day. B is one fo the test subjects. The other images show the weak emissions of visible light during totally dark conditions. The chart corresponds to the images and shows how the emissions varied during the day. The last image (I) is an infrared image of the subject showing heat emissions.
    http://i.livescience.com/image.....1296086873

    Photocount distribution of photons emitted from three sites of a human body – 2006
    Excerpt: Signals from three representative sites of low, intermediate and high intensities are selected for further analysis. Fluctuations in these signals are measured by the probabilities of detecting different numbers of photons in a bin. The probabilities have non-classical features and are well described by the signal in a quantum squeezed state of photons. Measurements with bins of three sizes yield same values of three parameters of the squeezed state.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16520060

    Matthew 17:1-2
    After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

    Genesis 2:7
    Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

    Vunder as to:

    3. Magic: This one is a little more tricky since I’m trying to avoid the dictionary definition, but I suppose that magic in this sense would very much follow the standard definition of ritual incantation the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature. However, it should also be added that the definition of magic I work with also holds a wider range of potential and powerful possible effects, though I admit that many of these effects could blend in with psionics and ki to the point that any distinguishing features breaks down.

    Well here are a few notes that may help in that regard. The following video and articles are very suggestive as to providing almost tangible proof for God ‘speaking’ reality into existence:

    The Deep Connection Between Sound & Reality – Evan Grant – Allosphere – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4672092

    Photons and Phonons
    Excerpt: You see, the primary Planck-Law (E=hf) is metaphysical and independent on the inertia distribution of the solid states.,,,
    Both, photon and phonon carry massequivalent energy m=E/c2=hf/c2.
    The matter-light interaction so is rendered electromagnetically noninertial for the photon and becomes acoustically inertial for the phonons; both however subject to Bose-Einstein stochastic wave mechanics incorporative the Planck-Law.,,
    Where, how and why does E=hf correctly and experimentally verifiably describe the quantum mechanics of energy propagation?,,,
    http://www.tonyb.freeyellow.com/id135.html

    Phonon
    Excerpt: In physics, a phonon,, represents an excited state in the quantum mechanical quantization of the modes of vibrations,,
    The name phonon,, translates as sound or voice because long-wavelength phonons give rise to sound.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonon

    Positive words

    The Healing Power of Positive Words By Linda Wasmer Andrews – Jun 08, 2012
    Excerpt: When researchers analyzed the autobiographies of famous deceased psychologists, they found that those who used lots of active positive words (such as lively, enthusiastic, happy) tended to outlive their other colleagues.
    Within this category of words, the biggest boost came from humor-related terms (such as laugh, funny, giggle), which were associated with living six years longer, on average. In contrast, passive positive words (such as peaceful, calm, relaxed) and negative words (such as worried, angry, lonely) didn’t affect longevity.
    http://health.yahoo.net/expert.....tive-words

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    As to belief and prayer:

    Wonders of the Mind: Healing Through Belief
    Excerpt: Normally, people resort to over the counter drugs without question as a way to get rid of their sickness or symptoms. Recent findings show, however, that many drugs actually do not cure. It is the belief that taking drugs (the pill) can cure people that brings the healing process to work. The mind works wonders, as healing takes place basically through belief.
    http://factoidz.com/wonders-of.....gh-belief/

    Testing Prayer: Science and Miraculous Healing – Candy Gunther Brown at Boston College – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRfLooh3ZOk

    Scientific Evidence for Answered Prayer and the Existence of God – Rich Deem
    Excerpt: Obviously, science has demonstrated in three separate studies the efficacy of Christian prayer in medical studies. There is no “scientific” (non-spiritual) explanation for the cause of the medical effects demonstrated in these studies. The only logical, but not testable, explanation is that God exists and answers the prayers of Christians.
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....wIolZKZqed

    Matthew 7:7
    “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

    A few supplemental studies that may be of interest:

    Self-awareness in humans is more complex, diffuse than previously thought – August 22, 2012
    Excerpt: Self-awareness is defined as being aware of oneself, including one’s traits, feelings, and behaviors. Neuroscientists have believed that three brain regions are critical for self-awareness: the insular cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the medial prefrontal cortex. However, a research team led by the University of Iowa has challenged this theory by showing that self-awareness is more a product of a diffuse patchwork of pathways in the brain – including other regions – rather than confined to specific areas. The conclusions came from a rare opportunity to study a person with extensive brain damage to the three regions believed critical for self-awareness. The person, a 57-year-old, college-educated man known as “Patient R,” passed all standard tests of self-awareness. He also displayed repeated self-recognition, both when looking in the mirror and when identifying himself in unaltered photographs taken during all periods of his life. “What this research clearly shows is that self-awareness corresponds to a brain process that cannot be localized to a single region of the brain,”,,,
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....ously.html

    A.I. Has Grown Up and Left Home – Dec. 19, 2013
    Excerpt: some patients with their Broca’s area destroyed can still understand language, due to the immense neuroplasticity of the brain. And language, in turn, is just a part of what we call “thinking.” If we can’t even pin down where the brain processes language, we are a far way from locating that mysterious entity, “consciousness.” That may be because it doesn’t exist in a spot you can point at.
    http://nautil.us/issue/8/home/.....-left-home

    Music:

    Shatter Me Featuring Lzzy Hale – Lindsey Stirling
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49tpIMDy9BE

  20. 20
    Evolve says:

    tjGuy,

    ///But, if they stay true to that meaning, how can they turn right around and use the word “theory” for things that have little to no support – like the Multiverse idea.///

    The word “theory” was used in that article by a Boston Globe staff writer. He didn’t use the word as scientists would use it.

  21. 21
    VunderGuy says:

    @Querius

    Hello Querius, and thank you. As to your quote from Clark, I am familiar with it and am not fond of it for how presumptuous it is as to what is naturalistically possible and I find it particularly funny considering that Clark, along with Asimov were hardened and hard boiled atheists. It also assumed that the human mind can truly quantify the metaphysical in any meaningful sense like we can quantify energy or mass. Don’t get me wrong: while it is possible to quantify the effects of the metaphysical, the source of those effects is a different matter entirely. It’s like an entity that lives in a universe with only 2 dimensions trying to fully conceive a universe with 3 dimensions or an entity in a universe with 3 dimensions trying to fully conceive a universe with 4 dimensions. While it is conceivable for the 2-D and 3-D entity, it is not an incomprehensible concept.

  22. 22
    VunderGuy says:

    @Querius

    1. Christian: a person of any of a number of denominations (protestant, eastern orthodox, catholic, and non-denominational) that affirms that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah spoken of by earlier Jewish theological thought and who, being the son of God, was himself a part of the triune nature of God?

    2. Muslim: a person that affirms that Muhammad was God’s last and greatest prophet and who would affirm a strict monotheistic view of God rather than the triune monotheism that a Christian would affirm?

    3. Marxist: a person who would affirm that there are no gods or God greater than man (assuming you mean the classical definition that would not count Liberation Theology) and hold that the means of production should belong in the hands of the common man or proletariat?

    4. Secular Humanist: a person who would affirm that there are no gods or God greater than man yet would still like to see a moral order imposed upon humanity so that we all don’t logically become nihilists and who are not as ‘burn it all down’ towards religion as marxists tend to be.

    5. Cosmic Humanist: a person who is the same as a Secular Humanist as described above but who thinks that the universe was either made for us or likes us or possibly that aliens created us for a purpose.

    6. Postmodernist: a person who rejects all grand narratives from both theology and secular philosophies and ideologies and even the very existence of objective truth altogether, except of course, that postmodernism is correct.

  23. 23
    StephenB says:

    Hi VunderGuy, BA 77, Querius. I have been very busy, but I just happened to catch your discussion. (BA, Thanks for the kind words).

    I don’t really have time for an extended discussion, but I will offer a couple of thoughts:

    [a] For starters, I would recommend, “An Introduction to Philosophy 101 by Socrates,” written by Peter Kreeft.

    [b] On the question of trichotomy vs. dichotomy, I think it depends on the context. In the strictest sense, I would say that the trichotomous view is more complete, since man is, indeed, composed of body, mind, and spirit. At the same time, there are times when, for special analytical purposes, one can refer to man’s soul in short cut fashion as being everything in him that is not physical. Sometimes, the dichotomous approach is more economical, but there are other times when it would be misleading.

    A dichotomous discussion of body and soul, for example, lends itself to parallel discussions about mind and matter, whether both exist, and, if so, which one is responsible for producing the other. So it is with any analysis of the essential difference between mind, which must exist forever by virtue of the fact that it has no parts, and the body, which must die since it does parts and is vulnerable to disintegration. There is no need to speak of “spirit” in this context, even though both mind and spirit are understood to be immaterial. Indeed, one of the problems with naturalists, especially epiphenominalists, is that they cheat with the language by labeling as minds that which they really believe to be only brains or extensions of brains. To speak of the trichotomous composition in this case would, in my judgment, clutter the discussion.

    On the other hand, there are times when only the trichotomous understanding will work, especially on the subject of God’s relationship to man. Our body, for example, brings us into contact with the physical world presented to us by our senses; our soul brings us into contact with the conceptual world of facts and truths which can be intellectually apprehended; and our sprit brings us into contact with God, who is truth itself and who has (from the Christian perspective) presented some revealed truths that transcend our ability to fully grasp (mystery). Ideally, our spirit is supposed to guide our minds, and our mind is supposed to guide our bodies. Again, from the Christian perspective, that relationship was disrupted by original sin. The spirit was, in part, crowded down into the intellect, its capacities being compromised, and the intellect was crowded down into the senses and was equally compromised. Hence, humans, are now more prone to let their bodies direct their minds (sex, drugs, and rock and roll will make me happy) or to let the minds direct their sprits (I don’t fully understand why God does what He does, therefore, He doesn’t exist and I don’t need to be saved). Their bodies are, as it were, calling the shots and their nobler faculties are following, which is exactly the reverse of what is supposed to be happening. I would argue, then, that we cannot understand human behavior without analyzing man from a trichotomous perspective.

  24. 24
    VunderGuy says:

    “So it is with any analysis of the essential difference between mind, which must exist forever by virtue of the fact that it has no parts, and the body, which must die since it does parts and is vulnerable to disintegration.”

    Wait, what?

  25. 25
    Mapou says:

    klasG4e @4:

    An excellent article on the movie by the producers of same managed to find its way into USA Today recently. It is still up on line at http://www.thefreelibrary.com/…..0366237498

    Thanks for the link and sorry for the late reply. Very interesting link. Note that the Copernican Principle is the reason that we have the relativity principle which denies the existence of absolute position, direction or motion. Logic dictates that the relative is abstract and that everything is absolute. As a result, there must be an absolute axis of the universe. The discovery that the CMB and Earth’s equinoxes are aligned with an absolute plane/axis would be revolutionary. It would change everything.

    Having said that, I don’t think the CMB alignment with the equinoxes is enough to overthrow the Copernican Principle. We need something that knocks everybody’s socks off, scientists and laymen alike.

  26. 26
    Querius says:

    VunderGut@22,

    Nicely done. 🙂

    Practically speaking, these seem to me the primary world views in western culture. Would you agree?

    StephenB@23,
    A good perspective, and that’s been mine as well. Thanks for taking the time to post it. To expand a little, humans can be thought of having

    A. Spirit
    B. Soul
    —1. Mind
    —2. Will
    —3. Emotions
    C. Body

    The tiny choices that lead people either into a life of peace and joy or a life of trouble and anguish usually occur in a person’s Will. That’s where the battle takes place. The wrong direction is when something occurs in the physical realm that causes an emotional surge, for which the Will is exercised, and their Mind rationalizes their actions. The result is a withered, dead Spirit. The flow should be in the opposite direction as you described.

    An example of the Holy Spirit working with a person’s own spirit occurred Friday afternoon. I attended a prayer and praise session at a downtown rehabilitation mission. About 40 men live together at this mission now, all of them recovering alcoholics, drug abusers, and ex-cons. Many of them have experienced dramatic turnarounds in their lives. One of them, a methamphetamine addict, stood up and shared some amazing insights that definitely were beyond his intellect—he just glowed as he shared clearly and firmly what the Holy Spirit had taught him, without any hesitation or rambling. I was amazed!

    (And three of the “guests” there have graduated from the 10-month program in the last few weeks, all of them clean and sober, with good jobs, and a subsidized apartment to start out with.)

    -Q

  27. 27
    VunderGuy says:

    @Stephen B

    So, I’m assuming I can trust Peter Kreeft?

  28. 28
    Mung says:

    It would be hard to go wrong reading Peter Kreeft.

    He has some great books out there and more on the way.

  29. 29
    VunderGuy says:

    @Mung

    You’re not him, are you?

  30. 30
    VunderGuy says:

    @Stephen B

    I have purchased and read Peter Kreeft’s book, and, while I can say that it was certainly eye opening and good, I was referring more to, I suppose, a ‘technical’ introduction to philosophy that defined terms and formalizations and showed examples and the like.

  31. 31
    VunderGuy says:

    @Stephen B

    By technical, I meant more delving into the difference between, say, ontology and epistemology and in how to deconstruct the presuppositions and tactics people make when giving their arguments. That kind of thing.

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