Intelligent Design Religion Science

Some thoughts from Richard Feynman on science and religion

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Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman (1918–1988) is not particularly Dawkins-like but note this:

Belief in God – and the facts of science

That brings us to the second difficulty our student has in trying to weld science and religion: Why does it often end up that the belief in God – at least, the God of the religious type – is considered to be very unreasonable, very unlikely? I think that the answer has to do with the scientific things – the facts or partial facts – that the man learns.

For instance, the size of the universe is very impressive, with us on a tiny particle whirling around the sun, among a hundred thousand million suns in this galaxy, itself among a billion galaxies.

Again, there is the close relation of biological man to the animals, and of one form of life to another. Man is a latecomer in a vast evolving drama; can the rest be but a scaffolding for his creation?

Yet again, there are the atoms of which all appears to be constructed, following immutable laws. Nothing can escape it; the stars are made of the same stuff, and the animals are made of the same stuff, but in such complexity as to mysteriously appear alive – like man himself.

It is a great adventure to contemplate the universe beyond man, to think of what it means without man – as it was for the great part of its long history, and as it is in the great majority of places. When this objective view is finally attained, and the mystery and majesty of matter are appreciated, to then turn the objective eye back on man viewed as matter, to see life as part of the universal mystery of greatest depth, is to sense an experience which is rarely described. It usually ends in laughter, delight in the futility of trying to understand. These scientific views end in awe and mystery, lost at the edge in uncertainty, but they appear to be so deep and so impressive that the theory that it is all arranged simply as a stage for God to watch man’s struggle for good and evil seems to be inadequate.

So let us suppose that this is the case of our particular student, and the conviction grows so that he believes that individual prayer, for example, is not heard. (I am not trying to disprove the reality of God; I am trying to give you some idea of – some sympathy for – the reasons why many come to think that prayer is meaningless.) Of course, as a result of this doubt, the pattern of doubting is turned next to ethical problems, because, in the religion which he learned, moral problems were connected with the word of God, and if the God doesn’t exist, what is his word? But rather surprisingly, I think, the moral problems ultimately come out relatively unscathed; at first perhaps the student may decide that a few little things were wrong, but he often reverses his opinion later, and ends with no fundamentally different moral view.

There seems to be a kind of independence in these ideas. In the end, it is possible to doubt the divinity of Christ, and yet to believe firmly that it is a good thing to do unto your neighbor as you would have him do unto you. It is possible to have both these views at the same time; and I would say that I hope you will find that my atheistic scientific colleagues often carry themselves well in society.

“The Relation of Science and Religion” is a transcript of a talk given by Dr. Feynman at the Caltech YMCA Lunch Forum on May 2, 1956.

37 Replies to “Some thoughts from Richard Feynman on science and religion

  1. 1
    Viola Lee says:

    Thanks. I am a Feynman fan, and I liked a lot of that.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    As do I. Unfortunately, those who most need to consider what he wrote will dismiss him out-of-hand as a member of an “elite” who cares nothing for their interests. They much prefer to place their trust in cult figures like Big Brother Trump

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    This speech wasn’t nearly as unorthodox in 1956 as it would be now. The hot war between Big Science and the entire universe was just starting to ramp up then. Opinions like this were often heard in public.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Richard Feynman starts out with,

    Belief in God – and the facts of science
    That brings us to the second difficulty our student has in trying to weld science and religion: Why does it often end up that the belief in God – at least, the God of the religious type – is considered to be very unreasonable, very unlikely? I think that the answer has to do with the scientific things – the facts or partial facts – that the man learns.,,,

    And what facts or partial facts of science does Feynman think renders belief in God very unreasonable, very unlikely?

    Well, the first fact and/or partial fact that he lists is the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity.

    For instance, the size of the universe is very impressive, with us on a tiny particle whirling around the sun, among a hundred thousand million suns in this galaxy, itself among a billion galaxies.

    Yet, contrary to what Feynman believed, (and what is believed by the vast majority of people today), both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, our two most powerful theories in science, have now, in no uncertain terms, overturned the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of mediocrity.

    ,,, the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity has now been overturned by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, our two most powerful theories in science:
    April 2021 – https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/asked-of-steve-meyer-if-humans-are-so-important-to-god-why-did-they-take-so-long-to-develop/#comment-727599

    So the ‘fact or partial fact’ that Feynman listed, i.e. the Principle of Mediocrity, for questioning God existence turned out to be a wrong fact and/or partial fact.

    How does Feynman’s next fact fair?

    Again, there is the close relation of biological man to the animals, and of one form of life to another. Man is a latecomer in a vast evolving drama; can the rest be but a scaffolding for his creation?

    Yet the supposed fact and/or partial fact of human evolution is now found to be severely wanting of any supportive empirical evidence.

    Sept. 2020 – Refutation of Human Evolution – Fossil Record and Genetics
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/debunking-another-claim-that-an-alleged-pillar-of-human-exceptionalism-has-fallen/

    Thus that is strike two for Feynman.

    Well, how does Feyman’s next fact fair?

    Yet again, there are the atoms of which all appears to be constructed, following immutable laws. Nothing can escape it; the stars are made of the same stuff, and the animals are made of the same stuff, but in such complexity as to mysteriously appear alive – like man himself.

    Yet, although the stars may be constructed following immutable laws, life, i.e. animals and man, are definitely not constructed following some immutable law.

    As I pointed out yesterday, unlike all other ‘real’ sciences, Darwinian evolution simply is not based on any known law of nature.

    no one can ever seem to find this ‘universal law’ of evolution, (save for finding it in the imagination of Darwinists).
    Go to wikipedia for yourself and look up ‘Laws of Science’ and you will not find a ‘universal law’ of evolution listed anywhere on the page.
    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/is-there-a-law-of-evolution-can-it-predict-what-aliens-would-be-like/#comment-729128

    So Feynman was also wrong on his third fact and/or particle fact.

    As they say, “three strikes and you’re out!”

    Moreover, as I further pointed out yesterday at the end of the preceding post, according to the “one general law” that Charles Darwin himself put forward for evolution,,

    “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species – (1861), page 266

    Moreover, according to the “one general law” that Darwin himself put forward for evolution, humans themselves should not even exist, much less should humans have become ‘masters of the planet’.

    “Speech is 95 percent plus of what lifts man above animal! Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.”
    —Tom Wolfe, in the introduction to his book

    In other words, that humans should master the planet due to his unique ability to communicate information is completely contrary to the ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking that undergirds Darwinian thought. Although humans are fairly defenseless creatures in the wild compared to other creatures, such as lions, bears, sharks, etc.., nonetheless, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking, managed to become masters of the planet, not by brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate information and also to, more specifically, infuse immaterial information into material substrates in order to create, i.e. intelligently design, objects that are extremely useful for our defense, basic survival in procuring food, furtherance of our knowledge, and also merely for our pleasure.

    This is simply completely inexplicable on Darwinian terms.

    As Dr. Egnor explains, and as far as our mental abilities are concerned, “We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.,,,”

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,,
    It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....00661.html

    Moreover, although Feyman apparently believed that atoms were the ultimate physical ‘stuff’ from which stars, animals and people were all constructed, it turns out that we now know that atoms are not the ultimate physical ‘stuff’ from which everything else is in the universe is constructed.

    The ultimate stuff from which everything else in the universe is constructed, especially including atoms themselves, turns out to be immaterial information, not some purely physical sub-atomic particle.

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    – Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are ‘made in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our ability to infuse immaterial information into material substrates.

    I guess a more convincing proof that we are made in the image of God could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.

    And that just so happens to be precisely the proof that is claimed within Christianity.

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis

    The evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity keeps growing stronger. (Timeline of facts) – November 08, 2019
    What Is the Shroud of Turin? Facts & History Everyone Should Know – Myra Adams and Russ Breault
    https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-is-the-shroud-of-turin.html

    Verses

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    In further refuting Feynman’s claim that facts and/or partial facts have rendered belief in God very unreasonable and/or very unlikely, it is good to look at Feynman’s own work in science. Indeed it is interesting to look at Feynman’s most notable, Nobel prize winning, achievement in science. i.e. Quantum Electrodynamics.

    Quantum Electrodynamics was first formulated when special relativity was merged with quantum mechanics.

    Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity
    Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed.
    In the 1960s and ’70s, the success of QED prompted other physicists to try an analogous approach to unifying the weak, the strong, and the gravitational forces. Out of these discoveries came another set of theories that merged the strong and weak forces called quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, and quantum electroweak theory, or simply the electroweak theory, which you’ve already been introduced to.?If you examine the forces and particles that have been combined in the theories we just covered, you’ll notice that the obvious force missing is that of gravity (i.e. General Relativity).
    http://www.infoplease.com/cig/.....ivity.html

    Feynman, and others, were only able to unify special relativity and quantum mechanics by quote-unquote “brushing infinity under the rug.”

    THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe?Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.”
    http://www.americanscientist.o.....g-infinity

    And in the following video, Feynman rightly expresses his unease with “brushing infinity under the rug.”:

    “It always bothers me that in spite of all this local business, what goes on in a tiny, no matter how tiny, region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time, according to laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out. Now how can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?”
    – Richard Feynman – one of the founding fathers of QED (Quantum Electrodynamics)
    Quote taken from the 6:45 minute mark of the following video:
    – Feynman: Mathematicians versus Physicists
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw

    I don’t know about Richard Feynman, but as for myself, being a Christian Theist, I find it rather comforting to know that it takes an ‘infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do’

    The reason why I find it rather comforting is because of John 1:1, which says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ‘The Word’ in John 1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos also happens to be the root word from which we derive our modern word logic.
    So that it would take an infinite amount of logic to know what tiny bit of spacetime is going to do is pretty much exactly what one should expect to see under Christian presuppositions.

    John1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

    of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic
    http://etymonline.com/?term=logic

    What is the Logos?
    Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,,
    In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.”
    https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-Logos.html

    Thus directly contrary to whatever Feynman may have personally believed about science being incompatible with belief in God, it turns out that Feynman’s very own work in science, i.e. quantum electrodynamics, renders belief in God, indeed renders belief in Christianity itself, to be very reasonable, might I dare say to even be very likely!

    Moreover, it is also interesting to note that this “brushing infinity under the rug” in order to unify special relativity and quantum mechanics into QED came at the (unacceptable) cost of also brushing ‘the measurement problem’ itself under the rug.

    As Sheldon Lee Glashow stated, “Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.”

    Not So Real – Sheldon Lee Glashow – Oct. 2018
    Excerpt: Heisenberg, Schrödinger, and their contemporaries knew well that the theory they devised could not be made compatible with Einstein’s special theory of relativity. First order in time, but second order in space, Schrödinger’s equation is nonrelativistic. Although quantum field theory is fully compatible with the special theory of relativity, a relativistic treatment of quantum measurement has yet to be formulated.
    https://inference-review.com/article/not-so-real

    Yet the ‘measurement problem’ is precisely where the inexplicable mystery of ‘conscious observation’ makes its presence fully known in quantum mechanics,

    The Measurement Problem
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7d5V71vUE

    And while QED is considered the archetypical model from which a future mathematical ‘theory of everything’ might someday be found, the fact of the matter is that if, at the very first step in your quest to find a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’, you are forced to cast conscious observation itself ‘under the rug’, then your first step can’t possibly be the correct first step towards finding a true and proper ‘theory of everything’.

    For crying out loud, observation itself is the very first step in the scientific method! Thus observation is a pretty big piece of the puzzle to ‘brush under the rug’.

    On top of that minor detail, and to state the obvious, there can be no reality for us in the first place if we are not first consciously observing it.

    Thus any theory that can’t explain our conscious observation of reality, indeed any theory that simply ignores out conscious observation of reality, can’t possibly be the correct first step to a proper scientific ‘theory of everything.”

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, contrary to Feynman’s erroneous belief that humans, (and animals), are purely the product of some immutable law(s) of nature, humans themselves, via the ‘measurement problem’ itself, are instead brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.

    As Steven Weinberg, who is an atheist himself, states in the following article, In the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    In fact Weinberg, again an atheist, rejected the instrumentalist approach precisely because “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and because it undermined the Darwinian worldview from within. Yet, regardless of how he and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave.

    For instance, this recent 2019 experimental confirmation of the “Wigner’s Friend” thought experiment established that “measurement results,, must be understood relative to the observer who performed the measurement”.

    More Than One Reality Exists (in Quantum Physics) By Mindy Weisberger – March 20, 2019
    Excerpt: “measurement results,, must be understood relative to the observer who performed the measurement”.
    https://www.livescience.com/65029-dueling-reality-photons.html

    Quantum paradox points to shaky foundations of reality – George Musser – Aug. 17, 2020
    Excerpt: Now, researchers in Australia and Taiwan offer perhaps the sharpest demonstration that Wigner’s paradox is real. In a study published this week in Nature Physics, they transform the thought experiment into a mathematical theorem that confirms the irreconcilable contradiction at the heart of the scenario. The team also tests the theorem with an experiment, using photons as proxies for the humans. Whereas Wigner believed resolving the paradox requires quantum mechanics to break down for large systems such as human observers, some of the new study’s authors believe something just as fundamental is on thin ice: objectivity. It could mean there is no such thing as an absolute fact, one that is as true for me as it is for you.
    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/08/quantum-paradox-points-shaky-foundations-reality

    Moreover, although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have each been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence” and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole:

    And now Anton Zeilinger and company have recently, as of 2018, pushed the ‘free will loophole’ back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that the experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: In this Letter, we present a cosmic Bell experiment with polarization-entangled photons, in which measurement settings were determined based on real-time measurements of the wavelength of photons from high-redshift quasars, whose light was emitted billions of years ago; the experiment simultaneously ensures locality. Assuming fair sampling for all detected photons and that the wavelength of the quasar photons had not been selectively altered or previewed between emission and detection, we observe statistically significant violation of Bell’s inequality by 9.3 standard deviations, corresponding to an estimated p value of approx. 7.4 × 10^21. This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    Thus regardless of how Steven Weinberg, Richard Feynman, and other atheists may prefer the universe to behave, with the closing of the last remaining free will loophole in quantum mechanics, “humans are indeed brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level”, and thus these recent findings from quantum mechanics directly undermine, as Weinberg himself stated, the “vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.”

    Moreover allowing free will and/or Agent causality into the laws of physics at their most fundamental level has some fairly profound implications for us personally.

    First and foremost, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”.

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://youtu.be/Vpn2Vu8–eE

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    Why does it often end up that the belief in God – at least, the God of the religious type – is considered to be very unreasonable, very unlikely?

    Is it unreasonable/unlikely?

    Suppose this is the best of all possible worlds? From God’s point of view since He crested it. Feynman is using his own perspective to judge God and His objectives. But humans compared to God are less than amoebas compared to us.

    He has left us clues. We have to follow them. Try to understand them.

    There always has to be doubt. Otherwise our existence would be meaningless. So Is doubt an essential for a meaningful existence?

  8. 8
    Viola Lee says:

    For the record, I’ll repost this quote from Feynman that I posted on another thread:

    From “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”.

    You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here…. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me.

  9. 9
    Sandy says:

    Viola Lee
    For the record, I’ll repost this quote from Feynman that I posted on another thread:

    From “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”.

    You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here…. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me

    You should believe a man when he says:”I’m not absolutely sure of anything”. He obviously has no truth to share and is right because all the ultimate truths can be shared by people who had access to outside system (our Universe) informations.
    Unfortunately for science by studying components and pieces of universe will never reach the truth because truth can be delivered through a channel which surpasses our universe therefore the truth can be found only in religious zone where people declare that a Higher Being or Mind told them x or y. And if in religious zone are there different stories we should filter down until reach the most worthy of God and man narrative.

  10. 10
    William J Murray says:

    Feynman says:

    I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things … It doesn’t frighten me.

    What the heck does “not feeling frightened” have to do with anything? Is his implication that people have beliefs, or are certain about some things, out of fear of the alternative? Is Feynman implying how “brave” he is by “accepting” uncertainty about everything? What a weird thing to say. Perhaps he means that in the safe space of being uncertain, he doesn’t have to fear being wrong.

    Seems to me that he is afraid of being wrong, and is avoiding that by residing in the gray area of intellectual uncertainty … even though he does appear to be quite certain that he is uncertain and without fear in that uncertainty.

    Is Feynman uncertain that he exists? Is he uncertain that he has experiences?

  11. 11
    Seversky says:

    Viola Lee/8

    For the record, I’ll repost this quote from Feynman that I posted on another thread:

    From “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”.

    You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here…. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me.

    That’s an excellent Feynman quote and it’s pretty much what I believe.

    However, it’s not for everyone.

    The burial service in the Book of Common Prayer includes the phrase “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” and promises resurrection in due course. For an atheist/agnostic/materialist that should re-written as “Nothing to nothing”. As far as I can tell, I did not exist before I was conceived and I will simply cease to exist after I die. The prospect of personal oblivion is not one that I welcome. I would like to continue to exist but there doesn’t appear to be anything I can do about it.

    For most people, what Feynman found exciting is a bleak and terrifying prospect. What religious belief offers is much more comforting and appealing and, in part, accounts for its prevalence. That’s evident from what people post here and it’s why, although I believe Feynman is right, his beliefs will do little if anything to loosen the grip religious belief has on most people.

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    his beliefs will do little if anything to loosen the grip religious belief has on most people.

    Why should it?. The irrational position is to try and loosen that grip. So even if the atheist position is true the approach of the atheist is irrational.

    Pascal’s wager was right on

    Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though (the Christian) God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses.

    I find the losses in this world extremely small compared to what atheists are allowed and Christians are not. Actually I enjoy the worldly gains that an atheist doesn’t get to enjoy such as being a rational person about this.

    And from above the atheist can never know if they are right. There is always doubt which makes Pascal’s wager solid.

  13. 13
    William J Murray says:

    Pascal’s Wager is one of the most ridiculous false dichotomies I’ve ever read.

  14. 14
    William J Murray says:

    Seversky said:

    For most people, what Feynman found exciting is a bleak and terrifying prospect.

    One might also say that for most atheists, the existence of the Christian God is a “bleak and terrifying prospect.” Assuming the beliefs of others are based on fear of the alternative, or staking out a position because one believes it is the non-fearful position, reduces such conversations ultimately to motive-mongering.

  15. 15
    William J Murray says:

    “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out” … only, Feynman never actually “finds anything out,” so how can he ever enjoy that pleasure?

  16. 16
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray/10

    What the heck does “not feeling frightened” have to do with anything? Is his implication that people have beliefs, or are certain about some things, out of fear of the alternative?

    Yes, I think that’s exactly the point he was making. That’s why a lot of people prefer the comforting fantasies offered by the “opium of the people”.

    Is Feynman implying how “brave” he is by “accepting” uncertainty about everything?

    I’d say more that he was implying that he was prepared to confront the hard realities of this Universe and the limitations of human knowledge about it however discomfiting that might be. But, yes, you could say he was implying how brave he was being.

    Perhaps he means that in the safe space of being uncertain, he doesn’t have to fear being wrong.

    If you’re uncertain, isn’t it more honest to admit it rather than pretending to a certainty you don’t have?

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Sounds like Feynman, (as well as VL and Sev.), should all be completely onboard with Descartes ‘method of doubt’, (although I very much ‘doubt’ they will like the implications of his ‘method of doubt’)

    Method of Doubt
    Excerpt: “Reason now leads me to think that I should hold back my assent from opinions which are not completely certain and indubitable just as carefully as I do from those which are patently false. So, for the purpose of rejecting all my opinions, it will be enough if I find in each of them at least some reason for doubt. (AT 7:18, CSM 2:12)
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/descartes-epistemology/#MethDoub

    Rene Descartes, via his evil demon, i.e. his ‘method of doubt’, found that he could doubt the existence of all things save for the fact that he existed in order to do the doubting in the first place, “As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….”

    Cogito, ergo sum
    Cogito, ergo sum[a] is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”.[b] The phrase originally appeared in French as je pense, donc je suis in his Discourse on the Method, so as to reach a wider audience than Latin would have allowed.[1] It appeared in Latin in his later Principles of Philosophy. As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….” A fuller version, articulated by Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes’s intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”).[c][d] The concept is also sometimes known as the cogito.[2]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito,_ergo_sum

    And from the conclusion that he could only be certain of the fact that he existed in order to do the doubting in the first place, Rene Descartes then went on to use that conclusion from his ‘method of doubt’ as a starting point to then argue for the existence of God.

    René Descartes (1596—1650)
    Excerpt:
    5. God
    a. The Causal Arguments
    At the beginning of the Third Meditation only “I exist” and “I am a thinking thing” are beyond doubt and are, therefore, absolutely certain. From these intuitively grasped, absolutely certain truths, Descartes now goes on to deduce the existence of something other than himself, namely God.
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/descarte/#SH4a

    Thus, from the certainty that we exist to do the doubting in the first place, we can build on that certainty that we exist to conclude that God must also necessarily exist.,,,

    In short, if we really exist, then God necessarily exists.

    On the other hand, if God does not exist then neither do we exist.

    Leading atheists themselves inadvertently admit as much, (i.e. that they do not exist if God does not exist), when they self refutingly claim that, (if atheistic materialism is true), they do not really exist as real people, but that they are merely neuronal illusions:

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?mcubz=3

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – STEVEN PINKER – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    per academic edu

    Question, “Can there even be an argument that is more ‘self refuting’ than an argument claiming that ‘self’ does not even exist?” 🙂

  18. 18
    Viola Lee says:

    WJM writes at 10:

    When Feynman says, “I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things … It doesn’t frighten me”, WJM replies

    What the heck does “not feeling frightened” have to do with anything? Is his implication that people have beliefs, or are certain about some things, out of fear of the alternative? Is Feynman implying how “brave” he is by “accepting” uncertainty about everything? What a weird thing to say. Perhaps he means that in the safe space of being uncertain, he doesn’t have to fear being wrong.

    I think Feynman is saying (and I would agree about the following for myself) that he is not afraid of not having a transcendent purpose, nor afraid of having no existence after death. This isn’t a matter or bravery: it’s a matter of acceptance.

    Religion tries to provide certainty for that which is uncertain, and it tries to make it possible to accept death, both our own and that of our fellow human beings, as part of a larger, meaningful world. These are universal human needs and account in part for the universal prevalence of religion as a core part of many worldviews.

    However, it is a faith position, and for those of us who do not have any of those faiths, Feynman speaks to a different way of looking at our place in the universe

  19. 19
    Viola Lee says:

    at 15, WJM writes,

    “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out” … only, Feynman never actually “finds anything out,” so how can he ever enjoy that pleasure?

    Hmmm: he got a Nobel prize for some of the things he found out.

  20. 20
    Sandy says:

    Seversky

    William J Murray/10

    What the heck does “not feeling frightened” have to do with anything? Is his implication that people have beliefs, or are certain about some things, out of fear of the alternative?

    Yes, I think that’s exactly the point he was making. That’s why a lot of people prefer the comforting fantasies offered by the “opium of the people”.

    🙂 Best joke I’ve ever heard . Comforting fantasies? To be a real christian is the most difficult and tough task ever. Tell what is the difficulty in being an atheist besides the ilogical foundation it sits?

  21. 21
    Viola Lee says:

    at 13, WJM writes, “Pascal’s Wager is one of the most ridiculous false dichotomies I’ve ever read.”

    I agree. Basically it says you should examine all beliefs, and then believe the one that promises the most wonderful consequences for believing in terms of what happens after death and the most terrifying consequences for not believing. I’d counter by saying, apropos of this thread, that I don’t want to live my life comforting myself with things that are not in fact true.

  22. 22
    jerry says:

    Pascal’s Wager is one of the most ridiculous false dichotomies I’ve ever read

    Is this one of the most ridiculous statements ever made? Right up there!

    I don’t want to live my life comforting myself with things that are not in fact true.

    You have no justification for this opinion. So it cannot be anything that you know. You are always welcome to express it but don’t give it any truth value.

    Aside: some people prefer other after life scenarios.

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, there is another name for Pascal’s wager, least regrets. It comes up commonly in sustainability and in game theory, when one seeks to hedge and minimise maximum potential loss. this is also similar to the black swan issue. KF

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: When it comes to the existence of God, logic of being in a credibly contingent cosmos carries a message. We do need a necessary being world root (and yes, at finite remove). God is a serious candidate, for many reasons. Such a candidate is either impossible of being (as a square circle is) or else is actual. The issue is, no one has a really good argument why God is impossible of being.

  25. 25
    Viola Lee says:

    Game theory in general applies to things where the costs, benefits, and probabilities can at least be estimated using empirical investigation. Pascal Wager is not of that sort, as, among other things, the future after death is entirely unknown. Basing the wager on religious speculations that vary tremendously among religions makes it no wager at all. Thus, I’m going to live with the world as I know it, with all its messy costs and benefits, without comparing it to various ideas about how we would like it be in any purported hereafter.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, The true cost of A is the next best unrealised opportunity foregone, B . . . a possible but unrealised neighbouring world. That was my first lesson in economics, taught by my father [one of the best Economists in my homeland] when I was five. Further to this, routinely, estimates are made regarding for example value of a life based on all sorts of things that are anything but observable and measurable. Indeed a subjective probability is just that, subjective and an index of ignorance. Where, information, proper is abstract but measurable based on our analysis and reflection. So, no, least regrets analysis and linked themes are not bound to empirical phenomena. As for the future beyond death being utterly unknown, I have five hundred unshakable witnesses on record and 2,000 years of history to the contrary. KF

  27. 27
    Sandy says:

    ViolaLee sorry to tell you but the existence of Christ is more probable than your existence or Feynman’s existence.

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    VL: “Game theory in general applies to things where the costs, benefits, and probabilities (and) can at least be estimated using empirical investigation. Pascal Wager is not of that sort,”

    First off, it is important to realize that Pascal’s argument assumes a 50/50 percent probability of either being right or wrong about the afterlife,

    The Argument from Pascal’s Wager
    Excerpt: Most philosophers think Pascal’s Wager is the weakest of all arguments for believing in the existence of God. Pascal thought it was the strongest. After finishing the argument in his Pensées, he wrote, “This is conclusive, and if men are capable of any truth, this is it.” That is the only time Pascal ever wrote a sentence like that, for he was one of the most skeptical philosophers who ever wrote.
    Suppose someone terribly precious to you lay dying, and the doctor offered to try a new “miracle drug” that he could not guarantee but that seemed to have a 50-50 chance of saving your beloved friend’s life. Would it be reasonable to try it, even if it cost a little money? And suppose it were free—wouldn’t it be utterly reasonable to try it and unreasonable not to?
    http://www.peterkreeft.com/top.....-wager.htm
    note: Blaise Pascal was a devout Christian and very influential French mathematician and philosopher who contributed to many areas of mathematics. He worked on conic sections and projective geometry and in correspondence with Fermat he laid the foundations for the theory of probability as well as laid the foundation for the science of hydraulics.

    And although Pascal assumed a 50% probability of either being right or wrong about the afterlife, we find that Pascal’s wager can easily be extended to probabilistic analysis when external evidence is allowed in..

    VL himself tried to lower the probability of there being an afterlife from 50/50 by stating, “Basing the wager on religious speculations that vary tremendously among religions makes it no wager at all.”

    VL is basically trying, via introducing external evidence, to say that there is a very low probability of Christians being right about the afterlife and therefore VL is trying to short circuit the effectiveness of Pascal’s original argument by claiming the probability distribution is far lower than 50/50 as is assumed in Pascal’s argument.

    But anyways, two can play at that game.

    I hold that the probability of Christians being right about the afterlife is, for all practical purposes, 100%.

    The Reverend Thomas Bayes developed Bayes’ theorem to refute David Hume’s argument against Christianity. Bayes (rightly) held “that Hume underestimated the impact of there being a number of independent witnesses to a miracle, and that Bayes’ results showed how the multiplication of even fallible evidence could overwhelm the great improbability of an event and establish it as fact.”

    And please note that Bayes theorem finds wide application in science. Which, of course, testifies to its effectiveness as a valid form of reasoning.

    How a Defense of Christianity Revolutionized Brain Science – JORDANA CEPELEWICZ ON DEC 20, 2016
    Excerpt: Presbyterian reverend Thomas Bayes had no reason to suspect he’d make any lasting contribution to humankind.,,,
    in 1748,, philosopher David Hume published ‘An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding’, calling into question, among other things, the existence of miracles. According to Hume, the probability of people inaccurately claiming that they’d seen Jesus’ resurrection far outweighed the probability that the event had occurred in the first place. This did not sit well with the reverend.
    Inspired to prove Hume wrong, Bayes tried to quantify the probability of an event.,,,
    “The basic probabilistic point” of (Richard) Price’s article, says statistician and historian Stephen Stigler, “was that Hume underestimated the impact of there being a number of independent witnesses to a miracle, and that Bayes’ results showed how the multiplication of even fallible evidence could overwhelm the great improbability of an event and establish it as fact.”
    The statistics that grew out of Bayes and Price’s work became powerful enough to account for wide ranges of uncertainties. In medicine, Bayes’ theorem helps measure the relationship between diseases and possible causes. In battle, it narrows the field to locate an enemy’s position. In information theory, it can be applied to decrypt messages. And in the brain, it helps make sense of sensory input processes.
    http://nautil.us/blog/how-a-de.....in-science

    Where this gets very interesting for our present argument is that we have tens of millions of more witnesses testifying to the reality of an afterlife than we have for Darwinian evolution being true.

    As Dr. Egnor explains, “Tens of millions of people have had such (Near Death) experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a protein/gene, or the origin of a molecular machine), which is never.,,,”

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a protein/gene, or of a molecular machine), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    Of related interest, Jonathan McLatchie used Bayes’ Theorem, (and while using extremely conservative estimates to analyze the scientific evidence), Jonathan still found “posterior odds of 0.9999 for the existence of God.”

    What is Bayes’ Theorem, and What Does It Have to Do with Arguments for God? – by Jonathan McLatchie – November 24, 2019
    Excerpt: Let’s summarise the various ingredients we have looked at and the probabilities on atheism that we assigned to them:
    Pr(Universe [laws etc.] | Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Life-permitting Universe | Universe & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Origin of life | Life-permitting Universe & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Origin of life | Life-permitting Universe & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Molecular machines | Origin of life etc. & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Multicellularity | Molecular machines etc. & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Body plans | Multicellularity etc. & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Consciousness | Body plans etc. & Brains & Atheism) = .001
    Pr(Moral sensibilities | Consciousness etc. & Atheism) = .001,,,,
    Conclusion
    I hope to have shown in this article the power of a cumulative case for God based upon Bayes Theorem. In particular, while assuming outrageously generous estimates for the probabilities of the various preconditions necessary for a moral choice arena, we have accumulated sufficient evidence for the existence of God to overcome even an astronomically small prior probability of 10-20 and still achieve posterior odds of 0.9999 for the existence of God. In view of how generous we have been with our assignments of the relevant probabilities, the actual posterior probability, based on the available evidence, is in fact much higher than that.
    http://www.answeringmuslims.co.....es-it.html

    Also of related interest, Winston Ewert used ‘Bayesian model selection’ to prove that the Intelligent model is a far, far, better model than the Darwinian common descent model is:

    New Paper by Winston Ewert Demonstrates Superiority of Design Model – Cornelius Hunter – July 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Ewert used Bayesian model selection which compares the probability of the data set given the hypothetical models. In other words, given the model (dependency graph or common descent), what is the probability of this particular data set? Bayesian model selection compares the two models by dividing these two conditional probabilities. The so-called Bayes factor is the quotient yielded by this division.
    The problem is that the common descent model is so incredibly inferior to the dependency graph model that the Bayes factor cannot be typed out. In other words, the probability of the data set, given the dependency graph model, is so much greater than the probability of the data set given the common descent model, that we cannot type the quotient of their division.
    Instead, Ewert reports the logarithm of the number. Remember logarithms? Remember how 2 really means 100, 3 means 1,000, and so forth?
    Unbelievably, the 10,064 value is the logarithm (base value of 2) of the quotient! In other words, the probability of the data on the dependency graph model is so much greater than that given the common descent model, we need logarithms even to type it out. If you tried to type out the plain number, you would have to type a 1 followed by more than 3,000 zeros. That’s the ratio of how probable the data are on these two models!
    By using a base value of 2 in the logarithm we express the Bayes factor in bits. So the conditional probability for the dependency graph model has a 10,064 advantage over that of common descent.
    10,064 bits is far, far from the range in which one might actually consider the lesser model. See, for example, the Bayes factor Wikipedia page, which explains that a Bayes factor of 3.3 bits provides “substantial” evidence for a model, 5.0 bits provides “strong” evidence, and 6.6 bits provides “decisive” evidence.
    This is ridiculous. 6.6 bits is considered to provide “decisive” evidence, and when the dependency graph model case is compared to comment descent case, we get 10,064 bits.
    But It Gets Worse
    The problem with all of this is that the Bayes factor of 10,064 bits for the HomoloGene data set is the very best case for common descent. For the other eight data sets, the Bayes factors range from 40,967 to 515,450.
    In other words, while 6.6 bits would be considered to provide “decisive” evidence for the dependency graph model, the actual, real, biological data provide Bayes factors of 10,064 on up to 515,450.
    We have known for a long time that common descent has failed hard. In Ewert’s new paper, we now have detailed, quantitative results demonstrating this. And Ewert provides a new model, with a far superior fit to the data.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/07/new-paper-by-winston-ewert-demonstrates-superiority-of-design-model/

    Of supplemental note, Jonathan McLatchie, using Bayes’ theorem, has also done excellent work showing that the Messianic Prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New Testament, prove that the New Testament is true.

    MESSIANIC CONVERGENCE IN THE GOSPELS: A NEW WAY TO FRAME THE ARGUMENT FROM OLD TESTAMENT FULFILMENT by Jonathan McLatchie
    Excerpt of Conclusion: Various other examples could be given, but I will stop the present analysis at this point. The point of this article was simply to show how a cumulative case can be constructed for the truth of Christianity based upon these striking instances of convergence between the life of Jesus and Old Testament texts in a manner that seems to point towards the conclusion of design rather than coincidence. Since the examples given above enjoy strong historical corroboration, we can safely rule out the human design as being responsible for these correspondences. We, therefore, have good evidence for divine design, and therefore the truth of Christianity.
    https://crossexamined.org/messianic-convergence-in-the-gospels-a-new-way-to-frame-the-argument-from-old-testament-fulfilment/

    Thus in conclusion, when external evidence is allowed to influence the initial 50/50 probability distribution of Pascal’s wager, we find that the odds get far, far, worse for atheists. And thus, Pascal’s wager, far from what VL tried to imply, gains far more credence when external evidence is allowed to influence the initial 50/50 probability distribution of Pascal’s wager.

    Here is a quote from article 233 of Pascal’s Pensees, in which he presents his “Game Theory” approach to this question:

    “Let us examine this point and say, “God is, or He is not.” … What will you wager? … Let us weigh the gain and loss of wagering that God is … there is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite … every player stakes a certainty to gain an uncertainty, and yet he stakes a finite certainty to gain a finite uncertainty, without transgressing against reason … the uncertainty of the gain is proportioned to the certainty of the stake according to the proportion of the chances of gain and loss. … And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and loss, and the infinite to gain.,,”
    https://www.pleacher.com/mp/mfacts/wager.html

    Verse:

    Matthew 16:26
    What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, also, the Pascal argument is addressed to those who after investigation (of course involving the witness of the 500 as I noted . . . nowadays, objectors simply back away from the defeated skeptical theories to play po-mo who can know games), i.e. it is an epistemically informed probability estimate for someone in maximal uncertainty, equipoise, thus minimal credible information . . . which, recall, has to be weighted i/l/o surprise, and is meant to guide decision by looking at cost of error. On one track if wrong you have a life and civilisation transforming life path, on the other transfinite personal loss. And yes that points to a calculus in that scale. We know that perpetuities are dominated by the first several decades in any case, on present value. However annuity and discount rates applied are always a debate. KF

    PS: Further to such, there is a body, not of simply near-death experiences but of death-transition experiences, that shows the curtain opening at end of life, often with welcoming delegations. Of course, too often greeted with hyperskepticism and certainly not generally recognised in the media or professional literature in an aggressively secularist age. Nevertheless, it is there. I know of reliable witnesses to such and I was there for my Dad when he said goodbye to us for now and went to the One who came to welcome him. His Lord.

  30. 30
    William J Murray says:

    VL said:

    I don’t want to live my life comforting myself with things that are not in fact true.

    And:

    Game theory in general applies to things where the costs, benefits, and probabilities can at least be estimated using empirical investigation. Pascal Wager is not of that sort, as, among other things, the future after death is entirely unknown. Basing the wager on religious speculations that vary tremendously among religions makes it no wager at all. Thus, I’m going to live with the world as I know it, with all its messy costs and benefits, without comparing it to various ideas about how we would like it be in any purported hereafter.

    First, just to point it out, you’re making a claim of universal negative about knowledge of what occurs after death. I assume this is due to your ignorance of the evidence, but it’s never a good idea to slip into these kind of universal negative claims. Another example is when people say, “there is no evidence of X.” How would they know?

    Second, I think looking at this from game theory analysis, or via pragmatism, is a great idea, but I think your evaluation may be incomplete. One of the things you have to “live with” in the “here and now,” as you say, is the knowledge of not only your mortality, but the mortality of your loved ones. Plus, you have to live with your reactions to the environment, to whatever your attention is on and how you organize “what is going on” in your thoughts or “worldview.” If you empathize with other people, this may be quite distressing, generate outrage, worry, even fear. If you get a terminal disease or have a horrible accident, there’s that to have to deal with. Or, many people just feel an overwhelming sense of existential angst and despair and commit suicide.

    IOW, while a person’s current level of comfort in life may be enough to afford them the luxury of not having belief in an afterlife, the world has largely been comprised of people living in far more brutal, painful, miserable conditions where their psychological survival depends on believing in an afterlife. From game theory or from a pragmatic view, such beliefs are not only practical, they are necessary. They are not born from fear or just some additional level of comfort, but rather their capacity to survive and carry on day to day.

    Also, your analysis ignores a third possibility; that a belief in the afterlife can be enriching to our experience here, adding to the enjoyment, the wonder, the sense of beauty and value. IOW, it’s can be not only about psychological survival, or finding comfort in the face of fear of mortality, but perhaps it can add value to life here beyond what is available to those who either believe there is no afterlife or are agnostic about it.

    Practically speaking, if one’s life is enriched by such belief, what difference does it make if there is no afterlife? Nothing has necessarily been lost from their lives – except maybe some fear, misery and grief. What is the value of experiencing such things if there is no afterlife? What is the value of being in misery for the rest of your life due to, say, the death of a child? Is there some reward for experiencing that crushing grief the rest of your life? Do we get a badge of honor at the end for bravely enduring it? Wouldn’t it be better to gain respite from that grief, which is essentially ruining your capacity to enjoy the rest of your life, by turning to belief in an afterlife?

    Also, the idea that “we cannot know” if an afterlife exists is not only a logical fallacy; it’s revealing of an a priori commitment. How does anyone know that we cannot know? Just as you or Feynman might argue that belief in an afterlife is a psychological position (as I’ve additionally outlined above), so too is your and Feynman’s own view, because those positions are obviously not based on the actual evidence. Both of you believe the answer to the question of the afterlife is an “unknowable.”

    Perhaps you think the “afterlife” is intractably some kind of “spiritual” domain and thus inherently outside of the purview of scientific or empirical investigation. That would be an error of thought as thoroughly conditioned by religious/spiritual ideology as most of those who believe in an afterlife.

    Something interesting I’ve discovered is that when I tell people that overwhelming, conclusive evidence exists not only that the dead continue to exist and we can interact with them, but evidence exists that has been confirmed independently over and over for over 150 years of scientific investigation describing aspects of the afterlife environment (entirely physical, full of normal people living what we would call normal lives, many (or perhaps most) of which are completely uninterested in “religion” or “spirituality,) and that it exists for everyone regardless of spiritual or religious beliefs, few people are even interested.

    Why is that? Why the total lack of interest even in a cursory look at the evidence from either side – people that do believe in some form of an afterlife, and those that do not? It seems to me that this is because people largely choose – at least subconsciously – to stay in their psychological comfort zone rather than be exposed to evidence that might dislodge them from it.

    Here’s a crazy, but true statement: I have personally visited what we call the afterlife several times. I’ve talked with and interacted with those we call the dead. I’ve touched them, seen and interacted with the local environment in as perceptually and physically real an experience as my normal life with zero loss of or alteration of consciousness or break in my string of thought. Millions of others do this every single day through various techniques. They’ve reported on and in many cases have independently confirmed various local environmental features and that they have met each other there and verified what they did or talked about there.

    There is now technology that is used to have direct conversations with the dead; that technology is currently being developed for public demonstrations. Some research has accomplished the reception here of photos and short video of the dead transmitted from their “world.” Electronic reception of voice transmissions from the dead has been going on for decades.

    I’m not trying to convince you or anyone; I say the above just to make a point: who here is aware of this evidence, that this technology exists, or that there has been 150 years of scientific investigation into the afterlife demonstrating its existence? Are you aware that the Universities of Arizona and Virginia have been involved in this research for decades? Are you aware of the scientists and engineers that are involved in these projects, what kind of professional, critical scrutiny and protocols they use?

    Probably not. And, more interestingly, probably no one here cares so much as to even investigate it. Why is that, do you think?

    IMO, it’s all about a priori ideological or psychological commitments.

  31. 31
    William J Murray says:

    I personally know and am friends with a research scientist (fields of chemistry and physics,) a neurobiologist and a professional skeptic. The research scientist had certain religious beliefs she was raised with but had more or less moved away from; the other two were atheistic materialists. When they were challenged to look over the evidence and to conduct their own experiments, all three independently came to the conclusion that the afterlife exists; that the methods of interacting with the dead produced quantifiable, verifiable results, and all three have themselves visited what what we call “the afterlife” just as I have.

  32. 32
    William J Murray says:

    Another thing unaccounted for in the “fear and comfort” psychology model are the vast numbers of ADCs (after-death communication) regular people experience outside of experimental conditions. 1/3 of people (statistically) report having had at least one ADC, including those who had no prior belief in the afterlife.

    IOW, Feynman’s “fear and comfort” psychology model just ignorantly dismisses all of the available evidence and experiences, and lumps everyone who believes in the afterlife into a dismissive psychological category.

    Weren’t we discussing, in another thread, the perils of doing exactly this?

  33. 33
    jerry says:

    UD is not about religion especially any specific religion. It is about science and its implications. A creator is certainly under the purview of ID because the science points to a creator. Now most of the contributors here are Christians of various backgrounds. So Christianity comes up frequently.

    Can one study religion using the tools of epistemology? Yes! But that is not ID but is semi related to ID in the sense that ID uses the tools of epistemology too (evidence, logic, inference to the best explanation, justification etc.) So they often get conflated.

    That aside, the topic of progress often comes up in the current world constantly and has on UD several times. An interesting short conversation between Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Pageau below is about the difference between heaven and utopia. We often hear the expression, “heaven on earth” as the world progresses to even more amazing discoveries and innovations. In this video Peterson and Pageau discusses it. I found it interesting

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk1QjSx53uw&t=469s

    Recently I became aware of Boethius. I had never heard of him before but his ideas from the early 6th century echo what Peterson and Pageau ended up with in this relatively short video. If you go searching for happiness and progress you will find neither. If you use the right ideas, you will find both.

    What are those ideas? God and freedom. If you don’t use both there may be unintended consequences that are highly undesirable. Since the concept of worldview has come up frequently in recent days. I will state my worldview again. Christianity (my conclusion for God) and freedom.

  34. 34
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    I’m reading Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for a second time now and also his Beyond Order for the first time … tremendous.

    Without God there is no freedom, since everything is driven by blind, mindless natural order – all life is just enslaved to chemical responses. God breaks that determinism since God is not confined by the natural order but transcends it – thus, we also can transcend and have true freedom.
    I’m reading Consolation of Philosophy also, coincidentally now and Boethius would look to intellectual virtues – the truth of things, wisdom and true goodness. With those, there is happiness. But as stated, looking for happiness on its own will not work. Also with “progress” – we look at that as a horizontal movement. Making things better in the world. But progress should be development of the mind and perfection of soul in virtue – growing closer to the perfection of God (our Creator).
    Boethius was a Christian but there is some controversy as to why he sought only philosophical understanding. Some think that he was not deeply formed in Christianity – others that he tried to conceal, others that he was speaking to non-Christian world. He doesn’t mention Christ in his work, but it was still regarded as one of the greatest Christian works by the scholars of the Middle Ages and some considered him a saint.

  35. 35
    jerry says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    You may want to look at the following link. It refers to a recent video that is very interesting and which introduced me to Boethius.

    https://uncommondescent.com/logic-and-first-principles-of-right-reason/lfp-40-thoughts-on-neo-reidian-common-sense-realism/#comment-728866

  36. 36
    William J Murray says:

    SA said:

    Without God there is no freedom, since everything is driven by blind, mindless natural order – all life is just enslaved to chemical responses.

    False dichotomy. There are other options besides those two.

  37. 37
    Querius says:

    False dichotomy. There are other options besides those two.

    Vacuous unsupported assertions. Maybe they’re true, but someone making such an assertion is of zero value or consequence.

    Either the universe is driven by blind, mindless natural order . . . or it isn’t. What other options exist in addition to “it is or it isn’t”? Is the universe only sometimes driven by blind, mindless natural order?

    -Q

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