Cosmology Multiverse Physics

Why (some) physicists think a multiverse exists

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As stated by Ethan Siegel, it sounds like nonsense:

We have overwhelming evidence for the hot Big Bang, and also that the Big Bang began with a set of conditions that don’t come with a de facto explanation. If we add in an explanation for it — cosmic inflation — then that inflating spacetime that set up and gave rise to the Big Bang makes its own set of novel predictions. Many of those predictions are borne out by observation, but other predictions also arise as consequences of inflation. One of them is the existence of a myriad of Universes, of disconnected regions each with their own hot Big Bang, that comprise what we know as a multiverse when you take them all together. This doesn’t mean that different Universes have different rules or laws or fundamental constants, or that all the possible quantum outcomes you can imagine occur in some other pocket of the multiverse. It doesn’t even mean that the multiverse is real, as this is a prediction we cannot verify, validate, or falsify. But if the theory of inflation is a good one, and the data says it is, a multiverse is all but inevitable. You may not like it, and you really may not like how some physicists abuse the idea, but until a better, viable alternative to inflation comes around, the multiverse is very much here to stay. Now, at least, you understand why.

Ethan Siegel , “This is why physicists suspect the Multiverse very likely exists” at Big Think (December 30, 2021)

But Siegel makes it sound like physics, which is certainly a feat.

103 Replies to “Why (some) physicists think a multiverse exists

  1. 1
    Nonlin.org says:

    Hey news,

    A lot of people say a lot of dumb things. They are not newsworthy.

  2. 2
    asauber says:

    “It doesn’t even mean that the multiverse is real, as this is a prediction we cannot verify, validate, or falsify”

    There you go.

    Andrew

  3. 3
    AaronS1978 says:

    So what you’re telling me is that if you make stuff up you get made up consequences

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    It has been pointed out several times that the multiverse theory leads to an infinite number of entities with infinite intelligence.

    An obvious absurdity.

  5. 5
    JVL says:

    Asauber: There you go.

    I’m not a fan or optimistic about the ‘multi-verse’. Especially considering the apparent inability to detect any other universes. Until that is figured out I’m not jumping on that bandwagon or even following close behind.

  6. 6
    Belfast says:

    @JVL
    The multiverse is a hypothesis built to explain away the narrow ranges of the constants. Its foundation lies in the inexplicable nature of the expansion of the universe.
    To write that no jumping to the hypothesis will be made unless other universes are detected is to do things in reverse, the hypothesis is that the universes are causally disconnected, this point is inherent in the hypothesis. To delay a jump is to essentially revealing a wish to believe in a multiverse.

  7. 7
    doubter says:

    Materialist atheists see their house of cards collapsing as a result of the manifest evidence for a very high degree of fine tuning.

    Much research has established the reality of the Big Bang. The only known or conceivable source of the massive amounts of organized, mathematically structured information that came into existence (such as that defining material existence, and the exceedingly complex organizations of matter constituting life) is some form of intelligence. The origin of all this appears to have been be an act of intelligent creation.

    So the atheist materialists come up with convoluted and excessively complicated strategems such as the multiverse, which massively violates the good old principle of parsimony, and is totally unscientific since these postulated other universes are totally unobservable.

    But even before these reasons for rejection, the multiverse strategem is invalid as an argument against design because the concept only kicks the can down the road so to speak – the concept necessarily presupposes some sort of meta-cosmos that must necessarily still have had some higher sort of governing principles and laws and overall complex structure that inherently contained all the information constituting the intricately designed potential to foster the formation of the infinitude of multiverses. To borrow a phrase, when it comes to design there’s just no free lunch.

  8. 8
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter said:

    So the atheist materialists come up with convoluted and excessively complicated strategems such as the multiverse, which massively violates the good old principle of parsimony, and is totally unscientific since these postulated other universes are totally unobservable.

    1. The multiverse was not originally a strategy against ID; it was one of the possible explanations for the results of double-slit experiments.

    2. Other universes, even in the traditional sense of that idea, have been observed by countless individuals via NDEs and astral projection.

    3. Other universes, or multiple realities, have been scientifically demonstrated via quantum experimentation, meaning, two observers record two different sets of factual data from the same, single experiment as it occurs. IOW, the experiment demonstrates that the reason we think such universes are “unobservable” is because we are beginning with a false premise – that of an external reality made of matter and energy. Quantum experiments have disproved this premise. What we call “the universe” is entirely the mental experience of abstract information. We experience a multiverse all the time, every day, we just don’t observe it in the manner we commonly think it should, due to our faulty premise.

    4. The rule of parsimony means you do not include any more entities in your explanation than is necessary to account for all the evidence.

    5. Since science has disproved local reality, this means that there are no “facts” present, absent an observer interaction, that would define “a” universe; rather, there are many different “factual” universes available from the informational potential. Since it has been demonstrated that two independent observers can obtain contradictory factual data from the same single experiment, we’ve demonstrated that more than one universe factually exists. Meaning, one observer does not collapse the information into one universe for everyone.

    6. For any one universe to exist, there are infinite other potential universes that exist as informational variations of the one that is known to exist. What hat we call “the universe” is, outside of observation, nothing more than informational potential; all possible universe exist as informational potential. Thus, all possible universe exist in the same way, outside of observation, in the same way any experienced universe exists, outside of observation.

    7. Even if a God deliberately chose one particular, potential universe to “actualize,” infinite other universes would still necessary exist in potential. However, experimental evidence demonstrates that no single universe for us to experience/observe has been actualized, or else the experimental evidence would be entirely different; local reality would be true. It is not.

    8. Quantum “observer collapse” effects have been shown to extend beyond the subatomic world into the macro world, and there is no known dividing line between the two that has been demonstrated or even theorized to this point.

    9. Since sentient life is the ongoing process of observation/experience, it is necessarily an ongoing individual process of quantum “observer collapse” of potential states into individual “real” or “factual” states (as demonstrated experimentally.)

    10. If we define “a universe” as a set of facts that can be applied to the world external of all observers, then “the universe” is infinite, informational potential outside of anyone’s observation/experience. If we define “a universe” as a set of facts about an actualized, observation of what we call “the external world,” then necessarily, and demonstrably, every individual is experiencing an individual universe.

    11. Logically, since any “physical universe ” experience occurs entirely in the mind of an individual observer / experiencer, and the only thing that exists beyond that has been shown to be potential, the theory of the multiverse is not only demonstrable; it is also logically necessary from the known evidence, because there is no single, factual assembly of local reality states “out there,” external of our observation / experience.

  9. 9
    asauber says:

    “2. Other universes, even in the traditional sense of that idea, have been observed by countless individuals via NDEs and astral projection.”

    WJM,

    I’m not sure why these unconventional (unscientific) testimonies shouldn’t be classified as dreams, or illusions, or just imaginings. They don’t lend any support for a multiverse. These observers could easily still be experiencing “the universe”.

    Andrew

  10. 10
    doubter says:

    WJM@8

    2. Other universes, even in the traditional sense of that idea, have been observed by countless individuals via NDEs and astral projection.

    Deep NDEs and astral projection experiences have traditionally and much more conservatively been interpreted as being of higher spiritual realms where “thoughts are things” and phenomena like esp and psi (generally rare and weak in our physical world) are the normal means of sensing and communication. Not literally other universes. These other realms have been interpreted as other and non-physical realms of existence in some sense interpenetrating our own, not other “physical” universes with slightly or greatly different laws of physics. The traditional interpretations of these paranormal phenomena (and of most other humanly-experienced psychical phenomena) fit well and most simply into the mind/brain philosophical stance of interactive dualism.

    Your approach doesn’t seem to deal very well or at all with the central problem of where the obviously manifested beyond massive amount of complex specified organized information constituting and underlying our apparently objective reality comes from. Again, our only observed source of large amounts of CSI is conscious focused intelligence, in our case human. Conscious focused intelligence is necessarily manifested by some sort of being.

    If you are proposing something other than a focused conscious intelligence (or many such) as this source you need to describe this thing and show how such a thing can originate great numbers of incredible intricate machine-like designs in a nested heirarchy of systems within systems, a titanic feat of design clearly requiring a titanic degree of focused conscious intelligence.

  11. 11
    William J Murray says:

    Asauber @9 said,

    I’m not sure why these unconventional (unscientific) testimonies shouldn’t be classified as dreams, or illusions, or just imaginings.

    Because they have been studied and they do not fit the criteria of alternative, speculative explanations. They fit the criteria of the experience of something real, not dreams, illusions or imaginings.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3399124/

  12. 12
    asauber says:

    WJM,

    From your link:

    “it should be recognized that most if not all interpretations remain only speculation or, at best, clues”

    Andrew

  13. 13
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter @10 said:

    These other realms have been interpreted as other and non-physical realms of existence in some sense interpenetrating our own, not other “physical” universes with slightly or greatly different laws of physics.

    The vast bulk of evidence that we currently have available through many different avenues of research into what we have “traditionally” called “the afterlife,” and have “traditionally” interpreted in terms of religion and/or spirituality are, in fact, other physical universes where we have physical bodies and where the physics (and other conditions) can be similar to or widely different from this one.

    If you are proposing something other than a focused conscious intelligence (or many such) as this source you need to describe this thing and show how such a thing can originate great numbers of incredible intricate machine-like designs in a nested heirarchy of systems within systems, a titanic feat of design clearly requiring a titanic degree of focused conscious intelligence.

    Mental Reality Theories, (MRTs) such as those being developed by the Quantum Gravity Research Group and the Essentia Foundation, are currently the only way to scientifically explain the results of quantum physics experimentation and certain fundamental mysteries, such as the hard problem of consciousness, mathematical patterns found throughout nature, etc.

    Under MRT, existence is made up entirely of information and consciousness. The information is in the form of potential. Everything that possibly exits, necessarily exists as potential. There’s no need to go further than this; intelligent designed phenomena necessarily exist because they are possible. However, to go further, sentient consciousness has a fundamental, inescapable relationship with intelligible patterns in our experience; in fact, we cannot exist as sentient, intelligent beings without being in a context of intelligible patterns and designs.

    It is we, the individual observer, who necessarily, automatically collapse an intelligible pattern of experiential phenomena out of the infinite potential of all possible things. Absent what is called “local reality,” which has been entirely disproved repeatedly and conclusively, this is the only available explanation for the intelligent design we find in experiential phenomena: we are doing it ourselves without even knowing it. Such designs are generated by the nature of our sentience as it interacts with potential.

  14. 14
    doubter says:

    Asauber@9

    I’m not sure why these unconventional (unscientific) testimonies shouldn’t be classified as dreams, or illusions, or just imaginings.

    There are many elements and characteristics of NDEs that make it preposterous to suggest that they are illusionary or dreams or hallucinations.

    A good example of the research data on NDEs is the book The Self Does Not Die by Rivas, Driven and Smit, which documents numerous well-investigated veridical NDEs, divided into several categories, such as extrasensory veridical perception of the immediate environment, extrasensory veridical perception of events beyond the reach of the physical senses, awareness and extrasensory veridical perception during cardiac arrest and other conditions during which the brain is dysfunctional, telepathy, after-death communication with strangers, and after-death communication with familiar people. There are also a number of other additional categories of paranormal veridical phenomena accompanying some NDEs. Overall, more than 100 investigated veridical paranormal NDE cases are documented.

    In these cases, orthodox physicalist explanations could not possibly account for the remembered veridical perceptions many of which are visual later reported by the patients in their accounts of the experiences. There are also many other characteristics of NDEs that strongly militate against the illusionary hypothesis, in particular the fact that in many cases of deep NDEs there is a profound and lifelong personality transformation towards a higher degree of spirituality, something not noted to be the result of hallucinations.

    The power of numbers also operates here, in that even if some few of the cases actually have ordinary medical of other explanations, this can’t possibly account for all of the cases. Even one truly anomalous paranormal veridical case constitutes strong prima facie empirical evidence for separation of consciousness from the physical body during the reported NDE. There are cumulatively countless numbers of cases.

    Also, looking at the big picture, parapsychology and psychical investigation over the last 130 years have accumulated a very large body of other types of empirical verified evidence for separation of the mind from the physical body (or in some cases veridical perceptions while conscious in the body that imply independence of consciousness from the physical brain). Furthermore, a number of very strong philosophical arguments in the discipline of philosophy of mind have been developed that very logically establish the untenability of physicalism in general and specifically in philosophy of mind. Again, the power of numbers operates. Even if ultimately some of this empirical data and some of these philosophical arguments are somehow invalid, all it takes is one valid one to establish the case against physicalism, or more specifically for that matter against any fundamentalist religious rejection of NDEs based on Scripture or whatnot.

  15. 15
    William J Murray says:

    Asauber @12:

    You do realize that the interpretations your quote-mined text was directly referring to were the physical and psychological interpretations often cited as being the explanations for NDEs and OBEs, right? And that those interpretations were insufficient to explain the evidence?

    NDEs are an intriguing and relevant phenomenon, the nature of which is still under debate. Their apparent transcendent tone may wrongly lead one to take them as clues of an afterlife, glossing over the neurobiological mechanisms involved in producing them; on the other hand, a prejudicial refusal of facts that appear transcendent or paranormal might wrongly lead to neglecting them due to their apparent incompatibility with the widely accepted materialistic view of the world and known scientific laws. Both these stances may be harmful sources of opposite errors, the former leading to belief in non-existing “facts,” the latter to denial of existing ones.

    As already discussed, the idea that NDEs are the mere results of a brain function gone awry looks to rely more on speculation than facts (Mobbs and Watt, 2011) and suffers from bias in skipping both the facts and hypotheses that challenge the reductionist approach (e.g., see van Lommel, 2004, 2011; Facco, 2010; Greyson, 2010b; Agrillo, 2011). Simple advocated physical causes, such as anoxia/ischemia, explain very well the common experience of fainting, but are far from explaining the nature of NDEs or why NDEs occur in only a minority of cases, as already emphasized by van Lommel et al. (2001). Furthermore, complete brain anoxia with absent electrical activity in cardiac arrest is incompatible with any form of consciousness, according to present scientific knowledge, making the finding of an explanation for NDEs a challenging task for the ruling physicalist and reductionist view of biomedicine (Kelly et al., 2007; Greyson, 2010b; van Lommel, 2010).

    Finally, the data available in the literature are not easily compatible with the interpretation of “meeting deceased people” as a mere consequence of the psychological hypothesis of expectation, considering that in most cases the perception of undefined entities (not belonging to the iconography of the patients’ religion) and figures other than known deceased persons has been reported (see, for instance, Holden et al., 2009; van Lommel, 2010). Moreover, it is unclear how people in sudden critical conditions (such as cardiac arrest) might be aware of being near-death and have time enough to develop complex scenarios according to their wishes. Also the occurrence of NDEs in children, even as young as three year old (Morse et al., 1985, 1986), does not support an expectation hypothesis, given their lack of a clear vision of death and of elaborate philosophical-religious views of life.

  16. 16
    doubter says:

    WJM

    Under MRT, existence is made up entirely of information and consciousness. The information is in the form of potential. Everything that possibly exits, necessarily exists as potential. There’s no need to go further than this; intelligent designed phenomena necessarily exist because they are possible. However, to go further, sentient consciousness has a fundamental, inescapable relationship with intelligible patterns in our experience; in fact, we cannot exist as sentient, intelligent beings without being in a context of intelligible patterns and designs.

    I think I will stand on my last posts on this matter. Your proposal is that apparently intelligently designed systems (in particular the Universe) exist because they are possible. Meaning a seeming infinitude of other universes or realities also exist, the most excessive possible violation of the well-known scientific principle of parsimony or Ockham’s Razor.

    I’m curious. This elaborate intellectual edifice presupposes a very complex and intricate and organized underlying reality, exactly calculated to result in humans and their (illusionary) experience of an objective physical world. Where did this amazing system come from? Again, absolutely nothing can come from absolutely nothing. Do you contend that it is a brute fact of existence not requiring and not having any explanation? That somehow seems exceedingly untenable, especially when in absolutely all our experience of observation, inevitably all complicated organized purposeful systems have an origin in the focused conscious intelligence of beings, namely humans in the case of our observations.

  17. 17
    asauber says:

    “And that those interpretations were insufficient to explain the evidence?”

    WJM,

    There’s a lot of that going around, so why should I be bound to anyone’s speculations “obeserving” other universes, whatever side they are on?

    Andrew

  18. 18
    William J Murray says:

    Asauber asks:

    There’s a lot of that going around, so why should I be bound to anyone’s speculations “obeserving” other universes, whatever side they are on?

    There’s always doing it for yourself, which I have done. Nothing like first-hand experience to challenge one’s perspective.

  19. 19
    asauber says:

    “There’s always doing it for yourself, which I have done.”

    WJM,

    No thanks. I don’t want or need to observe “other universes” imaginary or otherwise.

    Paraphrase of one of my fave prayers:

    Take, Lord, receive
    all my liberty.
    My memory, understanding, my entire will
    Give me only your Love, and your Grace,
    that’s enough for me
    Your love and your grace are enough for me

    Andrew

  20. 20
    doubter says:

    WJM

    You have explained your view as being that there is no intelligent designer behind our Universe and reality – that it is all simply one possible potential out of an infinitude of other such potentials inherent in consciousness. From my point of view this could be termed the “titanic something out of nothing theory”.

    You have not responded to my challenge to this in 16 in which I stated, “I’m curious. This elaborate intellectual edifice (of Mental Reality Theory (MRT)) presupposes a very complex and intricate and organized underlying reality, exactly calculated to result in humans and their (illusionary) experience of an objective physical world. Where did this amazing system come from?”.

    It is the strong implication of this inevitable question that there must still ultimately be at the bottom of everything some sort of focused conscious intelligent designer (or multiple such intelligences). Vast amounts of functional complex specified information does not come from anything but intelligence.

    I guess I must conclude that you have no answer to my challenge. This would mean that you apparently can’t conclusively argue against the strong implications I have pointed out that absolutely any multiple universe generating mechanism (including MRT) itself constitutes a complex and elaborate organized system that demands some sort of intelligent creator, i. e., that as far as design is concerned, there is no free lunch.

  21. 21
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter @20 said:

    I guess I must conclude that you have no answer to my challenge.

    Or, you could conclude that I occasionally have other things to attend to in my life and responding to people here isn’t at the top of my priority list.

    The problem with the questions you ask is that you’re asking them from a conceptual framework that is inapplicable to MRTs. Such as, a universal time-linear dualistic (or materialist) ontology.

    I have pointed out that absolutely any multiple universe generating mechanism (including MRT) itself constitutes a complex and elaborate organized system that demands some sort of intelligent creator, i. e., that as far as design is concerned, there is no free lunch.

    I can see why you would think that, but let’s look at this from an example and see what we come up with.

    In the room I’m in right now there are several blank canvasses and art supplies (brushes, acrylic paint, etc.) If I put a blank canvas on my easel, how many different paintings might I generate? Let’s say that the potential is infinite. Is the potential infinite because some intelligent being deliberately created all that potential? No, the potential necessarily exists as a natural, inescapable aspect of the situation.

    Now, let’s move the time back to the supposed “big bang” origin of the universe; we agree that the potential for all those different paintings I might make necessarily existed then as well. Now, let’s move back in time to before God created the Big Bang; the potential for God to have created that particular world had to exist even then. The potential for God to have created any world had to exist as its own property because God cannot create the potential for God to create something; God cannot create the potential for God to think of something; that potential had to exist as an eternal, necessary, innate aspect of God or else God couldn’t have thought of it or create it.

    That is the inescapable logic of potential regardless of whether you posit that a deliberate, intelligent God created the universe or not. Obviously, the potential for every possible universe exists regardless of any ontological perspective. That’s one of those trivially true statements.

    In the dualistic perspective, the reason God is said to be an intelligent designer is because of … what? God did not have to invent or create the designs that were already present in the potential because God (as being proposed here) only had to “actualize” one particular set of informational potential; IOW, all God had to do was look at, or sort through potential universes until He, equipped with foreknowledge of the entire history of how any particular “universe” potential would play out or be if actualized, made a decision about which one to actualize.

    IOW, God did not have to be intelligent; all God had to do was pick, out of the potential, which universe he wanted to actualize. All the nano-machinery, all the interdependent systems, all the goldilocks constants, all the intelligent design of all of that was, and had to be, inherent in the potential that God, having access to knowledge of the entire time-run of any potential universe, could see in complete detail.

    This why the concept of God as some necessarily super-intelligent designer fails: God didn’t have to design anything. All God had to do was pick the universe he wanted out of the potential that already existed. Now the question is: is it more appropriate to say that God “created” the universe, or that God actualized a universe He found in all the potential universes He looked into?

    More to follow.

  22. 22
    William J Murray says:

    (Continued from #21)

    As #21 demonstrates, what we call “intelligent design” is something that always exists/existed in potential, whether or not God, or anyone else, actualizes that potential. What “actualization” means depends on your ontological perspective; under dualism, it means that God instantiated potential into a material, objective world that exists independent of the observation of any particular individual observer.

    This is not what repeated quantum physics experimentation over the past 100+ years has revealed. What it has revealed is that the “world” outside of our experience still exists as potential, and any particular potential is not actualized anywhere other than in the conscious experience of the individual. Also, it has been shown that one individual observation/experience does not remove, select, or “collapse” the potential for all other individuals. Quantum experiments have shown conclusively that even the past is not collapsed into a particular set of states.

    How do we define a “universe” under MRT, so that we can have a clear understanding of what a “multiverse” is under MRT? It could be argued that every individual is experiencing their own universe because they are uniquely collapsing potentials into actuals in their “observation” or experience.

    But, let’s be more charitable here: it would probably be better to describe a “universe” as a set of basic experiential norms that virtually everyone around us agrees with, including the so-called “natural laws,” the geography of the visible universe, the same time-linear organization, etc.

    Under MRT, we can refer to this as a common set of experiences that are actualized in a similar fashion from a common set of potentials, much like a “virtual reality” program utilizes a common data set, and a common interface, to present an organized, interactive virtual world experience for users around the world. To push this analogy a bit further to make the point about what a “multiverse” would be: there can be any number of virtual world programs that provide completely different virtual world experiences.

    Now, the argument here might be that it requires deliberate intelligence to set up such a “virtual world” system; but that logic fails under MRT because all such programs already exist, and have always existed, in potential. The only “intelligence” question is this: what is required for anyone, any sentient being, regardless of how “intelligent” they are, to “actualize” any particular “virtual world program” into their experience from the already-existent potential? IOW: how do you access a different universe?

    More to come.

  23. 23
    William J Murray says:

    (continued from #22)

    Under my MRT, God is understand as ground-of-being, ground of existence potential. There’s a fundamental difference between “ground of being” and an actualized being, and a fundamental difference between a “ground of existence” and an actualized existential state. Under MRT, there is no difference between “potential” and “actualized” other than how it is selected and arranged as experience (actualized) and not-experience (as potential or that which is not even in potential, such as a square circle) in the local mind of a particular individual.

    A sentient being must always experience a context that appears to be designed to support their experience for one very simple, logical reason: identity and context are necessarily two sides of the same coin. You cannot have any identifiable thing X that does have a concurrent, co-existent context of “not-X” that allows for sentient identification, even self-identification, and supplies what is necessary for X to exist at all. A sentient being requires an orderly, comprehensible context that “matches,” or provides for, it’s sentience. IOW, sentience has to be able to make sense out of its existential state. Any identifiable feature of its existence necessarily requires that it be identifiable and intelligible in some manner. Random chaos cannot provide for sentient experience.

    There are certain things that are required for sentient experience; mathematics, logic, geometry, linear time, order, comparable qualities, memory, and some degree of predictability or cause-and-effect.

    To make a long argument shorter: sentient, intelligent beings exist in what appears to be an intelligently designed “world” is because that is the only kind of “world,” out of all potential worlds, where they can exist. When they examine their experiences more closely, that’s the only kind of information they can experience out of available potential; that which corresponds with the very nature of that which is doing the examining, or investigating, or searching.

    BTW, the reason this is broken up into several posts is because what actually happened is that when I was trying to reply to you before, my laptop froze up twice while I was writing, so I set it aside to do other things.

    I’ll stop for now and wait for responses, if anyone feels like responding or asking questions.

  24. 24
    doubter says:

    WJM

    Thanks for the lengthy explication of your position of Mental Reality Theory.

    My reaction is that it goes beyond belief or at least my belief that the incredibly intricate and complex and purposeful and finely integrated machine-like system within systems within systems constituting our Universe can simply come into existence from the interaction of sentient consciousness with some sort of infinite array of possible “potential” realities that exist somehow as the ground of being, with the existence of sentient consciousness itself and of these “potentials” being brute facts of existence without any explanation and not requiring explanation.

    This MRT system appears to presuppose the existence of sentient consciousness, an ineffable but brute fact of existence with no need of explanation.

    No explanation of why and how there is something not absolutely nothing.

    Another comment is that your position on NDEs is not in accordance with the actual experience of deep NDEers, who report, not existence in alternate physical or quasi-physical universes or realities (your interpretation), but a spiritual realm of love and light roughly in accordance with many spontaneous “peak in Darien” experiences, along with other spiritual elements such as a life review and contact with deceased loved ones. These “peak in Darien” experiences were extensively documented by Richard Maurice Bucke in his book Cosmic Consciousness, apparently spontaneous glimpses of a higher spiritual reality with features including (using his own as an example) a subjective experience of light (“inner light”), moral elevation, intellectual illumination, a sense of immortality, loss of a fear of death, and loss of a (religiously inculcated) sense of sin.

    None of these features are in accordance with the MRT interpretation that NDEs (and peak in Darien experiences) are really experiences of other physical or quasi-physical realities or universes. These experiences are much more in accordance with traditional concepts of a higher spiritual reality.

  25. 25
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter said:

    My reaction is …

    Apparently, you didn’t understand anything I said, which doesn’t surprise me. It can be really difficult to get one’s “head” out of the non-MRT perspective to even begin to understand what is being said wrt MRT. It’s like having to learn a different language from an entirely different culture.

  26. 26
    doubter says:

    WJM

    I would be interested in any indication that anyone else here understands you.

  27. 27
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter asks @26:

    I would be interested in any indication that anyone else here understands you.

    Whether or not anyone here understands my or other MRTs significant … how? If you’re unfamiliar with MRTs, which are forms of idealistic ontology, you might visit Quantum Gravity Research, The Essentia Foundation, or read Bio-Centrism or The Idea of the World, which are MRTs being developed by various scientists and scientific groups and draw from several different lines of scientific research.

    Here’s a video put out by the research team at QGR. It may help you to start to understand some of the language and concepts involved in many MRTs, including mine. It’s actually quite entertaining.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa4JkgKDaR0

  28. 28
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Now, the argument here might be that it requires deliberate intelligence to set up such a “virtual world” system; but that logic fails under MRT because such programs already exist, and have always existed

    : ))

  29. 29
    doubter says:

    It seeems to me that this MRT concept contains within it some untenable implications. The inner designs of our Universe and reality are supposed to have always existed as possible “potentials”, including the present laws of physics that are conveniently “fine tuned” for the existence of life as we know it, no creation or other origin story required.

    Now, complex human engineering creations like the Boeing 747 aircraft and artistic creations like a Mondrian painting are also designs. Then presumably, these and all other possible creative human inventions and engineering designs and works of art and music must also have eternally existed as potentials, possible manifestations in the physical only requiring sentient consciousness to evoke or actualize them. No designers or artists required, no human effort required.

    Anyway, if this is the case, and this is a clear implication of the theory, why don’t Boeing 747 aircraft designs and Mondrian masterpieces appear spontaneously when needed or imagined, rather than requiring the years of grueling painstaking incremental step by step creative efforts of human designers and artists, that has been the actual fact of the world? After all, MRT claims that designs in the Universe have always existed as possible potentials, but interestingly, as has been repeatedly pointed out, in all human experiences of actually observing the origin of intricate complex highly organized purposeful systems of systems, they have invariably been the product of the designing efforts of focused sentient (human) consciousness.

    It also occurs to me that the designs of life that ID science has progressively found to be inexplicable as supposed products of Darwinistic processes, have the same problem. For example, the bacterial flagellum is in basic principle just as much an intricate integrated irreducibly complex design as is the body of laws of physics which rule our physical Universe, and its origin is just as much in contention. This essential engineering perspective is explored in depth and detail in a recent paper by engineer Waldean A. Schulz, in Bio-Complexity at https://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2021.3 , discussed at https://evolutionnews.org/2022/01/third-paper-presenting-an-engineering-analysis-of-the-flagellum-makes-the-case-for-intelligent-design/ . This perspective can only be appreciated by considering the details of the flagellum’s complex design. As it is said, the devil is in the details.

    The following is to just give a taste of what is really involved here (from the article):

    “This is just the first of a list of six specifications that flagellar proteins must meet — the others being (2) flexibility, (3) temporary binding relationships, (4) non-attractiveness to particular components, (5) size tolerances, and (6) temporal accuracy of final bonding relationships (i.e., binding at the right time). To elaborate on specification (4), Schulz explains that this has important mechanical implications:

    [C]ertain pairs of subassemblies must have no attraction as shown by the “must never bind” lines in Figure 1. For example, the proximal rod must freely rotate inside the P ring. That property strictly limits the amino acid configuration in the proteins involved. It further implies that the rod must be nearly circular, and so must the “donut hole” of the P ring (in cross-section) through which the rod fits with very small tolerance. While the proximal rod must rotate with little friction, the P ring and proximal rod nevertheless must be so close to each other that there is no “leakage” through the space between them. Similar observations hold for the L ring and distal rod and for the stator and rotor subassemblies. That is, the inner diameters of the “donut hole” of the rings must very closely match the outer diameters of the rod subassemblies. The circularity requirements and the tight tolerances are yet two more geometrical properties needing to be met by the constituent proteins and the way they self-coalesce.

    These six specifications “must all be present, so the already extremely rare protein configurations of the first property are even more rigorously restricted by the other required properties.” This implies a form of irreducible and/or specified complexity where a core number of parts must not only be present but must meet the proper specifications (material, mechanical, biochemical, etc.) in order to yield a functional flagellum.”

    To be consistent MRT presumably is claiming that the bacterial flagellum (and all the other designs of life) have always existed in all their integrated complexity and elegance of design, as possible detailed potentials.

    So it seems that after all, MRT explains all possible designs that exist in the Universe as having always existed as potentials, no origin story, no creative intelligences, required. All the human creative struggles to design and create over the history of mankind have been futile and unnecessary. And all the intricate designs of life that have all the characteristics of sophisticated engineering design have also always existed as potentials.

    I would leave it to the reader to judge the plausibility of this.

    Of course you may say I don’t understand even the implications of your esoteric theory (seems kind of convenient), but I think I can basically understand at least the standard meanings of the words despite this material being much in an obscure and specialized jargon. I guess maybe there just can’t be much of any communication, so conversation is futile.

  30. 30
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter,
    Unless any actual thing had the potential to come into existence (“existence” meaning, we are able to experience that thing,) it cannot come into existence because there is no potential for its existence. That’s a trivial inescapable logical fact. It doesn’t matter how that potential becomes actual as something we experience, whether by some God actualizing it or via our actualizing it through our efforts or by any other process. Without the potential for a thing existing somewhere, that thing cannot become actual and experienced.

    This isn’t some esoteric aspect of MRT; this is a basic fact of logic that would apply to any ontological theory.

    You are in fact describing where the potential lies in your comment: the potential for God or man to create a thing lies in their mind/imagination. If the potential was not there, they would not have been able to come up with their invention/creation. If the potential did not exist external of their mind to bring it into physical existence – IOW, if the nature of “a” or “the” physical world could not provide for the existence that thing (meaning, did not have the potential,) – that thing could not be actualized external of the mind.

  31. 31
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter,
    From https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-metaphysics/#ActuPote

    Activity is to potentiality, Aristotle tells us, as “what is awake is in relation to what is asleep, and what is seeing is in relation to what has its eyes closed but has sight, and what has been shaped out of the matter is in relation to the matter” (1048b1–3).

    This last illustration is particularly illuminating. Consider, for example, a piece of wood, which can be carved or shaped into a table or into a bowl. In Aristotle’s terminology, the wood has (at least) two different potentialities, since it is potentially a table and also potentially a bowl. The matter (in this case, wood) is linked with potentialty; the substance (in this case, the table or the bowl) is linked with actuality. The as yet uncarved wood is only potentially a table, and so it might seem that once it is carved the wood is actually a table. Perhaps this is what Aristotle means, but it is possible that he does not wish to consider the wood to be a table. His idea might be that not only can a piece of raw wood in the carpenter’s workshop be considered a potential table (since it can be transformed into one), but the wood composing the completed table is also, in a sense, a potential table. The idea here is that it is not the wood qua wood that is actually a table, but the wood qua table.

    IOW, the block of wood does not have the potential to be shaped into a fully functioning battleship or spacecraft, but it does have the potential to be shaped into a table or bowl.

  32. 32
    ram says:

    Doubter: Then presumably, these and all other possible creative human inventions and engineering designs and works of art and music must also have eternally existed as potentials, possible manifestations in the physical only requiring sentient consciousness to evoke or actualize them. No designers or artists required, no human effort required.

    Yes. All of it does exists as potential. You can call it “Platonic” if you like. Usually this Platonic information is accessd in a context of a “stream of action.” Think of a magnetic tape head reading a tape.

    No designers or artists required, no human effort required.

    Humans are usually limited by a sequence of action. However, humans can sometimes directly access the potentials without it being part of a stream of action context. We call this “genius” when that happens.

    –Ram

  33. 33
    William J Murray says:

    Ram said:

    Humans are usually limited by a sequence of action. However, humans can sometimes directly access the potentials without it being part of a stream of action context. We call this “genius” when that happens.

    Yes, and we also call those things epiphanies, intuition, inspiration, etc. Tesla would often have visions of his inventions, or formulas, just appear whole to him before he invented it. There was an artist, Alfredo Alcala, who could use ink and just trace a whole, very intricate drawing that already existed in his mind though a process he described as mentally projecting the image on the paper or canvas and tracing it. He could start anywhere on the blank medium and just “trace” the drawing from there.

    There are savants that have the capacity to do or know answers to things without any learning process required, and people that have acquired particular savant abilities after injuries to their head.

  34. 34
    doubter says:

    WJM@30

    You are in fact describing where the potential lies in your comment: the potential for God or man to create a thing lies in their mind/imagination. If the potential was not there, they would not have been able to come up with their invention/creation. If the potential did not exist external of their mind to bring it into physical existence – IOW, if the nature of “a” or “the” physical world could not provide for the existence that thing (meaning, did not have the potential,) – that thing could not be actualized external of the mind.

    At last an explanation of what in MRT the term “potential” really means. It seems that MRT is proposing the same source of actual design in Nature – some sort of mind(s) of a very high order – as inherently proposed by ID (even though ID science does not try to identify the specific designer(s)).

    So I would interpret this to mean that though it is after all understood by MRT that some supremely high intelligence(s) must have designed and created the finely tuned laws of nature and the intricate designs of life, the conundrum is that the “potentials” in the Aristotlian sense for these designs must have always existed. In the same sense that the block of wood inherently, existentially, contains the “potential” for being shaped into some utilitarian object. But it is understood that the block of wood does not contain the actual information required to shape it into a table for instance.

    It seems to boil down to the MRT contention that these “potentials” in the Aristotlian sense must be a ground of being, of reality, that always existed, and were never actually created by an uncreated supremely powerful mind. In philosophy I guess the problem of why there is something not absolutely nothing has never been conclusively and uncontroversially solved. As the human mind shies away from the concept that even something so unformed as an infinite array of possible “potentials” can come about without some sort of intelligence. So we are at an end in this train of thought. The human mind simply can’t encompass and understand infinity.

  35. 35
    Origenes says:

    WJM @21

    In the room I’m in right now there are several blank canvasses and art supplies (brushes, acrylic paint, etc.) If I put a blank canvas on my easel, how many different paintings might I generate? Let’s say that the potential is infinite. Is the potential infinite because some intelligent being deliberately created all that potential? No, the potential necessarily exists as a natural, inescapable aspect of the situation.

    Making a painting is just a tiny subset of the many possibilities of actions. It is far out weighted by a multitude of possible totally irrational actions. You can take the blank canvas of the easel and nail it to the floor in an endless variety of ways. Or take it outside and try to hit people on the head with it.
    These crazy things are possible so, under MRT, they must exist.
    If MRT is true, then why don’t we see that those kind of things more often? Given that rational behavior is just a tiny subset of all possible behavior, how do you explain that more often than not our actions make sense? Why don’t we see people banging their heads against buildings all the time, to name one possibility? If everything that is possible happens, why does our behavior still make any sense?

  36. 36
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter said:

    At last an explanation of what in MRT the term “potential” really means. It seems that MRT is proposing the same source of actual design in Nature – some sort of mind(s) of a very high order – as inherently proposed by ID (even though ID science does not try to identify the specific designer(s)).

    Well, the “M” in MRT does stand for mind, after all. MRTs are a form of idealism, which postulates universal mind of some sort.

    It seems to boil down to the MRT contention that these “potentials” in the Aristotlian sense must be a ground of being, of reality, that always existed, and were never actually created by an uncreated supremely powerful mind.

    That’s my particular MRT, but the logic is inescapable. A supremely intelligent and powerful mind can still only “think of” that which it has the potential to think of. Potential is a logical requirement for anything – even a thought – to become actual, even in mind.

    I guess the problem of why there is something not absolutely nothing has never been conclusively and uncontroversially solved.

    “No thing” (nothing) is a self-contradictory word in this sense. A “thing” is something; so “nothing” is stating that X is not-X. You might as well be talking about a square circle. “Nothing” in this sense is a literal impossibility, a logical self-contradiction. “No thing exists” is a nonsensical sequence of words.

    So some thing must exist and, as Parmenides argued, if one thing exists, all possible things exist (at least as potential,) as a simultaneous logical cascade “from” (rather, coexistent with) that one “thing.” More pragmatically, we know something exists, so it’s a moot point.

    Obviously, ground of being is necessarily potential. Potential is abstract information; we call the residence of abstract information mind. Any individual observer, regardless of level of what we refer to as “intelligence,” is a process of actualizing some potentials into experience. I would say that sentience of any kind requires the actualizing certain fundamental patterns that, of course, are already available in the potential. These patterned experiences and sentience are two sides of the same coin. IOW the potential for sentience is naturally embedded in or with the patterns necessary for sentient experience. Identity and context inescapably go together.

  37. 37
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    Making a painting is just a tiny subset of the many possibilities of actions. It is far out weighted by a multitude of possible totally irrational actions. You can take the blank canvas of the easel and nail it to the floor in an endless variety of ways. Or take it outside and try to hit people on the head with it. These crazy things are possible so, under MRT, they must exist.

    Those aren’t irrational things, logically speaking. They are just other things you can do with the canvas. A logically irrational thing “to do” with the canvas would be to try teach it to speak because there is no potential in the canvas for it to learn to speak, or to speak at all (using the strict, common idea of those things as I intend them here.) It cannot be done because there is no such potential in the canvas for that outcome.

    If MRT is true, then why don’t we see that those kind of things more often?

    I don’t think you quite understood the nature of potential and the limitation of actual logical self-contradiction. I hope the above illustration helps.

    If everything that is possible happens, why does our behavior still make any sense?

    A “happening,” under MRT, is an individual experience. Individuals don’t experience “every possible thing happening” because, first, it’s a logical impossibility. You can’t experience both A and not-A (in the same manner, place and time.) Such as, you cannot simultaneously experience knowing what vanilla tastes like and not knowing what vanilla tastes like. There are logically necessary conditions and rules to individual sentient experience.

    Although there are universal rules to sentient experience, within that ruleset is an infinite variety of identity/context relationships and patterns that produce sequences of unique, individual, comprehensible experiences (comprehensibility being one necessary feature of sentient experience.) You might think of this as a “bandwidth” of potential experiences, just as a block of wood or a canvas contains in it a bandwidth of potential.

    Is that enough? Should I go further?

  38. 38
    Origenes says:

    WJM @37

    O: Making a painting is just a tiny subset of the many possibilities of actions. It is far out weighted by a multitude of possible totally irrational actions. You can take the blank canvas of the easel and nail it to the floor in an endless variety of ways. Or take it outside and try to hit people on the head with it.

    These crazy things are possible so, under MRT, they must exist.Those aren’t irrational things, logically speaking. They are just other things you can do with the canvas.

    Right.

    A logically irrational thing “to do” with the canvas would be to try teach it to speak because there is no potential in the canvas for it to learn to speak, or to speak at all (using the strict, common idea of those things as I intend them here.) It cannot be done because there is no such potential in the canvas for that outcome.

    Agreed. Nailing the canvas to to the floor, or bringing it outside to hit people on the head are possible and not forbidden by ‘logical self-contradiction.’
    I did not propose actions that were impossible due to logical self-contradiction.

    A “happening,” under MRT, is an individual experience. Individuals don’t experience “every possible thing happening” because, first, it’s a logical impossibility.

    Why do you say that? I did not claim that individuals experience “every possible thing happening.”

    You can’t experience both A and not-A (in the same manner, place and time.) Such as, you cannot simultaneously experience knowing what vanilla tastes like and not knowing what vanilla tastes like. There are logically necessary conditions and rules to individual sentient experience.

    Ok. Do these rules prevent an individual from nailing a canvas to the floor or take it up the roof and force it through the chimney? I take it that they do not.

    Although there are universal rules to sentient experience, within that ruleset is an infinite variety of identity/context relationships and patterns that produce sequences of unique, individual, comprehensible experiences (comprehensibility being one necessary feature of sentient experience.)

    Yes. And my argument that the vast vast majority of possible actions is what we would normally regard as totally irrational behavior, such as taking the canvas up the roof and forcing it through the chimney.

    You might think of this as a “bandwidth” of potential experiences, just as a block of wood or a canvas contains in it a bandwidth of potential.

    So, again, if the vast majority of possible [not logically self-contradictory] behavior is totally “crazy”, why don’t we find ourselves in a totally insane world, one big lunatic asylum where everyone is acting like an out-of-control idiot? If MRT is true, and things happen because they are possible, we should expect to live in one of those universes where things happen because they are possible, not because they make sense. Crazy house.

    So, here is my question again:

    O: Given that rational behavior is just a tiny subset of all possible behavior, how do you explain that more often than not our actions make sense? Why don’t we see people banging their heads against buildings all the time, to name one possibility? If everything that is possible happens, why does our behavior still make any sense?

  39. 39
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes:

    If everything that is possible happens, why does our behavior still make any sense?

    WJM said in 37:

    Although there are universal rules to sentient experience, within that ruleset is an infinite variety of identity/context relationships and patterns that produce sequences of unique, individual, comprehensible experiences (comprehensibility being one necessary feature of sentient experience.) You might think of this as a “bandwidth” of potential experiences, just as a block of wood or a canvas contains in it a bandwidth of potential.

    IOW, you experience what is contextually necessary for/available to the ongoing nature of your identity. If your identity isn’t a match for experiencing a world of crazy, irrational behaviors, that’s not what you’re going to experience.

  40. 40
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    If your identity isn’t a match for experiencing a world of crazy, irrational behaviors, that’s not what you’re going to experience.

    Under MRT how could that possibly work? Without exception, in every universe things happen because they are possible, not because they make sense. IOWs every universe is a lunatic asylum on steroids. There is no escape. Because it is possible, people are attempting to copulate with the pavement, screaming at trees, diving off buildings and the overwhelming majority of cars ignores roads and stop signs. You cannot control the behavior of others, so, under MRT, how could anyone avoid the overwhelming abundance of total madness everywhere?

  41. 41
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    Under MRT how could that possibly work? Without exception, in every universe things happen because they are possible, not because they make sense.

    Who said that? What MRT are you talking about?

  42. 42
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    O: Under MRT how could that possibly work? Without exception, in every universe things happen because they are possible, not because they make sense.

    Who said that? What MRT are you talking about?

    I thought you did. Do correct me if I am wrong.

    For any one universe to exist, there are infinite other potential universes that exist as informational variations of the one that is known to exist. What hat we call “the universe” is, outside of observation, nothing more than informational potential; all possible universe exist as informational potential. Thus, all possible universe exist in the same way, outside of observation, in the same way any experienced universe exists, outside of observation.

    When you say that “all possible universe exist”, don’t you imply that all possible behavior exist?

    Everything that possibly exits, necessarily exists as potential. There’s no need to go further than this; intelligent designed phenomena necessarily exist because they are possible.

    And aren’t you saying here that phenomena necessarily exist because they are possible? And not because they make sense?

    So, does it not follow that, as I said, “Without exception, in every universe things happen because they are possible, not because they make sense”?

  43. 43
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes, said @42:

    So, does it not follow that, as I said, “Without exception, in every universe things happen because they are possible, not because they make sense”?

    Potential doesn’t cause anything to happen. Consciousness interacting with potential causes experiences in mind to occur under the guiding qualities of the psychological structure of the individual. If an individual has the kind of psychology that would draw for them the world you describe from potential for their experience, then that is what they will experience.

  44. 44
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    WJM: For any one universe to exist, there are infinite other potential universes that exist as informational variations of the one that is known to exist. What hat we call “the universe” is, outside of observation, nothing more than informational potential; all possible universe exist as informational potential. Thus, all possible universe exist in the same way, outside of observation, in the same way any experienced universe exists, outside of observation.

    O: When you say that “all possible universe exist”, don’t you imply that all possible behavior exist?

    WJM: Potential doesn’t cause anything to happen. Consciousness interacting with potential causes experiences in mind to occur (…)

    So, all possible universe exist as potential. And only after interaction with consciousness, potential becomes actual, that is as the resulting experiences in mind.

    I have a question about this potential multiverse. Wouldn’t you agree that the overwhelming majority of potential universes resembles a lunatic asylum on steroids, because, as I have argued before, the amount of possible crazy behavior far outstrips rational behavior?
    And if you agree, then how can consciousness possibly deal with this potential reality which is extremely skewed towards insanity? The overwhelming supply of insanity by the potential multiverse. How does it find the rational needle in the haystack of insanity?

    WJM: (…) under the guiding qualities of the psychological structure of the individual.

    Two questions about this:
    (1.) We do not control the behavior of others. In almost every potential universe others are involved in thoroughly insane behavior, because such behavior is far more likely to occur. So, how can the individual ‘choose’ for a world that does not resemble an insane asylum? Arguably an individual can choose to experience a potential universe in which he himself acts rational, but, given that he cannot control others, how can he not find himself in a universe where others act like completely out of control lunatics?

    (2.) Who or what arranges the psychological structure of the individual? Who or what has the knowledge to construct psychological structures?

  45. 45
    asauber says:

    It’s illogical for a person to posit a multiverse when that person doesn’t know what a universe is.

    Andrew

  46. 46
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes @44:

    I have a question about this potential multiverse. Wouldn’t you agree that the overwhelming majority of potential universes resembles a lunatic asylum on steroids, because, as I have argued before, the amount of possible crazy behavior far outstrips rational behavior?

    First, let’s make sure you’re thinking about “a universe” in terms of what that means from the MRT perspective. Under MRT, “a universe” is a set of experiential norms that that are very similar in the minds of a group of observers due to some fundamentally similar factors in their psychology.

    To make the case that there are more lunatic universes than rational ones, you’d have to make the case that it’s more like likely that any observer would have a lunatic psychology. I don’t think that case can be made; I think the case can be better made that sentient beings almost(?) universally require order and comprehensibility because fundamental logic, math and geometry are necessary aspects of sentience. The behavior of such beings would much more likely be orderly and comprehensible in some way, not just random acts that are merely possible. [ETA: on further reflection, I’m wondering if a truly lunatic state of mind is even possible, meaning, I don’t know that they are present even in potential. Thanks for getting me to think about this in new and deeper ways!]

    Also, for lunatics, remember that it’s not just behavior that reflects that psychology; it’s also reflected in a lack of experience of physical laws, in inanimate objects, etc. They would experience a mad world. How is language possible in such a world? How is communication possible? How would mutual agreement of where something is and what it looks like occur, if the world you experience is random and chaotic, and you behave and act in random and chaotic ways, having random, chaotic thoughts?

    There may be experiences like that, but I don’t see how there could be a “universe,” as I defined above, like that. Now, if you define a “universe” as “the experience of an individual,” that’s another argument.

    Keep in mind: under MRT, “potential” is limited to what can be experienced by a sentient being. IOW, truly random, chaotic, meaningless experience does not, cannot exist in potential because it cannot be experienced. Information is meaning. Meaning is a comprehensible comparison. There’s no such thing as “meaningless information,” therefore there’s no such thing as a meaningless experience (even if the meaning of an experience is nothing more than comparative colors or geometrical relationships.)

    Even to what we may call a lunatic, their experiences have meaning to them, even if it is outside of the norm that most people experience. What makes a universe is similar (at some level) psychologies interpreting at least a big subset of available potential as the same orderly values of meaning, such as the geometry of their “common” experiential universe.

    I don’t know that you could say that there are any totally irrational, or lunatic, “universes.”

    Who or what arranges the psychological structure of the individual? Who or what has the knowledge to construct psychological structures?

    All possible psychological structures necessarily exist in potential. Nobody has to construct or arrange them.

  47. 47
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    O: I have a question about this potential multiverse. Wouldn’t you agree that the overwhelming majority of potential universes resembles a lunatic asylum on steroids, because, as I have argued before, the amount of possible crazy behavior far outstrips rational behavior?

    WJM: First, let’s make sure you’re thinking about “a universe” in terms of what that means from the MRT perspective. Under MRT, “a universe” is a set of experiential norms that that are very similar in the minds of a group of observers due to some fundamentally similar factors in their psychology.

    So, an individual chooses to experience a certain potential universe, and others independently choose to experience that same potential universe, which results in a joined experience of one particular potential universe? And their convergence on this particular universe is explained by fundamentally similar factors in their psychology? IOWs the true lunatics are not there?
    Maybe this can explain a (relatively) sane world. One problem with this is that in my view there is an enormous variety in ‘psychological structures’ out there, so I’m mystified about what those “fundamentally similar factors in their psychology” could possibly be.

    To make the case that there are more lunatic universes than rational ones, you’d have to make the case that it’s more like likely that any observer would have a lunatic psychology. I don’t think that case can be made; I think the case can be better made that sentient beings almost(?) universally require order and comprehensibility because fundamental logic, math and geometry are necessary aspects of sentience. The behavior of such beings would much more likely be orderly and comprehensible in some way, not just random acts that are merely possible. [ETA: on further reflection, I’m wondering if a truly lunatic state of mind is even possible, meaning, I don’t know that they are present even in potential. Thanks for getting me to think about this in new and deeper ways!]

    Perhaps it can indeed be argued that a sentient being cannot have a truly lunatic state of mind. However, even if this is the case, from where comes the requirement that the inhabitants of the multiverse are sentient beings? Why would there be such a requirement that sets limits to what an inhabitant of a multiverse can possibly be? Also, history shows us that lunatic behavior is indeed possible.

    Also, for lunatics, remember that it’s not just behavior that reflects that psychology; it’s also reflected in a lack of experience of physical laws, in inanimate objects, etc. They would experience a mad world. How is language possible in such a world? How is communication possible? How would mutual agreement of where something is and what it looks like occur, if the world you experience is random and chaotic, and you behave and act in random and chaotic ways, having random, chaotic thoughts?

    But, of course, that’s my point. I am arguing that, under MRT, a forum where no cogent sentence is written is far more likely to occur than uncommondescent.com.

    There may be experiences like that, but I don’t see how there could be a “universe,” as I defined above, like that.

    I think I can make the argument that any sane universe is overwhelmingly likely to ‘collapse’ into an insane universe at any moment.

    Keep in mind: under MRT, “potential” is limited to what can be experienced by a sentient being.

    Why? Why is potential not limited by what is ‘possible’, which is arguably far more than what a sentient being can experience?

    IOW, truly random, chaotic, meaningless experience does not, cannot exist in potential because it cannot be experienced.

    Why would potential consider the limitations of what makes sense to consciousness? How could it? From where would these instructions come from?

    Information is meaning. Meaning is a comprehensible comparison. There’s no such thing as “meaningless information,” therefore there’s no such thing as a meaningless experience (even if the meaning of an experience is nothing more than comparative colors or geometrical relationships.)

    Ok, but why would potential restrict itself to (meaningful) information? Again, why would it accommodate sentient beings who want meaningful experiences?
    What prevents me from writing: FYJKHUJLFFDERERt5utkjttut6rytu6tRUTRutUYTUYJUIUYGyGkjliGKJiy[;okuy;i ?

    O: Who or what arranges the psychological structure of the individual? Who or what has the knowledge to construct psychological structures?

    WJM: All possible psychological structures necessarily exist in potential. Nobody has to construct or arrange them.

    Oops! If all psychological structures necessarily exist in potential, then this opens the door to a very similar problem. I can argue that psychological structures that lead to rational behavior are but a small subset of all possible psychological structures. And I can go on to make the case that psychological structures that lead to insane behavior far outstrip those which lead to rational behavior.
    So, this would lead to similar questions, like: how can it be the case that we find ourselves in an unlikely world where the majority of people is not utterly insane?

  48. 48
    William J Murray says:

    BTW, Origenes, thanks so much for this discussion. This is one of the big reasons I participate here; occasionally someone takes me through a perspective that forces me to re-think things, or think more deeply.

    If we return to the block of wood example, the potential of a thing is defined by the thing. Under MRT, what is the universal, everything that provides for the extent of all possible, available potential? It is sentience.

    Since information is meaning, and meaning requires sentient consciousness, potential (which is information) is defined as that which has meaning to sentient consciousness. You cannot separate the two. They are intractable aspects of each other.

    Heheheheh. This is really good. There is no such thing as a “lunatic experience” because, ultimately, that phrase is just as self-contradictory as “square circle” or “nothing” (no thing.) Experience always have meaning, they necessarily have meaning.

    BTW, I’m using “lunatic” and “meaning” in what would be very strict logical values. “Lunatic” would be better understood as “pure, meaningless noise absent any meaningful context.” It’s not in terms of people just behaving weirdly, or experiencing something one doesn’t understand or doesn’t seem to make sense. “Meaning” exists even if we see static on a TV screen or throw paint randomly at a canvas and look at the results. Those are not “lunatic” or “meaningless” experiences or observations.

  49. 49
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    I’m mystified about what those “fundamentally similar factors in their psychology” could possibly be.

    I’ve thought a lot about this and have come up with some good examples of what I call “archetypical” psychological patterns that serve to draw fundamentally similar experiences out of potential. across many individuals. One of the most basic ones that I’ve identified is what I call the “victimhood psychology.” One might think of it as a kind of deep, psychological algorithm that generates a pattern of experience out of potential.

    I’m not just talking about people that walk around always claiming victimhood status from one thing or another. I’m talking about a fundamental pattern that can be found as essential aspects of the “universe” they are experiencing. Such as: in the very “laws of nature” that “victimize” them, or constrain their choices and behaviors in fundamental ways. This pattern broadens out into other things that victimize them; society, more powerful people, random events that impact them. They feel they must “conform” their behavior and thoughts by submitting to this “real world” that is beyond their capacity to do anything about. IOW, the ERT (external-of-mind reality theory) perspective is, ultimately, a “victimhood” algorithm, as opposed to the self-empowering, non-victimhood (or creative) perspective of at least some MRTs.

  50. 50
    Origenes says:

    What cannot be explained by a multiverse?

    (1.) Static Physical laws.

    If there is an infinite amount of universes out there, so that every possible set of physical laws exists, then I don’t see a principle explanatory problem. Arguably the mechanism that churns out universes needs to be fine-tuned itself, but if we put that aside, a multiverse could in principle explain the particular set of static physical laws that we have.

    (2.) Organisms

    Some argue that an organism can be regarded as a static thing, similarly to a static set of physical laws. I have argued many times against this view. An organism is constantly changing. Each cell is constantly going from one unlikely equilibrium state to the next. During its life cycle a cell is always in equilibrium, but never the same. And every equilibrium state is surrounded by a sea of non-equilibrium states, that is, an ocean of death. The collection of equilibrium states is an exceedingly small subset of all possible states.
    There is no physical explanation for this treading on the narrow path consisting of equilibrium states.
    From a materialistic standpoint each step to the next equilibrium state is like winning the lottery. And making it through the day is like winning the lottery a gazillion times in a row.
    Can a multiverse explain this? I don’t think it can. Similarly not one of an infinite amount of monkeys on typewriters will produce Hamlet. Randomness can neither explain Hamlet nor life. It just won’t happen.

    (3.) Human behavior

    Rational behavior is, like the equilibrium states of life, an exceedingly small subset of all possible human behavior. There is no physical necessity for rational behavior. We make computers, space ships and write books. Can this be explained by randomness and chance — a multiverse? I would say “No”.
    – – – –
    p.s. to be clear, I am not implying that WJM’s MRT proposes to explain life and/or human behavior by chance/multiverse/materialism. At this point it is not clear to me, what the explanatory role for the multiverse exactly is in his MRT.

  51. 51
    jerry says:

    It’s illogical for a person

    When has logic for several commenters here have to do with anything other than saying they supports it?

    Actually using it is a completely different matter.

  52. 52
    doubter says:

    WJM@13

    “Under MRT, existence is made up entirely of information and consciousness. The information is in the form of potential. Everything that possibly exits, necessarily exists as potential. There’s no need to go further than this; intelligent designed phenomena necessarily exist because they are possible. However, to go further, sentient consciousness has a fundamental, inescapable relationship with intelligible patterns in our experience; in fact, we cannot exist as sentient, intelligent beings without being in a context of intelligible patterns and designs.”

    This summary statement in itself doesn’t address the issue of whether there was an absolute beginning or not.

    The issue of beginnings has not been extensively explored here yet. MRT says that its system of reality has always existed, but it seems to me that if the Big Bang was the absolute beginning of our Universe and our reality (as is indicated by a large body of research), then the big question remains, how did the MRT system of reality come about from absolutely nothing? Especially, how did it come about without the intervention of some sort of focused sentient conscious Intelligence? Something, or more likely some sort of conscious entity, outside of time and space must have created it.

    There is a lot of evidence now accumulated for the existence of the Big Bang, and because of its philosophical and theological implications the scientific establishment continues to try to avoid a beginning by coming up with some sort of plausible eternal, cyclical existence theory. But this has been to no avail, and all this effort doesn’t look to ever be successful.

    A couple of recent attempts were those of Roger Penrose and of Steinhardt and Ijjas. These have also been shown simply not to work. Penrose’s theory is dubbed “conformal cyclical cosmology” (CCC). As pointed out in this article (https://evolutionnews.org/2022/01/another-attempt-by-an-esteemed-cosmologist-to-avoid-a-cosmic-beginning-collapses-on-inspection/),

    Given the lack to supporting evidence and the ad hoc assumptions, CCC offers no serious challenge to the evidence that the universe had a beginning.

    Concerning Steinhardt and Ijjas’s new theory (discussed at https://evolutionnews.org/2022/01/paul-steinhardts-cyclical-cosmology-fails-to-challenge-a-cosmic-beginning/),

    (They) developed a cyclical model. It assumes that the universe expands eternally through a continuous series of cycles. Each cycle includes an expansion phase, a contraction phase, and then a bounce that transitions the universe from contraction back to expansion. The universe transitions from expansion to contraction through an unknown mechanism such as the tension in a higher-dimensional brane in which our universe is hypothetically embedded. The bounce results from another mechanism such as two branes colliding. The bounce occurs long before the universe contracts back to its original volume after the previous bounce, so the volume of the universe expands dramatically each cycle (see figure).

    As with Penrose’s model, Steinhardt and Ijjas’s model faces the philosophical problems of requiring an infinite universe, and it must rely on a large number of questionable assumptions. Their effort to construct a model to explain the universe is perfectly reasonable, so I have no criticism of their sincerity or their competence. Yet the conclusion that the universe had a beginning is far more parsimonious and consistent with the evidence. The main reason for the resistance against it from many in the scientific community is its philosophical and theological implications.

  53. 53
    doubter says:

    I meant to add that you have explained that MRT contends that its system of reality has always inherently, or existentially necessarily, existed. But this element is one of the basic philosophical problems encountered by most of the implausible cyclical eternal meta-Universe theories proposed so far, and is one of the reasons for their implausibility, along with many ad-hoc assumptions and other difficulties.

  54. 54
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter said:

    Especially, how did it come about without the intervention of some sort of focused sentient conscious Intelligence?

    Apparently, you’re thinking about what we call “the universe” as being “real” in some sort of terms other than as mental experience. What we call the physical universe did not have to “come about.” It’s an experience waiting to happen – any time period, any location, anything at all that exists in the subset of all potential that we would call “this” physical universe is always available, throughout eternity, for any sentient being to experience. It doesn’t have to be “created” and run for billions of years in order to be able to have your experience or my experience. That’s just what it would look like from our perspective.

  55. 55
    doubter says:

    WJM@54

    What we call the physical universe did not have to “come about.” It’s an experience waiting to happen – any time period, any location, anything at all that exists in the subset of all potential that we would call “this” physical universe is always available, throughout eternity, for any sentient being to experience.

    But this is the crux of the problems with MRT – as a matter of practical necessity mankind has developd an extremely successful scientific and technological enterprise which has transformed our life on Earth. This scientific method is founded on the common sense notion that there is an independent external world. Countless times observations have been consistent and repeated and resulted in extremely fruitful hypotheses, theories and mathematical descriptions of an apparently independent physical world which can be repeatedly successfully manipulated to build a high technology.

    Just a small part of this has been the scientific sub-discipline of cosmology and astrophysics, which has developed very much experimental evidence of there having been a beginning of literally everything. A beginning or Big Bang with many strong implications of intelligent design of our physical reality. This evidence doesn’t tranform or go away merely because of changes in the astrophysicists’ conscious opinions or predilections or dearly held paradigms.

    MRT seemingly pulls the rug out from under all of this monumental structure or edifice of science and technology and claims it is all a house built on quicksand. MRT seemingly invalidates the scientific method and tries to establish that consciousness can arbitrarily decide what is apparently objectively real, making the process of experiment and observation, hypothesis and prediction making, repeated experiment and observation, and then mathematical theory making, all an exercise in futility since there is no objective external reality being physically manipulated and observed.

    Since such a revolution would destroy the foundations of our scientific and technological system that has been so successful as to advance mankind out of medieval culture, MRT doesn’t look to ever be successful in changing human consciousness of reality. At least I hope not; I would like to continue to benefit from high technogy in the way I live, and so would the vast majority of other humans in the first world at least. It would seem to be a practical necessity for our civilization to reject MRT as anything but an arcane flight of academic philosophical imagination.

  56. 56
    Origenes says:

    BTW, Origenes, thanks so much for this discussion. This is one of the big reasons I participate here; occasionally someone takes me through a perspective that forces me to re-think things, or think more deeply.

    Thank you for presenting your idea. It is certainly interesting.

    If we return to the block of wood example, the potential of a thing is defined by the thing. Under MRT, what is the universal, everything that provides for the extent of all possible, available potential? It is sentience.
    Since information is meaning, and meaning requires sentient consciousness, potential (which is information) is defined as that which has meaning to sentient consciousness. You cannot separate the two. They are intractable aspects of each other.

    This reduces the potential of possible bahavior considerably, and this is helpful to your theory. You posit potential and consciousness as aspects of one thing, and, as you imply, being fundamentally one thing explains their cooperation. Perhaps you agree with me, that without this trimming down of behavioral options — IOWs if every possible human behavior was represented in the potential — then finding ourselves in a sane world as ours would not fit in such a MRT.
    Ok. Given that in the potential every possible behavior that would make sense to a sentient being is available, are we to expect a sane world like ours? Are you out of the woods already? Is my ‘insanity-argument’ refuted?
    Killing millions of people made sense to sentient beings like Moa, Stalin, Hitler & Fauci. Torturing & killing innocent people made sense to Ted Bundy & co. Setting oneself on fire, sacrificing children to god, blowing people up, sabotage and so on made sense to several.
    Should we not expect much more of this insane stuff given that in the potential every possible behavior that could possibly make sense to a sentient being is available? I do think so. Even within the domain of what makes sense to sentient beings, there are far more ways to have a thoroughly twisted view on things than a sane view.

    All possible psychological structures necessarily exist in potential.

    In your estimation what would be the bandwidth of sane psychological structures?

  57. 57
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter @55 said:

    MRT seemingly pulls the rug out from under all of this monumental structure or edifice of science and technology and claims it is all a house built on quicksand. MRT seemingly invalidates the scientific method and tries to establish that consciousness can arbitrarily decide what is apparently objectively real, making the process of experiment and observation, hypothesis and prediction making, repeated experiment and observation, and then mathematical theory making, all an exercise in futility since there is no objective external reality being physically manipulated and observed.

    To be fair, it isn’t MRT that is “pulling the rug out from under the feet” of all of that; it is that very science you speak of that did that, specifically experimental research into quantum physics. They spent @100 years trying to salvage the idea of “objective reality,” but each succeeding experiment closed all the “loopholes.” The evidence overwhelmingly indicates there is no such thing, at least in any common understanding of what that means. Various MRTs have recently been offered by various people, such as Bernardo Kastrup and Robert Lanza, in order to explain that evidence.

    At least I hope not; …

    I can understand your perspective, but MRT would and does represent an enormous shift in human consciousness. How could it not, if we begin to understand reality as the product of consciousness? I guess if you think it’s a good or bad thing just depends on your perspective. Obviously, if MRT is true it isn’t going to make computers, planes and the internet suddenly not work; it just means that we have a fundamental misunderstanding of what all that means, how it is being accessed and generated, why it works, etc.

    When people thought that the sun was something Apollo pulled through the sky with his chariot, the sundials still worked. MRT does not, can not invalidate any working technology, but if true can revolutionize our understand of how all this works, where it all comes from, etc., and so would only potentially serve to open doors and offer new means and methods for all sorts of things far beyond our current capacities and limitations.

  58. 58
    William J Murray says:

    … if every possible human behavior was represented in the potential — then finding ourselves in a sane world as ours would not fit in such a MRT.

    I still don’t think you’re quite understanding the ramifications of my MRT. Even without my recent argument that there cannot be any truly “not sane” people (in terms of absolute chaos as psychology), sane people will always find themselves in what appears to them to be a fundamentally sane world.

    Killing millions of people …

    It seems to me that you’re trying to use metaphorical labels in order to make a literal case. From my argument, “insane” or “lunatic” would mean an experience without any patterns at all – not just in other people’s behaviors, but in their own thoughts, what they see, feel, hear, etc. Zero patterns.

    Since potential is inherent in and necessarily part of sentient experience (because information = meaning, and meaning requires patterns and comparisons,) there is no truly lunatic or insane sentient being or “world experience” to be had. Hitler, Mao and Stalin did not exhibit “pattern-less” behaviors. Their behaviors were every bit as patterned as our own.

    Their psychologies were different from ours in some ways, but also very similar (or the same) to most people’s in some very fundamental ways – the victimhood archetype, which I explained in #49.

  59. 59
    Origenes says:

    WJM @58

    O: … if every possible human behavior was represented in the potential — then finding ourselves in a sane world as ours would not fit in such a MRT.

    I still don’t think you’re quite understanding the ramifications of my MRT. Even without my recent argument that there cannot be any truly “not sane” people (in terms of absolute chaos as psychology), sane people will always find themselves in what appears to them to be a fundamentally sane world.

    Let me first explain what I’m trying to do here.
    In post #50, I put forward the argument that certain phenomena cannot be explained by randomness, and by extension also not by a multiverse. In short, I argue that even an infinite amount of universes filled with monkeys on typewriters cannot explain “Hamlet.” My claim is that not one of those monkeys will ever produce it. IOWs in my view randomness, infinite or not, cannot produce certain things. Perhaps you don’t agree, perhaps you hold that infinite randomness can produce anything, but this idea is vital to the argument I attempt to launch against your MRT.

    As I understand your MRT, you posit random psychological structures & random possible sentient behavior [monkeys on typewriters] and for me the question is, can such randomness explain a sane world as ours [Hamlet]. Under your MRT, if an individual happens to have a sane psychology, will there be a sane world available for him to experience?

    WJM: … sane people will always find themselves in what appears to them to be a fundamentally sane world.

    The fundamentally sane world must be produced by a random process, right? Similarly, Hamlet must be produced by a monkey banging away on a typewriter. For me, the question is, is randomness up to the task?
    But as I said in #50 “At this point it is not clear to me, what the explanatory role for the multiverse exactly is in his MRT.”

  60. 60
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    My claim is that not one of those monkeys will ever produce it. IOWs in my view randomness, infinite or not, cannot produce certain things. Perhaps you don’t agree, perhaps you hold that infinite randomness can produce anything, but this idea is vital to the argument I attempt to launch against your MRT.

    Under MRT, there’s no such thing as “random,” period.

    As I understand your MRT, you posit random psychological structures & random possible sentient behavior

    There are many different kinds of psychologies, but no psychology is internally random at all. That would be a pattern-less psychology, which is essentially a self-refuting concept. There would be no way to be sentient in that scenario.

    The fundamentally sane world must be produced by a random process, right? Similarly, Hamlet must be produced by a monkey banging away on a typewriter. For me, the question is, is randomness up to the task?

    I have no idea where you got the idea that I’ve ever said anything about anything in MRT being “random.”

  61. 61
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    Under MRT, there’s no such thing as “random,” period.

    So, every experience by an individual is due to a fully informed choice? If it is not up to chance in which world we end up, how do we choose our experiences?

    Consciousness interacting with potential causes experiences in mind to occur under the guiding qualities of the psychological structure of the individual.
    (…)
    All possible psychological structures necessarily exist in potential.

    Does one choose one’s psychological structure? Or is it up to chance?

  62. 62
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    So, every experience by an individual is due to a fully informed choice? If it is not up to chance in which world we end up, how do we choose our experiences?

    Under MRT, all experience is generated by the relationship of the psychology and potential. None of it is random.

    Does one choose one’s psychological structure? Or is it up to chance?

    Ultimately it’s a matter of choice, via the ineffable quality of free will.

  63. 63
    William J Murray says:

    Robert Lanza, the creator of an MRT he calls “Biocentrism,” said the following in a 2021 article:

    Now, new research, by theoretical physicist Dmitriy Podolskiy, in collaboration with the author, and Andrei Barvinsky (one of the world’s leading theorists in quantum gravity and quantum cosmology) has revealed something remarkable?that the presence of extended networks of observers defines the structure of physical reality and spacetime itself.

    The full article at Psychology Today is very interesting, pointing out that under current scientific knowledge re quantum physics, dreams are essentially the same as what we call our waking reality, generated by the same process.

    Article by Lanza: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/biocentrism/202108/dreams-are-more-real-anyone-thought

    Scientific experiment he refers to: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1475-7516/2021/05/048

  64. 64
    doubter says:

    WJM@63

    The Abstract of the paper shows that the paper is strictly for specialists in this esoteric area of quantum physics:

    Abstract
    We show that in the presence of disorder induced by random networks of observers measuring covariant quantities (such as scalar curvature) (3+1)-dimensional quantum gravity exhibits an effective dimensional reduction at large spatio-temporal scales, which is analogous to the Parisi-Sourlas phenomenon observed for quantum field theories in random external fields. After averaging over disorder associated with observer networks, statistical properties of the latter determine both the value of gravitational constant and the effective cosmological constant in the model. Focusing on the dynamics of infrared degrees of freedom we find that the upper critical dimension of the effective theory is lifted from Dcr = 1+1 to Dcr = 3+1 dimensions.

    The summary certainly states a popularized conclusion: ” ….the presence of extended networks of observers defines the structure of physical reality and spacetime itself.”

    I think this is basically untenable unless the theorists can plausibly identify the sentient conscious observers responsible for this in the long ages before human observation of anything, much less the cosmos through telescopes. At this point in time we know only of humans that could even remotely possibly have the claimed in the paper capability of actualizing reality. Where is and what comprises the “extended network of observers” referred to in the paper, for the countless areas and aspects of physical reality not being observed by humans? And that which has never ever been observed by humans? Such as the far reaches of space before telescopes and the microscopic world not observed before light and electron microscopes and cyclotrons and colliders?

    Where and what was the sentient intelligent consciousness that actualized in detail the supposed potentials for the physics we now observe? It supposedly must have been very intelligent in order to choose such an apparently intelligently designed system rather than some sort of chaotic mess.

    Is the matrix of underlying reality supposed to contain some sort of sentient conscious “observers”? If so, the authors should present evidence for that.

    The conclusion looks like that these claims are invalid based on overwhelming evidence.

    Of course this problem may really just be a matter of semantics – by the term “observers” the writers may merely mean absolutely anything that perturbs physical reality so as to interact with it. This interpretation would make much more sense.

  65. 65
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter said:

    I think this is basically untenable unless the theorists can plausibly identify the sentient conscious observers responsible for this in the long ages before human observation of anything, much less the cosmos through telescopes.

    I don’t think you are quite understanding the theoretical ramifications of certain research, such as the results of the delayed choice, quantum eraser and similar experiments. The experimental research led physicist John Wheeler to say that “he has only enough time left to work on one idea: that human consciousness shapes not only the present but the past as well.” https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/does-the-universe-exist-if-were-not-looking

    Under MRT, there doesn’t need to be any observers “in the past” because “the past” is all potential, as those experiments I mentioned indicate.

    Where and what was the sentient intelligent consciousness that actualized in detail the supposed potentials for the physics we now observe?

    We’re that sentient consciousness. It seems you’re still thinking in terms of an actual, external-of-mind material universe, and your questions and objections seem to be coming from that perspective.

  66. 66
    Origenes says:

    Under MRT, is there an explanation for stuff like DNA? If “dreams are essentially the same as what we call our waking reality” what is the reason for those kind of details?

    WJM: Absent what is called “local reality,” which has been entirely disproved repeatedly and conclusively, this is the only available explanation for the intelligent design we find in experiential phenomena: we are doing it ourselves without even knowing it. Such designs are generated by the nature of our sentience as it interacts with potential.

    We create bodies with billions of cells, with DNA and proteins for no apparant reason (?) and “without even knowing it”?
    From the article:

    During dreams, however, the brain has fewer limitations since it needn’t obey sensory inputs that themselves are limited by physical laws, and thus the mind can generate experiences unlike the consensus world we’re aware of during the day.

    Wait a minute, this is confusing, we are making brains and physical laws (without even knowing it) right?

  67. 67
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes asks:

    Under MRT, is there an explanation for stuff like DNA? If “dreams are essentially the same as what we call our waking reality” what is the reason for those kind of details?

    Why wouldn’t there be details if it’s all basically an algorithmic/geometric expression of information? Is there an end to the detail and complexity to a fractal?

    What is actually surprising under MRT is that there appears to be an end to the available detail at planck length and time, not that detail exists.

    We create bodies with billions of cells, with DNA and proteins for no apparant reason (?) and “without even knowing it”?

    I’m not sure what you mean by “reason.” Do you mean explanation, or motivation? Also, we don’t “create” anything, as I’ve said repeatedly. It all already exists in potential.

    Wait a minute, this is confusing, we are making brains and physical laws (without even knowing it) right?

    It would be more accurate to say that we are accessing some of what is available in potential.

  68. 68
    doubter says:

    WJM@65

    We’re that sentient consciousness. It seems you’re still thinking in terms of an actual, external-of-mind material universe, and your questions and objections seem to be coming from that perspective.

    Lifelong experience and habit, enforced by necessity. Considering the practicalities of physical life how else can we live our lives rather than just exactly as if there really is an exceedingly obstinately objective and physical external world that constantly obtrudes itself into our lives. I’m an electronics engineer. I couldn’t have had a successful career if I did not study and work exactly as if there really is an objective external world that behaves extremely exactly as if there is an extreme regularity to natural law.

    For one instance out of uncountable others that continually occur, how are we supposed to react to the mid-Pacific volcanic eruption a few days ago, rather than to compassionately offer physical aid to the islanders physically affected by the catastrophe?

    Of course, we could sit back and say, “this is all a elaborate illusion. There is no volcanic eruption – it is merely that consciousness (obviously not my personal one but some other nebulously defined consciousness) has manifested this illusion out of the endless potentials present in the ground of reality. No mind to this, it doesn’t really matter, there is no real need to do anything.”

    Of course then there is also the most obviously constant ubiquitous and convincingly objective physical intrusion into our consciousness – the physical objective external (to consciousness) state of our own physical bodies. If we don’t pay close attention to this objective physical reality, we will get physically dead much sooner than otherwise.

    It’s hard to see how MRT can be anything but an academic exercise in impractical futility, of interest mainly to philosophers and maybe a few quantum physics theorists.

  69. 69
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter said @68:

    It’s hard to see how MRT can be anything but an academic exercise in impractical futility, of interest mainly to philosophers and maybe a few quantum physics theorists.

    Of course it's hard to see. As you said to open with:

    Lifelong experience and habit, enforced by necessity.

    And, to be fair, that’s how you were raised, and that was the modus operandi of everyone you came in contact with. There was never any need to question it; it’s not like, without MRT, you were missing some understanding or capacity necessary to stay alive and thrive.

    So, you’re an electronics engineer? I wonder how many people lived on this planet without electronics? Or any kind of theory of electromagnetism? I bet that would be a hard sell if you took that back in time and tried to explain it. They’d probably think you were crazy. How could that possibly have any real impact in the lives of ancient, tribal cultures?

    And that’s the essential point here. The real question is not if you can lead your life just fine without it – obviously we can. The question is whether or not MRT would have any practical applications that would be useful in some way. If our mind, thoughts, psychology can affect not only our physical body (we already know that’s true,) but also physical reality around us, would that be a useful capacity?

  70. 70
    doubter says:

    If our mind, thoughts, psychology can affect not only our physical body (we already know that’s true,) but also physical reality around us, would that be a useful capacity?

    Of course. Such a suggestion would seem to be something along the lines of psi phenomena like telekinesis and esp phenomena like precognition. Much research by parapsychologists and other scientists (like Dean Radin) has well established that psi and esp phenomena exist. Unfortunately they are at least normally very weak except in certain very gifted individuals. This makes finding practical applications of mind over matter phenomena very difficult. For instance, if telekinesis and precognition were strong abilities in many people the casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City would soon be out of business, but the casinos are doing fine. A few companies have tried to use remote viewing phenomena to make money, but with very limited success. More importantly, such abilities if significantly powerful would be extremely dangerous, due to the prevalent great degree of imperfection in human personalities.

    The conventional spiritualistic non-MRT interpretation of this seems to me to be most appropriate: such abilities to essentially change physical reality mentally and directly without physical instrumentalities is most likely purposely prevented in the design of our reality by the powers-that-be – it would be too easy to be abused. Such powers are purposely limited to existence in the spiritual realm, the native environment where “thoughts are things”, with only a very weak capability allowed in the physical.

  71. 71
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter @70,
    It appears we agree that “mind over matter” (and other psi phenomena) does exist, to some degree, even here. I think we would both agree that this capacity is more readily on display, and more commonly powerful in obtaining effects, within our own physical bodies.

    You single out the dangers of advanced psi capacity as a reason for the “powers-that-be” to severely limit their use; but what about electrical engineering? What about biotechnology? What about nuclear fission? What about the manipulative power of various marketing and propaganda techniques that most people aren’t even aware is guiding a lot of their thought processes? I think you are singling out psi ability without good reason as something that should be arbitrarily prevented from our capacity to develop by the “powers that be.”

    The potential benefit of research into MRT is enormous, to say the least. Did you know that millions of people actually use MRT methodology in their daily lives under various labels, such as “the law of attraction” and “reality transurfing?”

    Here’s a question: what if it is your own deep-psychology beliefs/perspective that is actually organizing what you experience as your physical reality and how you experience it? Would that be useful knowledge? Would you consider that empowering knowledge, or would you recoil from it? Would that be something worth testing?

  72. 72
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    O: We create bodies with billions of cells, with DNA and proteins for no apparent reason (?) and “without even knowing it”?

    WJM: I’m not sure what you mean by “reason.” Do you mean explanation, or motivation? Also, we don’t “create” anything, as I’ve said repeatedly. It all already exists in potential.

    The potential contains worlds with bodies which by elaborate means, such as DNA, overcome the obstacles presented by chemistry & physical laws. However, there is no reason for this and all deep fake, since every world is an experience in the mind, like a dream, where bodies work just fine without DNA. And of course DNA does not exist, if we don’t look at it.
    In fact, at no point the physical laws do anything. What the potential offers us is not determined by physical laws. At any point we can decide to experience another set of physical laws or, perhaps, no physical laws at all. When we have continuous experiences with respect to physical laws it is not because of those physical laws; instead it is by our choice.
    Right?

  73. 73
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    However, there is no reason for this and all deep fake, since every world is an experience in the mind, like a dream, where bodies work just fine without DNA. And of course DNA does not exist, if we don’t look at it.

    Deep fake? Not sure what you mean by that. MRT isn’t “faking” a detailed physical experience; that would presume that there is some kind of authentic, existent material world it is “faking.” That characterization appears to be from the assumption that such a world “actually” exists.

    How do you know our bodies in dreams would not have DNA if we looked close enough?

    What do you mean, “DNA doesn’t exist” if we don’t look? DNA obviously exists, and has always existed, in potential – just not the way it exists under the non-MRT perspective, as a material commodity external of mind.

    It seems to me you are continuing your criticism of MRT by characterizing it, and assessing it, from a non-MRT perspective. Which I totally understand.

  74. 74
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    In fact, at no point the physical laws do anything.

    Under non-MRT, what we call “physical laws” don’t do anything because they are descriptions of behavior, not causes. They are models, not “things” that cause anything to occur.

    What the potential offers us is not determined by physical laws.

    Nothing is determined by physical laws. You’re mistaking a model for a cause.

    At any point we can decide to experience another set of physical laws or, perhaps, no physical laws at all. When we have continuous experiences with respect to physical laws it is not because of those physical laws; instead it is by our choice.

    Ultimately, yes. Physical laws are models of experience. They do not cause the experience to occur under MRT (or even under non-MRTs.) Ultimately, what causes every aspect of one’s experience is their own psychology, which is largely a subconscious feature.

  75. 75
    doubter says:

    WJM@71

    The potential benefit of research into MRT is enormous, to say the least. Did you know that millions of people actually use MRT methodology in their daily lives under various labels, such as “the law of attraction” and “reality transurfing?”

    Yes, but the corresponding potential disastrous consequences of more powerful developments of these capabilities are also enormous. Just consider the possibility of great numbers of people acquiring the ability through telekinesis to exert forces of only a few ounces on any point in spacetime they choose. Unfortunately there inevitably would be many deranged or evil individuals who would use this paranormal power (utilizing the MRT paradigm) to kill or cripple numberless other people, by just exerting a little force on the appropriate spots in the heart for instance, so as to cause a heart attack. Or in one of the carotid arteries or a small brain blood vessel so as to cause a stroke. It is just too dangerous at this point of human development.

    Here’s a question: what if it is your own deep-psychology beliefs/perspective that is actually organizing what you experience as your physical reality and how you experience it? Would that be useful knowledge? Would you consider that empowering knowledge, or would you recoil from it? Would that be something worth testing?

    When deeply considering such a possibility it becomes apparent that development of human beings in general is not at the stage where such abilities could be anything but disastrous. Most people are not lifelong meditators with complete control over their thoughts (I certainly am not), so there is no guarantee that I (or any other relatively normal person) would not fuelled by momentary irritation or anger, compulsively think of doing something bad to another person. And this is just considering psychologically normal individuals, not psychopaths for instance.

  76. 76
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter said:

    Yes, but the corresponding potential disastrous consequences …

    You are once again evaluating the ramifications of MRT from a non-MRT perspective. As I said, conscious, sentient beings experience only that which is caused or allowed by their own psychology. Also, they find themselves in the apparent external context that is suited to their psychology. No “evil person” can visit upon anyone anything other than that which is contextually congruent with their psychology. Furthermore, nothing can stop that which is in one’s psychology from manifesting in their experience. Victims are going to be victims one way or another, regardless of which person meets the psychological requirements for doing the victimizing.

    When deeply considering such a possibility it becomes apparent that development of human beings in general is not at the stage where such abilities could be anything but disastrous.

    Only if you mistakenly evaluate it under an non-MRT perspective.

  77. 77
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    Deep fake? Not sure what you mean by that. MRT isn’t “faking” a detailed physical experience; that would presume that there is some kind of authentic, existent material world it is “faking.” That characterization appears to be from the assumption that such a world “actually” exists.

    By that logic the Apollo 11 moon landing could not be fake because no actual moon landing existed.

    How do you know our bodies in dreams would not have DNA if we looked close enough?

    If they have DNA it would serve no function.

    What do you mean, “DNA doesn’t exist” if we don’t look? DNA obviously exists, and has always existed, in potential – just not the way it exists under the non-MRT perspective, as a material commodity external of mind.

    If I understand MRT correctly, DNA does not exist —is not actualized as experience— if we do not look. And what does not exist, does not do anything.

    Under non-MRT, what we call “physical laws” don’t do anything because they are descriptions of behavior, not causes. They are models, not “things” that cause anything to occur.

    I hold that physical laws exist and cause things to happen.

  78. 78
    jerry says:

    I hold that physical laws exist and cause things to happen.

    So does Murray.

    Murray lives in Texas, between Dallas and San Antonio. He works for a living, drives a car, breaths, eats, drinks, has children, writes books, pays taxes etc in his world. He also uses a computer and spouts nonsense every day on this site.

    People respond to him as if he is serious which is the most incredible thing that happens on UD.

  79. 79
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    By that logic the Apollo 11 moon landing could not be fake because no actual moon landing existed.

    You’re still arguing from non-MRT perspective. A fake is not the real thing. Under MRT, mental experience is is the real thing. Your mind is not “faking” something else. However, under non-MRT, all you can ever possibly experience is a fake: a mental representation of an external material world you an never directly experience. The “real thing” in MRT is the experience, not something outside of the experience that your mind is simulating (and so is a fake.)

    If I understand MRT correctly, DNA does not exist —is not actualized as experience— if we do not look. And what does not exist, does not do anything.

    Incorrect. All possible thing exist in potential whether any particular individual is experiencing that information or not.

    I hold that physical laws exist and cause things to happen.

    Then you do not understand what a physical law is. That’s the same as saying randomness causes something to happen. Neither randomness or physical laws cause anything to happen; they are descriptions/models of behavior of phenomena in our experience. It’s a common mistake, though.

  80. 80
    William J Murray says:

    One of the fruits of this discussion is that I just realized that it is only if MRT is true can people not be experiencing a facsimile of the real world. Only MRT provides the capacity to actually, directly experience the real world.

  81. 81
    William J Murray says:

    From LiveScience: https://www.livescience.com/21457-what-is-a-law-in-science-definition-of-scientific-law.html

    In general, a scientific law is the description of an observed phenomenon. It doesn’t explain why the phenomenon exists or what causes it.

    IOW, “gravity” isn’t a cause. It’s a highly predictive model. We have no idea what causes the pattern of behavior we see around objects with mass, but we call that pattern “gravity.”

  82. 82
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    O: I hold that physical laws exist and cause things to happen.

    WJM: Then you do not understand what a physical law is. That’s the same as saying randomness causes something to happen.

    Randomness is due to lack of law.

    Neither randomness or physical laws cause anything to happen;

    Physical laws cause things to happen.

    they are descriptions/models of behavior of phenomena in our experience. It’s a common mistake, though.

    Perhaps you think that E = mc2 is a law. However equations are descriptions of the laws and, unlike the laws themselves, do not cause anything to happen.

    We have no idea what causes the pattern of behavior we see around objects with mass, but we call that pattern “gravity.”

    I say that a law causes the pattern gravity.

    In general, a scientific law is the description of an observed phenomenon.

    Indeed, the phenomenon “law.”

    It doesn’t explain why the phenomenon exists or what causes it.

    The law, which is irreducible to physical processes, causes it.

    Paul Davies: “Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.”

  83. 83
    ram says:

    If nobody feared death, none of these conversations would exist.

    Let me clue you in: don’t fear death

    –Ram

  84. 84
    ram says:

    Origenes: Randomness is due to lack of law.

    That sounds religious or something. That is not a definition of randomness.

    Randomness strictly speaking is unpredictibility. The more unpredictible, the more random. And there are excellent statistical tests available to grade the level of unpredictibility. Quantum reduction of superposition is the best source of unpredictibility that we know of. Nobody knows how this works.

    –Ram

  85. 85
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes @ 82

    We’re all free to believe as we wish.

  86. 86
    jerry says:

    We’re all free to believe as we wish.

    True!!!

    But what one believes may have no justification or basis in reality. In other words the belief has no evidence supporting it, thus no truth in it

  87. 87
    William J Murray says:

    Jerry said:

    But what one believes may have no justification or basis in reality. In other words the belief has no evidence supporting it, thus no truth in it

    Before you get to whether or not evidence has support “in reality,” you must first have a sound premise of what “reality” is and how it works. IOW, your evidence must first support your theory of reality – what it is, how it works.

    The theory of an external, material, objective reality has been scientifically disproved. It is also a logical irrelevancy. Third, nobody can ever, even in principle, verify directly such a thing exists.

    Your theory of reality has failed. More and more scientists in many fields are turning to MRTs of one sort or anther because it is the only kind of theory of reality left on the table.

    But, of course, you are free to believe as you wish.

  88. 88
    jerry says:

    Your theory of reality has failed

    It is also a logical irrelevancy

    Have you stopped breathing, eating and drinking in Texas?

    Just got back from the local Walmart where I stocked up on food and beverages. Amazing this external world has food and beverages for purchase though a lot shelves were nearly bare.

    So my logical irrelevancy is keeping my family alive.

    Maybe Murray doesn’t really exist and I am hallucinating that someone is typing messages some place. But in the meantime I’m well fed.

  89. 89
    doubter says:

    WJM@76

    ….conscious, sentient beings experience only that which is caused or allowed by their own psychology. Also, they find themselves in the apparent external context that is suited to their psychology. No “evil person” can visit upon anyone anything other than that which is contextually congruent with their psychology.

    This sounds like magic to me. Under MRT, why should a paranoid psychopath with delusions of persecution not modify his reality so as to cause death or great pain to some person (who is in his experienced reality) that he imagines is persecuting him? This person in his reality is admirably suited to the paranoid psychopath’s psychology in that he does something we would consider innocuous but is interpreted by the psychopath as a threat.

    It looks to me that you are proposing some sort of external intelligently controlled MRT system that is designed to ensure that no deliberate harm can occur. Magic and intelligent design.

    The only alternative explanation under MRT would seem to be that this person the psychopath interprets as a threat has no real existence but as an immaterial actualization of his own psychology. But then, in general this leads to total solipsism in that in general none of us encounter any external real entities other than manifestations of our own consciousness. That would be irrational and nonsensical, a descent into absurdity.

  90. 90
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    Under MRT, what is an individual? I take it that the individual is not one thing on its own, but instead is an aspect of a larger mind. Am I correct?

    Since information is meaning, and meaning requires sentient consciousness, potential (which is information) is defined as that which has meaning to sentient consciousness. You cannot separate the two. They are intractable aspects of each other.

    And what is its relationship to the potential? How is it that the potential and the individual are one thing?

  91. 91
    doubter says:

    WJM@76

    “….conscious, sentient beings experience only that which is caused or allowed by their own psychology. Also, they find themselves in the apparent external context that is suited to their psychology. No “evil person” can visit upon anyone anything other than that which is contextually congruent with their psychology.”

    It also occurs to me that you are saying that under MRT there are no true “victims”, they are always somehow inviting their terrible experiences through their inner psychology. This sounds to be a rather evil and horrid doctrine – according to MRT the so-called “victims” of the Holocaust brought about their own torture, suffering and mass deaths because they invited it from their Jew-hating opressors. And the “victims” of serial killers like Ted Bundy really invited their murders by having just the right psychology.

    And you are saying that under MRT rape “victims” just invited their rapes by their inner psychology, maybe dressing the wrong way and inviting their rapists to do their horrid and cruel deeds.

    And in this doctrine if there are no true victims there also are no true evil doers. So the underlying basis of the criminal justice system is misfounded, and criminals need not be caught, convicted and punished for their crimes. God help us if MRT is accepted as the underlying truth – defense lawyers would always have a sure-fire defense of the their clients – their clients’ deeds were just the underlying way of the world and they cannot be blamed.

    Needless to say, this MRT doctrine (once its implications are properly understood) will be held to be abhorrent by the vast majority.

  92. 92
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes asks:

    Under MRT, what is an individual? I take it that the individual is not one thing on its own, but instead is an aspect of a larger mind. Am I correct?

    Yes, all individuals reside in universal mind. An individual is a particular aspect of universal mind. An analogy (or perhaps some sort of example) would be what occurs in dreaming, but with what might be a fairly substantive difference. The universal mind (analogous to the person sleeping and having a dream) is not in what we would call a self-ware state; it is the avatar in the dream that is aware. The potential difference is that other people in the dream are also aware.

    Everything in the dream are aspects of universal mind, or God if you prefer. It is in this context of apparent self & other that individual awareness can occur. An individual is defined as a particular self & other perspective, which can be called one’s psychology. A psychology can be seen as the product of an algorithmic language that accesses particular sets of experiential potential. To access fundamentally different experiences, the “algorithm” must be changed in some substantive manner, represented by a change in one’s psychology. This can be done deliberately.

  93. 93
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter said:

    And you are saying that under MRT rape “victims” just invited their rapes by their inner psychology, maybe dressing the wrong way and inviting their rapists to do their horrid and cruel deeds.

    It has nothing to do with the way anyone dresses, but you are essentially correct. Nobody experiences anything that is not, ultimately, cause by some aspect of their psychology.

    And in this doctrine if there are no true victims there also are no true evil doers.

    Of course there are. Being evil is an existent psychology. Victimhood is an existent psychology. Those are real things in the same way anything is real under MRT: you experience those things.

    God help us if MRT is accepted as the underlying truth – defense lawyers would always have a sure-fire defense of the their clients – their clients’ deeds were just the underlying way of the world and they cannot be blamed.

    If MRT is true, and is accepted as true, there would be no need for a criminal justice system because every individual would accept the responsibility for their own experiences and be empowered to make whatever changes they need to make to their own psychology to leave the “world” of victimization and victimhood behind. The essential nature of “the criminal justice system” is representative of a mass, deep psychology of victimhood. Most religions here are victimhood based psychologies. When you think about it, this is really a world steeped in many forms of psychological victimhood with countless manifestations of all sorts, even down to the very physical laws that seem to imprison us and subject us to all kinds of pain and suffering. Even our own bodies victimize us with impairment, disease, pain, disability, aging, etc.

  94. 94
    William J Murray says:

    We are either ultimately victims of beings and forces beyond our power to do anything about, or we are free, eternal beings that are in charge of our own experiential pathways. There’s no third way to look at it. MRT is really the ONLY perspective that provides for the latter.

  95. 95
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    … all individuals reside in universal mind. An individual is a particular aspect of universal mind. (….)
    Everything in the dream are aspects of universal mind, or God if you prefer. It is in this context of apparent self & other that individual awareness can occur. An individual is defined as a particular self & other perspective, which can be called one’s psychology.

    By definition, an aspect of a larger unity is not in control of itself. Given that the larger unity is in harmony with itself, the aspect has to behave in accord with that larger harmony. Similarly, each aspect of the human body has to be ‘functional’ to the body as a whole — e.g. the left leg cannot do its own thing, cannot be free.
    The principal problem for MRT: how can the individual be truly free and simultaneously be an aspect of a larger unity, which demands its functionality [its ‘aspectness’] to that larger unity? How is it that with two captains on one ship, both are in full control and both are free?

  96. 96
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    By definition, an aspect of a larger unity is not in control of itself. Given that the larger unity is in harmony with itself, the aspect has to behave in accord with that larger harmony. Similarly, each aspect of the human body has to be ‘functional’ to the body as a whole — e.g. the left leg cannot do its own thing, cannot be free.

    That’s a bunch of stuff I didn’t say. Try regulating your challenges and questions to things I actually say. I’m not about to try to sort my way through whatever words like “unity” and “harmony” mean to you when I never used them.

  97. 97
    doubter says:

    WJM@93

    This response clearly confirms my assessment of the view your version of MRT takes of human evil and cruelty. That it is experienced by humans only because they (the “victims”) have such a consciousness as to actually invite abuse and murder. So the raped woman brought it on herself by her thoughts and actions – she invited the raping, and so on with all the other victims of evil deeds. Such a doctrine is incredibly repugnant.

    This is a perverse doctrine that will certainly be very angrily rejected by the vast majority of humans. So it doesn’t look that MRT will ever be accepted. It presupposes such an utterly radical transformation of human consciousness that it just isn’t even remotely possible. A starry eyed impractical Utopian speculation ungrounded in any sort of reality.

  98. 98
    Origenes says:

    WJM @

    That’s a bunch of stuff I didn’t say.

    And I didn’t say that you said them.

  99. 99
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter said:

    This response clearly confirms my assessment of the view your version of MRT takes of human evil and cruelty. That it is experienced by humans only because they (the “victims”) have such a consciousness as to actually invite abuse and murder. So the raped woman brought it on herself by her thoughts and actions – she invited the raping, and so on with all the other victims of evil deeds. Such a doctrine is incredibly repugnant.

    I completely understand that reaction. If you’re not too offended to continue, let’s look at the available ontological perspectives by how they generally frame the question of evil and victimization.

    First, there’s materialism, but we know that isn’t true and that we have free will. But, if it were true, then we’re all the victims of our material programming and circumstances. We would be the fully bound victims of every thing that happens and thought that occurs to us.

    Second, there are dualistic, traditional theisms. Under such ontologies, we are all victims of some God’s design. Let’s say there is a room full of sadistic murderers and rapists, and I force you without consent into that room knowing full well what is going to happen to you, and it is not a matter of probability to me but of certainty. Worse, I knew those murderers and rapists would become such before I forced them into the same room. Under that perspective, they are all, once again, even the murderers and rapists, victims. We’re all victims of a more powerful being’s design and choices.

    Under those two categories, we’re all entirely, 100% victims. Even evil people making evil choices are victims, and there is no escape from our status of victims, regardless of our post-death status.

    In the third ontological category of MRTs, the only person that can actually victimize you, or put you into the position of being a victim, is you, because we are all ultimately free to do so if we wish.

    You feel like that third ontological perspective is “incredibly repugnant.” I understand that is a completely normal emotional reaction, at least at first blush, to what I said. That’s why I said it bluntly and directly without any hedging: I anticipated your reaction. I mean, how repugnant is victim-blaming, especially when it comes to innocent children? Yikes!

    What you and others fail to understand is that victim-blaming is exactly what is occurring under the first two ontological categories as well. Since I don’t think you’re arguing for materialism, let’s focus on the dualistic, theistic perspective where you might argue that it is the evil men that are responsible for the victimizing; okay, fair enough. However, forcing someone into a situation where you know the outcome is that they are going to be brutally harmed is every bit as evil as those that brutally harm the person in question. Yet, apparently, through some form of cognitive blindness via ideological commitment (and I could be wrong here, because I don’t know your particular belief system,) you give the God that is ultimately the author of this inescapable prison of victimization, and forces people into that world knowing full well what the result will be, … you give that God a pass from your repugnant condemnation when it is every bit as deserving of that reaction.

    (Or, you may have another theistic perspective you believe avoids the God-as-victimizer-in-chief situation. If so, please describe that to me.)

    Now, let’s reconsider the third option from a less emotional and reactive perspective. If we are eternal beings totally free and empowered to direct our experience down any path, towards any goal we desire, into any situation we desire, and we cannot interfere in anyone else’s freedom to do so, but can only contribute and play a role for them (inasmuch as it is consilient with our own goals and direction,) how is that, in any way, a “repugnant” system? I don’t find that system “repugnant” at all. I find it wonderful and awesome.

    This is a perverse doctrine that will certainly be very angrily rejected by the vast majority of humans. So it doesn’t look that MRT will ever be accepted. It presupposes such an utterly radical transformation of human consciousness that it just isn’t even remotely possible. A starry eyed impractical Utopian speculation ungrounded in any sort of reality.

    We were both “presupposing” that particular hypothetical situation for this part of our discussion in order to examine potential consequences. I didn’t claim it was practical or even possible that such a mass transformation could take place.

  100. 100
    doubter says:

    WJM@99

    My point of view on this matter poses a different stance than any of the ones you have suggested. There are true victims, they are the human selves of immortal souls, but all suffering is temporary and the highest plan is wise even if very hard for humans to accept.

    For me, the problem of evil and suffering has to be taken very seriously and requires determined analysis and development of arguments, the action of the reasoning faculty. I can’t either dismiss it from sort of higher perspective of consciousness, or entirely depend on faith.

    The following is a paraphrasing of the short essay by Granville Sewell (https://evolutionnews.org/2017/07/the-biggest-theological-objection-to-design/). I think it is one of the best deistic rationalizations of the reality of evil I have encountered. Of course there are other rationalizations, and of course the materialist view that no valid rationalization is possible, so “suck it up”.

    A vast amount of suffering is caused by evil actions of human beings. Second, there is a vast amount of “natural evil” caused by the natural world by things like disease, floods and earthquakes. Any proposed deistic or other solution to the ancient theological problem of suffering has to explain both categories.

    The basic approach in this essay was to combine various arguments that mankind’s suffering is an inevitable accompaniment of our greatest blessings and benefits, the result of a vast number of intricate tradeoffs.

    Why pain, suffering and evil? Main points that are made:

    (1) There is the observed regularity of natural law. The basic laws of physics appear to be cleverly designed to create conditions suitable for human life and development. It can be surmised that this intricate fine-tuned design is inherently a series of tradeoffs and balances, allowing and fostering human existence but also inevitably allowing “natural evil” to regularly occur. In other words, the best solution to the overall “system requirements” (which include furnishing manifold opportunities for humans to experience and achieve) inherently includes natural effects that cause suffering to human beings.

    This points out that there may be logical and fundamental limitations to God’s creativity. Maybe even He can’t 100% satisfy all the requirements simultaneously. Maybe He doesn’t have complete control over nature, because that would interfere with the essential requirements for creative and fulfilling human life. After all, human achievement requires imperfection and adverse conditions to exist as a natural part of human life.

    (2) There is the apparent need for human free will as one of the most important “design requirements”. This inevitably leads to vast amounts of suffering caused by evil acts of humans to each other. Unfortunately, there is no way to get around that one, except to make humans “zombies” or robots, which would defeat the whole purpose of human existence.

    (3) Some suffering is necessary to enable us to experience life in its fullest and to achieve the most. Often it is through suffering that we experience the deepest love of family and friends. “The man who has never experienced any setbacks or disappointments invariably is a shallow person, while one who has suffered is usually better able to empathize with others. Some of the closest and most beautiful relationships occur between people who have suffered similar sorrows.”

    Some of the great works of literature, art and music were the products of suffering. “One whose life has led him to expect continued comfort and ease is not likely to make the sacrifices necessary to produce anything of great and lasting value.”

    It should be noted that the casual claim that all an omnipotent God needs to do is step in whenever accident, disease or evil doings ensue, and cancel out, prevent these happenings. Thus no innocent suffering. One of the most basic problems with this is that it would make the world and its underlying laws of operation purely happenstance and the result of a perhaps capricious God. There would be no regularity of natural law, and therefore there could be no mastery of the physical world by mankind through science. In fact there could be no science and the scientific method as we know them. And of course, there would be little learning from adversity and difficulty, and therefore little depth of character.

    Sewell concludes:

    “Why does God remain backstage, hidden from view, working behind the scenes while we act out our parts in the human drama? ….now perhaps we finally have an answer. If he were to walk out onto the stage, and take on a more direct and visible role, I suppose he could clean up our act, and rid the world of pain and evil — and doubt. But our human drama would be turned into a divine puppet show, and it would cost us some of our greatest blessings: the regularity of natural law which makes our achievements meaningful; the free will which makes us more interesting than robots; the love which we can receive from and give to others; and even the opportunity to grow and develop through suffering. I must confess that I still often wonder if the blessings are worth the terrible price, but God has chosen to create a world where both good and evil can flourish, rather than one where neither can exist. He has chosen to create a world of greatness and infamy, of love and hatred, and of joy and pain, rather than one of mindless robots or unfeeling puppets.”

    Of course, the brute fact is that the bottom line is there is a huge, egregious amount of truly innocent and apparently meaningless suffering, that our instinct tells us is wrong. Is it all worth it? Yes, there may be a rationalization; overall it all may be a vast tradeoff, but some people might conclude it isn’t a good one from the strictly human perspective. The cost is a terrible thing.

    I reject the strict Christian perspective centered on Jesus’s sacrifice. In particular the belief that all humans that do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior are condemned to eternal agony in Hell. Regardless of whether they have loved God all their lives, or that they simply have not been exposed to Christian teachings. Surely an immeasureably unjust system.

    But there is another additional but non-Christian rationalization of the existence of vast amounts of pain, suffering and evil in the world, that would supplement Granville Sewell’s. This is the perspective of the spiritualist movement. Perhaps full acceptance does finally require faith. But this is a faith that it all is really justifiable from the perspective of the soul, and that we are in some incomprehensible way literally our soul. This is the acceptance of the Eastern conception of reincarnation and that Earth life is some sort of “school” in which souls accomplish the learning that can only be accomplished through suffering. Of course, that is not the only purpose of life on Earth, but it is the primary one. There is also the experience of various forms of deep joy that can only take place in a place of physical limitations, great physical beauty, and opportunity for great creativity. Unlike the afterlife existence essentially in which “thoughts are things”, and the Light of God is always available.

    This rationalization has the advantage of having a large body of empirical evidence to partially back it up. This would primarily be the very many veridical independently verified NDE experiences, and also the similarly investigated and verified reincarnation memories of small children. Also to be considered excellent empirical evidence is the large body of verified mediumistic communications.

  101. 101
    Viola Lee says:

    Two good verses from Dylan’s song “Silvio”, the first of which is relevant to the discussion:

    I can tell your fancy I can tell your plain
    You give something up for ev’rything you gain
    Since ev’ry pleasure’s got an edge of pain
    Pay for your ticket and don’t complain.

    One of these days and it won’t be long
    Going down the valley and sing my song
    I will sing it loud and sing it strong
    Let the echo decide if I was right or wrong.

  102. 102
    William J Murray says:

    Doubter @100,

    Very well said. I’m sincerely impressed.

    Please note, I have never made an argument against pain and suffering in general. I see pain and suffering, good and evil, etc, in the same light that you (and Sewell) so eloquently explain. Without that process, a human being would be a shallow, vapid vessel indeed, permanently moored on the shore of mediocrity at best. My arguments wrt pain and suffering have always been about the “eternal, hopeless suffering” final, inescapable outcome presented here by some.

    There is nothing but tortured reasoning and attempts at mind-reading available to support that perspective, as I think I and others have made clear here to reasonable people not under the influence of a coercive ideology.

    I see now what our possible major disagreements are about. First, we possibly disagree on the ontological nature of how all of this is occurring; second, perhaps we disagree on whether or not undergoing such a profound maturation/transformative process is voluntary; and third, I think we disagree on whether or not God (at the “level” of being God) is a sentient, deliberate being.

    For me, my perspective solves the “terrible price” problem wrt God forcing us into it, because nobody is forced to become anything more than a vapid mediocrity, never leaving the comfort of what we call “the afterlife” to come here in the first place. Nobody is forced to endure pain and suffering; nobody is forced to learn and grow and develop their character; it is always, ultimately, our choice.

  103. 103
    ram says:

    Consciousness is primary

    All else are details

    –Ram

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