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Thread: Cosmology

  1. #1051
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    I agree with your two beliefs.

    Symmetry or invariance may be a useful way to see the structure of physical models of the universe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symmetry_(physics) I haven't looked at this closely. Relativity is an "invariance" when measuring differences between two events in space-time from any frame of reference. What invariances are there in physical models? Philosophically, what does this tell us about reality?

    I have been re-reading Moffat's "Reinventing Gravity". I would like to understand the theory of gravity well enough to make more sense out of Moffat's modification of it. It appears that Einstein's theory of gravity breaks down when discussing galaxies and larger clusters of galaxies. It no longer makes accurate predictions unless one assumes there is dark matter and dark energy present.

    Then there is also quantum physics. It is easy to confuse the model with reality here, but one has to know the model to philosophically assess the confusion. These all tie together. I don't think it is possible to compress an atom into a black hole which makes me wonder if black holes are possible. If they are not then Einstein's theory of gravity needs to be modified.

    For me, the whole question is philosophical, but I need to understand the mathematics and physical theory to ground that philosophy.

  2. #1052
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    It usually seems to me that the deepest propositions from physics are doomed to failure and usurpation. For instance, What is the nature of matter? is to me likely a doomed question any one answer to which we will never settle on for long. Compared to this, the absolute truth of Quadratic Reciprocity stands out like a granite monument of absolute and unchanging consistency.

    Each temporary answer we accept along the way will take us far and enable many new miracles of technology. But in the end each will show its limitations and contradictions which prepare the way for a new theory to supplant it.

    Each new advancement will have a mathematical framework, sometimes consisting of newly invented or discovered mathematics. When the physical theory it once supported has been supplanted, the skeletal remains of these systems will consist of a funeral scaffolding of mathematics which remains true of itself without the insufficient physical theory it was once thought to support.

    In other words, it is not mathematics which we cannot know with certainty, but the nature of physical reality which eludes and will continue to eldue us. Each best theory of physical reality will become insufficient and contradictory. On the other hand, addition, subtraction, derivatives, integrals and matrices are just as useful, true and efficient as they ever were at containing certain aspects of physical relaity.
    Last edited by desiresjab; 04-20-2017 at 01:19 AM.

  3. #1053
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    That's how I see it also. Mathematics is certain. Technology, when it works, is useful. Physical theory changes.

    I found Frank Wilczek's "A Beautiful Question" in the library. It is about symmetry and physics. I expect it to be a survey of ideas he finds beautiful in science.

  4. #1054
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    I have avoided studies of symmetry because I feel one must know a lot of Group Theory, since that theory is known for ideas on symmetry. But, yes, it is highly provocative, and probably bears a good relationship to the deeper structures we are seeking.

  5. #1055
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    I stopped reading Wilczek's book after reading the introduction. All of a sudden I felt like it might not be what I needed at the moment.

    I am sort of avoiding symmetry for the same reason, but if I think of symmetry as a way to achieve "invariance" in physics theory I start looking at it differently. I do have Carmichael's Introduction to Groups of Finite Order. That will take some time to read and most of it may not be relevant to physics.

  6. #1056
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    I am not searching for religion. But one person I am acquainted with through music and who can suddenly turn anti-religious in the typical ranting way, has already tentatively grouped me with the "religious kooks," I can tell, because I related my recent reflections to him. The fact that I even related them to him indicates the paucity of philosophical minds in this berg.

    * * * * *

    Let us recap. Over in the thread The Fall under the category of Religion, I offered a proof of the existence of a consciousness if there was a beginning of everything. It is simple, and I am satisfied with it, for the moment.

    Going to Scenario #1 where absolutely nothing existed, we see that something had to exist anyway, namely the potential for all other things to come about, or else we could not be here now.

    To hazard what this potential actually consisted of, we were only able to come up with two possibilities:

    1 Some sort of Meta thing that could exist under these conditions.

    2 A Consciousness, i.e., a Will.

    No one offered any other alternatives. We were able to dispel the notion of Meta things quite easily, as it turned out. Not a thing else exists, remember, even ideas and other abstractions. The Meta things are like precursors of things to come. Except there is no, "to come." There is no time. The Meta thing cannot become real. It cannot move from its original condition. Its so-called potential to create real things is only an illusion after all.

    The remaining possibility is Consciousness. It is a very good candidate because we know so little about it. It is the only other candidate, which is quite compelling indeed. We do not know where consciousness comes from, what truly restrains and produces it, nor indeed even what it is.

    The fact that Consciousness can have an Imagination, means to me that even if Time did not exist, it could be imagined by the Primal Consciousness. The same with light and all the other phenomena of our universe. That is something Meta things cannot do, unless they, too, had imaginations, which would end that part of the discussion, and in fact does end it to my satisfaction. Also, Meta things contain no way of kickstarting the creaton of everything.

    By this point in our discussion it is okay to sometimes use the word God, since we mean Primal Consciousness by it, and are not ready to assign qualities to God unless we find there is one.

    The basic argument is a very old one called the First Cause argument. What satisfies me is that there is no viable alternative to consciousness. In order for Meta things to be able to perform the tasks that the single concept of consciousness could, it would need to consist of myriad other things, such as built in programs for kickstarting Time, a concept, remember, which does not exist. Without an imagination, Meta things cannot conceive of Time, either. Occam's razor seems to demand that consciousness be our philosophical supposition.

    The argument has some contingencies regarding the nature of consciousness and its ability to operate under the condition of nothingness. It is the only candidate that might be able to do this. No one else has put forward another.

    That is the conclusion of arguments for Scenario #1.

    * * * * *

    Scenario #2 is the only other possible Scenario. It is the scenario under which we assume things have existed forever. We have seen that it is an undenaible fact that something always had to exist. In Scenario #1 it turned out to be potential in the form of consciousness with an imagination, as near as we could figure.

    Under Scenario #2 the world, as in something or the other, as in everything, always existed, it was not created. This scenario is philosophically a tougher nut to crack. Immediately, it is difficult to ascertain a logical necessity for there being a Primal Consciousness. Things simply always were. Hmmmm...

    Such a proposition must surely mean life always existed, too. We are talking about times beyond this universe, a trillion Big Bangs ago. This would amount to an absolute certainty that we are not the first conscious life forms. This is asymptotically close to a certainty. Infinite time before us has produced every individual type of thing before us, because there was infinite time to accomplish it in. There actually is nothing new under the sun, in this scenario. There cannot be.
    Dwell on it, you will see.

    Lack of dwelling on it is one problem in talking about these things with folk who are just going about their daily business. Unless one has dwelled and meditated on the exact topics for hours on end, they are received as just words, which are then processed in the normal way with all predjudices present, right after the grocery list.

    Meditate on the concepts to know the truth.

    I will now prove the necessity of God under the remaining Scenraio, #2.

    You missed it again. Me, too. But, ah, now I have seen it. People underestimate infinity. They underestimate infinite Time. There has been time under this scenario for everything and anything to come about. So a God came about by necessity. This God would not have created the universe (as in everything), but is a God nonetheless.

    I am under no injunction to make my God the creator of the universe. I am not a Christian, Moslem or Hindu.

    Infinite time produces everything, since things always existed. We know for a fact that if Scenario #2 is true, that it produced consciousness one way or another, which is a step toward God already.

    It is improper to view ourselves as the first to evolve toward the Godly, simply because we cannot be, in a Scenario where Time and Things have always existed. It would be logically erroneous for us to view ourselves as the first who have started toward Godhood. Godhood already has to have been attaineded, one way or another, one scenario or another. We have to live with that. It is logically sound.

    That concludes arguments fir the case of Scenario #2. I have proven that under any case imaginable, logically God exists.

    * * * * *

    No single religion or denomination thereof will approve, I am sure.

    Remember, I did not say God was not immortal and had not been around forever. I said that if he wasn't around forever, he was around by now anyway. As far back in time as you want to go, infinite time has already existed before that point.

    In a universe with infinite time, there are only finite arrangements of all the particles. Even if it takes an octillion years, the exact arrangement of particles which constitutes you will come around again, and you will be born into a world which is the exactly same, nearly the same, or radically different from the one you know now. All of them will come, and have come, given infinite time.

    What has existed? Nothing but everything. If not in this universe, which may be finite, then it has existed in another one. Everything we have imagined in our fiction has already been reality--giant robots fighting mankind's battles, dragons, demon possession, time travel--have all inevitably existed under Scenario #2, plus many more things we have not yet imagijned. The cinch is that anything we do imagine has already happened.

    * * * * *

    God exists, folks. Like it. Unfortunately, the devil and all his demons necessarily do, too.

    A Scenario where God is not all-powerful in the sense of having created everything, comes together logically very nicely once one is over the initial hump of realizing there necessarily is a God in this scenario, too. As powerful as you want to name, but not the creator of the universe. Not infinitely powerful, but as powerful as you can name. But possibly as old as the universe anyway, and at least its ultimate inhabitant.

    Like it. There is a God who may or may not have created the universe, but who nonetheless may be as "old," as existence itself.

    There it is.
    Last edited by desiresjab; 06-24-2017 at 01:21 AM.

  7. #1057
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    I am thinking along the same lines. At place where we might disagree is here (for some reason I can't quote a post, so I will just copy it):

    "In a universe with infinite time, there are only finite arrangements of all the particles. Even if it takes an octillion years, the exact arrangement of particles which constitutes you will come around again, and you will be born into a world which is the exactly same, nearly the same, or radically different from the one you know now. All of them will come, and have come, given infinite time."

    If unconscious things do exist and they can be reduced to particles and we are the result of them then I think this would be true. But (1) do unconscious things exist and (2) are they reducible to particles and (3) is our consciousness reducible to them? If there are unconscious particles then what we are may be infinite, with infinite variability and so in a finite amount of time everything could be different.

  8. #1058
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    The idea does imply the old notion of randomness and that particles have no other reason to get together. In a mechanistic universe with infinite time available, particle arrangements are finite and must repeat. I am sure you willl have no objection to that much.

    Particle arrangements may draw consciousness to them rather create consciousness.

    There is also the possibility that consciousness (God) imparted some of itself to us--the conscious part. Where was it stored, so that generation after generation now imparts it to their own kind who are conscious at birth? I do not believe Amoeba are conscious, because they do not have a reflective sense of self. You are convinced electrons are conscious, so maybe you have no trouble accepting an amoeba into the fold.

    Or perhaps (something like the mechanistic view again) certain arrangements naturally provide consciousness into the arrangement. The arrangement did it, mama.

    Now a man (this man, at least) has to have a pretty good reason for choosing one of these over the other. So far I do not have that good reason. I refuse to believe and defend something simply because I fervently want it to be true. I want there to be an afterlife. But so far I have not proven or demonstrated convincingly that there is one, I have not shown the logical necessity or the likely existence of one. To say that infinite time would create anything, including an afterlife, is not good enough in this case, as it was in the case of physical particles, since we can posit nothing yet as to the nature of this afterlife, if it did exist--what it is made of, and the like.

    Of course, not knowing what consciousness is made of, leaves us in the same conundrun.. I have a strong inkling the afterlife is made only of consciousness, however. This final component of the scenario may be made of only itself, indivisible.

    * * * * *

    The notion that God created us might only mean he imbued an animal with consciousness, not that he directed our evolution from a single cell. These things must all be reasoned out.

    The next place to dwell is on the likely nature of God, since we have shown the existence of at least a primal consciousness. In Scenario #1 we could not prove that God was not already dead, however, just that he had existed in the beginning. In Scenario #2 it did not matter if God had died, for he would come around again, eventually creating a version of God that was not temporal.

    * * * * *

    I lean heavily toward Scenario #2. Christians would like Scenario #1 better. But I guess I am averse to the idea of beginnings. I already know existence was already here. If existence was here, I think everything about existence was here.

    God may be in an existence he did not create. The universe he created may only be this artificial one we experience. That is where God would have absolute and universal power, but perhaps not in the larger Scenario he is part of.

    To my way of thinking, we are already artificial, along with our whole universe, if we were indeed "created." All creations are artifice, artificial, not original, purposefully made by another consciousness. We would have to admit we are artificial, if we believe we were created. It should not shock Christians that our reality is less real than the reality of God. In the Bible I believe what God is promising to obedient servants is a further taste of that higher reality.

  9. #1059
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    I agree with what you say about a mechanistic universe. The arrangement of finite particles would repeatedly return to a same arrangement. However, I don't see our universe as mechanistic. So the argument is hypothetical for me.

    I don't see consciousness as dependent on self-reflection. Nor the ability to make a choice depend on self-reflection. Our choices appear with prior causes or they would not be "free". Our self-reflective reason rationalizes these prior free choices. So I could have consciousness, characterized as an ability to make a choice, where ever I could show that neither determinism nor uniformly distributed random processes can explain the behavior of something. That would include quantum reality.

    Traditionally God does more than "create" the universe like one might create a computer and then let it run down. That's an atheistic simplification of a God to argue against its existence. I agree with them. Such deities do not exist. Besides they are mechanistic and their existence would assume the universe were mechanistic, which it is not. Such deities have nothing to do with what people who are theistic mean by "God". God also sustains the universe, that is, keeps it in being constantly. So there is no way for Him to be already dead.

    In Scenario 1, things had a beginning. In Scenario 2, things are eternal. One needs to know what "things" are. Defining things is as difficult as defining consciousness.

    Consider Scenario 1: The universe had a beginning. Some consciousness preceded this beginning, but nothing comes from nothing, so there is no-thing now under that scenario. There is only consciousness that gets manifested to us as objects. Our present universe looks like this given the big bang.

    Consider Scenario 2: The universe did not have a beginning, but because we are here, the universe does contain consciousness. We don't know that it contains anything "unconscious". What we see is what reality appears like to us. Supposing there is something unconscious in the universe, then we have to make sense out of how both conscious and unconscious reality can exist together. I don't think it can, so even in Scenario 2, all we have is consciousness.

    Are we artificial? It is true that an AI robot is artificial just like the chair I am sitting on. Because of that the robot or the chair, not the reality they are made out of, is not consciousness. But we are conscious. How can something conscious be artificial?

  10. #1060
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    You are really stretching, while I am staying logical.

    The word "choice," is a bad choice for whether something is manifesting consciousness, because your standards seem so low for what constitutes a choice.

    God is only for sure not dead under Scenario #1 where he created "everything," out of his imagination and must still be around to keep the light show going.

    * * * * *

    For a consciousness unfamiliar with ideas, what starts as an urge could grow into an idea.

    The necessary Gods of Scenario #2 did not create the universe. The necessary ones (as in logically demonstrated) are products themselves of a universe infinitely old which has had to produce everything already that it was going to. And given enough time, one of the things it was going to produce were beings that made us look like amoeba at a Mensa meeting, spread out among the stars, or in hidden universes.

    If God is next of kin to consciousness, God is not dead, but it had to be mentioned and considered.

    Your personal beliefs are pushing way ahead of the discussion and proof. I cannot grant consciousness to particles or state flatly the universe is not mechanistic.

    * * * * *

    I am willing to logically speculate on certain things, and call them speculations.

    In #2 it seems to me we could expect every kind of God, both good and malicious. A God powerful enough to be the devil seems likely. (There I go again trying out of the corner of my eye to rectify my speculations with Christian tradition simply because I grew up in it, when I do not actually believe the relgious part of the tradition any more than I believe Moslem teachings.)

    We could expect a malicious God powerful enough to be called the Devil. Judaic/Christian tadition tells me the Devil is so powerful that God can only protect me under certain conditions. I have to behave. A father does not sentence his own "children," to an eternity of the worst kind of punishment for misbehavior, unless he has no choice. So, the God known as the Devil would be quite strong, if Scenario #2 is the real scenario.

    Ignoring Biblical sources, we may postulate the devil is either an invader in another God's domain, or a rightful occupant fighting off an invader.
    Last edited by desiresjab; 06-25-2017 at 03:20 AM.

  11. #1061
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    What we are both doing is rationalizing our prior beliefs. We are both being logical but we haven't convinced the other. That is fine. We shouldn't aim to convince, but to use this opportunity to clarify our position for ourselves, make our rationalizations better.

    The reason I use choice is because it is how one could interpret quantum physics. The standards are that the behavior cannot be explained by either determinism or uniformly distributed chance. I don't know what consciousness means for those particles. All we could see is the behavior, so this interpretation is speculation, not science. However, I think it is a more sensible speculation than to say something, like many world does, that an entirely new universe that we can't see pops into existence for every possible outcome at the quantum level to eliminate the choice interpretation.

    We agree in Scenario #1 that God sustains, not only creates.

    I think I understand that the Gods, both good ones and bad ones, in Scenario #2 would be combinations of particles that just happened to happen. Given an infinite amount of time everything will happen. This argument is similar to the anthropic principle. However, is Scenario #2 even appropriate for the reality we experience. Is reality really reducible to particles and is the universe mechanistic? That has to be established or at least noted that it has not been settled before one can say much about Scenario #2. In Scenario #1 we started with consciousness. That evidently exists because we are conscious.

    You used the phrase "manifesting consciousness". The more correct phrase for Scenario #1 is "consciousness manifesting things" because consciousness is the given in Scenario #1. Which brings me back to the question: what are things? We make cultural things, like chairs and computers, out of stuff or things, but culturally what we see are the objects we have made not the underlying stuff they are made out of. None of those things are conscious as a chair or a computer, although the stuff they are made out of may be conscious. The closest we get to creating something conscious is through procreation. The resulting baby is conscious unlike the chair or the computer. I think the reason the baby is different from the computer is because the baby can make choices and the computer can't. That is another reason why I keep coming back to choice.

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    Not being a Christian, I feel no pressure to posit free will, either. I don't know if we have it. We are at least free enough to believe we are making decisions and to see ourselves as having free will. We seem to ourselves just like beings with free will.

    In case there is a Judaic/Christian God, it is better that I am not free. If there is a God, then no merciful being would send his children off to an eternity of punishment when they were not responsible for their own actions. Maybe we are only semi-responsible, at best. The Primal Consciousness would know this and cut us a break, if he were really merciful and compassionate.

  13. #1063
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    I'm not worried about hell. Our ability to make choices, not just imaginary ones and not with absolute freedom, makes sense to me. I see no reason to reject it.

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    Kidnapped and enslaved by the Devil is how I would interpret hell. Evil Gods must take some pleasure in pain. Or maybe their pleasure is in capturing subjects of the altruistic God. It is not out of the question that we are caught in the middle of a battle between these high lords who did not create the universe or all things. Like Pork Chop Hill, we are not important in ourselves, but as symbolic turf.
    Last edited by desiresjab; 06-26-2017 at 12:34 AM.

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    As a theme for fantasy fiction, that view of the Devil might work. The only thing I know of the afterlife is what people who have had near-death experiences or people who have received after death communications tell me. I would count the events after the crucifixion of Jesus in those communications and experiences realizing the canonical accounts might have been modified for theological correctness. Personally, I imagine heaven and hell as a different, perhaps expanded, perspective on reality from our current perspectives which are very localized.

    I picked up Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry's "God and the Afterlife" in a used book store a few days ago. They research near-death experiences. Often I don't read the books I buy, expecting to read them sometime in the future and then forgetting about them, but you are encouraging me to look at this now.

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