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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Everything Forever   Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:39 pm

I'm moving some of the posts on this topic from the Non-Theistic Deism thread. Those who are interested in the science/philosophy of Cosmology might like to discuss some of the novel ideas in the book EVERYTHING FOREVER.

Although the author is proposing a serious, and somewhat technical, scientific theory of how Time functions in the evolution of the post-Einstein universe, he eventually concludes that a panendeistic deity is necessary to make sense of his thesis.


Last edited by Gnomon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:41 pm

Quote :
The argument basically says this; the world is fundamentally mathematical not material. And it is not a "creation" but an epiphenomenon. That's it.

The only property "nothingness" has is it is a concept.
I have just begun reading a new book : EVERYTHING FOREVER, Learning to See Timelessness, by Gevin Giorban. It proposes many Cosmological arguments similar to your Nothingness concept, and to my Informationism hypothesis. For example:

"Zero is timelessness"
"Zero is the native state of existence"
"Zero is a powerful kind of order"
"What zero is not, is nonexistence"
"Zero is the default state of reality"


I snuck a peek at the back of the book where he discusses how God fits into this emerging understanding of how the universe works. It sounds very much like the necessary deity of Panendeism.

When I finish the book in a few weeks---I'm a slow reader, with several going at one time---I may need someone familiar with the book to discuss these cutting-edge notions with. If you are interested in the job, here's the web site: http://everythingforever.com/

PS---The web page also says, "Soon to be a Movie and Documentary film". If I find the book too far over my head, I may have to wait for the movie version. Smile

PPS---I just discovered that the author committed suicide in 2008. He passed control of his book and web page to another person with a blog called Imagining the Tenth Dimension. I don't know how this will impact the movie deal, but it certainly adds an external element of intrigue to the book.

PPPS---From the blog:
If Everything is Forever, where is Gevin now? Life is full of mysteries. As Max Planck said: “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.” Regardless of where you think Gevin is right now, he, like all of us, is part of the information that becomes our reality--a pattern within timelessness--and that will always be true.
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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:42 pm

Halfway comments on Everything Forever :

By defining two kinds of Order, the book illustrates why the "Nothingness" concept is difficult for most of us to grasp.

Nothingness is total symmetry, like a white-out snow storm : no contrast, no diversity, no individuals---just sameness in all directions, as far as the mind can see.

Humans are so attuned to Grouping Order, with recognizable clumps of "things" that we fail to see Symmetry Order, where "all things" merge into a homogenized whole.


The physical universe began as the ultimate example of Grouping order---every potential "thing" compressed into the original Singularity. But now the universe is evolving in the direction of ultimate Symmetry order---everything spread-out equally into one final undifferentiated Whole. Both the Singularity and the Whole are "all things in one". In the beginning all is potential, in the end all is entropy, but it's always the same stuff : Information.
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:43 pm

Here's another mid-term report on the book, EVERYTHING FOREVER.

I'm still somewhere in the middle of reading the book, but I am about ready to crown the author as the Einstein of the 21st century. His new way of looking at the universe may turn-out to be as radical as the theory of Relativity, or the quantum concept of light. I won't give away the key ah-ha insight I just read. But I will say that I now see the history and future of the universe with both eyes open. You won't get the implication of that analogy until you read chapter 13, but it's a graphic pun on the overall shape of the universe.

Here's a few brain-bogging quotes that may give some idea just how far-out he's going with this theory :

<< . . . we are very near to zero presently, and with so much empty space in the universe, we have to expect that the final destination of time is already shaping our present. . . . Zero [in the future] is influencing the present universe in ways that increase balance.>> ????

<< It is incorrect to say the universe is moving from order to disorder, because there is another kind of order increasing toward the future . . .>> * !!!!!!

<< We know this backward pulling group most commonly as gravity. Gravity is essentially the past pulling time backward. >> ????

<< Our sense of time is a reference to the speed of light which is really a measure of the individual states that we evolve forward through. >>
????

The author makes frequent reference to the abstract mathematical/statistical concept of "State Space", which is a meta-physical analogy to physical space. He calls one aspect of his theoretical structure "SOAPS", the Space Of All Possible States. Within that overall space is Possibility Space, Pattern Space, and so forth. He even goes on to assert :
<< Bose-Einstein Condensate already indicates that matter and energy can become space-like.>> [in the physical sense]

* The author was a student of David Bohm, who was a student of Einstein. Bohm developed a theory of Implicate and Explicate order that never caught-on with his fellow physicists in the 1950s. I read Bohm's book on the subject, and although interesting, I never quite grasped what he was talking about. Gevin Giorbran lays it out in small, logical steps, and with clear diagrams, so now I'm beginning to see why New Agers grokked the concept before Agnostics like me. Giorbran uses the easier-to-handle terms, Grouping Order and Symmetry Order.
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:44 pm

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE; BUT DESTINY IS FUTURISTIC

I just came across an analogy in the Everything Forever book that might give us a new perspective on the Fate question we were discussing in another thread. The author's metaphor is based on his understanding that the physical universe began in an explosive singularity [maximum Grouping order, maximum Potential energy] and evolves into an expanded, undifferentiated "nothingness" [maximum Symmetry order, maximum Impotent entropy] where everything is perfectly calm and balanced. The original energy still exists, but its potential has been actualized; the original concentrated energy has been zeroed-out.

I picture that scenario like a mountain spring spurting forth and then flowing downhill into a valley lake. Hence, directed by the laws of physics, the destination is inevitable, but the stream is free to follow many different paths on the way down. The spring naturally has high potential energy, due to its elevation, but the lake is full of expended energy, so it is spread-out and calmly at rest.

This explains what he meant by "the future influences the past". Since water can't flow uphill, the lake is a predestined future state of the spring, and the natural force of gravity "pulls" the water toward its final destination. However, on its trip down the mountain, the spring is free to meander as it adapts to contingencies along the way. Hence: local Freedom within global Determinism.
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:44 pm

This is another interim report on the EVERYTHING FOREVER book.

In chapter 20 the author draws a series of conclusions from his cosmological theory of ultimate Nothingness and Timelessness. Referring to what he classifies as a form of "intelligent design", he says, "In fact the most reasonable conclusion is that the final state of time [Omega point] is by nature innately self-aware of its internal self, and thus supremely conscious (absolutely no correlation meant to any supreme consciousness as portrayed by any one religion), and that the very existence of life is directly attributable to an evolution of consciousness invariably built into the process of time reaching zero. . . . As surprised as anyone, I find that I must argue that the supreme state of the universe is both shaping the universe and shaping human history toward a goal." In other words, he envisions some kind of non-theistic deity at work behind the evolution of the natural universe.

He goes on to conclude that "existence reduces to meaning", which is essentially the point of my own theory of Enformationism. Rather than saying reality is an illusion though, he clarifies, "Instead I imagine meaning and physical reality as the same thing. . . . what consciousness is made of is understood to be the same as what physical reality is made of. . . . The physical world . . . it is meaning". Or as I would put it, reality is an idea in the mind of G*D.

Gevin Giorbran's thesis may require temporarily detaching your head from your neck in order to see the world from an unfamiliar godlike perspective. But he patiently leads you through a clear, logical process from mundane observation to a radical conclusion that I have never heard before, but that now seems eminently reasonable to me*. And it even more securely establishes my Deist worldview as a rational, mathematical calculation rather than an emotional, wishful imagination. He says, "I personally don't accept any particular religious interpretation of God. . . . I have come to see God and the infinite Universe as being the same, as something which all religions and philosophies intuitively and spiritually strive to describe and comprehend". Amen.


* I still need to hear from other---preferably skeptical---readers, to reassure me that I have not been beguiled by my own prejudices and the author's sophistry.
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:03 am

This seems very interesting. I may have to go out and buy this book.

It seems to me his God conceptualization is not much different than many Western philosophers. Descartes, for example, described a God that was strikingly similar. Though he may have had to couch his description in Christian terminology, the basic details are much the same as what you post above.

Perhaps that what this book does? Sort of fold Western Metaphysics into the Quantum Universe, so to speak?
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:01 am

Gnomon wrote:
"I have come to see God and the infinite Universe as being the same, as something which all religions and philosophies intuitively and spiritually strive to describe and comprehend".

I very much agree with that statement. Smile

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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:13 pm

I have now finished the Everything Forever book, so here are a few more quotes and comments related to Cosmology in general, and to Deism in particular.


The author has used numerous quotes from scientists, philosophers, religious leaders, and mystics to introduce his chapters. One example :
<<Where did the substance of the universe come from? . . .If 0 equals (+1) + (-1) then something which is 0 might as well become +1 and -1.>> ---Isaac Asimov

Giorbran himself says :
<<Even though religions are of the past, science in principle is not an alternative to religious beliefs. . . . In hindsight it is possible to see how the most brilliant minds of the past were those who were imaginative enough to unify science and religion.>>

Giorbran even applies his Symmetry concept to human psychology and personality. Using the Carl Jung and Briggs-Myers personality types as an example, he shows how those conventional dichotomies relate to his theory of Grouping versus Symmetry order. People seem to fall into Yin/Yang categories of left brain/right brain, logical/intuitive, reductive/holistic, and analytic/synthetic. He sums up :
<<We could reasonably conclude that the reason we have developed two brains is purely because there are two kinds of order in nature.>>

He even goes on to draw a three-dimensional chart of personality types that is reminiscent of some of Ken Wilbur's graphs. He suggests that "what is possible in personality space maintains a balance in the population".

The author even proposes a few thoughts on Morality and Spirituality :
<<So the question arises, would people behave any differently as they approach the future if they knew their decisions and actions define themselves forever in timelessness>> Sounds like Karma, but no physical reincarnation.

<<The extremely complex theme of timelessness reduces to a very simple principle that we can't change the timeless Universe, and yet I make a decision and take action and a particular future unfolds in recourse. All the decisions have already been made. And yet we still have a measure of power to determine where we find ourselves in the future.>> I'd like to ask him, what exactly he meant by that. But he has closed the door on that option by terminating his own physical existence. So I guess we'll just have to discuss it on this forum. The quote reminds me of the Matrix movie where the Oracle tells Neo, "You have already made that decision. Now all you have to do is understand it". Is it true that all decisions have already been made?

Regarding Religion he confides :
<<I know what I went through before finally giving myself the freedom to search freely and learn, and then trust my own thought about things . . .>>

<<I do not like any philosophy which implies that we should not trust our ability to reason.>>

<<And I don't like that religion has altered the definition of faith, pretending it makes sense to say we believe something that we have no real certainty about, as if faith is something we choose instead of something which happens to us as we educate ourselves and learn to think.>> I once argued that very point, about choosing-to-believe, with a relative of mine.

Apparently Giorbran has wrestled with some of the same paradoxes and ambiguities that Deists sometimes argue about :
<<One of the questions I haven't been able to resolve clearly enough in my own thoughts is whether or not Omega is mentally conscious.>>

<<In physically being the infinite whole, I think Omega is necessarily defined as being supremely conscious and all knowing . . . God's thoughts are being itself.>>

If anyone has additional questions or comments, we can discuss them in this thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:01 pm

Gnomon wrote:


He even goes on to draw a three-dimensional chart of personality types that is reminiscent of some of Ken Wilbur's graphs. He suggests that "what is possible in personality space maintains a balance in the population".

I'm even more interested in reading this book now than I was before. The above quote I find particularly interesting only it speaks to the great "Free Will vs. Determinsm" debate we've had so often on this forum.

I'm curious, did he address anywhere specifically the question of Free Will?
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:58 pm

Uriah wrote:

I'm curious, did he address anywhere specifically the question of Free Will?

Yes, freewill did come up several times, but more along the lines of cosmic predestination than individual freedom to choose.

<< If pattern evolution was free and uncontrolled the universe would not be systematic and orderly enough for life to exist . . . . Curiously, the balance between freedom and strictness is optimally tuned right about where we would want it. >> That is, if we were designing a universe to manufacture living beings who will evolve into thinking beings with an appropriate measure of FreeWill. Total freedom results in stagnation rather than evolution : 360 degrees of freedom, and nowhere to go. << Some measure of freedom is a good thing, but too much is not. >>

Regarding individual personality types, he discusses conservative and progressive worldviews, in terms of his Two Orders theory, to show how extremes of both tend to restrict human freedom. Conservatives are focused more on "grouping" order and look to the fossilized past for a foundation. Progressives look to the future, but require an egalitarian sameness related to the "symmetry" order.
<< Conservatives . . . . Yet in the extreme this political force becomes increasingly divisive, naturally moves toward the centralization of power, even to the fascism of tyrannical governments, and consequently sacrifices diversity, freedom, individual rights and equality, for a brutal crushing order related to gravity. ~ . . . liberal progressives . . . . in extreme this political force rips apart and expansively tears away the definition and pronounced structure of an individual or nation . . . Threatening individual freedom, personality, and identity . . .>> He goes on to compare the extreme Liberal mindset to the Borg of Star Trek, where all are equal, but none have individual freedom within the hive-mind.

After others have read the book, maybe we can continue the FreeWill discussion in view of the Two Orders theory, which necessitates both Positive and Negative Evolution, as well as Forward and Backward Time. But until you have been through the counter-intuitive, paradoxical thought process, those concepts probably won't make much sense to you.
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PostSubject: Re: Everything Forever   Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:33 pm

FAITH IS NOT A CHOICE, BUT LOYALTY IS

Quote :
And I don't like that religion has altered the definition of faith, pretending it makes sense to say we believe something that we have no real certainty about, as if faith is something we choose instead of something which happens to us as we educate ourselves and learn to think.

Christianity has re-defined Faith, from a simple matter of direct knowledge and mundane loyalty to a spiritual gift that allows us to discern divine Truth, which we can freely choose or reject. That's why I tend to avoid the loaded term, in favor of generic "belief", when speaking to the Faithful.

You cannot choose to believe. Belief is an automatic response to perception that fits prior conception. You can only choose to reject one belief which conflicts with another. I didn't arbitrarily choose to believe in a deity; the belief spontaneously emerged from personal experience and rational evidence*. Bare-bones belief in an anonymous, abstract, First Cause was what remained after irrational or untenable beliefs on the subject were pruned away with skeptical shears.

The brain is a belief engine. It surveys the world subconsciously and automatically selects ideas to save as facts. Potential facts that are not confirmed in a short time are pruned during sleep. Still, the conscious mind may later become aware of contradictions between beliefs. At that point you have two choices: reject one of the beliefs, or rationalize the contradiction into a paradox.

Beliefs are concepts labeled as “true”.

Faith is a belief labeled as “sacred”.

For sacred beliefs, doubt is dangerous.

Faith is vulnerable to doubt, so it must be walled-off with a palisade of taboos.

Beliefs are immune to doubt because they have survived the scars of combat.

Faith is an act of fear, not a rational choice.


* Theists and Atheists find that hard to believe.



“The truth is, that no one can justly be held responsible for his thoughts. The brain thinks without asking our consent. We believe, or we disbelieve, without an effort of the will. Belief is a result. It is the effect of evidence upon the mind. The scales turn in spite of him who watches. There is no opportunity of being honest or dishonest in the formation of an opinion. The conclusion is entirely independent of desire. We must believe, or we must doubt, in spite of what we wish.”

---Robert G. Ingersoll
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