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 Grand Arrow of God's Debris

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TXM



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PostSubject: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:32 am

Let's assume that of all the planets in the Universe, only 10% have any sort of life; to include bacteria, virus or other microscopic organisms of any kind. (The 10% is not important, it just makes the math easier)

This is a thought experiment, so lets continue the pattern: Of all the planets that have life on them, let's say that only 10% of those have developed complex life forms (things like plants). Multicellular organisms living in cooperation with one another to form a larger organism that we might recognize as a plant or tree or sponge.

Of all the planets with complex organisms, only 10% have evolved creatures that kill and eat one another. (Think sharks and alligators).

Of the remining planets that have predators and prey, only 10% posess creatures capable of high level altruism. (Think dolphins, elephants and chimps).

Of the very few remaining planets with altruistic creatures, only 10% of them have highly complex living beings capable of some kind of mental activity we would recognize as reason...

If a Pandeistic God intentionally created (and thus became) our Universe, would not this progression of complexity offer a Grand Arrow of the intent and purpose of Creation? Certainly the end result would still not be comprehensible to us, but is there not enough here to undertand that there is a direction towards more complex organisms (along with fewer and fewer examples of each as the levels increse)?
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:44 am

It would seem that way...

And I would really like to believe it....

But....

I also know that our brains are hard-wired to see patterns, as a survival mechanism. This can sometimes lead us to perceive patterns where there are none, simply because we must make sense of what we see - right or wrong. This is also an evolutionary trait. To survive, the prey must decide if those shadows it sees are harmless or evidence of a predator. The predator makes similar decisions in order to identify its prey. And these decisions must be made and acted upon! A mistake can mean the difference between having lunch or being lunch. In such cases, a wrong decision can be fatal, but hesitation is more likely to be.

So, we have no choice but to make decisions quickly, with whatever information is available. And when it comes to understanding the Mind of God, I'm sure you'll agree that we have very little information! When trying to decipher the shadow of God, the pessimist sees demons where the optimist sees benevolence. Who is to say which is correct?
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:11 am

I suppose it would point that way - but the end result is soooooooo fffffaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrr into the future that it is pure guess work and conjecture to label it.

For instance, why do we assume that Humans are the pinnacle in this development?

Perhaps we are farther from the end-pinnacle than we have already progressed from protozoa?
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TXM



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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:12 pm

I agree with Paul that we are pattern seeking creatures, and that we will see (or invent) patterns even in random events. But as he points out in the case of predators and prey, sometimes the patterns aren't random at all, sometimes the patterns can mean life or death.

It seems to me that what is correct is what works best.

Uriah wants to know why we assume that humans are the pinnacle of development. Well, we shouldn't. But here's a few things we can say for sure:

1) Complex things (like humans) are far more scarce than simple things (like hydrogen).

2) Complex things (like humans) have been around for only the briefest amount of time compared to simple things (like bacteria).

3) We are complex things.

I actually think that there is enough of a pattern here to begin to develop a reason based ethic that we might someday be able to apply to the day-to-day living of human beings (it is practical to search for what works best).

For instance: We can safely assume that it is easier to destroy complex things (like humans) than to create them. If humanity were to become extinct tomorrow (perhaps an asteroid strike), it might take hundreds millions of years for some other form of life to rise to our level of complexity (airplanes, internet, satelites).

So if we can appreciate just how much it took to get us to where we are now; can we make a moral argument that things that preserve humanity are good, and things that destroy humanity are bad (asteroid strikes are bad).

While it is not hard to argue that human extinction is bad (duh) what I think is important is that a pattern or Grand Arrow could be the basis for a moral/ethical framework.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:46 pm

TXM wrote:


While it is not hard to argue that human extinction is bad (duh) what I think is important is that a pattern or Grand Arrow could be the basis for a moral/ethical framework.

I certainly agree with you there, and it's worth noting that this is essentially what Kierkegaard said.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:16 pm

This is what Ken Wilber refers to as "depth" or "altitude" in his Integral Model. There are other groups out there, such as the deep ecologists, who believe we are no different than a protozoa. In some regards that may be true but in others it's a vast oversimplification IMO.

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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:17 pm

Interesting thread!
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:00 pm

Quote :

If a Pandeistic God intentionally created (and thus became) our Universe, would not this progression of complexity offer a Grand Arrow of the intent and purpose of Creation?

Paul Davies' recent books, COSMIC JACKPOT, and THE 5TH MIRACLE, interpret the arrow of time as a sign of teleology in the evolution of the universe. He has come to the conclusion that there must be some kind of intention behind that otherwise unexplainable directionality to an almost symmetrical and "flat" universe.

Dorian Sagan's book, INTO THE COOL, also sees evidence of teleology in the thermodynamic "gradient" that causes things to change in the direction of complexity and intelligence. But he is not convinced that the implied "purpose" is necessarily a sign of divine design.

In EVERYTHING FOREVER, Gevin Giorbran has developed a complex theory of Alpha / Omega progression in the expansion of the universe. Though he rejects traditional religious explanations for progressive change, his theory leads him to accept the necessity of a deity who is both Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

Unlike most authors on the subject though, Giorbran offers a hypothetical target for Time's arrow. But that still doesn't tell us why. As physicist Leon Lederman appended to the title of his book, THE GOD PARTICLE : "If the universe is the answer, what is the question?"
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TXM



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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:12 am

I think Gnomon just gave me a couple of months of reading homework. Thank you for those titles!

I did have the Arrow of Time model in mind when I titled this thread "Grand Arrow". I was also very influenced by Ilya Prigogene's ideas about living creatures as "dissipative structures" of entropy.

But honestly, I am less interested in the origins and demise of the Universe, and more interested in the development of a moral/ethical system that is of practical value to everyday people.

Considering that primitive peoples throughout the world and throughout human history have developed complex ethical systems with essentially no knowledge of the workings of the Universe; what could be developed with the base of knowledge that science has provided?

What if Aristotle (not a primitive) knew what we know?

I don't have any aspirations for any big breakthroughs or anything. I remember when I was a kid in school and we had to do algabraic proofs. God, how boring! I could not believe that grown people could sit around worrying about things like: A=B, B=C, Therefore A=C. Kill me now!

But later I learned the value of those basic steps as the degree of mathematical difficulty increased exponentially.

I think thats where we are now, with our ethical systems. We really don't need to answer all of Nature's mysteries. We already have more than enough information to get to work on some "ethical proofs". Of course you don't want to close the door to future scientific discoveries; I want to be clear about that. But a little parallel processing is required now ..a little synthesis and interpretation of what we have learned.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:08 am

If you are more interested in Ethics than in Cosmology I'd suggest reading A Theory of Justice by John Rawls. Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals by Kant. and Beyond Good and Evil by Nietzsche. Just to name a few, of course.

Though, you already appear to have a good grasp of the philosophical situation. All three of those guys were fairly entrenched Individualists, and perhaps a more Communitarian view suits you. Either way, the question of Ethics is, more than anything else, a subject better suited to Philosophy than it is Science.

Science cannot allow for metaphysics, or the human soul, and many argue that Ethics and Moral emanate from the soul, and not from our rational mind. My view is that the compunction for Ethics and Morals emanates from our soul, but it is our mind of reason which must integrate them into our lives and cultures.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:57 pm

Quote :
Either way, the question of Ethics is, more than anything else, a subject better suited to Philosophy than it is Science.

Science reveals the facts. Philosophy reveals the values.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:17 pm

The fact is that Ethical behavior often time produces negative consequences. Therefore we should not be Ethical?
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:06 pm

Quote :
I think Gnomon just gave me a couple of months of reading homework. Thank you for those titles!

Definitely some interesting reading suggestions!
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TXM



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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:13 pm

Quote :
Science reveals the facts. Philosophy reveals the values.

Science, philosophy, ethics, morals... Aren't these just different ways of thinking about things? While I recognize that each word represents a discipline and certain techniques and practices for thinking about certain things... it's still just thought.

What is the difference between a man who smashes particles together with a supercollider and a man who synthezises the day to render a painting?

They both are using their brain. An organ that is not so different between the two. Surely all these concepts lay upon a larger spectrum of human thought.

I don't want to say that nuclear physics is equivalent to painting. But I am saying that all these divisions are merely convienint human compartmentaliztions of different modes of thought. In a real and physically demonstrable way, they all come from our brains and are indeed related to each other.

I don't KNOW if you can derive moral and ethical principals from scientifically discovered facts ...but I think you probably could.

And I think if you did, it would be very satisfying.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:11 pm

TXM wrote:

They both are using their brain. An organ that is not so different between the two. Surely all these concepts lay upon a larger spectrum of human thought.

I don't want to say that nuclear physics is equivalent to painting. But I am saying that all these divisions are merely convienint human compartmentaliztions of different modes of thought. In a real and physically demonstrable way, they all come from our brains and are indeed related to each other.

It could be argued that the nuclear physicist is using his brain, but the artist is using his soul. Science seems hell-bent upon convincing us that all thought emanates from the brain, but I am not convinced that "brain" is synonymous with "mind".
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TXM



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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:28 pm

Paul Anthony wrote:
It could be argued that the nuclear physicist is using his brain, but the artist is using his soul. Science seems hell-bent upon convincing us that all thought emanates from the brain, but I am not convinced that "brain" is synonymous with "mind".

I've been thinking about this and reading through some of the other posts... It seems I needed some clarification of my own religious/spiritual "category".

The way I'm thinking right now is more like a PanDeist (We are God) vs a PanenDeist (We are God, but God is also "out there").

You guys can step in any time and help me out with the definitions...

This would explain my differing perspective from Paul. I've been toying with the idea that the literal manifestation of God IN the Universe is God AS the Universe. (That was a fun sentance to write).

Consider Reason, for instance. Using Reason, we, this group of unrelated strangers on this forum, are able to discuss the past, the future, the tiniest particles, the largest distances ...all as they relate to the inner workings of the human mind/heart/soul.

Reason is simultaneously limitless and capable of expressing any form and considering any idea (including itself)...

A little bit of a romantic description, but you get the point. Reason=Wow! I see Reason as a distant reflection of God's own mind... a subset of God's being...

However, a panendeist notion might be that an artist uses his soul to paint. This begs the questions; wither and whence? Where is the soul? Where did it come from and what is it's purpose?

Those questions bother me, and I prefer to adopt a philosophical position that ignores those questions Laughing

Not really. Actually I would like to learn more about the differences between Pandeism and Panendeism if anyone would be willing to take a crack at it.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:36 pm

Pandeism simply means all is god.

Panendeism means all "in" god.

Does that clear it up? Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:13 pm

Quote :
The way I'm thinking right now is more like a PanDeist (We are God) vs a PanenDeist (We are God, but God is also "out there").

PanDeism (or PanTheism*) is probably easier to accept for those, like me, who approach the topic from a scientific/materialistic frame of mind. It just defines the universe---consisting of directly experienced matter and energy---as God. In which case, there is no need for a creation event. God in that sense is simply the Whole of which we are a part. And we owe allegiance to that source of our physical existence.

However, every physical thing in this world has a beginning and an end. Which is why people long ago guessed that there must be something "in" the world that is not "of" the material world. That something was typically called "spirit" or "soul". And that spirit "substance" was projected into eternity and called "God". Since spirit and soul in this world were associated with life and mind*, those qualities were also attributed to the presumed Great Spirit.

PanEnDeism (or PanEnTheism*) requires a bit more of a leap of imagination. Since this universe has been found to have a definite point-of-origin, that raises the questions : what caused the beginning, and what came before this temporal world? The logical answer, Panendeists infer, is that the Deity must have existed, in some sense, prior to that original event. Which implies that the Creator is eternal and infinite. Hence, God is assumed to be the unbounded whole of which we are a part.

But now that whole consists of something other than perishable matter and electricity. So we have a new clue to the otherwise mysterious appearance of Life and Mind in a material world. Materialists assume---without proof---that, given enough time, life and mind will spontaneously emerge from the blind gropings of evolution. And as a recovering materialist, I agree, except that the potential for such phenomena must have existed prior to the Big Bang. Therefore, I refer to that infinite pool of power as G*D---the source, not only of matter, but of those matter/spirit hybrids, Life and Mind.



* The choice of Deism versus Theism is primarily to distinguish the modern, science-friendly, non-intervening god-concept from the traditional, pre-science, historical, anthro-morphic portrayals of god in the various ancient scriptures.

** I prefer to use the more modern and less mystical term "information" in place of "spirit" and "soul", weighed-down with centuries of cultural baggage.


Sorry, I got carried away. Embarassed
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TXM



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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Sat Apr 18, 2009 8:51 pm

I once went to a lecture by Dr. Stephen Hawkins. He said that even though he never liked the idea of multiple dimensions, he had latley come to begrudgingly accept their existance, because it was the only thing that was explaining the data they were observing.

He described it as "bubbles in a teapot" where you heat up a tea pot full of water until the little bubbles start popping out of the watery matrix.

In this instance, each bubble was another complete universe! Truly beyond comprehension. He made it seem clear when I was in the lecture hall, but as soon as I walked outside, it started slipping from my mind.

My other favorite; Dr. Joseph Campbell always talked about the "Divine pouring endlessly into the feild of the material" (that quote probably isn't quite right...)

Both ideas seem to me to be Panendeistic. That there exists, (somehow) beyond our Universe, some kind of God that pours fourth into this realm...

But I don't like that idea as much. Maybe I just like to anthropomorphize, but I like the idea of God existing in perfect form before the Big Bang, and then "E" made a conscious decision to create the Universe. Blowing himself up in the process...

I do see this principal of creative destruction everywhere I turn. Eat meat and you can see that life comes from death. Every living thing grows old and dies, etc, etc.

So while my heroes are definately espousing a more Panendeistic view, I seem to be most satisfied with a simple Pandeist notion.

Still, when you consider the scale of all that stuff, I can't see that the differences really matter a bit. I still spend most of my time thinking about what it all means to me in my everyday life. Not the "What?" but the "So what?"

I do believe that a cogent belief system could be created if we had a factual and enduring base upon which to build a logical framework. Examples would be the laws of conservation of energy and entropy.

The Big Bang, whatever caused it, does serve as a singular starting point for logical construction. While we can use science to gather the facts about the Big Bang, I think we would eventually have to use our souls to complete the project.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Sun Apr 19, 2009 12:18 am

Gnomon wrote:
PanEnDeism (or PanEnTheism*) requires a bit more of a leap of imagination. Since this universe has been found to have a definite point-of-origin, that raises the questions : what caused the beginning, and what came before this temporal world? The logical answer, Panendeists infer, is that the Deity must have existed, in some sense, prior to that original event.

Technically speaking there was no "before" the big bang because time started with it. I don't personally view god as something that existed before the material universe. Instead I view the unmanifest as a ground, or a wellspring for manifest existence. God is composed of both infinite formless potential (the unmanifest) and dualistic manifestation at the same time.

Gnomon wrote:
And as a recovering materialist, I agree, except that the potential for such phenomena must have existed prior to the Big Bang. Therefore, I refer to that infinite pool of power as G*D---the source, not only of matter, but of those matter/spirit hybrids, Life and Mind.

I very much agree.

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TXM



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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:14 pm

Aaron wrote:
God is composed of both infinite formless potential (the unmanifest) and dualistic manifestation at the same time.

That is really well said. I have trouble expressing these concepts clearly in words like that.

But can't Reason itself be described the same way? Infinite formless potential (I can invent or create anything) and dualistic manifestation at the same time (I invented this specific thing and created that specific thing)...

That's what I mean when I say Reson is a distant reflection of God's mind. Or maybe our combined reason IS God's mind in its current form.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:28 pm

Reason is a dualistic manifestation. It is temporal, has form and is therefore limited. The unmanifest is formless like a blank canvas, it exists outside of space/time and contains all possibilities.

IMO the "mind of god" is trans-rational in nature, it includes but ultimately transcends reason.

TXM wrote:
That is really well said. I have trouble expressing these concepts clearly in words like that.

Thanks. I've been reading about and discussing this stuff for years now and I still stumble over and struggle with the right words to properly express my thoughts and ideas. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:51 pm

Quote :
Still, when you consider the scale of all that stuff, I can't see that the differences really matter a bit. I still spend most of my time thinking about what it all means to me in my everyday life. Not the "What?" but the "So what?"
Yes if you add up all the different hyphenated deisms it would be an interesting excercise as to the significance that the different hyphenated deisms would have when they're distilled down into what it means for our everyday lives.
My theory, unsupported though it may be, is that there are probably no differences. In other words, the ultimate meaning of there actually being a God is probably not much, if at all, affected by what form (or hyphenated deism) one postulates that God manifests itself.
And basically it's to be good boys and girls.
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:40 am

Quote :

Technically speaking there was no "before" the big bang because time started with it.

Yes. When we try to talk about Eternity, anything we say is a metaphor based on our experience with space and time. Philosophers sometimes use the term "prior" in a hierarchical sense, to mean more essential, rather than an earlier point in time. In any case, the assumption is that eternity is the normal condition, and time is an exception to the rule. But then, what the !@#$ do we know about the time before time?
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PostSubject: Re: Grand Arrow of God's Debris   Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:51 am

Quote :
So while my heroes are definately espousing a more Panendeistic view, I seem to be most satisfied with a simple Pandeist notion.

Still, when you consider the scale of all that stuff, I can't see that the differences really matter a bit. I still spend most of my time thinking about what it all means to me in my everyday life. Not the "What?" but the "So what?"

"What" is the pragmatic question asked by Science. "So What?" is the theoretical question asked by Philosophy. Another way to put the question is "why?" And the final answer to that metaphysical conundrum is not restricted to the realm of time and space. That's why we tend to go off the deep end in our search for ultimate answers.

The pragmatic answer to the "so what" question is "not much", if you limit the answer to the here and now. But Deists, and especially Panendeists, are not content to stop the inquiry at the edge of physical reality. Otherwise they would be Atheists or Agnostics.
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