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 The God Detector

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Aaron
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PostSubject: The God Detector   Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:21 pm

The following excerpts are from a book titled 'Divine Action and Natural Selection - Science, Faith and Evolution' and attempts to answer the question of whether a god that tinkers in the world actually exists.

Quote :
The God Detector
A Thought Experiment
BRUCE DAMER

Disclaimer
I am a technologist, and in this piece I shall approach the key questions of this book as a programmer and historian of technology. In my treatment I will not consider influences of the Divine in our lives in terms of matters of the heart, faith, hope, or the rest of the human cultural milieu. I will simply take on the claim made by some that God plays an active ongoing role in the mechanics of the universe and in the evolution of life. To me this seems like a question best approached from an engineer’s frame of reference. A good starting point is to consider the lessons learned and the questions raised by those of us engaged in the new field of “artificial life”...

...The God Detector
For some of the other authors of this book, prior writings about God, or personal (but unverifiable) experiences of God is evidence enough of His existence. However, when making a strong claim about God the Intelligent Designer, such empirical evidence is not good enough to make the case. If God is a programmer tweaking the code of the physical observable universe (not just affecting our own independent thoughts) his influence has to be detectable and independently verifiable. To sense the hitherto unseen Hand of God, we hypothesize that it might be possible to employ a God Detector which could either be found or built. We will first take on the challenge of identifying an existing natural God Detector and later on in this chapter, consider building a God Detector using human technology. If you will indulge me, dear reader, I invite you to join me in the following thought experiment surrounding the quest for the God Detector...

You can read the full chapter in pdf format here...
http://www.evogrid.org/writing/TheGodDetector.pdf

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Uriah

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PostSubject: Re: The God Detector   Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:40 am

I would read this book, but I've learned to be very skeptical of anyone who uses the phrase "thought experiment".

Every smart guy thinks they're smarter than Einstein.
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Aaron
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PostSubject: Re: The God Detector   Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:06 pm

The book is a compilation piece. So it's actually just a quick 20 page chapter.

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PostSubject: Re: The God Detector   Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:11 pm

Quote :
Given this continuum, we posit that there two kinds of God in the A-life universe: the Karl Sims’ God the Mechanic building the machine that is the whole simulation, setting its initial conditions and then returning only occasionally to view the current state of the simulation; and Will Wright’s God the Tinkerer, constantly poking and prodding to tweak the mechanisms of virtual creation. Clearly these definitions might also apply to different extremes of god traditions found in human cultures.

Apparently the Deist deity is "God the Mechanic"---I prefer Designer or Programmer---who designs the system, turns it on, and then sits back to see what happens (enjoy the show) as the system evolves from the bottom-up.

Likewise, the Theist deity is "God the Tinkerer", or perhaps the Mechanic II, who has to do routine maintenance and emergency repairs to keep his top-down system running smoothly.

The hands-off designer is rather cold and remote, by comparison to your friendly neighborhood mechanic. But he seems to be much smarter in an abstract, academic sense. The pragmatic mechanic II is the one you'd prefer for emotional support when your machine is malfunctioning. But the perfect programmer would be the better choice if you want a self-maintaining machine.
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PostSubject: Re: The God Detector   Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:19 pm

The author of this article seems to have concluded that God is neither the omniscient Designer (mechanic), nor the bumbling Tinkerer (repairer), but instead is the evolving universe itself (self-designer and self-repairer). Thus God is not detectable because he hasn't fully emerged yet. This is similar to Frank Tipler's "Omega Point" theory.

I have difficulty with the evolving god concept because of the same old chicken & egg problem. How did this temporal process of self-creation get started, and how did the laws and algorithms come to exist? The solution to these ancient quandaries is to assume as an axiom that God is eternal, and everything else follows from that. Hence, the universe is self-creating by a process of evolution, but it got a jump-start from the Big Chicken who laid the evolving egg.

Other than these few quibbles, I enjoyed the presentation of this thought experiment. Except for the final conclusion, it correlates neatly with my own theory of Enformationism.


PS---It also reminds me of GOD'S DEBRIS : A Thought Experiment , by Scott Adams.
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