IN PURSUIT OF A RATIONAL GOD
FWIW here are a few questions and comments that occurred to me as I read the book. I found much to agree with, and a little to quible with. To save time, I won't mention most of the stuff I agree with, and will only comment on statements that I find questionable or in need of clarification. My comments may question assumptions, but not intentions.
1. Indeed, everything we purport as fact is based upon faith. It is no more than that which we believe to be true based upon collectively agreed-upon experiences that we trust to be commonly held by all individuals. [p7]
------- I agree, but is this counter-intuitive assertion generally understood? Or should it be supported by argument or evidence?
2. wherein reality consists of an infinite presence whose activity gives rise to tangible form. [p7]
------- another true, but counter-intuitive, assertion.
3. space must possess a connecting property that extends throughout the whole of it. [p9]
------- "connecting property" = causal relationship? conceptual vs physical connection?
4. It does not allow for the possibility that the evolution of tangible matter as we know it, is but a single stream of development within a multifaceted cosmos. [p11]
-------- multifacted cosmos = multiverse?
5. If we can postulate a possibility, we can state with a degree of certainty that, somewhere and in some form, that possibility exists. [p12]
-------- Probability can be calculated, but based on what assumptions?
6. And, a cosmic model based upon the premise of an infinite presence whose perpetual activity gives rise to tangible material forms fulfills that criterion. [p13]
------"presence" may be too suggestive at this point. How about "principle"?
7. Thus, it behooves us to discard both and simply encapsulate the concepts underlying both "god" and "nature" within the neutral term "esse". [p17]
------ G*D is Being itself, not a being among others. G* D is essential; the essence of existence
8. Thus, it would seem that its awareness would be restricted to its internal "self" and not extended to an awareness of that self as an individual entity. [p18]
----- Yes, but I don't see G*D as identical with Nature or the Cosmos. Instead they are pockets of temporal being within the eternal I AM. Hence, Nature is not the Self of G*D. Obviously there is nothing external for THE ALL to be aware of. But whether Esse is self-aware is moot.
9. this motivating force is not an alien presence superimposed upon the cosmos, but an intrinsic part of that universal whole. [p19]
------ motivating force = "In-Form-Action" in the Enformationism thesis.
10. If we are to have a supreme being, let it be the cosmos. [p19]
----- if cosmos is defined as infinite and eternal, yes.
11. French philosopher Voltaire once said: "If there was no God, it would have been necessary to invent him." [p20]
----- I agree. An eternal and infinite essence is a necessary context to make sense of our finite & temporal world.
12. In essence, intelligence on a cosmic scale is no more than the natural processes of universal activity that science now explores. [p20]
------ True, but intelligence on an eternal scale might be more than natural temporal processes.
13. the cosmos presents the best and most rational definition of a deity. [p20]
----- Again, eternal Being must be prior to temporal existence.
14. As science has demonstrated, the material realm we observe through our native senses is limited to a small portion of the spatial activity that is known to exist. That cosmic activity functions on a broader range, generating many differing virtual dimensions that create a multitude of alternate universes throughout the cosmos which we ordinarily cannot perceive. [p21]
----- Science hasn't yet "demonstrated" those virtual dimensions and alternate universes. They remain theoretical and speculative.
15. Unaware of each other's existence, we could coexist, living in a wholly different parallel realms. Possibly, unexplained paranormal phenomena may not originate within the virtual dimension we occupy, but within such a parallel world that, on occasion, may be eliciting harmonics (mirrored activity) within our own world. [p21]
----- How do we know about this trans-realm communication? What is the mechanism for inter-acting with spheres of different physical laws?
16. Thus, it is entirely feasible that a configuration of consciousness could continue within another virtual realm.
However, to date, we only can prove that there are multiple layers to cosmic activity. [p21]
----- How do we "prove" this layering of activity? Give an example of a layer.
17. Regardless of the source or methodology, we appear to be privy to a multitude of extrasensory perceptions, [p21]
----- Certainly many would like to be "privy" to secretive, super-normal, occult perceptions. But in my experience most paranormal phenomena seem to derive from the mundane power of self-deception. So a degree of skepticism toward unverifiable claims is advisable.
18. we possess the capacity to expand and evolve, limited only by the restrictions we voluntarily place upon our minds. [p22]
----- Is the "restriction" referring to skepticism or dogmatism? Skepticism should be used defensively, but some use it offensively. I tend to be defensively skeptical of all paranormal claims. Scientific skepticism is the gold standard for discerning delusion from perception. To voluntarily abandon that lie-detector would be to expand gullibility.
19. Living mystics, under the close scrutiny of modern science, have demonstrated an incredible ability to manipulate the autonomic processes of their bodies that once was presumed to be beyond the realm of conscious control. [p22]
----- Mental control over "autonomic" processes is entirely natural and normal; it seems mystical only in fictional accounts. The term means "self-managing". But even automatic processes can be controlled consciously (willfully) without recourse to paranormal means. That most of us lack the willpower to do it is undeniable. Yet self-control is incredible only because it is rare, not a miracle.
20. Instead of being subservient to some distant mythological entity, we are intrinsic aspects of the concept we embrace. [p23]
----- Well said!
21. the following should illustrate why prayer works. [p23]
----- The gnat illustration sounds like a prayer of desperation that sets off a series of fortuitous, but unlikely contingencies. Who "precariously balanced the rock"?
22. In essence, we link our consciousness with the consciousness that pervades the cosmic whole, and induce streams of energy within that universal consciousness that can alter the future course of events. [p23]
----- How do we "induce streams of energy" in cosmic consciousness? How does that deflected energy affect the future?
23. Moreover, prayer has an immediate internal impact. [p23]
----- Prayer has a strong placebo effect. The power of positive thinking works by focusing attention and will power internally. Not by directly influencing external, objective reality.
24. Indeed, true faith in a specific outcome marshals the energies of body and mind toward accomplishing that end. [p24]
----- A positive attitude is indeed necessary to reach high goals. But are you implying that we create our own reality thru faith? It's true that we create our own model of reality. We can manipulate the model with willpower, but reality requires horsepower.
25. It makes us one with the whole of existence and that, in itself, opens vast portals of possibilities through which we can expand the human potential into realms once assigned to the metaphysical, [p25]
---- "Metaphysical" yes, "paranormal" no. Too much BS flies under the banner of paranormal.
26. The electromagnetic theory of consciousness [p30]
----- Enformationism theory says that consciousness is a holistic function of brain and behavior. Electromagnetism is a necessary, but not sufficient, precursor of consciousness.
27. Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. ID starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what scientific inferences can be drawn from that evidence. [p41]
----- That's a nice theory, but there is textual evidence that "scientific" Intelligent Design is a continuation of "religious" Creationism by other means. As a Deist alternative, I would modestly propose Intelligent Evolution theory.