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Is there an omniscient interpreter in the cosmos?

  1. Nov 29, 2005 #1
    1)According to Paul Davies, most physicists who work on fundamental physics believe the laws of physics have some independent existence to the universe
    2)The laws of physics are propositions if they exist independently to the universe
    3)Propositions are semantic-based structures
    4)We are justified in believing that the laws of physics are propositions and are semantic structures(from 1, 2, 3)
    5)Semantic structures only have existence if they are interpreted and comprehended by an interpreter
    6)Propositions require interpretation and comprehension by an interpreter to exist (from 3, 5)
    7)We are justified in believing that the laws of physics require interpretation and comprehension by an interpreter to exist (from 3,6)
    8)An interpreter exists independent of the proposition and the fictional or non-fictional world(s) that the proposition refers to (defined as having "implicit freedom")
    9)An interpreter of a proposition is restricted by rules of interpretation which are separate from the proposition itself (i.e., defined as not having "explicit freedom")
    10)An omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent being (God) is defined as having implicit freedom with respect to the propositions of the universe
    11)The interpreter of the laws is God (from 4, 8, 9, 10)
    We are justified in believing that God is the cause of the laws and the universe(s) that results from the laws (from 7,11).

    Where can this logic be faulted? (it's not mine BTW!)
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2005 #2
    1) Is superfluous. It neither adds nor detracts from the rest of the argument.
    2)The laws of physics are propositions whether or not they exist independently to the universe.
    3) through 9) seem to be OK to me.
    10) It is fair to make any definition you like. However this definition is overkill in the extreme. There is no justification for a belief that such a being exists, and defining such a being adds nothing to this development.
    11)The interpreter of the laws (as characterized in 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9) must exist.
    We are justified in believing that this "interpreter" is the cause of the laws and the universe(s) that results from the laws (from 7,11).

    The conclusion is that there is a finite, limited, conscious entity which is responsible for the universe as we see it, and which is immensely powerful from our perspective judging from the immensity of the universe. There is no evidence or reason to believe that this entity is perfect, infinite, complete, omnipotent, omniscient, or immutable. Occam's razor would also suggest that since this one conscious entity (the "interpreter") must exist, and since each of us knows implicitly that a conscious entity known to each of us as "I" must also exist, to be parsimonious we should consider that these various conscious entities are in reality all one and the same entity.


    (IMHO, the only justification for accepting the notions of omni-whatever as attributes of "God", is to remain consistent with the notions offered by ancient thinkers. Those notions have no grounding in rigor and amount to nothing but guesswork that modern mathematics has shown to be erroneous. The various religions, of course, have embedded those notions so deeply into their doctrines, and so many people have been taught to believe those notions since childhood, that the ideas are very deeply ingrained in our cultures. That does not make them true, but it sure has made them dangerous.)
  4. Nov 30, 2005 #3
    Thanks Paul. As I read it you are accepting the transformation of concepts from the Platonic realm into realities. But in (2)The laws of physics are stated to be propositions but if they were not fully independent then how can they be interpreted? It seems to me that we would arrive at a totally different conclusion if the laws were contingent.

    You disagree with (10) saying that the definition given to the interpreter is extreme overkill but you restate (11) "We are justified in believing that this "interpreter" is the cause of the laws and the universe(s)" Isn't that a contradiction?
  5. Nov 30, 2005 #4
    Just a silly remark: it is known since ancient times that if you keep on asking the ``reason why something is what it is´´ or ``what mechanism makes X follows these and these rules´´ you either never stop asking questions or you take a shortcut and put God somewhere in by hand. The funny thing is that God evolves (just as the reduction in QM) with the detailed knowledge we have about the world. So therefore, it is entirely justified at this moment in time that physicists believe that God was at the origin of our universe. In some other science fiction pet theories, the universe starts as a side branch of another universe and so on and so on (this is good for employment in physics :cry: )... but it is logical we shall never answer the question what triggered the process. In the end, something just IS, if you call that God, fine.
  6. Nov 30, 2005 #5


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    OK, but there is no reason is there, to ascribe an incoherent property like omniscience or omnipotence to that something? Or human motivations either!
  7. Nov 30, 2005 #6
    what if mind is not limited to "individual" organisms? i only mention this because, where would that omnipotent "thing" be? i ask, what if the mind is not limited to "individual" organisms, but only seems to be? since we have no clear explanation for what the mind is, we surely, cannot ignore the possibility. what if the idea that the mind is contained "within" the skin is an illusion? you can take this or leave it, but i think that it adds something to the logic, for if the mind (the place where feelings/thoughts occur and are transmitted) is not limited to "the skin", then it, surely, extends indefinitely, or infinitely. maybe the "laws" of physics are more like the manifestations of mental predispositions of matter... ok ok, u say "new-age" crap, but really, is there a difference between my response to the environment and a planets response to another planet, via gravity, other than the complexity and, therefore, various possibilities of action? is mind simply the act of responding to the world, through action, in particular ways? can it be said that the universe is aware of itself? then how can it be ignored that mind might also permeate all existence? this gives a peculiar view of the "omnipotent" or "all power"-ful, entity that is commonly called "G*d".

    maybe "mind" is really an undifferentiated "net"/wholeness of awareness, response, only more complex within more complex "things"/organisms.

    does this make the argument stronger ot weaker? i guess we must see if we can differentiate between awareness and "mind". and further, to see what, in fact, "mind" means. how simple can it be and still be called "mind"? how small? how large?
  8. Nov 30, 2005 #7
    As you might have discovered already, I am a ``grandpa realist´´ (as ZapperZ says :smile: ) so I am only running hot for the good old fashioned, solid, no-nonsense approach.
  9. Nov 30, 2005 #8
    where is g*d? where is this thing that has omniscience, omnipotence? WHERE?!?! if we are to talk about such a "thing", musn't we have a clear idea of what we are talking about?!? what are we talking about??? i am momentarily frustrated by those who talk about that "thing", but don't, themselves, have a concept of what they are discussing. tell me what that omniscient thing is, or where it is, then we can talk about this rationally. otherwise we are talking about beliefs founded in assumption and emotion, and therefore non-rational!! you don't believe in "god", what don't you believe in? you do believe in "god" what do you believe in? tell me PLEASE!!
  10. Dec 1, 2005 #9
    Oh, but we have; here is a provisionary definition: God is (a) the collection of all why and what questions which are not known (by the entire humanity) and not likely (by reasonable analogy) to have an answer based upon a materialistic worldview (b) the assignment we give to peculiarities of our reality vis a vis our understanding of it.
    For example, under (a) might fall consciousness (but not everyone agrees upon that of course), under (b) we can put the very special initial conditions of the universe. Physicists like to start from the idea of a very general dynamics (GR) and would hope that our universe is just the generic one if you let it ``evolve for some time´´. This is NOT the case (unlike what the inflationary picture claims) so you might say that God must have really chosen us. However, it is my opinion that conversations about this usually do not make much progress ...
  11. Dec 1, 2005 #10
    oh but careful, careful. how can god, by definition be limited to what we say it is? we are talking about a thing that can't be talked about directly. we can only point to it. the knowing comes from direct experience. we can get to a point with rationality, which is actualized through the unfolding of our minds, and in expressed as wisdom. wisdom is the paragon of rationality. wisdom is the negation of ignorance, in all of its existences, in our beliefs and perceptions and "knowledge". be careful identifying "god" with labels that you wish to impose on It. know that you do this so that you may continue the familiar process of analysis. at a point, though, you must drop the analysis and feel and Know It directly, for yourself. otherwise, doubt is never extinguished and the mind continues to reign supreme. the mind cannot actualized wisdom through analysis, only through experience, which is subjective, and unquestionable, infallible and impeccable. your opinion about God means jack, for it is never what God really is. therefore we can not talk about It in the familiar way that we talk about all other, finite Things. this is of primary importance. when you Know, beyond a shadow of doubt, what You are, you will Know That as well. this is not speculation, this is true because it is infallible, non-contradictory, non-hypocritical and not founded in the fallibility of mental constructs. all i can do is help you shed those false constructs and when that is done, the truth will be actualized as that which is left, after everything is naught. find out the self, first. then worry about the rest.
  12. Dec 1, 2005 #11
    what you call god is wisdom. wisdom is omniscience. wisdom is freedom. wisdom is omnibenevolent and omnipotent. wisdom cannot be labeled. it is that which can only be defined in infinite words. the idea of infinite itself confounds the mind-analysis to triviality. unfolding the mind to see its ignorances and assumption is the path of finding/having Knowledge/wisdom; actualizing The Actuality. don't look outside, look inside. see what is inside. that which is looking out, in the first place. know that and the rest wil follow naturally. that is a promise. the desire to know must be unswerving and of absolute dedication and determination, otherwise we become distracted and deluded by our sub-conscious beliefs. the sub-conscious must be made conscious, through the unceasing desire to unfold the mind and see what it contains. that is where the "pearls" of wisdom lay. they are not "out there".
  13. Dec 1, 2005 #12
    not speculation or analysis, founded in pre-conceived notions. this will not yield truth. only self-awareness, will do. awareness is the cure for ignorance. ignorance is simply the ignoring what is. ignoring comes from falling into habits of mind (speculation and exterior analysis). awareness stops ignorance instantly. never stop being aware, and never fall into ignorance. don't start to speculate, because it is then that you have lost awareness of "what is" and are engaged in the ideas of "what could be"/"what might be". why do that, when "what is" is always right before, and within, you?... for the experiencing/living/being. god is That which is, before a mental construct is imposed on It. It is the infinite, from which particular ideas and theories and beliefs are generated. once they are generated, That infinity becomes covered by finitudes, which, in themselves, can never be confused with truth, as they conceal the truth and the self, becomes ignorant of It. know what it is to ignore what is.
  14. Dec 1, 2005 #13

    Les Sleeth

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    The best physicists theorize from what they can experience, which is a good thing. But if they lack the ability to experience God, isn't it a bit egocentric to think God is therefore not possible to experience but rather merely what's unexplainable and peculiar?

    On the other hand, why isn't what mechanics can't explain (and really, that's all science is) significant? There is no doubt that the universe has a mighty mechanical backbone. Even consciousness is at the very least entwined in a very mechanical brain.

    Yet there are things about reality which aren't explained by mechanics alone despite the efforts of scientism devotees to convince us otherwise. I'll let the exalted role of genetic variation-natural selection pass for now; everyone seems a bit sore at my challenging that sacred cow. Instead I'll return to my perennial objection, the one I have argued here for nearly three years.

    The physicalist believer says chemistry can self-organize itself into a cell. What's the evidence of this supposed self-organizing ability? Why, it is a decades old experiment where a few amino acids self-organized for Miller and Urey.

    Here's the logic of that supposition. Amino acids self-organize for a few steps, therefore, chemistry can self-organize for a million steps to become a cell. Do you see a problem with this logic? I do, and what I see is scientism "believers" making HUGE inferential leaps to justify their belief system. It certainly isn't the attitude of the normally conservative scientist very, very carefully interpreting his evidence. The fact that he/she has entered the theoretical realm seems to turn that usually careful empiricist into a wildly speculating science fanatic. :tongue2:

    Finally, are you sure there isn't a way to experience what some refer to as God? I would say that if there is, it isn't via the same epistomology as what reveals mechanics. You might consider studying, if you are interested in an informed opinion about the God adepts, the long history of the practice which requires one to turn one's attention inward (i.e., rather than "outward" through the senses).
  15. Dec 1, 2005 #14
    You're welcome. Sorry this response is so late; I have been out of town.
    You read it right. Your mention of "concepts", "Platonic realm", and "realities" is very similar to Roger Penrose's analysis. He describes three "worlds", 1) the Mental World, 2) the Platonic World, and 3) the Physical World, and he points out that a tiny fraction of each of these somehow leads to, or accounts for, the entire next world.

    The Mental World contains many conceptions, thoughts, perceptions, feelings, desires, etc. A tiny fraction of those are the precise mathematical constructs such as geometric forms, mathematical systems of theorems, and maybe even such things as truth and beauty.

    A tiny fraction of those inhabitants of the Platonic World, are the equations that comprise the true laws of physics (which we hope to discover in totality some day). And, somehow, this relatively tiny set of laws seems to give rise to, or be responsible for, our Physical World.

    Then to complete the cycle, a tiny fraction of the Physical World, i.e. brains, seems to be capable of producing the Mental World with all its contents.

    Penrose claims that this loop constitutes a mystery. I say that the mystery would be solved if we only establish a starting point. Since the Mental World is the only thing I know for sure exists, I think the Mental World should be the starting point. It is relatively easy to see how the Platonic World and then the Physical World can follow from there. Gregory Bateson seems to have come to the same conclusion taking a different route.

    Using Penrose's three worlds again, I would say that the laws of physics are independent of the Physical World, but they are contingent on the Mental World. I don't see how you can have concepts, like the laws of physics, without mentality. You can certainly encode the laws into language and write them into the Physical World, for example as ink on book pages, but in that physical form, the laws are powerless either to create anything or to compel conformance. I think it takes mentality to do either of those.

    It isn't that I disagree with (10); you can't really disagree with a definition. It's just that in order to support the argument being made, there is no need for the "interpreter" to be "omniscient, omnipotent, and ... having implicit freedom with respect to the propositions of the universe". I think there is ample evidence in just what we can see, that our Physical World, and by implication its "interpreter", is far from perfect.

  16. Dec 3, 2005 #15
    Hold on, there's a mysterious loop here. Surely it shouldn't be quite so easy to jump out of it like that?
    Cybernetic wisdom aside, it's only natural for the Platonic and Physical worlds to follow on from there -- but that's true if we break out of the loop in any other way!
    And I don't see how we can have mentality without the laws of phyiscs :confused:
    And there you leave me puzzled. This question could perhaps be further reduced to mind and matter -- or, seeing as how they are interchangeable, mind and energy. Now call me a hippy if you will, but when it comes to karma I like to think of it more in terms of energy. :tongue:
  17. Dec 3, 2005 #16
    **The best physicists theorize from what they can experience, which is a good thing. But if they lack the ability to experience God, isn't it a bit egocentric to think God is therefore not possible to experience but rather merely what's unexplainable and peculiar? **

    For the traditional physicist who has not the ability to experience God in the sense of a transcendent being, it is unexplainable that someone else can; therefore he will categorize the ``transcendent creature believers´´ in the God bag :biggrin:

    Yet there are things about reality which aren't explained by mechanics **

    Such as ?? You could make an effort to define consciousness (I exposed myself to criticism by making a provisionary definition of God).

    Here's the logic of that supposition. Amino acids self-organize for a few steps, therefore, chemistry can self-organize for a million steps to become a cell. Do you see a problem with this logic? I do, and what I see is scientism "believers" making HUGE inferential leaps to justify their belief system. It certainly isn't the attitude of the normally conservative scientist very, very carefully interpreting his evidence. The fact that he/she has entered the theoretical realm seems to turn that usually careful empiricist into a wildly speculating science fanatic. :tongue2: **

    Ah, every physicst would argue that a system with so many degrees of freedom is impossible to study exactly (for now) but that this is by no means a reason to *believe* in something different. I believe that such complicated dynamics will be studied in the forseeable future and that our theories shall give good results (as suggested by work in statistical physics).

    **Finally, are you sure there isn't a way to experience what some refer to as God? **

    Of course I am not sure: the same goes about telekineses for example. The point is that one should not speculate whether this can be explained by traditional physics or not as long as we cannot calculate yet the behavior of a bucket of water.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2005
  18. Dec 3, 2005 #17
    we really must re-word the question.

    the question implies that the omniscient interpreter is something other than the cosmos.

    this arealdy seems to assume too much. for the next, obvious question is where is it?

    we are talking as if we have established that "It" is not interpreting itself. all things (string, electron, particle, atom, molecule, cell, tissue, organ, organism, environment, etc.) can be said to be interpreting the "the world to which it belongs".

    all action can be regarded as a movement of consciousness, no matter how crude or limited the possible movements may seem.

    i have made the analogy before, of a planet being aware of another planet, where the characteristic of that recognition/action is "attraction towards". in this case, the recognition is simultaneous with the action and so we say that it is a "mindless" occurance. (that is, "immediate", or rather, not "mediated" by a mind.)

    so the question that would follow from such a model, is concerned with "a cosmos that is interpreting itself in a "seemingly infinite" continuum of relative scale. (such that, "the small" interprets within and of "the small", which forms the "structure", upon which, the next realm, or scale has it's "ground" of interpretation, and so on.)

    such a continuum is one where the base, within every relative scale (quantum field, classical field, relativistic field), is "that which has been structured" (on a smaller scale), forming the "grounds" for "structuring" (or that which structures) to interpret and be interpretted and form structures that correspond to that scale. (this "next higher" scale forms the "ground" upon which "higher" structures are interpretted and formed.
    "that which strucures", then, IS the continuum, and "that which has been structured" acts out the interpretations possible within the parameters of the "new" scale, or realm. (all realms are relative to each other, through the "structuring characteristic", which is self-same throughout all of the realms, but manifests itself in as many variations of form, as there are realms of structure.) this is a lot of words.

    finally, it would seem that the "interpretation continuum" is actually a loop-continuum. where the (perhaps infinitely) large scale, and the (perhaps infinitely) small scale are united as a single (omniscient) interpretation. expressed as a self-contained system of self-interpretation and re-interpretation.

    we can then say that the universe is interpreting itself and is, essentially, interpreting based on the information recieved, in the form of the "relative interpretations", and loops back new interpretations to the relative scales when the information is interpretted. this points to a completely symbiotic relation of interpretations, expressed as a kind of in"form"ation.

    far out. but i just wanted to present the possibility that we were not considering the question correctly and that it might very well be that the universe is self-interpreting, self-structuring and all-knowing. in a way that we may never have imagined, or dreamed.

    oh well, take it or leave it, or consider it and replace it.
  19. Dec 3, 2005 #18
    the continuum would have to be such, that the parameters and "possiblities of structuring", were all devised (interpretted) in a moment, from, of, and within the continuum, which is eternally present, self-sustaining, self-generating, self-actualizing and self-same in all its subsequent "structurings" and "interpretations".

    this idea is kind of similar to the idea of God, isn't it?
  20. Dec 3, 2005 #19
    the idea of studying exactly is a little bit different from the idea of studying completely, though they lead into one another.

    to study, is to measure. to measure is to define. can we agree that studying "exactly", in measurements in order to define, is precisely the institution of science?

    now, the Real question is: does science believe, which is to say: "have faith in", the notion that its examination will, in some way, be complete and whole; a theory of everything, that is?

    we do agree that measurement, in the first place, is self-referencing, and thus will no doubt produce a system of measurements, which possesses inherent contradictions and limitations. an infinite amount of descriptions might be able to define the Thing that is measured, but that, of course, is impossible.

    does this suggest that there is a completely rational reason to think that science is not the Way of Knowing, but is rather a delusion that occurred on the way to really understanding the Reality, as a whole, in an instant; by way of a different kind of exploration?

    does it suggest that there's a different Way of exploration, altogether, whence the Reality will reveal itself? perhaps science was a necessary detour, whose "end" is really a lesson that will mark the beginning of a much more encompassing and wisdom-founded, Way to Reality.

    it seems that, knowing that a particular way will only yield an incomplete result, and therefore, can never satisfy the enquiring mind, that those who are sincere in their inquiry will embark on a new path; one that emerges from the ashes of the old order, and recognizes the ignorance of it, thereby becoming wise.

    any ideas?
  21. Dec 3, 2005 #20
    It might not seem so, but I think it is. That loop presents three profound mysteries and one paradox. Mysteries aren't so bad because we may hope to unravel the mysteries some day. Paradoxes on the other hand are intolerable. We must somehow eliminate them.

    The three mysteries are:
    1. How can mentality cause concepts like the laws of physics?
    2. How can concepts like the laws of physics cause physical reality?
    3. How can physical reality cause mentality?

    The paradox is that the causal chain among these three is circular.

    In order to eliminate the paradox, I say we break the chain somewhere and establish the first cause. My reasons for preferring the Mental World as the starting point are that the Mental World is the one most certainly known to me, and that it seems relatively easy to see how the other two could be caused by the Mental World. I think that any other starting point leads to harder problems.

    But no matter what you choose as the first cause, there will always be the profound mystery of how that first cause came to be. Choosing Mentality makes this mystery no more intractable than choosing something from the Platonic World like formulas, or choosing something from the Physical World like false vacuum, Higgs field, a space-time continuum, a stack of turtles, or whatever.

    Now it seems to me that jumping out of the loop like that does make things easy. I think it gives us a way out of each of the three mysteries. But before I explain how, I need to point out that when I break the loop between the Physical World and the Mental World, the Mental World is nailed down as the (mysterious) starting point, but the rest of the loop is raised up and it continues to go around in a helical pattern. That is, the Mental causes the Platonic, which causes the Physical, which then causes a separate Mental World that is different and apart from the original Mental World. This new Mental World in turn causes a new Platonic World and so on around the helix. The whole thing remains finite since there is a single fixed starting point, and the end point, even though it continues to move around the helix, is always at some finite point representing the progress to date of evolving reality.

    So here's how this model makes things easy.

    1. How can mentality cause concepts like the laws of physics? Since (some of) we humans seem to be able to do this, it doesn't seem to be very mysterious. We may not know exactly how it is done in all cases, but we certainly know that minds can come up with concepts like the laws of physics.

    2. How can concepts like the laws of physics cause physical reality? In our human experience, we have designed and built virtual reality machines in which toy laws of physics have been implemented in machines in which virtual entities behave according to those laws. Yes, we use physical components to do this, but in principle, if our memories were prodigious enough, we could perform the entire thing in our imagination, thus keeping it strictly mental. The physical components are merely crutches. So, in reality, our Physical World could be caused in the same way. Easy.

    3. How can physical reality cause mentality? I think this one gives most scientists the least pause. Their explanation is that brains have simply evolved to the point that mentality just "arises". Easy.

    This explanation doesn't satisfy me at all. I don't believe that any physical mechanism can produce consciousness no matter how complex it is. But there is still an easy way out for me based on my helical model. That is if the physical structure (brain) is a communication device which allows that initial mentality to remotely operate the organism by relaying information from the physical senses to the initial mentality, and by relaying willful orders for muscle action from the initial mentality to the physical organism. Since we are very familiar with devices we have built that can do all these things, I think it is easy to see how this model can solve mystery number 3.

    Aside from the mystery (which every explanation has) of the origin of the first cause (Mentality), the difficulty I see with this picture is in identifying some kind of memory device for the very first turn of the helix in which the first Platonic World and the first Physical World reside. On the second and subsequent turns, there is no problem since the previous Physical World(s) can provide ample mechanisms for memory. If we just look at our present turn of the helix (I don't know how many turns we are at, but I suspect it is somewhere between 5 and 20 for our Physical World), we see that we can implement memory devices using a host of different physical effects. No problem.

    But for that very first turn, my guess is that the amount of information stored in the primordial memory is rather small and the first Platonic and Physical worlds were relatively simple. It has been suggested to me that George Spencer-Brown's Laws of Form might explain how this initial bootstrap action took place.

    I'm sure that whatever the real and complete explanation for reality turns out to be, it will be overwhelmingly complex. But without getting into the details, it seems to me that the explanation might be "easy" if taken at a high enough level.

    I wouldn't call you that! As for karma, if there is only one of these Conscious Mentalities, (which I think is the case) then that one is at once every beneficiary as well as every benefactor, and it is also every victim as well as every perpetrator. Justice couldn't be more perfect. As for energy, I think it only serves to keep Physical things going. I think it plays no more important role in karma than the fuel oil you heat your house with. Just my humble opinions.

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