Monday, September 4, 2017


Note:    The most recent entries are at the bottom.

Life, Consciousness and Free Will are Foundations of Physical Reality

Copyright © 2017 by Robert Arvay
All rights reserved by the author. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.


Fundamental Realities

Life, consciousness and volition (free will) are fundamental realities.  Without them, the physical universe would not exist.  Instead of arising from physical reality, they are its purpose.  This statement contradicts the material (physicalist) paradigm, which holds that the universe has no detectable plan, purpose or meaning.

This brief booklet introduces the reader to an alternative way of thinking:  The God Paradigm. 

Material physicalism holds that only physical things exist, and the natural laws which govern them.  Even though the God Paradigm does not prove that God exists, it is superior to the physicalist paradigm.  The God Paradigm better fits the evidence than does physicalism, and it also makes better sense of physics, biology, psychology and sociology.  In addition, it permits objective analysis of moral values.

Because the subject matter is so entangled with controversy, emotion and false assumptions, it is useful to present it in its parts, before assembling those parts into a unified, coherent whole.  The reader will be left, not with absolute proof, but certainly with compelling evidence, that the physicalist paradigm is leading science and society down a dead end, one which can be avoided by abandoning its materialist bias.

Here is the beginning of the list of parts that are necessary to an understanding of what it is that the God Paradigm proposes.

1.       Why the Physicalist (Material) Paradigm is wrong, and the harm it does.

2.       Why the God Paradigm is the only viable alternative.  Its benefits.

3.       Life is not a chemical process.

4.       Inward consciousness defies material explanation.

5.       Volition (free will) is not possible in the physicalist paradigm.  This leads to absurdity.


Why the Physicalist (Material) Paradigm is wrong, and the harm it does

There was a time when most scientists had no doubt that the universe has a plan and purpose.  It seemed obvious.  Natural law is orderly.  It operates everywhere and at all times.  It is consistent, with no exceptions and no self-contradictions.  How could an unlikely universe like ours come into being?  The only plausible explanation seemed to be divine creation by an all-powerful deity.

But under careful scrutiny, that explanation seemed to fall apart.  Storms, volcanoes, plagues and all other natural phenomena, which once had been attributed to the actions of gods, or God, were one by one, found to have natural explanations.  Natural laws, not God, could explain everything.  These laws, once discovered, allowed men to develop technologies that seemed to give them godlike powers over nature.

With God out of the way, so to speak, men began to replace faith with reason, and the triumph of physicalism seemed all but complete.  Many people today, notably many scientists, celebrate that final victory, and they condemn all else as ignorance, superstition and worse.  The only faith which they acknowledge as valid, is the belief that all the mysteries of science will eventually be found to have purely physical solutions.  Thus, arose the physicalist paradigm, which holds that nothing exists except stuff, that is, material, and the laws and forces which pertain to them.  Soul and spirit, heaven and hell, were deemed to be mere myth at best, harmful beliefs at worst.

The problems with the physicalist paradigm are both philosophical and, well, physical. 

Philosophically, If the universe is only physical, and nothing more, then it has no plan, purpose or meaning, and by extension, neither do we.  If we are merely physical, and nothing more, then our lives are, to loosely quote from Shakespeare, “A sound and fury, signifying nothing, a tale told by an idiot.”  The logical extension of physicalism is that we are nothing more than temporary arrangements of atoms, and therefore, not worthy of being treated as anything more than that.

Fortunately, there is no necessity to adopt such a useless and dangerous philosophy.  Science, reason and morals all testify against it.  Physicalists have used the universe as a sort of laboratory to bolster their claims, but in so doing, have arrived at the conclusion that no one built the laboratory.  Furthermore, by denying that free will can exist, they have defined themselves as being witnesses to, but not participants in, their own lives.

As we shall see, life is not merely a chemical process.  Inward consciousness defies physical explanation.  And free will, according to physicalism, cannot possibly exist.


Why the God Paradigm is the only viable alternative to physicalism.  Its benefits.

As we saw in the preceding section, physicalism is not only a futile philosophy, it dehumanizes us.  It regards humanity as a happenstance byproduct of a mindless, uncaring universe. 

The God Paradigm rejects that.  Indeed, even some physicalists rely on that rejection to promote their social views.  For example, they decry certain laws and traditions as unjust or immoral.  But, one has to ask, what physicalist principle favors one moral viewpoint over another?  To use an extreme example, murder is surely wrong—but why?  Is it only because we say so?  If we were to permit it, would that make it right?  Who gets to decide?

The only sensible way to avoid a philosophy of sociopathy is to recognize that the universe is founded not only on physical laws, but it also relies on moral laws and principles.  And who gets to decide what those are, except God?

Physicalism leads inevitably to technological barbarism.  That fate can be prevented only by the recognition that man is not wise enough to replace God.

Moreover, scientific advances have revealed that the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned to support life, civilization and technology.  The precision of that fine tuning is so dramatic that the prospect of it having occurred by chance alone is less than one in many, many trillions.  Physicalists have had to resort to theories of a multi-universe in order to overcome those odds, but even there, they fail, because the odds of a multi-universe are even smaller yet.

Despite that science has so far failed to find God in small things, the evidence for physicalism pales in comparison to the evidence for God.


Life is not a chemical process.

Biology is the study of life’s chemical processes.  But life itself is far more than its chemistry.  It is not a byproduct of natural laws.  It underpins them.  The entire universe, from the smallest subatomic particle, to the largest galaxies and beyond, is a coordinated life force.  Although it sounds counter-intuitive, the physical universe does not give rise to life, but rather, it is life itself upon which the universe is predicated.  The purpose of the physical universe is to support life, civilization and technology.

Imagine that one were to construct a computer model of the universe, a simulation.  Attempts at this have been made, with striking results.  After programming in the basic data, the natural laws, the force of gravity, and the mathematical constants which govern nature, the models make a fairly accurate prediction that stars will form, that they will become organized into galaxies and so forth.  These computerized predictions show that, given certain starting conditions, it is inevitable that the universe will produce the major structures we see through our telescopes.

But, they make no predictions that life will arise.  In other words, given everything that we know about physics and cosmology, there is no need for life.  The universe would, it seems, function quite well without it.

Then, we must ask, not only why there is life in the universe, but also, why every detail of natural law seems designed to produce conditions for life.  Stars and galaxies may be inevitable, but life seems all but impossible unless a dizzying array of extremely unlikely conditions are met, and all of them precisely coordinated and timed.

Physicalism holds that all of this arises by chance and coincidence.  Even that strained theory might have been credible, but life is only one of the fundamental realities that demolish the physicalist paradigm.  Let’s look at two more.


Inward consciousness defies material explanation.

If physicalism has misunderstood life, it has completely missed consciousness.  Not only is science unable to explain it, or how it arises, but it has no adequate definition for it.  Yes, medical professionals have defined the outward appearance of consciousness, but not its inward experience.

A brief note here will illustrate the matter.  Color.  The science of optics can explain color in physical terms.  Color is a property exhibited by light waves, and is measurable by their amplitudes and frequencies (wavelength).  But when you see a color, you do not perceive it in those terms.  You see a quality, a subjective, conscious experience.  At that level, there is no physical definition of color, which is why you cannot explain your perception of it to someone who has been blind from birth.

Consciousness is said to arise from the brain, and certainly there is an intimate connection.  But can music arise from a violin?  To be sure, there is an intimate connection, but what is music itself, but an outward expression of the composer’s inward experiences and emotions?  Without him, the violin is but an empty shell.  Is the brain similarly an instrument of consciousness, but not its source?

The difficulty in understanding arises, because there is no known chain of causation between lifeless, unconscious atoms, and consciousness.  We cannot trace an unbroken path from light waves to our experience of color.  There is a gap between the physics of neurology and the final result, the inward experience of consciousness.  Only a faith in physicalism can claim with certainty that that gap will eventually be filled.

The science of quantum physics has discovered some interesting evidence that, instead of consciousness arising from the behavior of atoms, it may be the other way around.  The famous double-slit experiment has been repeated many times, and seems to indicate that subatomic particles behave differently when they are being consciously observed, than when they are not.  If so, then the link between observer and observed, between consciousness and physical events, is far more profound than physicalism would have it.

The final verdict on this experiment is not yet in, and given the controversy, is not likely soon.  But since you are now conscious, you can witness consciousness for yourself, and draw your own conclusions.  Or can you?  Yes, but only if you have free will.


Volition (free will) is not possible in the physicalist paradigm.  This leads to absurdity.

Free will thoroughly demolishes the physicalist paradigm.  This is because in physicalism, every physical event must of necessity have a physical cause.  Nothing in physicalism is optional; everything is either forced, or forbidden.  Everything is determined by an unbreakable chain of cause and effect.  Free will would be able to break that unbreakable chain, and is therefore considered to be impossible.

If we have free will (and we do), then we can overcome the chain of cause and effect.  We can intervene in nature, and produce outcomes that otherwise would have been forbidden.  We do this by exercising our power of free will.  Physicalism would define such a power as supernatural, above physical nature.

If we do not have free will, then we are conscious observers of our own lives, but not participants.  One is reminded of the hit song, In the Year 2525 (Zager and Evans, 1969), which contains the lyrics, “Everything you think do and say, is in the pill you took today.”  Instead of a pill, our thoughts, words and deeds would be dictated for us by the blind, indifferent and authorless forces of nature.

Without free will, our lives would be a farce.  We would be nothing more than robots, albeit biochemical ones.  Since we would not be responsible for our actions, there could be no moral right or wrong.  The criminal could correctly claim that he had no choice but to commit his crimes.  The judge could claim that he has no choice but to impose punishment.  We would all be helpless slaves to the strictures of cause and effect.  Can anyone believe such a thing without going mad?

Without free will, there can be no science, because we could never choose which experiments to perform, nor could we be sure that the conclusions we draw from them are valid.  The scientist, JBS Haldane, said that our conclusions could be neurologically correct, but scientifically flawed.

A proposed experiment illustrates the principle.  Suppose one programs a computer to simulate a scientist.  Suppose further that in his simulated world, the scientist would be programmed to study it.  Continuing the experiment, the simulated scientist would be tasked with learning all about the computer program which defines him and his world.  Could the simulated scientist ever conclude that he is a simulation?

Of course, he could act only as he was programmed to act, only as the computer was programmed to dictate his every thought, word and deed.  He could conclude only whatever the computer forced him to conclude, with no regard to whether his conclusions were accurate or completely flawed.  Having no free will, he could never break free of the algorithm that enforces his cause-and-effect world.

If, in our world we have no free will, then we are just like that artificially intelligent sequence of ones and zeroes that define the computer simulated scientist.  We would, in effect, be pre-programmed by nature itself, and in physicalism, nature cares nothing about us.  Literally, we would be witnessing our own lives without being able to participate in them.

But we do have free will.  We are not ones and zeroes; indeed, we are not merely physical creatures.  We can choose between right and wrong, between good and evil, and we are accountable for the choices we make.

Which means, of course, that there are moral rights and wrongs, whether we agree with them or not.  Good and evil exist, factually, objectively and empirically, just as surely as do the physical laws of nature.

The implications are vast, and we deny them at our eternal peril.


The God Paradigm

As promised, this brief booklet has presented compelling evidence that physicalism is a flawed paradigm, and that the God Paradigm is better.

We have only just begun.  The details and consequences of the God Paradigm could fill a book, and indeed, that book has been written.  Its title is, unsurprisingly, The God Paradigm.  Its ISBN is

978-1-365-22453-9

It is available for purchase online at Lulu.com for $16 plus shipping.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/robert-arvay/the-god-paradigm/paperback/product-22855534.html

Whether or not you buy the book, its point is simple:  you need not be intimidated into rejecting a belief in God.  Your life has plan, purpose and meaning, and these are eternal.  There are abundant proofs of this.  Three of them are life, consciousness and free will.

Peace.


Here are some excerpts from the book, The God Paradigm

Nature could not have come about by natural means, because until nature existed, there were no natural means.


Quoting from Shakespeare’s Macbeth
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

from Act 5, Scene 5


In 1993, ethicist Peter Singer shocked many Americans by suggesting that no newborn should be considered a person until 30 days after birth and that the attending physician should kill some disabled babies on the spot. Five years later, his appointment as Decamp Professor of Bio-Ethics at Princeton University ignited a firestorm of controversy, though his ideas about abortion and infanticide were hardly new. In 1979 he wrote, “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons”; therefore, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”  Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 1st ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 122–23. http://www.equip.org/articles/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/#christian-books-2


The God Paradigm holds that there is an absolute standard of morality, one which we are obliged to live up to, to the best of our abilities.  That standard is the same whether we agree with it or not.  Moral law is as absolute as natural law.  Both are authored by God.


When we ignore God, when we set ourselves up as the final arbiters of right and wrong, then we make of ourselves, little pseudo-gods. In effect, we deny that there really is any such thing as right or wrong, and elect instead, to replace these notions with laws, with rules, and with the raw power of enforcement.  There are terrible consequences which inevitably follow from such folly.

. . . experiments show that what happens to something in one place can instantly affect something else in a far distant location, even across the universe [referring to quantum nonlocality and entanglement]

Entanglement, then, is considered by some to be the most awesome discovery that physics has ever made.           Its implications are enormous and profound, for it can reasonably be suggested that the entire universe itself, all of it, is inseparably interconnected with the human mind.  

 

J. B. S. Haldane (5 November 18921 December 1964) once said, “My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”

        In American speak, he was saying that nature might not only be more strange than we imagined, it might be more strange than we are even able to imagine. We might not only be unable to understand the answers to the questions we ask, we might not even be able to ask the right questions.

 

. . . there is no such thing as “almost infinite.”  No matter how high you count, you are always an infinite amount short of infinity. 


. . . the universe arises from some ultimate, absolute basis that is forever beyond our understanding.  We are finite, and therefore, cannot comprehend the infinite.  We can, however, know that it exists, and that it is important to our understanding of our daily lives, and to an understanding of physical reality. 


Vernor Vinge, in 1993, predicted:
Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.” That is a very provocative prediction!  Might it be accurate?

 
        As humans, we have a need to be free, to exercise our intellect, and to make our own decisions.  We can do that, but only as beings that are as much of spirit as we are of substance.

 . . . a computer chip implanted in the brain can provide enormous benefits to individuals and their society.  But it could also render humans more dependent on a centralized control and command office which, in the wrong hands, could make slaves of everyone with the chip. And when has technology not eventually fallen into the wrong hands?

       

[Miracles]
A common misconception about miracles is that they cannot happen, because they are violations of natural law, and God would not make a law only to violate it.

        Miracles are not violations of natural law.  They are coincidences, confluences of unlikely events that come together at a precise time and place, and achieve a precise outcome.

        The universe is a miracle.  The earth is a miracle.  Life is a miracle.

        When God created the universe, He created it in such a way as to achieve His purpose.  From the very moment of, “In the beginning,” events were set in motion that would bring about whatever God willed, whether it was the formation of the moon, or the parting of the Red Sea.  In computer terms, we might say that God pre-programmed the universe. 


Jesus taught that goodness involves things that to many people are counter-intuitive.  The idea of “love thy enemy” is one which most people probably find difficult to practice, indeed, many people deem unwise to practice.  It does not mean that we refuse to defend the weak against injustice by the strong, but rather, that we afford our enemies every opportunity to act justly or, if they do not, we treat a defeated enemy with mercy and kindness.

        I may deem it necessary to oppose an enemy, even to kill him if there is no better option, but having done so, I must not (so to speak) dance on his grave.  I must regard the death of my enemy as a sad tragedy that I seek to avoid.
 

In the year 6565
Ain't gonna need no husband, won't need no wife
You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too
From the bottom of a long glass tube

—Zager and Evans 1969 hit song, In the Year 2525

 
. . . our brain is not a computer. For, a computer produces an output, to be sure, but an output for a human user who is external to the computer.

. . . consider the invention of the steam engine.  While the steam engine did not come into practical use until the late 1600s, it was actually invented (in primitive form) in about the year 100 by a man named Heron of Alexandria.  It was discarded as an impractical novelty.  But had there been anyone on the scene to recognize its potential, and done for the steam engine what other ancient engineers did for the antikythera device, imagine how radically different a course human history would almost surely have taken.  Imagine something akin to the Industrial Revolution occurring in about the year 150 AD!  Might men have landed on the moon in 1492?


 
Is the universe infinite?  It may be even more than that, it may be infinitely infinite.  And there may even be infinite numbers of infinitely large universes.  The very concept of infinity may not even scratch the surface, so to speak, of the vastness of creation.

        As Psalm 19:1 tells us,

                The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

 

God is not merely an engineer, He is also an artist.  His creation is not merely a mechanism, it is a work of beauty.

 
Why do so many people hate Jews?
The answer to that is that those who hate Jews, hate God.  The Bible tells us that those who bless Israel will be blessed, and those who curse Israel will be cursed.

        Your faith in God is far from unreasonable, and quite to the contrary, it is atheism that abandons reason. 

        The entire universe can be thought of as a life force.  It generates all the requirements which permit life to exist.  Why does it do so?  Is it all coincidence, or is the universe designed around life?


Western civilization is founded in two opposing traditions, the Hebrew and the Greek, the culture of faith and the culture of reason.  The first recording of the clash and merger of these two traditions is in the Bible’s book, the Acts of the Apostles.  This book chronicles the earliest days of the Christian faith, and from that point onward, it is impossible to separate Christianity from the rise of western civilization.
        Until that period of time, there was no consequential mention in secular history of respect for individual rights, not only the rights of kings, but also the equal rights of peasants, and even the rights of our enemies. 
        The freedoms espoused by Christianity are not bestowed upon us by men, but by God, and God requires us to obey His law.  It is that law which ignites the hatred within hedonists who disguise themselves as advocates of human rights. 

 
Time may not be what we think it is, and parallel but differing measures of time can be made according to mathematical and perceptual criteria. 

The God Paradigm grows stronger with every new development, and will eventually overwhelm natural-materialism, becoming once again the philosophical basis of physical science.

. . . the God Paradigm is not a religion. . . . the God Paradigm claims no religious authority nor any privileged divine revelation other than that freely available to everyone.  It makes no demands that you must believe a certain way, nor poses any threat of condemnation to those who disagree with the author.

[physicalists] attribute all this [universe] to chance, but as we showed in earlier chapters, chance can only operate within nonrandom parameters.  (We used the example of a die roll.  The chance of a die landing a six depends on how many sides the die has, and dice are not produced at random.  If they were, then even that randomness would require nonrandom parameters.)  No matter how much one might struggle to attribute anything to chance, intelligent design cannot be avoided. 


        One of the greatest mysteries of society was solved in these words of the United States founding document, the Declaration of Independence:
     We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
        The phrase, endowed by their Creator, solves the mystery, from where do we get our human rights?
Without God, there are no rights, but only brute force.

As a Christian, I turn to the Bible.  The God Paradigm accepts the Bible completely, and is totally subordinate to it.  Everything in human affairs is best understood in the context of Bible teachings, beginning with the Creation, continuing with the Golden Rule, and finally culminating with our eternal destiny.

        One of the dangerous pitfalls in any discussion of God is that such discourse may tend to become merely academic.  While we certainly should discuss Him, the discussion should be based on one’s personal life.  The most compelling reason why people have an abiding faith in God is that He has personally intervened in our lives, and lifted us from spiritual desolation into a life of strength, joy and fulfillment.


 As Bishop Fulton J Sheen (1895 – 1979) wrote so eloquently:
The great arcana of Divine Mysteries cannot be known by reason, but only by Revelation.  Reason can however, once in possession of these truths, offer persuasions to show that they are not only not contrary to reason, or destructive of nature, but eminently suited to a scientific temper of mind and the perfection of all that is best in human nature.
 

[regarding John Newton, who wrote the well-known hymn, Amazing Grace]        
Encapsulating his story for brevity, John Newton was a slave trader, a fact to which he referred later in life remorsefully, according to Wikipedia:
He apologized for [in his own words] "a confession, which ... comes too late ... It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders."
        John Newton came to faith in a manner which might seem hypocritical.  Aboard a ship during a fierce storm which seemed would surely kill all on board, Newton cried out to a God in which he did not believe, asking that his life be spared.
        It was.
        In a fictional story, Newton might have immediately become an exemplary Christian, but quite the contrary, his business with God seemingly concluded, Newton forgot about all that, and went about his usual business— the slave trade.
        God, however, did not forget.  Newton had asked God to save him, and God was not done.  It took years, many years, but John Newton eventually became a member of the clergy, denounced slavery, and was an active abolitionist.


        Of course the natural-materialist will emphatically disagree [with the God Paradigm].  This book cannot settle any of that.  As we said before, we do not arrive at faith in God through our own effort, but only by His gift of faith.
        So it will be until the final day.  Our struggle will not end until then.  Always there will be yet another doubt that can creep in, another deception to lead us astray.
        We will endure.  God will ensure that.  For only with Him, does everything make sense. Without Him, nothing does.

 

The God Paradigm. 

ISBN 978-1-365-22453-9

Is available for purchase online at Lulu.com for $16 plus shipping. 



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The Dark Side of Science

The technology spawned by science grows ever more powerful, and does so at an ever-faster rate.  Where is it taking us?

Science has bestowed enormous benefits on mankind.  But it has a dark side as well.  It gives us miracle medicines, but also, germ warfare.  It bestows upon us nuclear power, and nuclear bombs.  Its power can be used to benefit the environment or to destroy it.


 
But there is another aspect of science, one that has nothing to do with technology.  It has to do with shaping our world view.  In doing so, it influences how we structure our society, our laws, and our moral codes.
 
What is most remarkable about science is not its gadgetry, but rather, what it tells us about ourselves, who we are, what is our purpose and destiny.  Do we have inherent value?  Or are we just another species of animal?
 
In other words, there is a powerful philosophy that underpins science.  It affects us all.
 
Science is based on the premise that the universe has rules, unbreakable laws that do not depend on our opinion, but which are revealed to us by observation and reason.  As far as we can tell, the universe is orderly; it has structure and hierarchy.  Is that all just meaningless coincidence?
 
Until recent times, nature was correctly seen to be the work of a divine designer whose purpose, plan and meaning are revealed to us in the wonders of Creation.  We have a special place in that creation; we are its stewards, its gardeners.  We have life, we have consciousness—and we possess free will.  Therefore, we are accountable for our deeds.  Our noble purpose is to love one another, to be our brother’s keeper, and to treat each other with the same kindness and respect we desire for ourselves.
 
But that was then, this is now.
 
Many scientists no longer regard us as having any special place.  We are no longer regarded as having a spiritual dimension, but only a physical one.  We are seen to be products of a cold, uncaring universe, indeed, not even a product, but only a mere byproduct, an accident, an unlikely outcome of events that had no plan, no purpose, no meaning.
 
The inevitable extension of this purely physical view of humanity is technological barbarism.  If we are mere atoms, biological machines, then by what right can we expect to be treated as anything more than that?  Indeed, there would be no rights at all, but only force.
 
Of course, such dismal interpretations of science are not at all scientific, but only ideological.  Most people, however, confronted with the scientific arguments for physics devoid of spirit, find themselves ill equipped to counter those arguments.  All too many people have subscribed to the material paradigm, and have come to regard religious faith as mere superstition at best, as harmful at worst.
 
The God paradigm, on the other hand, holds that life is not merely a chemical reaction.  It informs us that our free will empowers us—supernaturally—to break the otherwise immutable chain of cause and effect.
 
Physical science, when it is divorced from faith, denies that free will can possibly exist.  In that view, the criminal cannot be blamed for his crimes; the hero deserves no praise.
 
In the material view, as expressed by the social left, there is no right, no wrong.  “Do as thou wilt.”  That view has led us to enact laws that make no moral distinction between family values and sexually perverse relationships.  It regards humans in the womb as disposable tissue masses.  It invites, across our borders, masses of people who are hostile to Judeo-Christians.  It defines our Founders only by their sad record of slavery, but makes no mention of the freedoms they imparted to all of us.  It is changing the definition of free speech to violent bigotry.  It promotes the accelerating decay of Western civilization.
 
How can we free ourselves from that futile and destructive world view?  The answer is simple, but not easy.  We need to reform the institutions of both science and politics.  We need to restore faith to the public forum.
 
Concerning scientific atheism, the late, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen said it well.  He wrote,
 
“The great arcana of Divine Mysteries cannot be known by reason, but only by Revelation.  Reason can however, once in possession of these truths, offer persuasions to show that they are not only not contrary to reason, or destructive of nature, but eminently suited to a scientific temper of mind and the perfection of all that is best in human nature.”  The Life of All Living, ISBN-10: 0385154585, ISBN-13: 978-0385154581
 
Science is only as valuable as its foundation.  If that foundation is not faith, then science is a house built upon shifting sand, and must collapse.  Let’s stop worshipping the false gods of so-called science, before they demand the sacrifice of all that is truly sacred.


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Science Needs a New Paradigm

 

Science and politics used to be very separate institutions.  Where they did overlap, science was nonpartisan.  The role of scientists was to provide objective evidence—and dispassionate, nonpolitical interpretations of that evidence.  Indeed, one rarely if ever could detect the political leanings of any particular scientist.  Also, science and religion used to get along, at least for the most part.

 

Today, that has changed, and the results include significant dangers for society.  For example, the topic of climate change has produced the myth of “settled science.”  Science is never settled.  While we all may agree that the climate does change, there is an anti-capitalist agenda behind the claims of many scientists—that we must radically reduce our standards of living to prevent climate catastrophe.  Politics and ideology, not science, promote that so-called scientific view.

 

But there is an even deeper, and darker, implication involving the politicization of science.  Its first major public confrontation was in a state court case, dubbed the Scopes Monkey trial, which tested a law that forbade the teaching of Darwinian Evolution theory in public schools.  On a legal maneuver, Darwinism technically lost that particular trial, but all subsequent federal court rulings since then, have upheld the theory of evolution as accepted fact.  Contrary theories are essentially forbidden.  Evolution is “settled science.”

 

It is not the purpose of this commentary to litigate the theory of evolution, or any other particular scientific theory.  Rather, it is to examine the cultural fallout from that theory.  The late paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson, is quoted as having said that, “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned.”[1]

 

What Darwin and Simpson have done, along with others, is to introduce into society the physicalist paradigm, the one that holds that nothing exists except stuff, that is, material reality.  According to physicalism, there is no spirit, no God, no eternal afterlife.  By extension of that paradigm, you and I are nothing more than stuff, that is, the atoms that make up our physical bodies.  If that is to be considered true, then it necessarily must follow, at least eventually, that we have no inherent right to be treated as anything more than protoplasm, nothing more than just another species of animal.

 

That paradigm is, of course, dangerous.  It contradicts not only the Bible, but also the Declaration of Independence, the founding document of our nation, which states that we are endowed by our Creator—repeat, by our Creator—with certain inalienable rights, including life and liberty.

 

This is a critical central tenet of our modern civilization.  It informs us that our rights come to us not from the government, but from God.  No government has the right to infringe on those rights.  Government is not the ultimate moral authority.  It must be constrained to its limited functions.

 
If we are considered to be nothing more than atoms, if the courts believe that, if judges and lawmakers act upon that belief, then we are in serious jeopardy.  Such a paradigm is the one upon which authoritarians establish totalitarian dictatorships.  It is the one that justifies genocide, which defines humans as livestock, and morality as whatever is convenient for the ruling class.
 
However, the physicalist paradigm is not only morally wrong, it is also unscientific.  The universe itself provides overwhelming evidence of planning and purpose by an Intelligent Designer (Creator, God).  The proof is so complete that, in order to refute it, scientists have had to resort to a thoroughly unsupported, unscientific speculation that there are an infinite number of universes, whereby one of them was destined to be, purely by chance, like ours.
 
Once again, it is not the purpose of this commentary to provide detailed support for any one particular theory, whether multi-universe or Intelligent Design.  That has been done elsewhere, including in my book.
 
But, when scientists resort to fantasy instead of observable, repeatable experiment by skeptics, then we have abandoned reason, and begun slouching toward barbarism.
 
There is more than enough evidence for science to reject the physicalist paradigm, and to move toward a God paradigm.  While neither can be absolutely proved by the rules of science, the world view adopted by scientists has enormous power to direct the efforts of science, for better or worse.
 
The time is now to consider the far-reaching implications of the paradigm that governs science. The time is now to begin thinking of how to embed our values, our morals, our very spirituality into the process of our further development. We must decide whether, and how, to preserve the best features of our human nature. 
 
The alternative is self-destruction.
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[1] George Gaylord Simpson, The Meaning of Evolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1971), 345.  ISBN-13: 978-0300002294
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Science and Human Rights—Is there a Conflict?

Science defines you as a robot.  The laws of cause-and-effect leave it no alternative but to do so.  And that definition, if accepted, would leave us with no human rights.  Is there a better way to interpret science?  Are we automatons, or are we autonomous, sovereign individuals who can break free from natural law?  What are the political, social and cultural implications?


 
This commentary will, using everyday language, challenge the arguments of science which would describe you merely as a biological mechanism, one with no God-given rights to life and liberty.
 
The scientific laws of cause and effect are familiar to us in our everyday experience.  If we see a baseball flying through the air, we assume that it was thrown or hit, that is to say, its motion has a cause.  Dominos provide a good illustration, when we stand them up in a line.  Topple the first domino, and it causes the second one to fall, which forces the next one, and so forth, until all the dominos in the chain have fallen.
 
This is, of course, a vast oversimplification, but it is valid for the purpose here.  The science of quantum mechanics complicates the matter, but causation remains at the heart of physical science.  It can be said of the physical universe (as it can of socialism) that everything is either mandatory or forbidden; nothing is optional.
 
What has this to do with human rights?  Simply this:  if you are nothing more than your physical nature, the arrangement of atoms that comprise your body, then the immutable laws of nature govern everything about you.  Your every thought, word and deed is determined for you, not by you.  You are, in effect, one of the dominos, however much more complex the case may be.  Such a person would have no inherent rights.
 
That is the definition of a robot.
 
Of course, each of us experiences himself as a living, conscious creature who can exercise free will.  These three attributes are unsolved mysteries of science, at least as mysterious as the exotic phenomena known as dark matter and dark energy.

As to the first attribute, life, most scientists might scoff at the notion that it is not well understood by science.  The science of biology has done much to define life.  But it has incorrectly defined life only as its chemical process.  It has defined life as an effect of the universe, not a cause.  Life, however, is so intricately intertwined with all the phenomena of nature that it should be seen as a fundamental reality of nature, no less so than quarks and space-time.  The precise fine-tuning of the universe defines it as a mechanism for generating and supporting life, civilization and technology.

Consciousness is the second of the three great mysteries of human nature.  While medical science can observe and measure the outward signs of consciousness, no known physical laws of nature can account for the inward experience.  To adapt the famous saying of Descartes, I am conscious, therefore I am.  One can no more define inward consciousness in physical terms than one can define the quality of color to a person who has been totally blind since birth.  Science says that consciousness emerges from complexity, but the evidence provided by the double-slit experiment (quantum physics) arguably suggests that conscious experience may govern physical nature.

Volition, or free will, is the final nail in the coffin of physical determinism.  It is not simply that science cannot explain free will, it is that physics actually denies the possibility that volition can exist.  Free will, science tells us, is an illusion.  It says that you only think that you can make autonomous decisions.  If free will exists, and it does, then it can break the immutable chain of cause and effect.  It is as if the dominos could refuse to fall, despite the forces of nature.

Free will is, then, a supernatural power.  Whereas life is misunderstood, and whereas consciousness is not understood, free will is, according to science, utterly forbidden.  It provides the word, “optional,” to the chain of cause and effect.

Very well.  This commentary has not proved that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.  It will not change the mind of those who see themselves as nothing more than helpless robots who are witnesses to their own lives, but not participants.  Indeed, if none of us has free will, then none of us can choose our beliefs—they are forced upon us.

One has to question, then, what good does such a dismal persuasion (the physicalist one) do?  What will be the consequences?  One shudders to imagine them.

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Two Fundamental Flaws in the Multi-verse Hypothesis
 
The “many-universes” hypothesis proposes that there are an incomprehensibly large number of universes besides ours—and that they explain our universe.  A recent episode of the television science series, How the Universe Works, made the claim that hard evidence for the multi-verse hypothesis has been discovered.    Disappointingly, my internet search found only the weakest of such evidence, if indeed evidence it can be called.
 
As attractive as it might otherwise be, there are two major flaws in the many-universes hypothesis.  One, as we have just pointed out, is that there is no incontrovertible evidence for it.  The second flaw is that, even if it were to be established that other universes exist in a multi-verse framework, such a discovery would do nothing to explain our universe.  Indeed, the mystery of our universe would only multiply.  Let’s explain both flaws.
 
The first flaw remains open, since the burden of proof (or even of evidence) lies with those who propose the multi-verse hypothesis.  Until they can present credible, peer reviewed, hard evidence, they have no case, but only at most, a reasonable conjecture, but a conjecture nonetheless.
 
Before we explain the second, and fatal, flaw, some background is in order.  Question:  why is there a many-universes hypothesis at all?  What is it trying to explain?
 
The answer to that lies in an astonishing scientific observation that has only two plausible explanations.  This observation, needing an explanation, is that the universe has 27 mathematical properties, each of which is precisely configured to make the universe suitable for life, civilization and technology.  Examples of mathematical properties of ordinary objects might include weight, length, width and so forth.  For the universe, these mathematical properties include the strength of gravity, the speed of light, and so forth.
 
One of these 27 mathematical properties (or physical constants, as they are called) is known as the cosmological constant.  This particular value is so precise that, were it to differ by even an unimaginably tiny fraction of a fraction, the universe would either collapse into a fireball, or else, explode into a vapor.  Either outcome would, of course, render the universe uninhabitable.
 
So then, the piercing question arises, why is the universe so precisely configured (scientists call it “fine tuning”) to support life, civilization and technology?  Why can the universe contain scientists?   What is it that determines what values the constants will have?  What determines how many constants there are, and what properties of the universe they measure?
 
There are two plausible answers.  One of them is chance.  The other is design.
 
Chance
 
One idea is that our one universe came into being by chance.  According to this idea, it is so precisely tuned, as it is, because each of the 27 constants was determined by chance alone.  The force of gravity (the gravitational constant) could have been any value, at least within a set range of values.  But by a roll of the dice, the G-constant was set where we now find it.
 
The cosmological constant, however, presents an extraordinary problem for the theory of chance formation of the universe.  Were it to differ from its present state by even a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction (repeat many times), the universe could not support life.  Indeed, it would either collapse or explode.
 
What were physicists to do?  They found what they think is an answer, which is this:  while it is unlikely in the extreme, that any one universe would be as finely tuned as is ours, the chance increases with every additional universe that may exist.  If you have kazillions of universes, and even kazillions to the kazillionth power of them, then as the number of universes approaches infinity, the chances approach 100 percent.
 
That settles it, then.  Our universe is finely tuned by chance, and the chance is at, or close to, 100 percent.  Since we could not survive in any universe not suited to life, then it should not be at all surprising that the one we live in is finely tuned, by chance.
 
Wait.  Not so fast.
 
The chance (or randomness) theory of universe formation has at least one fatal flaw.  It can be summed up in the principle that randomness can operate only within nonrandom parameters.
 
What that means is simply this.  A random die roll has one chance in six of landing a six.  But that is true only if the die has six sides.  Dice, however, can have any number of sides, from four on upward.  If the die has four sides, it has no chance of landing a six.  If it has twelve sides, then it has one chance in twelve, and so forth.
 
What this demonstrates is that it is meaningless to calculate the chance of an event occurring, unless there are set parameters within which chance can operate.  For example, it is meaningless to ask what are the chances of a die roll landing a four, if you do not know how many sides the die has.
 
Dice are not produced at random.  They are designed and manufactured with a specific intent and purpose.  If they have six sides, that is because they were designed and intended to have six sides.
 
Likewise, this principle must apply to our universe, and to however many other universes there might be.  If a universe (as does ours) has 27 physical constants, that number, 27 cannot be purely random.  There must be parameters which determine a range of numbers, a range of how many physical constants define or measure the properties of a universe.  One must also have a range of what those values could be. 
 
In other words, the parameters within which chance can determine a universe’s properties are not themselves random.  They are designed.
 
Design
 
If something appears to be designed, then one possible explanation is that, it was designed.
 
While one may argue that appearances can be deceptive, that argument, taken alone, is not sufficient to overrule the most obvious explanation.  There is a principle used by scientists called, Occam’s Razor.  According to that principle, the preferred scientific explanation for any observed event is that explanation, which is the simplest one available, that fits all the known facts.
 
Thus, the simplest explanation for the universe is that it is the result of a creative force that designed it, and designed it to support life, civilization and technology—all of the things it is observed to do, despite the astounding unlikelihood of it all.
 
For whatever reason, many scientists reject the suggestion of a creative force, or of cosmic intent, not merely on scientific grounds, but with an emotional fervor that exceeds what one might expect from a detached skeptic.
 
While it can be a grave error to attribute impure motives to someone, it is not an error to suggest that the most brilliant people among us can have blind spots, or eccentric features of their otherwise reasonable perspectives.  The biographies of many admirable men and women of history contain those.
 
To be sure, the suggestion of a force that created nature must, of necessity, suppose an overarching principle of which physical nature is only a subset.  Nature cannot have come about by natural means, because until nature existed, there were no natural means.
 
All of this, then, leads inevitably to a discussion of God, a subject which is utterly and forever beyond the reach of science.  Indeed, it is infinitely beyond the reach of human reason.  For some scientists, it must seem frightening.  Some of them might react emotionally.
 
Therefore, they reach for any physical explanation of the physical.  They reject the possibility that there can be nonphysical explanations for physical phenomena.  They reject the ideas of soul, of spirit, of God, because those are not subject to scientific analysis.  They point out that if there is not a test that could prove something false, then neither can it be proved true.
 
Can a multi-verse fit both a scientific and divine world view?
 
Yes, it can, and this is what many scientists fail to understand about the multi-verse hypothesis.
 
Remember what we said about randomness.  It cannot operate except within nonrandom, designed parameters.  Dice do not have random numbers of sides, and universes cannot usefully be considered to have random numbers of constants with random ranges of values.  In effect, this would mean that the odds of any configuration would be one in infinity, which is pretty much the definition of zero. 
 
Therefore, using the multi-verse to rule out the need for a creative force, a force above nature, fails to meet its goal.  If our one universe is unlikely to be as it is, then a multi-verse is even less likely to be as it is, because it would require its own nonrandom parameters, and many more of them than 27, if it is to have the potential of giving rise to incomprehensibly large numbers of universes.
 
This reduces the odds of a universe like ours to, essentially zero, no matter how many universes one imagines.
 
There are other reasons why the multi-verse theory fails to explain anything in a useful way.  One of these is the statement, made by scientists in earnest that, anything that can possibly happen, must happen, and must happen an infinite number of times.
 
But if one thinks about it, what this really means is that, on the grandest scale, nothing ever really happens.  It may seem inscrutable, but if a six-sided die roll must land on all six sides, then nothing definitive has occurred.  It will not be productive to flesh this out in the detail needed, unless specifically asked.
 
Another reason for rejecting the idea that everything possible must happen, is that it rejects the notion of free will, the sovereign independence of human decision-making.  This principle has been elucidated in the booklet, Life, Consciousness and Free Will are Foundations of Physical Reality, which is published free of charge at http://thegodparadigm.blogspot.com/
 
That pamphlet, along with this one, is a supplement and introduction to the book, The God Paradigm.
 
Both are searchable at Lulu.com which is a self-publisher’s utility site.
 
A final statement is this quote from the late, Bishop Fulton J Sheen.
 
The great arcana of Divine Mysteries cannot be known by reason, but only by Revelation.  Reason can however, once in possession of these truths, offer persuasions to show that they are not only not contrary to reason, or destructive of nature, but eminently suited to a scientific temper of mind and the perfection of all that is best in human nature.
 
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Atheism and the Future
--by Robert Arvay
 
Atheism fails on every level.  It fails philosophically, morally, politically, and even in the area often considered its strongest suit, scientifically.
      According to atheist philosophy, there is no objective purpose in life, unless one considers metabolism to be a lofty purpose.  According to atheism, when we die, we are extinguished into an oblivion in which we are neither rewarded for our good deeds, nor held accountable for our sins.  Indeed, according to atheist reasoning, there is no such thing as objective good, nor is anything actually evil.  Such concepts are considered to be mere opinions, not facts.
      Morally, atheism cannot debunk the argument made for sociopathy, absurd as that argument is.  The sociopath argues that if his hideous deeds need any justification, his own selfishness is more than justification enough. Atheism has no sufficient answer to that.
      Politically, atheism has been embraced by sociopathic, totalitarian dictators who have murdered millions, enslaved countless more, and condemned their populations to lives of hardship, dominated by brutal suppression of their freedoms.  Political systems based in Christian and Jewish teachings, long ago discarded brutality as a substitute for representative government.  No degree of brutality is inconsistent with the belief that there is no God.
      Finally, atheism falls back on its final stronghold, science, to demonstrate its supremacy over religious belief.  Examined more closely, however, science not only fails to debunk the God of the Bible, it affirms Him.  Indeed, recent theories in science are unwittingly acknowledging that physical reality cannot be explained by physical reality alone.  The “many universes hypothesis” is a step in that direction, borne of desperation by atheists to find a naturalist material explanation for the divinely fine-tuned nature of our universe.
      Ironically, while atheism is bankrupt as a philosophy, those who believe in it can be ordinary, decent people of good will. The irony in this is that benevolent atheists get their benevolence not from atheism, but from traditions that are rooted in religious belief.   They may be unconscious of this fact, because Judeo-Christian traditions have permeated our social customs for a very long time.
      The danger in atheism is that while our religious traditions are eroding, atheism has increasing influence, displacing much of the social influence of our religious traditions.
      As religious teachings continue to decline in influence, atheism will increasingly dominate. This will result in the inevitable implementation of a social utility principle, which is more a form of material accounting than of justice.  Such a principle in turn gives rise to a society that incorporates both the welfare state, and its necessary enabler, the despotic state.  Such a state, ever more devoid of conscience, gives rise to massive levels of abortion, euthanasia, and finally, to elimination from society of anyone and everyone who is deemed inconvenient, that is to say, inferior or without utility. In such a society, personal liberties will vanish for the common man.  Under the ruse of “the greater good,” individuals will exist only for the state, meaning that they will exist only for the benefit of those at the uppermost levels of power.
      Can such a condition actually become a reality?  We have already entered its first stage.
      To appearances, the United States is a constitutional republic with democratic values.  At least on paper it is.  Anyone who actually believes that the ordinary citizen enjoys all the rights and powers recognized by the Constitution is woefully misinformed. 
      Rights explicitly guaranteed to the people and the states under the Constitution are routinely violated by those in power, while so-called rights that are nowhere to be found in the Constitution have been invented based on anything but the explicit pronouncements of that document.  Your explicitly stated right to free speech can be selectively taxed out of any meaningful practice (just ask Lois Lerner), while politicians confiscate your hard-earned money and give it to people who have no right to it at all, and who indeed hate you.  These people then vote for more of this corruption, as you and your children are saddled with debt, and deprived of your inalienable right to liberty.
      This condition could not arise in a culture governed by the Judeo-Christian ethic.  It can arise only in a society where citizens have been deceived into trusting that the people in government are wiser and more benevolent than the ordinary citizen.  Government is becoming a god, the false god, of secularism.
      Excessive power has corrupted the federal government.  As its influence continues to increase, its power will become not merely excessive, but absolute—and so will its corruption.
      The election of Donald Trump to the presidency offers some hope that the growth of government will be slowed, perhaps even reversed.  But this is by no means certain.  The atheistic forces of totalitarian rule have now become a cornered beast, and sensing that its time is short, uts resistance will increase to a maddened ferocity.
      Even so, we are confident of ultimate victory.  As President George Washington wrote so eloquently,
 
Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions.
 
     God will assure victory, but each of us is assigned a duty to that end.  Each of us has a moral obligation to be inspired to find that duty, and perform it, to the degree possible.
 
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As Evidence for God Accrues, Atheist Scientists Panic
 
Let’s start by saying that, at present, there is no scientific proof of God.  In fact, there are many easier things to prove, and science can’t even prove all of those.  But despite a lack of proof, there is strong scientific evidence for God, and over the years, it has become much stronger—so strong, in fact, that serious and accomplished scientists, in order to maintain plausible deniability of God, have actually had to resort to theories that are even less scientific than a theory of God.
 
One of the most interesting of these atheistic theories is what is called the “many universes hypothesis,” or multi-verse theory.  Despite its lack of evidence, it has gained impressive support among some of the premier physicists and cosmologists of our time.  Why?
 
There is an emerging idea, that belief in God is scientifically (repeat, scientifically) preferable to atheism. This did not occur overnight.  For centuries, scientists have observed physical reality, and as they tried to explain what they saw, it became clear to them, that atheistic science was being forced into an untenable conclusion—that the universe we live in is impossible without a purposeful and almighty Creator.  It is unlikely ever to have come about by natural means, because until the universe existed, there were no natural means.  Indeed, the likelihood of our universe existing by mindless forces of nature alone, is so vanishingly tiny, as to qualify for the term, “impossible,” or something so close to it that no better practical term can be found.
 
Why does our universe seem impossible?  There are twenty-seven basic properties of the universe that make it fit for life.  For example, gravity must be strong, but not too strong—otherwise the universe either collapses into a fireball, or vaporizes into a fine mist.  The probability of gravity being neither too strong nor too weak is small.  All by itself, this would be acceptable as a natural coincidence.  But, as one increases the number of these properties, it becomes less and less likely that every single one of them could be within the parameters that make the universe possible.  There are just too many coincidences.  They defy reason, and what is science if not reasonable?
 
The final straw came when the cosmological constant, one of the twenty-seven properties, was found to be so critical that, were it to differ by an unimaginably tiny fraction, the universe would either implode or explode.  That fraction is something like one grain of sand on all the beaches of planet earth.
 
In other words, creation is either a profoundly unlikely combination of tiny chances, or else, it is the product of intelligent design, cosmic intent, or in a word, God.
 
Oh no, say the atheists.  That cannot be.  For centuries, belief in God has been held to be unscientific, and so it must continue to be.  How do we restore science’s vaunted authority?  How can we continue to ridicule belief in God?  How can we restore faith in physical science?  How can we restore our supremacy as the revealers of scientific fact?
 
Do these sound like the sentiments of a threatened priesthood?
 
The hoped-for answer to the threat was to be found in a curious new theory, which says that there are infinite numbers of universes.  Each one of them is the product of impossibly tiny chance coincidences.  Among them, one would be just exactly like our universe.  If you can spin the wheel forever, then sooner or later you get the exact result, no matter how unlikely, that produces our universe, and all without God.  Case closed.
 
Except that the case is far from closed, and on at least two counts.  First, as some eminent scientists have pointed out, the many universes theory is not scientific.  There is no evidence for it, only speculation.  Secondly, even if one accepts the many universes theory as true, it does not make God to be a less adequate explanation for physical reality, but more so.  That is because, if you believe that the universe can be created by a multi-verse, then how do you explain the even less likely existence of the multi-verse?  What gave rise to that?
 
There are other flaws, even absurdities, in the multi-verse theory, as expanded upon in my book, The God Paradigm.
 
Those absurdities are not restricted to science.  They spill over into the creed of moral relativism, and into the many and sundry social theories that are fragmenting our culture. 
 
Physical science cannot explain our inward experience of consciousness.  It denies that we have free will.  And it provides no objective basis for morality and the laws which arise from it.  If we are nothing more than merely arrangements of atoms, then by what logic should we be treated as anything more than that?
 
 On the other hand, if we are all children of the same God, then it is from Him whence we obtain our human rights, and not from any earthly government.
 
Science is best understood as a gift from God, not as an excuse to deny Him.
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https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/thinking-outside-the-quantum-box/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-digest&utm_content=link&utm_term=2018-02-16_top-stories

The above online article at Scientific American Magazine supports the concept of mind being external to the brain.  Okay, that is overstating the case, but that overstatement is a good conceptual starting point for the concept that life, consciousness and free will are at the foundation of the physical world.
 
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Starticles, the Big Bang, and the Big Rip

What is a starticle?  It’s a term I invented as the name of the smallest possible unit of space-time.  ST stands for space-time, and a starticle is the elementary, irreducible particle (so to speak) of space and time.  Thus, a starticle is a space-time-particle.

I am not a physicist, so what I am writing about here is a concept, not a mathematical model, but then, one does not have to be a physicist to put forward a hypothesis. 

What is the Big Rip?  This one is somewhat more difficult to understand, but the basics of it are within reach of the average educated person.  Even I can begin to picture it.  The Big Rip is the hypothesized final stage in the expansion of the universe, in which everything, even atoms, will be ripped apart by the expansion.  Let’s break this down into more simple parts, because those parts are important to the starticle hypothesis.

It is known to most of us that, according to astronomers, the universe is expanding.  It has been doing so, ever since the Big Bang—the explosion which began the known universe.  What confuses people is that the universe is not expanding into a surrounding space, but instead, it is space itself that is expanding.  As it expands, new space is being continuously created.

The Big Bang began when there was no space, no time, perhaps no anything.  What was there?  No one can really identify what (if anything) existed, because we have no terms that apply to it.  We can speculate that there was perhaps a primordial, very tiny (some say infinitely tiny) “something” that has been called a cosmic seed.  Some use the term, singularity, which basically means something so weird that we cannot imagine it.  Maybe there was nothing.

In any case, the pre-universe exploded.  Why?  Again, no one can put forward a cogent theory.  But we do have evidence that space-time exploded, because astronomers have measured the movement of distant galaxies, and they are all (with few exceptions) moving away from us.  We know that it is space itself that is expanding, because the more distant galaxies are receding faster than the nearer galaxies.  It has also been discovered that the rate of expansion is not steady, is not slowing down, but is increasing.

The bottom line is that there is no central point from which the universe began expanding.  It’s sort of like trying to find the central point on the surface of an inflating balloon.  Two ants on the surface, of such a balloon, would each feel that she (because worker ants are female) was at the center of the expansion, and that the other ant was receding.

The universe will continue to expand for trillions of years into the future, so we have no need to panic just yet.

The expansion of the universe, because it is increasingly faster and faster all the time, brings us to the question of where will it all end?  That question leads us to some fascinating conclusions.

According to many cosmologists, the expansion will finally result in the Big Rip.  Again, let’s break this into its parts.

Nothing can move through space faster than the speed of light—but space itself can expand faster than light can move through it.  As the universe expands, the galaxies move farther from us.  There are already galaxies so far away that we will never be able to see them, because their light will never reach us.  Indeed, their light is moving farther away from us, because the space they occupy is expanding faster than the speed of light.

This creates what we call a light horizon.  As space continues to expand, more and more galaxies will move beyond that light horizon, and we will lose sight of them forever.  Eventually, even the nearest galaxies will have moved beyond the light horizon, because the light horizon keeps getting closer to us as space expands ever faster.

Galaxies are held together by gravity.  Gravity waves travel at the speed of light, and let’s remember that, according to relativity theory, nothing can move through space faster than the speed of light—but space itself can.

Eventually, the stars in our galaxy will be so far away from each other, due to expanding space, that gravity waves will not be able to reach the nearest star to ours.  Therefore, the stars will have no gravitational attraction to each other, and our galaxy will fly apart.

It gets worse.

Space will continue to expand, and as it does so, the space between the sun and our planet will be so great that neither light nor gravity from it can reach us.  So, the earth will no longer orbit the sun, and indeed, we will not receive any light.

Likewise, for the moon.  Next, the earth itself will not be held together by gravity, because the atoms which comprise the earth will be too far from each other.  Then, the atoms themselves will be ripped apart, since electrons will no longer be connected by subatomic forces to the nucleus.  Next, even the nuclei will be ripped apart, and finally, so will the protons.  Protons are made of quarks, which are bound to each other by nuclear forces, and the quarks will separate from each other.
 
That concludes the Big Rip theory, except for some as yet unknowable things that involve the hypothesized starticle.

As we said earlier, the word, starticle, is a term I invented as the name of the smallest possible unit of space-time.  ST stands for space-time, and a starticle is the elementary, irreducible particle (so to speak) of space and time.  Thus, a starticle is a space-time-particle.

(One theory of space and time is that they are continuous, with no division between one instant of time, or one location in space, and the next.  This theory is, however, not the working theory of physics, and for a number of good reasons, which you can look up for yourself if you are interested.)

The working theory of space-time now involves something called a Planck length.  The Planck length is the theorized tiniest unit of space.  It is irreducible.  One can think of space as being composed of grains, and nothing can be smaller than a grain of space-time.  The starticle probably measures at one Planck length, but in any case, I am supposing it to be the elementary, irreducible unit of space and time.

Since physics considers space and time to be two aspects of the same thing, then there is a smallest unit of space-time, and thus the term, starticle.

There are also elementary particles of mass-energy.  Just as space and time are different aspects of the same thing, so also are matter (mass) and energy.

Electrons and quarks are elementary particles, irreducible.  (String theory offers a different explanation, but it does not change the principle of starticles.)

We are now ready to get to the main point of this commentary.

Imagine an electron.  It is neither a particle nor a wave, but a unit of mass that can be considered to have the properties of either a wave or a particle depending on conditions, and on how it is observed.  After the Big Rip, each electron will exist all by itself, with no connection to anything outside itself.

That bears some contemplation.

The question then must be asked, how will this affect the properties of that electron?  Will it still have a charge?  Will its charge still be negative?  In relation to what?  Will it still have a mass of 1/1836 that of a proton?  Will such a measurement have any physical meaning?

Think of it this way.  The isolated electron, after the Big Rip, will in a sense be in its own universe.  It may in fact be its own universe.  From the perspective of the electron, nothing else will exist.  Nothing will be within its horizon, whether that is a light horizon, a gravity horizon, charge horizon, or any other ability to interact with anything else.

Also, let’s bear in mind that each starticle itself, will have no interaction with any other starticle.  As space expands, new starticles are coming into existence, which is why space is expanding.  That being the case, will new starticles keep being formed?  Maybe not, because it seems that the expansion of space is being caused by dark energy, or perhaps some other poorly understood interaction between starticles.

After a given starticle is utterly estranged from anything else, will its properties change?  What will the starticle be if it has no interactions, if nothing ever enters it?  Can anything ever leave it?  Will it be its own universe?

After this, only metaphysical speculation can be used in discussing these matters.  But one such metaphysical speculation is this:  if after the Big Rip, each starticle is its own universe, will it be just like our universe was before the Big Bang?  Will it explode into a new, full-sized universe?  Will it become something we cannot imagine?

Will the starticle be a new start?

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A final thought.  It is theorized that the Big Bang began with a sudden, faster-than-light inflation of space-time.  Within an extremely short time after inflation began, the universe had gone from being smaller than an atom, to vastly larger than our entire galaxy.
 
What this must mean, then, is that in a sense, a Big Rip of sorts had already occurred.  Once the inflation slowed down to slower than the speed of light, further expansion created a light horizon that separated parts of the universe that were most distant from each other.  As light waves traveled across the new universe, the connection was reestablished, but for a time, space itself was disconnected.
 
I cannot evaluate this any further, but it seems that the properties of space-time might have been influenced in some way.

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Physical Reality is Inseparable from Human Life, Consciousness and Volition

Physicalism asserts that the physical universe exists independently of whether (or not) there are conscious, human minds to perceive it.  It regards human life and consciousness as products of, or arising from, physical reality.

That assertion is disputed, and with good reason. Human life, consciousness and free will are fundamental realities.  They are foundational to physical reality.  Here is the case for the assertion that life, consciousness and free will are no less fundamental a reality than are quarks, space-time and mass-energy.
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Scientists have long struggled to bridge the gap between atoms and life, and to connect the sequence from life, to consciousness.  The gaps have not been filled.  Moreover, the jump from consciousness to volition (free will) is forbidden by the mistaken physicalist assertion that free will cannot exist. 

The God Paradigm asserts that life, consciousness and free will are fundamental realities.  They are not products of physical reality.  If anything, they underlie it.  They may even be thought of as giving rise to it.  Human life, consciousness and free will are not entirely separate from each other.  They comprise a single continuum, which we may call mind, or even spirit.

These facts integrate the many aspects of human existence, including the physical, mental and moral.

Let’s first trace the connections from atoms to life.
Let’s next trace the connections from physical reality to the mind.
Finally, let us demonstrate why free will is regarded as impossible by physicalism, but is necessary to physical reality.
 

Let’s first trace the connections from atoms to life.

A biologist can look at a living creature, and know that it is alive.  But if he delves deeper, searching for the life inside the living creature, he does not find it.  He does not find life.  What he finds is molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles such as electrons and quarks.  These make up the living organism, but they are not life itself, no more so than the ones and zeroes in your computer are the lakes and rivers and literature, et cetera, that you interpret from the pixels on your screen.

Scientists have struggled to make the leap from atoms to life.  They have had to settle for the concept that, “the whole is equal to more than the sum of its parts.”  This sounds good at first, but it is entirely inadequate to explain how you get from atoms to life, or for that matter, from any parts to any meaningful whole.  How do you get from here to there?  There is a gap in between, and no one has bridged it in physical terms.

Life is not a product of atoms.  It is something more, not merely because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but because there is something more than the parts.  The parts are arranged, not by happenstance, but by plan and purpose.

Atoms are organized into living organisms by life itself.  An analogy for this is something called dark matter, which is so mysterious that physicalist scientists can only guess at what it is.  Yet, we know that dark matter provides the so-called scaffolding, the skeleton (so to speak) that organizes the universe into galaxies and galactic clusters.  Life, then, can be viewed as a force of nature that organizes atoms into living creatures.

If we are to assert that life is a fundamental foundation that underlies physical reality, if it organizes atoms into living creatures, then what evidence can we find to support those assertions?

The evidence is that every detail of the universe is organized in such a fashion as to produce and support life.  Moreover, those details support not merely life, but human life, civilization and technology.  Scientists describe this observation as something called, “Fine tuning.”  Without going into too much detail, fine tuning identifies twenty-seven critical properties of the universe that are called, physical constants.  These include such things as the force of gravity, the speed of light, the strength of the forces that bind atoms together, and so forth.  Each and every one of these constants is, so to speak, finely tuned, that is to say, precisely adjusted so that they fall within the very narrow ranges that make life possible.

Physicalist scientists do not deny this, but they claim that it all happened by chance.  Of course, that would be ludicrously unlikely if our universe were the only one, so the physicalists have said that there must be unimaginably large numbers of universes, perhaps infinities of them, each of which has its details determined at random.  If that is true, then it becomes much more likely that out of unimaginably large numbers of universes—a multi-verse—one of them would be like ours.

But even that theory fails, and on at least three counts.  First, there is no physical evidence for it.  But, secondly, a greater failure of that theory is that a multi-verse would still require its own array of physical constants, a complexity which would be even less likely than the constants governing our one universe.  The third flaw in the theory is that randomness requires non-random parameters within which to operate.

This third flaw is not difficult to understand.  We can use a die roll to illustrate.  Suppose you have a pair of dice, and using only one die of the pair, you roll that die.  Each side of the die has an equal chance of being on top after the die is rolled, so the question is, what is the chance that the die roll will land a six?

The answer is one in six—but only if the die has six sides.  It could have as few as four, in which case the chance would be zero of landing a six.  If it has twenty-four sides, the chance would be one in twenty-four, and so on.  The key point here is that dice do not have random numbers of sides.  Dice are designed and manufactured.  Someone decides to make dice, and decides to make them four-sided, six-sided, or whatever the designer decides.
                                                                                                                                                                                    
Likewise, universes should not be assumed to have random numbers of parameters, nor should the strength of each parameter be determined at random.  By what principle of physics should they?  Even in quantum physics, in which probability plays a key role, the probabilities operate within narrow parameters.  To describe nature as having unlimited numbers of parameters with unlimited ranges of values for each makes of the universe a madhouse with, ultimately, no rules at all.  In the words of at least one premier physicist, “Everything that can happen, must happen, and it must happen an infinite number of times.”

In other words, nothing ever really happens, because to say that one thing happens, means that something else did not.  The premier physicist is mistaken.

Life is a fundamental reality, not a product of atoms.  It exists because its creator designed it.
 

Next, let’s trace the connections from physical reality to the mind.

The human brain has been compared to a computer.  That comparison has gone so far as to lead scientists to suggest that computers could eventually become conscious.  But that comparison is false, and there is zero potential for computers ever to become conscious.  How can we be sure of those facts?

While we have become accustomed to comparing computers to the human brain, the reverse comparison is useless.  The brain has only a superficial resemblance, if even that much, to a computer. 

But there is one feature of the brain that, in a way, resembles the computer, and that is this:  the computer produces output for a human user who is external to the computer.  According to neurology, the brain produces output only for itself and its physical body, which in computer parlance might be termed, its peripheral devices (arms, lungs, et cetera).  That concept of the brain leads to circular thinking.  A computer that produced outputs only for itself would be a useless absurdity.

But the brain does not produce outputs only for itself.  It has an external user.  That external user is, the conscious, living human being. 

We already identified life as being something external to the living organism.  Life is the force which, through the physical constants of the universe, orchestrates the assembly of atoms into a living creature.  Consciousness, similarly, is external to the brain.  The brain produces outputs for the human mind, or spirit, or soul.

You have an eternal soul.  Your soul is you.  It is (you are) a living, conscious entity.  Your soul is not produced by physics, but is created by God, who created the physical universe for His own purpose and plan.  His divine purpose includes designing you and the universe to fit together in such a way that it produces your physical form.  That physical form is a vehicle for your living, conscious mind. 

According to the physicalist paradigm, the only reality is physical, that is, stuff—matter and energy, space and time, and the forces that govern them.  All else is said to be an arrangement of those things, not a purposeful arrangement, but incidental, even accidental, happenstance, and unnecessary to nature.  Physicalism holds that nature can be understood only in terms of itself.

That is a trap.  Physicalism is a form of circular reasoning from which the only escape is to simply break out of it, to recognize that physical reality is not the final answer, but only a subset.  Once we do that, we can recognize that life is not a product of atoms.  It is something more, not merely because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but because there is indeed something more than the parts.  The parts are arranged, not by happenstance, but by plan and purpose.

Once we break out of that trap, things make more sense than does the physicalist paradigm.

In the end, the physicalist view by itself is utterly useless.  The purely physical view reduces us to a futile existence.  It views each of us as mere assemblages of atoms, nothing more, and therefore, without rights or responsibilities.  It views each of our lives as a flash in the pan, a momentary burst of activity which quickly runs its course and then is disassembled back into its parts.  The “whole,” that thing which was once greater than the sum of its parts, no longer exists.  The universe itself will eventually disintegrate, and nothing will be left except a hollow echo.  It will be as if nothing had ever happened, as if we had never existed.  Our living, conscious and purposeful minds will be consigned to eternal, unknowing oblivion.

What use can be made of such a dismal worldview?

Of course, it is argued that just because such a worldview is dismal does not, in itself, mean that it is false.  Maybe so, but not so fast.  Why abandon the search for a more useful view, and one which is far more likely to be correct than the circular reasoning of the physicalist view?

 

Finally, let us demonstrate why free will is regarded as impossible by physicalism, but is necessary to physical reality.

The physicalist view of nature can be summed up in the words, “cause and effect.”  Cause and effect can be demonstrated by the familiar example of a row of dominoes, each stood on end in such a way that, when one domino is toppled, it knocks over the next one in line, which then knocks over the next one, and so on.

In the universe, cause and effect are vastly more complicated than that, but the essential principle is the same.  Everything that happens was caused by previous events, and in turn causes subsequent events.

The key feature of cause and effect is that nothing is ever optional.  The dominos have no choice but to wait and fall in turn.  Everything is either forced to happen, or prevented from happening.  In physicalist nature, there are no free agents, no sovereign individuals who decide whether to break the chain of cause and effect, nor to begin a new chain.

A name for this state of affairs is determinism.  If the universe is not deterministic, then the physicalist paradigm is utterly demolished as a valid worldview, and must be replaced by something better.       

According to the God paradigm, living, conscious humans can, at least to a degree, override the chain of cause and effect.  We are not slaves to it.  We can make sovereign, independent decisions that a deterministic universe would not permit.

According to physicalism, free will is impossible.  Physicalism holds that the brain is itself purely physical in nature, and that it is entirely governed by natural law.  Therefore, everything that you think, say and do, is decided not by you, but for you, by the blind, unknowing and uncaring forces of nature.

According to physicalism, then, we are witnesses to our own lives, but not participants in it.  We are puppets on a cosmic string, helpless to break free.  We cannot even decide whether we believe that we have free will or not.  Even those who disbelieve in free will do so because they are forced.

Of course, that proposition is not only false, it is futile and absurd.  If there is no free will, then there is no right and no wrong, neither courage nor cowardice, neither innocence nor guilt.  We would all be biological robots, acting out a script that nobody wrote, on a stage that nobody built.

We do have free will.  It has its limits, but it is there.  We can, at the least, choose between right and wrong, between good and evil.  Our free will is a gift of God.  God has divine will, and our free will is an image and likeness of His.
 

Conclusion

In this brief treatment, we have not achieved any final proof that physicalism is wrong, or that the God paradigm is correct.  In the end, if there is a God (and there is), then only His Holy Spirit can persuade any of us as to truth.  Each of us is free, empowered by our free will, to listen or not to listen, to accept that truth or to reject it.

What we have shown is that the physicalist paradigm is futile.  This is far different than to say that the science of physics is false. Science is a journey, not a destination.  There are many scientists who understand that physical reality is only the surface of a deeper truth, a truth which science, acting alone, can never uncover.

Physicalism is not merely futile, it is destructive.  If we are mere assemblages of atoms, then by what logic should we be treated as anything more than that?  If our rights are not God-given, then from where do they arise?  Do we even have any?

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The Brain Chip:  A Science Fiction Story --by Robert Arvay

        It was the year 2218 when the problem was discovered.  No one knew what to do about it.

        Beginning fifty years earlier, in 2168, everyone had begun being implanted with a computerized micro-chip, in their brain.  It took ten years to insert all the chips.  This included the time it took to hunt down all the hold-outs, and to enforce compliance.  After ten years, almost everyone was a “chipper,” a person who had the chip.

        The chip was deemed to be necessary.  Life had become too complicated for most people to manage.  Suicides were on the rise.  Crime had dramatically increased.  Masses of people were either uneducated, or mis-educated, because few people could agree on what was fact, and what was opinion.  Chaos threatened to destroy society.

        Technology had empowered individuals to such a degree that it was all but impossible to maintain law and order.  A grade-school kid could figure out how to hack the computer systems of banks, nuclear missile silos, and even their own report cards.

        Something had to be done.  Something was done.

        The brain chip solved the problem.  Inserted into the brain early in life, even as soon as a month after being born, everyone could think alike, or at least, enough alike to forestall the radical disagreements which previously had threatened civil war.  The chip had its own microcomputer program, and it could in turn program, in a sense, the human brain of the recipient.  Human brains were then programmed to agree on the most controversial issues which previously had been tearing society apart.  Chippers obeyed the rules, and therefore, chippers could be trusted.

        Even better yet, the brain chips could all receive periodic updates from time to time via signals transmitted from satellites.  This allowed the government to revise failed social programs without the traditional bickering that had previously disrupted every major social program change in the pre-chip years.

        At first, many people had objected to the brain chip.  It was itself the most controversial technology that had ever been introduced.  At first, the chip had been surreptitiously inserted into the brains of children during doctor visits.  Parents were either not told what was happening, or else were given false information.  As word of this leaked out, dissent increased.

        After a few years, however, everyone could see that children with the chip did better in school than most other children.  They were better behaved, more obedient, and easier to raise.  After that, more and more parents clamored to have their own children implanted, and finally, adults themselves began asking for and receiving chip implants.  People with the chip earned much more than most people without it, because with it, they became much smarter than before.

        What no one was told, until there was no denying it, is that once the chip is implanted, it cannot be removed without tragic consequence to the recipient.  Painful deaths occurred whenever a chip was removed.

        For nearly fifty years, no one requested the removal of chip implants.  Everyone who had one was happy with it.  No chipper ever felt depressed, worried, or in doubt—about anything, not even about the chip itself. 

        Unlike as with drugs, the chip enabled the chipper to cope with problems, and to devise solutions, because the chip enhanced intelligence.  Everyone who had it had automatic encyclopedic knowledge of virtually every subject taught in any school.  Since the knowledge was stored, not in the brain, but in the chip, the knowledge did not occupy one’s thoughts until and unless he needed it.  Then, he could access the needed information immediately.  For example, anyone who needed to learn Swahili (or any other language) could instantly master it, and speak it with as much proficiency as any native speaker.

        But one day, the Great Problem was discovered.  It was discovered that the chip had an embedded error in it, an inherent and irreparable malfunction which would eventually, but inevitably, cause the chipper to go suddenly and incurably insane, and violently so.  The incidence of this form of insanity suddenly began to increase, and no one knew how much worse it might get.

        At first, there was general panic in the population, not only panic, but anger.  Who had designed the chip?  Why had it been put into patients without thorough testing beforehand?  Which government officials had authorized the surreptitious implants into children?  How dare they?  The possibility of rebellion loomed large.

        The panic suddenly ended when the next update was made via satellite transmissions.  Everyone suddenly assumed that the problem was only temporary, and that a fix had already been devised.  The fix would be implemented soon, very soon, even as soon as tomorrow.

        Nobody resented the fact that tomorrow after tomorrow came and went, with no solution, because after all, the problem would be fixed tomorrow.