I considered the old, foolish, clever rat...

(02/06/00 19.30.28)

Terence is asleep. Someone ought to wake him up or get him off the drugs. But, no, this is not interesting.

It is indeed very interesting as soon as one starts asking different, uncomfortable questions. It is likely to make you look for different answers, at least if you are honest to yourself. Open your mind ?
Yes. Open your mind !


Consider Ratzinger for a minute

Well...so I do.

...that when science looks at the universe it reveals a profound rationality, a remarkable success of the human mind to see rational principles behind everything, and that even relativity and other new-fangled theories have brought us to the point where the "hypothesis" of an Intelligent Creator is the simplest explanation for why the universe is so ordered that we can understand it so well. He shows that scientists who deny God actually admit that God is a simpler (hence more scientific) answer to what they puzzle over, the creation of the universe, but that they reject God out of the belief that a scientist must do so, i.e. unscientifically.

I doubt it is a remarkable success of the human mind to apply rationality to all and everything. This way of thinking (and acting) without ever questioning yourself makes a few comparations come to my mind. It is the male way of thinking, not the female one. The hard way, not the soft one (the one water takes when it adapts its shape to get through the tiniest openings). It is digital for it only has two states: right or wrong, whereas the analogous, the assoziative way of thinking exists as well. But this is just a side note.


To find an answer to the Rat's reasoning, let me go the way of "scientific thinking":
What do scientists do to find answers to their questions ?
They make models of reality. These models usually have a mathematical character, i.e. they have basically the quality of being computable, countable, and so on. A model is valid as long as it allows findig seemingly correct answers to physical questions. As soon as it is proven that a model leads to wrong answers it is not considered valid anymore, at least not for that question. It has to be restricted, amended or replaced. What do physicians do to find new answers ? They change their models of the world and try to find out if the changed model still leads to correct answers.

Now, when the Rat states, that the most advanced and complex theories of the scientific world have brought us to the point where the "hypothesis" of an Intelligent Creator is the simplest explanation for why the universe is so ordered that we can understand it so well, he does nothing else than any scientist would do: He changes the model. Only, he does it in a way that no physician would see as valid: He introduces a black box named "God" with no known properties but "intelligence". The resulting model can not be used to make more or more exact physic calculations. The new introduced part called "God" is not computable.
This is the actual reason why no scientist introduces a "God" in his equations. It is just no valid scientific way of arguing. And it is plainly wrong that scientists who deny God actually admit that God is a simpler (hence more scientific) answer to what they puzzle over. Neither implies the act of denying "God" as a part of the model that that would be a simpler solution, nor is it true that "simpler" is the same as "more scientific".

The Rat is clever: He starts out with some headlines taken from the a world model that is based on logic positivism. Then he jumps to his religious stuff, trying to make you believe that he is still in "scientific mode". But with that step he leaves the perimeter of logic positivism and goes to a completely different philosophical model of the world, which has completely different basics and completely different assumptions. I wouldn't say that positivism is the only way to look at the world. But if you try to argue scientifically, you should heed the boundaries of the model you are using.


The only good explanation for why we can use reason to understand the world is that the world was created through Reason.

...the fact that an Intelligence created the universe and the fact that only one being in that universe (man) is created with a capacity to reason like God, it follows that God has special intentions for us, or that God Loves us

This reminds me of Leibniz' ontological proof of God. He says: God is absolute. A necessary part of absoluteness is existence, because nothing that does not exist can be considered absolute. Hence God has to exist.
The mistake lies in the beginning: "God is absolute". That is an assumption, nothing more. Back to the Rat. Who is he to judge that we really do understand the world ? Do we understand the world ? Or do we just see, what we want to see. What about Schrödingers cat ? Is it there the moment we turn around ?

The so-called "facts" are not as hard as the Rat would like them to be. My imagination is good enough to see that the world we live in might not have been "created" at all. It might be pure chance. And how the hell anyone wants to be sure that we are the only thinking beings in the universe ? Sorry, but this part of Ratzingers argumentation is crap.


There's many more ways to look at religion than just the scientific one.
For instance, take the psychological approach:
Why man needs "God" is not that this deity is a logical must-be. It is rather a "tool" that helps man tp cope with its own limitations. The limit of knowledge about the universe, the limited capacity to take all the atrocities that happen daily and the limited life-span that every human being has.
Religion is a way to meet the metaphysical needs of man. Read Schopenhauers dialog "On Religion", chapter XV ofParerga und Paralipomena II.

English: http://www.concentric.net/~Wkiernan/text/Source/roe.txt
German: http://homes.rhein-zeitung.de/~ahipler/kritik/religion.htm


I am far from believing that any person - be it The Rat, be it McKenna or be it someone else - is in possession of the truth. I just pick my pieces of truth wherever I find them. Bricks in the house of my own, very personal reality.
There is no brick with the letters G,O,D engraved.


gregor samsa