December 19th, 2010, 05:25 AM
Here is an excellent TED Talk -- David Deutsch on the (in)significance of humanity in the grand scheme of the universe.
I like how he positions what he is saying in relation to Hawking, showing how atypical we are in the universe. As a question centred on the anthropic principle, I like his approach to the survival of the species -- there are very few environments out there where we know we can exist, and we don't yet have the knowhow to make them. Griping about the cause of the problem doesn't get us anywhere, and we should focus on surviving with the fallout of our decisions instead.
And when we contrast this to a model of universe that allows us to exist on a knife's edge of balanced forces... I have to wonder if in the grand scheme of things using the anthropic principle as a centre piece of cosmological science isn't somewhat anti-scientific. If it's not the backward looking blame game and expensive, ineffective accords that look like science as Deutsch describes in relation to the environment.
It's science that seems more like a religion's approach to understanding existence -- religions which almost universally throughout history have started not with "where did all of this STUFF come from?" but "where did WE come from?" Isn't saying "the fundamental rules of existence allow us to exist" one more para-religious pseudo-scientific question?
Surely the rules of existence have to allow for our existence. We exist, ergo the rules allow us to exist. It's axiomatic. So is this an important thought? Is this even scientific? Does it even matter to science? Are the "rules" according to M-Theory predicting that we shouldn't exist?
What, really, is the science in this argument?
If Hawking is saying science has outmoded philosophy... well, I'm having trouble seeing where the science is.
December 19th, 2010, 09:12 AM
Science is just a word, as is God. Words are human creations. So if we wish to make any sense at all of the initial question, we'd need to define our terminology at the onset, and I don't see any definitions of God that make any sense as a starting point here.
Science is rather more limited in definition, though that too would need to be more properly defined if we're going to make such distinctions as we're making.
Each of you certainly comes to this forum with a preconceived sense of what you mean when you use the words you use. So lay them out for me, please?
December 19th, 2010, 09:36 AM
In the context of this discussion:
God is the agent/force that caused existence to begin. Various cultural arrangements of this concept exist where God fall somewhere on a spectrum between a continued causal relationship with that existence or not.
Science: the process of utilizing that which observable to deduce the workings of existence (all or part thereof), and infer the potential for observation of that which is not yet observed.
Philosophy: the process of utilizing that which is deducible from the workings of existence to explicate that which is and is not observable.
December 23rd, 2010, 09:08 AM
Not sure that religious people would be satisfied with your description of God. Where is the moral imperative implicit in conceptualizations of God? Your definition seems to be more scientific than religious, and short circuits the discussion in a way.