Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wild Speculation Sans God

This is what happens when the human imagination runs wild and excludes God and his divine revelation from the picture:

Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch

Published: August 14, 2007
Until I talked to Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at
Oxford University, it never occurred to me that our universe might be somebody else’s hobby. I hadn’t imagined that the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the heavens and earth could be an advanced version of a guy who spends his weekends building model railroads or overseeing video-game worlds like the Sims.

(Click here for the entire article)

1 comment:

Scott Scofield said...

I read the article - typical philosopher stuff - project a future occurrence based on historical technological advancement rates - future occurrence is then mathmatically sound as it relies on historical statistical trends - then regress the future occurrence to see what impact it has on the present - i.e. "Posthumans" and computer simulations - all seemingly mathmatically sound. The flaw, ordinarily, in this line of thinking is contained in our analytical predictive power - it's pretty weak - too many variables to project and keep track of for any reasonable assurance of the prediction.

All of this is, of course, aside from the Christian perspective of creation and salvation. Why develop a "new" metaphysical theory, as a Christian, when God's plan seems so clearly operative in our lives? Nonetheless, these types of thought-experiments can yield benefits to humanity - abolition of slavery, liberal democracy, a more intimate understanding of the gravity/time relationship allowing numerous opportunities to better understand the physical world. In some instances, it might be arguable as to the actual benefit of some of this stuff - but we seem to be built to ask questions - some are more out there than others!

In fact, the article didn't seem that new to me in terms of theory. I recall, vaguely, a few instances in the early 1970's in which I had conversations that ran something like, "whoa, dude, you mean we, our whole universe, could just be a molecule on the end of some giant's thumb?" You get the idea.

My favorite response to these ideas of non-existence (which is what most of the Cartesian "evil demon" stuff is - non-existence - which Descarte overcame with "Cogito ergo sum") is from Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, British author/philosopher - responding to George Berkeley's theory of non-existence of matter -"I refute it thusly," while kicking a big rock and limping off in pain!!!

My personal opinion is, that underlying most metaphysical investigations is the prime question, "Why are we here." Or, even more simply, "Why?" As Christians - we've asked and been answered.

Thanks, as always, Rev. Chryst.