Mind Candy and Scientific Appreciation

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Whitefire13's picture
Mind Candy and Scientific Appreciation

Anyone who’s read my profile understands that I was sheltered from science. I’ve always appreciated it, and now that I’m older have a somewhat better (still simple) understanding. It boggles my mind the intelligence of those who enter these various fields, and I feel gypped that I was discouraged at a young age (“stop being a smarty-pants, no man wants to marry a woman smarter than him” - my 9 year old mind would roll its eyes and think “who says I want to get married?”...but alas, “she” died a slow intellectual death).

I thought I’d list a two Hypothesis and my confidence level. I am not listing Theories, however these may be used randomly in my comments in regard to my confidence levels.

Simulation Hypothesis (papers written, working on testing). We are living in a “simulation”. Personal requirements if true; none - continue as you are (after dealing with an emotional shockwave).
Confidence level 50%. Very interesting. My level of confidence, without researching the topic would be much lower, but damn...

Many Worlds (Multiverses) Hypothesis or Bubble Universes (papers written, working on testing). Our universe is a “bubble” amongst other bubble universes. Personal requirements if true; none - continue as you are.
Confidence level 25%. Testing requires some “shots in the dark” like finding an area where our universes “bumped” ...but then again, black holes appeared almost impossible to “find” at first...

Leaving it open for others...

Now as a side note, I did not include any “divine book, mythology, or oral tradition” in the above. Why you may ask? First, if you take the most popular western divine book, The Bible, it’s still under “peer review” (term used very loosely) - scholars and groups still haven’t reached a testable solution to settle questions, and from what I can see, the approach is consistently wrong.
Second, the basis for the belief in the “written word” includes belief in talking animals, global flood, giants, men living hundreds of years, the “earth or sun” standing still, survival in “a fish belly” for 3 days, aborting babies conceived in adultery, and a myriad of other physical/moral nonsense. So the “peer review” I speak of above isn’t based on reality with supporting previous evidence, building and adding knowledge.
Thirdly, the personal requirements for believing nonsense varies depending on your personal choice of what nonsense to believe - may, but not always require, adherence to Jewish law, not smoking/drinking/sex restrictions/food restrictions/language restrictions/thought restrictions, certain religious holiday celebration or avoidance, etc etc etc

Now I may accused of scientific bias. OK. How about instead of the word “bias” the word “appreciation” is used. I appreciate the world today as it is due to the scientific method. I appreciate my vehicle, our communication technology, medicine (testing and treatment of disease), food preservation and variety... all thanks to humans. Humans and human knowledge. The willingness for these disciplines to learn from mistakes, to “try again”, to uncover falsehoods, and to build on previous knowledge.

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David Killens's picture
I am not concerned about the

I am not concerned about the "Simulation Hypothesis" because there is nothing I can do about it, and whether it is true or not, it does not affect my life. To cap off my position, this hypothesis in untestable.

Our understanding of the universe goes through cycles. The Aristotlian concept of the universe prevailed for hundreds of years. Speaking on a gross scale and ignoring the contributions of many great scientists, Newton's model of the universe followed, to be replaced by Einstein.

In each cycle, a major prevailing theory was generally accepted, then overturned. In fact, it could be stated that we got complacent, believing that each model was the final and accurate description on how the universe worked. And now we arrive at today, where such revelations that our universe in accelerating in expansion, the presence of dark matter and dark energy indicates that Einstein's model may be incomplete, or flawed, or whatever. But we are on the cusp of another new understanding of the universe.

And for me personally, this is freaking exciting. The scientific community is racing along different avenues of investigation, from gravity waves to theoretical physics, to the new and amazing telescopes planned or under construction. And many in the scientific community are eagerly awaiting the next Einstein, one who can fit all of the various conflicting sets of data into one coherent package.

Currently, there are many different models being proposed and investigated, including the multiverse. Being basically a layman in the complex field of physics and astronomy, I can only sit back and observe. But it sure is exciting. And neither will I bet on any model, I am humble enough to realize I do not understand enough to arrive at a valid opinion.

But I try to be a sponge, and soak up as much as possible. I try to visit some Twitch streamers who offer genuine positions and information. Dr Pamela Gay, a planetary scientist generates daily streams, 1:00 PM EST on CosmoQuestX. Dr. Pamela Gay won the Isaac Asimov Science Award at the 78th Annual American Humanist Association Conference at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA on Friday, June 7, 2019. And Dr Jason Steffan is a true hero to me. He is a devout theist who has reconciled religion and science, and he streams on horizonSci. Both of these individuals are part of a loose conglomerate dedicated to bringing science and understanding to the masses. Just follow BrainBytesTV.

Dr Paul Sutter has generated a lot of very interesting YouTube videos. Here is just one example. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfRB-gPOOPE

With today's internet and the willingness of valid scientists to share their knowledge and insight, we can all learn. it is out there, you just have to reach out, watch, and learn. And those I have mentioned are approachable and friendly. I get a lot of my answers from them.

Last night I watched the SpaceX launch in CosmoQuestX, with Dr Pamela and other enthusiastic science fans. Such is my enthusiasm.

Whitefire13's picture
I watched your link. This is

I watched your link. This is what I find exciting about it (science). He offers his thoughts, admits that’s not his area of expertise and is “open” ... sometimes it takes a century before a hypothesis can be tested, otherwise it does fade away until such time someone can build on it and test it.

Also, application in the real world - quantum computing is in its infancy.

Cognostic's picture
OP: A whole lot of

OP: A whole lot of hypothetical woo woo up there.

Whitefire13's picture
What does OP mean? Isn’t all

What does OP mean? Isn’t all science at first “woo woo”?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Whitefire13 - What does OP

Whitefire13 - What does OP mean?

Original post, or original poster.

Cognostic's picture
@Nyarlathotep: I'm not

@Nyarlathotep: I'm not slinging poo yet. Everyone really does get a chance. Looks to me like we have the Atheist version of "God of the Gaps." As well as a shotgun approach to breaching various topics. Why not just choose one at a time? Could it be a sign of muddled thinking? I would have to write a book to respond. Now I have written some long responses; however, I save the really long stuff for that butterfly dude whose name continually escapes me as I am just not smart enough to remember it. Butterflies.... Mmmmmm... delicious!

Whitefire13's picture


Holy fuck Cog, are you the same poster that challenged me on my introduction to this forum? Reread the shit you wrote there before you attempt to fling any at me here...
BTW you may be a Cog from “reality0694U” (read the numbers outloud so you understand) that actually eats it’s own shit (Rick/Morty reference).

Alchemy123's picture
Yeah, That's all just

Yeah, That's all just metaphysics. If you are claiming that there are things that are beyond observable reality, you are playing the same game as Religion. Not that that's a bad thing, I am a theist. But I am more sure that God exists then the proposition we are in a computer simulation (which is in my opinion demonstrably false if you read any intro to theoretical computer science textbook), or there is a multiverse (which is plausible to me).

To explain the plausibility of the multiverse in my view, you have to understand why the theory itself was proposed. It was proposed mostly to resolve the fine tuning dilemma. Which is the question: Why are the fundamental constants of reality so contingent and arbitrary? In other-words there is literally no known natural explanation for why the fundamental constants in reality are the way they are, no higher theory. Of course, this does not prove that there isn't an explanation, but most physicists have grown frustrated and are turning to metaphysics, a lot of them unknowingly in my view. The reason for this is because most Scientists are not educated in Philosophy, and so do not clearly see where where Empirical inductive knowledge ends, and deductive a priori knowledge begins- But that is beside the point.

The main reason we see the multiverse hypothesis is because what we see in the natural world is contingent. This is unsettling for scientists, because they tend to want to believe everything is explainable in naturalistic terms. To circumvent this, they say everything that can exist DOES exist, just not in this universe. If you have studied your philosophy, you would know that this is just the principle of plenitude in disguise, albeit in a new framework.

Finally, the reason why I am exactly more sure that God exists then the multiverse exists lays in the fact that the current understanding of say, String theory, generates these universes according to some mathematical structure. The structure can be thought of as a sort of algorithm or function. Every parameter conceivable can be mapped through the function, and some universe unfolds.But here is the kicker: the structure and underlying theory, ie the function which generates every conceivable universe is itself contingent. And any higher theory then that must by definition be contingent and so on. Notice that this has nothing to do with String theory per say, any "scientific" theory must abide by these mathematical stipulations.

Therefore, because we DO find ourselves in a universe which is contingent (and i would argue has been proved to be contingent through other means), there must be a necessary being which is the ultimate reason for why the constants are tuned the way they are, and why we exist, whether there is a multiverse or not.

Cognostic's picture
@Alchemy: DAMN!!! You

@Alchemy: DAMN!!! You were actually off to a good start... "Yeah, That's all just metaphysics. If you are claiming that there are things that are beyond observable reality, you are playing the same game as Religion." THEN YOU HAD TO GO AND FUCK IT ALL UP!

David Killens's picture
@ Alchemy

@ Alchemy

"Yeah, That's all just metaphysics."

I disagree. Your position is that if we do not understand something, somehow a god is involved. My position is that we just have not learned about the subject enough.

Alchemy, your position is basically a god of the gaps fallacy.

Whitefire13's picture
@Alchemy...” If you are

@Alchemy...” If you are claiming that there are things that are beyond observable reality, you are playing the same game as Religion.”

I’m not claiming anything. Hypothesis and suggestions for testing (in the works or future)...

Imagine going back in time even 200 years - trying to explain today’s technology would be “magic” to them and their science wouldn’t have the ability to test.

Our ability of observation relies on technology.

I imagine sometimes what science/technology will bring us 100-200 years from now, and I do like to read about the different roads science is exploring (some roads are dead ends)...the “magic” to come, the “unthinkable discoveries” (like quantum).

For me it’s mind candy. In the sixties when Star Trek aired, their communication devices and sliding doors were ahead of their time... now I grocery shop, walk through the sliding doors, talking on my phone and don’t think twice about it.

Alchemy123's picture
Well clearly you are claiming

Well clearly you are claiming it is reasonable to believe that these metaphysical realities exist, because you have included percentages which describe the probability you personally hold. And don't get me wrong, I agree with you, there is nothing wrong with holding metaphysical beliefs so long as they are rationally coherent. "Our ability of observation relies on technology." This is incorrect in the realm of quantum mechanics (and probably more). Our understanding of what in the natural world is empirically verifiable is limited. We only have five senses, and there is no conceivable way to measure, ie use our sense organs to measure anything, "smaller" then the smallest object which can reflect the highest possible wave length of light we shoot at it. You cannot claim that there are smaller things then this because you cannot verify it. Sure, you can believe there are smaller point like particles, but That is metaphysical in nature, not scientific. My point is, we have mathematical proof there is a smallest observable object and any future technology must abide by the laws of physics in the first place. We can't just invent a machine that breaks the laws of physics to see even smaller particles.

"I imagine sometimes what science/technology will bring us 100-200 years from now" This is an excellent thing to speculate about, but I wouldn't get to giddy, it is entirely possible, and in my estimation, probable that science was just a shot in the dark in the history of our existence. Sure, we understand how nature is working and can exploit it for clever computer designs and engine designs etc, but since Einstein we have pretty much encapsulated every practical thing. From now on everything will just be honing of what we have, not that thats a bad thing. But don't expect things like teleporters in 100 years.

But all in all you are right, mind candy is a good phrase, we are after all human beings. It is fun to speculate, in fact speculation brings meaning to life in some sense, it spices it up and makes it worth living. I could be wrong, you could be wrong, but ascertaining the Ideas were what made it worth it. This is why I feel strongly about the existence of God. The "mind candy" that I experience when trying to understand what god can be, trying to understand the properties of God, the attributes etc is something that is central to the human experience.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Alchemy - To explain the

Alchemy - To explain the plausibility of the multiverse in my view, you have to understand why the theory itself was proposed. It was proposed mostly to resolve the fine tuning dilemma.

There are many ideas that are sometimes labelled "multiverse". You and Whitefire13 are discussing two different ones. The one h̶e̶ she mentioned in the OP has nothing to do with fine tuning.

Alchemy123's picture
You are right that there are

You are right that there are several different concepts of "multiverse" for example: bubble universes as well as the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. But you are not understanding the fundamental point as to why I bring this up, and why a multiverse hypothesis is always proposed in scientific explanations of the existence of the universe: It is fundamentally because everything we observe is contingent. The purpose of the multiverse hypothesis is to resolve why there are seemingly random laws in our universe that don't seem to have naturalistic explanations.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Alchemy - It is fundamentally

Alchemy - It is fundamentally because everything we observe is contingent.

Can you give an example of something that is not contingent?

Alchemy123's picture
Numbers, Sets, Concepts, God.

Numbers, Sets, Concepts, God...

They are essentially beings that exist in necessity of their own nature, not because another being entails its existence.

Nyarlathotep's picture


Can a "non-contingent" thing change?

Alchemy123's picture
Youre being way too vague.

Youre being way too vague. Anything can "change" but I don't know what you're concept of change is. For example, The number 2 has an infinite amount of objective intelligibly conceivable statements which can be stated about it. All of these statements about the number two are provable and mind independent. Sure, I can add 2 to 2 but it is now four. There is an infinite amount of objective facts about it now that are objectively, conclusively different from the number two because these are two mind-independent realities which are demonstrably different. The more I think about your question, the more incoherent it becomes. non contingent is the same as necessary, so I say this: A necessary being can change ins some sense If if it has potentiality. God, which is the ultimate explanation and supreme reason for the existence of anything, cannot change, no. And neither can numbers for example. For if anything, in the sense of what can intelligibly be said about these objects, can change then the object of thought is entirely onto-logically different.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Well I was hoping for perhaps

Well I was hoping for perhaps one of the following:

  1. non-contingent things can change
  2. non-contingent things can NOT change
  3. some non-contingent things can change, some can not change
Alchemy123's picture
Well, as of now I do not

Well, as of now I do not believe necessary beings can change, no. Not in the sense that "Water can change to ice" or some overly simplistic physical naturalistic analog.

Of course, the important part is you still haven't explained your ontological definition of what "change" means. In fact, you haven't even written more then two sentences with respect to the situation. So my intuition tells me you are just tying to fish for some cheap gotcha instead of putting forth honest and faithful dialogue.

Nyarlathotep's picture

In the past we had a users come here and make arguments about necessary and contingent objects. Unfortunately they all seem to contradict each other. For example: recently we had one who told us sets are bullshit and that they don't exist; which seems to contradict what you just told us. So I figured I'd ask you a few questions so you could differentiate yourself from the non-sense that has come before you.

So in that spirit: are sets bullshit, do they exist?

Could you maybe also pick one of the options above (or supply a new one if I didn't cover all the bases with my 3)?

Alchemy123's picture
I literally just told you

I literally just told you that sets objectively exist, I clearly stated that they are necessary (non contingent) beings. and you deny this by saying that someone else said sets don't exist? Surely you see how dishonest you are being right? To give you the benefit of the doubt, because I feel you arent up to par in your philosophy, yes sets objectively exist in the sense they are mind independent. There are not located in space or time, but are objective objects of thought which have well defined and clear properties. I also answered your question twice already, I don't believe necessary beings can "change". It would be great If you define it though.

Also, just because its irking me, the third option you wrote isn't even logically needed at all. The first two options exhaust every possible conceivable option about the nature of every necessary being.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Alchemy - Surely you see how

Alchemy - Surely you see how dishonest you are being right?

You know, when I make assumptions about what theists say, I get chastised for making assumptions. When I'm careful and try to make sure I'm clear about what they are saying, I get chastised for being "dishonest". Fuck me.

Alchemy123's picture
I clearly told you that Sets,

I clearly told you that Sets, numbers, concepts, and God all exist. There is absolutely no reason to bring in other people into the situation unless you are trying to muddy the waters through a straw man or something of that sort. All you have to do is respond to my points. You are being dishonest because you, first of all, still haven't defined your ontological concept of change, and secondly, haven't even responded to your main driving point which I answered 3 times: whether I think necessary objects "change".

LogicFTW's picture

If all humans disappeared tomorrow, would sets, numbers, human concepts, and human god ideas exist?

If yes, how so? How would they exist?

Nyarlathotep's picture
I'd like to ask a modified

I'd like to ask a modified version of LogicFTW's excellent question. If god did not exist, would sets exist?

Alchemy123's picture
I already answered this

I already answered this question but Ill state it again: God is quite literally the Supreme set, the absolute infinite set. There is an actual ontological equivalence that I am claiming here. Therefore all sets (and therefore numbers, concepts etc) are all aspects of God, literally subsets of god.


Nyarlathotep's picture
Could you maybe give a more

Could you maybe give a more direct answer:
If god did not exist, would sets exist?

Alchemy123's picture


dogalmighty's picture
Contingency is not a

Contingency is not a determinant of reality.


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