Ontology at www.GenerativeScience.org
What does the Wave Function Describe?
Exploring the connections of theism (from philosophy and religion) with physics and psychology (of science).
Here is a scientist who begins by assuming God exists and develops his scientific ideas from that point of view. He has a unique idea that is fascinating. I loved reading this, even though it takes concentration to follow. The discussion combines philosophy, quantum physics, and religion. It reminded me of the Tao of Physics, only more modern and more Christian.More details of the book are at http://www.beginningtheisticscience.com, where there are sample chapters and preliminary reviews. It is available on Amazon now, and soon at Barnes & Noble. There are Kindle and Nook eBooks now, and soon there will be an iBooks version. It should be internationally distributed by the end of the year.
Atheist critics of religion are often dismissed for dealing only with the simple, highly literal forms of belief, while ignoring more nuanced, intellectual understandings of religion. The form of this argument varies, but in general terms it rests on a rejection of the idea that religion requires belief in anthropomorphic supernatural beings. As Theo Hobson put it in an exchange with me a few years back, "a huge proportion of believers inhabit this grey area between 'literal' and 'metaphorical' belief – in a sense all believers do.He wants to know whether religious people choose between a metaphorical interpretation of religion, the first bullet of which is:
M1. To be religious is primarily to assent to a set of values, and/or practise a way of life, and/or belong to a community that shares these values and/or practices. Any creeds or factual assertions associated with these things, especially ones that make claims about the nature and origin of the natural universe, are at most secondary and often irrelevant.Alternatively, the choice is to take stories and miracles literally, which is to take the opposing positions:
L1. Religious creeds or factual assertions are neither secondary nor irrelevant to religion.Baggini thinks that such people would like to take these 'opposing positions', but are reluctant to admit this in public, because this exposes them to being contradicted by science. So they retreat to the metaphorical views M1-M4, which are almost devoid of content. Baggini's immediate aim is to determine whether the fashionable atheists of today are correct in attributing positions L1-L4 to the religious believers, and hence whether they are targeting actual beliefs when they attack these from the scientific materialist & atheist point of view.
L2. Religious belief requires the belief that supernatural events have occurred here on Earth.
L3. Religions can make claims about the physical nature, origin or structure of the natural universe. That which science can study and explain empirically should not be left to science, and if a religion makes a claim that is incompatible with our best science, the scientific claim need not prevail.
L4. Human intellect and imagination are insufficient to explain the existence of religious texts.
Traditional Theistic Evolution [that] acknowledges two Divine creative strategies. (1) Through a purposeful evolutionary process, God “forms” man’s material body from the bottom up, and (2) By means of a creative act, God “breathes in” an immaterial soul from the top down, joining spirit with matter
spiritual entities such as souls, minds and faculties, are non-physical entities and contain no parts, which means that they cannot disintegrate, die, or be changed into something else. …. If then, spirit is to be joined with matter, its origins cannot come from matter or from a material process; it must come from another source, that is, it must come directly from God, who creates spirit and implants it in a pre-existing being from the top down.
At the heart of each person is the very deepest region of our selves. I call this region, for lack of a better term, our core identity. A person’s core identity involves the deepest sense the person has of who she is or who she longs to be. What constitutes our core identity is rarely in the forefront of our minds. Often it takes patient self-reflection and work to identify the contours of one’s core identity.
we may determine that some belief or value that functioned within our core identity ought to be revised in light of other beliefs and values. We may recognize that we have a deeply ingrained habit that we want to change. This habit may be revealed in our relationships with others or our thoughts about our own lives. Beginning such change will be difficult, in part, because we are changing against the contour of our deeper values. We have to re-habituate ourselves to inhabit a new ordering of values and beliefs.
"What we love, the proper ordering of our loves, is a critical component of spiritual formation. Our heart always follows our treasure. Always."
Karl Birjukov has been writing recently on the need to the sciences to be revised, in order to conform better with theism. Here are links to four of his articles.
Most of what Karl writes is of interest, and directly relevant to our task of finding a new account of our universe that includes what is true from theism as well as from modern science. We both recognize that there are many deficiencies with how science is normally taken to understand the world, and how its common understanding appears to block connections to spiritual or theistic matters.
Karl's focus is on one particular deficiency: on how, since Kant, the natural world has been taken to consist of objects governed by the 'law of inertia'. By this, he appears to mean that all things are inert objects acted on by external forces. He says that "it is necessary in the first place to strip out the inertial view, and only then to consider the situation anew." Birjukov examines the details of Einstein's relativity theory in its foundations, trying to find how concepts of mass and inertia may possibly be reworked in that context.
I reply that it is true that the standard concept of objects (since Kant especially) has been to take them as inert and lifeless: with inertia, and with no internal source of activity. However, when I examine modern quantum field theories that try to predict the masses of subatomic particles, I find that 'inertia' by itself is hardly used. Rather, the masses of objects are constructed dynamically from the rapid internal exchanges of particles that have themselves no rest mass, but only energy. These internal particles are photons in the case of electromagnetic interactions, and gluons in the case of interactions between quarks to make up nucleons.
What is needed, therefore, is a theory of science that takes into account how in these ways mass and inertia are not given as 'inert' qualities, but as the result of interior and active processes. I have outline a general framework for this in my paper Derivative Dispositions and Multiple Generative Levels.
My general experience of the development of ideas in the sciences is that the defects of old ideas are only clearly admitted when there is a new theory proposed that at least begins to replace the previous explanations. I differ from Birjukov, therefore, in his insistence on removing the old ideas that might be incorrect, but before there are new theories to replace them. He recognizes this in part, as he tries to formulate a new basis for relativity theory, but that is only the very smallest part of the problem. In fact, I argue that new theories of science can only be properly compatible with theism when they are consistently and diligently derived from theism. This means that our work should begin at the beginning (with Theos) rather than in nature (with Physis), as in some kind of 'theistic science', as only then can we constructed a unified cosmology.