A Parable by Útmutató a Léleknek – Do you believe in Mother?

This is a parable I stumbled upon written by Útmutató a Léleknek:

In a mother’s womb were two babies.  One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?”. 

“Why of course.  There has to be something after delivery.  Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” 

“Nonsense” said the first.  “There is no life after delivery.  What kind of life would that be?” 

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here.  Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths.  Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now”. 

The first replied, “That is absurd.  Walking is impossible and eating with our mouths?  Ridiculous!  The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need.  Because the umbilical cord is so short, life after delivery is logically impossible.” 

The second baby insists, “Well, I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here.  Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore”. 

The first replied, “Nonsense.  And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there?  Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion.  It delivers us nowhere.” 

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” 

The first replied, “Mother?  You actually believe in Mother?  That’s laughable.  If Mother exists then where is she now?” 

The second said, “She is all around us.  We are surrounded by Her.  We are of Her.  It is in Her that we live.  Without Her this world would not and could not exist for us.”

Said the first: “Well, I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”.

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence-and you focus-and you really listen-you CAN perceive Her presence and you CAN hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.” 

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Into the Tunnel and Out Toward the Light

A man was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a public audience.  A fellow in the audience passed a note to the speaker inviting him to a debate that Friday.  It was read to the audience and the invitation was accepted on one condition:

I want for you to bring along one person, who in their greatest despair, riddled with addiction, crippled by society, that through embracing atheism brought about a dramatic change and radically transformed them for the good.  Just bring one.  I shall bring 200.

This a wonderful video that offers a transparent view into a life adopting a secular worldview. I find too much in common to list here.

 

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Are all things possible?

The class ends and students make the usual mad dash to the exits.  Lines of exiting students quickly form as new students flood in.  A student approaches me with a brief question as I desperately try to ready the classroom for the incoming professor.

“Dr. B., why are we only interested in the invertibility of square matrices?”  The student asks.

“Because, it doesn’t make sense to talk about the invertibility of matrices that are not square,” I respond.

In the study of linear algebra, matrices are a common conversation point.  Matrices stem from a wide range of applications.  They can be viewed as linear transformations, that is, they map objects from one space to another space.   They may represent a vector equation or a linear system of equations.  The latter case may be more familiar from your high school algebra training.  In either case, a matrix can be used to store all the relevant information, for which allows for easier manipulation by hand or through a computer.

All matrices have N rows (number of equations) and M columns (number of unknowns).  If N equals M then it is called a square matrix.   When solving a linear system of equations, say A xb,  a unique solution exists if and only if the matrix is invertible, that is, there exists a matrix C such that A C = C A = I, where I is the identity matrix.

This only makes sense for square matrices.  Therefore it is nonsense to talk about the inverse of matrices that are not square (rectangular matrices).  It is a contradiction of terms.  We simply can not have an invertible 2 by 3 matrix. It simply does not make sense.  It is like having a square circle or a married bachelor.

What does this have to do with God?  Everything. Consider a common dialogue that I have been privy to:

Skeptic : If God is All-Powerful then all things are possible.

Me : No, God can do any thing but not anything.

Skeptic : Huh?

Me : God can not do what is logically inconsistent.  He can not make a married person also a bachelor.  He can not make a positive number also be a negative number.  He can not make a square also a circle.

Skeptic : Oh, okay, but I still do not think God is All-Powerful.  Maybe the reason why there is so much pain and suffering in the world is because God is not strong enough to overcome it. Could God create a stone that even He could not lift?

This conversation seems to make a truly profound claim about an attribute of God, that is, that He can not be All-Powerful.  However, the last question by the skeptic is simply a contradiction of terms.  It doesn’t make sense.

If God is All-Powerful, that is, He can lift anything, then it does not make sense to talk about something He can not lift!  This is equivalent to a student wishing to talk about invertible 2 by 3 matrices; be it their wish or not it simply does not make sense from basic principles.

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Finely Tuned Questions – Part III

RulersIn an initial post an argument for the existence of God flowed naturally from the extraordinary degree of fine-tuning of the universe.  The argument is offered again:

Premise 1.  The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.

Premise 2.  The fine-tuning of the universe is NOT due to physical necessity.

Premise 3.  The fine-tuning of the universe is NOT due to chance.

Therefore it due to design.

Premise 2 was argued favorably in a prior post.  The argument stems that is not guaranteed that any universe that exists is fine-tuned for life.  Hence, the negation of the second premise is fallacious.  The third premise is more intricate and is argued here.

roulette

Enter Las Vegas! Intricate dining, exquisite entertainment, with casinos lining the strip beckoning you to come in.  Once in a casino, you will find a place void of clocks with fabricated and bright lighting to make it hard to decipher night from day.  They want you to stay.  Sit down at a table and you’ll be enticed to play with free alcohol and frequent dining service.  You’ll be enticed to play games of probability, for which the house employees have been trained to take advantage of in the long run.  You hear the sound of Roulette and the ball smacking against the intricate groves between the range of possibilities.  It lands on black 15.  An exchange of chips begins as bets are placed for the next spin.  It lands on black 15 again.  Another exchange of chips.  Another spin and black 15 again.  People exchange awkward glances and the bets are now beginning to stack up on that black 15.  Will it come again?  Another spin and another black 15!  Is this chance or design?  You can imagine that if this happened at a roulette table that game would be stopped.  Maintenance workers would come quickly to investigate and service the table.  Something must be wrong with it in order to hit black 15 so many times!

This, my friend, is the incredulous, incomprehensible feature of our universe.  Black 15 has been hit again, again, and again.  Consecutively.  Now, of course if you spin the table 20 times there is a chance that Black 15 will come up 20 times.  So should you be surprised if that occurs?  Or would you be inclined to investigate why that did occur?   Of course, it we have enough spins or iterations then wouldn’t this situation be likely to occur?   Yes, but only if you have enough spins.  In fact, the very reason to push for a multiverse hypothesis is to increase the odds of obtaining our universe!  Hence, its mere suggestion in academic circles is complimenting the fact that our universe is fine-tuned!

Are we part of an infinite ensemble of universes?  Not quite.  First, if there exists an actually infinite number of universes a slew of logical fallacies are had.  Just consider Hilbert’s Hotel. Nor is this what is being proposed by the dominant multiverse hypothesis, M-theory.  This theory proposes a finite number of possibilities on the order of 10^500.  Then, how many of these universes are life-permitting?  The subset of life-permitting universes is abysmally small.  However, it gets worse.  The probability of our universe’s extremely low entropy condition is estimated at 10^(-10^123)  while the chances of our solar system coming into existence by random collisions is estimated to be 10^(-10^60) (see Penrose, pgs. 762-765)!  This means that our universe is extremely rare even among the small subset of possible universes!

Hence, we are back at the casino at the roulette table.  No one has come to stop the game and investigate if the game is rigged.  What is your next bet?  I’ll tell you mine:

“Señor, I’ll take Black 15.”

Let it roll.

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Finely Tuned Questions – Part II

In a prior post an argument for the existence of God flowed naturally from the extraordinary degree of fine-tuning in order for universe to be life-permitting.  The argument is offered again:

Premise 1.  The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.

Premise 2.  The fine-tuning of the universe is NOT due to physical necessity.

Premise 3.  The fine-tuning of the universe is NOT due to chance.

Therefore it due to design.

Here we will argue in favor of the second premise.

Of course that very fact that I am writing this is evidence that a life-permitting universe exists.  Of course you may adhere to a worldview that states everything is illusory, but then who may I ask is reading this?  Not to mention that this worldview is also an illusion, hence a built-in defeater!  Nevertheless, a life-permitting universe exists as a result of fundamental constants being tuned just so.  But why were chosen this way?  In other words, why are they not other values?  The values are not determined by the discovered laws of nature.  Rather, they are substituted into such equations such that we may study aspects of our observable universe.   Hence, if the fine-tuning of the universe is of physical necessity then any values that are chosen must be life-permitting!?  But clearly this is not the case.

Oh, but what of the potential great unifier of physics, M-theory?  Not so fast!  M-theory does not eradicate the degree of fine-tuning, in fact it complicates the situation further!  In fact, it predicts that there is a wide range of around 10^500 possible universes all consistent with the same laws that we have, but varying in their respective constants.  Hence M-theory points to a multitude of universes that are not life-permitting.  In fact, it presents an even greater challenge in unlikelihood of the existence of any life-permitting universe!  Not to mention, M-theory needs 11 dimensions to work.  Why 11?  Why not 10 or 12?  Why perfectly 11?  Hence, there is no evidence supporting that a life-permitting universe is a physical necessity.  It is far more reasonable to expect a universe to not be life-permitting.

In the following post the third premise will be discussed.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.”  – Job 38:4

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