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A few Catholics still insist Galileo was wrong

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Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

I knew someone would recognize it. Sci-fi buff, Smith?

I think very many sci-fi writers left the idea of God open to interpretation for the sake of maintaining objectivity and upholding the scientific point of view in general. And since the overthrow of Newtonian atomic theory, scientists have had some strange ideas about reality. Vlatko Vedral and David Deutsch think our universe is a quantum computer. They say that if matter exists as both matter and energy, or as particles and strings, then they say it presents an ability for, at the very least, binary logic and a basis for computers today. But binary transistor-to-transistor logic will surely be overthrown with the advent of quantum computers some day. The universe, they say, is information. And  Deutsch talks about quantum computers sharing information across multiple universes. Without parallel universes, he says, where else would quantum computations take place? And at some point we will have to learn how and what kind of questions to ask of a universal-multiversal Multivac computer. I can't imagine what those questions might be though. But I do think reversing entropy in this universe would be a really good idea. It would represent high technology for a distant future species and perhaps a hybrid of human-machine intelligence, and perhaps even wholly machine intelligence at some point in evolution. But what if scientific materialism is someday overthrown as some scientists believe is happening today? Scientific materialism of 'The Matrix' sci-fi kind would be out and God only knows what would replace it. Perhaps we do have souls that carry on at higher frequencies of energy or some such.


oldgoat
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Joined: Jul 27 2001

Oh yeah, "The Last Question"!  Read that I think over 30 years ago.  One of my favourite Azimov short stories.

 

Fiat lux.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Yes, fiat lux. Smile


GOD
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Joined: Jun 18 2002

Hey, you guys are stealing my lines!

 

Ah what the heck, go ahead. One of you is a mod, which is a lot like being me anyways.  Fiat voluntas tua.


Sineed
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Joined: Dec 4 2005


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Here's the story. It's a good one, and a relevant one.

http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

Two important things to remember - Asimov was an atheist, and the story is a bit of a gag in that he ilustrates the second law of thermodynamics, and then proceeds to thumb his nose at it with a magical and literal deus ex machina.

Surely he knew that in the real world there is no getting around it.

Don't know if anyone listened to Ideas program "The Second Law of Everything" but in it the theory was presented that life was almost an inevitability, and that we were created by the laws of physics in order to speed up the entropy of the universe.

 


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Yes, entropy. Apparently there was order and symmetry at that moment before the beginning. Scientists tell us that matter and energy can not be created from nothing. And then after the big bang, randomness and chaos tookover. Later, proliferation of life seemingly began to work against entropy. As the universe began decaying and the great symmetry fell into disorder, life and order arose by random chance. And then natural selection tookover and began choosing only the best life forms compatible with the great disorder of things.

But my basement storage room still doesn't become orderly unless I go down there and start throwing boxes around and putting things in their places. I am the cause of order in the storage room not natural, day to day entropic tendencies at the root source of its eventual disorder. I am the god of the storage room. And unless I intervene in the storage roo again, it will descend into entropy and chaos. I can wait a week or a year, it doesn't matter. Randommess and chance never seem to work in my favour in the closed loop that is my storage room. ]8-)


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

But entropy does only go one way; there is no known way to work against it.  

And there is nothing disorderly or chaotic about it. It is moving all states of energy toward a perfect balance. 

According to that Ideas program the "order" of life only speeds it up, though even that is just a theory, and might be attributing more of a purpose to life than it actually has.

The Asimov story of course touches on turning that around, but I think it also speaks to humanity's tendency toward spirituality, since it seems like the machine was turned into god even before the punch line.

As an aside, you might find this interesting:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909004112.htm

Though I wouldn't take this information and  assume it  makes all things possible - only that there is some variation in there that we did not know about before.

 

 


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

I think there are very many things we did not know before and will discover in time. Time is the most significant factor. Everything we are, the planets, stars, galaxies and all visible atomic matter represents about 4% of all matter in the universe. Darwinian evolution and laws of physics work in certain ways in this small corner of reality. Scientists have estimated recently that there are 10^500 possibilities. I think that's an awesome number, and perahps in as little as a few centuries we may understand a lot more. But entropy and time are working against us. Could it be that only life that evolves in non-agressive ways survive technological advancement and become gods or god-like for all intents and purposes of where we are now? Will we survive our own technological adolescence? I think that if imperialists continue shaping the world into a reflection of themselves and their design, then we are in trouble. Man might not survive to see his first birthday as a type I civilization. Perhaps technological achievement is a kind of Darwinian litmus test to prevent infection of the overall gene pool. Perhaps there are good reasons why civilizations like our's are not receiving any big hellos from space.


milo204
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Joined: Feb 3 2010

Fidel, that was the single best explanation of your views on religion yet!  I think that concept of "Could it be that only life that evolves in non-agressive ways survive technological advancement and become gods or god-like for all intents and purposes of where we are now" 

is really interesting.  It's like "god" doesn't have to mean what most people think it is, but as a metaphoar the idea of a civilization that has evolved without violence and agression would be really peaceful and nice and with technology used in the right ways our world would be clean and liveable and yet we'd be free from odious labour...almost like a "heaven"

Plus if it evolved like that we wouldn't be killing each other off, making species disappear, or causing our own eventual demise, therefore life could presumably go on forever...kind of an "eternal life"...


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

It's all there in Sagan's assessment of Drake's eq'n. If we assume that all life is predatory like our evolutionary selves, then the odds for technically advanced life in this galaxy are slim. But Sagan said that if just one percent of the potential pool of technically advanced civilizations survive adolescence, then the number of civilizations in this galaxy capable of radio astronomy and telecommunications would number in the millions. Millions! And who knows how old advanced civilizations might be. Our's is a few decades old and in still in its infancy. What would a technically advanced society look like if they attained our level of technology thousands of years ago, or perhaps even millions of years ago? What if there are civilizations that are a billion years more advanced than us? They've likely achieved immortality over that length of time and who knows what else. Would they be type III or IV on the Kardaschev-Dyson scale? Would such technical capabilities appear to be god-like to us? Perhaps they will have learnt to terraform and cause genesis to accelerate in other star systems a very long time ago. And, what if we are related to the god-like beings by virtue of our DNA? Apparently some scientists have not ruled out exogenesis. Why aren't they talking to us? Dr Michio Kaku compares that question to this scenario. A colony of ants is situated close by a modern highway. Would the ants understand that they are living near a highway? And, what should we say to the ants? I don't think we are ants by comparison. I think that if there are advanced civilizations out there, then they should talk to us. Or would doing so be the equivalent of doing a Christopher Columbus of things? Are native Americans better off for their encounters with Europeans centuries ago? Perhaps it takes a very advanced and very democratically thoughtful civilization not to intervene in our affairs. At least not yet. Perhaps builders of such advanced highways might want to maintain watchful eyes on mankind in the mean time and from a safe distance. Perhaps contact is much more complicated than we understand from not only microbial disadvantages but from ethical and moral points of view we have not learnt to grasp yet ourselves.


milo204
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Joined: Feb 3 2010

interesting!  

Also, if a non violent highly evolved life form took one look at us, they'd stay far far away for fear we'd try to either kill them, rob them or enslave them!


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

I am not so sure that they would fear us so much as they might be simply disinterested in us. If their technology is so much more advanced than our own, then what else do we have to offer them besides disease and striped toothe paste? Put another way, why did Darwin travel to the Galapagos? He didn't leave them with gifts of high technology or try to establish himself as their new leader. Curiosity led Darwin to travel to remote islands to study the wild life. It could be that advanced species might be interested in studying the wildlife on earth, including us. Perhaps they might find us interesting, like we find macaque monkeys to be interesting.

Of course, we have no hard proof that we've been visited. We have no alien DNA or motherships parked on the White House lawn, Parliament Hill or anything as dramatic as that. There is no smoking gun proof. There is, however, much circumstantial evidence for it. And some say that they have seen the the mainsails of Columbus' ships now and again on the horizon. 95% of UFO sightings are entirely explainable they say. 

The universe is made up of stories, not atoms (Muriel Rukeyser)

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change (Max Planck)


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