Monday, January 6, 2014

"Against the Gods?" rebuttal

 I really do appreciate Stefan Molyneux's work & why he is trying to tackle the questions of freedom & morality the way he is, scientifically. So I'm linking his audiobooks up in my blog/podcast feed so I can listen to them in the podcasting app I use. However, I might have started out with his most controversial & contentious book ("Against the Gods?") which is primarily on his views on atheism & why it trumps agnosticism. I had a few qualms & bones to pick that kept cropping up in this book, but I don't think my counter arguments have been thought of too often by either religious theists or agnostics, so I hope to provide a perspective that is more fresh & more advanced. My arguments will be mostly speculation & will lack evidence & may appear illogical, but I just want to get the entire debate to move forward, which requires checking our premises.

Molyneux insists on keeping all actions & attributes that have historically been associated with gods still intact & part of the argument, & will show how the concepts of gods contradict themselves using only those actions & attributes. I think if we can agree to dismiss all of them altogether we can move past the argument from religion. Doing this takes us back to the question that is more primary & why the actions & attributes of God was invented in the first place. The primary question is, "where does everything come from," or "where did the universe come from?" The concept of God was invented because of the fact that everything has to come from something, which is a constant & perpetual cycle backwards in time. Something has to have existed forever backwards for that cycle to exist in, which human thought has narrowed down to be either a creator (God) or time. If we go with the creator but limit the being to a computer programmer just as human as we are (the universe being his program), then he or she would also be living in a universe created by a programmer in a universe created by a programmer, to infinity. And if the universe was created by two particles colliding together, then those particles would have had to come from another set of particles that came from another set of particles, or else they would have just existed forever in time backwards. In any case, Molyneux didn't address the question of "where did everything come from" to my satisfaction. He might not have actually addressed it at all. 

Molyneux maintains that all claims or possibilities of a creator have to only exist in a separate universe with totally opposite & random rules from our own to be able to create our universe, but this would still beg the question of another creator for that universe & another creator for that one to infinity, just like the programmer scenario. I agree that a creator would have to be part of this universe that we can see & measure to have had any influence on it what so ever, & that there is no evidence for alternate universes with their own histories & trajectories existing at all. I propose the thought experiment that the answer is in dimensions of this existing universe, all stacked up on each other, where lower dimensions are not directly aware of higher dimensions. We are currently at the level of & aware of three dimensions in this universe, x, y and z, that's why we experience everything in 3D. As with Carl Sagan's example of dimensions of the same universe, If there could be conscious beings in 2D land, they would only be aware of their 2D land & not know how to perceive the third dimension & what is happening in it. It would all be part of the same universe, but in the same way, we would not know how to perceive & recognize the fourth dimension & ones greater than that. What if the creator is in one of those higher dimensions that we can't perceive?

In dismissing past attribution associated with "God" as actual abilities of a creator or generative principle, (and to make myself sound totally heretical) we can say that the creator is not omniscient, omnipresent, all knowing or all powerful. We can dismiss all biblical miracles as made up stories, chance, nature, or Ancient Aliens with advanced technology. If there is a universal creator, we can only say that it had the power to create that universe.

Molyneux also maintains that consciousness can only be a property of matter, & an effect of the cause which would be the brain. In most cases I agree with him that the popular consensus has cause & effect mixed up & often times backwards. But if either consciousness or matter has to have been in existence forever backwards in time, which is it more likely to be? Which is actually more complex? In evolution, we know that less complex things precede more complex things, & I would counterintuitively argue that the universe & everything in it is more complex than consciousness. There are an innumerable number of objects, creatures, & things in the physical 3D world for me to learn about, but consciousness might be more simple than we think. The physical could be the domain of the third dimension while consciousness is the domain of the fourth dimension. This goes to the argument that the brain is actually an antenna that connects to consciousness & relays its signal into the physical world. Does a more developed brain create better intelligence & a better consciousness, or is it merely better equipment to put more of the signal of consciousness through into this dimension. 

I know I'm speaking as if consciousness is all one thing, and what if it is? What if all our consciousness is actually combined in the fourth dimension, & is actually the creator of the third dimension, which is to say that all of our consciousness is actually God. Our brains & our bodies are antennas channeling one consciousness, diversifying & complexing its own experience in physical form. If consciousness is all one thing, & if the evolution of novelty & diversification is progress & the creation of beauty, then that would be the purpose of the creation of the third dimension, & of biology. Even if it were just to spark a Big Bang from a tiny beginning, with all the resources & physical laws inside, packed & able to spin out of control, to make a physical system that ever creates more complexity. 

In this theory, being that consciousness all comes from the same source and is all the same thing, what if the creator didn't actually decide upon moral dictates. What if it was man. What if the invention & development of morals is actually humanity recognizing that all of our consciousness is one in the same & one big mass, & to aggress against each other is actually to aggress against ourselves. To develop our moral technology is to recognize what is and is not actually harmful to each other, & then to have the freedom to learn how to treat each other better than that. As we universalized our morals & our respect for humanity, we universalize the non aggression principles because it is imprudent for us not to, both for ourselves & for humanity. Even for conscious beings as a whole. To become more moral is merely to prevent self attack & self aggression on our collective consciousness.