Metaphysical System.: Philosophy Forums
God and the New Physics.
In this essay I will propound a cosmological theory. A systematic understanding of the Universe that can be reconciled with the modern day discoveries of physics. Then I will use the design and erect a natural theology upon its basis and show how it is possible to instantiate Christian faith upon it, the latter I will refer to as the subjective truth of Christianity, the state of spiritual conviction that is impossible to influence from the outer world, and hinges on intrinsic and subjective axioms, as opposed to objective. However, in order for this Christian truth to be established, it first must be shown how some of its axioms could be supported objectively. However, once the subjective truth is instantiated, in the event of the objective axioms being contravened, the subjective threw shall not shattered. In this Module I will not provide an exegesis of the work of Paul Davies, but instead I will try to answer some of the basic questions that he has concerned himself with in God and the New Physics. One shall presuppose that the main motive behind his theorizing must be to understand the world, to figure out the laws of the Universe, to answer these questions that he has posed, and not just provide a critique of some of the conventional understandings of these ideas, or provide the best way possible to understand and read Thinkers like Bohr, Einstein, Newton, Kant, Locke and so on, or whoever he may have learned from and was influenced by as a scientist. His purpose, almost without a doubt was to pick off at the point where those eminent men have left off, and not just recapitulate their ideas. Hence my essay has been clearly inspired by Paul Davies’s God and the New Physics, much like his writings may have been initially inspired by thinkers like Einstein and Bohr, but his purpose was to carry further and ask the same questions that they were asking, or at least come up with a method to encourage other people to take interest in such matters. And this shall be my purpose, one with an aim to explore those questions. As Plato once said, all philosophy begins with wonder, when we begin to wonder this is when we start to ask the real questions, when we start relying on reason to figure out how the Universe works, reason and only reason alone, not authority or convention. I think that all inquiry which I refer to as reason-founded speculation is about cosmology. The final end to asking all of these questions is no other but this: to figure out how the world works. This is what cosmology is at its mere essence. People have many motivations for engaging in inquiry of cosmology, some ask why, what is the meaning of life, what is the purpose of all of this, why is the sky blue, what are the leafs green and so on. This is a subject-centered speculation and is subjective in the strictest sense of the word. It insinuates the notion of why it was made to be that way, who willed for this to be in such a fashion, as if, is there a God, and what were his personal reasons for making the sky blue and the leafs green.
Another way to look at cosmology is from the standpoint of asking the what questions, which concern themselves with the object, and are objective at their mere essence, and have no relationship to the creator’s personality, the nature of the subject, the personal purpose of individuals and how the Universe affects us, and in short, the human element. Which of the two approaches we chose to take is a matter of temperament. The more sentimental of us tend to be the meaning seekers, those who seek the significance and purpose of life, the more analytical of us by temperament tend to ask the what questions. What exactly is it about the lake that makes it contain water, what exactly is it about the leaf that makes it green, never-mind how it affects us, all that matters is what inheres within nature. This is indeed the pursuit of figuring out natural law at its raw form. Not for our subjective purpose or for any human need, but for the sake of seeing how the World works. This latter mentality is the foundation of scientific inquiry, the cornerstone of physics. An enterprise where one should ask the what questions, not why questions. The pursuit of physics should be to solve the ultimate question of cosmology, what is the world, and how does it work, the question of who made the world and what the purpose of it and the purpose of ours is, is subjective in nature and is biographical as pertaining to the nature of God or man, which we need not concern ourselves with. Metaphysics is an indispensable part of cosmology, it is the study of ultimate reality and the extension of physics in itself. Paul Davies has endeavored to make an inquiry into the ultimate study of reality with his questions of reductionism v holism, what is the self, can it possibly exist, and if it does how can it be reconciled with the ultimate nature of reality, what is the mind, does it exist independently of the body, and if so, how does this fit into the larger cosmological framework, and what are the body and mind, can they both exist and once again what is the ultimate stuff that they are made of. Within all of this could we possibly answer the question of free will and determinism. And finally what is life, what is the universe, how can we figure out cosmology. The accentuation in all of this inquiry was on the big picture, which is centered around the salient questions of cosmology. What is the universe, how does it work and how do we relate to it and vice versa.
I shall start with the metaphysics of Immanuel Kant. Kant’s greatest merit, one shall say is the demarcation of the way the world exists as a thing in itself, and the way it strikes the human mind. Hence, he referred to the World as we experience as the phenomenal world, and the world as it is, as the noumenal world. According to Kant, it is impossible for us to have any experience of the thing in itself, or the noumenal world. However, he does not maintain that it is not possible for us to have any knowledge of it. Kant argued, much like Parmenides, the Pre-Socratic philosopher who maintained that the ultimate reality is one, it is ever-lasting(eternal) and un-changing, all change is illusory. Hence, this is the premise that in Kant’s philosophy the fundamental essence of the Universe hinges. The singleness of the noumena. To Kant, the noumenal world is inaccessible to our senses, and everything that we perceive, we perceive only through our senses, and hence the world as it is perceived is the phenomenal world. Spirituality, God, human souls, Heaven and Hell, according to Kant are all outside of our sphere of experience and exist only in the noumenal world. For practical purposes, one shall ask, if the noumenal world can not be experienced at all, what is the purpose of the concept. The purpose of the concept is to show that there is mystery in life, and that there are certain things that we will never have reliable knowledge of, and how those mysteries in life could be identified. We can not know anything else about those mysteries other than they exist, however we can make speculations about them, though we can not have any reliable knowledge of them. We can only have reliable knowledge of the world of phenomena, the world as experienced through our senses, this is the only realm that could be ascertained of cogently with our minds. Kant maintained that metaphysics is only possible if it is within the realm of human understanding, or human imagination. Metaphysics, or speculation about the noumenal world is possible, but only marginally, yet it must be ultimately grounded in our sense-verification, our speculation about the noumenal world must be grounded in the phenomenal world. What we can posit about the thing in itself must ultimately be verifiable by the thing as perceived. Hence, speculation about the noumenal world, if in check with what we know about the phenomenal, is possible within the realm of metaphysics. Or theoretical knowledge. Reliable knowledge is only possible about the world as experienced. Hence, epistemology, the study of knowledge, and metaphysics, the study of the ultimate reality must be kept in separate accounts. Therefore, the study of the noumenal world is within the province of metaphysics, although it is outside of the scope of epistemology, which should only be confined to worldly knowledge. Hence, experience of the noumenal world is impossible, albeit knowledge of the thing in itself must be purely speculative. Therefore, it is not impossible for us to have knowledge of the noumenal world, we should say this a bit more modestly and posit that there is very little prospect of us knowing the thing in itself, as opposed to no prospect at all.
Kant has speculated that the realm of mind, which is only filtered through our senses can exist within the noumenal world, however, we can only have access to the objectification of the noumenal world, because we can only perceive what our mind tells us through our senses, and our sense-perception is what filters our imaginary experiences, and by and large our ideas about what mind presents to us are profoundly influenced by our sense-based experiences. However, it is also true that we can never experience the thing in itself of what our senses tell us about the world, as our mind imposes structures upon it that are purely subjective. We need our imagination in order to incept what our senses gives to us. For example, a baby or an animal can smell the gas leak, but it can never make sense of it, it can not identify what the gas leak is, and hence only when a baby grows up, and learns to reason for itself, than and only then will it have the notion of what the gas leak is. For Kant, the human mind imposed structures on the external world, in order for it to be made sense of. The question of how the external world exists, or rather what it is, invites the inquiry into what matter, time and space are. Paul Davies notes (P.144) that science is only possible because we live in an orderly universe. For Kant, this was not so, science was indeed impossible, and the universe was not orderly, the orderliness was merely a figment of our imagination. Science could only deal with the phenomenal, the world as it has been conjured by our minds, though the noumena is outside of its scope. Hence, science can only concern itself with epistemology, not metaphysics. This certainly does not necessitate a materialist ontology, it is a mistake to believe that science supports a materialistic perspective. Science is ontological neutral, ontology is a question of metaphysics which science can not concern itself with. It can theoretically adapt a materialistic or a non-materialistic perspective, but it can not declare either of the two is true, it can only adapt an ontology of this or that kind in order to establish a framework of ideas on which to build its inquiry on. Hence it is only means to an end, and we all must have metaphysical beliefs in order to ask meaningful questions, and science must engage in this field of metaphysics(ontology) in order to proceed to epistemology. Therefore it sets its foot on the province of metaphysics, but does not go so far as to build a tent on it, it only plays with metaphysical questions, but does not endeavor to answer them. Science can only answer the questions of epistemology, and epistemology must necessarily confine itself to the world of our senses, or the phenomena while allowing itself very little prospect of transcendental ( metaphysical) knowledge, as it must be purely speculative and hence will not have a high enough degree of probability in order to be accepted as reliable knowledge. I follow Popper’s doctrine of fallibilism in discerning what knowledge is, which is a question that lies at the heart of epistemology, as I have maintained, epistemology is an endeavor to understand the world of the affairs within the range of our senses. According to Karl Popper, there is no such thing as absolute certainty, and therefore what we should regard as the truth is what we consider to be the most likely to be true with the given set of circumstances. It is not something that shall be seen as the eternal truth, but something that is accepted only tentatively, hence the theory that we see as true today, must be declared to be false when something better arrives. For example, Einstein’s quantum physics, at the time had, we should extrapolate (75 points out of 100 in terms of truth value), today his theory is not regarded as completely false, but superseded by something that has been perceived as having a higher degree of veracity to it, for instance a theory that has 75.2 points out 100. Truth/falsehood must be assessed on a continuum, what is true is what appears to us to be the most likely to be true at the current moment. We should say that in order for a theory to be considered a moderately stable one, or one that qualifies as reliable knowledge, it should receive at least 30 points out of 100. Metaphysical ideas, since they have so little of the verifiable essence in the phenomenal world, are so unstable, that they can never be seen as something that will likely stand out as true later on and could be easily contravened by even a small force of opposition. Hence, they could never be awarded more than 10 points, this means that they can never be thought of as reliable knowledge, and therefore the best they can do for us is to maintain that there is very little prospect of knowing the real world, as opposed to none at all.