Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

ON A RESONANCE THEORY OF THOUGHT AND SPIRITUALITY
Karl Jaspers Forum ^ | August 21, 2001 | Varadaraja V. Raman

Posted on 08/02/2003 4:43:59 PM PDT by betty boop

click here to read article


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-50 ... 451-500501-550551-600601-619 last
To: tacticalogic
chaos as being data absent corelation, and some coherent corelation being the difference between data and information.

Right, like that. But then, what is meant by data, correlation, coherent, information, chaos aside from this definition. And then, what do they do, what do they create? More data or something entirely different and unexpected based on what is known about data?

601 posted on 08/22/2003 3:34:10 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 599 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
Interesting. Are order and chaos perception or reality?
602 posted on 08/22/2003 3:34:35 PM PDT by tacticalogic (Controlled application of force is the sincerest form of communication.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 600 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
And then, what do they do, what do they create? More data or something entirely different and unexpected based on what is known about data?

Abstract concepts, as with all tools, create nothing. The question is what do we created with them. IMHO.

603 posted on 08/22/2003 3:40:01 PM PDT by tacticalogic (Controlled application of force is the sincerest form of communication.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 601 | View Replies]

To: tacticalogic
perception or reality

At the moment, concepts. Maybe not even that. Just objects, items. Something described in a scientific way.

604 posted on 08/22/2003 3:41:11 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 602 | View Replies]

To: tacticalogic
Abstract concepts, as with all tools, create nothing.

These aren't concepts, abstract or not. There are no concepts in science. Concepts include predicates; there are no predicates here.

605 posted on 08/22/2003 3:45:31 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 603 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
At the moment, concepts. Maybe not even that. Just objects, items. Something described in a scientific way.

It strikes me as something of a paradox, then. "Order" exists only through scientific description, yet what we call "science" seems to have the concept of order at it's very foundation.

606 posted on 08/22/2003 3:50:13 PM PDT by tacticalogic (Controlled application of force is the sincerest form of communication.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 604 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
At the moment, concepts.

These aren't concepts,

I'm going to take a break on that note.

607 posted on 08/22/2003 3:53:12 PM PDT by tacticalogic (Controlled application of force is the sincerest form of communication.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 605 | View Replies]

To: tacticalogic
Order in math means several different things depending on the type of equation. Generally, it is the value of a number, a quantity as in differential equation of order 1, order 2. Or order gives rise to numbers. In a mathematical set it is a specific sequence where you then have a first element, a second element, an nth element. Order in society isn't a number at all.
608 posted on 08/22/2003 3:57:10 PM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 606 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
The foundations of ethical thought and behavior have rarely (if ever) followed the dictates of pure reason, and virtually all such changes have historically resulted from the influence of people with the capacity for profound religious awareness."

There are several reasons why I think this is true. One is that without a moral awareness of absolute right and wrong a person cannot help but think first of himself, his family and friends rather that others.

Another reason is how could such an ethic come about? True morals exist only in the absence of force and if mankind is free to decide on an ethic, how could just one of the miriad of different views prevail?

There have been many philosophers which have tried to establish a moral code of conduct, yet you do not see anyone leading their lives around the ethics of Aristotle, Kant, or whoever. They conduct their lives according to the tenets of religion (if they follow any moral code at all).

609 posted on 08/22/2003 7:20:41 PM PDT by gore3000 (ALS - Another good Christian banned from FR)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 517 | View Replies]

To: RightWhale
Order in society isn't a number at all.

What happened to "order is statistical"?

610 posted on 08/22/2003 8:05:18 PM PDT by tacticalogic (Controlled application of force is the sincerest form of communication.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 608 | View Replies]

To: tacticalogic
And how is it you know God's concepts?

Good question. I don't know much about them compared to what He knows, but I know enough about them, to get by, through His revelation by means of His Word and Breath (the text He had recorded, collated and preserved and the Spirit He provides those who personally accept Him.)

611 posted on 08/22/2003 11:04:44 PM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love." | No I don't look anything like her but I do like to hear "Unspun w/ AnnaZ")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 594 | View Replies]

To: Right Wing Professor; Alamo-Girl; Phaedrus; unspun
What principally distinguishes Plotinus from both Plato and his immediate predecessors is the assumption of a principle higher than the nous. This assumption proceeds from the requirement of unity as an attribute of the highest principle; the nous, as at once subject and object of perception, nooun and nooumenon is twofold. Therefore something higher must be sought, which is absolute unity, the One, identical with the Godhead and wholly transcendent -- the first cause, the source of all thinking and being, all the good and beautiful, and all activity.

I gather you don't "do cosmology," Doc, and that you don't see the Universe as being at some level one unified whole.

Must run and finish packing for my vacation. Hope we can revisit this topic later.

612 posted on 08/23/2003 8:34:05 AM PDT by betty boop (Bohr is brutally realistic in epistemological terms. -- Kafatos & Nadeau)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 588 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
I gather you don't "do cosmology," Doc, and that you don't see the Universe as being at some level one unified whole.

What I don't do is theorize ahead of the data :-). However, I can respect and do my best to help inquiry without being particularly sanguine about its likelihood for success, and it did strike me that someone who's taking the particular path you're taking might want to read Plotinus; that is assuming you haven't already.

I do read somewhat eclectically. The idea of the universe as a unified whole is common to all sorts of religions - but some of your speculations did seem have to find an echo in Plotinus, a thinker in the western tradition, who was influenced by orthodox Christianity, Plato, and the gnostics he ended up condemning.

Enjoy your vacation.

613 posted on 08/23/2003 10:20:06 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 612 | View Replies]

To: Right Wing Professor; Alamo-Girl; unspun; Phaedrus; logos; gore3000; RightWhale; ...
What principally distinguishes Plotinus from both Plato and his immediate predecessors is the assumption of a principle higher than the nous [i.e., intellect, reason]. This assumption proceeds from the requirement of unity as an attribute of the highest principle; the nous, as at once subject and object of perception, nooun [the knower or “observer”] and nooumenon [what can be known or “observed”] is twofold. Therefore something higher must be sought, which is absolute unity, the One, identical with the Godhead and wholly transcendent -- the first cause, the source of all thinking and being, all the good and beautiful, and all activity.

Hello Professor! Sorry not to get back sooner. Thanks for your kind wishes for my vacation. I was thinking of you during my week at the beach. May we continue where we left off?

As much as I love Plato, I have long regarded Plotinus has having “improved” on him in a certain way that’s important to me. For he makes explicit what Plato only hints at (e.g., in his ideas of apeiron and epikeina -- the depth or ground of human (and natural) existence; and its “beyond,” respectively). And that is the one transcendent God, absolute unity and first cause that is outside of space and time.

I do not regard this simply as a theological statement. It is also a statement in logic. The knower and the known cannot be brought together, such that meaningful knowledge can result, unless there is a common plenum that can accommodate the two terms – which, it seems to me, takes the form of a fundamental universal law (which may be as simple to state as "the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts"). To my way of thinking, the knower is not the maker of fundamental laws; but by means of them the world of nature and the cosmos becomes intelligible to the human mind.

Here is where orthodox Christian theology and reason come together in complete resonance: The Church “holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason.” That is, God can be known by man through his creation. I am convinced God gave us reason and free will – the two essential attributes of the immaterial soul (more on this in a bit) -- because he wants us to understand the universe he made.

Yet, as Rabbi Tarfon put it, “It is not your part to finish [this] task; yet neither are you free to desist from it.” Complete knowledge of the laws of the universe (i.e., creation) is never the possession of any man, given the finitude of the individual human life span. It is the evolving work of the human race over time. And let me say it truly appears the physical sciences over the past century have made enormous strides toward this goal.

Speaking of the greatest achievement (IMHO) of science possibly of all time: I have noticed absolutely nothing in orthodox (i.e., Copenhagen Interpretation) quantum theory that refutes or in any way undermines another fundamental teaching of the Church – the teaching about the soul. Rather, the logic of CI seems to confirm this teaching.

The Church teaches the soul is “the seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material.”

Now when we speak of “eternity,” we are not necessarily speaking of an infinity of time. In this context, it may be better to say we are speaking of a state or condition of timelessness. Fundamentally, “eternal” and “timeless” are synonyms. (“Infinity” can take on quite other meaning, especially in mathematics.) In this connection, however, I think timeless is the better word. For timeless things do not change in substance or principle; and I believe that is the fundamental meaning of the quoted text.

As physicist Stephen Barr of Notre Dame points out, “When religious believers say that we have a ‘spiritual soul’…they are not referring to something occult or magical; they are referring to the faculties of intellect and free will that are familiar to and constantly employed by all human beings.” So in effect, when people like Julian Huxley (or latterly Richard Dawkins) denigrate the soul as some kind of fictitious “ghost in the machine,” to my mind what they are really denigrating (whether they are aware of it or not) is human intellect and free will.

Indeed, the logic of quantum theory would seem to require that the observer possess at least one immaterial quality: There must be something about the observer that cannot be drawn into the “meta-system” of the Schroedinger probability amplitude being measured. We can define the meta-system as the total of the probability wave for the quantum object under investigation plus the probability waves for the physical equipment being employed in the experiment, plus the probability waves of all the physical “parts” of the human experimenter. The point is, if the observer himself is swallowed up in the total probability wave of the experiment or measurement itself, no observation can take place at all. No probability can ever be realized as actual. Quantum theory has no way to get to “actuality,” absent an observer: QM only predicts the relevant probability distributions; not at any time can its method predict actual outcomes.

Absent the observer, there could never be any improvement in the state of human knowledge at all. Indeed, knowledge has no meaning whatsoever, without a mind to know it. But if all mind is, is an epiphenomena of the brain, then the brain – as a physical system – would have been engulfed in the probability amplitutude of the meta-system just described above, and (presumably) the mind along with it. And along with the mind, the “observer” – thus any possibility of a measurement or observation. Thus any gain of new knowledge -- the by-product of observation/measurement -- is utterly precluded.

Professor, you mentioned that the idea of the universe as a unified whole “is common to all sorts of religions.” This is true, of course. But the idea also appeals to certain scientists – any scientist at all who’s working on a unified field theory, for instance. It seems clear to me that physicist Heinz R. Pagels, for another example, is thinking along the same lines, given the title of his valuable book, The Cosmic Code: Quantum Physics as the Language of Nature (Simon and Schuster, 1982) which I just had the pleasure of reading.

Pagels – who gives no evidence of being anything other than a “religious skeptic” in these pages – can say “I think the universe is a message written in code, a cosmic code, and the scientist’s job is to decipher that code.”

Now a message written in code is an encrypted message. Any encrypted message has two parts: the coded message itself, and its decryption key. You need both to read the message. If you have the former without the latter, there is no way to translate it. If you have the latter but not the former, you have nothing to translate. It stands to reason that if science is in the business of deciphering the message, it must do so by first elucidating the decryption key – the laws of the universe. And then we can “read the message.”

Message encryption/decryption sounds like yet another Niels Bohr-style “complementary,” writ large. Still the question goes begging: Who sent the message?

That question is not a proper question for science per se. Of all people, Bohr seems to have understood that perfectly. His quantum epistemology – a consequence of this understanding that is the heart and soul of the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum theory – is an astonishing, rigorous work of extraordinary beauty. But it also implies that what science cannot do needs to be done in some other branch of human intellectual endeavor.

RWP, you said, “What I don't do is theorize ahead of the data.” Well, you certainly can’t do that in the microworld of quantum mechanics. But although you may work in that microworld (??? just guessing), you don’t live there; you live here with the rest of us, in the macroworld of common human experience. I sincerely hope that the “two cultures” of the physical sciences and “the humanities” can once again start talking to each other (assuming anything of what used to be called the humanities still survives today). Pagels writes:

“What divides us is the difference between those who give priority to intuitions and feelings and those who give priority to knowledge and reason – different resources of human life. Both impulses live inside of us; but a fruitful coexistence sometimes breaks down, and the result is an incomplete person.”

Not to mention a divided and increasingly dysfunctional society and culture.

I sense you are a man of faith, RWP, that you have faith in reason and the fundamental intelligibility of the universe. (Me, too!!!) This tension of faith and reason is what transforms human life – individual and social.

Pagel writes of this “tension”: “Our capacity for fulfillment can come only through faith and feelings. But our capacity for survival must come from reason and knowledge.”

Balancing this dynamic tension could become critically important for the survival prospects of the human race and our planet, and even beyond. Pagels has speculated about this. And so have Grandpierre and Kafatos, et. al….

Thanks for listening to me ramble, RWP. I had a lot of fun struggling with this problem. And thanks so much for writing, oh eclectic reader!!! (I easily believe you are that! P.S.; Born comes this week....)

614 posted on 09/01/2003 4:39:00 PM PDT by betty boop (Bohr is brutally realistic in epistemological terms. -- Kafatos & Nadeau)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 613 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
Welcome back! Thank you so much for the excellent essay!
615 posted on 09/01/2003 7:35:33 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 614 | View Replies]

Comment #616 Removed by Moderator

To: Uno Animo
New Age trash won't fill that spiritual void.

Quantum theory is "New Age trash"???

617 posted on 09/01/2003 9:48:30 PM PDT by betty boop (Bohr is brutally realistic in epistemological terms. -- Kafatos & Nadeau)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 616 | View Replies]

To: Doctor Stochastic
Complementarity only applies to non-commuting variables. It's a technical result of limited scope. Pushing complementarity outside of matrix mechanics is analogous to extrapolating relativity theory to cultural relativism.

Tell that to Niels Bohr, Doc. It was he who first pushed the complementarity analogy into the "macroworld," most famously with his observation that male and female constitute such a complementarity. He had others as well.

618 posted on 09/03/2003 6:33:39 AM PDT by betty boop (Bohr is brutally realistic in epistemological terms. -- Kafatos & Nadeau)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 581 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
Indeed, the logic of quantum theory would seem to require that the observer possess at least one immaterial quality: There must be something about the observer that cannot be drawn into the “meta-system” of the Schroedinger probability amplitude being measured. We can define the meta-system as the total of the probability wave for the quantum object under investigation plus the probability waves for the physical equipment being employed in the experiment, plus the probability waves of all the physical “parts” of the human experimenter. The point is, if the observer himself is swallowed up in the total probability wave of the experiment or measurement itself, no observation can take place at all. No probability can ever be realized as actual. Quantum theory has no way to get to “actuality,” absent an observer: QM only predicts the relevant probability distributions; not at any time can its method predict actual outcomes.

Absent the observer, there could never be any improvement in the state of human knowledge at all. Indeed, knowledge has no meaning whatsoever, without a mind to know it. But if all mind is, is an epiphenomena of the brain, then the brain – as a physical system – would have been engulfed in the probability amplitutude of the meta-system just described above, and (presumably) the mind along with it. And along with the mind, the “observer” – thus any possibility of a measurement or observation. Thus any gain of new knowledge -- the by-product of observation/measurement -- is utterly precluded.

A fine exposition, bb, i.e. ALL of your post #614. You should indulge in these "beach ruminations" more frequently ... ;-}

619 posted on 09/03/2003 7:34:40 AM PDT by Phaedrus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 614 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-50 ... 451-500501-550551-600601-619 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson