Ask A Genius 408 – All for the Price of Time: New Logic, New Science, and New Gods
October 10, 2018
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Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is this God proof you’ve been thinking about for the last little bit?
Rick Rosner: It is a super sloppy and unrigorous proof that some time in the future. We will discover an omniscient and/or omnipotent God or gods. The crux or spine of the proof is that we’ve been wrong every single time in history.
Initially, the Greeks and Romans had a bunch of gods. Then the major religions that replaced them – Christianity and Islam – tended towards singular or solo gods. One big God in the universe.
Scientific-based or science-based versions of the world replaced those gods. For the past 200, 300, or 400 years, we have had an increasing belief in scientific and naturalistic explanations for everything.
It goes against the previous 10,000-year of belief. The proof that we’re going to be wrong in our scientific beliefs is that we’ve been wrong about everything leading up to those beliefs.
Even if you grant science being the true version of things, that has only been 4% of the last 10,000 years. So, we have been way wrong 90%+ of the time. It is a strong argument that as time goes on and we learn more about the universe; the odds that there is a purely cold and random universe explanation for everything.
The odds that that viewpoint will stand without being corrected by later discoveries and insights are pretty low. If we drew a quadrant or a grid with the various general types of belief in gods, atheism, agnosticism, monotheism, polytheism, and all the different degrees of belief and flavors of belief and non-belief, the idea that any part of that grid is off-limits to justified beliefs in the future might be wrong because we’ve been so wrong in the past.
You and I could imagine a semi-naturalistic world with a bias towards increasing information, which has room for plenty of god-like entities but none of which are the ultimate creators of anything and none of which is omnipotent.
Even if that becomes substantiated, I do not think that is reasonable to think that that is the endpoint. I think our understanding of things will keep expanding over time and become more rooted in or based on what we discover about the universe and the logic behind the universe: the rules of existence behind the universe.
There are plenty of places in that logic – that future logic – where crazy surprises can lurk. Those surprises have an almost statistical tendency to overthrow previous beliefs. I am thinking that there is a non-zero chance in the future that we will end up believing in god-like things that would be shocking to the scientific thought of today, but wouldn’t align with the old forms of gods either.
It is not like there will be science and logic pursued into the future and then ending up with the Roman gods, and then end up with a form of old-school polytheism. But we may find hidden in the structures of logic and the structure of the universe that there is room for crazy twists in the belief about the nature of existence and what is behind it.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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