November 25, 2020
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Do you think the end point, the eventual end point, is, at some point, going to be the death of theology? Because it seems like we’re seeing that in real time.
Rick Rosner: The end point of theology, do you think that science will always just kill theology dead? Is that what you’re asking?
Jacobsen: Asymptotically kill it.
Rosner: Yes. I would, in the manner of presidential candidates at a debate. We are not going to exactly answer that question when I answer a different question, which is: I don’t think that science will kill humanity dead, kill human values. In fact, you’ve been working on this yourself.
We’ve been working on it together. But under IC consciousness is an unavoidable, not uncommon thing. It is going to arise; unless, it is specially constrained. Statistically, it is going to arise. At this point, we only know linear consciousness.
That is, consciousness that exists in a being. We can imagine it existing in an engineered being, though we’ve only seen it so far in evolved beings. But regardless whether evolved or engineered in a being who exists, who lives across linear time for us, one-dimensional time, it is possible to speculate that you could at least engineer universes, designer universes. that have other than three spatial dimensions.
You need causality, which tends to really lock into a linear time. But it is possible to imagine you could develop other kinds of causality. For instance, there’s a pretty good science fiction comedy called Galaxy Quest, have you seen it?
Jacobsen: What is it called?
Rosner: Galaxy Quest.
Rosner: All right. So, if you haven’t seen it, it is, for people who might be listening or reading this, who haven’t seen it. It is about the cast of a show exactly like Star Trek.
Jacobsen: This is with Tim Allen.
Jacobsen: I love that show.
Rosner: And it is like 10 or 15 years old, you’ve seen it, right?
Jacobsen: Yes. It is a decent and funny show.
Rosner: It is a great to good movie. I, personally, don’t like Star Trek very much, but I love this movie. It is the cast of Star Trek. It is like 15 years after Star Trek has been canceled and the cast pretty much subsists on going to Comic-Con to fan-cons, signing autographs for 5 bucks an autograph and shit like that. They end up being basically kidnapped by an alien race that’s in a war with a more powerful alien race. The alien race that grabs the Star Trek crew has intercepted broadcasts of Star Trek and misunderstood those broadcasts to be the truth instead of fiction, and has grabbed this crew to pilot their ship against this great enemy. Shit ensues from there. The whole point of it is, because I’ve now forgotten the point I was trying to make… but yes, they’ve got a device, the aliens have this device that has like an eight-second reset.
But if you deploy this little time bomb, it’ll take you back to eight seconds in the past. So, anything that’s disastrous; if it took less than eight seconds, you have a shot at rectifying it. I could imagine that you could engineer a world that has an eight-second reset. So, time wouldn’t be perfectly linear because you’d always be able to like simulate, if you can reset eight seconds back into the past whenever you want. Basically, you’re pushing forward a simulation and checking out different little eight second futures. It doesn’t become set in stone. Until, you let it become. So, I’m reading another book by Lisa Barrett, who wrote How Emotions Are Made, called Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain. Her area is brain science.
Maybe, it is that the brain is just mostly predicted. The brain helps your body get ready for what happens next, both near next and slightly more later next. But if what’s going to happen, you can budget your bottle your physical resources better down to knowing how traffic life works, not to step in front of a car. You’ve managed your body better than somebody who steps in front of a car. But it is possible to imagine a type of a resettable simulation always running a simulated future. Until, you let that future become an actual thing that happens based on having your brain or your information processor having better and better predictive ability, a better ability to model and simulate the future. So, it is possible to imagine that taken to an extreme, that such an extreme that the time doesn’t work the way we experience it now.
I don’t know how hard it would be to work out how living in a flexible future would really work. But if you thought about it, and if you could have a novelist could figure it out, obviously, we don’t have that power over our world. You could certainly engineer a world like that within a video game, where you’ve got that constant eight-second reset. So, time would function somewhat differently. But anyway, that was a long digression to get back to. It is hard to imagine a time like on other planets where conscious beings have evolved working in universes that aren’t engineered and planets where shit it engineered. It seems unlikely that you’d get creatures, conscious beings that don’t have the same existential issues that we do.
They live linearly. They have all the issues of being evolved beings or as technology gets there, being engineered beings with all the issues that we have with mortality, scarcity, morality. So, it is possible to imagine entire galaxies and universes where most of the beings within that universe are dealing with the same root existential philosophical moral issues. Because everybody’s pretty much made of the same shit, existing under the same physical constraints created by the same evolutionary and then engineered forces. So, as people who want to look up the shit we’ve talked about, we’ve talked about how morality is inescapable in an existent world. By tautology, an existent world is a world that can exist. So, you’re going to have morality, which you can also call humanity, though the simple practice of morality in the future will be less and less human.
But the issues behind existence will still be there. We’ll need address a lot of instances via a moral system, which, as we’ve discussed, are entwined with the preservation of order. The freedom to go about your life in a world that has enough stability that you’re not constantly struggling to survive or struggling not to die, constantly cowering in fear of death. To get back to the original question, will theology survive? Well, it survives less well than – well, it depends on what you call theology. But we could call it the creation of explanations for why the world is. The imagining of divine beings and divine forces with these imaginings being imagined before humanity or whatever other species is doing it, has the science to explain the world. It makes sense that theology generally predates science.
And then once science comes along, it really strips theology bare. You’re left with having to link the remains of theology to arguments about morality that arise consistent with the principles of existence. That morality is tied to order, tied to the collective good, the right that the conscious beings have to go about their business unmolested by overwhelming chaos, the right to order, basically. That’s an end place. Though you can take it a little farther and you can always look for theology at the very edges of what you’ve talked about with the God of the gaps, where God is left, where the possibility of God still exists – where science has not got to yet.
Jacobsen: Yes. I would take it as a closing window or door that never entirely can close. But as you get the evidence to kind of substantiate hypotheses and theories, to get mathematical principles, you close that door by bigger and bigger motions while never entirely closing it. Yet as that door closes, the holding of that position becomes less and less reasonable at a faster and faster pace.
Rosner: Except that there’s no such thing as absolute proof in the world. I mean, some people might argue that we will eventually find absolute proof. But most people don’t believe that. Especially most people who are kind of scientifically and mathematically educated, everybody without necessarily understanding mathematical or logical proofs or understand that they prove that you can’t prove shit, basically. Well, that’s the lesson of math and science. In the near future, we’ll come up with pretty decent arguments. I think you and I already have some of them on why existence has to exist. But those aren’t bullet proof arguments that can exist in a self contained way, and then in an absolutely irrefutable way. That still leaves room well, less and less room, but still always some room for the kindness of existence. There are many aspects of existence that are unkind.
The necessarily finite length of existence is like a bummer. But you can argue that the nature of things down to the very fucking… however deep you can go into the nature of things that this nature of things allows for any existence, which in turn allows for the existence of universes of any possible size, is a kindness that’s built into existence and even some tricky metaphysics beyond existence. If that metaphysics can even exist or that may be a spurious thing, that you need existence for… you can’t have the metaphysics without the existence. That’s a long standing, I would think, argument. Things like numbers with their platonic, perfect existence to those things. Are those things more existing than the everyday world and its sloppiness? And I’d argue that, “No, those perfect numbers are an artifact of existence rather than the other way around.” But at this point, I realize I’m talking shit and I reached the point where I’ve confused myself. Unless, you’ve got questions or things to add.
Jacobsen: Yes. When I think about it, I mean the idea of numbers and even colors and presentation as some other place with qualities and being platonic. If you think about it a bit more the argument is basically for some other metaphysical realm, that represents them either as kind of a mini map or is out there, and then you make your axis.
Rosner: Just waiting to be explored by like fleshy beings.
Jacobsen: Now, the people who tend to argue this way… So, taking a step back before taking a position, people who argue this way they are typically arguing either for Heidegger’s being or the transcendent in some way in kind of a traditional religious sense or the neo Platonists. that they’re making the same kind of arguments with mathematical objects or objects out there. Yet, they would be the individuals who would probably try to make human beings special in some way. We have this ability to access the space. Aren’t we special? And it seems the basis that we had with this whole issue that animals don’t have souls. So the justifying animal cruelty. I think about it a bit more, the implication would be that computers that do or are able to produce color and representation computation, to have no sense even.
They would be arguing what they are doing; that is, in and of itself, having a qualia in modern computers and, basically, somehow, being metaphysical not necessarily objects, but metaphysical and their operations as well. Yet, they probably wouldn’t want to make that kind of claim. But that’s the implication. Because basically, you just have a natural material object through time producing representations of both the world that it happens to be in or even imaginary things. They’re based out of those base elements that are already present from that experience. So, nothing’s ever truly evidence less. So, I would probably make the argument that it is the negation of this whole idea of some other transcendent realm, because the things that are being processed about the world are merely contained in the world. It is not jumping outside of it. If we’re assuming that about computers, we can assume about ourselves because we are built in it. Similarly, your remarks about the finitude of things, the finitude of math, of numbers that are given.
Rosner: Numbers to have infinities. Like the counting numbers that that like three point zero with an infinity of zeros. When we think we can imagine things that have infinite precision and we can do operations with numbers that have infinite precision doesn’t mean that there are actual infinities. It just means that we can come up with logical mathematical systems that assume infinity.
Jacobsen: So I would argue this is a relativity thing. In that, the infinity’s that we see; they’re more likely going to be apparent infinity. So, there’s a property of appearance to being a subjective object in the universe, an object with subjectivity. So, I would make the argument that, generally speaking, being a subject in a universe, processing through time; there’s no metaphysical extra property either being accessed or being derived about the universe. But you’re, basically, dealing with various forms of principles and relationships in and amongst the kind of objects that you have evolved and constructed over time. High levels of those get called mathematical principles or laws of nature, something like this.
Rosner: Yes. There are systems that there are self consistent systems that tend to crop up all over the place. Like number able objects and the mathematics behind just arithmetic pops up commonly in existing systems because their self consistency means they’re very existence.
Jacobsen: So I think you can make the argument there. So, what people have been claiming is a metaphysical can be inverted.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
(Updated July 25, 2019)
*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*
According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing here, Rick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher Harding, Jason Betts, Paul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.
He has written for Remote Control, Crank Yankers, The Man Show, The Emmys, The Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercial, Domino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.
Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.
Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and Editor-in-Chief of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal (ISSN 2369-6885). Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and the advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.
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