Eric Wasiolek

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"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deism

Philosophical Papers - December 17, 2020

 

I believe the same thing I did in high school, in an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent force that created the universe.  But nowadays I call myself a Deist.  The Deists, as were the people who created the constitution of the United States, they were not Christians, they were Deists, believe that there is a God that created the universe, but then left it.  This is an extremely sensible belief.  Human affairs seem to be entirely the product of human choices.  There doesnít seem to be any divine intervention.  The universe is MECHANISTIC, run by the laws of physics and genetics.  A child who dies of cancer would be the product of a cruel god to give pain and a short life to someone who is innocent, but under the Deist view, the childís body is just a mechanism that went wrong, as a car thatís mismanufactured.   God created the mechanism and now the universe runs according to that mechanism.  In the human world there is volition, which is the only thing that doesnít follow the laws of physics, it has no prior cause.  Without it there is no intention, and therefore our legal system would crumble.  Our exercise of volition is the essence of subjective consciousness and what accounts for human behavior and history.  Whether consciousness can be aphysical depends on what happens after this life, if anything, which we do not know.  But, all of the evidence on animal and human consciousness is that consciousness is a physical process caused by neurons.  However, we donít know how the universe is ultimately structured, all we know is what we can know from the standpoint of this life, so we canít know what exists after life, if anything.  Epistemologically you have to be an agnostic, as Kant showed.  There are valid arguments both for the existence and non-existence of God, which leads to an antimony of pure reason.  I.e., it is not something we can know.  So even my claim of Deism is admittedly belief that is not true justified belief (=knowledge), just belief.  The same is true of life after death, or the continuation of consciousness after death, that is an antimony of pure reason and hence something else we canít know.

Thatís my belief.  I donít subscribe to any formal religion, as I think they are whacky and based upon false beliefs and myths.    The jews and muslims at least worship a god and not a person, but the jews believe in Moses and that he parted the waters, which is a bunch of BS, and the muslims use their religion to justify menís power over women.  So, I donít subscribe to either.

I donít believe that the universe created itself.  I donít believe order can come from chaos by itself.  The existence of life and how it arose from inanimate chemicals is extremely mysterious, science still has not figured that one out.  So, we live on a planet that is very rare, although probably not unique, in that itís just the right distance from the sun not to be dessicated or frozen (you need liquid water for life).  The existence of consciousness is also extremely mysterious, with all we know about the brain, we still have no idea how it creates subjective experience.

I differ from some Deists, who are not all one lot, in that I believe the universe is a mechanism but that free will somehow exists (Kant has an explanation of how this is so), and that there is no intervention by God, but that all evil is the result of human bad intention (intention to harm), i.e., we have made our own mess.  God is not involved.  God created the universe, I reason from the evidence of science, but either left it or observes but doesnít intervene in human or animal affairs (we are on our own).  On the existence of life after death, I do not know, God may have made us mortal or not, if anything can exist after death it would be consciousness which is extremely perplexing to science, neuroscience, and physicalists.  I believe in volition or free will in animals and men.  We clearly have in this lifetime volitional consciousness as do animals.  I do like the idea of reincarnation i.e., based upon the quality of life you have lived you are whisked into a new situation somewhere else in the universe, a better situation if your intentions and actions have been largely good and worse if they have been not so good.  We have perhaps a journey of learning across lifetimes.  It seems to me that the physical and biological and logical (consider math equations) universe is all based upon balances and if there is a metaphysical universe it must be based upon balances as well, hence I like the idea of karma.  A simple explanation of karma is whatever you did will be done to you, that is balance.

There may be no life after death but if so then there is no universal justice.  Those who have done evil are never corrected and those who are innocent and harmed are never redeemed in this lifetime.  Universal justice only exists if there is life after death.  There may not be and we just have an injust universe.  Seems like a bad design if so. So, a universe with no life after death would be both one without universal justice and hence a universe that stays unbalanced.  This seems to me to be contrary to the universe where in all of physics, chemistry, biology and logic and mathematics (possibly non-physical as for example it has no extent),everything is in balance, and yet we would have a moral universe that is completely out of balance.  That would be a very inconsistent and even contradictorily designed universe.  (Understand here that justice is balance, that is why it is always represented  as  a scale).  Now a physicalist would say yes there are balances in physics, chemistry, biology and logic and mathematics (which the physicalists have to somehow explain as physical even though it has no extent, math has to be explained as just how the brain works), but there is no moral universe there is just an organism, homo sapiens, that makes rules that some of the species follows and others donít.  I think however, we donít know and canít know the ultimate structure of the universe, and that all of science and all human knowledge comes from this lifetime and what is observable to a creature with our senses.  How do we know that all we know through science is all there is?  We would be presumptuous to assume that.

Eric, remember some of the problems of the physicalist account, e.g. that everything physical has extent whereas an idea, concept, logic, math, etc. donít clearly have any extent.  But a physicalist would have to argue a concept, idea, logic, and math DO have extent, they must be physical as there is only the physical and their extent is the extent of the neurons which compute the concept or idea.  It still is completely unclear how the firings of a set of neurons IS the subjective experience of a mathematical concept.

Justice is a very simple concept.  It is a concept of balance. 

Copyright Eric Wasiolek December 17, 2020

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