Friday, December 7, 2012

The GOD Hypothesis

H(0): Complexity in DNA or H2O or skeletal structure proves the case for an Intelligent Designer, GOD, who created / caused these impossibly unique combinations. Therefore we assume all life throughout the Universe is carbon-based and dependent upon liquid water, just like us.

H(a): Cause and effect are reversed. All matter yearns to get closer to Unity / Divinity. GOD is not the cause. GOD is the result or the destination   Many, many different life forms exist. We do not recognize them all, and some may be more successful than others, yet all are one in shared motive.  Similarly, there are many paths to the destination of GOD. We do not recognize all of them, and some may be more effective than others, yet all are valid in shared intent.



  1. H(0) PROOF is a very strong word.

    I am not sure how "complexity" proves the case for the existence of an Intelligent Designer. Six sided symmetry of a snowflake is complex, but does not mean that each flake was specifically designed. There is a natural process which causes things like snowflakes, things that my soul finds beautiful. This complexity only seems "impossibly unique" to me because my intellect and awareness is not developed to a point that I can understand the full process.

    I think the Intelligent Designer exists beyond what a mere human brain could fully grasp. I would caution against making the jump to assumptions based on what we think we understand with our human intellect.

    It's true that other life is likely carbon based and dependent upon liquid water... but that is because of the characteristics of Carbon (which bonds easily with many things and can create complex structures like sugars and proteins) and H2O which has both hydrogen and oxygen ions making it a fairly universal solvent. The physical universe as we understand it is built from the same elemental building blocks, but even these elements may act differently under different temperature and pressure environments than they do on Earth. It is quite possible that life of some kind could exist using a different chemistry that what we might imagine based on our limited sampling of places where life exists (N=1)

    H(a) Need there be destination? What if the destination is where we already are? As time/place/awareness shifts, our destination shifts with it so that we are already arrived. We are an expression of the life of the Earth which is an expression of the life in the Universe which may be an expression of the life of God.

    I have no answers for this. I look at what we currently understand about cosmology and the expansion of space time and wonder how this could support the idea that matter yearns for Unity. The expansion of the Universe is not slowing down and then starting to collapse- it is speeding up!

    It seems that matter (if it could yearn) tends to yearn toward more isolation.


    1. I know one cannot "prove" a hypothesis. A simple way to undermine an argument is to tuck the word "prove" in there! Point taken. I would like to show the Null to be false, but I made it a little too easy for myself!

      Part of the conversation I am interested in addressing is the common assertion that "life" will exist elsewhere in the Universe only on places similar to Earth. Looking for life as we know it implies that all life must be similar to the way it has developed here in this environment. This is consistent with the understanding that a Creator launched the Universe into being and then caused elements (like carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) to come together in certain ways and in certain places.

      What if, instead, the Creator seeded the Universe and life exists on every single planet, only the form of it is not recognizable to our awareness? What if consciousness is really the spark of divinity in all living things, and the point of life is not the development of our individual character but the perfection of Universal consciousness?

      I very much like your idea that we may have already arrived at our intended destination. In fact, I would go along with the idea that we are where we are supposed to be--that this is the exact destination for this particular moment in space-time. However, I see so much imperfection in the level of consciousness on display, I cannot help but hope that as a species we are not fully arrived just yet.

  2. The Null Hypothesis H(0) and its logical opposite or alternative, the Action Hypothesis H(a) are meant to be diametrically opposed. If the Null is false, then its opposite is not false.

    The Null is supposed to carry the meaning that GOD as Master Architect designed, created, and caused the Universe into being. The Big Bang was the start of a widening chain of events leading to more complexity, more diversity, more specialization. Adam and Eve were made in GOD's image. No one looks like Adam or Eve anymore.

    Just as an exercise, I tried to describe the opposite of that scenario which still involves a Big Bang moment and the process of evolution and some kind of Ultimate Force. The opposite of GOD as Cause is God as Effect. What if evolution produces superficial diversity while on a deeper level objects are more alike than they seem and evolving toward Unity? If people survive on Earth for another 10,000 years, will they be more similar to each other or more different from each other compared to the diversity among people today?

    The Null says that humans have increased in diversity since Adam and Eve. The Action says that humans are becoming more like Adam and Eve, i.e., more like GOD.

  3. Hi Dave,

    Interesting post. If you don't mind me taking a stab...

    Might a simpler null might be the nonexistence of god given that, as Laplace apocryphally remarked to Napoleon, our models of the universe work just as well without the god hypothesis?

    Taking your dichotomy on its own terms though, it does seem that god as effect would rule out god as cause in a pantheistic kinda way.

    Not quite sure what is meant by Unity above, so I might be missing a crucial element here.


    1. Sean, my friend, you are more than welcome to take a stab! As always, bring the biggest skewer you can carry!

      My approach to design of experiments is based on these ideas: (a) science is about inquiry, not polemics, so we are asking challenging questions which are answerable, not debating unanswerable questions; (b) to set up an either-or situation, the Null and the Action hypotheses must be mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive, and opposite; and (c) there must be what Popper calls, falsifiability, which is to say, the Action hypothesis must be written in such a way that it can be shown to be false through rigorous inquiry. If the Null's opposite is decidedly false, then we can be confident that the Null is NOT false. What can one learn about the Null, if its opposite is of no definitive value?

      I am not claiming that my hypotheses are good examples of the design of experiments approach. Rather, I am seeking to get a good discussion going! So far, so good...

      So the issue I have with setting up an experiment where the Null is "No GOD" is that the Action then becomes "GOD." I can be reasonably sure that there is No GOD to the extend that I can be sure that the God hypothesis is false. The question whether there is a GOD is not answerable scientifically. We want an inquiry based on an hypothesis and an opposing hypotheses, one of which is falsifiable. Whether GOD exists leads to more of a debate of doctrine and the question is not likely to be resolved any time soon.

      There are many definitions of GOD. If we take the term "Life Force" as a substitute for GOD, it's possible to set up a dichotomy worthy of scientific inquiry. Is Life Force the cause or the effect of life? (I guess Life Force could be both cause and effect, which I admit would kill the experiment as written.) In my construction, Life Force must be cause OR effect of Life.

      Here is the main thrust: if the Life Force aka GOD launched all life in one cataclysmic event, such as a Big Bang or Creation, then one would expect to see increasing differentiation and specialization in successive generations of living things over time. One would also expect to see certain consistencies of design bearing witness to a Master Architect, such as common skeletal structure, chemical composition, and biological processes. Life on other planets would likely be carbon-based and dependent on liquid water for survival. Humans fashioned in GOD's image would represent the epitome of creation. In this view, there is quality and there is morality. For example, we can say that cancer is bad.

      If, on the other hand, the Life Force were the goal, i.e., the effect rather than the cause, then the seed of life could be found thriving in many forms and in many climes throughout the Universe. There could be great variety in form and function. Some life forms might even be undetectable with human perception. Here is the crux of the matter: if life forms are being pulled toward GOD, they would take on increasingly similar characteristics, evolving to become more GOD-like, more ideal, closer to Unity.

      In one view, GOD launched life by causing it. Think of an explosion and life becoming increasingly diverse as it hurtles outward. In the opposite view, life started with infinite complexity. All living things carry a Divine spark. The will to live is valueless and moral-free. Cancer has as much right to live as healthy tissue. If you stop watering a carrot, the plant will concentrate its sugars. To then eat that carrot, a person will taste the sweetness of that carrot's desire to stay alive, to survive.

      The fittest survive. The evolution of living things brings them either to specialized diversity OR unified divinity. Which proposition is more likely true? Which best matches reality? Is GOD the cause, or the effect?

  4. Hey Dave,

    A blogger who welcomes criticism? This must be a trap, but why not.

    I actually think god's existence is answerable with science as long as the hypothetical god is supposed to intervene in nature. Studies on intercessory prayer would be one example.

    But yeah, if your god is (like Spinoza's?) indistinguishable from nature then I can see why you would decouple the question of how life evolves from that of god's existence, because god in this case is unfalsifiable. Unparsimonious, too, in my opinion but that's a different round at the bar right?

    I think one challenge for this diversity-to-unity model you're expressing would be to parse out which elements can avoid a similar unfalsibiability problem. Not sure the ultimate-purpose and undetectable-life stuff can avoid the fate of Russell's teapot. On the other hand, we probably could test for trends of unification within known evolution theory. Convergence would be one example where, say, the eye has evolved independently perhaps a dozen times.

    Trouble is, this totally naturalistic approach might rob your quest of its otherwordly awesomeness.



    1. Sean,

      It WAS a trap! I was only hoping you'd invite me to another round the bar. I accept your invitation.

      Beer, even the best beer, is an affordable luxury, so I doubt there will be any accusations of parsimony between us--at least not as far as the tab is concerned!

      à votre santé,


  5. I'm game...let's shoot for something in the new year

    Happy Holidays :)