Evil ? (was: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)

From: Bruno Marchal <marchal.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 16:46:56 +0100

Le 10-déc.-06, à 00:33, Tom Caylor a écrit :
> Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> Le 04-déc.-06, à 08:34, Tom Caylor wrote :
>>> The existence of a personal God who is not silent answers the
>>> questions
>>> in a way that an impersonal god or reality does not...
>> I certainly have a methodological problem with such an idea. This is
>> due to my motivation in the subject. I am searching an explanation of
>> what is a person, so assuming the existence of a person (any person,
>> godlike or not) seems to me to beg the question...
> In my view, your motivation is not large enough. I am also motivated
> by a problem: the problem of evil. I don't think the real problem of
> evil is solved or even really addressed with comp. This is because
> comp cannot define evil correctly. I will try to explain this more.
I agree that the problem of evil (and thus the equivalent problem of
Good) is interesting. Of course it is not well addressed by the two
current theories of everything: Loop gravity and String theory. With
that respect the comp hyp can at least shed some light on it, and of
course those "light" are of the platonic-plotinus type where the notion
of goodness necessitates the notion of truth to begin with. I say more
>> Note also that the major critics by the neoplatonists on Aristotle,
>> besides their diverging opinions on the nature of matter, is the
>> non-person character of the big unnameable, but then for Plotinus the
>> "second God" (the second primary hypostase is "personal"), and indeed
>> G* has a personal aspect from the point of view of the machine. I
>> agree
>> (comp agree) with Plotinus that the big first cannot be a person. The
>> second one can. To be sure Plotinus is not always completely clear on
>> that point (especially on his chapter on free-will).
> None of Plotinus' hypostases are both personal and free from evil (as
> well as infinite, which we agree is needed (but not sufficient, I
> maintain!) for the problem of meaning).
It is a key point. I agree. None of Plotinus hypostases are both
personal and free from "evil/good". Finding an arithmetical
interpretation of the hypostases could then give a hope toward an
explanation of goodness and evil.
Please note that 7/8 of the hypostases are "personal-views".
>> ...
>>> An impersonal origin results in everything
>>> finally being equal.
>> Why? This reminds me Smullyan describing two possible reactions of a
>> human in front of the comp hyp:
>> 1) The human does not trust himself and believes that machine are
>> stupid at the start. His reaction about comp is: "I am machine thus I
>> am as stupid as a machine".
>> 2) The human trust himself: his reaction with the comp hyp is "Cute,
>> it
>> means machine can be as nice as me".
> Where you can really see that numbers are impersonal is in the fact
> that they don't solve the problem of evil.
Why do you say that numbers are impersonal?
The scientific discourse, be it on numbers, machines, humans or Gods
has to be impersonal, but it would be an error to infer from that
numbers or machines or humans or gods are impersonal.
> Yes, Man is finite and cf
> Sartre, Plato etc. is not a sufficient integration point within himself
> for meaning.
Why? Recall that although comp makes the body finite, the 1-person
cannot be conceived as such, at least by the 1-person eself.
> But man, as a person, is also noble and cruel in his
> relationship with himself and other persons. With an impersonal core,
> the universe/multiverse is totally silent in this area.
As it should be. But with comp there is no universe/multiverse in that
sense. Comp generates truly, for logical and arithmetical reasons, a
conception of a highly interconnected whole where the difference
between appearances (psychological, physical, sensible, ...) comes from
the many person-point of view. Only the arithmetical truth is
0-personal, the seven other main hypostases are based on the notion of
person, which, thanks to the incompleteness theorem can be defined
through the modal nuances: p, Bp, Bp & p, Bp & Dp, Bp & Dp & p (viewed
from G (3-communicable) and G* (3-inferable but non 1-communicable).
> With an
> impersonal core, Man's alienation with himself and other persons is
> only because of chance. With an impersonal core, man is simply
> statistically out of line with the rest of the universe. With an
> impersonal core, the only possible definition of "right" vs. "wrong" is
> statistical (e.g. the average), and ultimately there is no difference
> between cruelty and non-cruelty.
Yes I can agree, but then you should be glad with comp, it explains
that the impersonal arithmetical core can generate the many personal
point of views.
> As Marquis de Sade said, "What is, is
> right".
This is because Sade makes the utterly devastating confusion between
mechanism and materialism. With comp Sade is probably the most
inconsistent philosopher we can imagine. I think Sade was not
completely unaware of that.
> If we were all tied to a computer which takes the average and
> spits it out as the current definition of "right", then after a while,
> if it weren't for meaningless random fluctuations, it would filter into
> a constant and we would all end up flat-lining.
You are talking like if we knew what computers are. With comp it can be
explained that we do not know, can not known, and will never know. We
are forced to be modest. You are talking like you feel to be superior
to computer.
Actually the "feeling to be superior" is one of the main comp source of
... evil.
Local competence can be measured and compared, but "goodness" "evil",
"consciousness", etc. are not measurable nor comparable.We have to be
humble and modest.
>>> Impersonal+complexity does not produce personal.
>> I would like to see a proof of that statement. The comp first person
>> seems to me to be a counterexample, unless you assume at the start the
>> negation of comp (and weaker-comp).
> See above paragraph. Impersonal+complexity produces something with
> evil intrinsically in the mix, and no real solution can exist. See
> below for more on this.
I am not even sure I grasp what you mean by "solution" in this context.
>>> This is the problem Plato had. He knew that you need absolutes in
>>> order to have meaning. Plato's gods weren't big enough to be the
>>> point
>>> of reference needed to define a person. The gods and fates were
>>> continuously fighting one another.
>> You are right, but Plato did not know about Church thesis, or
>> incompleteness.
>>> I know you get some nice relative
>>> forms, G*/G and all that. But in the end it is all meaningless.
>> You are quite quick here. Why would machine's beliefs and hopes be
>> meaningless?
> You are talking about relative meaning, meaning relative to the
> machine.
> This is why I said *in the end* it is all meaningless.
Why? You beg the point I think. At this stage of the development you
could be right, but you could be wrong.
> Meaning has to address evil and nobility. See below.
Of course, "meaning" has to address all sorts of meaning in any honest
TOE, but meaning like consciousness has a relation with the belief in a
reality, something utterly undecidable for the machine (it is of type
"Dt" (consistency) if you remember modal logic).
The GOOD exists because you can choose the path and this actually means
something because some path are better than other. For the same reason,
the evil exists because some path are worst.
>>> As
>>> Satre pointed out, no finite point has any meaning without an
>>> infinite
>>> reference point.
>> I totally agree with Sartre's point here. Church thesis is exactly
>> what
>> gives an absolute infinite reference point.
> OK, even saying for the sake of argument Church's Thesis gives an
> absolute infinite reference point. This is not sufficient for solving
> the problem of evil.
By itself no.
> When you change the language or reference frame
> from one machine to the other, suddenly evil (in one machine's
> perspective) gets redefined. This is the problem that happens for
> example in marriage. The two person's see each other as a machine in
> an impersonal universe,
This sentence just show that you have prejudice against machine. I mean
(forgetting 1500 years of confusion between state and religion, the
abandon of rationality in theology, etc.) you are using the word
"machine" in its pregodelian sense were a machine is a pure 3-person
construct. Thus I have to insist that this view of machines has been
shown to be mathematically wrong. Once a machine has enough
introspection power (precisely once she can prove the p -> Bp with p
sigma_1), then I don't see why two machines cannot make marriage where
they will see themselves in a personal universe.
You talk like Bruno (in Sylvie and Bruno, by Lewis Carroll). He said
once: "A good thing is that I hate spinach, because if I did like
spinach I would eat spinach, and that is really an idea I can't bear at
> and the cycle of "I'm withholding love or
> respect until I get love or respect from you" starts and doesn't end...
> until at least one person makes the choice to tap into (and hold onto)
> the ultimate Person who provides the infinite source of unconditional
> love), resulting in the manifestation of nobility rather than cruelty.
I can agree with you here (it is even a bit Plotinian), but such
thought have nothing to do with comp and mechanism.
>> ...
>>> Everything that there is is there. But this is the ultimate in
>>> begging
>>> the question. The question remains, why is everything (I see) there?
>>> Why do I exist?
>> We have to accept something, if only because we cannot explain prime
>> numbers without accepting the numbers, then comp explains why numbers
>> talk like if they were sensible person, like if they were not numbers,
>> like if they believe in a physical reality and beyond.
>> And above all, G* explains why those beliefs are correct.
>> I can indeed sum up a part of the interview by: machine will correctly
>> discover their unnameable self and G* will correctly prove that such a
>> self is not a machine from the first and third person point of view.
> My view is that, yes because of the limitations of finite systems, cf
> Godel incompleteness, certain things are unnameable *relative* to the
> system, BUT that this does not necessarily imply that the absolute core
> of Everything has to be unnameable by anyone. I claim that the
> absolute core of Everything is nameable by the core Himself, a Person.
> And He has told us His name: "I AM THAT I AM".
I am that I am too. I guess you too.
> He is infinite (we are
> not), and He is absolutely good and loving (we originally were and will
> be). More below.
Because we are finite we cannot know if he is absolutely good and
loving although we can hope for that. This depends of the idea that
your personal God is really the third hypostase (the first person, the
all-soul, etc.), not the first 0-personal one.
(It looks we could have just a vocabulary problem ...)
>>> Relative truth is ultimately useless when it comes to the end of my
>>> life.
>> I agree with you. It is really the discovery of Church thesis, which
>> introduces a lot of "absoluteness" in math (Godel found this
>> miraculous) that I have begin to take "mathematicalism" seriously.
> Great. But again, because of the problem of evil, "mathematicalism" is
> insufficient for a theory of absolutely Everything. The linguistics
> philosophers confine themselves to too small of a territory.
But after Godel, well in this case I should better refer to Tarski,
mathematicalism is far richer than "linguisticism". Many things are
unnameable, and there is root for absolute unnameability.
>>> I would paraphrase Brent Meeker and ask, "Why does 'blind' have to be
>>> the
>>> default?"
>> If "non blindness" is introduced as an hypothesis, it will prevent at
>> the start any possible impersonal (blind) explanation of "vision".
>> Like
>> putting consciousness in the neuron for explaining consciousness in
>> the
>> brain: this does not explain consciousness. Not only this does not
>> explain consciousness, but it makes the search of an explanation
>> almost
>> impossible.
> Is it not possible that reality indeed has a definite personal
> character, even at the core?
Recall that G* "knows" that the first and third person are equivalent.
Only the first person and the third person cannot know it (but they can
guess it, or hope for it, or fear it etc.). Just as a scientist
interested in understanding what a person is, I prefer to build on the
impersonal arithmetical truth instead of building from the third
hypostase (the first person, the most personal of all "divine"
hypostases). It is also mathematically much more easy.
> If so, then if you start with impersonal
> blindness, i.e. "Everything is random" no matter how orderly is appears
> locally,
But I would say that with comp (or BTW also with Everett quantum
universal wave) nothing is random. Randomness belongs in the first
person (plural) perception and measure ...
> then you will never find the definite personal character of
> the universe, because if you take this blind approach absolutely
> seriously you will always ignore order and character and personality as
> intrinsic. (Actually nobody does that consistently. See story at end.)
I criticize physicalism for being blind. Eliminative materialism even
vindicates such blindness. I show such "blindness" is just
mathematically incompatible with the comp hyp which begin to ask
persons if they are open for changing their body (and thus showing for
themselves that they are not equal to treir body).
Tom, your critics is fine for older, pregodelian, conception of
mechanism. But those old conception just don't fit what we have learned
>>> My response to Bruno addresses the assumption of
>>> impersonality.
>> I'm not convinced. The assumption of a personal God, like the
>> assumption of an impersonal physical universe, explains nothing. Imo.
>> It explains neither mind nor matter, nor ... God.
>> Now, I have much more evidence---empirical and theoretical--- for a
>> (probably impersonal and immaterial) God, than for a primitive
>> impersonal physical universe, which I take to be a locally useful FAPP
>> superstition which does not resist reflection and introspection, as I
>> try to illustrate with machine's introspection.
>> Bruno
>> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
> Here is more on the problem of evil:
> If we assume that there as been a continuous line of intrinsic evil in
> the universe (as the impersonal core has to), then there is an unbroken
> line between what man is now and what he has always been, i.e. man has
> always had a thread of cruelty. With this assumption, then the
> conclusion would have to be that of French thinker Charles Baudelaire,
> "If there is a God, He is the Devil". For example in (impersonal,
> pantheistic) Hinduism, there is constructive Vishnu and destructive
> Kali. Also, Albert Camus noted that with such a core there is no
> reason to stand against evil, for instance in helping widows and
> orphans in Christianity, because evil is just part of the way things
> intrinsically are. Finally, with such an impersonal core, with no
> ultimately good personal God, there is no hope of a qualitative change
> in man, since cruelty is intrinsic to the way man has always been.
I think you are begging the question. If man can discover that he has
some intrinsic cruelty then there is hope that he can progress.
As a platonist I certainly believe in things like Goodness, Justice,
Beauty etc. But they belongs to the type of unnameable things so that
even just naming it can generate Evil, Injustice, Uglyness, etc....
(they can be taught though, for example ... by examples).
> The "later Heidegger" saw that this assumption that "man, the way he
> is, is normal" leads to a dead end. However, his attempted solution
> was only an epistemological solution. He put the discontinuity at
> Aristotle, and called man's problem an epistemological abnormality,
> rather than a moral one. By "moral" I mean a rejection of our origin
> in the ultimately good Person. (I don't mean that evolution is false.
> I mean *ultimate* origin.) However, Heidegger's solution was not
> sufficient, since he did not define evil correctly, since evil can only
> be correctly defined with respect to a Personal core. I maintain that
> any impersonal core has this same instrinsic limitation.
I am with you. I would add all universal machines are with you, here.
But this refers to "eliminative" conception of the "impersonal core"
(like with many form of materialism). As you know, globally,
self-referentially correct machines are immune against materialism
(globally only, alas)).
> Plato searched for a place to root his absolutes. Neither Plator nor
> the neo-Platonists found the solution because their impersonal gods
> were not immune from evil.
With the neoplatonist I would say the contrary is true. Recall that
Plotinus' ONE is also called the GOOD, and although he cannot think
(because he is above that: we could say he does not think because it
has no reason to think) it is "good" in the sense it is a universal
attractor for all souls. But Plotinus has been criticized because its
good (its unnameable God) is too much immune from evil.
Of course Plotinus can answer by referring to THE Classical Platonist
theory of EVIL: which is simply that EVIL = MATTER. Of course today
this seems ridiculous. Yet only the "Matter Hypo", in the arithmetical
translation, have Df, DDf, DDDf as true proposition, so I am open this
could leads to a theory of "evil". Indeed some "qualia" related to
those propositions are judged "painful" by the UTM (in a sense which I
can make more precise). Evil *begins* by pain, apparently.
> The impersonal gods ultimately cannot
> distinguish between man's finiteness and his cruelty. Only the
> infinite personal good God has a character from which evil is totally
> excluded. This is the only core for which a solution to the real
> problem of evil is possible, so that everything can ultimately be
> brought back into unity and wholeness.
Like 1Z I find strange to solve the problem of the existence of EVIL by
postulating an infinite personal Gods from which evil is excluded, and
what would that means?
I can understand that the presence of evil in our life can make us hope
for a just God capable of constating the people we see suffering. But
this could also be used for justifying evil on earth. Some could be
less worried by doing evil once they believe that there is a good God
who will consolate their victims ...
Like the idea of HELL which makes it impossible to distinguish between
a good guy and a coward.
In french we say that the hell is paved with good intentions, and this
looks like the Godelian: BDt -> Bf.
Comp is probably consistent with the idea of a personal God, but then
it has to remain ... personal. Evil results sometimes from the
definition of "good" by others ...
> Finally, regarding the unsolvable dichotomy in the impersonal (closed)
> naturalistic system, ....
Remember that comp is incompatible with the idea of a closed impersonal
naturalistic system ...
> .... Francis Schaeffer tells the following story:
> "I remember sitting in a Lyons' Corner House near Marble Arch in London
> some years ago, talking to a brilliant young physicist. I asked him
> about the latest work he was doing, and he told me about a new idea
> that he thought might solve Einstein's problem concerning
> electromagnetism and gravity. He became very enthusiastic about this,
> because I knew enough about the subject to stimulate him, and he was
> far away in his thought. Then I brought him back by saying, 'This is
> fine for the Christian, who really knows who he is, to say that the
> material universe may finally be reduced to energy particles moving in
> opposite directions in a vortex, but what about your naturalistic
> colleagues? What happens to them when they go home to their wives and
> families at night?' He paused for a moment and then said, 'Oh, Dr.
> Schaeffer, they just have to live in a dichotomy.'"
OK but such things last since more than 1500 years. Subject like
"evil", gods, etc. are not tackle scientifically, by which I just mean
rationally and modestly.
The correct answer the "brilliant young physicist" should have given to
Schaeffer should have been that they exist problems not yet solved by
the electron-vortex theory (like the origin of the taste of coffee, or
the evil problem, etc.).
It is a know fact that scientist, mainly scientist today, feels the
need to provide answer to every question. We would have to live in a
dichotomy if there was a dichotomy, and perhaps there is, but in our
state of current knowledge, any definite opinion on those matters is no
more convincing that any authoritative argument. Good science (and
theology) mainly ask questions and good scientist (theologian) always
doubt (should doubt) any proposed solution. But I know that even some
recent pope have reiterate that doubting is evil (if not: encouraged by
the devil). With comp it is the contrary: evil like madness is
certainty. Doubting is sanity, and provides hopes toward truth and
good, etc.
To be precise, the first person can have some certainties, but those
are so deep that the first person will keep them silent. I mean the
first person will not present those certainties as such.
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Received on Mon Dec 11 2006 - 10:48:34 PST

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