RE: Van Till's Ultimate Gap

From: Dr. Blake Nelson (
Date: Sun Sep 07 2003 - 10:31:24 EDT

  • Next message: Glenn Morton: "RE: MHW - a different theological deduction"

    --- Glenn Morton <> wrote:
    > Hi Blake, you wrote:

    > You are mixing different MWH's. In Everett's
    > version, the MWH's become
    > immediately distinguishable, being in different
    > quantum states. In Inflation
    > and in Tegmark's level one, they are
    > indistinguishable until something
    > happens in their histories which differentiates
    > them.

    Such as you deciding to be a Wiccan or a christian --
    assuming that this choice is in any way a quantum
    event -- which I think there is very good reason to
    believe that it is not.

    Here is one of many areas where you are betting sort
    of taking credit for the future -- you are assuming
    that all phenomena are reducible to quantum phenomena
    -- which is very unlikely to be true since the vast
    majority of what happens does not have a quantum
    component and I doubt whether you are Christian or
    Wiccan is a quantum event.

    Even if it were, as soon as you make the choice, the
    universes are differentiated and the you in one and
    the other are not in any classical sense the same you.

    > Who is to
    > >say that the salvific action of God vis-a-vis one
    > of
    > >you, when all the infinite "yous" are reconciled
    > are
    > >not saved by the saving action of Jesus in this
    > >universe and your response to it? As I said, you
    > >could just as easily, under the Everett MWH, say
    > that
    > >everyone is saved, because someone gets it right in
    > >some universe.
    > Then all the atheists in this world are saved by
    > their counter selves in
    > other universes and thus it really doesn't matter
    > what we believe because we
    > are all going to be saved. Sarcastic mode on: Yup
    > that sounds like classic
    > Christianity! Sarcastic mode off.

    You have just bundled a bunch of conclusions with
    omitting the logical predicates. Assuming that all
    yous are entangled and indistinguishable in some way
    that has not been specified since once you make a
    choice to believe one thing or another you are, even
    under these quantum theories *different* people. How
    when different outcomes have been realized can you say
    that the two yous are the same?

    even if they are, how can you assert that the you who
    is saved and saves the others then makes salvation
    arbitrary. It seems to me that this is analogous the
    argument that people make about God knowing the future
    making your or my salvation arbitrary. Just because
    it is bound to happen in some universe does not make
    the fact that it happened arbitrary. Indeed,
    salvation if I were to accept your definition is
    always arbitrary from any protestant perspective
    because it is God's grace that does it, not us. So,
    your argument, if I were to accept it, seems to
    virtually damn all of protestant theology. Yet,
    protestant theology, continues to exist even though
    you apparently think it makes salvation arbitrary. As
    I have said, you see this most clearly in strong
    Calvinism with limited atonement, irresistible grace,
    etc. I don't see how, from your standpoint, you can
    get any more "arbitrary" in strong Calvinism. My
    point is that I don't think Calvinists would view that
    saving action as arbitrary, and I don't think you can
    claim that MWH would make salvation arbitrary either.

    This also gets into theological questions, which you
    haven't adequately addressed, about what salvation
    means. Salvation is not a physical thing, a quantum
    state, etc. unless you have some insight that I don't.
     Likewise, as I have noted, you seem to be profligate
    with being able to say what salvation is and isn't.
    Do you really believe that no atheists who die as
    atheists are capable of salvation? What laws of
    physics determine that? If there aren't laws of
    physics that determing that, what effect does MWH have
    on it?

    I am not making any particular theological assertion
    about the mystery of salvation, but it seems to me
    that you apparently have some clear cut, "arbitrary",
    approach to it that you haven't specified. Certainly,
    for example, the Anglicans don't hold as dogma that
    all non-Christians are damned. The CofE's The Mystery
    of Salvation: The Story of God's Gift: A Report
    by Doctrine Commission of the General Synod of the
    Church of England, Doctrine Commission of the Church
    of England, might be a good place to start for
    thinking critically about what salvation means and
    *whether* any particular variant of MWH has *any*
    bearing on it.

    In case you may have missed it, nothing you have said
    in any way makes, from my perspective, a logical case
    that it does.
    > >
    > >Now, this certainly does not make anything
    > willy-nilly
    > >or random -- it seems to me that it even makes the
    > >idea of all the universe being redeemed through
    > Jesus
    > >even more accurate, because, inter alia, it
    > eliminates
    > >the old chestnut that atheists and agnostics like
    > to
    > >throw out about being able to convert to
    > christianity
    > >being an accident of birth that has been denied
    > most
    > >people in history, since everyone does
    > theoretically
    > >have the opportunity and indeed does become saved
    > >under the extremely extravagant claims of a maximal
    > >Everett MWH hypothesis.
    > Yes, it does that at the expense of any need to
    > believe anything. If I am an
    > evil cruel rapist, I am still saved in your view
    > above. Your view sounds out
    > of whack with traditional christianity.

    1) I have not expressed a particular view about
    salvation. There are many. You have not provided a
    definition of salvation. It is your theological basis
    for making assertions about MWH that are lacking.

    2) It is traditional christianity that the axe
    murderer who repents is saved. If you are the same
    you -- as you have profigately posited -- in the
    universe where you are an axe murderer and the
    universe where you are christian, *you* have repented
    and therefore will be saved.

    If the two *yous* are different, then you are two
    different people and one may be saved and the other
    may not. (Again, depending on your theological
    understanding of salvation).

    3) Can I once again point out that being an axe
    murderer or not being an axe murderer are not
    different quantum choices and may not be quantum
    choices at all?

    4) I am amazed that you can differentiate between the
    axe murderer you and the christian you when previously
    you have suggested that these are indistinguishable
    quantum states and God cannot distinguish between such
    quantum states which puts limits on God that
    apparently you don't have. It seems odd that you
    would be more "omnipotent" than God. ;) But, if you
    can distinguish between the different yous, God
    certainly can.

    5) Nothing I have written saves anyone the expense of
    dealing with the consequences of their actions or the
    nature of their beliefs. I am not sure what you are
    trying to say that forward the argument with this. If
    you are saying that some versions of MWH create a
    deterministic multiverse, then, inter alia, you have
    many problems, none of which are a challenge to some
    variants of very traditional christian theology. If,
    the multi-universe is deterministic:
      a) no one has any freewill so being a professing
    christian or not (which I take it is what you mean by
    salvation) is not a real choice, but arbitrary and
    therefore religion is bunk. Congratulations, this
    argument has been around since before christianity and
    was ascendant through the 19th century. Determinism
    is embraced by some protestant theologies, including
    variants of Calvinism where it represents God's
    sovereignty. No christianity killer.;
      b) assuming maximal determinism exists, as CS Lewis,
    and non-theists alike, have pointed out, there is no
    reason to believe anything we think is true is *in
    fact* true, including MWH;
      c) grace, in traditional protestant theology, is
    never earned or an action on our part, it is God's
    action. I guess based on your argument that makes all
    of protestantism meaningless because there are no
    consequences for our belief, which comes from God. Of
    course, this is not true and only in the most facile
    understanding of protestant theology can it be true.

    6) you still have not addressed even Everett's
    limitations that all worlds must be *consistent with
    the laws of physics* It may not be consistent that
    you can be, given your genetic makeup, an axe murderer
    and a professing christian. You don't know. We don't
    know. This qualification makes any speculation
    complete and utterly impractical because we do not
    have an exhaustive description of the laws of physics
    and the laws of physics we do have are at best
    approximations to the *real* laws of physics. Thus,
    to say that you can both be a pagan sacrificer of
    babies to Molech and a christian in different parallel
    universes is utterly without basis since you don't
    know whether your religious choices are limited by the
    laws of physics, which takes us to the classical
    determinism problem noted above.

    7) You confound utterly quantum events with
    macroscopic events. You have no basis for asserting
    that lots of these things are quantum events. I have
    gone around this before, but you seem to ignore the
    limiter and will not repeat it here.

    8) Even so, even giving you everything you seek to
    claim for MWH, you fail to define the theological
    problem in a way that tells me that salvation is
    random based on *any* traditional christian view of

    I think the problem here is not in science but in the
    understanding of theology of salvation. If you want
    to define your theology of salvation to explain how it
    fits into your view on various MWHs, we can perhaps
    see if the theologically astute on the list agree with
    your premises and conclusions.

    So far, I see no reason to agree with either.

    > >Please explain to me how your being a Wiccan and
    > your
    > >being a Christian can be identical quantum states.
    > They are not in identical quantum states. Once
    > again you are mixing your
    > MWH's.

    Then there is no problem for salvation, you are
    different people.

    > >
    > >Please also explain to me how God cannot
    > distinguish
    > >between the different yous.
    > Quantum indeterminancy! If an inflationary pocket
    > universe has an identical
    > history as ours, then there will be two identical
    > me's. But at some point in
    > history lets assume that that fellow decides to kill
    > a cop on the street
    > corner and I, in this universe don't. At that point
    > we are distinguishable.
    > Up until that point we weren't.

    Well, the saved continue to sin after salvation.

    But, you have just said the two of you are
    distinguishable, assuming salvation or damnation
    ultimately come to fruition after this life and the
    two of you are now different, there seems to be no
    problem for God.

    BTW, this also apparently gets into the question of
    God's foreknowledge, which has been dealt with widely
    by theologians, as I am sure you are aware. Your MWH
    possibility does not seem different than that to me.


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