Re: Defense of Theism pt 1--logic

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Mon Jun 20 2005 - 18:19:39 EDT

On Sun, 19 Jun 2005 20:37:00 -0500 "Glenn Morton"
<> writes:
> The series of posts will outline some thoughts I have why theism is
> better
> than the other options, atheism, agnosticism, pantheism etc.
> <snip>
> Although science may solve the problem of how the universe began, it
> cannot
> answer the question: Why does the universe bother to exist? I don't
> know the
> answer to that." (Hawking, 1993, p. 99)
> <snip>
> Now, looking at the options for the reason of the universe's
> existence (or
> at least the ones I can think of), we have
> 1. God
> 2. the universe itself
> 3. logic
> 4. math
> 5. vacuum
> 6. inflaton field
> 7. ourselves
> <snip>
> Logic
> This concept comes to my mind from an proposal in New Scientist a
> couple of
> years ago (Feb 17, 2001, p. 26). Anton Zeilinger has proposed that
> at
> the
> basis of all reality is the bit. The article, entitled 'In the
> Beginning was
> The Bit,' argues that the world is quantized because reality is
> informational bits, the atom of information is the bit. We can only
> inquire
> of the world in yes or no questions. Now to my mind, existence
> itself is
> binary. Either one exists or one doesn't exist, yes or no. And
> if that
> is the case, then one could propose that we exist because the answer
> came up
> yes. But one must then ask, why would the entire mechanism of a yes-
> no logic
> exist out of which came the answer 'yes'? How could logic exist when
> all was
> nothingness? So once again, we are at the point of having to
> postulate
> god-like attributes to something other than God in order to have
> existence.
> Logic must have been always self-existing, self-created and had the
> ability
> to create.
> And interesting aside is that Landauer (1991) showed that
> information is
> physical and exists in the arrangement of matter. Given that, there
> does
> appear to be one paradox in information theory. In a discussion of
> how the
> universe formed, one must ask: 'Does the object exist?". Both
> answers lead
> to one bit of information- yes/no, zero/one. But in the case of
> utter
> nonexistence, there is nothing which can store that bit of
> information
> because there is nothing, and that leads to a paradox. While
> existence can
> store its bit of information, nothingness can't. Thus the utter
> nothingness
> described by the nihilo of creation ex nihilo, lacks even one bit
> of
> information.
> <snip>

I'm breaking this up and considering just the one part in my response. in
order to avoid building up a massive file. This considers just the matter
of logic. I also want to say something about math in a separate post.

While it is true that bits have physical exemplification, I see this as
essentially analogous to geometry's essential pieces. A point A and line
AB have the same area and the same volume, 0. But the diagram drawn to
represent these entities has a finite area and a finite volume, whihc is
ignored. A polygon ABCDE has an area, but the volume is theoretically
still 0. The physical exemplification of the bit is concrete, but the
intent of the bit is purely abstract.

There is a further problem, the assumption that logic is strictly
digital. But none of Aristotle's three calculi are digital. They cannot
be translated into contemporary calculi. Further, "true" is not a bit,
though it can be represented as a bit in some metalanguages. But this
gets us into some high-powered abstractions.

Most formalized logics involve two values, which can be represented by 1
and 0--true/false for statements, valid/invalid for arguments. But then
there is the little problem of wffs, which are totally content dependent.
An extension of this notion leads to fuzzy and multi-valued logics, which
clearly are not amenable to encapsulation in bits. Related problems have
been discussed for the language available in familiar logics. The classic
term is "bald," which does not allow a sort into two bins. the
requirement for valid arguments.

Finally, logic is abstract, but the universe is concrete. Perhaps one can
construct a weird version of Berkeley's idealism out of nothing but
logic, but I doubt it. Even the bishop required God as the source of all
impressions. To state the problem differently, to try to construct the
universe out of bits is to make a gross category mistake.
Received on Mon Jun 20 19:00:25 2005

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