Re: Many Worlds?

Date: Tue Jan 04 2000 - 01:48:57 EST

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    WRE>Further stuff showing that B&T made the original error and MikeB
    WRE>simply repeated it credulously, deleted.
    MB>An alternative explanation is that Wesley cannot appreciate
    MB>the subtlety of the relationship perceived by B&T and thus
    MB>flippantly insists an error was made.


    >That's one alternative. It isn't a particularly likely
    >alternative, but it does count as an alternative.

    That you think it isn't particularly likely does not mean
    it is not particularly likely. I find it more likely that B&T (a
    professor of mathematical physics and an astronomer) probably
    know what they're talking about. But since they are not
    posting to this list, I'll guess we'll just have to agree to


    WRE> But until such information
    WRE>becomes available, I will continue to be a skeptic of the claim
    WRE>that Democritus prefigured Wheeler in any significant sense.

    MB>In my opinion, your skepticism is based on a trivial
    MB>distinction that misses the larger point. But it doesn't
    MB>matter to me if you continue as a skeptic. So be it.


    >I didn't miss the larger point, I stipulated it. The "larger
    >point" of an extensive history for teleology is not set aside
    >because one of the examples given is clearly inappropriate.

    You just missed the larger point. It was not that of an
    "extensive history for teleology." The larger point was initially
    spelled out as:

    >As a product of the government schools and universities, I was
    >always under the impression that the argument about design
    >began with William Paley and ended with Charles Darwin.
    >In fact, in keeping with my indoctrination about the warfare
    >between science and religion, I was under the impression that
    >design was strictly a religious issue and objective science,
    >ala Darwin, had shown a better way. And what is going on
    >today is nothing more than the echoes of those religious
    >knee-jerk reactions to Darwin's brilliant explanation of
    >our biological origins.

    >But alas, I should have known that my public education
    >was about as accurate as any other form of one-sided
    >indoctrination. It turned out that as it always turns out;
    >things are far more complicated than a simplistic
    >materialistic-based education lets on.


    >The point is that this debate between teleology and materialism
    >is at least 2500 years old and has involved some of history's
    >greatest thinkers. The notion that current ID arguments are
    >nothing more than country bumpkin Christian reactions to the
    >painful "truth" of Darwinism is a notion divorced from historical

    >If one's sense of history goes no further than 100 years, it's
    >easy to get the impression that materialism has been vindicated
    >and teleology has been refuted. But if that sense spans 2500
    >years, one suspects only that materialism has just recently
    >obtained the upper hand (for 4% of the lifespan of this argument)
    >with more sophisticated versions of the same arguments . The ID
    >movement has the potential of evening the playing field by reviving
    >its arguments in more sophisticated versions. Is this 2500 year-old
    >debate really over among thinking people? Of course not.

    I then drew out the even larger point:

    >There's nothing *really* new about all of this. Things either terminate
    >in mind/purpose or matter/chance. The matter/chance mentality
    >typically needs very large numbers (time, planets, and now even Universes)
    >to account for the unlikelihoods found in reality. In the end, it's
    >"Take your pick." As Glenn Morton recently posted:

    >Quantum leads one to either need an ultimate observer or a belief (equally
    >based upon faith) of a many-world's hypothesis.

    >"If we remove the problem of observership in quantum mechanics by adopting
    >a Many-Worlds interpretation as may be mandatory if one is to interpret
    >quantum cosmology without introducing the 'Ultimate Observer', then it is
    >possible to reduce the Strong Principle to the Weak one." ~ J. D. Barrow,
    >"Patterns of Explanation in Cosmology," in F. Bertola and U. Curi, editors,
    >The Anthropic Principle, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 9.


    >However, the mere fact that one or more of the proffered
    >examples are appropriate does not rescue a poor example from
    >critique. Why weaken the argument by bringing up a quote that
    >does not have an appreciable link with its supposed modern

    That you see no link between ancient materialists who posit
    infinite time and infinite worlds and modern materialists who
    posit infinite universes does not mean there is no appreciable
    link. To me, it looks like moving the goal posts. ;)


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