December 3, 2020

The Rise of Neo-Geocentrism

The Rise of Neo-Geocentrism

For the majority of our existence as Homo sapiens we’ve assumed the universe revolves around us.  Maybe we should be called Homo narcissus? It wasn’t until Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo, through painstaking observation and reasoning, challenged the notion of geocentrism, and began humankind’s journey away from self-centeredness.  Today we know that Earth is only one of the planets that have the sun as center of our local system, which is a small part of an arm of a large galaxy, itself part of an unimaginably countless number of galaxies in the universe that began nearly 14 billion years ago.  That eventual recognition of how minuscule we are compared to the immensity of space and time should have been humbling.

This Scientific American article says that recently prominent scientists and philosophers have been propagating ideas that restore us—more specifically, our minds, or consciousness–to the center of things. The author of the article calls this perspective neo-geocentrism.  According to the article:

As far as we know, consciousness is property of only one weird type of matter that evolved relatively recently here on Earth: brains. Neo-geocentrists nonetheless suggest that consciousness pervades the entire cosmos. It might even have been the spark that ignited the big bang.

Neo-geocentric thinking has always lurked at the fringes of science, but it is becoming more mainstream. That was apparent at “Sages & Scientists,” convened in September by holistic-health mogul Deepak Chopra. The meeting called for “a new science” that “can accept consciousness as fundamental and not just something generated by the brain.”

One expects this outlook from Chopra, who once belonged to the Transcendental Meditation movement and remains sympathetic toward its Hindu metaphysics. But other speakers expressing neo-geocentric sentiments included neuroscientist Rudolph Tanzi of Harvard, who has co-authored two books with Chopra; psychologist Donald Hoffman of the University of California at Irvine; and psychiatrist Daniel Siegel of UCLA.

At a number of consciousness conferences, tenured professors from major institutions proposed that consciousness matters at least as much as matter. Here, from the article, are specific examples of neo-geocentrism:

Information Theories of Consciousness. Claude Shannon invented information theory in the 1940s to quantify and boost the efficiency of communication systems. Ever since, scientists and philosophers have sought to transform it into a theory of everything. Information-based theories are all neo-geocentric, because information—definable as the capacity of a system to surprise an observer–presumes the existence of consciousness.

Integrated Information Theory (IIT). Invented by neuroscientist Guilio Tononi and championed by neuroscientist Christof Koch and physicist Max Tegmark, integrated information theory postulates that any system with interacting parts—a proton, say, which consists of three quarks–is processing information and hence is conscious. IIT revives the mystical doctrine of panpsychism, which asserts that consciousness dwells within all matter.

Quantum Theories of Consciousness. Quantum mechanics has long provoked neo-geocentric musings. Is the cat in the box alive or dead? Is that photon a wave or a particle? Well, it depends on how—or whether—we look at it. Quantum mechanics, physicist John Wheeler proposed decades ago, implies that we live in a “participatory universe,” the existence of which somehow depends on us.

Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR). Some quantum interpreters hold that conscious observation causes probabilistic, “superposed” quantum states to collapse into a single state. Orch-OR, invented by physicist Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, flips this notion on its head, claiming that the collapse of superposed states causes consciousness. Because such collapses occur in all matter, not just brains, Penrose and Hameroff conclude that consciousness “could be deeply related to the operation of the laws of the universe.”

Reality Is a Simulation. Descartes fretted over whether the world is an illusion foisted on us by a demon. Philosopher Nick Bostrom has revived this conceit, conjecturing that “we are living in a computer simulation” generated by a high-tech civilization. Physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, philosopher David Chalmers and tech-titan Elon Musk have expressed sympathy for the simulation thesis, which is creationism repackaged for nerds.

Anthropic Principle. As physicists lose hope of explaining why our universe is the way it is, they have become increasingly fond of the anthropic principle, which decrees that our universe must be as we observe it to be, because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to observe it. Modern proponents of this neo-geocentric tautology include Stephen Hawking, Sean Carroll and Brian Greene.

Buddhism. Even though it is 2,500 years old, Buddhism deserves to be on this list because of its remarkable popularity among western intellectuals. It is not a religion, they often insist, but only a way to understand and relax the mind. But Buddhism, like Catholicism, the religion of my childhood, espouses a supernatural metaphysics, in which the cosmos serves as the stage for our spiritual journey toward nirvana.

Now this is just wonderful.  All my mystic musings have been confirmed as science!! Well, the article’s author says that the cold, hard skeptic in him rejects neo-geocentrism as the kind of fuzzy-headed mysticism that science helps us overcome.  Maybe some of you think I’m being fuzzy-headed.  But if my fuzzy-headed neo-geocentrism bugs you, then why doesn’t militant materialism and atheism, which, as the author says, belittle our craving for transcendent meaning, bug you as well.  After all they seem oblivious to the extraordinary improbability of our existence, or just give a shrug of the shoulders to it.  Either way, after all, without minds to ponder it, the universe might as well not exist.

I do agree with the author that that no theory or theology can do justice to the mystery of our existence, and a humble agnosticism is probably the wisest course.  Still, ever since my conversion to Christianity, my science has had a teleos, an end point.  I’d like to think I’m thinking God’s thoughts after him.  When the Scriptures say we are created in his image, that image is mind.  And the mind of God fills this universe as the soul of a painter fills his painting or the soul of a musician fills his music.

Comments

  1. I think there is much more consciousness, unseen to the naked eye, in the universe than we homo narcissuses so I postulate that we may not be the absolute bullseye but we are lurking in its vicinity. We are a player in the eternal and universal unfolding drama but in not quite so blazingly central a role as we might think.

    Don’t mind if I do
    Or maybe just now I won’t
    Just thinking out loud

    I’m aware of self
    And of my own awareness
    Sometimes wary too

  2. Christiane says

    Is there a ‘universal consciousness’ AKA ‘the Mind of God’, out of which we are given an ‘awareness’?

    So we try very hard to understand what we ‘know’, but is there a problem with our ‘rational’ efforts, this:
    “Le coeur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connait point.

    The heart has its reasons of which the mind knows nothing.
    (Blaise Pascal)

    Is it because we are hard-wired to ‘sense’ something ‘more’ than our reason can reveal to us, that we need ‘story’ as much as we need theology?

    Whether it’s a spoken liturgy or a poem or myth or saga or the Book of Genesis, there is something about ‘story’ that fills a collective human need.

    We want to know more than we have the capacity to comprehend, but still we want to KNOW. And maybe there is some truth to the idea that in our DNA, we carry genetic memories of ancient days that find a way into our (sub)consciousness?

    Is there more to ‘story’ beyond the ability to ‘entertain’ ?
    Is human imagination a more intricate gift to us from the Creator?

    HAVE WE OVERLOOKED HUMAN IMAGINATION AS ANOTHER WAY GOD IS COMMUNICATING WITH US?

    Was there an original ‘prompt’ so old that no one could remember who or how or where it came from, but this original ‘prompt’ shows up in the shared ‘Story’ details of the many cultures in a geographical area

    do we human persons, made in the ‘image of God’ share an ancient oral history, so of the ages that it is shrouded in mists . . . . something innate, feral, untutored, but ‘there’, a sensing that we ‘exist’ and ‘know’ we exist?
    something so ‘shared’ that no amount of divisiveness can hollow out of us that portion of our shared humanity?

    Is ‘The Story’ mangled by its variations? or enhanced by those variations?
    with as much to learn from the differences as from the similarities?

    ?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      HAVE WE OVERLOOKED HUMAN IMAGINATION AS ANOTHER WAY GOD IS COMMUNICATING WITH US?

      In short, YES.

      “SCRIPTURE SCRIPTURE SCRIPTURE, AXIOM AXIOM AXIOM, FACT FACT FACT” has no room for human imagination. A Spiritual Engineering Handbook of bullet points is closed off from any move of the Spirit.

      • Leave it to 20th century Evangelicals to mess things up yet again…..

        Since Scripture states we are created Imago Dei, then it stands to reason that human creativity (and therefore imagination) is another spark of the Divine with us. Per Scriptures God created everything from nothing which demonstrates creativity, humans can create things from the materials at hand for example. Again, it is another case of Christians missing the forest for the trees.

        Some other bits I found on the Internet:

        The human imagination is not only a great gift of God; it is also an aspect of the image of God. His creative imagination is such that he created the universe from nothing. His mind perceives the past, the present, and the future. And his Word—in its concreteness, in its figurative and descriptive language, and in the way it addresses the reader’s imagination—shows that God himself imagines. Imagination makes possible empathy, the ability to assume the perspective of someone else. This allows us to “rejoice with those who rejoice,” and to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12: 15).

      • And I say this as an engineering geek who likes structure, order, math, etc. But then like you, I am also a Gamer Geek. Which is why I don’t see this as mutually exclusive nor incompatible…

    • thatotherjean says

      I think you’re on to something, Christiane. It isn’t science, but it makes deeply resonant sense.

  3. Mike, what about holographic theories of the universe? Or solipsism? Maybe we ARE the center of our respective universes, but not in a narcissistic way, more in a focus of creation way… How often are you aware that you are interacting with only yourself, your surroundings, and God? How often are others actually a part of your world at any time? Especially now in this time of CoViD? I know my loved ones are there, but my time interacting with them is limited on a day to day basis, even though I think of them and do things for them regularly. It seems that the great majority of my time is spent focused on what I am doing in my immediate environment in the everpresent now.

    • The very fact that we have to isolate is a very strong argument for the existence (and vetoing importance of) external reality.

  4. Iain Lovejoy says

    People are unfair about the supposed self centeredness of the old geocentrism. We are misled by the medieval pictures like that seen above: medieval astronomers were broadly right about the size of the earth, and believed the outer sphere of the fixed stars (to them the edge of the universe) was around 20,000 times the earth’s radius (the approximate equivalent of something the size of a pea floating in St Paul’s cathedral). They also believed the universe consisted of solid concentric spheres rotating in space. The largest of these huge spheres, that of the fixed stars, would have been 200 times the radius of our sun. These spheres would have had to rotate at unimaginable speeds to get round the earth in 24 hours (way faster than the speed of light, if my maths is correct) and, so they believed, sang celestial music to each other while they span. “Poky little medieval universe” it wasn’t.
    Also, although earth was geometrically the centre of the universe, spiritually, conceptually and psychologically it wasn’t. God was considered the real centre of things, with each successive circle being further away from this centre until you got to earth, which was almost as far away from the true centre of things as you could get. I say “almost” because in truth the model wasn’t geocentric at all, but diabolocentric – in the centre of the earth, and thus of creation, were the depths of hell, and that was as far from the divine “centre” as you could get. Earth’s “central” position wasn’t really understood as making it important, but rather as being on the very fringes of things and skirting the outer darkness of hell.

  5. Not sure why this would be called neo-geocentrism. If consciousness pervades everything, wouldn’t its center be everywhere, not just brains, or human brains? I’ve heard the revival of this old idea in a new form called panpsychism, which seems more apt a word for it. Is it true? Who knows. It’s one of those things that relies more on philosophical ideas than scientific investigation. Which is okay, because science can’t explain existence, philosophical and/or religious ideas are necessary for that; but panpsychism fits far more with a Buddhist understanding of existence than a Christian one. It has in fact been part of the Buddhist understanding of existence since Buddhism’s beginning, but not part of Christianity’s.

    • Excellent point! The problem is if you use the term “panpsychism” it conjures up images of Victorian seances and Swamis who survive only by breathing air. The irony is that originally Buddhism taught the doctrine of “Anatta”, i.e., non-self. Our sense of consciousness and personhood was exactly what the Buddha was trying to free us from. On the other hand Christianity is perfectly compatible with materialism since the early Christians did not believe in an immaterial soul but in a bodily resurrection at the end. Funny how things eventually turn into their opposites.

      • The goal of Buddhism is to free us from attachment to the experience of self, along with all other transient phenomenon, so that consciousness, which is thought to permeate everything and be the reality behind all phenomenon (there are even schools of Buddhism predicated on the belief that the only thing that really exists is mind — Mind only), is able to perceive and be centered in the transcendent reality of Nirvana, transcending suffering and the attachment to ephemeral phenomenon that is its cause.

  6. Pellicano Solitudinis says

    “the simulation thesis, which is creationism repackaged for nerds.”

    ?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      It is exactly the same.

      In terms of inquiry both Creationism and Simulation Theory solve nothing, answer nothing; they are both a hand wave.

      Simulation Theory is no different than explaining the mind by thinking there is a little man in my head watching a view screen and pulling levers. Where did the little man come from? How does the mind of the little man work?

      For Simulation Theory, where is this big super-computer? Who built it? How does the builders consciousness work? How does the computer work?

      Both Creationism and Simulation Theory are a game of moving-the-goal-posts [and sounding clever, sure they answering nothing – but they do sell books and impress naive girls].

  7. If there’s anybody Whose consciousness defines reality, it’s God, not us. And astronomy and mathematics and physics are our faltering steps at thinking His thoughts after Him.

    • anonymous says

      unless, of course, there is an ‘alternative god’ who tells us what to believe that is his OWN ‘reality’

      ie. ‘the virus is going to magically disappear’
      ‘children are immune to the virus’
      etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum

      • At which point, that “external reality” I mentioned above kicks in, and you end up kicking the bucket.

        “Reality is that which, if you ignore it, does NOT go away.” – Philip K Dick

        • anonymous says

          kick the bucket and report to ‘alternative god heaven’ aka ‘the OTHER place’

  8. Michael Z says

    Those theories are based on rather poor mis-interpretations of information theory, quantum mechanics, etc. For example, information theory isn’t literally about how surprised someone would be upon learning some information – rather, “surprise” in that context means how accurately future information can be predicted from past information. (For example, in English text even if half the letters are missing you can figure out the words from context, whereas if you were looking at a string of digits of pi with half of them missing you couldn’t guess what they should be unless you knew it was pi.)

    Similarly, quantum superposition is not literally saying that a conscious observer is necessary to cause the wave function to collapse. Rather, it’s saying that if something can be completely isolated from the rest of the world, it can exist in a quantum state as long as no information about its state is “leaking” out.

    In other words, all this just sounds like pseudo-science, no different from astrology or phrenology.

  9. thatotherjean says

    I think I’ll try to continue what I already do: see science as an explanation for how the world works, and how it is going to continue to work until the heat-death of the universe. As an explanation of how the universe came to be, or how humans somehow differentiated themselves from the rest of the beings that inhabit it, perhaps, is where a theory of Mind fits into my thinking. Perhaps all the minds in the universe, not just our own, are a part of one great Mind–call it God, if you choose–who gave humans on this planet, and probably beings on many others, something extra that allowed us to think thoughts beyond the basics necessary for survival. It’s not science, not exactly philosophy, and not really religion. It certainly isn’t geocentrism, although life on earth is all that we have yet discovered; but it helps me sort out the universe, instead of collapsing in despair over Carl Sagan’s “pale blue dot.”

  10. Intellectuals do not say that Buddhism is not a religion, only a way to relax the mind. They say that about some meditation techniques borrowed from Eastern religions, not about Buddhism itself, which is obviously a religion. There is a difference, Mike the G.

    • Mike the Geologist says

      I was just quoting from the article, Robert. His opinion is not necessarily mine. I think Buddhism is a religion, too,

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        +1

      • I see, Mike the G. My apologies to you. But the author of the article definitely got that wrong; he didn’t check his facts. We should be able to expect better than that from a scientific journal.

    • –> “Intellectuals do not say that Buddhism is not a religion…”

      What do non-intellectuals say?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        That Buddhism is a religion, because it is.

        Also, there are plenty lots of Intellectuals who will roll their eyes at the “Buddhism is not a religion” trope.

      • The implication of the author’s statement is that “elite intellectuals” are smuggling Eastern religious teachings and practices into Western society under the guise of their therapeutic value, while denying that they are religious. It is true that meditation practices borrowed from the East have been popularized, especially by corporate America, not by intellectual elites, which seems to think they will increase employee productivity. There have been claims that the some of the meditative practices have salutary psychological effects apart from any religious beliefs, which is probably true. But no one is saying that Buddhism is not a religion in order to sneak Eastern religious teachings into American culture; such a claim about Buddhism would be patently absurd.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “elite intellectuals” are smuggling Eastern religious teachings and practices into Western society under the guise of their therapeutic value, while denying that they are religious.

          I heard the exact same thing said on Christian radio about Pop Hinduism (under the Christianese code word “Eastern Mysticism”) during the Satanic Panic. Think it was on “Focus on the Family” but not 100% sure.

  11. It strikes me as odd that these peoples’ *beliefs* are being criticized in this post. None can be proven via the scientific method, and thus literally are beliefs – ways of interpreting both the reality that can be seen + that which none of us can “prove” via fact-based research.

    Metaphysuc, IOW.

    And why is Buddhusm included in this list? Other religions from both East and South Asia either should have bern included or left out altogether. They are religions, not science.

    Mike, I’m not certain about why you felt this was a good thing to post about. I know that these various beliefs seem to trouble you, and while I sympathize (they don’t seem plausible to me, for the most part), I’m not at all certain that this critique is actually helpful. It reminds me of so-called apologetics that have long been popular with evangelicals, like Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict.

    Personally, i think in this case that we ought to live and let live. If looked at objectively, Christianity itself has a number of deeply implausible things at its center – ones that are as outlandish as anything you mentioned above. And none of them can be “proven” via the scientific method.

    I know we’ve butted heads before, and i guess we will again, but i wonder – as at the beginning of this post – why you chose to write in a critical way about others’ beliefs?

    And while i am Xtian and not Buddhist, your includsion of a major world religion here troubles me. Do you think that Buddhism is “wrong,” or that we have nothing to learn from it?

    Sorry, but i feel like you are ridiculing other folks’ beliefs, rather than carefully examining and discussing them from a religious (i.e., Xtian) perspective.

    There is *so* much that we don’t know and likely never will. The line from Hamlet about there being “more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy [natural philosophy, aka science]” comes to mind.

    • –> “Do you think that Buddhism is ‘wrong,’ or that we have nothing to learn from it?”

      I think you should re-read the post. I didn’t see Mike as criticizing Buddhism as “wrong,” but rather that its mysticism can, like Catholicism’s, be applied poorly when it comes to the realm of actual science.

      • Rick, *all* beliefs have that in common, not just Buddhism, Catholicism, etc.

        Faith isn’t about anything literally proveable.

        And yes, i still think that either all major East and South Asian religions should have been listed – or none. Including but not limited to Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Shinto and many, many more.

        Further, as Robert can explain far better than I can, there is no *one* kind of Buddhism – just many, especially b/c Budfhism is not a theistic religion. (Some forms of Hinduism aren’t theistic, and that’s *not* a recent thing; it’s ancient.)

        Buddism grew out of its Indian roots, in some ways, but in others, not at all.

        It bugs me when people slap labels on other religions in this manner, and if someone (Mike or anyone else) has studied said religion(s) and is coming from a thoughtful place, that’s one thing.

        But Buddhism is very diverse, not unlime Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

        I’m no expert, but i can tell you this: if i had college to do over again, i might focus on comparative religion. Other faiths have always interested me, although during the decades i spent in evangelicalism, i was an overly-fervent culture warrior in too many ways that = unkindness. And that showed my own ignorance and superstition in a whole lot of ways.

        So maybe I’m being too harsh here, but if anything, i really would like to know specifics about what form of Buddhism is being referred to (likely multiple kinds), as well as what, specifically, is being referred to per these folks’ beliefs that come from some form of Buddhism.

        Hope that clarifies my point. I don’t think Mike was intentionally unkind, etc., only that referring to Buddhism in such a general way is both awfully vague and off-key, for me, at least.

        • There are forms of Buddhism that are labeled as “esoteric,” where various rituals, beliefs and prsctices are passed on in private to adherents. I think that might be what you’re meaning when you reference “mysticism,” but I’m not sure.

          Also, there have been Protestant “mystics,” like John Wesley, Count Zinzendorf (of the Moravians), the Quakers and others. My state was founded by a Quaker, and even though the Quakers in the Philly area have dwindled, their ideas are still a big part of the history and culture of PA.

          Especially the “no religious persecution” part. The Amish and Mennonites made the colony their 1st stop b/c of that.

          • Of course, the Moravians also settled here, hence Bethlehem, PA and the world-renowned Bach festival held there annually (though not this year).

            • And i find it strange that Mike makes the apparently sarcastic statement, in his paragrph about Buddhism, about beliefs being confirmed as science, since his beliefs are an integral part of his thoughtd on science, and of everything he writes wbout here.

              Xtians see the cosmos through sn Xtian frame, just as devout Muslims, Jewish people, et. al. see the cosmos through theirs.

              It doesn’t mean that the beliefs enumerated above are wny better – or worse – than any other set or type of religious beliefs.

              As i said in my 1st reply, Xtians hold some beliefs that are central to the faith that look pretty strange when viewed through the eyes of non-Xtians. That’s not a moral judgment, it just *is.* (and seems like a valid observation to me.)

              • Oof!

                My bad – John Horgan, the writer of the Scientific American piece, is the writer who does a somewhat dismisdive hand-wave at Buddhism, not Mike the G.

                Mike, I’m sorry. I wish i could edit my previous comments to reflect the fact that I’m the one who didn’t do their homework!

                Again, my apologies.

                • Mike the Geologist says

                  No worries, Numo. I probably should have block-quoted him to make it clearer I was quoting the article. Just being lazy—

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        +1 I do not see a critique, more of an enumeration.

    • Mike the Geologist says

      “numo says
      August 6, 2020 at 1:31 pm (Edit)
      It strikes me as odd that these peoples’ *beliefs* are being criticized in this post. None can be proven via the scientific method, and thus literally are beliefs – ways of interpreting both the reality that can be seen + that which none of us can “prove” via fact-based research.”

      Numo- I’m not criticizing anybody’s beliefs. I’m puzzled where you got that idea.

      Metaphysuc, IOW. I agree, this post is really about Metaphysics.

      And why is Buddhusm included in this list? Other religions from both East and South Asia either should have bern included or left out altogether. They are religions, not science.

      I didn’t include Buddhism, the author did. All the paragraphs that follow emboldened sentences are direct quotes from the article. His opinions are not necessarily mine.

      Mike, I’m not certain about why you felt this was a good thing to post about. I know that these various beliefs seem to trouble you, and while I sympathize (they don’t seem plausible to me, for the most part), I’m not at all certain that this critique is actually helpful. It reminds me of so-called apologetics that have long been popular with evangelicals, like Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict.

      Again, the various beliefs that follow the emboldened sentences are direct quotes from the article. They don’t trouble me at all, in fact, I find them fascinating. The main point of the article is that “consciousness matters at least as much as matter”, which I tend to agree with.

      Personally, i think in this case that we ought to live and let live. If looked at objectively, Christianity itself has a number of deeply implausible things at its center – ones that are as outlandish as anything you mentioned above. And none of them can be “proven” via the scientific method.

      Again, Numo, I didn’t mention them, the author did.

      I know we’ve butted heads before, and i guess we will again, but i wonder – as at the beginning of this post – why you chose to write in a critical way about others’ beliefs?

      I don’t believe I did write in a critical way of other’s beliefs. I’m actually quite sympathetic to the gist of the article, which is why I posted on it. I’ve spoken before in favor of a soft panentheism, modified by Christianity, which is pretty much the EO view.

      And while i am Xtian and not Buddhist, your includsion of a major world religion here troubles me. Do you think that Buddhism is “wrong,” or that we have nothing to learn from it?

      Again, I didn’t include Buddhism, the author did. I’m actually quite sympathetic to some tenets of Buddhism as I understand them.

      Sorry, but i feel like you are ridiculing other folks’ beliefs, rather than carefully examining and discussing them from a religious (i.e., Xtian) perspective.

      Again, I’m puzzled where you get the idea I’m ridiculing anything.

      There is *so* much that we don’t know and likely never will. The line from Hamlet about there being “more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy [natural philosophy, aka science]” comes to mind.

      Did you miss the sentence where I said, “I do agree with the author that that no theory or theology can do justice to the mystery of our existence, and a humble agnosticism is probably the wisest course.” The article, of course, is really metaphysical speculation, and not really science in the mundane sense of the word. But – so what – what’s wrong with speculation? In fact, I think it is useful to speculate where one thinks one’s science is leading them. Is it knowledge for knowledge’s sake? Useful only for pragmatic applications? For me, I hope my science is leading me to a greater appreciation of God’s creation, and therefore a greater appreciation for him.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > “I do agree with the author that that no theory or theology can do justice to the mystery of our existence, and a humble agnosticism is probably the wisest course.”

        +1,000. That’s where I’m at, I consider these things because they are interesting; there really is no-nada-zip reason anyone should put stock in my opinions of them. Other than Simulation Theory – – – that’s stupid.

        > In fact, I think it is useful to speculate where one thinks one’s science is leading them

        And it is fun, among friends. Other than Simulation Theory – those people are stupid.

        > Useful only for pragmatic applications?

        Nah. But a whole lot of electrons and photons get spilt over things which have no pragmatic application. That’s almost the entirety of the Christian blog-o-sphere (which exists in Information Space… is it self-aware?)

        And, then, every now and then someone goes “Ah ha!” and comes up with a pragmatic application for a previously unpragmatic idea. It happens.

        • Mike, as i said just above, i blew it here.

          Horgan at SciAm is the person i should have taken issue with.

          My sincerest apologies!

          As for block quotes, i agree – i mean, had i clicked on your initial link i wouldn’t have made the mistakes above.

  12. *Metaphysics

  13. Dana Ames says

    So Mike,

    interesting you’re among those of us raised Catholic. You also noted you “converted” to Christianity. How do you see your experience of being raised Catholic – were you not a Christian then? Just wondering, wanting to compare with mine.

    BTW, St Maximos (AFAIUH) has thoughts about how Christ is the center of everything and is connected to everything. Don’t ask me to explain it – I’m not there just yet 🙂

    Dana

    • Mike the Geologist says

      Well, I went from Catholics to atheism then to Evangelical Christianity, hence a conversion or reconversion or something ?

      • Wait, so both you and the writer of the article were Catholic? But, how did Dana learn that you were? My head is spinning….

        • Dana Ames says

          No, no, no…. Under the “Buddhism” section Mike writes “like Catholicism, the religion of my childhood” – just Mike, not the writer of the SA article. Your head can stop spinning now 😉

          D.

          • Dana, that’s in the Scientific American article. Mike the G is quoting it from the article. The author says it about himself. Check the link. Now your head can start spinning!

            • Well, that’s Mike AND the SA author. Not surprised – head not spinning… there are a lot of us “raised Catholic” folk around.

              D.

              • Dana, my head was spinning because for a while I couldn’t figure out who was saying what, Mike, or the author of the article.

                • Robert – me, too, obviously.

                  I got super-confused, as I’m sure everyone has noticed.

                  Ah well, at least I’m among friends here! 🙂