Merry Christmas

Though I’m not affiliated with any official organized religion, I do have my personal beliefs, and in particular, I think, like many scientists, that the fact that the Universe is generally not chaotic, is the best evidence for God. And in particular, the fact that life itself is so complex, yet highly organized, is in my opinion, compelling evidence for the existence of God.

In simple terms, if we assume that the laws of physics are computable, then the probability of life spontaneously appearing as it is, as a consequence of those laws, is so low, that it is simply not a credible theory. For those that are interested, look up the work of Ray Solomonoff on algorithmic probability, for a better understanding of why this is the case.

This leaves us with the possibility that the Universe is not computable, which is possible, or that at least life itself has a Creator, that, like us, is capable of spontaneous changes in behavior that have no proximate cause in this life, but are instead the consequence of will power, which I believe to be the capacity to spontaneously change the momentum of a system. Gravity does precisely this, in that it accelerates without any proximate cause, in that there is no observable third system that causes two nearby masses to accelerate. But in contrast to life, gravity is apparently sterile, in that its behavior can be explained with a simple equation. Obviously, the behavior of human beings is far more complex than the behavior of two nearby masses, though both exhibit spontaneous changes in momentum.

If there is anything that stands out about the Earth, and life generally, in the context of the Universe as a whole, it is its complexity, in the mathematical sense, in that the Earth is remarkably complex, and requires far more information to describe accurately than the other planets in our solar system. In particular, a single human body is an unfathomably complex system. In contrast, the rest of the matter in our universe is, as far as well can tell, inanimate rock, gas, ice, and plasma. This is not to suggest that life doesn’t exist elsewhere in the Universe, but rather, that we haven’t found it yet, so even assuming it does exist, it is obviously quite rare.

The corollary, is that if we have a Creator, then our Creator is obviously concerned with information, since that is the defining characteristic of the Earth, that distinguishes it from the known Universe, in that it contains incomparably more information than the rest of the Universe, by virtue of the living systems that inhabit this planet.

My personal view is that this is in fact the case, and that the Earth is an extraordinary computational engine, and that life is the fundamental component by which it operates, deliberately, by design, with all living creatures inadvertently contributing to its machinations.

In particular, I believe art is a means by which extraordinarily complex information can be stored, conveyed, and operated on, in a manner that does not require the physical violence typically associated with the machinations of nature, and that perhaps humanity’s ability to create, store, and manipulate art explains our apparent privileged status in this world.

In short, we can do the same work, presumably even more, without the attendant suffering, and so, we are more highly valued by our Creator.

 

 

Merry Christmas,

Charles

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