Starting Science From God

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A website for the book by Ian J Thompson:

“Rational Scientific Theories from Theism”


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I believe in God. I am a nuclear physicist. Those two things do not conflict in my mind, but instead they enhance each other.

Most of us have some idea about God and about how there might be such a being rather different from those we see every day. The concept of God has varied widely among religions over centuries, and it still varies among religions today. I subscribe to ‘theism’, in which God is seen as having created and as now sustaining the world. In the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition–the ‘religions of the book’–this God is an eternal, omnipotent and benevolent being who transcends the temporality and limits of the world, but who still seeks a relation with the persons within it.

Theism has been continually supported by the religious traditions, and it was often used as a reference point in discussions between religions and the sciences. The early scientists such as Newton and Leibniz started from theistic frameworks, but science now presents purely naturalistic explanations that make no reference to God. Science now does not even assume any dualist distinctions between mind and nature.

The intellectual support for theism has thus been crumbling over the last two centuries. It is under a concerted attack today from many quarters. Newton and Leibniz thought that further scientific developments would support theism, but in fact many later scientists have turned actively against it. Sam Harris (2004), for example, claims that religious ideas are “mere motivated credulity” that should be subjected to “sustained criticism” for their lack of connection with evidence. Richard Dawkins (2006) argues that the God of religion cannot be simple but must be of enormous complexity. Since God’s existence can never be supported by finite scientific evidence, Dawkins claims that believing in his existence would be “a total abdication of the responsibility to find an explanation”. Robert Pennock (1997) concludes that any explanation of nature that appeals to supernatural causes is invoking causes that are inherently mysterious, immune from disconfirmation, and that give no grounds for judgment in specific cases. Without the binding assumption of uninterruptible natural law, he claims, there would be absolute chaos in the scientific worldview. These are the challenges to be addressed in this book.

Outside of theology, theistic beliefs are typically professed, if at all, only in private or only on Sundays. Dualist or non-materialist understandings of the nature of mind are not valued. In most academic and intellectual activities, there is no public discussion of theism. Cosmology and evolution theories are formed without theistic considerations. Little public mention of dualism is allowed in biology or neuropsychology.

There is a place, therefore, for a robust statement of the foundations of theism in which logical and clear connections can be made with the sciences. That is my goal. I use the framework of a realist ontology where only things with causal effects are taken as really existing. Such an ontological approach follows the path started by Aristotle and further explored by Aquinas. Existing things constitute substances, and thus mere Platonic forms, idealistic consciousness, mathematics or information are not claimed to be that out of which things are made.

Scientists have various religious beliefs. Many scientists are happy with the great simplification of the world that can be achieved once non-physical things are excluded, whereas many others have feelings or intuitions that there is more to the world than the purely physical. One result of this tension has been the progressive simplification of religious beliefs, especially concerning their ontological claims, in order to shoehorn them into the restricted framework apparently allowed by science. I hope that this book will allow many of these simplifications to be reversed.

Starting science from God is a reasonable way to proceed.

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Scripture and the structure of reality

Those who have a faith-based worldview believe that God created the manifest universe. In fact, John 1:1-3 informs us that everything in the created world has its origins in the Holy Word.

If we contemplate John’s words rationally, rather than simply as a faith requirement, Scripture seems to be implying that the structure of the universe is patterned after the structure of God’s revealed wisdom.

Many physicists now believe that we live in a multi-dimensional or multi-leveled universe. As you move up this hierarchical ontological ladder, things are not only becoming more fundamental, they are becoming more abstract, expanded, non-local and non-physical.

In my upcoming book, Proving God, I argue that God’s Holy Word—which existed from eternity, was sent down from heaven, where its message found embodiment in the terrestrial words of human language. This divine order was the template for the multi-dimensional structure of the universe. Scientists call this order top-down causality.

Few theologians have considered the fact that if God’s Word came down from heaven, its original dynamics could not have been worldly, terrestrial, or physical. In other words, Scripture, on its most fundamental level, could not have described spatial qualities or physical events.

Heaven is certainly a non-spatial and non-physical realm. Therefore, for the Holy Word to exist in such a rarefied pre-space realm, before creation, it must have contained more abstract, expanded narratives with non-physical meanings. In fact, these higher meanings could ONLY treat of things referring to God’s holy qualities and the holy qualities of the Lord’s heavenly kingdom.

In the same way that energy and process can transition downwards into forms of stabilized matter, God’s Holy Word is a multi-dimensional document by which its primal sacred meaning descends into the constraints of time, space and matter, and its message takes on the appearance of a book containing literal history.

Reversing this top-down divine process through the human mind’s ability of symbolic abstraction while reading Scripture is what leads to spiritual enlightenment.

In other words, in the same way that matter and energy become more dynamic as the constraints of physical law are removed in higher levels of activity, the meanings of the stories in Scripture also become more dynamic when the constraints of the literal meanings of its words are removed.

That God intended for us to distill higher levels of meaning from the Holy Word is evidenced by the fact that Jesus spoke in parables only!

The Book of Revelation informs us that we will see the Lord in all His glory when He returns in the midst of clouds. If we remove the constraints of the literal meaning of the words “coming with the clouds” to its higher, psycho-spiritual equivalent, we will understand something deeper. Clouds symbolize mental obscurity.  God’s “return” will involve His breaking through our mental obscurity and doctrinal fog by revealing these higher levels of meaning to the human race.

The process of revealing these higher meanings is happening right now in the world. These higher meanings will shake things up for both scientists and theologians. The Second Coming is going to be an earth-shaking paradigm change.

Posted on December 6, 2008by thegodguy

Posted in god, Inner growth, metaphysics, Reality, religion, science, spirituality, symbolism, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Is Ultimate Substance

The world is in need of a more enlightened view of what love is.

The strategy I will use for unifying science and religion in my next book, “Proving God,” is to make a new ontological pronouncement about love. Love is not simply an emotion shared between two people. It is more than romance. It is the universal creative force that brings into existence and unifies all things. It is the key to understanding the mysterious nature of agency in the world. It is the ultimate substance of the universe.

The definition I use to define substance is an essence that generates form.

Love would therefore be a topic of hard science if we could show that it generates form (and bring God into the equation of generating measurement outcomes and specific position states in time and space). Modern science even offers some interesting clues that this might be the case.

Quantum theory tells us that everything is connected (quantum entanglement and non-locality). Quantum theory also suggests that primary reality consists of “tendencies to exist.” Substance in the quantum microworld is purely a dispositional property.

Love is dispositional as well. Love constantly seeks to express itself, that is, take form in some concrete action.

The mystery to be solved in quantum physics is how does a quantum event lead to matter’s ability to cohere into stable and evermore complex forms. What kind of disposition would be lawfully driven towards specific position states that lead to profound self-organization? The most popular view of quantum mechanics (the Copenhagen interpretation) describes fundamental reality as consisting of irreducible chance. But irreducible chance offers us a poor first principle for explaining nature’s incessant compulsion towards complex systems, unity, and order. In fact, quantum physics is not a theory of principles at all. It is a theory still seeking a foundational principle. How can science say that the microworld consists of both the dynamics of nonseparability (unity) and a probabilistic froth (randomness)?

There is no way to correlate “chance” with the time-irreversible process of quantum potentials taking profound form in the complicated systems of the macroworld. There is no way for randomness to create a finely tuned universe (unless the dice is loaded).

Love, however, DOES have a correlation with complexity and organization when we contemplate that all organized process portrays relational holism and cooperation among its myriad operations. So science needs to find a first causal principle that correlates with, and can generate bio-complexity and intelligent beings. This requires a living first principle that has its domain outside time and space.

God is Infinite love, Infinite wisdom, and Infinite Life. Because the Lord God lives, the universe is not just mathematical but volitional. It is striving to become more unified as it becomes more diversified. The unified complexity of the natural world emerges out of God’s inexhaustible complexity of Love seeking concrete form (measurement outcomes) in time and space.

We can each see in our own lives that what we love, focuses our attention, shapes our memory, and ultimately determines who we are. Love provides the non-physical key to the nature of agency in the universe.

Any thoughts?

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Is Scripture a Fairy Tale?

Is the Bible the inspired Word of God? Or, are they the stories of simple people, who lacking scientific sophistication, had to rely on their imagination to make sense of the cosmos. Look at the biblical passage below:

Babel, the ornament of kingdoms, shall be as God’s overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah; the tziim shall lie there, their houses shall be filled with ochim, and the daughters of the owl shall dwell there, and the satyrs shall dance there; the ijim shall answer in her palaces, and the dragons in the palaces of her delight. (Isa. 13:19, 21, 22)

The Holy World contains stories of talking serpents, fearful giants, satyrs, and great dragons. These are also the sorts of creatures that one expects to find in mythologies and fairy tales. To say that something is a myth or fairy tale is to imply that it has no ontological status—that it isn’t something real. Why then would an all-foreseeing and infinitely wise Creator make use of such fantastic creatures knowing full well that these stories would eventually come under the scrutiny of the post modern world?

Can entities have real existence independent of what the physical world shows us? Can creatures exist within the laws of higher orders of reality? And, could these creatures be relevant to our everyday lives by having a real causal influence on what happens in the world?

We often describe Hitler as a monster. Yet, physically, he fully possessed the same human features as everyone else. So where does the hideous disfigurement reside?

When we see someone perform self-less acts to help others why do we say to that person “How big of you to do that?” And, why do we often refer to a selfish individual as a “small person?” What kind of non-physical metrics are we instinctively applying to the stature of people that we deal with everyday?

Why are the people we encounter in life seen on the one hand as being sharks, snakes in the grass, parasites, or wolves in sheep’s clothing, and on the other hand, seen as being innocent as doves or gentle as lambs? Isn’t it obvious that these images help to portray qualities that we are detecting from people’s true inner realities?

Therefore, are we abandoning modern scientific positivism and degenerating into superstitious goat-herders by such imaginative forays? If we can make use of this symbolic representation to express a more real picture of things operating underneath the surface, why can’t God?

In terms of salvation, isn’t it this inner reality of the human heart and mind that religion seeks to address and offer its guidance?

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