Jim Henry - for TC #261

I am writing this on the day before the deadline, so I will only address part of Filthy Pierre's comments in this short piece. Hopefully I will have time to write a longer reply sometime in the next month for TC #262.

Cause and Sequence (TC #260 pp. 23 (me) and 34 (Filthy Pierre)): In everyday experience, causes typically happen first and their effects happen later. However, chronological sequence is not an inherent property of causal relations. For instance, in analyzing the natural numbers, 2 logically follows 1; but I doubt you would say that 1 chronologically preceded 2. The numbers 1, 2, 3 and so forth are all eternal (that is, timeless), and logically prior to the physical world in which we find particular sets of so many items. You present a false alternative, of the world always having existed, or else God existing alone up to some point and "then" causing the world to exist as well. Few educated Christians (or Jews or Moslems, as far as I know) would recognize the latter alternative as representing what they believe. Time is an aspect of the world God made (by "world" I mean, the entire space-time continuum), and talking about God in terms of time or his act of creation in terms of "before" and "after" is a metaphor of limited usefulness. God is prior to creation (the spacetime continuum) in the sense in which 1 is prior to 2, not in the sense that conception is prior to pregnancy which is prior to birth.

On parsimony and minimizing assumptions (TC #260, pp. 23 and 35, 37): Christians (and Jews, and, as far as I know, Moslems) believe that humans are made "in God's image". Exactly what that means has been a subject of some disagreement; but just as it clearly doesn't mean that God is a featherless biped, it also doesn't necessarily mean that God has as many or more neurons (or neuron-equivalent parts) than a human. God is described as holier, wiser, more loving, etc. than any human; but it would probably be an error to describe God as more complex than a human.

You describe the standard model of physics as an assumption, or set of assumptions, that is necessarily less complex than the idea of God, because the idea of God must include God's designing and implementing the laws of physics. This is probably so; but the laws of physics in themselves do not account for as many observed and experienced phenomena as does the idea of God. Materialists assume that eventually the chain of proof that connects particle physics to chemistry will extend to all of biology and thence to all of the sciences that deal with human action (praxeology, in Ludwig von Mises' term, or psychology, economics, political science, etc.). However, this is an assumption, or maybe a large set of assumptions. Eventually, materialists suppose, we will figure out exactly how this set of physical laws describing how spacetime and matter-energy act completely explains how living things in general and humans in particular live and act. But we haven't done so yet, and maybe never will. The possibility of such demonstration is assumed, not proven. In particular, our experience of considering and making decisions, and our sense of right and wrong, has not been satisfactorily explained in terms of evolutionary biology.

Jim Henry Lilburn, Georgia http://www.pobox.com/~jimhenry