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Author Topic: Is god just a bunch of numbers?  (Read 7148 times)

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Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« on: October 25, 2008, 04:04:46 AM »
Hear me out and read it through before you post or skip off to another thread...I posted this because it just won't fit into another existing thread without derailing it severely. This has been eating at me for some time now.


Before I stab into the heart of this debate, which will tear between scientific and theological definitions of a proposed creator, let's first established some of the facts...namely, those facts that have been proven by science.

Elementary level schoolbooks will tell us that everything around us is composed of particles. The molecules that make things up are just arrangements of atoms, and atoms of course are arrangements of smaller particles. This much we all know.

Right now you're reading this, and the characters of my type and the background page they sit on is a complex arrangement of bits that make up the entire image on your screen. Likewise, the desktop on which your monitor is sitting right now is an arrangement of particles.

The black color of my type exists only because of a certain arrangement of binary bits causes them to be black. The wood, metal, plastic and any other substances making up your desktop are what they are because of particular orderings of molecules and atoms.

These arrangements determine what these given things are. Likewise, the particular nucleotide chains in your DNA make each of you the unique individuals that you are.

What strike me here is the bits of our virtual world simply mirror the quantum scale of the real world; things exist the way they are because they are arrangements of information. Indeed, it could be argued that the universe and everything in it is what it is because of the stored information of the elementary particles that make it up.

Now...the initial catalyst is still in debate, but what we know of evolution and biology shows us that these molecules, really just units of information storage, can find ways to reproduce, and are responsible for us all being here now.

If a self-replicating molecule is possible, why not a self-replicating mathematical equation? Something much like the fractal; when reproduced countless times the information of those equations form the structures we see in fractals. It's been argued whether our tinkering with these 'mathematical telescopes' of state of the art computers have simply created those designs from the math, or if they have indeed discovered them; implying a very freakish underlying numerical structure in the universe.

The so called Holy Grail of physics is the one thing that scientists have yet to achieve; the theories and formulas that neatly tie up the large scale universe with the quantum. We have theories for each realm of course, but they are not yet compatible. We seek the Grand Unified Theory.

It's been said by a prominent scientist, Einstein and/or Hawking, that to find that equation that can sum up everything in the universe would be like knowing the mind of god.

So here we arrive at the crux of my post....what if that master equation that explains the universe IS god?

Let me clarify my intent; a self-replicating mathematical equation that has created the universe. 'It' may or may not be conscious...at least perhaps not conscious and aware as we know it. Perhaps I'm suggesting something similar to a natural Artificial Intelligence, if you will forgive me the glaringly obvious oxymoron implied there.


As I have said repeatedly in other threads; time and again there has been the human need to perceive god or gods as these parental figures in familiar earthly forms that lord over us and watch over us, judge us, protect us, and sometimes punish us.

Problem is, take away faith, and there's nothing compelling to support this. Nothing to suggest the active proximity of a creator spirit or force. I surmise that 'god', this master equation that's responsible for everything, isn't aware of us. Either because it's not conscious in any sense to perceive us, or being responsible for the entirety of the universe, likely BEING the universe, we don't even register as ants on the gargantuan intelligence or consciousness that a self-aware universe might have. It supports science too, because there nothing we see in cosmology that suggests we occupy a privileged or special location in the observable universe.

This creator, this master equation, may be no more directly aware of us than we are of the individual mitochondria that power the cells in our bodies.

Discuss.  :)



« Last Edit: October 25, 2008, 04:09:55 AM by The Overlord »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2008, 06:32:21 AM »
Alright, I'm not really into math.  So maybe I'll just come off seeming real simple here.  Looking at an object, noticing how well put together that object is and then assuming that the creator must then be similiar to the object is...missing something.  For instance if you were to take a car, break it down and marvel at the unique construction of the pieces and how everything ties together but then assume that its creator must be similiar to the machine that logic would be flawed.  There is truth in knowing the creation, know the creator but there is an extent in which that cannot cross. 

Offline Lithos

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2008, 06:37:00 AM »
Of course he is, and that number is 42.

This has been known for years :)

Offline Lilias

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2008, 07:15:08 AM »
Of course he is, and that number is 42.

This has been known for years :)

You haven't accounted for inflation, have you?

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2008, 07:58:42 AM »
Alright, I'm not really into math.  So maybe I'll just come off seeming real simple here.  Looking at an object, noticing how well put together that object is and then assuming that the creator must then be similiar to the object is...missing something.  For instance if you were to take a car, break it down and marvel at the unique construction of the pieces and how everything ties together but then assume that its creator must be similar to the machine that logic would be flawed.  There is truth in knowing the creation, know the creator but there is an extent in which that cannot cross. 
I agree with this. I'll also state that regardless of faith, that there is nothing to suggest God doesn't exist. Physically or mathematically.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2008, 02:35:35 PM »
Inkidu is god.
You wouldn't want that. Trust me, it would be smitin' time. :D

Offline Sherona

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2008, 03:09:46 PM »
Personally I follow the great bosoms in the sky...I am her high priestess you know...*hands out tracts on Bosomism.*


/end joke

I think this really comes down to the very reason that I am agnostic. Aethiest can not escape the trap of faith. "God made the very science that you are using to refute him. We can not know the nature of God." and Religious people can not escape that there is not a shred of absolute scientific proof that a God exists (can't give absolute proof of faith). *shrugs*

If there is a greater being out there, humans in our finite knowledge can nto possibly comprehend someone who could govern a universe. Personally, I think its more likely that there are beings of higher intellect (face it, the odds against not having intelligent life in the cosmos somewhere are pretty astronomical) and not gods at all. At least, not in the sense of a creator of the universe...might be pretty godlike compared to humans depending on advancements etc and so forth.

Offline Sherona

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2008, 03:38:24 PM »
If you are going to be haning the Great Bosom's likeness anywhere, then you must perform ritualistic homage to them....else it is sacreligious....*smiles*

Offline Avi

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Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2008, 03:39:35 PM »
For me, I find that science/mathematics and religion compliment each other nicely.  In science, there is an over-arching idea of a natural order to things, that everything will fall into a predictable pattern if one can understand the mechanisms behind it.  In religion, there is the idea that everything in the universe was set in motion by some greater existence than anything else.  I find that science and math just reinforce this idea.  When I am able to look at all the amazing connections, patterns, and symmetries of this existence, I can't help but think that there must have been something out there that put it all together.  The chance of it being all just a random, perfect coincidence is miniscule, and therefore, the SMART money is on the existence of a higher being.

I conclude with a quote from perhaps THE greatest scientist of the 20th century, one Albert Einstein.  "The truly good scientist will find God waiting behind every door which he opens."

Offline Trieste

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Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2008, 04:01:15 PM »
It's been said by a prominent scientist, Einstein and/or Hawking, that to find that equation that can sum up everything in the universe would be like knowing the mind of god.

I believe this was meant not as a direct parallel or religious statement so much as it was meant to relate how difficult finding such a thing would be.

Personally I follow the great bosoms in the sky...I am her high priestess you know...*hands out tracts on Bosomism.*

*happily stretches out on Sherona's shrine* :P

Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2008, 05:21:07 PM »
I believe this was meant not as a direct parallel or religious statement so much as it was meant to relate how difficult finding such a thing would be.


Nobody's denying the difficulty of the task Trieste, but you must understand the brightest minds in physics and cosmology really do see this master equation as an ultimately attainable goal. It sounds a little metaphorical, but you're talking about finally explaining the universe for what it is...I'd agree that's fairly close to knowing the mind of the creator.

Offline Methos

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2008, 07:41:32 PM »
Understanding the nature of god or the universe are two truly monumental tasks. The problem with any creation theory is that it begins with something creating something else, leading to the question 'how did it get there?". Matter had to come from somewhere, and a creator begs the question who created the creator? Although both questions seems to wind up being answered with "it was just there".

Whether god is simply some sort of creative George Lucaesque "force" in the universe or resembles a giant bearded Jewish man in the sky is a live issue though.

Offline Moondazed

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Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2008, 07:46:26 PM »
My concept of a higher being isn't the problem, it's the problem I have with the Bible as the word of God (tm).  That's where my beliefs break with those of most followers of God.

Online Vekseid

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2008, 08:18:00 PM »
The fundamentals of the Universe are actually thought to be relatively simple.  Even the basics of Relativity is really quite simple, though the general theory is obviously more complex than the special theory and people trying to bend it over sideways looking for a way to squeeze FTL out of it certainly don't have an easy time (hello Alcubierre).

It's easy to take apart a car and derive its purpose, because the interface is a rather fundamental part of the vehicle. You would be able to determine that humans were probably four-limbed, bipedal creatures with eyes near the top of their bodies and a sense of hearing, and certain response times and physical limitations couls also be determined - rear-view mirrors are telling.

The purpose of the Universe is a bit more difficult to determine, excepting for the fact that it exists and therefore may need neither purpose nor god. It's rather anthropocentric to assume that a sufficient entity would use such a creation for the same purposes that we would, but then, it's difficult to come up with a better explanation.

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2008, 10:00:42 PM »
Except nothing in the universe exists without a reason. So therefore anything that exists has a reason. Thus if the universe didn't have a reason then it wouldn't exist. Which it clearly does. :D

Edit: Hit alt-s by mistake.

So intelligent design has to be a part of it. You can't leave broiling chaos alone and expect it to function in such a way that every single nth of a whatever fits together in a single or series of purposes. Sure nature might, but that doesn't quite explain how we humans can defy nature, at least to a limited degree. We defy Darwin.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2008, 10:08:45 PM by Inkidu »

Online Vekseid

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2008, 03:59:50 AM »
Except nothing in the universe exists without a reason. So therefore anything that exists has a reason. Thus if the universe didn't have a reason then it wouldn't exist. Which it clearly does. :D

Starting with a fallacy is no way to begin a debate, Inkidu.

To put it simply, making the statement that because everything within the Universe has a cause (the Big Bang), it is a fallacy to then state that, with no other external knowledge (which we do possess but is irrelevant to this particular point), that the known cause of the Universe must itself have a cause.

Quote
Edit: Hit alt-s by mistake.

So intelligent design has to be a part of it. You can't leave broiling chaos alone and expect it to function in such a way that every single nth of a whatever fits together in a single or series of purposes. Sure nature might, but that doesn't quite explain how we humans can defy nature, at least to a limited degree. We defy Darwin.

Intelligent design is as relevant to the Universe as astrology and alchemy are. Amusing diversions at best, but utterly useless at explaining anything beyond an examination of the cultures and peoples which believe them.

Edit: And there's a second fallacy in your second paragraph, making the assumption that there can be no cyclical or infinitely regressive causes.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 04:13:38 AM by Vekseid »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2008, 06:11:51 AM »
Yet in all that discussion of our physical characteristics, there was no mention of who we are as a people.  Assuming the one breaking apart the vehicle thought as we did of the item's purpose then they may determine our physical abilities.  Of course if they did not exist as we do and did not see things as we do, their theories may be wild and chaotic as well.  Then there is the fact of how did the car come to be and how was the car created.  Perhaps the car fell from the sky or simply appeared, random chance built the car or perhaps some alien race long since passed had built the car.

Also, from my understand of what Intelligent Design has evolved into to say it has no bearing is to be presume there is no God either.  That is a being that is not disproven and not proven.  From the information we currently have, that I am at least familiar with us having, God has as much a shot at being the catalyst as anyone. 

Offline Lithos

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2008, 07:13:47 AM »
Existence or non existence of god is insignificant in working at figuring how the world works anyway. When we know enough (if we ever do) to know what caused big bang, and when we know exactly how the world works, perhaps then we will be able to know wether there was intelligent "starter" or creator. Before that, existence of such a creator is totally meaningless issue and debate about it just waste of time.

Offline Sherona

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2008, 07:49:23 AM »
except, Lithos, some of us enjoy debating so its not a waste of time. Also, for some, that Creator is their very basis of religion, and religion gives hope, peace, and comfort to many who practice it so they have an emotional vestment in 'winning' the debate of Intelligent Design.



Offline Lithos

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2008, 08:03:51 AM »
except, Lithos, some of us enjoy debating so its not a waste of time. Also, for some, that Creator is their very basis of religion, and religion gives hope, peace, and comfort to many who practice it so they have an emotional vestment in 'winning' the debate of Intelligent Design.
Yes, it is not waste of time in entertainment sense, building sand castle or snow man can be fun too :P

Religion is only one of many things that gives us hope, peace and comfort. Its usefulness at that should be noted but does not make it special over any other world or self view. Some people seek peace and comfort from some god, others seek to improve themselves to be able to reach same things from within, and some seek it from hobbies.

Discussion and even debate about religion can be fun but it usually deteriorates to something ugly quite fast, much in the same way as political debate. *Grins* and yet here I am browsing the only part of E that I actually dislike... was bored so had to reply to some thread.. usually I do not dwell in politics / religion forum though :)

Bottom line in my opinion is that people are seeing debate about these things as a lot more important thing than it really is. I think that once people understand that religious debate exists for entertainment and is not related to reality, quality of it will raise a lot.

As far as examples of quality of much conversation, this TOP 100 quote list from (mostly christian) forums shows what I mean the best I suppose:

http://www.fstdt.com/fundies/top100.aspx?archive=1 

Offline Sherona

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2008, 08:27:12 AM »
*smiles* But then Lithos, again, your belittling people's belief in a religion. To them it IS important, and to some its the ONLY thing that is important.

I agree wtih you that religious debate can be fun, growing up in an ultra-ultra- religious household (I lived pretty much in an Amish community even though we were christians as a child, german speaking and all) and taking theology courses, I find them extremely facinating. But like you said, it often comes down to name calling and worse. I think its because teh different religions are convince tehy have the right one, that their God is the only god and the true god, and most religious creeds (not all though) tell them to go out and witness, preach the message.

Then you have the Aethiest that do not like being told theirs a god, who feel judged by all the religious people, and feel they have to defend their thoughts and actions. (Though honestly, why? Your not going to hell, so no need to worry about it if someone else thinks you are :P) So you have religious groups preaching, you have atheists preaching (yes preaching.), and it boils down to I'm right, nu huh I am right!..

But I thikn if people avoid using derogative words like Idiotic, Moronic, or Sinner, Evil doers, things can stay fairly civil. Its rare, but I have had plenty of religious debates here on E and elsewhere that was fun, civil, for both sides. I have argued the side of teh atheist, and I have argued the side of the religious...just cause I always seem to want to make sure that both sides are heard :P. Guess thats why its good to be agnostic..a "fence sitter" as my late father referred to agnostics as :P

Offline Moondazed

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Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2008, 08:37:08 AM »
This might be off topic, but has anyone read "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris?  He makes some valid points about the impact of religion.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 08:39:40 AM by moondazed »

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2008, 09:42:43 AM »
Starting with a fallacy is no way to begin a debate, Inkidu.

To put it simply, making the statement that because everything within the Universe has a cause (the Big Bang), it is a fallacy to then state that, with no other external knowledge (which we do possess but is irrelevant to this particular point), that the known cause of the Universe must itself have a cause.

Intelligent design is as relevant to the Universe as astrology and alchemy are. Amusing diversions at best, but utterly useless at explaining anything beyond an examination of the cultures and peoples which believe them.

Edit: And there's a second fallacy in your second paragraph, making the assumption that there can be no cyclical or infinitely regressive causes.
Unless intelligent design is the cause of the universe and then it becomes highly relevant. One would think. I never said the universe couldn't not or doesn't work in cycles or infinitely regress. You're putting words in my mouth. I suggest that intelligent design, tied to culture of people or not, is the cause of the universe. Nothing just happens. If there wasn't some reason for the creation of the universe then it would have been created. Thus, a creator of some kind.

Offline Cherri Tart

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2008, 11:54:35 AM »
God is number One.  at least that's my opinion.  I think that once you put something into the faith catagory, there stops being a right or wrong answer.  Everyone's answer is different and right in it's own way.  just my two cents. :)

Offline Phaia

Re: Is god just a bunch of numbers?
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2008, 06:03:49 PM »
If you believe in a god and he does not exsist you lose nothing; if you do not believe in a god and he does exist you lose everything!!

I choose to believe there is a god!

Doesnt mean he is not an inventor or builder..or have a sense of humor...after all explain a duck billed Platypus...there has to be a weird sense of humor behind that!!!


Phaia