Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gentleman's Disagreement

Going on Arni Zachariassen's report here of the debate between Rowan Williams and Richard Dawkins it sounds as though it was a very civilised affair indeed. This is a breath of fresh air.

In contrast, I can't help feeling that the politicisation, polarisation and primitive savagery we see nowadays on both sides of the debate is in good part down to the growth of fundamentalism; and Christian fundamentalism has its fair share of the blame here: Disagreement with particular Christian fundamentalist "jot and tittle" doctrines provokes charges of compromise, heresy, paganism, apostasy, siding with a conspiracy and even of being an emissary of Satan.  Posts where I have touched on fundamentalist extremism can be found here:


Trying to sum up my thinking here: It seems to me that the paranoiac and hysterical Christian fundamentalist overreaction that we are seeing today has its roots in the sixties when Christianity started to face some fundamental challenges and was quasi-disestablished.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

William Irwin Thompson: At the Edge of History

In the late sixties William Irwin Thompson was professor of humanities at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It seems that MIT’s image makers wanted a tame humanities department to act as window dressing that would help humanize and soften the stark lines of their “Hard Science” modernism. But in Thompson they got more than they bargained for: This was a man who was acutely aware of the deep existential angst that so often accompanies the science and technology driven industrialised West, an angst that in good part is down to the world view paradigms that are too easily assumed to go together with a technoscience based society. Using some first rate wordsmithing Thompson turned on his employers with very biting criticisms. But then what did MIT expect? As a cultural historian Thompson’s area of expertise, by definition, is criticism and so MIT got what they paid for; they employed a cultural critic and they got a cultural critic – with a vengeance. They could hardly expect Thompson to respond with a belly-up acquiescence to the epistemic exclusivism that is the habit of mind of many an aficionado of the hard sciences.

At the beginning of the 1970s Thomson published At The Edge of History, a book I have recently read. It is the story of Thompson's reaction to his experiences at MIT. Much of the material in At the Edge of History deals with the subtle existential difficulties many Westerners have in coming to terms with technological society and the crisis of meaning that the revelations science bring; this is subject matter that is very much a theme of my blogs. Thompson is one of those thinkers who takes in the whole of sweep of reality and paints a breath taking broad brush picture of the vista he sees. It’s a sobering the fact that Thompson was writing this kind of stuff when I was only just out of shorts and still thought that science was all about space travel.

Perhaps I find Thompson just a bit too New Agey to connect with his aspirations and tastes, but he is so perceptive and expresses things so well that I found myself underlining much of what he had written. Below are some passages that stood out for me, particularly passages to do with that pervasive theme of my blogs: Technoscientific angst.

Page 63: The new paradigm alienates: In the seventeenth century we took a turn into what Alfred North Whitehead calls “scientific materialism” and introduced a whole new readjustment of the mind’s relationship with nature; now the effects of that readjustment are becoming visible, tragically visible.

Page 65: Feeling vs. Mechanism: When men are trained to strive for power over their environment [via science and technology], they are socially constrained to achieve that success through suppression of consciousness in which ambiguity, complexity, feeling, intuition and imagination are dismissed as irrelevant distractions….. And this is what “the aerospace syndrome” is all about. Operating with a strictly logical and mechanistic model of self, MIT training reduces the self’s truly complex nature to a few relatively standard industrial functions.

Page 70: Phallic science rapes nature: And what the adolescent engineer rehearses in miniature in his fantasied relations with women, he is even freer to do at large with nature, for the instinctive play of our technology is the exploitation of passive, female nature in a celebration of power and phallic dominance. In keeping with this sexual mythology of rational male dominance over irrational female nature we have constructed an ideology of progress that places our industrial culture at the pinnacle of human civilization.

Page 75: Mystical “Pythagorean science” is Thompson’s ideal: We somehow have to outflank the ignorant armies of the Left and Right to find the space and time to convert out industrial technology to new kind of Pythagorean science.

Page 79: Our humanity is reasserted and expressed through the overtly palpable and sensual: In the face of the machine, man now affirms his humanity in nudity, sexuality, and the polymorphous sensuousness of Esalen.

Page 84: Modern science’s mechanistic reductionist hegemony: If at MIT biology is molecular, psychology is the physiology of the brain, and political science is computer generated biostatistics, then it follows that if the humanities and arts can show imaginative ways of giving up their atavistic inclinations, funds will be found to turn philosophy into information theory, history into the comparative modernization of the Third World, and literature into linguistics.

Page 128: Freak out as luddites or become initiates who unite mythos and logos: When information is so immense that man cannot keep up with it and still be purely rational, he has a choice: he can freak out and become tribal again to attack the old na├»ve rational values in the guise of a Luddite-student; or he can effect a quantum leap in consciousness to re-vision the universe….re-vision the universe in the mystical, mathematical, and scientific foms of the new Pythagoreanism….

Page 132: Thompson’s New Age Drift: But at the beginning of Phase IV it is all the triumph of the Pythagorean, the Scientist-Shaman of the Aquarian Age….

Page 144: On Fundies vs. Liberals: The liberal feels that liberal values will become increasingly triumphant; the powerless fundamentalist feels that apocalypse will tumble the proud and mighty into the dust, and that he will be found living in the truth.

Page 145. Industry vs. Romanticism, Logos, vs. Mythos: Seventeen hundred and seventy saw the beginning of the industrial revolution, but it also saw the beginning of the movement of Romanticism, which as a movement in European culture, had a fairly profound effect on human history, artistic and political.

Page 147: Techno-liberalism is totalitarian:….one can make a much stronger case that it is the Technological society that is totalitarian, for it reduces all cultures to mere ideological impediments to the advance of “rationalization”. Technology is “total” because it sees everything other than itself as reactionary, irrational, and primitive.

Page 159: Lewis and Tolkien attack technology: Lewis’ and Tolkien’s Oxford attack on the modern machine age is not novel, but it is subtle and clever. By saying in effect, “Of course, all this is rubbish and nonsense, but it is entertaining,” they can sneak unnoticed into the iron palace of technology.

Page 165. Thompson and Evolution. Prior to this page Thompson discusses some “heretical” theories like Atlantis and catastrophism and then we read this: I remember how startled I was in 1967 when Professor Robert Ockne told me he did not accept the theory of human evolution as proved because he thought it was an enormous overgeneralization on very fragmentary data…..I was very surprised because I always thought, without question, that only ignorant hicks from the south or Jehovah’s Witnesses questioned the theory, and since I saw myself as definitely on the side of science against orthodox religion, I positioned myself in the matter without a thought for what was really only a matter of snobbery.

Page 169: On Imagination vs. Reason: Had the mystical and Pythagorean nature of pure science not been vigorously suppressed in favor of a scientized political ideology, men like Tennyson might not have had to tear themselves apart over the supposed conflict between visionary experience and reason.

Page 170: On Mythology: There is indeed a “mythopeic mentality”, but it is not restricted to precivilised man, but is to be found in geniuses as different as Boehme, Kepler, Blake, Yeats, Wagner, Heisenberg, and that student of Boehme’s theory of action and reaction, Isaac Newton. Myth is not an early level of human development, but an imaginative description of reality in which the known is related to the unknown……{then follows a definition of myth}

Page 182 Balancing criticism and imagination: Between the cracked-open minds of the enthusiasts of lost tribes, lost continents, and flying saucers and the firmly shut minds of the scholars, it is a very difficult to find a healthy way of using one’s head. ….The double-bind was as true of scholarship as of politics: one purchased imagination at a cost of discipline; a disciplined imagination was a contradiction of terms.

Page 189: Thompson and Maverick science: Thompson is favourably disposed toward alternative “Atlantean” histories and thinks we may be due for a paradigm shift here: All in all, when one takes into account the problems that are not honestly faced and questioned in our notions of evolution, primitive culture, and archeology, one can see that the specialists of what T.S. Kuhn would call “normal science” are retreating from the “anomalies” and burrowing more deeply into the security of the minutiae. If one lifts one’s gaze to take in the whole historical horizon of man, as now only an amateur or a non-specialist can, one can see that once again we are entering an era of scientific revolution with its sudden shift in paradigms. [or perhaps not yet – that was written about 40 years ago]

Page 189: Monsters from the id: The liberal humanists dread the collapse of their world structure with some reason, for if progress and materialism have made technology possible by ignoring all the other subtle forces in nature, then the death of materialism will open man up to beasts and demons he has not feared since the middle ages. …..Already the hippie dropouts from the universities and high schools are becoming caught up in black magic, sorcery, and the crudest forms of occultism…Charles Manson….

Page 200 The “cargo cult” is a universal template: The universal cargo cult takes in the multitudes, from Oxford professors like Lewis waiting for Christ to invade, through [Arthur C] Clarke and his followers, to Mixtec Indians, looking for Apollo II and remembering their Ancient gods from the sky. And even the Russians have held conferences on extraterrestrial civilizations and begun to wait, with Mick Jagger, "for something to come out of somewhere".

Page 201 The angst of the Cosmic perspective: The film [2001 space odyssey] itself is the perfect American irony: a gadget-filled, special effects ode to technology is at once a requiem to all technology. The very movie [2001 space odyssey] that dazzles us with all its tricks is the movie that shows how trivial all these toys are when set upon the cosmic scale.

Page 205: Myth is the/a paradigm of the impending New Age: Birth and death are ultimately confusing; to make sense of them we will have to make our peace with myth…. At the edge of history, history itself can no longer help us and only myth remains equal to reality.

****

The following are links to blog posts of mine relevant to Thompson’s subject matter:
http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2011/11/science-and-imagination.html
http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2011/10/self-referencing-nature-of.html

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Of Funnels, Pandeism, Simulations and Grace.

The Thin End of the Cosmic Funnel***
(Picture from the Wikipedia page on the Big Bang)

In this post I want to reply to “Anonymous” who left a comment on my blog entry here. My blog is a pretty quiet backwater of the www, so when someone comes along with some intelligent comments it’s a big deal on this part of web and so worth showcasing. I actually think of my blogs more as a kind of “get-it-off-my-chest” quasi-private diary of thoughts and reactions to life. But if fair minded people stumble upon them and comment intelligently they’re more than welcome. It’s a bonus!

Anyway, let me first publish (again) Anonymous’ comment:

Tinkering, interruptions, call them what you will, but at the end of the day the question remains, has the deity of your conception sufficient power, intellect, and rationality to set forth a Universe which from its initial state unfolds in accordance with the laws of physics thus established to bring about complexity, life, ultimately intelligent life, without need for any 'interruptions' of any kind? And let me raise the stakes a bit, is able to set forth a Universe in this manner which in its unfolding ends up exactly as the Universe we perceive today, in every particular? For this is precisely the capacity asserted to be that of the Creator in Pandeism.

But I would not wish to leave an incomplete sense of what Pandeism proposes. So here it is.

Pandeism proposes that prior to the existence of our Universe (or, in some sense 'outside' the existence of our Universe, for those who would limit the existence of linear time to being within such existence) there was an entity of, as supposed above, sufficient power, intellect, and rationality to set forth a Universe of the scope and operation of our own. This entity had some rational motivation compelling it to set forth a Universe, perhaps because as a unitary being it could only learn the lessons of dichotomy by experiencing the existence of limited beings interacting with one another. And so, it set forth laws of physics designed to bring about the complexity which would ultimately create these beings, and it poured its energy into that which is now the energy of which our Universe is ultimately made. The laws of physics point to an end but are not determinative. Imagine a large funnel into which many small rubber balls are thrown against the wall; the balls may bounce randomly, unpredictably, but will ultimately end up going down then hole at the narrow end of the funnel. Just so, our laws of physics. No telling when or where exactly intelligent life will develop, or what form it will take, but the brilliantly constructed governing dynamics of our Universe make it highly likely that it will happen at some times and places.

And where is the Creator in all this? Well, it has become our Universe, so it's everywhere; it's power continually sustains all things in being, but it has not the need to 'interrupt' the obedience of every particle of energy in existence to the laws of physics which were well-enough made in the first place to bring about everything required to fulfill its initial motivation. Indeed, it would have an overriding incentive to not interrupt the natural development of things, which would be to not interrupt the natural development of things, and instead see how things unfold, how the true randoms play out, absent any intervention at all.

And what of man's millions of competing revelations and prophecies, visions, scriptures, oracles, miracles, spiritual emotions, supernatural feelings, ghosts, answered prayers, egrigores, and like beliefs? These are after all a constant across all cultures, even those whose take from them is completely opposite to their neighbors, suggesting either a deity doing a rather sloppy job of trying to communicate a single truth, or man doing a rather sloppy (and often self-serving) job of interpreting the unconscious manifestations of the mind of a deity not trying to communicate anything at all. For if, after all, our Creator became the Creation, then we are all fragments of it, and some talented few of us may in our own minds touch some small portion of the incomprehensibly vast and complex mind which underlies all things for however long our Universe is set to bounce around before it ends up down the funnel.

Hi Mr. Anonymous (Or Ms. Anonymous?)

I like your metaphor of a funnel: It gives us a good picture of the blend of law and disorder* that constitutes our physical regime as we understand it. However, we really need to turn the funnel round to get a closer approximation to our Cosmos where the Second Law of Thermodynamics rules OK. In effect the universe is coming out of a funnel and not being pushed into it; but in its “early” stages it is still in the narrow neck of the funnel where there are relatively (and I stress “relatively”) few states available to it. This inverted funnel metaphor gives us one way of picturing why the second law is consistent with self organization: The “neck” of the funnel may be constrictive enough to ensure that of the states available in the constriction the class of life bearing states is proportionately large enough to give them a realistic probability of making a showing. Although I’m actually equivocal about this possibility, the inverted funnel metaphor is one way of picturing why, in spite of the claims of those who should know better such as Granville Sewell, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is, in and of itself, not inconsistent with evolution. But I digress from the real thrust of your comment.

OK, so let’s assume that living structures have a realistic probability of forming given our Cosmic law and disorder regime. That is, expressed mathematically Prob(Life|Physics) has a significant value for realistic Cosmic times. But given these circumstances what I don’t see is why pandeism follows from this; after all, as I have expressed many times before on this blog the law and disorder logic implicit in expressions like Prob(life|Physics) really only amounts to sophisticated descriptive statements from which one infers the likely patterns of cosmic behavior. It is conceivable that the Cosmos could have other patterns of behavior such as the inclusion of many irregular one-off exception events (= “the miraculous”?) making it intractable to the epistemology of law and disorder science, a science whose efficacy depends very much on a strict coherence. Why then should a Cosmos rich in irregularity be any less subject to a pandeist interpretation than the intelligible cosmos we are used to? What difference does the mathematical category of the cosmic behavioral patterns make?

But then again I think I can see where you are coming from. When anyone talks about Deity, particularly transcendent Deity, and its relation to the Cosmos, they have little choice but to talk about it using imaginative metaphorical models that have their origins in this-world-experience. In this connection I can see from the way you write that you intuitively invest far more in the notion of physical law than just a device of mathematical description. Viz:

“….of physics designed to bring about the complexity which would ultimately create these beings, and it poured its energy into that which is now the energy of which our Universe is ultimately made” …. And …….. the obedience of every particle of energy in existence to the laws of physics which were well-enough made in the first place to bring about everything required to fulfill its initial motivation."

You have made an intuitive leap here from physical laws as descriptive devices (which is about as far as the physicist can or should go) to physical laws as some kind of quasi-divine dynamic that is truly creative. Well, may be; who knows how Deity can delegate its energies, but we can’t make much progress on this theology using empirical science: The mathematical category of the patterns of cosmic behavior doesn’t in and of itself reveal much about an ex nihilo creative dynamic. In fact I would go as far as to say that the laws of physics are meaningless unless reified on some kind of ontological substrate, a substrate upon which observation and test can be made; that is, “physical law” is secondary to the primary matrix on which it is reified. Using a Marxist turn of phrase: Physical Law is the secondary mathematical superstructure raised upon a primary ontological foundation.

The “prescriptive” (as opposed to the merely “descriptive”) notion of physical law as a proactive creative dynamic is a very metaphysical, exotic and debatable notion that resides deep in the psyche of Western man. In fact it is intriguing to note that some atheists take it for granted that physical law constitutes a creative dynamic of quasi-divine status transcending the ontology which it appears to “control”. For example Stephen Hawking is somewhat overawed by the apparent “something for nothing” properties of gravity. But as the joke goes, when Hawking claimed that all he needed was gravity and no God, the Almighty said in reply “Go and get your own gravity Hawking!”

What then is at the bottom of this crypto-deist intuition that physical law is autonomous to such an extent that it is itself some kind of self-managing creative/controlling dynamic? I would suggest that this belief has its source in metaphors taken from the world of our everyday experience; I have given more detail in this post. I would therefore put it to you Mr. Anonymous that the pandeism you have expressed and which through physical law finds such a compelling reason to equate deity and the Cosmos, is based on this-world-metaphors.

However, having said that Mr. Anonymous, let me say that the first set of comments you left me gave me an issue I’m still very much chewing over. I was struck by your suggestion that perhaps Deity has the motive of creating a universal simulation because the outcome is unknown; after all, if Deity is pure Mind then perhaps like ourselves it passes from states of unknowing to knowing as it thinks through and explores the implications of certain problems in algorithmic logic. A corollary of this seems to be that the Cosmos is in some sense Deity – or at least the thoughts of Deity and therefore we have here a hint of pandesim.

But even if we take that latter suggestion on board it is still far too strong an identification to equate the Cosmos with Deity and Deity with the cosmos. By way of illustration let’s use the metaphor of a computer running a software simulation, a metaphor of which you said in the comments section here you liked. Let us note the paradox inherent in computer simulations: The simulation is in one sense part of the computer and yet in another sense it is very much other than the computer; the computer has a deeper and “firmer” reality than the simulation and significantly the simulation at no time has a life of its own; the software can’t run itself – the computer must be always there sustaining the simulation. Moreover the computer has the power to interrupt the flow of “normalcy” at anytime either through a hardware or system software interrupt. (Hence my preference for the notion of “interruptions” rather than “interventions”). Also it is possible for the computer to hold meta-information about the simulation it is running, information that may not exist in the simulation itself.

This computer simulation, like much talk about God, is, after all, a metaphor and therefore likely to only capture a facet of the nature of Deity and its relation to creation. However I like this particular metaphor for two reasons: Firstly because it conveys the sheer contingency of the cosmos; no simulation has a logical necessity to exist; the internal logic of the simulation is descriptive of the simulation but it in no way delivers aseity or self explanation. And secondly I like it because the simulation metaphor conveys something of the paradox of the simultaneous eminence and immanence of the Godhead that seems to have been recognized in Acts 17:27-28.

I also quite like the author-book metaphor as it has some features in its favour. But I do take your point that this metaphor has the failing of leading to a problematical dichotomy between God’s vision and a separate created world. I have always been in favour of employing multiple metaphors about God in order to bring facets of His nature to the fore and I try to avoid the over interpretation and over selling of any particular metaphor.

You refer to the “The deity of my conception”. My guess is that the majority of people have a conception of deity somewhere in the corner of their minds. In fact there are probably nearly as many conceptions of God as there are people, although those conceptions will likely have a lot of overlap with one another. Exclusive use of proprietary pet metaphors in trying to express our ideas about God can lead to much grief. For example attempts to put the doctrine of the Trinity on a clearer footing by over interpreting and overselling a particular metaphor such as “modalism”, for example, quickly leads to shouts of “heresy” from others**. But in the face of human cognitive infirmity we really need to bear in mind some of the other attributes God might have. You talk about God setting up a cosmic simulation motivated by an experimental curiosity. But if we are to hazard such an anthropomorphic motive why not hazard other motives such as love of the objects created? In fact this affective attribute of God is largely the concern of the New Testament; such a Deity may well be gracious toward our cognitive infirmity as we attempt to conceive His nature. He may look upon our attempts to describe Him as might a Parent who sees His child drawing a stickman depiction of Him. The offspring of the Almighty may abuse one another over the state of their respective stick-man depictions of deity, but I suspect God Himself has a very different point of view of those attempts.

Thanks again Mr. Anonymous for turning up. In these days when brain dead bigotry and block-headed religiosity gets such an airing it’s nice to see some fair minded intelligence being applied. I’ve really benefitted from your input.

A Note on Science
What is the scientific status of the speculative ideas I have discussed above? Scientific testability comes in degrees: Roughly speaking the higher the level and the more significant the conjectured ontology becomes the less tractable it is to an elementary hypothesis testing epistemology. This leaves little choice but to proceed with a “post-facto interpolation method”; that is, joining the dots of experience with imaginative background sense making structures. See here for more details.


Foot notes: 
*  Law and Disorder is my short hand for patterns described by a combination of algorithms (or "functions") and statistics.

** Here are some so-called Christian “heresies” (re: the Godhead) as listed by Reachout Trust, Ministry to the Cults: Aphthartodocetism, Monophysitism, Apollinarianism, Alogi, Arianism, Docetism, Ebionitism, Encratite, Eutychainism, Gnosticism, Marcionism, Monarchianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, Montanism, Nestorianism, Pelagianism, Sebellianism. The criterion used to identify these attempts at grappling with the nature of God as “heresy” sometimes involves a splitting of hairs that would probably make most of us “heretics”. God help us!

*** The funnel like shape of space-time diagram here is only meant to be symbolic of the funnel like shape of  the  disorder vs. time graph. 

Thursday, February 09, 2012

On God Concepts

The Blank Slate Atheist is a rarity, even in the secular West.

I have remarked before on the fact that many Westerners hold in their minds a conception of God regardless of whether or not they actually believe in God. This is really no surprise given that ideas about God float around in the conceptual ether of our social interactions. In spite of secularization in Western society it is all but impossible not to pick up “God concepts”. As Cornelius Hunter has very succinctly and effectively put it:

It is perhaps one of the great enigmas in religious thought that one can profess to be an agnostic, skeptic, or even atheist regarding belief in God yet still hold strong opinions about God.

This phenomenon is particularly pertinent to atheism; so often the atheist mind set clearly demonstrates that belief in God is something different from beliefs about God. Now it is possible, I suppose, to declare that God is such an incoherent concept that  the statement “God exists” is meaningless – this is what one might call “intelligibility atheism”. However, it is not often one comes across intelligibility atheists; as a rule the rank and file atheist zealout is uncomfortable with “intelligibility atheism” because it’s likely to be too philosophical a gambit for the aficionado of scientism. It is more likely that one will cross the path of the “evidential atheist”; that is, the atheist who declares “There is no evidence for God”; from which it follows that such atheists presumably hold in their minds beliefs about God with sufficient clarity for them to make a comparison between their experience and their theoretic notion of God and on that empirical basis declare God’s existence to be unlikely. Theology, then, is in principle both the domain of the atheist and the theist. In fact I have touched on this subject in the following posts:

http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2011/11/larry-morans-atheology.html
http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2011/09/crypto-deism.html
http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2010/12/god-theology-evidence-and-observation.html
http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2010/02/atheology.html
http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2009/10/mr-deism-speaks-out.html
http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2009/05/atheist-atheology.html
http://quantumnonlinearity.blogspot.com/2009/03/atheist-theology.html

Anyway, in this connection I was fascinated by the comment of someone signing in as “Anonymous” in the comment thread of this post of mine. I have to say that I’m not at all clear where “Anonymous” is coming from and in spite of a request to clarify his position he has not obliged me. Is he promoting pandeism, the subject of his post? Is he an anti-evolutionist? Is he an atheist? Or is he simply non-committal? I don’t know! But it doesn’t matter. What he has written is necessarily so concept laden that there is far and away enough there for me to get a secure purchase on his comment in my next post. Crypto-deism here we come. Watch this space....


Here’s the comment from Anonymous:

Tinkering, interruptions, call them what you will, but at the end of the day the question remains, has the deity of your conception sufficient power, intellect, and rationality to set forth a Universe which from its initial state unfolds in accordance with the laws of physics thus established to bring about complexity, life, ultimately intelligent life, without need for any 'interruptions' of any kind? And let me raise the stakes a bit, is able to set forth a Universe in this manner which in its unfolding ends up exactly as the Universe we perceive today, in every particular? For this is precisely the capacity asserted to be that of the Creator in Pandeism.

But I would not wish to leave an incomplete sense of what Pandeism proposes. So here it is.

Pandeism proposes that prior to the existence of our Universe (or, in some sense 'outside' the existence of our Universe, for those who would limit the existence of linear time to being within such existence) there was an entity of, as supposed above, sufficient power, intellect, and rationality to set forth a Universe of the scope and operation of our own. This entity had some rational motivation compelling it to set forth a Universe, perhaps because as a unitary being it could only learn the lessons of dichotomy by experiencing the existence of limited beings interacting with one another. And so, it set forth laws of physics designed to bring about the complexity which would ultimately create these beings, and it poured its energy into that which is now the energy of which our Universe is ultimately made. The laws of physics point to an end but are not determinative. Imagine a large funnel into which many small rubber balls are thrown against the wall; the balls may bounce randomly, unpredictably, but will ultimately end up going down then hole at the narrow end of the funnel. Just so, our laws of physics. No telling when or where exactly intelligent life will develop, or what form it will take, but the brilliantly constructed governing dynamics of our Universe make it highly likely that it will happen at some times and places.

And where is the Creator in all this? Well, it has become our Universe, so it's everywhere; it's power continually sustains all things in being, but it has not the need to 'interrupt' the obedience of every particle of energy in existence to the laws of physics which were well-enough made in the first place to bring about everything required to fulfill its initial motivation. Indeed, it would have an overriding incentive to not interrupt the natural development of things, which would be to not interrupt the natural development of things, and instead see how things unfold, how the true randoms play out, absent any intervention at all.

And what of man's millions of competing revelations and prophecies, visions, scriptures, oracles, miracles, spiritual emotions, supernatural feelings, ghosts, answered prayers, egrigores, and like beliefs? These are after all a constant across all cultures, even those whose take from them is completely opposite to their neighbors, suggesting either a deity doing a rather sloppy job of trying to communicate a single truth, or man doing a rather sloppy (and often self-serving) job of interpreting the unconscious manifestations of the mind of a deity not trying to communicate anything at all. For if, after all, our Creator became the Creation, then we are all fragments of it, and some talented few of us may in our own minds touch some small portion of the incomprehensibly vast and complex mind which underlies all things for however long our Universe is set to bounce around before it ends up down the funnel.