A Plausible God

In my review of The God Delusion, I promised to post a plausible concept of God. By “a plausible concept,” I mean a concept that doesn’t violate the known principles of science, and should therefore be consistent with the so-called scientific worldview. Mind you, the plausibility of the concept says nothing about its veracity; but it may say something about it being a delusion.

Of all the sciences, physics seems to be the one most at odds with the God concept. Clearly, evolutionary biology is none too happy with it either, if Dawkins is anything to go by. But that analysis is for another post.

让我们开始分析物理学家的,,en,证明,,en,没有上帝,,en,争论通常是这样的,,en,如果有上帝能够以任何方式影响我,,en,那上帝应该对我施加某种力量,,en,应该有一些互动,,en,由于互动足够影响我,,en,我应该可以使用这种特殊的互动来,,en,测量,,en,神的强度,,en,我还无法测量任何与上帝有关的力量,,en,所以没有上帝以任何方式影响我,,en,还是有一位上帝通过伪装的互动影响我,所以每当我尝试衡量互动时,,en,我总是上当,,en,你告诉我什么更有可能,,en,由奥卡姆的剃刀,,en,最简单的解释,,en “proving” that there is no God. The argument usually goes something like this:

If there is a God who is capable of affecting me in any way, then there should be some force exerted by that God on me. There should be some interaction. Since the interaction is big enough to affect me, I should be able to use this particular interaction to “measure” the God-intensity. So far, I haven’t been able to measure any such God-related force. So either there is no God that affects me in any way, or there is a God that affects me through deviously disguised interactions so that whenever I try to measure the interaction, I’m always fooled. Now, you tell me what is more likely. By Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation (没有上帝会影响我,,en,正确的机会最大,,en,虽然这是一个很好的论据,,en,我曾经做过的,,en,它基于一些隐含的假设,这些假设很难发现,,en,第一个假设是我们不会受到我们无法感知的互动的影响,,en,这个假设不一定正确,,en,现代宇宙学需要至少一种其他类型的相互作用来解释暗物质和暗能量,,en,我们将此未知互动称为黑暗互动,,en,即使我们无法感觉到黑暗的相互作用,,en,我们和其他所有人一样受制于此,,en,已知的,,en,问题是,,en,这种相互作用的存在超出了我们的感觉,足以打破物理学家的证明,,en,一个有道理的上帝会影响我们,,en,我们无法感知,,en) has the highest chance of being right.

While this is a good argument (and one I used to make), it is built on a couple of implicit assumptions that are rather tricky to spot. The first assumption is that we cannot be affected by an interaction that we cannot sense. This assumption is not necessarily true.

Modern cosmology needs at least one other kind of interaction to account for dark matter and dark energy. Let’s call this unknown interaction the dark interaction. Even though we cannot sense the dark interaction, we are subject to it exactly as all other (known) matter is. The existence of this interaction beyond our senses is sufficient to break the physicist’s proof. A plausible God can affect us, without our being able to sense it, 通过黑暗的互动,,en,但这还不是故事的结局,,en,物理学家仍然可以争论,,en,精细,,en,如果我们感觉不到这个上帝,,en,我们怎么知道他存在,,en,为什么这么多人声称他们能感觉到他,,en,该论证基于对意识体验和感知的假设,,en,物理学家问题中的隐藏假设,,en,不一定是真的,,en,感知应该导致有意识的感知,,en,所有人类都应具有相同的感觉方式,,en,不能导致有意识感知的感知的一个例子是视力障碍综合征,,en,我会在以后发布更多,,en,视力障碍的患者可以指向他无法自觉看到的亮点,,en,可以在没有意识的情况下进行感知,,en,第二个假设是,所有人的创造都是平等的,,en.

But that is not the end of the story. The physicist can still argue, “Fine, if we cannot sense this God, how would we know he exists? And why do so many people claim they can feel him?” This argument is based on the assumptions on conscious experience and sensing. The hidden assumptions in the physicist’s questions (again, not necessarily true) are:

  1. Sensing should lead to a conscious perception.
  2. All humans should have the same sense modality.

An example of sensing that does not lead to conscious perception is the syndrome of blind sight. (I will post more on it later). A patient suffering from blind sight can point to the light spot he cannot consciously see. Thus, sensing without conscious perception is possible. The second assumption that all men are created equal (在感觉方式上,,en,没有任何先验的理由为真,,en,有些人可能能够感觉到黑暗的互动,,en,或上帝选择的其他互动方式,,en,没意识到,,en,因此有可能争论说,有一位神通过迄今为止未知的互动影响着我们,,en,还有一些,,en,我们每个人都能感觉到这种互动,,en,其他的都是无神论者,,en,这个论点说明了上帝的合理性,,en,它展示了上帝概念与物理学的一致性,,en,这并不意味着要证明神的存在,,en,这就是为什么,,en,尽管上帝的合理性,,en,我仍然是无神论者,,en,回想起来,,en,这个论点不必太复杂,,en,归结为说我们的知识有限,,en) does not have any a priori reason to be true. It is possible that some people may be able to sense the dark interaction (or some other kind of interaction that God chooses) without being conscious of it.

So it is possible to argue that there is a God that affects us through a hitherto unknown interaction. And that some 95% of us can sense this interaction, and the others are atheists. What this argument illustrates is the plausibility of God. More precisely, it demonstrates the consistency of a concept of God with physics. It is not meant to be a proof of the existence of God. And that is why, despite the plausibility of God, I am still an atheist.

In retrospect, this argument did not have to be so complicated. It boils down to saying that there are limits on our knowledge, 并知道什么,,en,这些限制之外,神还有足够的空间,,en,这也是信奉上帝的人的经典论点-您一无所知,,en,所以你怎么知道那里,,en,不是,,en,神,,en,我是无神论者,,en,所以我完全同意,,en,作为本书的回顾,,en,该声明应该是它的结尾,,en,但是这本书以某种方式给了我一种奇怪的不满感,,en,你可能会相信上帝,,en,否则你可能不会,,en,或者您可能会积极相信没有上帝,,en,我属于最后一类,,en,但我仍然知道,这只是我的信念,,en,这种想法让我感到道金斯缺乏谦卑,,en,说上帝的概念与您所发展的世界观不一致是一回事,,en. There is plenty of room for God outside these limits. It is also a classic argument by those who believe in God — you don’t know everything, so how do you know there isn’t a God?


5 thoughts on “A Plausible God

  1. Dude,

    You clearly are not an atheistyou’re an agnostic. And you clearly are confused. I know saying that ‘my limited knowledge as a human being prevents me from knowing for sure if there is a GODseems to be something that intelligent, tolerat people might do, but we have to take the evidence that we have, and come to conclusions for the era that we live in. Aristotle sure made a mistake y saying all mater was made of water, earth, fire, and air, but that in NO WAY means that he shlouldn’t have attempted to explain matter, because he wasn’t well equipped to.

    Moreover, I think you’ve read DawkinsGod Delusion the wrong way. He has a problem with ‘Religionas a potential Pandora’s box. And surely, when someone in India saysYou shall be punished by God if you do this, and hence you shouldn’t do itis surely DELUSIONAL.

    The way I see it is, you’ve so deeply been infested with religion (And God) like most of us are, through mindless ‘teachingsince our childhood, that when you hear something against GOD, the deep recesses of your mind shout out to you – “This can’t be right! There’s something wrong with this!!”

    It’s a tragedy of sorts that educated people like us still can’t shed the minconceptions seeded into us from childhood. It’s like we let this fungus grow around us, and then try to get out of it for the rest of our lives.

    And by definitionYou are not an atheist!

    1. Hi Jitesh,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You may be right, I may not be an atheist — by (some) definition. It doesn’t bother me what label gets attached to my line of thinkingcould be atheist, agnostic, free-thinking, nihilist, religious or whatever. I just happen to think the way I do, regardless of what it is called.

      What may be more important is to see beyond the labels. For instance, when we talk about concepts learned through education, and misconceptions planted in us from childhood, what exactly is the difference between them, other than the connotation of the words? I wrote a column on connotations some time ago. Here it is.

  2. You raise some stellar points. We don’t know it all.
    Even evolution is a theory, especially when you consider that scientists still don’t know exactly how the world began. There’s a theory that lightning and gases blew up, but exactly what gases, and even whether that’s possible, is still a theory.
    So at the end of the day, you have to have faith that there is a God, or faith that the Big Bang theory is true and an explosion did create the world as we know it.
    While dark matter is an interesting debate, it’s hard to explain how someone who is 80 suddenly starts believing in God, or someone who has followed God for a long time suddenly stops. If they’ve always felt that dark matter, why start or stop believing suddenly? I think it’s more than a perception of dark matter, it’s just straight faith.
    I believe in God, and one of the things that got me putting my trust in God was thinking about how in the world an explosion ever created anything. Looking at the complex life forms and that really makes me wonder how there isn’t a Creator.

  3. Hi Manoj,

    BTW – good effort in setting up your blog. I had attempted to post a reply to ‘A Plausible God’. It was rather long so I think it may have been rejected. Is there a word number limit to the posts? rgds, Amer

  4. Hi Manoj,

    You can use this as a place holder for my response if you decide to post it from the email I sent you. rgds, amer

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