The Repercussions of Pseudo Metaphysics
Let us begin this analysis with a term I found when researching the Metaphysical question of God. The term I found almost immediately was “Metaphysical Belief”. So right away there is a problem.
The problem can be addressed starting with the belief that an argument for God in Metaphysics is somehow supporting the Theistic God Concept as used in the Major Religions.
Theologians of course often try to pass this idea off as real Metaphysics and often the scientific community accepts the assumption. The result is that Theological Arguments often get passed off as real Metaphysical arguments and even borrow Metaphysical Terminology.
So before I come back to the problem that creates this mess let us address the problem of language and terminology.
We have two cases to examine here. One is in the case of Theologians misusing or what can be more accurately described as misappropriating Metaphysical terms such as Ontology. And the second is the legitimate attempt to examine the Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Physics.
Because both attempts are often used for the purpose of attempting to answer the Metaphysical question of God they are often conflated with each other as Pseudo Science when this is clearly not the case.
The Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Physics has been addressed many times by Quantum Physicists themselves.
So let us begin with the debate among Quantum Physicist between Realism and Instrumentalism and compare this debate with the Pseudo Metaphysics inherent in the Ontological Argument for God.
First let us examine the Pseudo Metaphysics of the Ontological Proof of God.
To begin with we must first define the discipline of Ontology.
Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology often deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may be said to exist, and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Now that we have found a working definition for ontology we must begin to define concepts in relation to existence.
The first question we must address is can we prove a negative existential claims merely by reflecting on the content of the concept.
That is for example can we prove a square circle cannot exist by simply examining the definition or concept of a circle?
But before we can do that we must answer a question. Can a circle exist independently of our concepts of circles?
Let us begin on the Macro Level using our sun as an example, which has an unbelievable mathematical roundness, bulges out roughly 10 kilometers at its equator.
Now at the Micro level we have the electron particle.
This where conceptual reality and objective reality may intersect.
“A small band of particle-seeking scientists at Yale and Harvard has established a new benchmark for the electron's almost perfect roundness, raising doubts about certain theories that predict what lies beyond physics' reigning model of fundamental forces and particles, the Standard Model.”
Electron's shapeliness throws a curve at supersymmetry
By Eric Gershon
December 19, 2013
Is this the same as the ontological argument for God proposed by Theologians?
No. Because here we have a clear definition of “perfect” in perfect circle.
It is mathematical perfection we are talking about here.
In contrast the argument of a perfect being namely God is not a mathematical concept at all. And so we already have a problem with the Ontological Argument starting with Descartes.
In the mid-17th century Rene Descartes provided his own version of the ontological argument in Meditation 5. The classic version of this argument runs as follows:
- God is the most perfect ('the greatest') being conceivable.
- It is more perfect ('greater') to exist than not to exist.
- Therefore, God must exist.
This argument obviously fails.
It is not our ability to conceive of an object with a perfect quality that gives the object existence.
In the case of the electron particle we have a real observable phenomenon which may be the closest thing to a perfect circle in reality.
And yet it is our observation of this phenomenon that will ultimately determine whether electron particles are perfectly round not our concepts of perfection or circles.
Now let us take the idea of the square circle.
In this case we can prove attempt to prove a negative claim simply by reflecting on the content of the concept.
For example, we can determine that there are no square circles in the world by accessing the definition and seeing that it is self-contradictory. We can then conclude that the concepts infer that there exist no entities that are both square and circular.
In contrast this does not work with the Ontological Argument for God which attempts to establish a positive claim for the real existence of some entity.
When examining the original Ontological Argument, it is important to note that all versions of the ontological argument assume that God is simultaneously omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.
This because this is not a Metaphysical Argument anymore then the Moral Argument for Free Will is a Metaphysical Argument for Free Will.
Take the argument from Biological Determinism made by Sam Harris from the Neurobiology in comparison to Theological Determinism which accepts Free Will as Compatible with Determinism from Moral Necessity.
Sam Harris’s argument fails for the same reason that Compatibilism fails.
Namely a Metaphysical question is addressed based on the Moral Consequences of accepting a theory.
Theological Determinism is based on the idea of an all-powerful and all-knowing God. This is how the God of the Bible is consistently described. Since nothing can be done that is not God’s will Free Will is impossible.
But the Bible both demands that we accept Free Will as Metaphysically impossible while at the same time demanding that man do God’s will as his own.
This is why Theologians invented Compatibilism.
Compatibilism is simply the contradictory assertion that even though Theological Determinism is true we need to accept that Free Will is Compatible with this determinism because of the Moral Necessity of accepting Free Will.
This is sort of like the “Voluntary Compliance” of the IRS.
Sam Harris makes it very clear that he rejects Compatibilism not because Biological Determinism is in any way superior to Theological Determinism but because he finds the idea of accepting Free Will Morally repugnant.
In each case you fail to address the real Metaphysical Question because of a bias based on what moral values you find most appealing.
So what does this have to do with addressing The Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Physics?
The answer is that The Metaphysical Implications of Quantum Physics doesn’t ever get addressed because we are too busy debating Pseudo Metaphysical Arguments like Anselm's Ontological proof of God. Anselm's Argument tries to argue from an Abstract Idea of Perfection to the Real Metaphysical Question of God.
When you start with Theism you have nothing to work with except Scriptural Doctrine and Abstract Concepts.
This is not Real Metaphysics and consequently can not produce Real Ontological Arguments.
Let us start with Heisenberg’s Quantum Ontology instead.
According to Heisenberg (1958b, p. 53):
“The probability function combines objective and subjective elements.
It contains statements about possibilities or better tendencies
(‘potentia’ in Aristotelian philosophy), and these are
completely objective, [. . . ] and it contains statements about
our knowledge of the system, which of course are subjective in
so far as they may be different for different observers.”
To continue with Heisenberg.
“The Observation itself changes the probability function discontinuously.
Since through the observation our knowledge of the system has changed discontinuously, it’s mathematical representation also has undergone the discontinuous change and we speak of a quantum leap ("Jump").
Therefore, the transition from the possible to the actual takes place during the observation.”
In other words, the measurement problem in Quantum Physics does include the observer.
This was the essence of the Einstein and Bohr Debate.
So although I accept that there is no controversy in Evolution on whether Evolution is a fact
… I still think there is a Controversy in Quantum Physics in relation to the Hard Problem of Consciousness and the Observer Problem in Quantum Physics.
There is a very real Metaphysical Debate in Quantum Physics in relation to interpretations. One is known as Realism and the other is Known as Instrumentalism.
The Metaphysical question is whether the object of scientific inquiry, exist independently of our conception and observations of it.
Now as we examine the problem you will notice this is a real Metaphysical Problem unlike the Pseudo Metaphysics of Theology.
Let us lay the groundwork for Instrumentalism.
Quantum Physics was developed at a time when different forms of instrumentalism were predominant. In addition, philosophers and scientists often exchanged ideas and influenced each other.
In the 1920’s the Vienna Circle was formed and gave birth to logical positivism, a philosophical movement which was a great influence on the philosophy of science.
... To Be Continued
This essay is an attempt to get my thoughts together after reading Taner Edis' Brilliant Work "The Ghost In The Universe".
The point of putting this together is in preparation of completing the last chapter in my book "The Man Delusion".
So my motivation in finishing this essay will be directly related to the response that this essay receives on here.