The concept of infinity is a key term in mathematics ranging from statistics to calculus, however it’s appearance in calculations concerning the true nature of the physical world is treated with dread and the theory in question either shunned or rapidly modified. For example recent calculations carried out by physicists suggest that at the very moment of the Big Bang the temperature was infinite.
Although many such theories involving the infinite are likely to be inaccurate, should we be so quick to throw the concept away as unworthy due to the illogicality of it in the human mind? I, personally, am one who believes that our basic view of the world in terms of logic and reason is incorrect in some way. Due to this belief I would not be so quick to disregard infinity due to the fact that we can neither visualise or make complete sense of it at the current point in our history.
One might ask: ‘How exactly is it that human logic is flawed.’ The first and most obvious answer is that we have yet to arrive at any absolute truth from it. A second answer might be rather an extreme one but relevant nonetheless. Consider the following proposition: ‘This statement is false.’ Here we see logic and reason confused by the trickery of linguistics, and, due to the fact that logic and reason is, primarily, founded using the medium of language in one form or another, we might now see that logic is not the pure and precise system of thought we originally believed it to be as it is based on something inaccurate and messy.
Perhaps, to a certain degree at least, we should forsake logic and reason in our quest for knowledge and accept the absurd and irrational in areas such as mathematics and physics. It is my belief that a system which combines irrationality and rationality could bring us much closer to understanding the true nature of this universe (and what may or may not be beyond it) than one of these approaches alone could ever hope to. The concept of infinity may not be the fallacious concept we believe it to be, and, by accepting such an idea, we bring ourselves a step close to a New Age of Enlightenment.
Can we really derive all knowledge that possibly exists from the study of this world through the scientific method, in particular the uncovering of the laws of physics? Many would claim that this is indeed possible and that the first steps in this long and laborious endeavour are already underway. An area that I myself am uncomfortable with concerning this theory is the reason of why things happen in themselves. It might be said that there is no reason for anything and that humans have simply invented terms such a reason and purpose and that they are meaningless. But is this really an acceptable answer? One reason for why something moves is because something else has caused it to. But what in turn caused that to cause that thing to move? Something else, and before that something else. Everything that happens in the universe happens because it must due to some force acting upon some previous matter for example (with the possible exception of consciousness, but that is beyond my intended scope for this article). If something only happens because it has to then we must ask ourselves why does anything need to happen at all. If things happen because the laws of physics cause them to happen, what causes the laws of physics to happen in themselves? The very first thing that came into existence (maybe even before the Big Bang) did not need to come into existence since there would be nothing there to force it to exist. This suggest that, whilst something could quite easily originate from nothing, it would be impossible (as far as our human minds allow us to see at least) of that something coming into existence on its own unless an intelligent being, which did not exist in the way that we deem things to exist, willed that first thing into existence.
This, however, does not mean to say that this intelligence required by reality is in fact God (in any sense of the word). It simply means that an intelligence of some sort possibly exists or did exist before anything else. This is of course as long as human logic is valid, this in have covered in another article. Whilst this intelligence may not still exist and hence an afterlife is not proven by this (it may not even be a good being), it does give us a small glimmer of hope that maybe some kind of extended experience lies beyond the death of the physical body.
Evidence for this creator can be found in many mathematical concepts whose continual occurrence in unrelated places and patterns cannot be coincidental. A particular favourite of mine is the golden ratio. A geometric constant and a solution to the quadratic equation x^(2)-x-1. This ratio appear in an astounding number of places, from the wings and sight patterns of certain animals to relationships between certain subatomic elements. A strong suggestion that the universe is in fact a product of an intelligent force or being which created the universe. Almost like a signature intentionally or unintentionally left by it.
Whilst it is important to consider this designer as intelligent, it is also important to remember that it is unlikely to think in the same way as we mortals do hence opening the gate for new branches of science and mathematics to be developed in order to understand the nature of this being.
In recent years philosophers and scientists alike, including academic giants such as Hawking, have taken materialism to a disturbing new level and claimed that the human experience itself, or the consciousness, is in fact an illusion and that we are nothing more than mindless automatons, the product of a solely deterministic universe.
This is a preposterous and illogical assumption since, not only can it not be proven at the current time, but it is also logically impossible. The very definition of an illusion is an incorrect interpretation of sensory experience. How, therefore, can then our own sensory experience itself, the very thing which allows us to be alluded to, be in itself an illusion. It goes without saying that there can only be an illusion if there is something to be alluded to. If the human consciousness is deemed to be nothing more than an illusion then we must ask ourselves: what is being alluded to exactly?
In addition, such a deterministic view of reality and mankind could be potentially dangerous. There may come a time when overpopulation becomes a serious problem globally and, using the illogical philosophy of Hawking and others, justify ethnic cleansing and other such atrocities. I, personally, would not want to live in a world where humans are considered to be disposable automatons whose individuality and awareness are seen as little more than illusions which can easily be put to an end.
If we are to follow such a philosophical pathway then we are to condemn mankind itself to death by the destruction of all that we stand for as a species.
First proposed by Epicurus the problem of evil is now one of the main arguments used by nonbelievers in response to the belief in God. The Judaeo-Christian concept of the Divine Father being omnibenevolent and omnipotent at the same time leads to a paradox: If God is all good and all powerful then how is it that evil exists in the world? Surely such a deity would put an end to all suffering once and for all? This is the problem of evil and one which theologians have argued about endlessly.
However, we are forgetting one thing about this inconstant triangle of ominbenevolence, omnipotence and evil. Does evil exist at all. ‘Well of course it does!’ I hear you say. ‘How on earth could it be otherwise?’ Well dear Reader allow me to elaborate. If God really was to exist and possessed the attributes many believe him to, then it is also likely that he does not think like a human being. His thought processes would be completely alien to us to the extent that we may not be able to decipher them at all. This kind of God, who thinks and hence acts differently to the common human is a plausible solution to the problem of evil. To me, actions such as theft (in most cases) and murder (in virtually all situations) are wrong. They are wrong because I believe, for example, that the ending of another rational beings conscious experience is cruel, unnecessary and quite frankly unfair. However, does God think in the same way? The characteristic given to God is omnibenevolence, he is all good, not simply good. I am not all good and therefore we might decide that my judgment upon many (perhaps even all matters) is incorrect. So what can we say about my views on murder? Perhaps I am wrong on that as well, perhaps God sees the end as always justifying the means due to some extraordinary and incomprehensible method of thought. Therefore any action is potentially justifiable if God deems it to be necessary in achieving some great plan and order in our reality.
Yet this is potentially dangerous, although (if a God did exist) we could never hope to know his mind, I do believe that any world in which genocide is actively permitted in the name of some divine dictator is utterly wrong. In my opinion at least we are better off without such as self interested despot such as God even if he does exist.
So what could be done about the matter at hand? A start, we could become our own masters of morality and decide what is right or wrong as a collective, global community and put to one side all thoughts on right and wrong which stem from faith (of course if such truths are then rediscovered simply by what humans believe to be the correct moral action then these too will again become acceptable). This will bring us a step closer to abolishing all traces of evil from the world. I believe that this would be a far greater investment of our time than belief in and worship of a self-centred God whose literal following could result in great catastrophe due to its deontological approach to decision making. In the end we would forsake the progression of the human civilisation for the possibility of an eternal afterlife which may or may not exist. If such a God really did exist I very much doubt that if he were truly concerned with our wellbeing he would ask us to place blind faith in his existence at the expense of abandoning our future as a species.
We should, instead, place our faith in something visible and much more grounded in reality: mankind.
The matter concerning the existence of the soul has perplexed mankind for centuries. To believe in the reality of such a concept provides a certain sense of joy and security for theistic and atheistic groups alike. Indeed mans potential immortality is a most bewildering and extensively enlightening matter, and would prove most desirable if true. In this article I do not wish to do away with the notion of everlasting life, such a claim would be impossible to make in this current age (if it were to have any credibility to it at least). The matter that concerns me now is that of the metaphysical claims of religion upon the existence of a soul and how they are most likely to be fallacious. For the sake of space we shall confine ourselves merely to the texts of Christianity in this argument.
It is a commonly known and well regarded fact that there have been uncountable opportunities (many of which have been taken) when the texts in the Bible have been either tampered with, to serve a corrupt individuals own purposes, or removed all together from the sacred book to leave nonconflicting doctrine which suits the needs of the church in an economical and political sense, not a spiritual one. One of the most famous cases of this was at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D when many texts where rejected from what would become the Bible and a vote was taken upon the nature of Christ’s divinity (not, as Dan Brown claims in The Da Vinci Code, upon his divinity). Texts rejected from these councils and other such gatherings include anything that claimed Jesus was more man than deity, such as the Gospel of Phillip which rejected Christ’s divine conception and other miracles such as the resurrection which are essential to the Christian faith. The fact that there was contradiction among the gospels, with only four qualifying for publication in the book of books, suggests that something strange is afoot. The Vatican secret archives are a modern day example of Biblical inaccuracy, no doubt containing thousands of documents which contradict the Canon, the archives are one of the main reasons the Vatican became its own independant state.
Many more examples of corruption in the Church could be given but so extensive is the list that we would be here for years upon end. It is clear that the religion we know today as Christianity is completely artificial and manmade and hence, although it’s teachings of agape can help society to function, it’s metaphysical claims are almost entirely based on manipulated scripture selectively chosen from a vast and extensive array of documents. Would we base a scientific theory on such evidence? Of course not, such theories would be regarded as preposterous and those who suggested otherwise would be ridiculed. The matters concerning the soul, as far as Christianity goes, are based purely on inaccuracy, superstition and rumour.
Let us imagine a scenario: a Christian theologian opens up a human skull and looks in upon the brain, a biological computer and arguably the most complex structure known to mankind. Whilst staring at this awe inspiring wonder the theologian thinks to himself: “I wonder what is responsible for such mysteries as conciseness and freewill?” He eventually puts it down to a metaphysical entity which no one has ever seen or that has ever been scientifically (or mathematically) documented in a reliable manner. Why? Because that’s what scripture tells him. I have no doubt that that same man, if he had not been exposed to Christianity, would not have reached that same conclusion without the influence of his corrupted documents. It is clear that the only conclusion that could possibly be arrived at with any certainty is that the brain is responsible for such mysteries, not an invisible and immortal soul.
I wish to make it clear to the reader however that, although I hope they see the illogical nature of the soul when based upon Christian metaphysics, I do not believe that the possibility of existence after biological death is ruled out in any way whatsoever; simply because one theory is inaccurate it does not mean that all theories concerning the proof of a soul are and will be so. It is possible that an intelligence not dissimilar to God exists with the power to reconstruct our minds or even with the power to give us immortal souls. However, such a claim must be based upon reliable proofs, reason combined with logic and scientific evidence, not ancient texts whose truths have been entirely distorted over the centuries.
It appears that two solutions exist as to the creation of this universe. The first, a fixed point that caused (either by will of the mind or by simple necessity) our reality to exist, this point is the end of a long sequence of cause and effect dating back approximately 13.5 billion years. The second, and more illogical of the two, suggest that there was simply no beginning to everything (the term everything would encompass all potential realities also). This would create an infinite series of cause and effect going beyond the creation of time itself. It is clear that both of these solutions are unsatisfactory, however, the reader may be disheartened to learn that the solution I propose shall go even further to dissatisfy (as far as logic and reason are concerned at least).
Let us begin. It is clear that before our universe there was no space-time, nor the fundamental forces of nature. This a hard place to imagine firstly due to the fact that it is not a place at all since space did not exist, in fact, it is likely that nothing whatsoever did. Therefore existence itself had not yet made itself known. This is not surprising, however it’s implications may be:
Due to the fact that reason and a-priori knowledge are actually born out of previous experiences of reality, the mind is, metaphorically speaking, a piece of paper with the laws of nature (and what we may derive from them) written upon it. If the mind did not experience at all then it would simply be a blank sheet of paper, with no understanding, awaiting programming by sensual experience, even the laws of mathematics could not be uncovered without some form of experience (our minds essentially think using our sense hence to deprive the mind of sense from its beginning deprives it of true thought). It is therefore possible, if not likely, that concepts such as cause and effect and mathematics, that we regard to be objectively true, are nothing more than ideas that hold only within the known reality. The creation of this universe therefore need not be related to cause and effect in any way whatsoever since the universe’s creation need not obey the laws of the universe as it occurred before hand (although this use of before is technically a fallacy). It is hence impossible for us to understand what occurred before the universe existed since our minds have been preprogrammed with the laws of the universe alone. Unless, of course, a new branch of pure mathematics or reasoning could be created perhaps through the use of some super computer which disregarded all logic and reason as we know it. This would indeed be a most lengthy and time consuming challenge but one that is most certainly necessary if we are to ever understand our origins…