Monday, February 25, 2008

Religion and the Quantum world - audio lecture by Keith Ward (online at Gresham college)

Quotes and comments;

1. Laplace said if one could know everything one could predict what would happen... down to the smallest detail (a popular form of this is the Foundation novels of Isaac Asimov; if my memory banks are operating today) and ward tells us this is all wrong... that qp has shown us we can never know (with certainty) what will happen.

2. A key to understanding Ward is his belief that if something 'works' it must (has to be) be true. You can't understand him if you miss this. This of course isn't true; but only a belief. There are many problems with such a belief; eg. how do we define 'works'? if it works for you but not for me does it still 'work'? if it works for the elite but not for the rest of us does it work? what does work mean? obviously something can work' and be fallacious (as many medicines, theories of astronomy etc.) the fact some people like the result of something or find it helpful doesn't mean it has anything to do with reality. This work stuff is naive; it proves nothing. The fact idea x enable you to accomplish some goal does not in any way mean it is a correct knowledge of ultimate reality. Ward doesn't seem to understand this.

3. I agree with him when he says 'we cannot know the ultimate cause of anything...' (ie. to know such a thing we'd have to know everything.
- This is maybe the most important truth I know, but almost everyone ignores it... as if it were nothing at all... a baseball score from japan. All the world (most especially politicians) claims it DOES know the ultimate cause of a,b,c,d,e,f, etc. etc. Well; they do not; they're either deluded, or they're lying. This is a 'hard' truth; but I'm convinced of it. It is very uncomfortable. One's choices are; a. special revelation, or; b. some combination of pragmatism and mystery.

4. Ward claims there is little difference between Christian and Hindu views! (Well, okay, at least you now know how deep in the theological swamp of relativism you now stand.) It's a key indicator of our times that academics want to 'smooth' out all differences; to create some generic idiocy we can all believe. (see the sf story 'The Smoother' by Terry Bisson; it's not about world views really... more a rant about the evils of Mcdonald's... american corporate jihad... but it seems to fit here.)

5. A questioner makes a comment about the things 'theologians' talk about. In fact there is no such thing as a 'theologian....' not anymore than there some entity called a person. ie. it's just a useless banal term that means nothing.

1. this is the fifth in Ward's series on 'Religion and Science.'


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