On Probability

That’s such a stuffy tittle.  You might call it “The Possibility of Probability,” or “What Happens With Chance,” if you like.

I thought I might be of some use to my readers if I were to write a brief article on this subject.  Please note that this is primarily a philosophy paper and not a mathematics one; though, of course, the two subjects are, as all subjects, inseparable and hard to distinguish from one another.

It is, and rightly so, the most commonly accepted model across all subjects that all probability is metaphorical.  From basic physics, we reach the self-evident conclusion that all physical systems have a predetermined out come from the moment they are set up.  Therefore, when this principle is applied on a macro-level, we reach the modern understanding of Chaotic theory; that is, that the entire universe is one giant physical system, composed of the interactions of countless smaller systems, that has had a predetermined course of action from the moment it was set up.  Thus, according to our understanding of physics, there was a one-hundred percent chance, since the dawn of time, that you would be sitting in the exact spot that you are currently, at this exact time, reading this exact sentence, and thinking the exact thoughts that you are thinking right now.

Of course probability is still a very useful concept in many cases.  One excellent example is genetics.  We still use the assumption that inheritance is “random,” and therefore, that the mathematical principles of probability can be applied to determine the “likely-hood” of one trait being passed on versus another.  This method of evaluation is very practical because the chaos involved in the system is so developed that it can be assumed to be random–it functions much like a small angle approximation.  However, according to our larger model, there is no such thing as randomness in the literal sense.

It is imperative that we understand the universality of this principle, even as we venture into metaphysics.  In the absolutist’s scope, probability is still only metaphorical when it comes to metaphysics, and one can use the physical metaphor of probability as an analogue to the metaphysical one.  As I have indicated in my post on fractal reality, there is a fine line between the metaphorical and the literal, and perhaps even no line…metaphorically.  But in the case of probability, there definitely is a line, as the actual relationship between the metaphor and the reality it represents can be entirely understood by the human mind (that is, if anything really can).

In metaphysics as in physics, the whole principle of metaphorical probability is designed entirely for the sake of convenience, and is not actual believed when it comes down to what is really happening.  Thus, in physics, we can estimate the probability that a cannon firing a tennis ball will hit its target, while in reality, we know that if we had every specific detail about the set up of the system to an infinite degree of accuracy, we could know for sure whether it would.  Likewise, in metaphysics, we can say that there is a freedom of the will such that at any given time it has a certain chance of making one decision over another, but in reality, we know that if we knew every single detail about the soul (which is fractal), we could say for certain which decision it would make.  That’s not to say that the soul isn’t free, but that its freedom is not bound to time.  All of time is a metaphor when it comes to metaphysics.  The whole story of a soul choosing between death and life is thus an embodiment of the soul in the medium of time, all though, a complete knowledge of the soul outside of such a scope would allow for a knowledge of the soul’s every decision “before” it was made.  It is as if, in both metaphysics and physics, time is merely a way of looking at a complex system part by part.

To take this a little further, consider a four-dimensional cube.  We can only express such an object in the form of a hypercube, which is a three-dimensional object that changes shape over time, thus expressing each of the different four-dimensional angles form which the real object can be viewed.  But in four dimensions, all those angles are present without any need of morphing.  Likewise, a fractal-dimensional physical or metaphysical system must be expressed by morphing a “three-dimensional,” or what I will call, “normal-dimensional” (to avoid a bias towards physics), one over time.  (and I said this article wasn’t about math)

But when we talk about the limits of either of these systems, we must set aside our normal-dimensional perceptions and likewise our metaphorical probability.  There is no “chance” that the end or beginning of time did or will look one way or another physically or metaphysically.  It just was, will be, and if we are to be most literal, is.  Thus, when we talk about the qualities of the Omnipotent, there is no chance that they are one thing or another, they just are what they are.  This understanding excludes the possibility of an arbitrary Omnipotent “happening” to cause an intelligent humanity.  In the literal sense, nothing about metaphysics is random, and because when we discus the Omnipotent’s first action of causing, we are referring to a limit, even the metaphor of chance is senseless.  Therefore, if we are to say that humanity is intelligent, then we must also say that the Omnipotent is intelligent.  For an understanding of logic cannot “happen” to arise from nowhere.  It must, at the limit of causality, have been present in the origin of reality.

As for the objection that computers are “more intelligent” than the human beings that have created them (this objection was posed by a commenter).  My answer is, no they are not.  The intelligence that this, and all my arguments on the Omnipotent, are referring to is the one upon which the scope of the argument depends.  That is, the argument depends on the fact that human logic is capable, to some extent, of finding and understanding metaphysical truth.  That we can build a computer that emulates some of the mathematical algorithms of the human mind does not mean that we have created something “intelligent” in this sense of the word.  It only means that we have found a way of putting that human intelligence into general terms, much like writing it down.  If I throw a baseball through a window, I have broken the window, not the ball.  In the same way, it takes a human to know that a particular circuit pattern will perform a particular task, but the circuit pattern doesn’t know the first thing about the matter, it is only a tool which is being used by someone who does.  Therefore, computers, which have no understanding of human logic, are not intelligent at all.

What’s Left

I am not a scholar of religions.  I know quite a bit about the way people think and even about the way people in other countries think, but I do not know very much specifically about every one of the millions of religions on the face of the earth.  Therefore, I cannot say I have chosen Christianity as a result of intensive research, but I will say I have done so as a result of much careful consideration, analysis of experience, and collaboration.  In fact, while the first two of these are often the most intellectually satisfying, the third is almost always the most compelling.  If you are a Christian who is having some difficulty believing, I highly recommend talking to an atheist.  Do not, so much, try to argue with them; just talk, ask questions, and go through their thought process with them, and watch as it falls apart all by itself.  Usually, unless they are just genuinely confused people, atheists tend to be very good at arguing, but when it comes to mere philosophical thinking, they run in to natural issues (and please, I do not intend to offend any of my atheist friends, I am just trying to explain what course the debates generally take as a result of the very structure of reality–intellect is irrelevant).  As Christians, we have nothing to hide, there is no intellectual dishonesty that we must cover with word games or what have you.  Instead, the Christian’s duty in an apologetics debate is to stay out-of-the-way of truth and let satins lies expose themselves˚.  All this should be done with the most gracious and loving of attitudes, for it is an attempt to free your opponent’s (whom you would rather call your friend) mind from the lies just as much as it is to free your own.

This post is entitled “what’s left” because I here intend to address what is left of the issue of the Omnipotent; this is the transition post from metaphysics to theology, if we would pretend the argument were so well-organized.  As I have already implied, the primary task that remains for us is to identity which organized religion best suits our derived metaphysical model†. As I said, I am not a scholar of religions; therefore, I will proceed by identifying the necessary qualities of a satisfactory religion and this done, we shall find that the Christian model sticks out dramatically in its principles.  It is for this reason that I hold it to be somewhat superfluous to deal individually with every single religion we can possibly find; though I would by no means discourage the process, for there is likely much wisdom to be gained from such an endeavor.  After all, as C. S. Lewis writes (excuse my failure to bother with exact quotes), while the atheist must hold all talk of anything beyond naturalism as utter nonsense, the Christian is free to believe, and even expect, there to be bits of truth in all religions.

To be clear, concise, and orderly, three things which I almost never am, the sort of religion we should be searching for based on the argument this far posses the following qualities:

  1. It should be centered on an Omnipotent being, a God, that is the cause and definition of all of reality.  This excludes pantheism/polytheism because the quest should be for a root cause, not an inexplicable set of causes–there should be a singular, Omnipotent source of being.  If we instead hold separately the source of each faculty of being, then our argument for reason breaks down and we fall into a cyclical (recursive) insanity.  For our logical scope is dependent on the interdependencies of each of the faculties of being.  That is, if we are sets of unrelated characteristics, then we cannot be “rational thoughts” inside of the Omnipotent’s mind (for rational thoughts must be coherent), and therefore, we cannot explain the cause of logic, and we have left the absolutist scope established earlier through the art of rhetoric. To simplify, there cannot be one god of logic who is not good and one god of goodness who is not logical, as pantheism/polytheism requires, because if that were so, neither would be omnipotent in the sense we have described, the sense that is required in order for a functional scope of logic to exist–logic would no longer be universal, but instead would have a partitioned domain of reality in which to exist.  The alternative is a fractal reality: one that is entirely logical, entirely good, and entirely every other characteristic which the Omnipotent possesses by our model.  This is necessary just as every other part of the argument is necessary: reality must have a root cause, and there we must find also the cause of reason, morality, love, and being-hood.  Pantheism/polytheism are primarily an illusion–usually, they are based around a model that really uses one god from whom others were derived, thus not really being Gods due to their lack of self-sufficiency.˚
  2. Its God should be entirely good, loving, and logical.  As concluded in “The Character of the Omnipotent.”
  3. It should allow for the use of reason.  If any religion does not allow one to contemplate its truth-hood, then there is no reason to suspect it to be true: for even by doing so, you are rejecting its truth-hood.  (Consider the paradoxical sentence: “This statement is false.”)
  4. It should acknowledge us as a part of the Omnipotent’s creation.
  5. It should acknowledge the infinite domain of existence of the Omnipotent as well as of his perfected creation.  It should also allow for the possibility of evil and the natural consequences that arise from morality and immorality as a result of the moral structure of reality. That is, it should allow non-being–the natural consequence of evil due to the fact that all being is good.
  6. It should satisfy the “Art of Thought”–a subject that I will likely touch one in a future post.
Even after this brief list of qualities†, the possible candidate religions are greatly narrowed.  However, there is one piece of the puzzle that is yet missing–a piece whose absence, in all religions that I know of but one, excludes them from the running. That puzzling piece is the reconciliation of natural justice (that non-being stuff) and love.  I know of many religions that simultaneously acknowledge justice and love (usually with a tendency to focus on one or the other), but I am yet to find a religion other than Christianity that allows the two an infinite domain of being.  It goes back to my formally seemingly useless ramblings about pantheism and polytheism.  There are many religions that allow for a partitioned domain in which love may exist and another section in which justice may exist, but only Christianity explains how they may both exist infinitely as they must by our model. It does so with a story:
We have a God who created us perfectly in His own image (like what the pagans call gods).  He loved us infinitely and gave us the capability to love Him and, consequentially, the freedom not to.  We chose not to and the natural consequence should have been death.  Upon our rejection of His love, we were (or would have been–of course time is hardly relevant, and mostly metaphorical) dethroned of our being-hood; however, being a loving God, He chose to give of Himself, thus meeting the definition of a loving God, instead of allowing for the termination of ourselves.  If you have theoretical difficulty with this part, think of Him as thrusting being-hood back into us via the giving of his own being-hood.  Of course, He leaves our salvation ultimately up to us thus leaving the free will intact.  Even after his saving of us, we can still choose to turn away. “Sometimes no matter how much life you give something, it dies anyway.”
Allow me to further relate the story to our model: It is as if our being-hood, our very selves, were a sandcastle built by God, and He gave us the option to enjoy it as it is or knock it down. We chose to knock it down–to knock ourselves down–and so God drew from Himself, a Being of infinite sand, to rebuild it.  Upon rebuilding it, He gave us the choice once more, only this time with us knowing, in the highest sense of the word, what the consequence of destroying it is.  Thus, the result of a redeemed humanity is the exact same thing God created in the fist place only now with a knowledge, or self-awareness, of what that existence is˚.  Hence you have the theme of death and resurrection sprinkled all throughout the universe.
And now my dear friends, that all this messy theorizing and calculating not go to waste, we must move the second faculty of the soul in order that our step up the mountain of purgatory be a complete one†.  That faculty is the will: what are we to do with all this theory?  If our conclusion is correct, then all of our lives here on this earth are but the occurrence of a single event: the decision between eternal live and eternal death.  That’s it.  There is never a moment of meaninglessness, nor a moment of incomparable value.  No amount of pleasure is worth enjoying nor amount of pain worth avoiding if only you may make the right decision about heaven.  “All is vanity under God.”  The only thing that matters at all is God Himself, and therefore the only thing that matters in this life is that precious decision.  Whatever age you are, life is almost over.  Do not let anything get in the way of Heaven, for nothing is worth it.  Choose  very carefully.

˚Like the ‘act of non-action’ for you eastern thinkers

† I apologize for this awkward shift from a Christian perspective to an objective one.  I might rather say: the task remains to explain why our model is best embodied in Christianity.

˚ This is me being clear, concise, and orderly!

† Brief

˚ Of course, with fractal reality, all this story stuff is entirely true and entirely false depending on what you mean by it.  There is indeed a sense in which the redeemed humanity will have never left Heaven because (1) the whole story, even the death, is a part of his paradise, (2) even as a dead man, he was bound for eternal life.  Although he did have a choice in the matter, because he chose life, he may look back at when he was dead and realize that even then he was in paradise because he was on his way to becoming an everlasting splendor, and (3) a finite amount of time spent dead is completely and literally negligible when held next to a timeless eternity of life.

† If you don’t know what I’m talking about, but do care, look up the medieval model of the soul.

The Necessity of Evil

Ooo, creepy.

I ended my post on the Character of the Omnipotent an overly classical˚ foreshadowing of a post to come which would touch on why the Omnipotent would allow our “mortal, finite bodies to be void or partly void of being.”  This is that post.

So far in our model of the Omnipotent, we have One who is Infinite, Rational, Good, Caring, and Loving of us. And as for our model of ourselves, we are infinite, fractal beings embodied in (or imitated by) finite bodies created with love for a purpose equal to the purpose which the Omnipotent has for Himself. That purpose is to exist in the Perfect and Beautiful state which the Omnipotent “presently” enjoys.  If you are an existentialist reading this and have an issue with such being our purpose, then your error is your reading this far before converting to absolutism.  This argument established an absolutist scope from the very beginning; therefore, with in this scope, such a Purpose is valuable on an Absolute level.  That is, the Omnipotents’ Being is Absolutely Good, and to exist like Him is also, therefore, Absolutely good.

By existing “like” Him, I mean existing in the manner in which He created us to exist. Which is to exist as a part of Him.  Each of us is a thought in His mind with a specific “place” that we belong and “function” for which we exist (by nature of being coherent rational thoughts).  Our purpose is to exist in that place and satisfy that function.

Our beings, having been “begotten” of His being, must posses all the qualities of His being†.  Therefore, our beings are loving.  And since they are designed entirely for their purpose, their every quality must be a necessity in fulfilling that purpose.  Therefore, it is necessary that our beings are loving in order to fulfill our purpose.  “Loving of what?” is just a silly question at this point, for the Omnipotent makes up and encompasses all of reality and therefore to love anything other than Him is Absolute Nonsense˚.

So man’s purpose is therefore to love the Omnipotent as He loves man†.  But what is love? Love is the act of feeling joy at another’s presence, the sacrificial longing for the Good of another, the desire of another, the intellectual realization and acknowledgment that another is Good˚… and all arising from the free will of a being.  Therefore, in order to create us to be loving beings, as He did that we might fulfill our purpose, the Omnipotent had to give us free will.  It is Absolute Nonsense for loving beings to exist without free will, and since He is loving, it is also Absolute Nonsense for Him to “beget” beings that are not loving.  Thus we His creatures had to be given the option not to love.

But to not love is to no longer be a part of the Omnipotent, for he is infinitely loving, and to no longer be a part of Him is to no longer be a part of reality–to cease to exist.  This is our model of evil: nonbeing.  In order for love to exist, He had to make our existence optional; thus, evil was a necessary evil.  Any one of us can choose to turn away from the joy of being to the pain of nonbeing.

This whole phenomenon is best illustrated, as it has been, using the metaphor of time (i.e. that we are created at one point and allowed to exist a while in a body and then to decide to no longer be), though it is logically paradoxical because eternity is beyond time.  One might expect that the ones who would have chosen to not be would therefore not have been created.  With fractal reality, we know that both of these are simultaneously true: there is a sense in which the beings who steal away from the gathering of joy† never really exist and also a sense in which a whole journey happens at the conclusion of which such beings are no more.  Remember, reality is infinite and any human scope finite; therefore, in order to see more of reality, we must move our limited scopes from one thing to another through time.


˚ Alas, one of the tragedies of being born in the eighteenth century (I turn 243 next December).

† Just as it is a logical necessity that His Reason gives birth to ours, so must each of His other “character traits” give birth to each of ours.  (By the way, please do excuse my poor use of the word being; I am merely trying to be consistent.  You may mentally substitute the word soul if you wish.)

˚ And to love the Omnipotent is also to love the self and everyone else for they are all a part of the Omnipotent “A quote from John Milton’s Paradise Lost will go here once I relocate my copy of it–a task which is unusually difficult at 2:30 in the morning” -TWM.

† (hmm, these doctrines are starting to look familiar)

˚ “Ladies with an intellect of love …”

† “Whoever has succeeded in the great attempt / To be a friend’s friend; / Whoever has won a lovely woman / Add in his jubilation! / Yes, who calls even one soul / His own on the earth’s sphere! / And whoever never could achieve this, / Let him steal away crying from this gathering!” -Friedrich Schiller “Ode to Joy”