Saturday, April 21, 2007

Thoughts about an ID Proposal

While a lot of this is a repeat of a previous post, I wanted to focus on presenting what I would consider the beginnings of a logically consistent ID Proposal. For practical reasons this lacks a lot of detail. It would be more appropriate to call it an outline. Whether an outline or proposal there needs to be a justification for even considering it. Suggesting it is the best explanation available is a subjective opinion and isn't enough justification, IMO. What is needed is a compelling requirement for change. ID proponents generally argue that only intelligence can create intelligence without getting too picky about the meaning of the word “intelligence”.

Being an electrical engineer, this is the basis for a feedback loop. How do you create a sine wave output? Use a sine wave input and amplify it. Where do you get the input? From the output. It is called an oscillator circuit. Nothing magical or supernatural about it (except, maybe, the AA battery).

But even an oscillator circuit need a framework from which to operate. Cosmologists like Steven Hawking make it their calling to model just such a framework. Steven Hawking’s work is freely available via the web and, unlike some other PhD types, he explains both the math and logic in a way that it can be understood and vetted by anyone who wishes to do so. While Steven Hawking isn’t infallible (he famously lost a bet with another physicist), he knows a lot more about cosmology than I do (big understatement).

Here is a link where he explains the concept of time as just another dimension like North/South directions on a globe with the South Pole being the beginning of time and the North Pole being the end of time. Questions about events before the beginning of time are like questions about locations South of the South Pole. Both are paradoxical, but neither requires the supernatural.

I realize some people don’t accept this explanation as the Truth (capital “T”). This is where NOMA (Non-Overlapping_Magisteria) comes in. I have discussed this in other posts here and here. Embracing NOMA means everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and the need for resolving a dispute stops here. Rejecting NOMA results in OMA (Overlapping Magisteria) and a forces a search for a single, mutual OMA Truth. So, without further ado, I boldly use the Hawking Model as my starting point for a proposed, OMA Truth (this ID proposal/outline). I am sure that some will not like this choice. To these people, I suggest they write a beginning to end proposal/outline like this one and allow it to also be vetted publicly.

The Hawking Model includes the multiverse paradigm…“The picture Jim Hartle and I developed, of the spontaneous quantum creation of the universe, would be a bit like the formation of bubbles of steam in boiling water. The idea is that the most probable histories of the universe, would be like the surfaces of the bubbles. Many small bubbles would appear, and then disappear again. These would correspond to mini universes that would expand, but would collapse again while still of microscopic size.… A few of the little bubbles, however, will grow to a certain size at which they are safe from recollapse.”

A complaint to this is that the multiverse still doesn’t solve the improbability problem. In other words, why is this universe so lucky. I suggest changing the bubbles analogy to lightening strikes. The only universes that get beyond the recollapse stage are those that can complete the circuit from the beginning to the end of time. Think of the improbability of a lighting striking hitting a specific, small piece of metal out of acres of other targets. However, when that piece of metal is a lighting rod that completes a circuit, the improbable becomes very probable.

I offer this as a reason for a telic universe. The purpose of the universe is to be internally consistent. The universe must do what it needs to complete the consistency circuit from the beginning to the end of time, or it won’t exist. “Retrocausality” is a term that came up in TT. Here is the link to the newspaper article that initiated the discussion. A future state (cause) that completes the consistency circuit will influence the historical time-path (effect) much like a lightening strike steers towards a lightening rod.

This proposed model may help explain why this universe appears finely tuned. It had to be, or it wouldn’t have even started. It may also explain why historical events appear too fortuitous (retrocausality). This still doesn't explain why intelligence is needed as opposed to simply possible.

One trivial answer (and not very believable) is that our SETI activities has provided just the right amount of focused electromagnetic energy to assist in allowing a symmetrical collapse at the end of time. The reason I bring up this silly example is to illustrate that while the universe needs to reach the end of time, intelligent life may not have to. To the contrary, intelligent life may have already outlived its usefulness.

However, there are a few Billion people out there who are predisposed to believe at least some kind of intelligence will exist at the end of time. Let’s call this intelligence an “Intelligent Designer”. This has the effect of elevating the problem. The purpose of intelligent life is to eventually grow into the Intelligent Designer. Now, what is the purpose of the Intelligent Designer? Well, for one, the designer could use retrocausality to create intelligent life. This is the oscillator circuit mentioned earlier. Beyond that, I will just assume an Intelligent Designer would be useful in completing the consistency circuit of the Universe in other ways too.

There are many, many details left out of this presentation. For example, several people insist a lack of progress in the origin of life research and certain features at the molecular level (DNA, proteins, etc) posit some kind of direct intervention of an Intelligent Designer. This proposal/outline is agnostic to these kind of details. Using ID lingo, everything looks designed because everything IS designed. The purpose/design of the universe is to be internally consistent. Does that mean absolutely everything that exists is necessary for that purpose? no. But a sloppy design doesn't mean there is no design.

It could be claimed that this is just a restatement of various Anthropic Principles. I wouldn’t disagree with that and I apologize for not giving all the people who deserve credit their due. I have no interest in claiming this as my idea. My real interest is in getting it presented and observing the reactions. I will gladly answer any questions you may have. Comments and suggestions are also welcome.


secondclass said...

A nitpicky response:

Feeding the output of an amplifier into its input will not create a sine wave, nor will it perpetuate an existing sine wave. It will simply amplify any noise to saturation. To create a sine wave, you need a second-order negative feedback loop. Maybe that's what you meant and I misread you.

Thought Provoker said...

Hi Second Class,

You are, of course, correct. However, I am not trying to use oscillator circuits as proof, just a tool to explain what I am talking about.

I don't know about you, but when I try to build an oscillator circuit sometimes I end up with a noisy radio receiver.

Thanks for posting.