Archive for ‘Metaphysics’

July 25th, 2014

A New Cosmological Argument: EPS 2014

by Max Andrews

This year’s Evangelical Philosophical Society Annual Conference will be in San Diego, California, USA (500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, California 92108). I will be presenting from 0920 to 1000 on Wednesday in EPS Session A4 in Windsor.

This is the third year in a row I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at EPS (coauthoring with Dave Beck). This paper will help thresh out some of my research concerning the behaviour of natural law as well as methodology in a philosophy of cosmology. In the paper I will be able to examine different cosmological models (primarily multiverse models) and consider the necessitarian vs. regularity debate as well as the metaphysical and modal status of natural law and the ontological furniture of all reality. This is relevant to several sections of my thesis and the peer feedback offered by conferences such as this are vital to have external minds critiquing my proposed models for many universes and, what I believe to be, the radical metaphysical contingency of worlds.

April 6th, 2014

Discovery of quantum vibrations in ‘microtubules’ inside brain neurons supports controversial theory of consciousness

by Max Andrews

The pre-Socratics have a habit of coming back to the moderns and contemporaries and saying, “I told you so.” This is something Dave Beck and I argue in regards to the multiverse (or many worlds) in a forthcoming paper in Philosophia Christi this summer. Could it be the case that Democritus was right about mind being in the finer atoms?

SourceScience Daily

Summary: A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness claims that consciousness derives from deeper level, finer scale activities inside brain neurons. The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in “microtubules” inside brain neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves) also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations, and that from a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.

March 25th, 2014

Q&A 40: William Lane Craig on the Multiverse and Is Free Will Incoherent?

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

I accidentally found your blog recently ! Lots of great stuff and I’ll be definitely reading more. 2 questions though

1) I was watching the Craig/Carroll debate on cosmology. Craig seemed to say that the Boltzmann brain problem was a problem for all multiverse models and Carroll said it was just a problem for certain models. Who’s right?

2)  There’s this argument free will is incoherent. It seems persuasive to me.

“Some people imagine that there’s a thing that takes part in human decision making called free will. They say that while our actions are certainly influenced by our past experience, and by desires which we haven’t chosen, free will ultimately decides what to do with these inputs—it decides whether or not to follow the path pointed to by our experience and desires or to veto that course of action and settle on another.

If this is really the case, on what basis does this free will choose whether or not to ‘take control’? And when it does take control, how does it decide what to do?

It certainly can’t be reaching its decisions according to our desires or past experience, because these factors are already represented by the ‘non-free’ part of our will. Free will, to earn its keep, must be operating differently. So what’s left as a basis for the decisions of free will? Maybe free will acts at random, but surely if that’s the case then it doesn’t seem to deserve to be called free at all.

February 28th, 2014

The Monuments Men: A Dialectic not to be Ignored

by Max Andrews

I’ve heard mostly negative reviews over the film The Monuments Men and, as it currently stands, has a rough 6.4 rating on IMDB. The film isn’t anything like Good Will Hunting or in the category of any film prestige but it does stand out as something more than a pic based on a true story–it portrays the aesthetic dialectic of the beautiful and the profane.

There are several scenes that capture the dialectic in amazing ways and if you haven’t seen it then watch for these scenes and if you missed the point try to go back and recall it. A quick recap… a dialectic is the meeting of seemingly contradictory metaphysics. First, there’s the thesis, which meets it’s antithesis in opposition. Hopefully, there’s a harmony, the synthesis.

The Monuments Men Review

February 26th, 2014

The Atheist Argument from Fine-Tuning is too Coarse

by Max Andrews

Believe it or not an atheist friend of mine has presented an argument from fine-tuning to demonstrate that God doesn’t exist. I think there are several different problem with the argument but I’ll be as charitable as possible to my anonymous friend @SkepticismFirst (SF).

Fine-tuning is something I’ve invested quite a bit of research in. My MA (philosophy) thesis was on the Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios and I’m continuing that research right now in my PhD (University of Edinburgh). So, I’ve written quite extensively on this issue. Here are a few links to get the fine-tuning argument presented by the proponents of fine-tuning:

February 9th, 2014

Q&A 38: The Infinite Set of You in the Multiverse

by Max Andrews

Question

Dear Mr. Andrews,

I came upon your blog and I shall spend the better part of the night reading it, and I have a few questions about the multiverse that I don’t understand.

First off, why is it inevitable that some parallel universes would be identical to this one? Why would there be another me, identical down to each thought, instead of endlessly unique ones? That is to say, why would there be an infinite number of universes but only a finite variety of patterns?

Also, would endlessly different ones render the fantastic real? Unicorns and Greek gods roaming universes of their own?

Or have I missed what MWI supporters are trying to say?

Also, if the multiverse allows for at least a few super civilizations to exist, so powerful that they can create their own universes or cross others, then wouldn’t they essentially function as gods, albeit not our eternal one?

Thank you so much, and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Katy Meyrick

February 3rd, 2014

Max Tegmark and The Fluke Explanation for Life

by Max Andrews

our mathematical universe tegmarkI’m reading Max Tegmark’s newest and only book Our Mathematical Universe, which I will be reviewing for an academic journal. I wanted to share, as much as I could without copyright infringement an amazing point on the issues of fine-tuning in the most broad sense of the word (the existence of a universe that permits the existence of life).

 So what are we to make of this fine-tuning? First of all, why can’t we just dismiss it all as a bunch of fluke coincidences? Because the scientific method doesn’t tolerate unexplained coincidences saying, “My theory requires an unexplained coincidence to agree with observation.” For Example, we’ve seen how inflation predicts that space is flat and the spots in the cosmic microwave background should have an average size around a degree, and that the experiments…. confirmed this… Suppose the Planck team observed [something else being] much smaller average spy size, prompting them to announce that they’d ruled out inflation with 99.999% confidence. This would mean that random fluctuations in a flat universe could [author's emphasis] have caused spots to appear as unusually small as they measured, tricking them into an incorrect conclusion, but what with 99.999% probability this wouldn’t happen? In other words, inflation  would require a 1 – in – 100,000 unexplained coincidence in order to agree with the measurement…

January 15th, 2014

The Affirmations and Denials Directory

by Max Andrews

I’ve decided to make a referent post that outlines my position on many things philosophical, theological, scientific, biblical, and other. I have many similar directories: Molinism, Multiverse, Philosophy of Science, Epistemology, and the Origins Directory.

Ontological Basics

  1. Ontological Status. Existent
  2. Necessary. No
  3. Contingent. Yes
  4. Person. Yes
  5. Organic. Yes
  6. Faculty of Will. Incompatibilist (although all we need is that flicker of freedom).
  7. Personhood. Cartesian Substance Dualist, leaning Hasker’s emergentism.

Bible & Theology

  1. Theology. Theist
  2. Religion. Christian
  3. Trinity: Social Trinitarian
  4. Denomination. Associate Reformed Presbyterian (Don’t ask me how that happened…)
  5. Catholic. No. Some Catholic Dogma is contrary to what I understand the gospel to be. Some Catholics love Jesus and are saved as well, though in spite of the Catholic teaching.
  6. Eastern-Orthodoxy. No. See above.
  7. Middle Knolwedge. Yes
  8. Molinist. Yes.
  9. Soteriology. A Molinist Model
    read more »

January 7th, 2014

Abstract for an Upcoming Paper Developing my Model of Modal Realism

by Max Andrews

I’ve recently submitted an abstract for Glasgow University’s Philosophy of Religion Conference concerning my recent research of the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics along with my secondary research of its theological implications. I won’t find out for for another week or two as to whether it has been accepted but my hopes are high. Here’s my abstract:

The Ontology of Many Worlds and
Thomistic Modal Realism

Abstract: Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics (MWI) has caused perturbations in the fields of physics and philosophy. There are many aspects about the interpretation that make it favorable due to its objectivity and lack of logical holes. If MWI is adopted due to its favorability then this creates a problem for understanding macro-states. If it’s true that all-possible states are true and exist simultaneously then defining the mechanism, which causes these ‘splits’ and how these ‘splits’ and branches operate, are problematic on the macro-scale. The question becomes, “How does this work on the macro-level?” In order to construct an argument that traces the historical development to propose a preferred understanding for the macro-ontology I will discuss

November 17th, 2013

What if God Commanded Rape?

by Max Andrews

One of the common objections to theistic, deontological ethics is the Euthyphro dilemma. Does God command something because it’s good or is it good because God commands it?  The first horn makes goodness apart from God and the second makes goodness arbitrary. This inevitably brings up questions like:  What if God commanded you to strap a bomb to your chest and blow other people up or rape others?  As an advocate of divine command theory the response to this question is a bit more nuanced then any prima facie answer.

The proponent of divine command theory (DCT) claims that whatever God commands to any moral agent becomes a moral obligation.  Formulations of the commands are given symbolic form by David Efird as:[1]

(RIGHT)                      ∀ϕ☐(Rϕ ≣ Cgϕ)

(WRONG)                   ∀ϕ☐(Wϕ ≣ Cg~ϕ)

(PERMITTED 1)            ☐(~Eg ⊃ ∀ϕ~Wϕ)[2]

(PERMITTED 2)            [(∃ϕ☐Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐Cg~ϕ)] ∙ [(∃ϕ☐~Cgϕ ∙ ∃ϕ☐~Cg~ϕ)]