Saturday, July 16, 2011

Absolutes

Sometimes, there are absolute positions. Sometimes, we have continua or spectra. It's good to see which model works best.

Take, for example, the conceptual leap from 0 to 1. If you were thinking in binary, this is a huge difference. But if you're not, it isn't.

Atheists think of themselves as very different from theists. But the difference is only one small axiom: either you have free will or you don't. By all naturalistic accounts, you cannot have free will, no matter how many intellectual contortions you perform — or what kind. And if you don't have free will, you cannot and should not be held to account for anything. And that includes being an atheist, which then becomes meaningless.

That only leaves supernatural accounts. Now, you need to decide in the realm of positive numbers — any number greater than zero. For some people, any non-zero number will do, including complex numbers.

At this point, some people may receive the epiphany that to hold an inflexibly 'zero' position is the easiest to conceptualise and the hardest to defend. Why should there be a universe at all? Why not nothing, if simplicity and parsimony are universal principles?

These are fun things to think about, to be sure.

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