It took me a while to read through this, hopefully I've understood at least enough to respond intelligently.

My math student friend actually showed me this Quantum Foam idea that proposes space might not actually be continuous, but made up of discrete pixels/bubbles that pop in and out at a small enough scale. This is to say that synechism is not a position we can take for granted, although I don't think you were saying that anyway. I think I tend to assume the universe is discrete, although I'm clearly not a reductionist in the way Dawkins is.

We've also been talking about the possibility that the laws of physics are not always the same across time and space. I'll copypasta a reply I made to another response to this article that goes over what I think are the reasonable possibilities that specifically explain the problem of why we live in a universe that appears so uniquely convenient for human existence.

As I see it, there are at least three explanations for this. The first is that our universe isn't actually special, and we're just affirming the consequent. If the laws were different, then our universe may actually have had more conscious beings or diverse forms of life, and we can't know this because we can only observe our current one.

Then there's the multiverse theory, or the mechanistic variation of physical laws over time. My friend told me about a theory (that I haven't looked into yet) that over enough time the dimensions that are currently wrapped up according to string theory will eventually unravel and destroy the universe as we know it, creating a new regime with potentially different laws. Over infinite time, we could imagine an infinite variation in regimes, which would make it essentially inevitable for our universe to arise. There's also the multiverse theory, that multiple and potentially infinite universe exist simultaneously. With infinity, this also potentially makes our universe inevitable.

Then there's the theistic/psychist view that I believe you and Rockwell are putting forward. In Rockwell's case, the universe is determined by spontaneity, and there's nothing unexpected about physical laws changing, perhaps in accordance with the will of a universal consciousness (I hope I'm characterizing this correctly). In your case, the fundamental nature of the universe is to be endowed with spirit, so again we have a very good reason to expect spirit to emerge everywhere.

I like the way you characterize consciousness. There's a bit of a difficulty in determining whether a process is unpredictable because it has the property of spontaneity at a fundamental level or because we simply don't understand it yet. A lot of people would say that even human beings are in the latter category, and we'd be entirely predictable given enough understanding.

I sent part of your article dealing with strange attractors to my math student friend, and he thought it was a good metaphor but didn't consider it a good place to look for consciousness. I don't know enough about it personally, so I can't say either way. Maybe I ought to look into the mathematics further.

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Sam Young

Sam Young

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.

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