Charlie Stromeyer jr.
Registered: Not Yet
"Charlie, I do think it is important we understand something of where our discussion partners are coming from, especially in terms of the prejudices we each bring to the table, but we also need to keep the purposes of this forum in mind while we are doing that."
If the ANKS book is what it would have us believe then all current maths and sciences should be subsumed by NKS. This would raise the question of whether there are any other ways of thinking or phenomena, e.g. philosophy, ethics, who will win "American Idol" etc. can also be subsumed by NKS which is the point I was making.
"BTW, I am also convinced that this is a stronger optimism than the optimism claimed by purveyors of Judaic religions, or "desert religions" as I prefer to call them."
Here you are labeling too many different people with the same brush. As a counter-example, Einstein was a Jew who believed in G_d but it was not necessarily the same kind of God that you might be thinking of. Also, Isaac Newton actually spent more total time studying theology, religion and alchemy than he did with math or physics, and he even rediscovered some long forgotten beliefs and practices of the ancient Hebrews, such as one group who believed that the Earth revolved around the Sun.
However, Newton's huge amount of time spent pursuing alchemy was a waste, and some believe that Einstein wasted the last half of his life on a fruitless and stubborn quest for a unified field theory, driven by his overly perfectionistic ego. Hey, no one is perfect, but if you can find any geniuses like Newton or Einstein then I would be curious to see what they have done or written.
Furthermore, if someone says e.g. that they believe in Jesus then this does not necessarily imply that they believe in the same kind of Jesus that the Church has previously tried to impress upon too many people. Yes, I know that you were also shocked to have once discovered gambling in Casablanca :-) Btw, don't tell your fellow Aussie, Mel Gibson, that Jesus was actually a Jew or Mel's dear old dad might have a heart attack :-)
Returning to the consideration of NKS, do you think it has any potential for explaining emergent phenomena in human history? Instead of the human origins of religious thought and the difficulties of theological arguments, try an indisputable fact as a case test:
The great physicists Meitner, Segre, Fermi, Einstein and Oppenheimer were each Jews and so were some of the others involved in the development of nuclear technology and the atomic bomb. Originally, at least Meitner and Segre had wanted to stay in Germany and Italy, respectively, and Segre IIRC held the world's first patents for nuclear technology. Before WWII, Segre wanted to help his country by giving his technology to Mussolini, but Mussolini was anti-semitic and so he sent Segre packing.
If the facists' had not treated these physicists with anti-semitism then perhaps the Axis powers would have obtained the A-bomb before the Allies did and you might be Down Under, eating sheep mutton for the rest of your life if you should be so fortunate :-). I personally suspect that this is an example of how G_d's will turned the Evil (the anti-semitism) of the facists into a good (a redemptive act), and since the development of the a-bomb there has never been another major and violent world war. However, I am patiently and tolerantly waiting to entertain your NKS-based model of how these events unfolded :-) Once your model works, we can then see if your model can handle plenty of 'unusual' coincidences involved with these particular events.
However, there is a hypothetical way to make philosophical or religious thinking more 'universal' which would be to meet different species of intelligent ETs and see which of our notions are held in common and to what degree, but good luck trying to hail one who just happens to be passing by :-)
Finally, I do agree with you that the Wolfram Atlas should be the heart of NKS because then we will have a wide ranging collection to survey for different kinds of functioning and properties, and because many of Wolfram's speculations will probably seem at least premature without a useful cartography of simple programs.
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