A LOGICAL ARGUMENT FOR EVOLUTION
By Dan Jones
Subject: Re: free will, etc...
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 19:40:27 -0700
From: "Dan Jones" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Edgar Jones" <Ed@voiceofjesus.org>
Regarding the remainder of your lengthy email to which I previously responded to the ‘personal’ part: there was just one other comment, excerpted below, to which I would like to reply -- the one that seemed most substantive.
I thought I understood your general conception of Jesus’ message – I just don’t see why free will should be essential to it. Obviously you make it a major point, but when I filter out free will, the rest stands very well without it (given your fundamental assumption of a God desiring equal companions).
One of your themes seems to be that Jesus’ message is in his words. Did Jesus talk about free will? I’m just assuming here, but my impression is that you (not Jesus) invoked free will because you assumed a requirement for free will motivated God to create us as He did, rather than just directly create the companions He wants. But as explained below, you don’t need free will to explain why God resorted to evolutionary means. You can prove the necessity of evolution with rigorous logic, as opposed to dubious philosophical concepts.
If we are made in God’s image then I assume that God is an intelligent being (though some might claim that similarity to humans implies no such thing) with emotional needs similar to ours, including the desire for true companionship – i.e., the consensual company of equals sharing mutual respect, love and trust. How could He acquire such companions?
If He functions by the same fundamental laws of logic (not necessarily the same physical laws, but the same logical laws) that govern human thought, then he could not possibly create such companions himself by direct design. I believe that could be rigorously proved similarly to Godel’s theorem, but there is a fairly simple ‘common sense proof’ that goes as follows:
Any ‘intelligent system’ (e.g., your brain/mind or God’s, or even an intelligent computer if such is possible) that comprehends ‘reality’ (i.e., the cosmos or any aspects of it, such as your back yard, calculus, European history, or the workings of your own mind and body) must do so by devoting part of its ‘intelligent resources’ (be they neurons, transistors or spirit quarks) to representations (i.e., mental models of some kind) of reality; and part to ‘intellect’ (i.e., devices or operations to create, maintain, animate and contemplate or appreciate the representations in various ways).
In general, the greatest overall intelligence is achieved by some optimal division of resources between representations and intellect (to maintain and contemplate the representations). Devote all the resources to representations and you have a highly detailed model of reality with no intellect to contemplate or appreciate it (sort of an ‘idiot savant’); devote all the resources to intellect and you have a genius with no knowledge (e.g., an ‘Einstein’ who can’t find his shoes).
Clearly, no intelligent being can completely understand itself, because that would require its representations to include a perfect, completely detailed, model of the entire intelligence (including its representations and intellect). That is logically impossible, just as it is logically impossible for a painting to include within it a smaller perfect replica of the entire painting. This is the self-reference problem laid bare, as it applies to intelligent systems. The model must have less detail than the thing being modeled (if the thing being modeled is the intelligence itself or anything ‘larger,’ e.g., the cosmos) – substantially less, if substantial resources are devoted to intellect. And if God cannot possibly know exactly how He is made, he cannot possibly create exact duplicates of himself. (One might argue He could still study and duplicate himself by parts. There are major problems with that approach too, but I won’t pursue it further here.)
God could, however, create intelligences arbitrarily similar to Himself, if He was willing to wait arbitrarily long, by setting in motion evolutionary processes inclined toward increasing complexity. So that’s what He did, and then He waited. And when suitable companions evolved, He sent a messenger (or messengers?) to invite them to join Him.
Now if we are made in God’s image, then we are similar to Him in our needs and desires, and the companionship desired by us and Him would be, as noted above, the consensual company of equals sharing mutual respect, love and trust. So I would assume that:
1. God would not send messengers to invite us to join Him until he observed that we had approached equality of intelligence and morality.
2. The messengers (or other sources?) would need to provide us with whatever information we require to decide whether or not we wish to join Him (i.e., do we believe there is mutual respect, love and trust and do we desire His companionship?).
3. God would need to evaluate us (those who desire His companionship) individually (remember, evolution generates lots of variations!) to verify our potential for mutual respect, love, trust and companionship. In this regard, the Great Principle is sort of a screening test.
So there you have it. Seems to me that pretty well fits the gist of your conception of God’s plan in a very workable form consistent with contemporary information theory, and with no requirement for free will. It does include desire, because I think that’s part of true companionship (as implied above by ‘consensual’). No one enjoys the company of someone they feel would rather be somewhere else or with someone else. I believe most people often consciously attempt to discern the desires of their companions and evaluate the relationship on that basis. I don’t think one person in 1000 (including me – what about you?) ever thinks or worries about whether or not their companion has ‘free will,’ whatever that is. Certainly we all have the subjective experience of free will or freedom of action, and assume the same to our companions. However, most people never think about it; philosophers argue about whether or not it exists (other than as a subjective experience); and biologists appear on the verge of proving that it doesn’t exist (except as a subjective experience). So unless Jesus explicitly made it a cornerstone of God’s plan, why confuse it with such a contentious and apparently irrelevant issue?
PS: Sorry to be so argumentative... Wonder who I inherited that from...
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