A friend of mine, Twinkle, whom I know through Second Life, made a nice response to my last post, The Absolute Nature of Uncertainty pt. 2. As is my unfortunate nature, I got a little long winded in my response, so I decided to make a separate article out of it. I hope that she does not take offense to it, as absolutely none is intended. I just felt that my response helps to give a clearer idea of the General Uncertainty Principle (see the bottom of this link).
Twinkle: Popper said that nothing is true if you can’t prove its opposite.
Having done extensive research into Karl Popper (i.e. having skimmed the Wikipedia article article about him), I believe that he is skating along the edges of the General Uncertainty Principle without completely identifying it as such, and is thus making mistakes in interpretation. If I am reading the article correctly, I believe that what Popper said is that no amount of evidence can prove that something is true, but a single example of its opposite can disprove it. I.e., no amount of instances of sun rising will prove that the sun will rise tomorrow, but a single instance of the sun not rising will disprove the idea that the sun always rises.
Again, the concept that NOTHING is provable beyond unreasonable doubt comes in. Popper seems to be toying with the principle of proof beyond ALL possible doubt, which I’ve demonstrated as an impossibility.
So, that the sun always rises is provable beyond reasonable doubt, and is therefore true (depending upon one’s definition of truth). It is not, however, proof beyond unreasonable doubt. If the sun does not rise tomorrow, it merely demonstrates that an unreasonable assumption proved to be the correct one.
Twinkle: So, if you can reckon what’s God’s opposite and prove it exists, you’re done with your theory
So on to God. Firstly, it depends on how one defines “truth”. Absolute truth is unknowable by the General Uncertainty Principle. General truth I define as something proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Secondly, God’s opposite depends on what definition of God you prefer. If one accepts the definition of God as a supernatural being that created the universe, then, according to Popper, to prove that God is true requires that there exists no proof of its opposite, a universe created by completely natural processes.
I would submit that we have come a long way to proving our universe is created by completely natural processes beyond reasonable doubt. In fact, by definition, science cannot use supernatural explanations, as science holds them by definition to be beyond reason and unprovable. By the nature of science, a supernatural God is, definitionally, ruled out as an explanation.
This is not to say that science could not demonstrate strong evidence of the supernatural. If, for example, prayer were proven to increase the likelihood of survival of people undergoing open heart surgery, then we would have little choice but to conclude that something supernatural was indeed happening (alternative explanations, such as alien intervention, could be determined to be less likely via Occam’s Razor.) Incidentally, this very experiment has indeed been conducted, in fact, and the results indicated that prayer did nothing to improve chances of survival. This result proves almost nothing, for reasons that I’m not going to go into for time’s sake.
If this is a bias of science, then it is an absolutely necessary one. Proof of natural processes cannot be found if we constantly throw “goddidit” into every unknown.
Therefore, if one (not unreasonably) redefines “truth” by throwing in the possibility of the unreasonable, then “truth” can never be proven.
What seems “reasonable” to me is that if God exists, He clearly does NOT want us to demonstrate his existence through our study of the natural world.
Twinkle: But at the end…does it really matter?
Well, in the “end”, it certainly DOES matter, as it could mean the difference between eternal hellfire and torture; 70+ virgins in assorted colors and flavors; or becoming worm food.
But I’m just playing and I know what sense you meant this in. And in the sense you meant it, then I would say no, it doesn’t matter in the least.
Twinkle: I’ve had so much proof of humanity’s evilness that I am positive that Love is somewhere out there…or maybe just inside myself… A secret recipe for serenity
As to evil, mankind is imperfect and suffers from many mental illnesses and brainwashing resulting from unreasonable arguments. Hitler very likely had a mental illnesses (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and who the hell knows what that mustard gas did to him). Whether these illnesses are in anyway treatable does not change this fact. When what we perceive as evil is in fact something that is beyond the conscious control of a mentally ill mind, can we truly call it evil?
This is not to say that Hitler wasn’t a nasty, dangerous son-of-a-bitch who needed to be killed far, far earlier then he actually was.
So evil is definitional. Love? I have no doubt of it. Love, too, is definitional, but “generally” doesn’t follow under anyone’s definition of mental illness. Most people have love within them. This is a statement of faith on my part.
And if you could more clearly express your secret recipe, I would greatly appreciate it. 🙂