Re: God

Michael Lorrey (
Fri, 15 Nov 1996 14:24:47 -0500

John K Clark wrote:
> It's true, you never used the words "omnipotent" or "omniscient" but I don't
> think you needed to because you used another word "God" and even said it
> might explain the ultimate fact of our existence. In modern times the dividing
> line between a conscious being who is called God and a conscious being
> who is not, is the concept of infinity. Yes, it's just a tradition, and
> as you say all tradition should be questioned, but I have come to the
> conclusion that this particular tradition is a good one if the word "God" is
> to be meaningful. If you keep making God weaker and more vague then obviously
> you would eventually reach a point where I would have to agree that God does
> exist, but this doesn't seem to be a useful exercise to me.

Actually, the "God" concept that David is proposing would be both at

It would Omnipotent to the extent that it created everything within this
simulated universe, and could concievably halt, modify, recode, etc to
suit, possibly without the sub-U's inhabitants noticing. Of course were
it running these simulations as computational devices, it would
obviously wish to run them start to finish without interruption, like
any scientist would. It would however be limited in that it could not
interfere in the internal operation during simulation without complying
with the internal rules of that simluation.

It would also be omniscient within that simulation, in that it would
neccessarily have a complete understanding of the entire workings of
that simulation. If it were able to observe the simluation's time
sequence separte from its own temporal progression, it would also know
both the beginning and the end, or any point in between, at the same
time, which would be good for U-prime's computer operating speed.

> When I tell people that I am an atheist I've had some respond contemptuously
> and say "Oh, so you don't think anything is greater than yourself". Sort of
> flattering really, what they're saying is that the only thing greater than me
> is God. Bertrand Russell said something relevant to this "Many people are
> willing to abandon the idea of God, but very few are willing to abandon the
> word "God".
> >When we are very advanced, it is likely that we will be able
> >to create mini-universes (sometimes called "baby universes").
> Yes, it's a possibility, but I see no reason why the beings in such a universe
> would have to be our intellectual inferiors.

They would not need to be. That is your own assumption. If we are
capable of eventually reaching this point ourselves, then we would
necessarily be its equals.

> >Perhaps universes which exhibit life, intelligence and
> >creativity will be especially useful to us, and we will
> >seek to create living, intelligent universes, so that we can
> >use their intelligence to help us solve problems, much like
> >we use transistors in computer systems to help us solve
> >problems now.
> Another possibility, but it would be a very poor sort of god indeed if He
> needed us to help him figure things out. Colleague would be a better word than
> God.

Do you treat your computer like your colleagues, can you delete them or
run them at will?

> >The universes we create would probably develop through
> >evolution
> But why would we use Darwin's style of Evolution with its horrible random
> mutation and natural selection? Evolution by the inheritance of acquired
> characteristics was long ago found not to occur in nature. It's too bad,
> it would be a wonderful consolation to know that the muscular body you
> worked so hard to develop, would make your children strong too. How splendid
> it would be if your offspring were born knowing everything you struggled to
> learn during your life. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way in our world,
> Shakespeare's daughter had to start from square one and learn how to hold a
> pen and make sense from squiggles written on paper, Einstein's son had to
> reinvent the wheel and rediscover that 2 +2 = 4.

If we were eventually able to create pocket universes that exhibited
better computational capability than our own, through better inheritance
of information, then we would be demonstrably the intellectual superior
to the U-Prime.

> Besides being less cruel, Lamarck's type of evolution would be much faster
> than Darwinian evolution, that's why social evolution is so much swifter than
> biological evolution.

Yet Social evolution is happening in this universe, even though it took
eons of bioligical evolution to get to a point where it became possible.
It IS part of the simulation.

> >John, I don't know if your athiestic dogmatism allows you to
> >think clearly, but why do you insist that we will be the
> >first ones to create universes?
> We may not be the first, but until the evidence suggests otherwise it's wise
> to assume the simplest theory as your working hypothesis.

What is the simplest theory that actually axplains everything? If you
have one, you deserve the Nobel, cause I haven't heard it....

> >Just to make it clear (for the dogmatically intoxicated and
> >mentally impaired): I'm not saying this being is omnipotent;
> >I'm just saying that it is a conscious being who is very
> >powerful, powerful enough to create universes.
> Then why call this being "God"? You must know that it is burdened with
> more baggage than any other word in the English language.

What? John, I thought you were the premier taboo buster around these
parts! Such preconceptions should not burden you. We use the word
"computer" everyday in ways completly divorced from its original meaning
(a job description for a person with a slide rule). Creating a new
definition for God should be an easy step....