I wrote this letter a few weeks ago explaining how and why I no longer believe in a god of any sort. I think all the people who have asked me how I made this important decision deserve some kind of reason why. I am not sure if the time and effort I have spent in articulating my thoughts and retracing my mind steps in arriving at the conclusion will seem sufficient or will prove helpful in explaining myself on the point, but it was definitely fun writing it. I just talk about how the concept of God fails as it is a part of language and it also fails scientifically (I mean if used to explain worldly phenomena of any kind). Email me if you want to read the whole thing.
I believe that we, the human race, are part of Nature, not just any part as some scientific results would make the unlearned feel. We are a unique and great part, and even though our lives might turn out to be only a chapter in history of the Universe, it is a pretty interesting chapter. Our complicated life as part of the Earth’s Ecology is an example of a state which Smolin Lee likes to call a self-organizing stable non-equilibrium system, which is one of the Nature’s favorite and repeating tunes. A galaxy as whole is an example of this. I stumbled upon this Cosmic Variance post by Sean Carroll about the popular film “What the bleep do you know?” (Sean wrote a great General Relativity textbook which my GR course along with many others are using now). Apparently a physicist called David Albert didn’t like the way the film makers “abused” his quotes. I must admit I haven’t watched the movie myself, but I don’t think there is any connection between Quantum Mechanics and human existence, even though on occasions of long winding nights of QM homework I have glimpsed into how miserable this connection might have been if there was one. If it took me 2 hours to solve 4 problems of undergraduate QM, how long would it take me to use my QM powers to change my life and reality and all that good stuff? Now that would make a nice PhD thesis project.
The interesting part of the post was that David Albert called out this human tendency to tie the human race with the Master plan of the Universe. The problem with this tendency is three things: First, as he says, science is precisely the opposite of this, it is to try and view what your study with the least subjectiveness. I must say that without looking from the subject’s point of view must be done in science, but only in retrospect. Otherwise science isn’t telling us anything interesting. Second, the words “Master” and “plan” lose all meaning when applied with a scientific (non-religious) view to such a thing as the whole Universe. Nature didn’t have anything in mind when it began cooking up this Universe. I kind of talk about this in my letter when I say that the question of “how stuff happens?” is science, “why they happen?” is something else. There are only “empirical fundamental relations” (sometimes called “laws” even though I detest the word) and “most probable outcomes.” I don’t think anyone who can understand these two concepts and is able to live with them is still able to believe in miracles, not to mention all kinds of crap about how your will determines reality. Third, each scientific revolution confirms that we are not in a special position in this Universe, and it becomes clearer that we are only one part of the Universe, yet not all parts are alike. I think we have to accept our place in the Universe otherwise we will be forcing an incorrect place on the Universe in our understanding: a major cosmic miscalculation that might turn out to be very costly. Speaking for myself, something like this might ruin my whole afternoon now that I think about it.