Thursday, March 26, 2009

Deus Ex Radioactiva

When you get down to a very small level, sometimes refered to as the quantum level, the universe becomes a strange place, at least to our human sized preconcieved notions of How Things Work. Radioactive decay is an example of this sort of weirdness: we can never tell when a particular atom is going to decay, but if we have a big pile of them, we can say how long it will take for half of them to have undergone decay with pretty good certainty.

Let's assume for a moment that the Christians are right: God exists and He's a vicious tyrant bent on forcing His creations to live in eternal pain, but who has nonetheless managed to convince a handful of those creations that He is loving and kind and just, mainly so that they will go out and visit unspeakable horrors on His other creations.

It would not be unthinkable that a creature that clever would be able to set up the universe in such a way that His own presence would be undetectable. How might He go about doing that? Why, with quantum mechanics, of course! You see, He would make everything run according to some probabilistic law: the outcome of any particular event would be completely unpredictable, but the pattern of those outcomes would become quite apparent given a large enough sample set. In this way, He could intervene by changing the outcome of a single event without violating His own laws.

The result of this would be a completely undetectable God who was able to alter the universe in large and detectable ways. In fact, given the current body of evidence, this is about the only way God could exist. So there you have it, Christians: your God is the ultimate jerk who uses only your belief in Him to determine where you spend all enternity while covering His tracks and making it completely impossible to detect Him until Judgement Day. And to me, that sounds a lot like "He beats me because He loves me."


Eliz. said...

You just must be beating the girls off with sticks, eh?

Eric said...

When I was young, comments were supposed to be about the subject on which they were commenting. Of course since the AOL interconnect, non-sequiturs became the coin of the realm....

Anyway, tying the post and comment together: Since when did supporting Christianity become anything other than a way to NOT get laid?

Pixiesing said...


colin you're awesome!

Linguo said...

this reminds me of cosmological critiques of probabilistic models of reality---if you have a large, predictably similar set of happenings, then perhaps you have a chance of discovering a probabilistic principle which governs what you see; however, if we are talking about the experience of an entire lives (which are so unique and diverse and unusual that, taken as wholes, you don't even have a sample to make statistical comparisons, except in the few details that bear comparison), or the experience of a universe (which in its uniqueness and subjectivity really bears no comparison to anything else at all, in a scientific sense), then you have a hard time giving a good argument that there is not a significant factor of divine caprice operating.

also, if you check out the postscripts to the strong free will theorem, you see that, in a way which is frustratingly hard to understand even for bright folks, probability doesn't quite seem adequate to talk about even the controlled circumstances.

Justin said...

I like it. Haha Sounds reezhonabuhl : >