Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Leonard Susskind is mostly right

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Theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind, in his wonderful book, The Cosmic Landscape [Little, Brown and Company, NY, 2006] insists that “The Laws of Physics” (and their accoutrements) can explain creation on Earth and the Universe’s origin pretty much also, although mysteries remain (and will remain it seems).

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Physicists are loath to see an intelligence behind the reality that we experience.

But the Laws of Physics didn’t arrive ex nihilo. Mathematics didn’t either.

And while Darwin’s theory defines how mankind and the Earth’s creatures developed, one has to wonder how it is that copulatory activity came to evolve in such a way that it allows most species to procreate, spurred on by the pleasurable attributes of the sexual fusion: the orgasmic thrill.

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(Some species bifurcate without the interconnectiveness of a sexual union but they are in the minority among Earth’s creatures.)

The ingenious add-on to copulation (the orgasm) has to be the concoction of a wily creator or intelligence. The physical manifestation of the orgasm, where the pleasure is almost intangible, could not have arrived by natural selection; it had to be instigated by conscious contrivance.

But that aside, the elegance of mathematics, that physicists and scientists extol, did not, as we note, arrive out of nothing nor did it evolve. And the same applies to Susskind’s Laws of Physics.

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The Laws and mathematics seem to have been part of the Universe at the Big Bang and before. Both are omnipresent and have been since the beginning of time – space-time too.

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Maybe The Laws of Physics and the laws of mathematics are inherent aspects of the intelligence or consciousness of the Designer.

One can call the Designer God if they like. The word “God” makes it easy to discuss the possible [sic] creator of the Reality about us. (It’s much better, that God word, than Anselm’s ontological definition of God: "that than which nothing greater can be thought.")

But since Susskind (and his colleagues) repudiate a God as the progenitor of life and the Universe, we’ll accept their reticence, since we believe that God, for all practical purposes, is impersonal or ineffable (as we note elsewhere here).

One can easily substitute The Laws of Physics or Darwin’s Theory of Evolution for the word “God” or for God Itself.

(The God of the Hebrew Bible, Yahweh, is dead, or comatose, as Nietzsche metaphorically intuited, as are the gods referenced by other myths and religions, so one needn’t spend time debating that alternate reality.)

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The quibble is about how physicists, such as Susskind, just can’t bring themselves to admit to a supreme intelligence responsible for all that we experience as Reality.

Even the Anthropic Principle is anathema to most in the scientific community, although it is a sensible principle on the face of it.

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Nonetheless, we understand (or think we do) the hubris that keeps science from accepting a Supreme Intelligence (or God) as the underlying Principle for everything in creation.

The idea of a God is just too easy. It’s a cop-put for thoughtful persons as it posits a simple meaning for life which itself is too complex to be relegated to a First Cause and jut left there, unexplained as it were.

Science has to know what the mechanisms for Life are; how the mind of God works.

They can skip the Being and just work with the thought processes, which is an okay way to get at the truth of this existence.

Gos doesn’t matter. When everything is considered, it’s the agenda or mental machinations that matter – The Laws of Physics.

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God, the real God (the God above god), can actually die, but the laws instituted by Him or It continue on, or should, unless everyhting comes to an end. (But that’s a whole other matter for discussion.)

So, we enjoy Susskind, and his ilk. The represent brilliant minds – minds not as great as the mind of God, but we can at least get in touch with Leonard Susskind.