This post will introduce the foundation of metaphysics necessary for future posts; it will address a few common conceptions of reality; and it will prove, perhaps most importantly, the underlying mechanisms of reality and its corresponding logical consistency.
The following post will rely on the following definitions:
- Reality: the material environment around us.
- Logical: complying with the principle of identity, a=a.
- Rational: conforming with material reality, or conforming with logic.
Logic and Reality
One of two things must be true:
- Reality is logically consistent
- Reality is logically inconsistent.
In the case that the universe is a combination of the two, reality cannot be at any time, considered logically consistent. This is because logical consistency requires whole and permanent consistency, or else it falls to the second case by definition.
In the case of the second, we must consider the ramifications if such a concept was valid. In the words of Lewis Carroll, "Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't." Of course, this could never be the case - it would make interacting with the material world impossible. As soon as we'd learn something of value to sustain our lives it would be immediately valueless. This principle of inconsistency can be overturned by simply acknowledging that even this blog post could not be comprehensible if the material world was inconsistent. But by communication and reliable interaction with the material environment, the idea is immediately false. Thus, the material world universally complies with the logical axiom a=a.
Proposition: the material world universally complies with the logical axiom a=a.
- The material world either does or doesn't comply with a=a; a combination of the two falls to the second by definition.
- Interaction with the material world requires logical consistency.
- We interact with the material world.
- The material world is logically consistent.
The Scientific Method
So the world is logically consistent, what does this mean and how does it affect me? The above necessarily implies that an action taken at time A, will yield the same result at time B; assuming that both actions are performed with identical constraints. In fact, this concept is useful even to discern when a constraint isn’t controlled for, when the outcomes are different. This revelation has spawned many useful laws when considering propositions, namely the laws of conservation: the law of conservation of mass, of energy, of inertia.
The proofs for these laws are rather straightforward, and are a direct application of a=a. Let’s take the law of conservation of mass for example. When considering an instantaneous change in time between t1 and t2, the total universal mass must be the same between the two; lest at some finite level, the mass would both be and not be simultaneously - thus breaking a=a. Therefore, at time A and time B, the total mass in the universe must be the same. The same must be true of energy. Similar proofs exist for the law of conservation of inertia, but escape the scope of this brief article.
The Creation of the Universe
The idea that the universe has been created has been the topic of discussion for millennium; and still is today. I will address two prominent explanations: “spontaneous creation,” or the idea that from nothing came something; and “guided organization,” or the idea that a creator initialized the formation of the universe.
Why does the universe exist? How did it get here? The idea of spontaneous creation entails the idea that a creator used his magnificent and inconceivable power to create the universe. This theory quickly breaks down with the realization that it requires the universe to at one point have no mass, and then for the universe to then have mass. Because of the physical laws discussed above, the mass in the universe must be constant; and thus, no mass can be created. It follows that no spontaneous creation is possible.
Proposition: Spontaneous creation is an invalid concept.
- Mass can neither be created nor destroyed.
- Spontaneous creation requires the creation of mass.
- Spontaneous creation is an invalid concept.
So mass couldn’t have been created, what if the creator initialized the universe? Couldn’t the creator have set the events in motion such that the universe could proliferate as it has? It is important now, and to posts in the future, to introduce the idea of Occam's Razor. When two competing ideas are considered, the simplest is likely the best. Although it's no rigorous proof, it'll give us an indication of what's valid.
Let's describe the two competing ideas:
- An all-powerful being with the power to manipulate space-time weaves the fabric of the universe in such a way that the universe expands and grows until I'm sitting in my dorm writing this piece.
- The total matter in the universe expands from a point of infinite density, in such a way that I can sit here in my dorm and write this piece.
It is exceptionally easy to speculate how we've gotten here, but between the two theories above, one is both simple and logically consistent. Based on what we know to be true, it would appear that the second is much simpler, and consistent with present evidence. Here are a couple of facts that we know which may inform our decision: a) matter is conserved, and b) the universe is expanding from a central point.
The first does nothing to address b, and doesn't fully comply with a. There is no reason that the universe would necessarily expand given the weaving process described earlier. Second, If the universe consists of the creator, then the creator must have been created by the process of creation. In other words, if the universe must have been created, then it follows that the creator must have also been created. This is the infamous fallacy of infinite regression; if the creator must have been created, then who created the creator? And the creator of the creator of the creator? And so, the answer to this often becomes something of the following: "The creator lives outside of our dimension; in some kind of fourth dimension – outside of time." In the case of Occam's razor, it is clear that the second is the best, and most consistent with our empirical sense-data.
Fourth Dimensional Escape
Proponents often claim that the creator in this existence is unknowable; our feeble minds can't comprehend the fourth dimension, and thus discussion and examination of the idea is impossible. This is synonymous with saying that the fourth-dimension is logically inconsistent. Because if the fourth dimension is logically consistent, then we can think about it; and if it isn't, then there are problems.
Like in the above proofs, to consider existence in a world of logical inconsistency, is necessarily false. Either the fourth dimension (or fifth, or sixth, or seventh, etc) complies with a=a, or it doesn't. Arguably, existence is impossible without a=a; because as soon as something is (us/the creator), it instantly is not. And therefore, if the fourth-dimension does not comply with a=a, then the fourth-dimensional creator cannot exist; and my job is done. But in the case that the creator exists and the fourth dimension is logically consistent, then the properties of the creator must comply with logic.
The creator has gone by many names, and has possessed many different properties. Implicit in his existence is his logical consistency; and thus any property that is logically inconsistent indicates his nonexistence. The two most common properties associated with the creator are the following:
- Omniscient (all knowing)
- Omnipotent (all powerful)
The top two are pretty apparent in the creator's description. A creator would probably need to be all powerful, and all knowing to create such a complex universe from scratch. In the words of Stefan Molyneux in his book "Against the Gods?" he notes the following problem:
"[Omniscience] cannot coexist with omnipotence, since if a god knows what will happen tomorrow, said god will be unable to change it without invalidating its [prior] knowledge. If this god retains the power to change what will happen tomorrow, then it cannot know with exact certainty what will happen tomorrow."
And thus, the creator cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent simultaneously. But there are other problems too; some analyzing matter and consciousness and others analyzing biological certainties; I could cite these here, but it's easier, and for accreditation, that you read them first-hand in his book.
Deities and Future Posts
Although there are many avenues of disproof, the ones above are sufficient for a concise post on metaphysics. If such a creator exists (fourth dimensional, logically consistent), then perhaps at most he is a hyper-intelligent programmer who designed our universe as a simulation. A future post entitled "Truth, and the Methodology of Validation," which will follow a post entitled "Free-Will and Conceptualized Ideals," will explore why such an existence is not rational. Therefore, it is reasonable that future posts will assume the nonexistence of a deity.
And obviously, if an inaccuracy is present, then pointing out in the comments below is a preferable idea ;-)
Check out the links below for the posts I've made in the past: