Life Is A Game Walkthrough Part 9

What can we discover about the game? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Imagine a large table with a big jigsaw puzzle on it, except the puzzle is broken apart. No two pieces are together. You also don’t have a picture of the box, so there’s no telling at the start what the picture is. However, you are intrigued and sit down and do what most people do, start working on the edge first and the corners, and bit by bit, you piece it together. Slowly it dawns on you as you continue what the picture is and when you put the final piece in eventually, you see how it all fit together.

That is fun.

You also know it’s fun because you keep doing it even though there is no force external to you compelling you. There’s no seeming reward to the puzzle beyond just doing the puzzle. No one is forcing you or even bribing you to do this.

This is akin to the world we are in.

We are thrust in a world that there are some things that we can’t change about the world, such as laws of math, but there are things we can change, such as ourselves, and to an extent, the world around us. Everything we can do you can say is a power that we have. We are here in this world and we are on a quest to discover who we are an why we are here.

That’s also fun.

In looking at the book Life Is A Game, Castronova argues that this way the world is is fun. From a design perspective, this is good game design. Discovery is something we tend to really enjoy. How much of it is in our popular media? We watch a TV series or movie intrigued by the plot wondering what will happen next. When we play games, even after beating a video game, there’s still talk about how exciting it is to discover new things in games. It has been talked about on the web that years after Super Mario World came out, now it is being found you can defeat a Big Boo on a castle by sliding, or how years later in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, you can beat the first boss, an evil plant, by bringing pure forest water.

Discovery is fun.

How do we know this? We do it on our world! What is science but the constant process of discovery? What was philosophy at the start but man thinking about the world and learning about it? How much of religion is seeking to understand the divine and relate to it properly?

There are things that are certain for us, such as the laws of math will hold and the sun will rise in the East tomorrow, but there are many uncertainties. Some of those we don’t like, but some we do. We wake up in the morning and none of us knows exactly what will happen that day. We can have a general idea, but we don’t know. For all I know, I could meet today for the first time a girl I will wind up marrying. I mean, if I do remarry, which I hope, I have to meet her some day. Right? Maybe I already have, but if I haven’t, maybe today is the day.

Maybe today you’ll get a big promotion at your job. On the other hand, maybe you’ll learn you have cancer today. Anything can happen possibly, good or bad. We don’t know. We can live in terror or in curiosity. This game is not simple that we are in. It is full of constant surprises and new challenges thrown at us regularly.

It is also a lot more enjoyable to see life as an adventure, which works well with theism. This life is not an accident. We are here purposefully and for a reason. Our questing does have a purpose. We are automatically in a game much bigger than ourselves.

As we continue on, hopefully, we will learn how to do the adventure well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Evidence Considered Chapter 19

Does Earth’s location show intelligent design? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re returning to the work of Glenton Jelbert with Evidence Considered and today we’re going to be talking about Earth’s location. This is a response to Jay Richards and Guillerno Gonzalez. Now I don’t put much stock in intelligent design arguments and I don’t use scientific arguments, but let’s see what can be found in the response.

The ID argument is that we are in a place that is fine-tuned not just for life, but for observing the universe. They could be right about that. Jelbert’s work is to show either that we are not or that this doesn’t entail any kind of theism. Does he have any other problems though independent of the argument?

To begin with, Jelbert says perhaps there are other beings out there or even hypothetical beings who could have better ways of observing the universe than we do due to having certain problems with their atmosphere. This is a possibility, but just saying it’s possible doesn’t really do much to show that Richards and Gonzalez do have a point that with the lifeforms that we do know about, that we are in a good place that does seem to be fit for discovery.

They also tell us that humans understood the world empirically because God made it easy for us to do so, but Jelbert says that wasn’t shown in any of His books or prophets apparently. I find this statement puzzling. No one in the time of the Bible was doubting that God existed. Everyone knew there were deities of some sort. The questions were who are these deities? What do they do? How do they affect the world? How are humans to interact with them?

To say that the Bible doesn’t tell us how to explore the world is like complaining about the writings of Stephen Hawking because they don’t tell us how to perform open heart surgery on the sick. Before we even get there, Jelbert says that empiricists have fought superstition and religious folly throughout the ages, sometimes at the cost of their lives. It would be nice to know who these martyrs for empiricism were.

It should also be pointed out that the Catholic Church has been heavily influenced by Aquinas and Aquinas was an empiricist. The medieval church was happily doing science for centuries before Galileo and Copernicus ever came along. One could point to Bruno, but Bruno was not executed for doing science, but for a number of heretical views he held otherwise. That doesn’t justify his death, but let’s make sure we don’t make him a martyr for science. He wasn’t.

Jelbert also asks if we are in a place for discovery, why is there no evidence for God? Unfortunately, this is only convincing if you think there is no evidence. For people who think there is plenty of evidence and Jelbert’s arguments don’t cut it, then this won’t work. Furthermore, if the argument that is being made works, that could count as evidence.

We should also point out it’s quite ridiculous to say no evidence anyway. Evidence can exist for a position even if that position is false. Theism is not false, but someone can give reasons for them that count as evidence.  One can use evil as evidence for atheism. I think atheism is false, but that does not mean there is no evidence.

Jelbert also says the reasoning to a greater intelligence is invalid because all intelligence we have witnessed is attached to a physical brain. I find this interesting because at the start, Jelbert pointed to beings he has no evidence exist to show that maybe they could make different discoveries due to a make-up we don’t understand and they’re not like us. Now he is arguing that all intelligence must be such and such a way because of, well, us.

Also, NDEs I think have shown a form of intelligence outside the material body. If this is so, then that means that the brain is not necessary for intelligence. Jelbert has just given us a brand of inductive reasoning that doesn’t work. It’s like the case of finding the first black swans. One could have thought all swans were white, but that got disproven. Jelbert can think all intelligence has to be connected to a physical brain, but it can’t be demonstrated and if he says there could be other beings at the start of a certain nature that is unknown, he should be open here.

Finally, Jelbert says at the end that even if we got a deity, we don’t know if it’s the one of Christianity or perhaps Odin. Sure. But you know what we do have? We have a deity. If we have that, then atheism is false. Atheists always like to argue against an argument for the existence of God saying it doesn’t show which God. Why should anyone think this is convincing? It’s like saying that the victim wasn’t murdered isn’t convincing until you can show who did it or how or why or anything like that. If we know someone was murdered, then that is enough.

We’ll see what happens when we return.

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