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Could God simply be an intelligent system emergent from complexity?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by kwerk, May 12, 2019.

  1. kwerk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: May 23, 2009

    Posts: 5,748

    I'm fascinated with the concept of emergence. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

    This little vid can explain it, makes perfect sense to me anyway:



    I'm not sure how to describe emergence in a nutshell but it is the creation of a um... thing/system/entity/organism/intelligence out of pure mathematical complexity. So imagine the cells in your body as individual animals. The information signalling between each cell creates a meta layer which can be viewed as one organism... a human. But what is a "human"? Our body is just a group of cells. So it must be our mind, which emerges from the pure information complexity created by the sum of our cells. Our mind exists on a higher complexity level than what we perceive as the physical environment. Same thing with neural networks and AIs. And biological cells emerge from chemistry, and chemistry emerges from classical physics, classical physics emerges from quantum physics, and so on. Each entity is built upon lower levels of complexity and new ones emerge as you keep zooming out.

    Our mind doesn't exist anywhere in the classic sense. It exists IN mathematical complexity. The cells in our body have no perception of the mind they are part of. But it's fractal so each human could be considered a cell in the human herd.

    What if "God" emerges as an intelligence from the informational signalling coming out of the complexity of things going on in the universe? Entropy is basically his metabolism. Or maybe he emerges from the sum of human minds, human brains being the most complex thing we know about in the universe? So he needs us in order to exist. He would be driven to desire us to do things to advance ourselves. Our mind can control our cells on a simple level, we can have a thought to close our hand to make a fist and the cells comply (hopefully). Quite literally mind over matter! A higher consciousness could be doing the same thing to us!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  2. dowie

    Caporegime

    Joined: Jan 29, 2008

    Posts: 38,895

    Emerges? I guess if we create general AI then some people might decide to call that "god", there is a tendency for humans to assign magical explanations to things that are either unknown on not understood well.

    So yes "god" could be an intelligent system just as god could be used in reference to the sun or the weather etc.. as he/she/it has been in the past.

    You're talking about something humans make up and then assign to stuff.... so it could be pretty much anything.
     
  3. bjorkiii

    Gangster

    Joined: Apr 13, 2008

    Posts: 299

    Location: Funtown

    Despite what David icke claimed I can't vision God in a shellsuit no matter how hard I try.
     
  4. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 62,075

    It is a bit confused but I think his thinking is going the other way - we (our minds) are as to "god" as our cells are to our mind. There are various takes on the theory such as Boltzmann's brains (well the variant of it where all consciousness is infact one brain existing in a different universe to the one the individual consciousnesses (us) perceive).

    A slightly interesting aside to that is that in models so far where they've assumed nebulous awareness existed in the lower level mechanics of our universe - which is really required for any complex construction of matter in our universe to attain sentience - things get very very strange - nothing like the universe we observe.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  5. Nasher

    Capodecina

    Joined: Nov 22, 2006

    Posts: 12,131

    Whoever he is, he's an ********.
     
  6. SPG

    Soldato

    Joined: Jul 28, 2010

    Posts: 5,268

    If GODS truly existed they would have crushed us mere ungods in the blink of a eye.

    So quite simply NO
     
  7. Rroff

    Man of Honour

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    I'm guessing you didn't bother to read what Kwerk is talking about as in this particular instance the "god(s)" can only exist because of the ungods and if they crushed the ungods they'd cease to exist.
     
  8. SPG

    Soldato

    Joined: Jul 28, 2010

    Posts: 5,268

    Which puts it firmly in the horse **** pile of nonsense, same as every book written about GOD, GODS.

    GOD is a construct created by MAN to justify the doing of evil things.
     
  9. Pudney

    Soldato

    Joined: Sep 6, 2005

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    Location: Essex

    I would say the better analogy (maybe) is that the "god", which is the higher level intelligence, is unaware of the lower level sentience/awareness of the corresponding parts. E.g, and for the sake of argument, we as humans governed by our conscious brains are unaware of the sentience/awareness of the individual cells in our body.

    Is there a reason for your random all capital words?
     
  10. Rroff

    Man of Honour

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    Posts: 62,075

    What does?

    That is another potential aspect of it - but not sure we'd have any way of divining that even if there was any truth to it (and I'm far from convince there is).
     
  11. Pudney

    Soldato

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    It's a pretty philosophical question to begin with so it won't get very far anyway :D
     
  12. Safetytrousers

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Mar 31, 2016

    Posts: 1,208

    Location: Moonbase Alpha

    Our own brains are directly physically interconnected.
    Nothing has ever been discovered that connects brains remotely into some kind of brain pool.
     
  13. Donnie Fisher

    Gangster

    Joined: Jun 22, 2018

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    Location: Vegas baby !

    Ah, well, I personally think that given that we have discovered that our brains generate waves (of a sort) when active ( such as thinking, sleeping etc ), then to me its not out with the possibility that our brains could in some way also be receptive to such signals... perhaps even the waves generated by others. I don't for a minute think that there is single pool signal we all are receptive to ... but if brains were receptive ... it could explain the phrase of getting a sense of what someone is thinking.
     
  14. GordyR

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 1, 2003

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    The concept of emergence is fine... Sentience being the most obvious example that we can relate to. But you've kind of hit on a pet peeve of mine.

    There is no disrespect intended and this is an interesting topic, but please allow me to explain what I mean:

    Trying to link this in any way to a god or supernatural being, when we have no observed instances of any supernatural event ever occurring, is irrational.

    If we are not talking about a supernatural being, then why use the term God?

    If all you're doing is hypothesising that we could be constituent parts in yet another larger system that emerges as a result of our existence, then that's fine.

    But why would you label that system God? Why not name it "Flibbit" or "The Unilife Emergencio McSystemython" or whatever else?

    Smacking a label like God on it, for absolutely no reason, is indicative of the discussion already having a bias.

    Usually when people do this, they are starting with the assumption that some sort of God exists, and are massaging evidence to fit that assumption, even when they're not doing so consciously.

    - When you say the word God to a Theist, they aren't thinking of a scientifically abstract label for an emergent system, they're thinking of the God in their holy text who created the universe.

    - When you say the word God to a Deist, they too aren't thinking of a scientifically abstract label for an emergent system, they're thinking of a maximally powerful being who created everything.

    Slapping the term God on to things that don't really map to what people mean when they usually use the word, isn't at all helpful.

    I could call my coffee mug god, and then we could both agree that it exists. But that would not be evidence that a God exists.
     
  15. efish

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 11, 2014

    Posts: 1,066

    Yeah, but, no, but, imagine that inside that coffee cup is another coffee cup and inside that one is another and so on to infinity.

    That the cosmos is 'coffee cups all the way down.'

    Add in the idea that the mind interacts with the world via the sense and at this point we have to note and agree that Daniel Dennet certainly exists and has plenty to say here.

    This can be referred to as the "Cartesian Theater"

    or

    the homuculus problem (link)

    Unlike a coffee cup (unless it has a beard or some other way of referring to it as "he") the homuculus lends itself well to types of anthropomorphic thought and speculation.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  16. Rroff

    Man of Honour

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    Hence why I tend to put "god(s)" or similar in this context rather than God.
     
  17. GordyR

    Mobster

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    In fairness, my pet peeve and minor (maybe pedantic?) objection wasn't really to do you your lowercase "god" usage. You were responding in the context of a discussion that had already been framed in at the very least, a deistic fashion.

    It was more in reference to this:

    And even more so, this:

    That's four instances where this emergent system has already been referred to as a "he" and has already had agency ascribed to "it", before we even have any evidence whatsoever to suggest that "it" (the emergent system) exists.

    It suggests that we are starting with the conclusion that some sort of supreme being exists, and are looking for ways to massage it into reality, even if it means warping the labels and language to suit.

    I doubt kwerk meant it that way, and i'm probably being a bit of a berk for taking umbrage with it, but it sets my "pet-peeveometer" into overdrive. :p
     
  18. Rroff

    Man of Honour

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    Was agreeing with your point - hence the use of quotes and lowercase as we have nothing to determine the nature of any such entity even if it existed.

    It is an important distinction to make as even if we did prove some such entity existed it doesn't mean it validates God or any religion.
     
  19. FoxEye

    Capodecina

    Joined: Feb 17, 2006

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    Location: Cornwall

    You mean like how every time I see a naughty child mis-behaving I immediately strangle the life out of them? Or how every time I see a goldfish I immediately batter it to death with my beer hands?

    Yeah I must admit it's hard to be a being with power over life and death and yet having, for no apparent reason, absolutely no self-control.
     
  20. SPG

    Soldato

    Joined: Jul 28, 2010

    Posts: 5,268

    So to a Ant we are gods.... the hornet nest in the loft.

    Its quite clear we are not gods... we did not snap our fingers and the ant suddenly popped into existance.

    GODS do not exist, you can sugar coat it myth, so called clever science text books the lot.

    Quite simply humanity is alone in the universe, as of yet we have deteted nothing. Yet we are still set on destroying ourselves and our planet through greed and so called GODS.