Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Old blog articles

Within the concept of blogs, there are weaknesses.

— In particular, while it's relatively easy to see what the blogger has just said recently, it's harder to follow him back in time. For example, if the author of a typical blog such Antipodes wre to talk today about a heroic person such as George W Bush, readers throughout the planet might cry out for specimens of the way that blog author spoke of this same hero in the past. How has the adoration of Bush aficionados evolved from one Iraqi event to another, from one catastrophe to the next?

— Another problem. Blog readers don't necessarily realize that there might be interesting discussions going on in the recent past between the blog author and commentators.

I am currently working on a possible solution to the first problem: an adjacent Flash website that would enable visitors to explore easily the archives of a blog author. Naturally, I'll talk more about my project as soon as it materializes.

Concerning the second weakness, there's no better solution than the duplication of all that occurred. My article entitled Fragile existence [display] provoked a reaction from a certain Anne Skye:

If this does not convince you of "His" existence, then nothing will, dear Bro. Next time you have a bug in your blog, try NOT doing the Hail Mary's and see what happens. Just kidding, you can't apply double blind control trials or any sort to the existence of "God", 'cos it's all a matter of a quantum leap of faith. But... I still can't help thinking, when I read your powerfully moving story, how "He" moves in such mysterious ways!

I replied as follows:

Anne Skye: I was relieved when you corrected instantly the suggestion that we humans can verify the effectiveness of Hail Marys by performing two tests upon identical situations, one with Hail Marys, and one without. The stumbling block, of course, is the concept of "identical situations". As Heraclitus said: "You cannot step twice into the same river, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you." And he sums up his vision of constant flux with one of the most profound and lovely declarations ever made by a mortal: "The sun is new every day." Between the initial test, with Hail Marys, and the following one, without Hail Marys, time has passed, and the world is no longer the same place. Even God has grown a little older. To put it roughly, He's no longer the same man He was a little earlier on. Has He grown wiser? Or has He maybe shown the very first symptoms of some kind of divine Alzheimer's? Has He simply changed His mind, for reasons that are known only to Him? I wouldn't be surprised to learn that God no longer repaired computer bugs of any kind, for moral and business reasons, because He realized that His interventions of this nature were unfair competition with respect to human specialists who depend upon fixing computer bugs to buy bread and shoes for their poor children. So, I see no way of testing the Hail Mary solution in a sound scientific style.

Now, your metaphor of a "quantum leap of faith" is another kettle of fish. I hasten to add that I would be disappointed to learn that you were using the expression "quantum leap" merely as a synonym for "big"... which it isn't, since quantum leaps are infinitesimally small, between one shell of orbiting electrons and a neighboring one, either up or down. Within the context of David Deutsch's fascinating conception of parallel universes, founded largely upon a certain way of interpreting quantum physics, it's perfectly conceivable that an individual's decision to have faith in God could be the outcome of a certain quantum value. [Don't get me wrong. I'm talking merely of an individual's having or not having faith in God. I'm certainly not talking of the hypothetical existence of God.]

Finally, you evoke the sentiment that our Cosmos behaves "in mysterious ways". I couldn't agree more with you. For a long time, up until the arrival of quantum theory, the scientific outlook on things was rigorous, logical, austere, Cartesian, cold, calculating, etc. In a nutshell, relatively simple for an agile mind, but as boring as hell. Then quantum theory upset the old Newtonian apple cart. Quantum theory is so extraordinarily bewildering that I wonder constantly whether I've truly understood the first word of it. Be that as it may, overnight, science became a synonym for Lewis Carroll's wonderland, since it encouraged us to explore the weird nature of things as they are seen through the looking-glass provided by intellectual tools of a new kind. Today, the challenge of scientific researchers, scholars and thinkers who wield these new tools consists of attaining what they often refer to as the theory of everything, referred to by the acronym TOE. I consider your "quantum leap of faith" as nothing more than the use of slightly different letters: GOD. But there's a significant detail: Those who talk today about TOE know what they're talking about...

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