The Raven Paradox.

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In all your life, have you ever seen a raven that wasn’t black? That probably leads you to conclude that all ravens are black. Of course, it’s impossible to see every raven that ever existed and ever will exist, but from the evidence you have on hand, it’s pretty fair for you to make the statement, “All ravens are black.” Put into a logical form, the argument looks like this:

Proposition 1: All ravens are black.

Evidence 1: This raven is black.

According to logic, the statement “All ravens are black” has the equivalent form “All non-black things are non-ravens” — or in regular English, “Everything that isn’t black isn’t a raven.” The same way that every black raven you see supports your first conclusion, every non-black non-raven you see (A green apple! A school bus! A Smurf!) supports it, too. This builds upon our argument like this:

Proposition 1: All ravens are black.

Proposition 2: All non-black things are non-ravens.

Evidence 1: This raven is black.

Evidence 2: This green apple is not a raven.

Though the raven example is almost absurdly simple, the paradox itself highlights a potential issue with the scientific method. Does every piece of evidence — even a piece of evidence unrelated to your topic (e.g. ravens) — really support your hypothesis, just because it doesn’t contradict it? Is the scientific method taking us into fallacious territory?

Ultimately, though, many argue the raven paradox isn’t so paradoxical. Though it doesn’t jibe with our intuition that a green apple would have a bearing on raven’s hue, that’s a problem with our intuition. A green apple does provide an almost imperceptible grain of support for the “All ravens are black” hypothesis. A black raven just provides a lot more. (1)

We all try to find evidence to support our views.

Trying to prove God exists.

But He does not need evidence.

He simply is.

And the evidence is all around us.

Even when they are not.

Or better: especially when there are not.

Oh…

Look at that raven…

Yes, there is a God.

Look at all the evidence against Him…

Quantum mechanics. Time. Causality. Irrational. Hiding the meaning of life…

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Watch a movie backwards and you’ll likely get confused – but a quantum computer wouldn’t. That’s the conclusion of researcher Mile Gu at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University and collaborators.

In research published in Physical Review X, the international team showed that a quantum computer is less in thrall to the arrow of time than a classical computer. In some cases, it is as if the quantum computer doesn’t need to distinguish between cause and effect at all.

The new work is inspired by an influential discovery (known as causal asymmetry) made almost ten years ago by complexity scientists James Crutchfield and John Mahoney at the University of California, Davis. They showed that many statistical data sequences will have a built-in arrow of time. An observer who sees the data played from beginning to end, like the frames of a movie, can model what comes next using only a modest amount of memory about what occurred before. An observer who tries to model the system in reverse has a much harder task – potentially needing to track orders of magnitude more information.

“If causal asymmetry is only found in classical models, it suggests our perception of cause and effect, and thus time, can emerge from enforcing a classical explanation on events in a fundamentally quantum world”, researchers say. (1)

Look at the cosmos through the lenses of the irrational.

And you will discover a thrilling new perspective.

You are seeing…

Because you used to be blind…

You are alive…

Because you were dead…

You do exist.

Only because you never did…

You are everything.

Just because there is nothing…

Quantum space. Ghostly differences. A calm lake.

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The foundation stone of quantum mechanics doesn’t just describe the behavior of infinitesimal subatomic particles – it also governs the movement of the largest and most massive objects in the Universe, says a prominent astrophysicist.

Planetary scientist Konstantin Batygin was exploring the concept of astrophysical disks – sometimes called accretion disks; massive self-gravitating swirls of matter which form seemingly everywhere. Planets orbit stars forming solar systems, which in turn orbit super-massive black holes at galactic centers…

While these disks may start off with a circular shape, over epic stretches of time they can ripple and warp, exhibiting vast distortions that still can’t be definitively explained by astrophysicists. While investigating an area of quantum physics called perturbation theory to see how it could mathematically represent the forces in astrophysical disk evolution, explaining how these vast objects warp over aeons, Batygin discovered something remarkable.

In the theory, an astrophysical disk can be modeled as a series of concentric wires that slowly exchange orbital angular momentum among one another. “When we do this with all the material in a disk, we can get more and more meticulous, representing the disk as an ever-larger number of ever-thinner wires”, Batygin explains. “Eventually, you can approximate the number of wires in the disk to be infinite, which allows you to mathematically blur them together into a continuum. When I did this, astonishingly, the Schrödinger equation emerged in my calculations”. (1)

Who says atoms are something different than “macroscopic” elements of space? Who defines what is microscopic or macroscopic after all, except our subjective sense of relative size? All our science is based on seeing differences where there are none. And then trying to merge or reconcile these differences through an ‘elegant’ theory which can bring everything together…

A universe inside an atom.

A particle as big as a universe.

Consciousness inside nothingness.

Nothingness inside the mind of a wise man…

The less stones you through into the lake, the calmer its surface will be. And then and only then, will you be able to see the cause of everything in it. Reflected on the quiet surface, you see yourself. On a calm night, you smile.

And somewhere on the pristine surface a galaxy is born…

Attack when they are stronger…

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Does the time of day matter when our body is infected by a parasite? According to new research from McGill University, it matters a great deal.

Our body works differently at different times of the day following our internal clocks. Researchers from McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute have now established that parasitic infections are also controlled by these clocks. The severity of a microbe’s infection will thus vary whether it is encountered during the day or at night, a discovery that scientists believe could pave the way to new treatment and prevention strategies for parasitic infections.

Scientists who studied Leishmania (a parasite that causes leishmaniasis and that is transmitted at night by the female sandfly) concluded that its infection was more effective in the early night, a time when the immune response to the parasite was the strongest. Simply put, the parasite thrives when it elicits a strong immune response, attracting inflammatory cells it uses to multiply (macrophages and neutrophils) to the infection site. (1)

What elegant mechanisms does nature has to restore balance.

People have always fought to build knowledge.

And yet…

Nature tries to warn us…

The strongest prejudice propagates better through a solid knowledgeable mind.

The darkest dogmas find fruitful ground in the most educated societies.

The more certain you are for yourself, the less you expect that you are wrong.

Knowledge does not exist but in our arrogant minds. And no matter how much we built it, Nature is there to destroy it. To remind us that the only solid knowledge is non-knowledge. That the cosmos is illogical. Full of things only the children see.

Trust the child inside you. Once you knew everything. Once you were in Paradise. And then you tried to learn. And then you tried to understand. And the paradise was lost. And the world became a darker place…

Let go.

And you will have everything within your grasp again.

Credo!

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Tertullian is widely regarded as having originated the expression “Credo quia absurdum” (est) (I believe because it is absurd) and the phrase often appears in contemporary polemics about the rationality of religious belief. Patristic scholars have long pointed out that Tertullian never said this or meant anything like it. (although as I have explained many times in Harmonia Philosophica, there is nothing wrong with the irrational – it is the logical which is unfounded and full of fallacies) However, little scholarly attention has been paid to the circumstances in which this specific phrase came into existence and why, in spite of its dubious provenance, it continues to be regarded by many as a legitimate characterization of religious faith. A new paper shows how Tertullian’s original expression – “It is certain, because impossible” – was first misrepresented and modified in the early modern period. In seventeenth century England a “credo” version – I believe because it is impossible – became the common form of Tertullian’s maxim. A further modification, building on the first, was effected by the Enlightenment philosophe Voltaire, who added the “absurdity condition” and gave us the modern version of the paradox: I believe because it is absurd. These modifications played a significant role in Enlightenment representations of religion as irrational, and signal the beginning of a new understanding of faith as an epistemic vice. This doubtful maxim continues to play a role in debates about the cognitive status of religious faith, and its failure to succumb to the historical evidence against it is owing to its ongoing rhetorical usefulness in such debates. (1)

People once understood the irrationality of existence.

Then they invented Logic.

And they tried to formulate logical ways to believe in God. Let’s not forget that the founder of Logic believed in the Unmoved Mover. And the second greatest logician of all times (Gödel) formulated a renowned proof for the existence of God.

Then came “Enlightenment”.

And tried to convince people that logic has nothing to do with irrational things like religion. That rational people cannot believe in absurd things like the soul, the spirit, Jesus or God.

They were both wrong.

Logic itself is absurd and irrational. Based on axioms selected arbitrarily, without any solid foundation whatsoever. The only thing we know for sure about any set of axiomatic theories – logic included – is that it cannot prove everything.

Life IS absurd and irrational. We exist without reason, we die without reason, we love and hate with no reason, we just Are. Any attempt to rationalize life will hit the wall of reality and collapse as soon as it started.

So believe what you want.

No you are not irrational.

Because there is no such thing as “rational”…