Michael Battalio

Friday, March 14, 2014

This I Believe (part 26):

        After about four years it is time for a revisit of my “This I Believe” series. As before, I’m still having trouble defining exactly what it is I prescribe to as a worldview. I hope to figure some of what I believe here.

        Previously I’ve talked about my thoughts on the pope and on the Catholic Church in general. Now I consider the dichotomy of infinities.

        The fight between intelligent design and what I’ll call for lack of a better term the natural world (evolution, the big bang, actual provable science) comes down to a fight between infinities. Intelligent design imagines complexity from the top down (What a conservative, republican line of thought, evoking “trickle down economics”). God, in his infinite complexity, temporality, spatiality, designed the universe, the solar system and us and so on. The natural world makes complexity from the bottom up. Hydrogen coalesces into stars, planets, galaxies, more complicated elements via fusion and supernovae, which combine to form planets then simple molecule chains, then life increasing in complexity.

        Which is more complicated — an infinite universe (multiverse, m-branes, etc.) or an infinite being that created that universe? Which infinity do you believe? The God of most religions is infinite in scope. He always existed — a temporal infinity — and/or he is infinite in spatiality. The religious seem to have no problem with that infinity. (Who created God? “no one, he has always existed”) So why is there a problem with an infinite universe? You can’t reject one infinity for another. They are equal in difficulty for us mere humans to grasp (i.e. we can’t). So the obvious choice in choosing the infinity is the one with evidence (i.e. the natural world).

       I realize that this is somewhat of a false dichotomy for some people.  A lot of people choose to believe in both infinities, as in an infinite God created the universe that could become infinite in scope.  The part of me that wants God to exist takes this philosophy, but the agnostic in me realizes that it can only be one or the other.  The atheist in me automatically adopts the infinite of the universe.  
2003-2016 Michael Battalio (michael[at]battalio.com)