Wednesday, 8 February 2017
The Agnostic Argument - 11 (Debating The Existence Of God Is A Waste Of Time)
One of my friends pointed me to this philosophical blog post on the existence of God. It deals with Pascal's Wager, which basically says that it's safer to believe in God than not, because the negative consequences of making the wrong choice are much higher if one chooses not to believe. The blog post goes into a great deal of detail in debating this from a number of philosophical perspectives.
Now all this is interesting, but in my personal philosophy, I have moved well past the simplistic question of "Does God exist?"
It increasingly seems to me that a premise that has been stated with insufficient subtlety has been taken literally and battled over for centuries, expectedly to no definitive conclusion.
I think what we should be discussing and researching are the nature of existence and consciousness, without prematurely crystallising any ideas into entities like "god", "soul", "afterlife", "heaven", "hell", "karma", etc. We only go down rabbit holes after that, and end up debating shoddily constructed concepts as if they were serious postulates.
This is the realm of philosophy, not religion. The difference is that philosophy knows it is dealing with abstract ideas that can be freely challenged, as long as the critiques are also based on reason. Religion is too touchy and intolerant of criticism. That kind of dogma is absolutely unacceptable to me.
At some point, if there is evidence that supports a certain philosophy, then it becomes science. That's what happened to the notion of creation (the Big Bang and Evolution). It's virtually done and dusted now, and religions that continue to peddle an alternative narrative just look pathetic.
I think our world's few remaining metaphysical mysteries are neuroscientific in nature. Rupert Sheldrake has written a couple of books dealing with mysteries of consciousness, "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home" and "The Sense Of Being Stared At". I think we need to study these seriously without dismissing them as hokum. In fact, that is the opposite risk, i.e., that people who claim to be scientists dismiss some mysteries as "woo" without adequate investigation. Such an attitude is equally dogmatic and not scientific at all. There's even a term for it - 'science dogma' or 'scientific dogma'.
One of my hypotheses (only a hypothesis, mind you) is that the 'consciousnesses' of living beings are "wirelessly networked" (for want of a better term) into a kind of superconsciousness, allowing for certain kinds of unconscious communication and influence among them. This network includes not just human beings but also animals with a sufficiently evolved nervous system, such as dogs, apes and horses.
A networked superconsciousness - if the nervous system is electrical in nature, is it too much of a stretch to imagine a wireless communication capability?
If the existence of this networked superconsciousness is proven, it would reduce many seeming mysteries to easily explained neuroscientific phenomena.
'God' then becomes our collective networked minds. Just as Google does not itself know anything of its own, yet is able to tap into the millions of nodes on the web to find the answers we want, our 'prayers' too could be queries that we send out into the networked superconsciousness of all living beings, and well-formed queries then return either answers or tangible results, in the form of influencing other living beings. That would make 'God' not quite omniscient or omnipotent, but still capable of delivering answers and results that a single individual cannot.
Also, 'God' then is not an entity that existed before us and created us, but something that evolved in lockstep with us. The 'God' that existed millions of years ago among the apes, or among the Neanderthals, was probably far less sophisticated than ours, for good reason.
This is where my philosophising has been for the past few years. Debating simplistic questions like "Does God exist?" are a waste of time in my opinion.