Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Banishment of the Watch-Maker

"You can't talk about karma without God, for every law needs a law-maker!" Or so I was told by someone who had read my earlier article discussing universal and Buddhist concepts of karma. Do we really need to have an intelligent designer for each and every minuscule aspect of existence, or does the world turn every bit as well without a cosmic architect?


Despite my sincerest efforts, it just didn't add up in the end.

Foundational Fallacy


It is quite meaningless for someone to just say that every law or principle requires a law-maker. A hypothesis employing deductive analogy is far from a conclusive standard of evidence. Analogy meaning the hypothesis that the principles of our human world would be identical to those of any second dimension, of which we may deduce that just as every law of human world is made by a human maker, so every principle in existence requires an intelligent designer.

Does this make sense? Is it logical? Of that, we have little evidence. Our experiences in the human world may be manifold, but the human world is not an archetype from which to derive and reconstruct any and all higher dimensions of existence. After all, in the human world all things come to an end, and grief is inherent in existence, but the supposed god and his domain are invariably in breach of these fundamental principles.

It is really rather naive to assume that our form of existence would be the only extant form of conscious life, thence creating the myth of how exceptionally rare a coincidence it is that we should exist as we do. This ill-assumed exceptionality again gives rise to theories of intelligent design, and culminate in concluding that the great intelligent designer must be akin in principle to those now considering themselves the created. Ladies and gentlemen, the anthropomorphic creator god is now seated on his throne.


Had god had a sense of humor, two plus two would equal five.

Self-evident Principles


When a man opens his palm holding an apple, the apple falls. Do you need a law-maker for that? The intrinsic properties of the variables bring about a certain conjoint effect by their own natures. Gravity exists in a situation where objects with mass attract each other. Where these conditions don't exist, the said phenomenom does not occur. We happen to be in a place where objects with mass attract each other, hence the apple invariably falls to the ground. Should we shift our location to outer space, for example, the apple would no longer fall owing to different coefficients.

You don't need a law-maker to decide whether 2+2=4 or not. The intrinsic values of two identical variables add up to a combined result of twice their value, automatically and without need for divine design or intervention. Everything is the way it is in the human world because the variables happen to be right for a particular variety of existence. In other conditions, the variables would either create a foundation for a different variety of existence, subject to the effects of the interacting variables, or none at all if their current synergy would be too weak to effect such, in which case they would remain latent pending a change in surrounding effectors.

Moreover, causes and effects require no will of their own to interact. Any given effect is the only possible outcome of the exact interacting causes in the exact environment of variables. Theoretically, knowledge of each intricate aspect contributing to a situation would give a passive observer, who knows the potentials of each aspect, the ability to foresee any given event or series of events with perfect accuracy. Advanced capacity in recognizing variables and patterns is what the ancients called omniscience, while omnipotence was the derived capability for intricate manipulation of variables to effect the desired outcome.

Why would you possibly need a watch-maker, a compassionate watcher, a passionate interventionist or a dutiful maintenance man for any of the above to function as it already does?


The beginningless dance of infinite co-efficent factors

Beginningless Redundance of Creator


The concept of an original law-maker-cum-creator is every bit as flawed in the light of Vedanta as it is before plain logic. The Brahma-sutra states that existence is anadi or beginningless. Beginningless by its very definition indicates that there has never been a dawn of existence where principles of interaction would have first been established, rendering the necessity for a god or a law-maker entirely redundant. If the wheel of existence has been turning without a beginning, the concept of an original creator becomes a paradox by its very definition.

The principle of causality, then, is a beginningless field of coefficient exchange requiring no designer or supreme intelligent coordinator for its functioning. Everything is in a constant state of flux, each factor in motion and shaping the other, two causes giving birth to a new effect that naturally follows. The momentum of each factor escalates its contacted surroundings, giving rise to infinite new causal chains, even as the sum total of energy remains constant. I call it the dance of the universe, as also the great weaving of cosmic fields. If there must be a god, let him be the symmetric caleidoscope of the universe.

Continued: The God Who Created the God Who Created the God »

27 comments:

Vegman said...

I don't understand why Buddhists perform so many rituals, rites and practices.
Since there is no God and no heaven and no absolute authority, they could just shoot themselves in the head and attain nirvana instantly.
There is no soul according to the Buddhists.

So, if they just take a 357 Magnum and shoot themselves in the head they can attain nirvana instantly.

Obviously, they are less intelligent.

One good bullet could get them to Paradise instantly without all those hardships.

Mr. Ananda said...

You're obviously not even trying to discuss the issue. Really, if it was THAT simple, Prabhupada would be the undeclared emperor of the world.

Do you even know what nirvana is, and how it's attained? I bet you don't. In fact, I bet you don't have the foggiest idea. The reductionist versions of world religions one hears in ISKCON sure do make Hare Krishna philosophy look compelling.

Rituals, devotions and the such (karma and bhakti) are later developments, and are there primarily to cater to the needs of those who need such support, lay followers in particular. Monks (should) pursue samadhi and prajna.

Vegman said...

So, basically you are saying that there is no intelligent design behind the laws of nature and that karma is just a freak occurrence occasioned by some accidental laws of nature that arose from a random combination of elements that accidentally created the universe and the accidental laws of nature that accidentally evolved from the random and accidental creation of the universe from out of nothing?

Ok, I think I understand.

Karma is an accidental reaction caused by an accidental and random combination of physical laws that govern the whole universe and that all this evolved out of the great void. For some inexplicable reason the universe accidentally evolved out of nothing.

Makes sense.

Mr. Ananda said...

1. "Accident", "random", "freak occurrence": there is nothing accidental, random or freak in 2+2=4, and you don't need a god to tell you that. Each element has its own intrinsic governing properties, it contains its own knowledge and nature. The combined natures define the shape of the outcome and the level of entropy involved.

2. What part of "beginningless" did you not understand? There has been no original evolution from either void or creator god. Moreover, this is what your own Vedanta says. Read a good summary of the problems that arise when you start the hunt for an "original cause".

3. Do understand that elements are not in absolute chaos. Each have intrinsic qualities that attract, repel or are neutral the others, and the harmonization of effecting factors gives rise to logos, or "creation".

4. No, creation-level logos does not permeate the entire universe as far as conscious life is concerned, but rest assured the place is big enough for all sorts of combinations to find their venue of expression.

Vegman said...

doesn't the concept of karma insinuate that there is something or someone somewhere keeping track and keeping a record of our actions and deeds?
If there is no universal mind or universal being that keeps track of acts and deeds then how can their be karma?
does matter keep track of our deeds and inflict a reaction upon us.

Mindless matter is dishing out karma?

There is no supreme being keeping track.
Dirt, water, fire and air etc. are keeping records of our deeds and inflicting karmic reactions upon us.

Am I understanding this correctly?

Mr God said...

So tell me young padawan, where do these "intrinsic qualities" of the different objects come from?

Mr. Ananda said...

So tell me young padawan, where do these "intrinsic qualities" of the different objects come from?

If we are to accept the concept of beginninglessness, there is no coming to begin with, rendering the question as irrelevant as the need for a creator.

Mr. Ananda said...

Vegman: Doesn't the concept of karma insinuate that there is something or someone somewhere keeping track and keeping a record of our actions and deeds?

It insinuates only as much as you project into it.


If there is no universal mind or universal being that keeps track of acts and deeds then how can there be karma?

If there's a glass on your table, and your hand sweeps on a parallel trajectory, the glass will be knocked down, given your hand's mass is sufficient. You don't need anyone to keep track of that.

The liquid spills on the ground and is absorbed into your wooden floor, leaving an ugly stain. In a few years, you make less money selling the house owing to water damage. You don't need anyone to keep track of that.

You throw a ball in the air. It falls back to the ground. Do you need someone to keep track of its movement to ensure it falls down? No, you don't. And so it is with more nuanced and far-reaching causal relations.


Does matter keep track of our deeds and inflict a reaction upon us?

If you bend the branch of a tree, it'll snap back when released. Did anyone need to keep track of the reaction that was "inflicted"?


Mindless matter is dishing out karma?

No-one needs to be dishing out anything. There is no need for operative intervention to begin with, hence the quest for a substitute administrator is ill-placed.

Vegman said...

so, the hand knocks the beer off the table and that is karma?

So, if someone kills another person and the cops don't catch him then there is no reaction to fear?

Why do you call that karma?
A hand knocking a beer off the table is not karma.
It's just mass moving mass.
That has nothing to do with any concept of karma, not even the Buddhists.

The Buddhists have a strict moral code.
If their were no administrative authority to inflict karma upon people then why the Hell do morals matter?

Anonymous said...

"You don't need a law-maker to decide whether 2+2=4 or not. The intrinsic values of two identical variables add up to a combined result of twice their value, automatically and without need for divine design or intervention."

On a material basis, what you're claiming is trivial; if there exists two objects, together with other 2 objects, then, of course, there exists 4 objects whether there exists anyone in the world or not. But mathematically it is not so trivial. You need a sensory system and the ability to discriminate between objects and the ability to form concepts of numbers; and that needs a design, just as a computer needs design to function properly. It's not up to "intrinsic" values of variables, as you suggested; in fact, I don't even understand what coould be meant with "intrinsic values" in this context...

shiva said...

Arguing with an atheist/buddhist about the necessity of God in order thet karma can exist as something that keeps track of you and gives you what you deserve/need, is like arguing with an evolutionist about the necessity of a designer in order that complex biological life can exist.

Here is the problem:

When you reject the possibility that a God exists, or that a God with the ability and interest to govern over our world exists, then no argument can convince you that your arguments for godless karma and evolution are illogical and impossible. No matter what logic and rational reasoning is presented to you which proves the untenability of your beliefs, due to your rejection of the possibility of a God, you have no choice but to accept irrational and illogical theories to back up your belief system.

Evolutionists simply cannot accept that matter doesn't have the ability to self-organize into the self-replicating computerized uber-complex machines/factories of life that we see all around us (in perfect color coordination and artistic grandeur). The reason they accept such an impossibly mad idea as evolution, is because once you reject God, or a God who has the interest and ability to create this world and all life forms, all that is left is evolution of some type. They have to accept madness by default.

The same goes for atheists/buddhists who reject god but believe in karma. They reject the existence of a cosmic consciousness, which logically means that therefore there is no power or force which can mete out karma. Therefore they invent mad theories about action-reaction as if the necessity of a God isn't required for a soul to transfer from one life life form to the next situation based upon mental formations during the present life. They reject the obvious need of an agency which can perceive mind and consciousness and which can then transfer that mind and consciousness into an appropriate karmic situation because they have no choice if they reject the possibility of God. They have nowhere to go but madness...

Anonymous said...

ha!, you seem to be totally ignorant of the history of mathematics, not knowing how much time some people have spent to find good grounds for the fact that 2+2 = 4. To a layman this "truth" might sound trivial, just as all you have said in your post, but luckily there are people who think matters more deeply, otherwise we would be living in clay huts and eating raw meat...nice pics, however.

Vegman said...

Hey Ananda Babaji,
Don't talk to us like we are blithering idiots.
If you want to talk to an idiot talk to yourself. You are spouting off the most ridiculous, absurd and pathetic nonsense that has ever issued from your keyboard.

Man, it is really crazy what a little nookie will do to a man.

Get your pants back on Ananda and let's talk sanity OK?

Daealis said...

Shiva doesn't seem to be following the current state of "atheist" news. Scientists already have created indefinately self-replicating molecules artificially. The FACT of evolution has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. If you can show me where god did intervene in this grand scheme that we seem to have a good naturalistic understanding of, I'd be glad to change my mind.

Vegman said...

Ananda wrote:
"The Brahma-sutra states that existence is anadi or beginningless. Beginningless by its very definition indicates that there has never been a dawn of existence where principles of interaction would have first been established, rendering the necessity for a god or a law-maker entirely redundant. If the wheel of existence has been turning without a beginning, the concept of an original creator becomes a paradox by its very definition."

So, now you are very eager to accept the authority of the Vedas to prove that karma is anadi?

How convenient.
But, you seem to have forgotten that you don't believe in the Vedas because they are the breath of Narayan - the personal God.

So, you can't prove that karma is anadi on the basis of that because you don't accept the authority of the Vedas.

So, back to square one.
You have no proof that karma is anadi.

Mr. Ananda said...

Material and Mental

Vegman: So, if someone kills another person and the cops don't catch him then there is no reaction to fear?

What makes you assume this event is any different from the knocking over of a beer? Each action sets into motion a series of further activities that affect everything contacted by interaction of their qualities, whether material or psychological. I have given material examples to illustrate the mechanic nature of karma. Psychology is just the same: Particular words, gestures and activities cause particular effects in individuals in their specific situations.

Additionally, there is an impact made in the psyche of the actor involved. This impression of an activity, when incongruent with the moral framework of the actor, yields a number of negative effects in the future, both internal and external — the latter arising from the now abnormal behavior of the actor. Hell and other post-mortem states are created in much the same way, by unzipping the psychological registry of the individual concerned and transforming that into a subjective level of existence.

There is reaction to fear for everything one deems wrong and then does, but there need not be a supreme deity keeping track of your doings. I'm not saying there is absolutely no god — now how the hell would I know that with any certainty — I'm just saying you don't need one for karma to function.

Mr. Ananda said...

Intrinsic Properties and 2+2=4

Anonymous: On a material basis, what you're claiming is trivial; if there exists two objects, together with other 2 objects, then, of course, there exists 4 objects whether there exists anyone in the world or not. But mathematically it is not so trivial. You need a sensory system and the ability to discriminate between objects and the ability to form concepts of numbers; and that needs a design, just as a computer needs design to function properly.

Do I need to have a sensory system and an ability to discriminate between atoms in order for atoms to function as they do? No I don't, and that exactly is the point: they function on without giving a rat's ass about my opinion, or about anyone else's for that matter. There is no need for someone to authorize them to be what they are.


Anonymous: It's not up to "intrinsic" values of variables, as you suggested; in fact, I don't even understand what could be meant with "intrinsic values" in this context...

Intrinsic properties are such that are not effected by the observer's opinion. You can mix water and oil and expect them to mix, but the intrinsic properties of the variables dictate a different outcome.


Anonymous(2): ha!, you seem to be totally ignorant of the history of mathematics, not knowing how much time some people have spent to find good grounds for the fact that 2+2=4.

Did they conclude you need God to give a testimony and authorize the equation?

Natural numbers are neutral and do not possess properties beyond their value. They are, for all purposes I can imagine, units of identical nature that can be added, subtracted, multiplied and so forth in a manner that can be fairly well replicated in a real life experiment where the units are measured only in terms of their quantity. I am assuming you are not denying this. And indeed that much is quite sufficient for the point being made in the article.

I have never explored some of the more obtuse fields of mathematics, feel free to link to relevant materials on 2+2=4, even if it bears little importance in terms of the article itself.

Mr. Ananda said...

Vegman: So, now you are very eager to accept the authority of the Vedas to prove that karma is anadi? How convenient. But, you seem to have forgotten that you don't believe in the Vedas because they are the breath of Narayan - the personal God. So, you can't prove that karma is anadi on the basis of that because you don't accept the authority of the Vedas.

I do not need to believe there is a need for me to believe a philosopical system in its entirety to point out a correlation. On the other hand, you are supposed to belong to a school that accepts the said obligation. Is that not so?


So, back to square one. You have no proof that karma is anadi.

Neither do I have absolute proof of anything nor do I need such, and moreover I believe a human being lacks the capacity to contain, process or verify such levels of evidence. I merely choose to form a well-reasoned view of how things could be, a fine theory if you will. I merely happen to find the contradictions inherent in the concept of beginninglessness much fewer than those arising from a linear outlook, and therefore choose that as an element of my perspective.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: On a material basis, what you're claiming is trivial; if there exists two objects, together with other 2 objects, then, of course, there exists 4 objects whether there exists anyone in the world or not. But mathematically it is not so trivial. You need a sensory system and the ability to discriminate between objects and the ability to form concepts of numbers; and that needs a design, just as a computer needs design to function properly.

you replied:
>>Do I need to have a sensory system and an ability to discriminate between atoms in order for atoms to function as they do? No I don't, and that exactly is the point: they function on without giving a rat's ass about my opinion, or about anyone else's for that matter. There is no need for someone to authorize them to be what they are.>>

WHAT the hell has this to do with my claim that mathematics requires brain, and brains require design? Keep track with the subject matter, Ananda Prabhu! Babies and monkies cannot comprehend that 2+2=4, no matter how much "intrinsic" values they absorb from those numbers...you seem to make a bad category error here, conflating mathematics and the material basis of mathematics.

Mr. Ananda said...

WHAT the hell has this to do with my claim that mathematics requires brain, and brains require design? Keep track with the subject matter, Ananda Prabhu! Babies and monkies cannot comprehend that 2+2=4, no matter how much "intrinsic" values they absorb from those numbers...you seem to make a bad category error here, conflating mathematics and the material basis of mathematics.

What babies can and cannot comprehend is irrelevant. The very point is that things don't need to be comprehended in order for them to function by their nature.

So brain requires intelligent design. Have you ever heard of the theory of evolution?

We might as well just start talking about evolution and creationism, for when we disagree on such a fundamental level, the analysis of specific details of our views seems rather redundant.

Anonymous said...

Did I say that brains need intelligent design? Have I ever heard of theory of evolution?

Design means appropriate structure, and that can be a result of either intelligent design (as is the case when we design computers), or a result of evolution.
Things, of course, function by their nature, as you said; what could be more trivial? But things also need appropriate design. Relying on just to the "function by nature" would mean that the concepts of truth and falsity were irrelevant in our formal and ordinary languages. Interpreting the function is called semantics, and that is the source of truth and falsity, and it is not up to any structure that can perform it.

Anonymous said...

sorry, I meant "it's not up to all structures that can do semantics..." just mistyped in a hurry..

Mr. Ananda said...

Anonymous: Design means appropriate structure, and that can be a result of either intelligent design (as is the case when we design computers), or a result of evolution.

Yes, so we agree that things may function either owing to intelligent design, or otherwise to evolution. That humans manufacture things does not mean, as such, that everything ought to be manufactured by an intelligent designer.

Of course, if one assumes a pantheistic position, then the sum total of the intrinsic information in the universe would be the knowledge of god, and the flux of the universe would be the abstract play of god. I would have no gripes with a cosmic, passive god who watches his own flow of ever-expanding mutation. After all, god is just a word we humans employ in any case.

This is the god who can perform for Nietzsche — not the flute-playing cowherd prince as sometimes hyped.


Things, of course, function by their nature, as you said; what could be more trivial? But things also need appropriate design. Relying on just to the "function by nature" would mean that the concepts of truth and falsity were irrelevant in our formal and ordinary languages. Interpreting the function is called semantics, and that is the source of truth and falsity, and it is not up to any structure that can perform it.

The "function by nature" is not an absolute constant, everything is in flux. The flux and the properties of each factor determine future harmonic shapes. This is essential to understand. Things either destroy each other or balance out their critical tension, growing into structured co-existence evolving over time. When the latter happens, we talk about evolution. I don't see a need for an intelligent designer there for evolution to occur.

Truth and falsity are ultimately irrelevant, as irrelevant as we humans are anyway.

dvaite bhadrAbhadra-jJAna saba manodharma |
'ei bhAla, ei manda' — ei saba bhrama || CC 3.4.176


"In duality, knowledge of proper and improper are the mind's function. 'This is good, this is bad' — 'tis all but a mistake."

Morality is a convention adopted in the human world for maintaining the balance of conscious units with a sense of self-preservation. It has little to do with anything absolute.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel the need to continue this conversation any more, it's just so much gabbling over matters we can only have faint opinions of...and how is it that you see the effort to have an opinion about everything and everybody? Are you perhaps trying to prove something to yourself, not to others? Perhaps trying to convince yourself that you're not such a bad person after all? Satisfying your narcissist tendencies..? After reading all this megalomaniac stuff in this blog, I suggest you should see a therapist..really..I mean it...sorry if I'm wrong, but that's the way I feel, and I know I could be wrong, and I hope I'm wrong, but I'm afraid I'm not..

shiva said...

Daelis you said

Shiva doesn't seem to be following the current state of "atheist" news. Scientists already have created indefinately self-replicating molecules artificially. The FACT of evolution has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. If you can show me where god did intervene in this grand scheme that we seem to have a good naturalistic understanding of, I'd be glad to change my mind.

Well you miss the point, those molecules were *created*, besides, there is this;

None of the molecules that have been made would sustain themselves (be able to continue self-replication) in an environment outside of the chemical reactions under which they are able to self-replicate, says Dr Ghadiri. These molecules, he says, are themselves chemical reactions. They just happen to be self-replicating molecules that mimic one of the processes -- self-replication -- that is found in what we call living organisms.

Look, why don't you tell me how dirt and water can transform itself into a banana split melting all over Scarlett Johansson's boobs and I will bow before you, friggin idjute.

Mr. Ananda said...

Anonymous: ...and how is it that you see the effort to have an opinion about everything and everybody? Are you perhaps trying to prove something to yourself, not to others? Perhaps trying to convince yourself that you're not such a bad person after all? Satisfying your narcissist tendencies..?

I primarily do it to sort out the contents brewing inside my massive head. A public audience makes for good guinea pigs... You just made front page's worth of news. Congratulations!


After reading all this megalomaniac stuff in this blog, I suggest you should see a therapist..really..I mean it...sorry if I'm wrong, but that's the way I feel, and I know I could be wrong, and I hope I'm wrong, but I'm afraid I'm not..

Discussing metaphysics and not subscribing to belief of creator-god qualifies for having to go to a therapist? Not in my world it doesn't, and remind me to never go where it does.

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...

It is like this... Said Iam Thatiam Once for All!

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