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  Is Alphomism meant as a scientific theory? George Garnett
Posted: 4/2/2005
I am not clear from the website whether you are putting forward this theory as a scientific one (i.e. one that is testable and potentially falsifiable) or as having the status of some form of creation myth.

You offer at one point a list of predictions, one or two of which look as if they are meant to be testable by experiment (e.g. numbers 5 to 8 on the list). Elsewhere, however, you say that alphomism is not claiming to be a scientific theory but should be thought of as 'beyond science'.

If it is not meant to be scientific, and not testable, what reasons do we have to believe it to be true? If, on the other hand, it is meant to be a scientific theory, how do we account for the fact that there does not seem to be any evidence for any of the testable predictions actually being true?

  Re: Is Alphomism meant as a scientific theory? Richard
Posted: 7/2/2005

Many thanks for your thoughtful comments. My response is as follows.

Alphomism is intended to be a metaphysical theory and by this I mean that it is in some aspects 'beyond science'. I don't think there could be an entirely 'scientific' theory of the universe for at least two reasons. The first is that the universe contains mental events and, given the essential 'privacy' of our personal experience, it is difficult to imagine how such private events could ever be the subject of rigorous scientific investigation. The second reason I offer is one mentioned by Stephen Hawking in his 'Brief History of Time' book. He asserts that at the 'singularity' of the pre-big bang state, gravity would be so powerful as to rule out the operation of any 'laws of nature'. I think that this is probably correct.

It might seem that if there cannot be a scientific theory there can be no theory at all but (evidently!) I don't think this is the case. It is worth, I think, having a go at constructing a metaphysical theory. If such a theory generates at least some testable predictions and also explains a good range of phenomena then it surely has some value.

Of course, a metaphysical theory cannot be as rigorous as a purely scientific one but the boundary between physics and metaphysics is not precise. Many scientists stray into 'god' territory (Einstein and Hawking to name but two). And, as long as a metaphysical theory is internally consistent and does not contradict scientific truths then it is surely worthy of consideration.

Aprops the predictions, yes, they are meant to be testable (although I agree that the negative ones pose some investigative problems) but if only some of them can be tested then it is a way of assessing the overall worth of the theory. In fact, I think that some of the predictions made on this site are quite bold and one or two should be within the range of our techniques and instruments before too long. (Incidentally, it's not only new 'predictions' which put Alphomism to the test. If, for example, something is discovered which pulls the plug on the big bang account, or on the notion of evolution, Alphomism would probably not survive). In a way, the theory 'predicts' that these are true.

You comment that there is no evidence that some of the listed predictions are true. I would have thought that this is an advantage. The physical predictions are being made from a theoretical standpoint. This happens a good deal in physics and I don't see why it shouldn't happen in metaphysics. In physics, for example, the variation in the perception of time and the bending of light by gravity were predicted quite a long time before there was any research evidence in their favour. 'Relativity' was an idea before it was a fact.

By the way, I'm definitely not intending Alphomism as 'some form of creation myth'. Metaphysics doesn't have to be mystical and I have done my best to avoid mystery.

I hope this goes some way to answering your queries but, of course, do come back if not!

Thanks again for your interest.

Incidentally, I'm working on a print version of the theory which will present the ideas in a slightly different (and I hope improved) way. One of these days (not sure when) I'll add this version to the site.

  Re: Is Alphomism meant as a scientific theory? George Garnett
Posted: 10/2/2005

Thank you for responding to my points, particularly as they were ones critical of your theory. I have to say, though, that I remain far from convinced. My scepticism really comes in two parts, relating to what I think are the two disjunct parts of your theory which seem to me to have quite different status.

On the one hand there are the descriptions of the Alpha and Omega states which, I have to say, seem to me to fall foul of your own criteria for what is coherent or meaningful. And, contrary to what you set out as your own ground-rules, I think that they, at best, have to count as coming into the category of ‘mystical’ suggestions.

On the other hand, you seem to be making a quite explicit claim, relating to the physical universe we currently inhabit, about the commensurability of consciousness and physical matter. As one goes up, the other goes down. This, I presume, is envisaged as some sort of parallel, or extension, to Einstein’s claims about the commensurability of energy and matter. The trouble is that there is absolutely no evidence for this, nor even any conceptual reason to suppose it might be so. Einstein at least had reasons for his hypotheses and was able to describe very specific observations that would test their truth or falsity. I must say I was initially taken aback by your comment that it was actually a strength of Alphomism that there was no evidence for it, but I assume you meant not as yet. Nonetheless all the evidence we have about the conservation of mass and energy leaves no gaps for some other process going on. More damaging though, is what I believe to be the mistaken assumption lying beneath the claim, namely that ‘consciousness’ or ‘intelligence’ is an entity in this sense at all, still less that it is the sort of entity that could be exchanged for physical quantities like mass or energy. This ‘re-ification’ of consciousness is, in my opinion, a category mistake that effectively undermines the theory from the outset.

As you will see, I remain very sceptical but, particularly given your friendly response to my earlier comments, offer these comments in the same spirit.

  Re: Is Alphomism meant as a scientific theory? Richard
Posted: 25/2/2005

Thanks once again. My guess is that eventually we will end up agreeing to disagree but I feel that I can say something to answer the points you make.

You question the notion that 'consciouness'is an entity but it's surely something. I think that any account of the universe which takes no cognizance of mental states would fail to be universal. Descartes' 'cogito', though imperfect as a proof of existence in my view, gives pre-eminence to the mental. Many other thinkers, including solypsists, do likewise.

But I am not, as you suggest, intending to imply that the relationship between the physical and the mental is akin to that between mass and energy. What I am saying is that it would seem that since the creation of time at the big bang there has, in our tiny part of the universe at least, been a gradual shift from an inanimate state to one where there is self-reflection. My hypothesis is that this process will continue, probably not just via the biological procedures which have spawned us but also through sophisticated engineering.

So, I'm not trying to 'reify' consciousness and I don't think what I have to say would offend Gilbert Ryle (philosophically speaking, anyway). And - I don't need evidence for an e=mc2 parallel because I never intended to make the comparison.

I'm making an observation - about what seems to be an increase in the amount of conscious activity in the universe and then hypothesising that this process will continue. About the observation there can, I think, be little doubt. I justify the extrapolation on the grounds that it leads (just in my view, I hasten to add!) to a viable circular or cyclical theory.

For me, therefore, Alphoma is not the mystical thing which you claim it to be. I say that a word such as 'soul', at least in a metaphysical context, is 'mystical' because I don't know of a satisfactory definition of the term, nor do I know of any scientific evidence in support of the idea. But I can define Alphoma - it is a state where all the energy of the universe is maximally condensed, where a very small part of that energy is so organised (computer-like perhaps)as to generate the maximum mental activity. I suggest also that in the essentially virtual world of that mental activity there is no real time because there is no discontinuity. Alphoma may last for only billionths of an Earth second in 'real' time but the thinking beings therein experience no break in existence.

My thanks again for pitching in! As I say somewhere in the text, I'm not in the business of trying to convert people nor do I claim that I have any kind of privileged access to the truth. It's just a theory. I set up the site partly to offer it to others (just in case some find it useful) but also to invite friendly (but maybe fatal) fire!



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