[ExI] Understanding is useless

Will Steinberg steinberg.will at gmail.com
Sat Jan 30 01:13:46 UTC 2010

> materialism inevitably contravenes all religious conjurations,
> and ends with the nullification of any notion of human specialness.

Not necessarily.  Materialism (especially given shaky quantum
dimensionality/causality) certainly does not preclude specialness.  People
seem so ready to dispose of the human "special" that they forget a true,
quantifiable uniqueness about the universe.  But ours lies is in the ability
to cause change.  I don't think one would argue that a button rigged to
destroy the universe has the same "significance" as one rigged to nothing,
not thinking in terms of destructiveness (a human term) but in its ability
to radically displace and change aspects of systems.  The fact that we
humans have gone from shitting around in caves to being able to destroy our
own planet in just a few thousand years presupposes remarkable progress for
the future, barring any catastrophic events.  Humans have high causal
potential, marked by one coherent system's ability to cause intersystemic
changes.  A particle, though perhaps able to CAUSE a significant event, is a
meaningless system devoid of intentionality and thus with a lower chance of
having non-negligible effects.  A human can cause change and still remain,
for the most part, an identical yet equally complicated being, allowing for
more changes over a longer period of time.  Life's poor player may inspire
many audience members to some sort of action, even if he is only a candle's
flicker in the immutable darkness of the universe...eh?
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