Spirit as Software

Spirit as Software August 31, 2020

I am delighted that 3 Quarks Daily drew attention to this great video by Philip Clayton on emergence.

I was really struck by Steve Wiggins’ post “Upgraded at Last.” As he talked about our inability to take a computer hard drive or similar storage device, look at it, and find a document or photo (or indeed anything meaningful), I found myself pondering the way some draw reductionistic conclusions about God and/or the soul, purportedly based on science and observation. One can look at all the molecules in an organism and not see “life.” One can look at all the cells in a brain and not see “mind,” much less specific memories or thoughts. One can look at the universe and yet not see God. The more I explore this analogy, the more meaningful and helpful it seems to me.

Here are some links to related items:

Creation, Emergence, Magic and Twitter

What is emergence, and why should we care about it?

Barbara Brown Taylor on God as Infinite Web

In an article in Commonweal:

[V]iruses challenge the idea that non-living matter is inert and static. Viruses may not be alive, but they are lively. And really, so is all matter. Inertness is an illusion. In the last century, we have learned that each atom of matter is full of motion and energy, as electrons circle the atom’s protons, neutrons, and nucleus. Chemical reactions occur not only in lab experiments, but inside human beings. More broadly, we are increasingly aware of how our brain and body chemistry affects our minds and sense of self. Serotonin influences mood and affect. Rising and falling levels of estrogen and testosterone throughout life mark not only our physical shape, but also our dispositions and judgment. We are thoroughly embodied creatures, not minds trapped in inert matter.

Also somewhat related is a recent article in Zygon.

This exploration of other forms life and intelligence is not without its problems (for example, Westworld has drawn attention to Jaynes’ ideas about the bicameral mind but I know of no academics in relevant fields who think the idea still has merit) yet still seems worth sharing:


See too these past posts of mine about what can be called “radically-emergent theism.”

Radically-Emergent Theism

Dilbertian Emergentism

Adventures in the Spirit: Part Two

A Substantive Post About God

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