Goedel and Panphysicalism

And now a moment for arid philosophy! Because I know my readers don’t want me just to talk about Space Princesses!

If materialism is true, that the universe is like a machine with programming or like a system of logical statements one following from the next as in geometry. There is nothing in the universe which is not defined, determined, or caused by anything other than a material cause. Hence the chains of cause and effect in the universe are exactly parallel to the logical formal causes of a machine following its programming or a system of logical statements following their assumptions. This means that everything, everything, everything in the universe is exactly the same as a line of code in a computer program, a set of cogs in a clockwork, a set of proofs in a system of geometry.

By Goedel’s argument, there is no set of proofs in a system of geometry which is both universal and determined. Determined means you can tell whether it is true or false. Universal means that all proofs in the set of proofs are proved.

Likewise, in the case of a clockwork, there is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine. You simply cannot tie a string to a turning cog in a clockwork and have it wind up the mainspring as the clock runs down, because the mainspring is ultimately what drives all the other cogs and wheels.

Now, if materialism is wrong, then the universe is not like a clockwork and not like a set of proofs. But if materialism is right, then the universe is exactly like a clockwork and exactly like a set of proofs. Nothing in a materialistic universe happens, nothing at all, not even human thinking, except by means of a material cause, a physical motion.

If the universe is exactly like a clockwork, it cannot be in motion, because a clockwork by definition needs something outside the clockwork, a clockmaker, to wind the mainspring and set it in motion. If the universe is exactly like a clockwork, it never got started. Nor can one say, “It was always in motion since an infinite time in the past” because clockworks don’t run perpetually.

There is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine.

If the universe is exactly like a set of proofs, there has to be one event which is uncaused or undefined by a cause. By ‘undefined’ I mean that when you hit an eight ball with a cue ball, the direction and momentum of the eightball cannot be higher or lower, faster or slower, than the exact amount of impulse conveyed by the inelastic collision of the cue ball. Nothing comes from nothing: you cannot tap the cue ball with x amount of force, and have the eight ball fly off the pool table out the window and into orbit with x+y amount of force, because the y amount cannot come into existence without a cause. Nothing comes into existence without a cause.

Again, by Goedel’s argument, there is no set of proofs in a system of geometry which is both universal and determined. Determined means you can tell whether it is true or false. Universal means that all proofs in the set of proofs are proved. Here, in the materialistic universe, there is no event in the chain of cause and effect which is not universal and determined. Determined means that the effect is caused by a cause, and nothing in the effect is uncaused. Universal means the chain of cause and effect never leads the universe: at no point is there any beginning, any Big Bang, or any miracle coming into the universe from outside the universe, from before the universe, from beyond the universe.

And, just to pre empt a possible objection, this argument applies with the exact same force whether we live in a Newtonian universe or a Quantum Mechanical one. Quantum Mechanics does not say that effects arise without cause, or that things happen for no reason. It says that certain categories of cause and effect, such as knowing the mass and the position of a particle, are linked by cause and effect such that one cannot be known without the other being unknown. Whether Quantum Mechanics is true or not has no bearing on this argument.

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