Is God limited by the laws of nature? If so, this may help make sense of the problem of suffering in the natural world

Yes, that’s what I meant :). I should have been more precise and ended by qualifying it as “the only place to experience.”

You said that the idea of God only being experienced in the mind is a small thing. I was trying to make the point that this is no small thing.

Here I was teasing out my response to your previous question about the difference between “universe + God” and “universe.” I was saying that even if God = universe and nothing more (pantheism), that’d be fine with me. Personally, I think there is a stronger case for panentheism than pantheism as far as philosophical models go. Which why I said that maybe the universe is an extension of God, and maybe God is also more than the universe.

Common ground! However, perhaps I am slightly more optimistic in that even if nothing changes, I doubt the global ecosystem will collapse entirely. But I DO think that if nothing changes (and like you, I doubt much will change), billions of people and even more non-human living organisms will die as the ecosystem autocorrects. But I think it will autocorrect. Nature is good at that. And I think that most certainly there will be a remnant of people who make it. And maybe those people have enough sense to learn from our mistakes and start over in a more sustainable way.

If this scenario were to be true, “what should we do about it?” is a damn interesting question :).

OK, I see. I thought you were saying that God had no external existence. I experience chocolate in my mind, but chocolate exists outside my mind. My senses give me that experience, transducing chocolate from the world into my mind. But how do you think God gets there?

OK. But if that’s the case, I would say that there’s nothing that could reasonably be called God. I’m not sure what case there could be for pantheism as opposed to just a universe without God. Nor do I see what case could be made for panentheism.

Agreed. Not entirely. But complete ecosystem collapse is more than would be needed for civilization collapse. What you call “the ecosystem autocorrects” (which I consider a term with some dubious baggage) would result in the collapse of civilization.

Agreed, but survival of the species isn’t the same as survival of civilization.

What we should do is fairly clear. It’s how to get us to do it that’s the conundrum.

There are physicists who propose that consciousness arises from “quantum processors” in the neurons. Among these scientists is Roger Penrose, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on black holes. Pan-psychism is also gaining some ground among quantum physicists. They propose that consciousness is a fundamental field like the Higgs field.

It’s all sounds super woo woo to me, but so does quantum physics. There are serious physicists who are working on different ways to test these hypotheses.

Perhaps God is able to interact with this consciousness field?

I don’t mind hand-waving when it comes to how God may interact with our consciousness as we think we all hand-wave when it comes to how consciousness works. It’s fun to speculate.

I’m not using any of this as an argument for God or anything like that. Simply exploring ideas of how God may interact with the mind.

Right. That’s why I’m not a huge fan of pantheism. I, too, don’t find it very useful. But then again, I am not well-read in pantheism. I’m sure there is a lot of depth in that model that I’m missing.

I see. Good distinction.

Not sure it’s that clear though. I mean big picture “mitigate climate change,” sure. But how about what we should do as far as our actions are concerned?

Lots of interesting ethical imperative related questions come to mind. Should we stop traveling by air? Should we stop driving cars (even electric cars come at a carbon positive cost when you factor in materials and energy that are required to manufacture them and the source of the electricity required to run them)? If we’re really serious about minimizing our carbon and resource footprint, should we learn to live off the land and remove ourselves as much as possible from this intricate web of unsustainability? I am seriously considering the latter.

But that also results in the collapse of civilization. If a few people do it, it might reduce carbon production. But if too many do it, we get collapse. My suggested approach is a sizable carbon tax. It stimulates both conservation and innovation.


Well depends on how fast it happens, right? Just like evolution :). I really do think a radically different approach to civilization is required for longevity. I do think that returning to more agrarian societies is needed. That will come intentionally or unintentionally, but I think it will eventually come.

A sizeable carbon tax would be a huge win and I’m in favor of it. But it doesn’t getting at the root issue. Sadly, I think the technological innovation path is not the solution. For every hole in the ship technology manages to plug, it creates five more.

I you may agree that, at the end of the day, overpopulation is a bigger issue than climate change. Climate change is a product of over-population. Address climate change and you’ll be left with a five more to deal with. Addressing climate change is a huge priority, but at the end of the day, simply prolonging the real problem. Our greed. Eventually we’ll destroy the earth, colonize mars, destroy mars, colonize another planet and become planet destroyers like Mr. Shadow in the Fifth Element.

One of the reasons I am a huge fan of spirituality and religion is because a lot of it is focused on inward transformation. I think perhaps more important than addressing climate change (not to its exclusion though) is addressing self-centeredness and pride. Not saying that’s the only game in town, but it can be a damn good game if played right.

I don’t know if I totally agree with that. Modern, large scale farming methods have increased crop yields substantially. If we go back to agrarian societies we may actually see a drop in relative crop yields without any other returns.

We have the technology right now to drastically reduce carbon use. Nuclear fission alone could replace every baseline coal power plant on the planet. We are on the verge of eliminating fossil fuels for transportation and trucking. Compare that to the smoke filled cities of the early industrial era where wood and coal were the primary means of heating houses.

We can increase the global population to 10-12 billion people while still having enough food for everyone and drastically decrease the amount of carbon dioxide we put in the air. It can be done with technology we have right now.

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Perhaps. But it would be nice to try it, if so, without civilization collapse and a population crash from starvation and disease. I don’t think it’s necessary. We can preserve a technological base while reducing carbon use. There are technological solutions that won’t require such an extreme rejiggering of human society. And I don’t think it’s even possible without a radical change in society that will not happen without a prior collapse and population crash.

I don’t. Environmental impact is the product of population and individual impact. For carbon at least, if we can reduce the latter while keeping the former from increasing, that would be enough. And the alternate track, reducing population, won’t be fast enough unless you want to propose a Thanos solution, which I would not. And this is true for all other problems. If there are solutions, they must address individual impact in order to be effective in the time allowed. Then again, you can’t afford to let the population keep increasing, as that works against any technical solution.

It may be, but if so we’re screwed. Religion has had thousands of years to transform people and it hasn’t worked yet. So I sincerely hope you’re wrong about that. I do put some credence in education, but that’s different. Enlightened self-interest is all we really need, not altruism.

Perhaps, but why do it? It makes any technological solution more difficult, as it increases the product (Population x Impact) even if Impact goes down. Not to mention the other environmental problems population causes.

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