The Nature of God

I enjoy listening to Richard Dawkins. He’s brilliant, sophisticated, and has wit. I was recently watching some short video clips of him on YouTube. In general, I agree with, if not his conclusions, at least the logic of how he got there. But then, I came across this video clip:

If you don’t feel like watching, let me summarize the relevant parts. He parallels the incoherence of matter coming about on its own with the idea of God’s existence coming about on its own. He argues that God is too improbable to have formed completely by chance. A questioner from the audience asks, isn’t it problematic to apply natural laws and probability on God? Dawkins retortes, “Well isn’t that just convenient? You talked your way out of providing a rational argument by just decreeing by fiat that God simply declares himself outside of matter… If you’re convinced by that kind of thing, you’re welcome.”

I’m sorry, but this highlights the deep-rooted ignorance in the New Atheist Movement. They don’t even know what they’re arguing against. Its akin to a creationist declaring that humans did not evolve from monkeys. At least know what you’re arguing against! Dawkins is a biologist, not a theologian, and his banter only serves to demonstrate this fact. And here’s why:

But first, a tangent to help illustrate the point!

Imagine if someone programmed an Artificial Intelligence (AI). This AI was truly self-aware and existed entirely inside  a computer. One day, it questioned the existence of a programmer. It pre-supposed that everything is composed of bytes/bits and obeys the laws of the CPU. Employing the scientific method, it sought evidence of a programmer. It combed every bit of computer memory and applies every law of the CPU, but returned empty handed. Therefore, it concluded that there is no such thing as a programmer.

Seem problematic? It should. The fallacy of the AI was to assume that all existence was contingent on the laws of the CPU and composed of bytes/bits. But, the programmer’s existence is outside of the AI’s world, distinct, separate and sharing virtually no common qualities.

By its very nature, the creator can share no common qualities with the created, nor be subject to any of the laws that govern it. This fundamental principle is adhered to by most theologians, and is especially strong within the Islamic and Jewish tradition by al-Ghazali and Rambam, respectively. They argue that God’s existence is not contingent on any created things, including and especially time and space.

The fallacy of Dawkins is the same fallacy of the AI. While the AI assumed that all of existence was within the laws of the CPU and consisted of bytes, the Dawkins implicitly assumes that everything in existence obeys the laws of physics and consists of particles. Ironically, this he implicitly declares “by fiat”. Both limit the scope reality and dismiss all that might exist outside of that scope.

I do not believe in a God that exists within the 3 dimensions, is subject to time-space or consists of particles. Most traditions state that his existence is unlike the existence of anything else. As a theologian once said, anything that comes to your mind about God is in opposition to him.

Next is the improbability of God coming about on his own, because of how complex God must be. This is the same problem rehashed in a different way. Again, we do not believe in a God that consists of physical particles and is mechanically complex, like some sort of divine machine. No, nearly all classical theologians argue that God is indivisible, unique, absolute oneness. But, Dawkins explores this “definition” of God and substitutes it with a God who is essentially a big machine in the sky who formed through an improbable occurrence. A true Strawman fallacy.

So, when Dawkins says things like “you’ve just declared by fiat”, he’s demonstrating his profound ignorance of exactly what he’s arguing against. Again, I’m sorry, but naiveté backed by rhetoric is no substitute for an argument. The problem is, this kind of ignorance is as rampant amongst the New Atheist Movement as science is amongst the radical Christians who interpret the Bible literally. No one denies (or should deny) the New Atheist Movement’s scientific acclaim, but that does not translate to other areas of knowledge, namely theology.

There was a time when anyone who read Dawkin’s The God Delusion would laugh and move on. But now his books convince the masses.

Simple Economics of the IPv6 Transition

The vast majority of the Internet currently operates on Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), a 32-bit addressing system which theoretically allows for 4,294,967,295 (2^128-1) unique IP addresses. Though this may seem like an inexhaustible supply of addresses, current figures estimate less than 10% of it remains. The remaining address space would be far less had it not been for the deployment of Network Address Translation (NAT), which extends IPv4’s life, but also breaks the End-to-End principle.

So…what happens when the address space completely runs out?

There is slow and gradual transitional to Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), a 128-bit addressing system which theoretically allows for 2128-1 unique addresses. Wow, that’s a lot of address space. (FYI, much of the address space is wasted) But, that transitional period takes time and money. And if businesses demand an internet routable address before IPv6 has been implemented by its ISP, what happens?

When IPv4 becomes completely exhausted, there will be essentially two models of how the Regional Internet Registrys (RIRs) and Tier-1 ISPs could opt to distribute IPv4 addresses once they are “returned”.

In the first model, RIRs and Tier-1 ISPs could distribute address space based on a first-come first-serve basis. In this system, Tier-2 and 3 ISPs would have to wait in line to receive address space. This could take decades, essentially eliminating any business that immediately requires dedicated IP space.

In the second model, RIRs could distribute address space based on the price-system. That is, when a block becomes available, it would be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

In my opinion, the pricing distribution system is more efficient than the waiting-line system. This is because it ensures the most economically efficient utilization of address space. Only those entities that can produce the highest rate of return with the investment of their IPv4 address space be willing and able to purchase it. In short, this follows the basic economic laws of higher prices when demand increases but supply cannot increase.

As the price of IPv4 address space gradually increases for businesses, organizations and home consumers, they will gradually transition into the IPv6 internet. I predict mass utilization of transitional solutions, which are not long term, but function just as fine. Initial investments for native IPv6 implementation will be costly, but the marginal cost will reduce for each additional implementor.

Go IPv6!

Introduction to the Critically Cognitive

Welcome Readers!
I’m starting this blog as a medium to express my ideas, gain the insight others can provide, and as a sort of personal diary to trace the development and evolution of my thoughts. My main topics of interest are economics, theology, computer science, social commentary and any other idea that comes to mind.
Just a quick background on myself:
  • Economics: I currently hold a B.S. degree in Economics, with a focus on Macro-Economics. I am currently perusing an MBA.
  • Theology: Coming from a Muslim background, I’ve taken countless courses in the faith and continue to read its classical literature. I’ve looked at Jewish and Christian theology and take an active interest in the New Atheist movement. Sadly, I do not know much about Hindu or Buddhist tradition, but I hope to continue to explore and gain insight.
  • Computer Science: I am currently employed in IT security and am well-versed in most major areas of Computer Science, including programming, networking, security and operating systems.
  • Social Commentary: My family stems from the Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia but I was born and raised in the US. This has afforded me an insight into Eastern tradition, particularly in the Muslim world, and Western modernity. I am connected to both the socially liberal and socially conservative movements in the US.
One of the most cretinous yet pervasive qualities is the inability to listen to the views of those who directly disagree with you and be unable or unwilling to at least respect its development, logic and authenticity. Part of life is experience. I am open to trying out new ideas and concepts and seeing where they take me in my development as a human being.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog. Please do comment!