AN ATHEIST AFTERLIFE
By Isuru Abeysinghe
Smashwords Edition
Copyright 2012 Isuru Abeysinghe
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INTRODUCTION
What this document is about to explain is a theory of existence. It is a theory that is rooted fully in the scientific understandings of the modern day, both observational and mathematical. As with any theory, it can be disputed and as with all proper scientific mentality the issue of dispute does not disparage the author since a fair, open and accessible exchange of ideas is what science ultimately breeds.
The theory about to be detailed is most likely at odds with religious or theological ideology although it is certainly not completely contradictory to any basis of theological understanding. I will first admit that at this point that I personally am an atheist and this fact is very likely to be exposed through the nature of the argument being presented. My intention here is not to compel the reader into a particular form of belief, because such a objective is in my opinion of little value – there is no benefit for myself in making people believe in the same way as I do. I merely present these ideas for the scope of critical analysis and the enrichment of culture.
This is not a lengthy publication because the point being made is in fact a very simple one and is served well by a concise argument.
The question of this doctrine is: in the atheist view of the universe, where all things that exist are physical, does this completely preclude the possibility of an afterlife? Is the disintegration of the physical form upon death the final end of the individual consciousness and identity?
PRINCIPAL 1: HIGH SCHOOL STATISTICS
The first principle of my theory is the affirmation of basic statistical theory. The basis of statistical theory can be expressed in the following anecdote:
If you have a six sided dice (with numbers 1 to 6) and roll it a single time, the odds of it landing on any particular number is 1 in 6.
This is the fundamental principal of likelihood expressed mathematically a x/y where x is the range of values that are accepted and y is the total range of all possible values. So when x is a single number, for instance for the point of argument the number three, and y is the range of possible numbers (six) we have odds of 1/6. If you increase the range of accepted values (for example, what is the odds on a single roll of rolling a three or a five) then x becomes 2 and the likelihood becomes 2/6.
This is fairly straightforward. In order to explain my theory I need to introduce only one other principal: opportunity. The previous example shows what mathematically is referred to as a 'game' in the context of a single instance. Consider the previous game of rolling the dice if you had not one but two chances to hit the number you are seeking to achieve – that is to say increasing the opportunity.
Author Note: It has come to my attention that the original treatment of this issue with regard to the linearity of combined chances/opportunity is flawed, for the purposes of fairness I will include the original text as well as the amended text which explains the same principal but in a more mathematically correct way.
[[By taking two chances at rolling a six sided dice the odds of hitting any particular number doubles, it will now become 2/6. Carrying this forward, rolling the dice six times the chance of hitting any particular number (for the sake of argument 'three') becomes 6/6 or 1. This does not mean that you are guaranteed to have rolled a three by rolling a dice six times but it does mean that according to the law of statistics you are more likely to have rolled a three that unlikely. The more opportunities you give the greater the likelihood of achieving the objective.]] - [REDACTED – 04/08/2013].
The probability of 1/6 does not mean that if you roll a dice 6 times, you are definitely going to hit the desired number, it just means that statistically the weight of likelihood is in it's favor. Giving multiple opportunities at performing the experiment, and increasing the opportunity for landing by chance upon the desired result, will always increase the likelihood of that result in reality – although it's application is not necessarily linear. In order to calculate probability correctly, you need to consider all the potential results an experiment can yield and which subset of those results fall within the required values. Note that in this interpretation of probability the number 1 represents a must happen situation, not simply the weight of likelihood.
So what is the probability of rolling two consecutive '2' on a six sided dice? Firstly, to throw the dice twice can yield 6^2 or 36 potential answers, as defined in the table following:
[{1,1},{1,2},{1,3},{1,4},{1,5},{1,6},{2,1},{2,2},{2,3},{2,4},{2,5},{2,6},{3,1},{3,2},{3,3},{3,4},{3,5},{3,6},{4,1},{4,2},{4,3},{4,4},{4,5},{4,6},{5,1},{5,2},{5,3},{5,4},{5,5},{5,6},{6,1},{6,2},{6,3},{6,4},{6,5},{6,6}]
By this model, the probability of rolling a two on both occasions is 1/36 – that can also be represented as a calculation based on the probability of rolling a two independently (1/6) by multiplication (1/6 * 1/6) = 1/32.
The number 1/32, again, relates the the quantification of likelihood, meaning that to perform the experiment 32 times should yield a parity that grants that the event has become statistically likely. Note that the interpretation of statistically likely here can not be confused with having a probability of 1 (which according the the mathematical definition is that the event must happen and there are no other alternatives) and more synonymous with any true mathematical probability over 50% [more likely than not]; such that a 1/6 “one in six” chance of a single dice roll can be interpreted with some meaning consistent with governing its propensity; but yet does not mean that rolling a dice 6 times guarantees that 1/6 chance becomes manifest.
The principal of opportunity scales up indefinitely and I am sure the more astute of my readers will now automatically make the connection between this fact and atheist world view. The terms 'unlikely' is a term without relevance without examining the opportunity. For example, if rolling a dice three times what is the likelihood of rolling the same number three times? It is derived by multiplying all the individual odds together:
(1/6) * (1/6) * (1/6) = 1/216
Note that the number 216 in this equation is exactly 6 to the power of three or 6^3.
It means that in order to achieve parity with probability you need to perform the game 216 times before you have more-likely-than-not odds of achieving the desired result (rolling a 'five' three times in a row.)
When people of religious thinking talk about “impossibly high odds,” such as for example the odds of simple life having emerged by accident, they point to the complexity of life and say “it is too complicated to come about by chance!” - but they are completely ignoring the opportunity part of the equation; that is what amount of time and how much space and how many potential opportunities are there for such a thing to happen? It is clearly impossible to calculate the astronomical numbers involved (not the mention the lack of complete data) giving the size of the universe, the length of time the universe has existed, and the places where it is feasible for life to emerge, to derive the true likelihood of something like ambiogenisis but as an atheist my gut instinct tells me that the opportunity is great enough for such a thing to occur.
Is it not true that rolling a six sided dice a million times and always hitting the number 'five' is also of gravely low probability? Very much so, and the chances of doing this in one single attempt is beyond imagining - but given 6 to the power of 1,000,000 (6^1000000) attempts a rolling a five a million times, the law of probability says that you are more likely to achieve it than not!
To talk about the odds of a particular event occurring without regard to the opportunity is an exercise in false equivalence.
PRINCIPAL 2: ALL MATTER IS ENERGY
Einstien's theory of relativity depicts the relationship between matter and energy and shows that at it's most basic form matter is actually a form of energy. It is this equation E=Mc^2 that led scientists to realize that the amount of energy being produced by conventional explosives (eg. Dynamite) was far lower than the total amount of energy contained in matter and led to the formulation of the atomic bomb which is a more efficient method of converting matter into energy (but is by no means the ultimate efficiency in converting matter to energy.)
PRINCIPAL 3: THE HUMAN MACHINE
So, taken that all matter is actually a configuration of energy we can move forward in assuming that human beings are also at a most fundamental level a configuration of energy. The human being is a biological machine, which is based on the chemical properties of organic chemistry (providing power to muscles etc.) This chemical energy is in turn based on the laws of physics and then quantum-physics. So to sum of the complexity of a human being, including the brain which holds the knowledge, identity and behavior of the human (or indeed 'soul') is simply a matter of detailing all the corresponding configurations down to the sub-atomic level.
PRINCIPAL 4: THE BIG BANG THEORY AND COSMIC BACKGROUND RADIATION
The big bang theory is one that is supported by scientific observation. It portends that the universe expanded from a central point of origin and that initially all matter (and subsequently energy) in the universe once existed at a single point of origin perhaps in a state of equilibrium. However, the theory specifies that this equilibrium (for one reason or another) could not be sustained and subsequently the universe exploded outwards through space, cooling and collecting over time due to the force of gravity, such as to construct the galaxies, solar systems, stars and planets. While the initial force of the big bang continues to expel the contents of the universe outwards from this central point it is clear logic that this initial percussive force can not be sustained indefinitely and that eventually the expansion of the universe should come to a halt. At that point the universe, due to the force of gravity, should begin to collapse again back into the central point of the big bang. Through the use of technology that monitors a phenomenon called 'Cosmic Background Radiation' – which is believed to be the microwave radiation caused by the initial big bang – it is possible to map the fact that there are sequential outward rings of CBR emanating outwards into space from that same initial point of the big bang. The only reasonable course of understanding then is that there have been multiple big bang events through the history of the universe giving ground to the theory of expansion and collapse as governed by big bang/gravity cycles.
The adept reader should now already start to understand the relationship between this observable science and the mathematical basis of statistical opportunity as depicted in principal one.
PRINCIPAL 5: CHAOS THEORY AND IT'S IMPLICATIONS
Chaos theory has one essential principal that underpins it's mathematical model: in a dynamic system (one where there are multiple interacting components and the present state of the system is dependent on the previous state of the system) there is an observation known as sensitive dependence – that is to say that a subtle change in the initial parameters can have a massive impact on the ultimate outcome of the system. We have all heard the theory about “a butterfly flaps it's wings in Toronto and there will be a tornado in Texas” because the input of energy from the butterfly could have been just enough to tip the balance in a system of weather whereby a tornado would or would not have occurred. It can also be expressed in the “Back to the Future” analogy whereby if you go back in the past and change some subtle thing then the flow on effects could be far greater than subtle. The implication of the chaos theory to this doctrine is that I take it for granted that:
1. The universe is composed of energy
2. Energy can be configured to create systems
3. Energy will interact upon other energy
4. A subtle change in the configuration of energy at any point in the universe can have a dramatic effect on the ultimate result of the universe (perhaps during that and subsequent iterations.)
THE ARGUMENT OF ATHEIST AFTERLIFE
1. The universe is composed of energy.
2. The universe if iterating against cycles of big bang and gravitational collapse – the nature of which may potentially be infinite.
3. Human life exists as a result of the abundance of statistical opportunity within such an expanse.
4. The nature of human life is a configuration of matter and energy = energy.
5. Chaotic 'swirling', interactions and combinations of energy in the universe will a lead to infinite combinations of life throughout time.
6. If the mechanics of human life, both collective and individual could occur at one point in time than surely given infinite statistical opportunity those same structures could present themselves again.
7. If a human being dies in this iteration of the universe, he or she may be resurrected in a situation where that human being does not die in the different iteration of the universe.
8. Human aging may eventually be reversed (perhaps the weakest of my premises, although I do not seek to argue it based on current scientific evidence.)
9. Subsequently: All human beings are immortal.
Controversial!
Revolutionary!
I assure the reader that I am not going to go into a discussion about the ethical and philosophical resultants of this particular form of belief. I only state that according to the governance of both observational science and logical argumentation that such a belief is not absurd but in reality it can be supported quite heartily! Should the reader consider this as an incitement that their life has no value? Should the reader consider that this is a blessing and a relief? Should the reader dispute completely the basis of the premise or the style or argumentation within this doctrine? Again, these are all debates which belong in another book. I hope you have enjoyed reading this document and I look forward to all comments and opinions.
REFERENCES
Cosmic Background Radiation:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1338818/First-evidence-universes-exist-alongside-discovered.html
http://www.livescience.com/15530-multiverse-universe-eternal-inflation-test.html
http://news.discovery.com/space/cosmic-rebirth-encoded-in-background-radiation.html
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