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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Desert Journal 1 -- Tower of Knowledge

ToB = Tower of Babel

Returning to the ToB story I note a few things, that humans when acting and thinking in concert have unlimited potential, so much so that God saw the ultimate implications, humans could "become like gods", yet without being God. They were reaching beyond their pale. Of interest is the word pale, in former usage it was a "stake or pointed piece of wood" as used in fencing, a paled fence. So beyond the pale is to venture outside the fence. As I read in ToB God had not set the fencing as yet, but now could see the need for fencing, for humans were indeed created in the image of God, so too could "become like gods." The "thinking in concert" of the ToB story is a common language. With a common language the single human mind can work in parallel with countless human minds, and like multiple computer CPUs working in parallel, former problems of infinite complexity are reduced to countable problems of manageable solvability. Now what does the ToB story have to do with computers and science? The commonality of the language of science. Science is not dependent on language. Science is dependent on a method, the scientific method -- the accepted techniques of observation, description, prediction (hypothesis), testing hypothesis by experimentation, adjusting hypothesis to fit results of experimentation and observation, and repetition of experimenting and adjustment of hypothesis until experiment and hypothesis match, at which time hypothesis becomes a theory. Theory equals observations explained and predictions made. So what does all this mean? It mean that we humans are constructing our ToB with bricks of theory. Each new theory a new brick increasing our Tower of Knowledge, this new tower too reaching for heaven, reaching to unlock the secrets that have until now forever been beyond the pale. We have broken through the fence, thinking the fence an offense, keeping us human, keeping us forever in mystery, but now, outside the fence, how long will it take for us to shed this humanness, this humanness that has kept us since the dawn of ages in mystery. And what will this new world without mystery reveal?

Matt 13:13-15  “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. “And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’

2 comments:

Lucy said...

And yet with the edifice of science and technology we have created, we cannot speak to each other in overall common terms, a common language; we have created an intelligence which is only ever understood in parts, no one understands the whole. This is at once wonderful and terrifying.

You got back from the desert sooner than I expected.

Bro. Bartleby said...

Actually, never out of the desert, but back from the solitary trek for the body to heal, then I'll set forth again. In the desert this is the beginning of the sally forth season, when one can hike about without the constant blazing reminder of death in the parched air.