nicolas stagliano

// adept jibber-jabberer //


Determinism, Entropy, Noumena

Nicolas Stagliano | February 3rd, 2023


I’m trying to figure out if I have an opinion on determinism and entropy. I have thoughts, but an end-all judgement eludes me. (Determinism is the idea that events are predetermined because the vectors of the universe are ultimately observable and calculable, even if we will never reach that point. Entropic is the idea that enough randomness exists in any given closed system to prevent anything from being deterministic.) The idea of determinism is pretty well encapsulated in many of Sherlock’s soliloquys in the BBC Sherlock show that was a thing in like 2016. In the show, Sherlock monologues about his idea that if someone could know the vector of every single electron and the superposition of every quark, one could know everything that will ever happen.

There is this idea that the universe is entropic to the point of being inherently nondeterministic. Enough randomness (or “entropy”) exists for determinism to be impossible to quantify. I don’t care about various subtleties of arguments and boil it down to the fundamental base argument: is the universe a deterministic system?

In Judeo-Christian (or really monotheistic) ideology, the idea that God is both omnipresent and omniscient equates to the idea that God knows the vector of every electron and every quark. If such an entity (God) exists, it necessitates that the entire universe is a deterministic system. This begs the question — if God is outside of the universe, does this make the universe a closed system? If you know the vector of every variable, does this negate entropy? Strictly hypothetically, if this entity stopped observing the vectors, but once took a snapshot at any given point in time, will that entity be able to predict every single past and future vector, superposition, and energy state of each electron and quark?

The real question lies in perspective. If humans deem the entropy too vast to be calculable by mortal minds, but God is the sole entity that sees the universe as deterministic, does this mean that it is simultaneously too entropic to be deterministic but also, to the observer entity (God), inherently deterministic?

Is there a strict dichotomy between the two, or can both exist at once? Strictly a priori the answer to this question is inherently unknowable until we reach Stephen Hawking’s “ultimate triumph of human reason and (in which) we will know the mind of God.” I don’t think this can happen. The universe is too entropic for human minds to ever create Hawking’s Universal Equation.

The dichotomy between divine and base

The idea that the “passions of this world” are dirty, vile, base, and sinful is a fundamental doctrine in Christianity in all sects. Christian ascetism, “mortification of the flesh”, “denial of the passions”, self flagellating “decomposition of the ego and in substitution surrendering one’s body and soul to the “noumenal, perfect, unflawed divine. The idea that there is a “noumenal” divine and a “base” passions are vile. Ultimately, it is complete denial of one’s own humanity. “Put to death the ways of the flesh so that you may be as Christ.”

When I say “noumenon”, what I mean is a realm or entity that exists outside of empirical reality, and is “completely without blemish”

Nietzsche might have been right when he wrote “trying to find the noumenon is complete bullshit. Christianity is no longer necessary for society to remain cohesive, let’s throw out the idea of a noumenon and let the will to power in substitution overthrow both the base passions and the inherent need for the noumenal.” (heavy heavy heavy paraphrase).

Christianity and human spirituality

I consider myself a Christian, but I don’t know to what degree I would be considered a “Christian” by an ardent Christian deeply entrenched in inerrancy and infallibility, or to what degree such a person would consider me agnostic. I find that I still pray. If the universe is indeed observed by an omniscient and omnipresent entity, my prayers will find my way to Him or It. Victor Hugo is where that thought originates I think, or at the very least that is where I got it from.

So many questions. No answers until we become God.

A problem I’ve been wrestling through with this is the flagrant ardency to which my teenage Judeo-Christian influence and early-adult pseudo-Catholicism falls into play here. I am neither of those things anymore. I still believe in the Christian God because I’m terrified not to, and I still remain an apologist in that I believe in the idea of God’s omnipresence or the “holy spirit”. The reason why is profoundly logically unsatisfying; “faith”. It almost disgusts me, and if anything it’s causing me a great deal of cognitive dissonance. Where is the boundary between entropic human subjection and the divine, noumenal determinist? The hand of humanity weights heavy on whatever noumena that exists, the tint and taint of human perception embedded within the “sacred texts” our civilizations hold dear.

I’m not strictly talking about the Christian Bible because, although I am not disputing any noumenal nature of the text, there is this claimed idea that there is some degree noumena wherever human spirituality can be found. In western civilization and ultimately the majority of the humanity as a whole, this is Judeo-Christian, but much of the world is deeply antithetical to these values. Is there no truth in the antithetical worldview? What about monotheistic traditions such as Islam?

No answers. Only questions.


back to blog
back to home page