### Tuesday, August 28, 2007

## Religion

It is necessary to have a religion because to "tell the truth" we would have to describe the history of the universe every time we said anything. What we do is talk in terms of abstractions, and the particular way we create our abstractions implies a set of beliefs and values that implicitly define a religion. The most effective kind of religion is produced by the method we call "science" which tries to be consistent with our objective experiences, consistent with itself, and not parochial. A particularly useful technique is mathematics, because it is self-consistent and not parochial in itself, so it is merely necessary to find a mathematical structure that is consistent with some collection of objective observations. It is even better if the mathematical description of a particular set of objective observations is consistent with the mathematical description of other sets of objective observations that describe similar phenomena.

It has always to be remembered that observations that can be defined by a label containing a finite amount of information (say a description couched in a finite number of words) is an abstraction, an incomplete designation for the observed phenomenon that is "good enough for practical purposes" but isn't the complete designator that God might use. Those kinds of observations can be gathered into sets that are "the same for all practical purposes" even if they are unique in terms of their placement in the history of the universe as seen by God. That kind of editing out of details that may not be equally shared by the membership of the set allows us to describe the actions of members of a set of things that are "the same" that ignore their individuality.

It has always to be remembered that observations that can be defined by a label containing a finite amount of information (say a description couched in a finite number of words) is an abstraction, an incomplete designation for the observed phenomenon that is "good enough for practical purposes" but isn't the complete designator that God might use. Those kinds of observations can be gathered into sets that are "the same for all practical purposes" even if they are unique in terms of their placement in the history of the universe as seen by God. That kind of editing out of details that may not be equally shared by the membership of the set allows us to describe the actions of members of a set of things that are "the same" that ignore their individuality.