Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Fundamental Nature of Reality (Pt. II)

A few days ago we talked about Andrew Briggs' essay on the ultimate basis of reality at Big Questions Online. In the course of this piece Briggs says this:
One of the biggest questions anyone can ask is what happens after I die? Answers range from annihilation to reincarnation or some nirvana-like state. For those who have confidence in the evidence of the resurrection, the concept of information may offer insights into how the self endures. It will not be in the same body, which decays following death, but neither will it be disembodied. In some way information may give continuity to the reality of a person after death.
If we assume theism is true Briggs could be on to something. Could it be that a person's soul is not some ethereal substance within us, nor is it identical to our minds as many philosophers have thought, but could it rather be information? Seen this way the soul is a complete description of who we are. It's not a substance at all but rather it's every true proposition about us. It's an exhaustive description of our personality, our character, our personal history, our hopes and dreams, virtues and vices. If so, then it's data and just as data is stored in a database perhaps the data that describes us is stored in the database that is the mind of God.

In other words, our soul is our essence in the form of information, and since it's stored in the mind of the Creator it's eternal and indestructible (unless God presses the "delete button").

Perhaps, too, when this body falls victim to physical death the information which describes us is "downloaded" into another body of some sort in another dimension or another world. Just as the information contained in computer software cannot function apart from the hardware of the computer perhaps our soul needs the physical hardware of a body to enable it to express itself.

At any rate, if the fundamental "substance" of the world is information then the ultimate reality is very likely mind, and if that's so then the universe could well be infused with purpose, design, and personality. This seems to be looking more and more probable, and materialism appears to be looking less and less likely, with every passing year.

That Promise Didn't Last Long

At the Democratic nominating convention last week President Obama promised, to the cheers of the delegates, that he would never do what Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has proposed to do and turn Medicare into a voucher program:
But no sooner was the convention adjourned than the president seems to have done exactly what he said he wouldn't do. His Department of Health and Human Services launched a pilot program that would force seniors eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid into Medicaid and put them on a voucher program. Here are some highlights from the National Journal article on HHS program:
In his convention speech in Charlotte, President Obama vowed to block the Republican Medicare reform plan because “no American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.”

But back in Washington, his Health and Human Services Department is launching a pilot program that would shift up to 2 million of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance plans overseen by the states.

About 40 percent of Medicaid’s costs go toward patients who are also eligible for Medicare. Advocates of the pilot program also say it could lead to better coordination of care for patients who often struggle to navigate the two different programs.

Still, there is powerful opposition to the pilots among doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, patient groups, and key lawmakers, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who wrote the provision in the health law that created the office in charge of the pilot program.

“I urge you to take immediate steps to halt this initiative as currently structured and to take the time necessary to develop a well-designed and thoroughly evaluated care coordination model for dual eligibles that meets the standards outlined in the law,” Rockefeller wrote in a letter to HHS.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, a group of experts who advise Congress on Medicare policy, has also weighed in with an 11-page letter to HHS, warning that the speed and scope of the program raised questions about whether patients would receive the care they need.

Scott Gottlieb, a former health official in President George W. Bush’s administration, called the program “immoral.”

“Why are we taking the duals, who are entitled to Medicare benefits, and moving them into Medicaid?” asked Gottlieb, now a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. The Medicare reform plan championed by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, would encourage more seniors to move into managed-care plans by giving them vouchers to purchase insurance. The idea is to create a marketplace that would compete with traditional Medicare for customers.

Obama has repeatedly warned that this approach would lead to the demise of traditional Medicare, one of the most popular government programs. He has also attacked Romney’s proposal to give states fixed sums to care for Medicaid patients, a change from the current system in which the federal government matches a portion of state spending.
Like a master magician, President Obama leads us to think that he's determined to do one thing while he's in fact doing the opposite. Meanwhile, a servile media does nothing to call him to account for the deception and much of the electorate is bamboozled by it.