Saturday, October 25, 2014

"But it Fits!' Douglas Adams' puddle and Ken Ham's creationism. How it all 'fits'! My latest blog post at CFI here.

"But it Fits!' Douglas Adams' puddle and Ken Ham's creationism. How it all 'fits'! My latest blog post at CFI here.

28 comments:

Paul Vasquez said...

The link doesn't seem to be working.

daz365 said...

Here.

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/but_it_fits/

Fergus Gallagher said...

I seem to remember (was it from "Unbelievable"?) that you were once very dismissive of Adam's puddle.

Has your position changed?

Lexikon-Duff said...

Thx for that post Professor Law. Is there somehow a external reference that says that this is your personal blog? The thing is, I want to add a critical section of William Lane Craig in his article, but some editors on Wikipedia refuse to accept your blog as a source which I find ridiculous. But if you can provide any other reference, maybe that would count.

Paul P. Mealing said...

HI Stephen,

I know this was a while ago, but it had me thinking that people use this argument against evolution as well, in that they claim the evidence 'fits'.

In other words, we (evolutionists, scientists, philosophers - I'm none of the above, academically) argue that all the evidence we've gained through genetics, fossils and DNA since Darwin and Wallace proposed their theory of evolution by natural selection has only reinforced their theory. Therefore the evidence 'fits'.

The point to be made, though, is that the evidence in this case is not neutral - the evidence that has proved Darwin and Wallace correct could equally have proved them wrong. Very important point.

Regards, Paul.

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L.Long said...

Hi ALL:
"The point to be made, though, is that the evidence in this case is not neutral - the evidence that has proved Darwin and Wallace correct could equally have proved them wrong. Very important point."
That is not only the point it is the most important point. And the main problem with the gawd-bots as they keep changing the rules on their gawd so as to NEVER disprove him, once that is done you can be certain you are hip deep in BS.

Philolinguist said...

There is an alternative scientific hypothesis that fits the evidence as well, if not better, than the theory of evolution. But it raises disquieting questions.

In A Brief History of Time, pp. 140-1, Stephen Hawking raised the possibility that we live in a closed universe. A closed universe is one in which space-time curves in on itself, like the surface of a sphere.

In such a universe, if a space probe travels in a straight line for long enough, it will eventually arrive back where it started (though it would take billions of years).

Correspondingly, on this theory, if a time capsule is buried on Earth, and both survive long enough (billions of years), the capsule can be dug up by the very same people who buried it, but it will be billions of years old (the reason we don't thereby find human artifacts that are billions of years old is because they don't survive long enough, or because the Earth isn't old enough, to make the full journey back to the present. Having said that, google 'out-of-place artifacts').

Now the disquieting prospect. The modern computer was invented sometime in the 1940s. In consisted of a program, which carried instructions in the form of binary code, which in turn determined the operations of the machine. In the 1950s, the mathematician Jon von Neumann proposed the idea of a self-replicating machine, which would make copies of itself based on a digital code.

Living cells are self-replicating machines that make copies of themselves based on a digital code, called DNA. Here's how a computer programmer describes DNA, "The language of DNA is digital, but not binary. Where binary encoding has 0 and 1 to work with ... DNA has 4 positions, T, C, G and A." He goes on to list the uncanny similarities between DNA and computer code here: http://ds9a.nl/amazing-dna/

Bearing in mind that we're talking billions of years, I'll leave the rest to the imagination of science-fiction writers.

Philolinguist said...

BTW, here's an entertaining 10-minute video that explains the von Neumann machine:

http://youtu.be/IGz6nNv5pSc

Philip Rand said...

The implication in fact Philolinguist is that the 4 positions of DNA, T,C,G and A is a simple rule that DNA follows...like the low order coding that higher order coding operates on in a computer...(in truth one can think of even non-biological structure like this, i.e. a rock.

i.e. DNA does calculations like a computer following this simple rule that leads to complexity.

It is the simple rule that creates complexity.

Now the real question is this...

Can these "calculations" be classed as a form of "intelligence"...like a computer?

And if that is the case...can the Universe be classed as intelligent?

Adzcliff said...

I'm not sure DNA 'does' calculations. Surely DNA 'is' calculations if anything...

Philolinguist said...

If we make the following assumptions:
i) This is a closed universe.
ii) There is intelligent life now (us homo sapiens, at least?).
iii) Intelligent life can only arise from, or be created by, other intelligent life.
:- It follows that there is intelligent life that exists eternally. That is one of the attributes of God.

iii) is a sticky point for Darwinians, but is consistent with what we can observe directly. On the other hand, Darwinianism has produced insufficient evidence to conclusively falsify iii) (evidence such as an actual experiment showing intelligent life arising from non-life through purely non-intelligent processes).

BTW, here's the relevant quote on the closed universe from Hawking's A Brief History of Time:

"In the classical theory of gravity, which is based on real space-time, there are only two possible ways the universe can behave: either it has existed for an infinite time, or else it had a beginning at a singularity at some finite time in the past. In the quantum theory of gravity, on the other hand, a third possibility arises. Because one is using Euclidean space-times, in which the time direction is on the same footing as directions in space, it is possible for space-time to be finite in extent and yet to have no singularities that formed a boundary or edge. Space-time would be like the surface of the earth, only with two more dimensions. The surface of the earth is finite in extent but it doesn’t have a boundary or edge: if you sail off into the sunset, you don’t fall off the edge or run into a singularity."

Hawking assumed that this leaves God out of the picture, because there is no temporal point of creation in a closed universe; but that assumption hangs on a very specific and literal (some might say anthropomorphic) interpretation of 'God' and 'creation'.

Philolinguist said...

BTW, here's an accurate CGI video of the molecular machinery of DNA. Bear in mind this was probably happening in the earliest organisms we know of, cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), which gave the Earth it's oxygen 3.5 billion years ago.

http://www.tubechop.com/watch/4276019

daz365 said...

Philolinguist said..
iii) Intelligent life can only arise from, or be created by, other intelligent life.
:- It follows that there is intelligent life that exists eternally. That is one of the attributes of God.

iii) is a sticky point for Darwinians, but is consistent with what we can observe directly. On the other hand, Darwinianism has produced insufficient evidence to conclusively falsify iii) (evidence such as an actual experiment showing intelligent life arising from non-life through purely non-intelligent processes).



Actually you're wrong. Darwinian evolution doesn't care about Abiogenesis. Evolution would be true with or without it, but the whole life from life thing is a logical fallacy anyway.

If god created life and life only comes from life, that would mean that god was alive. in which case he would have to have been created from a previous living being.

If god is not alive then life does not only come from life and we are back to square one.

Finally there is no need to falsify the assertion that life can only come from life because it is a classic argument from ignorance.
i.e. I can't think of a way for life to come about spontaneously, therefore it cannot.

Philolinguist said...

daz365 said... "If god created life and life only comes from life, that would mean that god was alive. in which case he would have to have been created from a previous living being."

You missed my point, which is that if i) to iii) is true, then there would be an unbroken chain of intelligence that is constantly begetting or re-creating itself. So in that sense, the unbroken chain is an eternally existing intelligence, which is one of the attributes of God.

Strictly speaking, that attribute belongs to the intelligence itself (or 'software', if you like) rather than the matter in which it is embodied (the 'hardware').

daz365 said... "Finally there is no need to falsify the assertion that life can only come from life because it is a classic argument from ignorance. i.e. I can't think of a way for life to come about spontaneously, therefore it cannot."

I wasn't arguing that life can only come from life (btw, I actually said 'intelligence', which is a different category, not 'life'). I mentioned that if we accept iii) along with the other premises, then the conclusion follows.

I also mentioned that the negation of iii) has not been demonstrated by direct observation. Every example of intelligence we know, natural or artificial, accords with iii). It doesn't follow that the negation of iii) is impossible, only that it has yet to be demonstrated.

Finally, on your point about evolution being true even without abiogenesis, I won't re-hash the arguments for directed evolution. If you're interested, do your own research. As a starting point, I'd recommend Michael Denton's book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

daz365 said...

Philolinguist said “You missed my point, which is that if i) to iii) is true...”
I got your point, but I do not see any reason to accept iii) and as I pointed out it is a logical fallacy.

Philolinguist said “Finally, on your point about evolution being true even without abiogenesis, I won't re-hash the arguments for directed evolution. If you're interested, do your own research. As a starting point, I'd recommend Michael Denton's book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.”

You won’t need to rehash any arguments because without evidence they are worthless, and that is what you are lacking.
It explains a lot that you are getting your ideas from ID and creationist kooks like Denton. His book has been widely debunked by mainstream science and even Denton himself contradicts most of it in his next book.
Evolution by natural selection is a fact and if the ID crowd want to rock the boat they need to start producing some science.

Philolinguist said...

daz365 said..."Evolution by natural selection is a fact and if the ID crowd want to rock the boat they need to start producing some science"

If Darwinian evolution is a fact, why did Stephen Jay Gould (Professor of Zoology, Harvard) admit there's little empirical evidence for it?

"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persist as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils … .We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study." - Stephen J. Gould - "Evolution's Erratic Pace," Natural History, vol. 86 (May 1987), p. 14.

He claimed that the fault lies in the rarity of fossilization:

"The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps."

Gould, S. J. 1980. "The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change" in The Panda's Thumb, pp. 179-185. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

However, he didn't seem to think this a good enough excuse, because he goes on to reject gradualism altogether:

"I count myself among the evolutionists who argue for a jerky, or episodic, rather than a smoothly gradual, pace of change. In 1972 my colleague Niles Eldredge and I developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium. We argued that two outstanding facts of the fossil record -- geologically "sudden" origin of new species and failure to change thereafter (stasis) -- reflect the predictions of evolutionary theory, not the imperfections of the fossil record. In most theories, small isolated populations are the source of new species, and the process of speciation takes thousands or tens of thousands of years. This amount of time, so long when measured against our lives, is a geological microsecond . . ."

- Gould, Stephen Jay 1983. "Evolution as Fact and Theory" in Hens Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., p. 258-260

That looks a lot like straining a gnat to swallow a camel. To preserve some vestige of Darwinism, Gould says it just takes a few thousand years to turn one species into a quite different one. Funny how we can't replicate that dramatic transformation with fruit flies, that produce a new generation every few days (and we've tried).

'Uncooperative Fruit Flies Refuse to Speciate in Laboratory Experiments'
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/01/uncooperative_f055311.html

And we've been breeding dogs for at least 10,000 years. No dramatic changes there, a chihuahua is structurally identical to the ancestral wolf.

daz365 said...

Stephen J gould ? really? I never cease to be amazed at the level of dishonesty you and your creationist pseudoscience buddies will stoop to.

This nonsense has been refuted many times but like climate change deniers you just keep repeating the same old crap. You’ve even quote mined Gould’s refutation of your first quote mine. I’ve seen all of these quote mines before and I can tell by the faulty references that they are lifted straight from a creationist website, which means you probably haven’t read or understood any of it.

Gould's refutation.

“transitions are often found in the fossil record. Preserved transitions are not common -- and should not be, according to our understanding of evolution (see next section) but they are not entirely wanting, as creationists often claim. [He then discusses two examples: therapsid intermediaries between reptiles and mammals, and the half-dozen human species - found as of 1981 - that appear in an unbroken temporal sequence of progressively more modern features.]
Faced with these facts of evolution and the philosophical bankruptcy of their own position, creationists rely upon distortion and innuendo to buttress their rhetorical claim. If I sound sharp or bitter, indeed I am -- for I have become a major target of these practices.
I count myself among the evolutionists who argue for a jerky, or episodic, rather than a smoothly gradual, pace of change. In 1972 my colleague Niles Eldredge and I developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium. We argued that two outstanding facts of the fossil record -- geologically "sudden" origin of new species and failure to change thereafter (stasis) -- reflect the predictions of evolutionary theory, not the imperfections of the fossil record. In most theories, small isolated populations are the source of new species, and the process of speciation takes thousands or tens of thousands of years. This amount of time, so long when measured against our lives, is a geological microsecond . . .
Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists -- whether through design or stupidity, I do not know -- as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”
- Gould, Stephen Jay 1983. "Evolution as Fact and Theory" in Hens Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., p. 258-260.
Gould, in this article and many more over the next twenty years, consistently and extensively explained his position and the evidence for evolution, including transitional forms found in the fossil record. The constant abuse of the body of Gould's life's work in the face of this is not merely dishonest, it is despicable.

- John (catshark) Pieret

Richard Dawkins writes:

It is a "minor gloss," an "interesting but minor wrinkle on the surface of neo-Darwinian theory," and "lies firmly within the neo-Darwinian synthesis
Dawkins, Richard (1996). The Blind Watchmaker, p. 251.

Gould’s “punctuated equilibrium” or theory of evolution by jerks as it’s otherwise known is an argument within Darwinian evolution, not against it. It doesn’t help the creationist argument one bit, because if Gould was claiming speciation in a thousand years and that turned out to be impossible, then he would simply be wrong. So what? That why science depends on results not personality.

Philolinguist said...

daz365 said..."I can tell by the faulty references that they are lifted straight from a creationist website, which means you probably haven’t read or understood any of it."

Actually, they're from a pro-evolution website, talkorigins.org, probably the same page you lifted your own Gould quote from (It was the weakness of the pro-evolution arguments that reinforced my doubts about Darwinism):
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part3.html

As for the purported examples of transitional forms cited by evolutionists, they are far fewer than Darwinism predicts. As Gould (and several other experts) acknowledge, this gives us reason to doubt that evolution generally proceeds by way of gradual transitions.

"I regard the failure to find a clear ‘vector of progress’ in life’s history as the most puzzling fact of the fossil record." - S.J. Gould, The Ediacaran Experiment, Natural History 93(2):14–23, Feb. 1984.

Gould should know, since he went out of his way to look for gradualism:

"The paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould studied lakes in East Africa and on Caribbean islands looking for Darwin’s gradual change from one species of trilobite or snail to another. What they found was lots of back-and-forth variation in the population and then—whoop—a whole new species. There is no gradualism in the fossil record." - Lynn Margulis (University Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst), interviewed by Dick Teresi, Friday, June 17, 2011.
http://discovermagazine.com/2011/apr/16-interview-lynn-margulis-not-controversial-right

Gradual transitions undeniably occur (so don't bother citing more candidates), but they are bounded by genetic limits to change (hence our failure to breed a radically new species of fruit-fly, dog, etc, despite thousands of years or its fruit-fly equivalent).

"The laws of genetics showed stasis, not change." - Lynn Margulis, op cit.

Such genetic limits cast doubt on the 'transitional' status of fossils between radically different species, such as dinosaurs and birds. The only way we know to produce a radically new organism is genetic engineering.

"I will lay it on the line — there is not one such ['transitional'] fossil for which one could make a watertight argument. The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record ... It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way to put them to the test." - C. Patterson (senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History), letter to Luther D. Sunderland, 10 April 1979, as published in Darwin’s Enigma (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 4th ed. 1988), p. 89.

The gap problem was serious enough that Gould was willing to stake his reputation by coming up with the controversial and unrealistic punctuated equilibrium theory to explain it. He clearly didn't think the rarity of fossilization was a good enough reason for the gap.

And he's right, since 97.7 percent of living orders of land vertebrates are represented as fossils, and 87.8 percent of living families of land vertebrates excluding birds. - M. Denton, Evolution, a Theory in Crisis (Chevy Chase, MD: Adler & Adler, 1985), p. 190.

"In the fossil record you get nearly all the major types of animals." - Lynn Margulis, op cit.

daz365 said..."if Gould was claiming speciation in a thousand years and that turned out to be impossible, then he would simply be wrong. So what?"

Gould came up with his theory because there is no evidence for gradualism as a general feature of evolution. So if he's wrong, then there's no Darwinian evolution, gradual or punctuated. Evolution has to proceed some other way, not merely through random mutation and natural selection.

daz365 said...

You're either stupid or dishonest and I'm not really sure which. Every point in your post is answered in the one to which you are replying.

Philolinguist said...As for the purported examples of transitional forms cited by evolutionists, they are far fewer than Darwinism predicts. As Gould (and several other experts) acknowledge...



"Preserved transitions are not common -- and should not be, according to our understanding of evolution" Gould.

Philolinguist said...The gap problem was serious enough that Gould was willing to stake his reputation by coming up with the controversial and unrealistic punctuated equilibrium theory to explain it.

No punctuated equilibrium is not controversial and unrealistic but as dawkins writes (in post you are replying to) "interesting but minor wrinkle on the surface of neo-Darwinian theory," and "lies firmly within the neo-Darwinian synthesis.


That's that problem with discussing science with deniers I'm not only having to repeat tired old arguments that have already been decided, and yes make no mistake, nothing you are saying has made it through to mainstream science. But I'm even forced to repeat parts of my posts that you have ignored.


Philolinguist said...Actually, they're from a pro-evolution website, talkorigins.org......


So you lifted Gould's quotes from a page that lists all the Quote mines that creationists use and refutes them all and you think that's an honest and intelligent way to debate?

Philolinguist said...Gould came up with his theory because there is no evidence for gradualism as a general feature of evolution. So if he's wrong, then there's no Darwinian evolution, gradual or punctuated.

No that a false dilemma. Gould came up with his theory because he thought it best fitted his interpretation of the fossil record. an interpretation which others disagree with.

Dawkins has an entire chapter about Gould and PE in "The blind watchmaker (which I also quoted in the previous post)which explains all the misconceptions that you're trying to hang your god onto.

"What needs to be said now, loud and clear,is the truth: that the theory of punctuated equilibrium lies firmly within the neo-Darwinian synthesis. It always did. It will take time to undo the damage wrought by the overblown rhetoric, but it will be undone. The theory of punctuated equilibrium will come to be seen in proportion, as an interesting but minor wrinkle on the surface of neo-Darwinian theory.

The blind watchmaker.Puncturing puncuationism. chapter 9. Page 251

Philolinguist said...

daz365 said..."You're either stupid or dishonest and I'm not really sure which. Every point in your post is answered in the one to which you are replying."

I don't approve of ad hominems, and prefer not to engage anyone who uses them. You clearly didn't understand much of what I said, so I don't see merit in adding to your confusion. I've made my point, and anyone who's genuinely interested can do their own research.

daz365 said...

So we can chalk up the Ad Hominem fallacy as something else which you do not understand.

The fact that your quote-mining techniques are transparent and dishonest is just a fact.

I suppose you had to find some way of backing out.

Yes, some will do research others will just pick at the research of others and claim goddidit.

= MJA said...

The Evolution Of a Puddle
Imagine a puddle that fits perfectly in a hole, the sun comes up for a brand new day, and a child wakes and heads off to school. He finds the perfect puddle along the the way and says "let me show you how I fit in this world" SPLASH! and the perfect puddle is gone. =

Philolinguist said...

BTW, here's a summary of the Cyclic Universe theory:

"The Cyclic Theory agrees that there was some violent event 14 billion years ago – we still call it a "big bang" – but this was not the beginning of space and time. The key events causing the creation of matter, radiation, galaxies and stars occurred billions of years before the bang. Furthermore, there was not just one bang. The evolution of the universe is cyclic with big bangs occurring once every trillion years or so, each one accompanied by the creation of new matter and radiation that forms new galaxies, stars, planets, and presumably life. Ours is only the most recent cycle." -http://www.physics.princeton.edu/~steinh/endlessuniverse/askauthors.html

The billion-dollar question is whether anything was done by intelligences in the previous universe that configured the subsequent big bang to produce a specific outcome in the next universe.

Contrary to popular opinion, the consensus amongst astronomers is that this universe began in a highly ordered state (by the 2nd law of thermodynamics, things get more disordered from past to future, so the past was more ordered than the present).

That is explained by Roger Penrose (Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford, who also advocates the Cyclic Theory) in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEIj9zcLzp0&feature=youtu.be&t=4m23s

Excerpts: "Of those ten numbers [which determine the geometry of the universe], one of them ... is something which isn't determined by the universe ... [The Big Bang was] highly organized, highly ordered, this is an observational fact ... At the Big Bang, you had an extraordinarily organized state, and the puzzle is why was that initial state of the universe ... so highly organized [Interviewer: "It almost prompts the question, who organized it?"] ... One can even give a figure as to how organized this is ... the degree of 'specialness' can be measured in 1 part in ... at least 10 to the power of 123. That's an absolutely ridiculously huge number. How did the universe start off in such an extraordinarily special state? None of the theories that I've seen explain that."

On the Cyclic Theory, that organized state would require an explanation, because we can't just say, "Well, that's how it began," because it didn't begin that way. Any theory of the entire cycle would be incomplete without an explanation for its structure at every stage.

The Cyclic Theory is testable, because it makes measurable predictions about gravity waves that could be detected by the right equipment (probably satellites). - Latham A. Boyle, et al, 'The Cosmic Gravitational-Wave Background in a Cyclic Universe' http://physics.princeton.edu/~steinh/grav1.pdf

Results from the latest Planck satellite are so far inconclusive, so more results will have to await further analysis of the Planck data, or the launch of more satellites such as the European LISA.
- http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gravitational-wave-discovery-looks-doubtful-in-new-analysis/

Philolinguist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Philolinguist said...

One more thing. If the cyclic universe theory is true, the 2nd Law of thermodynamics doesn't apply for all time. At some point in the history of the universe/s, the law will be reversed. Could living organisms be one sign of that? -
Granville Sewell (Professor of Mathematics, the University of Texas, El Paso)
'Evolution is a Natural Process Running Backward'
http://youtu.be/259r-iDckjQ

Sewell's article:'Entropy and Evolution'
http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/70

Philolinguist said...

Further to my earlier comments, I should clarify that there are at least two competing versions of the 'circular universe' hypothesis. One is the 'cyclic' model, in which the universe goes from Big Bang to Big Crunch, which then becomes the next Big Bang, ad infinitum (as advocated by Roger Penrose).

The second hypothesis is the 'steady state' model, in which there is no Big Bang/Crunch. Instead, the universe remains a finite size forever (as proposed by Fred Boyle). One recent version of the 'steady state' hypothesis is described here: [http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html]. Not all versions of the 'steady state' theory assume circular space-time.

If the universe is 'steady state', and space-time is circular, then it would be possible for things we do now to affect our own past, in a straightforward recurring causal loop. Circular time was the dominant paradigm in all major civilizations until the relatively recent past. This video illustrates the idea succinctly:
http://www.tubechop.com/watch/4817678

As I explained earlier, circular time would entail that if a) there is intelligence now, and b) intelligence can only be begotten or created by other intelligence, then c) there has always been intelligence, eternally existing, begetting or (artificially) creating itself in various forms (there may be a big difference between those three categories of intelligence. Perhaps only the first two have 'consciousness').

I found a video on YouTube that illustrates this hypothesis, but I wouldn't recommend watching it before bedtime (you'll understand why when you watch the video):P
http://www.tubechop.com/watch/4817374

Philolinguist said...

The circular time paradigm also offers a simple solution to the problem of solipsism in monistic idealism. Monistic idealism (in which the universe is the consciousness of a single individual) obviates several thorny philosophical problems, e.g. the problem of the 'external world', the 'hard problem' of consciousness, and other difficulties presented by the materialist paradigm.

However, monistic idealism threatens to collapse into solipsism. One proposed way out is the 'multi-perspectival' approach, in which a single consciousness experiences the universe through multiple individuals simultaneously. But the multi-perspectival theory raises problems, around how a single consciousness can reconcile conflicts between the perspectives of different individuals.

In the circular time model, the exact same history of the universe is repeated ad infinitum (like an endless movie loop). In each cycle, the single consciousness can take on the perspective of a different individual in the universe.

This model doesn't collapse into solipsism; because if you take all the cycles together, there can be an infinite number of conscious beings, yet (in each cycle) the universe is experienced through only one of those beings (e.g. a particular frog, or Shakespeare).

Because the single consciousness takes on each of these perspectives in turn, rather than all at once, there is no problem of conflicting perspectives (imagine trying to experience the world as a frog and Shakespeare at the same time!).

Rather, the single consciousness (and indeed, the universe) is the totality of experience through all cycles, the cumulative 'great chain of being' from simple to more complex (hence the variety of conscious species, from mice to men). This impetus towards higher levels of consciousness is possibly the engine behind evolution.

It follows that monistic idealism need not commit one to the counter-intuitive belief that other individuals are not conscious, despite consciousness being necessarily restricted (by monistic idealism) to the first-person perspective, the 'I'. A different individual is conscious in each cycle, but since it is the same universe in each cycle (though viewed from a different perspective), it follows that (for all practical purposes) we have no reason to doubt that other beings in the same universe are also conscious.