David Birnbaum Philosophy

October 7, 2014


What Ignited our Cosmos?

Deductive v. Inductive approach

Traditional academics have tackled the origins and nature of the universe through deductive reasoning. Looking back in time, they study the nature of the universe as it is and as far back as they can, and deductively try to reason out its secrets and origin. They've never succeeded. Looking back in time as the sole path to discerning the secrets of cosmic origins is problematic; the approach ultimately breaks down. It is true that scientists can look back a long way; with the powerful telescopes of today, they can look back very close to the time of the Big Bang, ferreting out many cosmic secrets. But there's a problem with attempting to deploy that approach alone in tracking back to “the beginning.”

As you go back far enough, the very things which scientists measure begin to lose meaning. When approaching “the beginning” there are unavoidable issues. Indeed, the very word “beginning” loses meaning. In “the beginning” time did not exist. Indeed, matter as we know it did not exist either. Hence, the idea that science can look back all the way to and before the Big Bang through deductive reasoning is pretty much an exercise in futility.
Yeshiva and Harvard-educated David Birnbaum is a Manhattan-based private scholar who engages with these issues. His universe-theory has been featured globally. He employs both paths in-tandem. Since one cannot deduce the eternality of the cosmos simply (deductively) by working backwards in time, one must as well (inductively) start at “the beginning” and work forward.

Birnbaum, in parallel to the ancient Greek metaphysicists, simultaneously starts with a proposed Eternal Origin and works forward towards Theoretical Physics. Birnbaum audaciously wants to seamlessly connect the two, and he apparently succeeds. “Outsider” to the formal academic establishment Birnbaum de facto simultaneously solves the inter-related series of classic (hitherto intractable) problems which has vexed the “insider” academic community.

Now, in order to build a theory inductively, it is important to have a defined set of assumptions which the starting premise (the transcendent dynamic to be discovered) must fulfill. Birnbaum defines these criteria as follows: (1) The system must be elegant. (2) Such a system would most probably be ‘hidden in plain sight,’ as it must be pervasive and universal. (3) Its core dynamic/concept must effectively be eternal. (4) The core dynamic must have a force-multiplier aspect and be able to project and impact infinitely forward.

In 1982 at age thirty-two Birnbaum finally vectored onto the concept/theme/dynamic he had been seeking. It would satisfy all of the above just-noted four criteria. The breakthrough would ultimately herald a possible Intellectual Revolution of the first magnitude – with profound implications.

Birnbaum’s Theory of Potential would be the foundation of Summa Metaphysica – a treatise which would completely redefine current Universal Theory. Summa focuses on Birnbaum’s signature concept of Potential. To Birnbaum, Potential has many faces: Quest for Potential, Infinite Potential, Cosmic Womb of Potential and related. All are different facets of the same universal dynamic.

Birnbaum proposes that Quest for Potential (iterated and nested to the infinite power) ignited and drives the cosmic order. Does this proposal satisfy Birnbaum’s own four criteria?

(1) The proposal definitely satisfies the rule of elegance. The entry-point is simple: potential. But philosophically that simple statement has far reaching ramifications when examining the derivative conclusions this creates. If everything in the universe is pivoted on potential, we humans are potential in corporeal form.

(2) Its all-inclusiveness satisfies rule number two: It is indeed ‘hidden in plain sight’ by virtue of its own omnipresence and intangibility.

(3) Birnbaum daringly posits that Potential is eternal. Stated simply: We all exist; therefore, we all must have had the Potential to exist. Thus, the crucial “bullet proof” dimension of the theory: By definition, Potential is eternal. Its eternality is ultimately self-evident. Thus, its universal nature satisfies rule three as Potential is eternal – by definition.

(4) This Potentiality, when drawn to its logical conclusion, would encompass sub-creations (like humans) from these potentialities as well. Furthermore, what is currently in the universe carries the infinite potential for what can potentially be in the universe. Hence, Potential satisfies the fourth criteria as well.

Birnbaum took this simple, elegant theory and used it to tackle some of the most persistent questions in philosophy: Eternal Origins (his original question), Theogony (the existence and nature of the proposed divine), Theodicy (the problem of evil), Cosmology/Cosmogony (the origins and drive of the universe) and the Teleology Question (the purpose of respectively, both mankind and the universe).

The Manhattan author tackles all these issues in an exhaustive three-part treatise Summa Metaphysica I: Religious Man: God and Evil (Ktav1988); Summa Metaphysica II: Spiritual Man: God and Good (New Paradigm Matrix 2005); Summa Metaphysica III: Secular Man: The Transcendent Dynamic (New Paradigm Matrix 2014). See www.SummaMetaphysica.com.

While Birnbaum is a ‘universalist,’ avoiding judgment in the intense fundamentalist religious v. hard-line atheist argument, his work necessarily addresses these two sides. Unavoidably, Potential Theory provides (a) an eternal divine origin – infinite potential, (b) a scientific “design schema” (c) a scientific alternative to helter-skelter Randomness and (d) a functional theodicy (If God, why evil?) solution. Any one of the four components would be (fatally) radioactive to the entrenched hard-line Randomness-atheistic dogma. Summa shocks the atheistic ‘entrenched dogma’ in the academic community by serving-up all four solutions simultaneously – and via one term (potential).

First, Birnbaum has shown a trajectory from infinity past to the present and onward to infinity beyond of his signature concept of Infinite Potential. The universe journey is not random; it has a direction; one can even hypothesize this dynamic as the core of the Divine.

Second, Summa proposes that there not only is “design” to the universe, but that the designer is science itself. According to Birnbaum Infinite Potential harnessed the eternal equations of Physics-Math to ignite the cosmic order (see ParadigmChallenge).

Third, Summa shows that the alternative to Randomness-atheism is not (supernatural) Creationism, but rather (science-friendly) Potentialism. The entrenched orthodoxy scientific community assumes that to concede any “design” in the universe is to concede that (supernatural) God created it. Birnbaum demonstrated how their key debating premise was a fatally-flawed assumption and argument. The “designer” can be hypothesized to be Birnbaum’s conceptually lean and fully scientific Infinite Potential and not a supernatural Creationist Divinity.

While Birnbaum posits in Summa I that the spark of the divine/religious is inherent in Potential, and uniquely anchors religion metaphysically, he does not stake out a fundamentalist position as axiomatic; rather as a viable option. Birnbaum is not proposing “the supernatural” as the bedrock dynamic; he is proposing “the natural.” His wide-spectrum theory, embracing religion and spirituality as options side-by-side with science, all in turn anchored by Infinite Potential, totally undermines the hard-line atheist arguments that absolutely the only alternative to atheism is Creationism.

Fourth, Summa shows that Potential can be used to address and resolve the pivotal theodicy issue (If God, why Evil?). The inescapable reality is that Summa I resolves the theodicy conundrum, hitherto the salient problem and Achilles’ heel in religious philosophy (also for a long, long time).

This seemingly lethal quadruple-barreled hit on the entrenched Randomness-atheistic dogma has apparently fueled anger, if not panic, in segments of the atheist-controlled academic hierarchy. Believing that they had securely, if not permanently, entrenched their dogma into Academe via squelching all debate, the academic power hierarchy was incensed that Birnbaum had done an end-run around their intellectual blockade via the 4-day international academic Bard Conference which exclusively featured his work. All subsequent attempts by the ‘entrenched dogma’ group to suppress Birnbaum’s theory and suppress his theory have hitherto backfired.

The Transcendent Force

Birnbaum lays out the dramatic 1:1 parallel between his theory (1988, 2005) and the 2006 book of Quantum Physicist Seth Lloyd of MIT. Birnbaum cites Lloyd “The universe computes its own behavior…its own dynamic evolution.” Birnbaum’s Theory of Potential actually elegantly wraps-around Lloyd’s theory and fills-in key gaps. Birnbaum’s theory provides (a) a catalyst, (b) a driver, and (c) a (more sophisticated) goal for Lloyd’s proposed universal quantum mechanism.

Birnbaum’s Infinite Potential itself is the prime mover, the catalyst for life and the alpha and omega. Indeed, it is Infinite Potential which defines the universe and lies at the fount of science, philosophy and spirituality. All three seemingly disparate fields intersect with Infinite Potential at their core; Infinite Potential is the cosmic nexus point.

Accolades from the academic/scientific community

Universally acclaimed metaphysics expert Louis Dupré, Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University (1989) calls Summa I “an original and in this reader’s opinion, a very promising point of view…the author gathers a philosophically coherent and, in the end, highly modern insight…a unified metaphysics…”

Dr. Andrei Alyokhin, Associate Professor School of Biology and Ecology University of Maine wrote in November 2012 “Summa represents a bold attempt to formulate a unifying concept of the Universe…. Therefore, it is reasonable to propose the Quest for Potential as a working hypothesis for explaining the impetus behind the cosmic dynamic.”

Birnbaum’s Potentialism Theory has garnered solid backing from eclectic members of Academe globally (see www.PotentialismTheory.com). In the twenty-six years since it was introduced in 1988, no flaw has been discerned in the metaphysically and scientifically unifying thesis.

Other works

Birnbaum, in addition to Potential Theory, has written a number of other important works including a 7-volume series, which tracks the 4,000 year history of the Jews through important civilizations, titled Jews, Church and Civilization. He is currently editor-in-chief of a potentially landmark 10-volume series on Jewish spirituality Mesorah Matrix scheduled to be released in segments between 2014 and 2019. This series brings together the essay contributions of over 150 Jewish thought leaders from around the world. The series allows Birnbaum, the universalist, to wear a different hat as editor of a series focused on spirituality. But, as he points out, to avoid inserting editorial bias into his metaphysics, he is not an essay contributor to the spirituality series, and his role is strictly as the series catalyst and editor-in-chief.


A Course Text at over a dozen colleges (see SummaCourseText), Summa Metaphysica has been the focus of over seventy feature articles in 2013-2014 alone. See www.SummaCoverage.com.
Summa Metaphysica – and its Theory of Potential – was the focus of a 3+ day international academic conference at Bard College (Upstate, NY) April 2012; the conference, which launched Summa globally, created a global academic firestorm.

Recent hi-level academic works dovetailing with Birnbaum's Theory of Potential include the following:

Programming the Universe (Knopf, 2006) by Professor of Quantum Mechanics Seth Lloyd of MIT;
Mind & Cosmos (Oxford Press, 2012) by Professor of Philosophy & Law Thomas Nagel of NYU;
Our Mathematical Universe (Knopf, 2014) by Professor of Physics Max Tegmark of MIT.




See sample Summa testimonial on Summa Metaphysica, David Birnbaum's philosophy treatise:


“We hope to explain the entire universe in a simple formula you can put on your T-shirt.”

- Leon Lederman, Texas, 1983, American experimental physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics

David Birnbaum Metaphysics

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