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 Post subject: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:17 pm 
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Hi everybody!

First of all, I would like to say that I belive that faith is a gift.
However, as a physiscist, I would like to share what I think is the strongest rational argument for God's existence, i.e. the mathematical representability of the natural laws. A well-known result of modern science is that natural phenomena can be sytematically predicted through a specific system of few mathematical equations, the laws of physics. The laws of physics describe nature in terms of quarks, quantum fields, bosons, etc.; all these terms actually refer to abstract mathematical models which are the elements of a complex mathematical theory. Unless you consider the success of the laws of physics, which represents the basis of modern technological progress, as an unbelievably lucky series of coincidences, you should agree with the idea that our mathematical models describe the intimate structure of the universe; such structure would consist of abstract mathematical relations, because this is what the laws of physics express.
Since mathematical equations and mathematical models are abstract concepts, which cannot exist independently from a mind conceiving them, the existence of this mathematically structured universe does imply the existence of an intelligent and conscious God, conceiving it according to such mathematical structures.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:45 pm 
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At the risk of being pedantic, this isn't a scientific argument for God's existence. It's a philosophical one rooted in some highly debatable assumptions about the nature of abstract objects and about what exactly mathematical terms refer to. So, yes, on certain assumptions, this argument concludes that God exists. I don't know, however, that those assumptions are as easy to make or defend as you might be inclined to presume.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:11 pm 
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Pedanticize away. I had serious reservations about the implication that the universe is math.

But this also looks related to the argument from intelligibility, a favorite of B XVI. You can read about it here: http://actsapologist.blogspot.com/2015/ ... rt-iv.html (note that I know nothing about that blog or its author).


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:20 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Pedanticize away. I had serious reservations about the implication that the universe is math.

But this also looks related to the argument from intelligibility, a favorite of B XVI. You can read about it here: http://actsapologist.blogspot.com/2015/ ... rt-iv.html (note that I know nothing about that blog or its author).


Thank you very much for the link. I agree that my argument may be related to one from intelligibility, even if what I am saying is perhaps more specific.
Let me give you an example; contrary to a common idea, according to the laws of physics, one proton and one neutron do not make an hydrogen atom, because the existence of an hydrogen atom requires complex asbract mathematical relations. Actually, the existence of the neutron itself requires complex abstract mathematical relation, because the intuitive notion of classical particle cannot be applied to the microscopic realm. Advances in physics had always show that more and more abstract mathematical models are necessary to predict and describe natural phenomena and that our intuitive and "concrete" ideas about reality are inadequate.
I would like to clarify that my faith in Christ is certainly not based on my scientific knowledges; I believed in Christ long before I became a physiscist.
Nevertheless, studying physics I have found a striking confirmation of some of my beliefs.
I also know that atheists would not accept my argument because they reject "a priori" the idea of God, and therefore they reject any valid argument about God's existence.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:37 pm 
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Mmarco wrote:
Let me give you an example; contrary to a common idea, according to the laws of physics, one proton and one neutron do not make an hydrogen atom, because the existence of an hydrogen atom requires complex asbract mathematical relations. Actually, the existence of the neutron itself requires complex abstract mathematical relation, because the intuitive notion of classical particle cannot be applied to the microscopic realm. Advances in physics had always show that more and more abstract mathematical models are necessary to predict and describe natural phenomena and that our intuitive and "concrete" ideas about reality are inadequate.

I'm going to say what I already did. You're not providing a scientific argument. You are offering a very specific type of philosophical argument, and phrased this way, it might actually be pretty weak. Look at the last sentence when the phrase "to predict and describe." That's probably really well said insofar as it gets at an epistemological issue. If you were to take some time to study classical philosophy, you might or might not be surprised to find that a study of physics precedes a study of philosophy (i.e., metaphysics). What we learn from physics helps reveal metaphysical and philosophical principles. That was true back then, and its true today.

It's also true that physicists tend to be absolutely terrible philosophers in that the fail to see when they have left physics and have crossed over into philosophy. Here, take the early sentences with the word "because." If you had taken the time to study the nature of abstract entities, you would know that abstractions--at least, abstractions in classical Aristotelian-Thomistic terms--don't stand in causal relations with anything else. Nothing is what it is because of an abstract idea. Rather, abstract ideas are precisely that--ideas abstracted from reality, such that reality precedes the abstraction. Indeed, the word "idea" itself is just taken from one of the Greek word meaning "to see" and thus "a form" or "a pattern." But a form or pattern of what? Of what's in reality. In classical philosophy, we distinguish between form and matter, between act and potency; we abstract from these form-matter composites real ideas. Those ideas are rooted in reality, but the ideas are what they are because reality is what reality is. It's not vice-versa. To say that things are what they are because there is a particular abstract idea that determines they be so would be like saying that lights turn from red to green because there is an English word "green" that means so and so. But does the reality exist because the language determines it, or does our language so exist because it conforms to how we experience reality?

In short, you cannot reduce reality to mathematical abstractions. Rather, you need to stop and assess what mathematical abstractions really are in and of themselves. And that is no easy task. And make no mistake, it is definitely not the task of a physicist, and it is not a scientific task. It is, rather, the task of the philosopher. If the physicist seeks to answer that question, he does so in the role of philosopher, not the role of physicist (although his training in physics would probably be very useful in providing data from which to reason!).

I think, per Obi's comments, what you are really trying to get at is an argument from intelligibility. Why should we expect such mathematical abstractions be possible, particular such that those abstractions would have predictive value--not merely predictive of measurements we can make in the real world but, more profoundly, predictive of still more fundamental mathematical abstractions? This says something both about the nature of reality itself and the nature of rationality. That is, rationality is, in some real sense, really and truly a part of the very fabric of space-time. Yet arationality cannot give rise to rationality. But if the universe itself isn't "rational" in the sense we are, and yet the universe is rational at its very core . . . what gives? Classical philosophy has ready tools to answer that question via its appeal to forms and final causality. But this all leads "back" to a true and ultimate Final Cause, which is to say, to God.

I do wish physicists would take the philosophical implications of their own profound discoveries more seriously. But that would require them taking philosophy, especially classical philosophy, more seriously. Sadly, most physicists seem to be amazing technicians, able to derive equations from other equations, even as they are very poor thinkers in terms of meaningful implications (Hawking, may you rest in peace, I'm looking at you).


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:02 am 
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theJack wrote:
Sadly, most physicists seem to be amazing technicians, able to derive equations from other equations, even as they are very poor thinkers in terms of meaningful implications (Hawking, may you rest in peace, I'm looking at you).


Thanks for your reply. I think I agree with what you wrote, in particular with your last comments about physicists.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:39 am 
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Hawking, may you rest in peace, I'm looking at you.

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I see dead people.

:shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:42 am 
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Philosophy of mathematics is a fascinating field, at least to me (I was a math major). One of the great debates is over the reality of mathematical constructs.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:43 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Philosophy of mathematics is a fascinating field, at least to me (I was a math major). One of the great debates is over the reality of mathematical constructs.

I find it fascinating, too, but it goes over my head really quickly since I, to put it charitably, was not a math major. I wonder if it wouldn't be a really effective way to talk to physicists and others so trained. Mmarco is getting at something really interesting . . . I wish I had the experiential appreciation of it the same way that I do of, say, reading the GNT. :-(


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:18 am 
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Mmarco wrote:
Hi everybody!

First of all, I would like to say that I belive that faith is a gift.
However, as a physiscist, I would like to share what I think is the strongest rational argument for God's existence, i.e. the mathematical representability of the natural laws. A well-known result of modern science is that natural phenomena can be sytematically predicted through a specific system of few mathematical equations, the laws of physics. The laws of physics describe nature in terms of quarks, quantum fields, bosons, etc.; all these terms actually refer to abstract mathematical models which are the elements of a complex mathematical theory. Unless you consider the success of the laws of physics, which represents the basis of modern technological progress, as an unbelievably lucky series of coincidences, you should agree with the idea that our mathematical models describe the intimate structure of the universe; such structure would consist of abstract mathematical relations, because this is what the laws of physics express.
Since mathematical equations and mathematical models are abstract concepts, which cannot exist independently from a mind conceiving them, the existence of this mathematically structured universe does imply the existence of an intelligent and conscious God, conceiving it according to such mathematical structures.


I enjoy reading how others find God in science given the prevailing opinion that science and faith are by definition sworn enemies. While in school I was shocked at how many of my professors in the Science and Mathematics department believed in something more than the laws and systems they studied.

I studied physics and biology in college (English major too, go figure) and those disciplines led me to doubt my passive agnosticism. The math for macroevolution just didn't work for me. In the end I found that the sciences, besides being fascinating in and of themselves, demonstrated the complexity for which modern science has no explanation. Entropy is the natural state of the universe yet all around us we find intricate systems (the Kreb cycle comes to mind) that logically shouldn't exist. (It's been almost 30 years so bear with me. I used to have this down pat!) There has to be something that pushes against entropy in order for a single bacterium to exist and function.

A couple of decades ago I went searching online for a group of people to do a thought experiment with me. I wanted to develop a model that included all of the then-thought-required elements of the beginning of life and run the math on the probabilities of a single, very simple bacterium arising from those elements. Alas, no takers.

The beauty of the world is that we all think in different ways so we all see God just a little differently. That's perfectly okay by me. I got over my last hurdle (the Trinity) during a vector calculus class and I've used that blow-me-away moment to explain to others who want to know why I believe as I do.

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Since mathematical equations and mathematical models are abstract concepts, which cannot exist independently from a mind conceiving them, the existence of this mathematically structured universe does imply the existence of an intelligent and conscious God, conceiving it according to such mathematical structures.


I get it and I agree! I'm going to use this while talking with my son, who has just started his journey.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:20 am 
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ElenaMarie wrote:

I enjoy reading how others find God in science given the prevailing opinion that science and faith are by definition sworn enemies.


Hi Elene Marie,

I am not sure if the idea that science and faith are sworn enemies is really the prevailing opinion; certainly, atheists try to convince people that this is the case. Some scientists, supported also by mass media, has spread false information about science, as if science contradicts the belief in the existence of God or that the concept of an intelligent Creator is no longer necessary to explain the universe.

The truth is exactly the opposite. In fact, the first scientists (Galileo and Newton) who began to use mathematical equations to express the natural laws, were christians and they justified their choice because they believed that the universe was a creation of an intelligent God who created the universe using rational and mathematicle principles; and this is how the history of modern physics began. Many other famous physicists, such as Maxwell and Heisenberg, were devout christians and share the same belief about the reason why nature could be described using maths.
In modern physics the role of maths is even stronger; in fact, while in classicle physics the mathematical equations were use to describe the motion of physical bodies, in modern physics the mathematical models have the key role to define the properties of the basic elements of the models themselves, and these properties are mere abstract mathematical properties, which can be no more associated to intuitive or concrete images or ideas. I would like to report a quotation by Heisenberg:

“The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct “actuality” of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation is impossible, however. Atoms are not things.”
“The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.”

There is another argument from physics that I find very convincing; according to our scientific knowledges, all chemical and biological processes (including cerebral processes) are caused by the electromagnetic interaction between subatomic particles such as electrons and protons. Quantum mechanics accounts for such interactions, as well as for the properties of subatomic particles. The point is that there is no trace of consciousness, sensations, emotions, etc. in the laws of quantum mechanics (as well as in all the laws of physcis). Consciousness is irriducible to the laws of physics, while all cerebral processes are. This is for me the most convincing argument against materialism (which identifies cerebral processes as the origin of consciousness) and in favour of the existence of the soul, as the unphysical and trascendent origin of consciousness.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:47 am 
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Mmarco wrote:
ElenaMarie wrote:

I am not sure if the idea that science and faith are sworn enemies is really the prevailing opinion; certainly, atheists try to convince people that this is the case. Some scientists, supported also by mass media, has spread false information about science, as if science contradicts the belief in the existence of God or that the concept of an intelligent Creator is no longer necessary to explain the universe.


:wave

When I was in school ('94-2000) the professors who believed in any religion were very hush-hush about it. One told me he'd lose his tenure if it got around. I was an argumentative student, not the least bit hesitant to speak up when I disagreed with something, and oddly most of my Science and Math department profs liked that so we talked. Not so the Liberal Arts department folks.

Quote:
The truth is exactly the opposite. In fact, the first scientists (Galileo and Newton) who began to use mathematical equations to express the natural laws, were christians and they justified their choice because they believed that the universe was a creation of an intelligent God who created the universe using rational and mathematicle principles; and this is how the history of modern physics began. Many other famous physicists, such as Maxwell and Heisenberg, were devout christians and share the same belief about the reason why nature could be described using maths.


Sing it! I particularly liked the reaction when I popped up during a genetics class to note that Mendel was, in fact, a monk. Talk about some serious cognitive dissonance.

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In modern physics the role of maths is even stronger; in fact, while in classicle physics the mathematical equations were use to describe the motion of physical bodies, in modern physics the mathematical models have the key role to define the properties of the basic elements of the models themselves, and these properties are mere abstract mathematical properties, which can be no more associated to intuitive or concrete images or ideas. I would like to report a quotation by Heisenberg:

“The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct “actuality” of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation is impossible, however. Atoms are not things.”
“The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.”


And there is so much predicated upon those abstract mathematical models: the age of the universe, the age of a rock, the speed of light (do you know if the experiment showing c is not a constant in a vacuum has been replicated? That one thing along would blow up a lot of textbooks.)

Quote:
There is another argument from physics that I find very convincing; according to our scientific knowledges, all chemical and biological processes (including cerebral processes) are caused by the electromagnetic interaction between subatomic particles such as electrons and protons. Quantum mechanics accounts for such interactions, as well as for the properties of subatomic particles. The point is that there is no trace of consciousness, sensations, emotions, etc. in the laws of quantum mechanics (as well as in all the laws of physcis). Consciousness is irriducible to the laws of physics, while all cerebral processes are. This is for me the most convincing argument against materialism (which identifies cerebral processes as the origin of consciousness) and in favour of the existence of the soul, as the unphysical and trascendent origin of consciousness.


It's funny you mention this. I fell off my horse in 2002 and got a burst fracture of the L1. I'm ambulatory but am a chronic pain patient due to neuropathic pain caused by damage to root nerves by bone fragments. My anesthesiologist has been after me to try Spinal Cord Stimulation, which interrupts the passage of electrical charges to the brain using radio frequencies pulsed through electrodes sewn onto the ligament that surrounds the spinal cord itself.

If all falls into place I'm going to try it (wish me luck!) The implications of that one thing are mind-blowing--the movement of energy through a void along a system into the brain to produce via an unknown process the sensation and recognition of something wrong in your body.

Forget the Kreb cycle. That blows the notion of materialism right out of the water.

Have a great day!


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:30 pm 
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Might be off topic, might not.

https://phys.org/news/2019-09-quantum-c ... works.html


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:23 pm 
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ElenaMarie wrote:


This is certainly ourt of topic; quantum computers have nothing to do with consciousness; researchers believe that they could be much more fast than ordinary computers, even if, in spite of several decades of research, we are still very far from an efficient quantum computer. Their mode of operation is completely different both from ordinary computers and biological brains; for example, they can work only at the temperature of about minus 270 Celsius.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:13 pm 
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Mmarco wrote:
ElenaMarie wrote:


This is certainly ourt of topic; quantum computers have nothing to do with consciousness; researchers believe that they could be much more fast than ordinary computers, even if, in spite of several decades of research, we are still very far from an efficient quantum computer. Their mode of operation is completely different both from ordinary computers and biological brains; for example, they can work only at the temperature of about minus 270 Celsius.


True. I was looking at it as an attempt to replicate human consciousness when we don't know what human consciousness is as a physiological entity.

I have those brain spasms sometimes. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:41 pm 
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ElenaMarie wrote:

True. I was looking at it as an attempt to replicate human consciousness when we don't know what human consciousness is as a physiological entity.


No, actually nobody is trying to replicate human consciousness ecause nobody has any idea how to do it.
They use "suggestive" words like "neural networks" only to indicate parallel computers that may work faster.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:54 pm 
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Mmarco wrote:
ElenaMarie wrote:

True. I was looking at it as an attempt to replicate human consciousness when we don't know what human consciousness is as a physiological entity.


No, actually nobody is trying to replicate human consciousness ecause nobody has any idea how to do it.
They use "suggestive" words like "neural networks" only to indicate parallel computers that may work faster.


Ahhhhhhhhh, okay. That wasn't a thing back in my college days and I haven't kept current, so to speak. Using language to intentionally mislead irks me but it seems more and more common in the sciences as time passes.


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 Post subject: Re: Scientific argument for God's existence
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:03 pm 
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MMarco--

I ran across this series of posts regarding science and thought you might find it interesting.


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