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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.

Quote:
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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