From Josephine Livingstone at New Republic, reviewing Michael E. Hobart’s *The Great Rift: Literacy, Numeracy, and the Religion-Science Divide,*

In a new book called The Great Rift: Literacy, Numeracy, and the Religion-Science Divide, Michael E. Hobart offers a new twist on a huge old metanarrative: the death of God. Something or other happened in Renaissance Europe, the story goes, and it eventually distanced scientists from religion. Hobart locates this great shift in the field of mathematics. Other historians have given credit to experimenters who pioneered the scientific method, or astronomers like Galileo or Kepler, but Hobart claims that Renaissance mathematics is distinct from its medieval predecessor because it reconceived numeracy as a tool for describing the quantities of things into an abstract system for describing relations between them. Scholars began thinking “with empty and abstract information symbols,” which catalyzed a revolution from “thing-mathematics” to “relation-mathematics.” Because this form of knowledge went beyond ordinary language, which previously was the primary means of conveying information, people slowly began to conceive of a world contingent on “natural” laws rather than the word of God.

…

The Great Rift contains a huge wealth of historical anecdote and Hobart marshals it confidently, but tends to wobble when he makes grand claims. You can tell it’s happening because the passive voice bobs up like a bad apple. More.

Well, first, the birth of modern science coincided with an age of great religious ferment in which the concept of evangelical Christianity took root. It is hard to imagine anyone making a serious case that that was the effect of a dying culture. But someone will, or probably has, made such a case. The intellect is a free country, after all.

More to the point, as agnostic mathematician David Berlinski points out, there is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. That is in the nature of immaterial concepts.

In fact, naturalizing mathematics has become a philosophical goal for some, consistent with the idea that our consciousness is itself an illusion so that we merely evolved to think that mathematics offers a coherent picture of the universe (because our selfish genes spread more efficiently if we believe that).

*See also:* From Real Clear Religion: Mathematics as a challenge for naturalism

and

David Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics.

Anyone understand this sentence from the linked article ” I am an appalling mathematician, but I just about understood Hobart’s discussion ….” ?

My reading on this topic have included references to the ‘Cartesian-Newtonian” paradigm so-called, referring to Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes. Both of those giants believed they were blessed by God with something almost like revealed knowledge especially Descartes with his discovery of analytic geometry and his way of describing how it unfolded in his imagination. Newton was more circumspect and devoted his later years to studies of topics ridiculed by materialistic science nowadays. The two men along with Liebniz and a few others were largely responsible for the explosion of modern mathematics known as mathematical analysis, or ‘analysis’ as it is called, which is at the heart of higher mathematics.

The readings I have come across related to the topic of paradigms include much of the literature from the ’70’s and ’80’s which with references to Thomas Kuhn, proclaiming a coming collapse of the dominance the above so named paradigm, and as a reader of Stanislav Grof’s thinking on this I was convinced that it was going to come quickly but it has not – not to say that it isn’t happening.

I met a young woman last night with an engineering degree who as a psychiatric resident here in Houston has just joined a group which is starting up a study of the use of implanted electrodes in the brains of suffering humans to study the etiology of OCD. They are employing EE’s to not only search for patterns in the sensing electrodes but to come up with protocols to send stimuli to other electrodes in order to interfere with what they imagine as out-of-control electrochemical cascades of ‘brain-vomit’ which is a term I just now thought of (have I coined a term? maybe I’ve heard it before). As devotees of pattern recognition they will also employ facial recognition software to study the subjects facial reactions to the stimuli they plan to inject into their brains.

I found myself appalled, as she was describing this program; I felt like telling her that this is the lobotomy thinking of our times, the electroshock of our times and it will end as those did with no useful outcome, and possibly harm. This is the ‘Newtonian-Cartesian’ paradigm run amuck once again in medicine, as it has over and over in the past, due to the of experimenters’ religious belief in the organic-mechanistic origins of mental illness.

Don’t know about God but it damn near killed me at school.

of related note:

Gauss, like Euler, Riemann and Gödel, was a devoted Christian:

In the following video, the discovery of the higher dimensional nature of the square root of negative one, which is integral to quantum mechanics, and the discovery of higher dimensional geometry, which is integral to General Relativity, are discussed:

The history of the square root of negative one is particularly interesting to look at. Descartes had rejected complex roots and coined the derogatory term “imaginary” to describe the square root of negative one. Whereas, Gauss, who was the mathematician who finally clearly explained the higher dimensional nature behind the square root of negative one, suggested that complex magnitudes be called “lateral” instead of “imaginary” magnitudes since they represent a dimensional extension of the continuum. Gauss also proposed that complex magnitudes be awarded “full civil rights.”

The author further comments, in the language of Plato’s allegory of the cave, complex numbers represent “forms” from a higher dimension casting “shadows” on the real number line.

And in quantum mechanics, we find that the square root of negative one is necessary for describing the wave packet prior to measurement.

What was not mentioned in the preceding video, or in the article, is that the wave function is also represented as being in an infinite dimensional Hilbert space:

Here is an interesting quote about the infinite dimensional Hilbert Spaces in quantum mechanics:

Moreover, we find it is an infinite dimensional Hilbert space that takes an infinite amount of information to describe properly.

As should be needless to say, the preceding findings are very comforting to overall Christian concerns. Here is a video that goes over the preceding findings, and how they relate to Christian presuppositions, in a bit more detail

Thus mathematics has, in fact, confirmed some basic Christian presuppositions and, if anything, killed, not God, but atheistic materialism.

I suggest he take a look at the book “God Created the Integers” (actual title) for more information.

Professor Paul Davies reflected on the ability of the brain to handle the abstract field of mathematics. “Mathematics is not something that you find lying around in your back yard. It’s produced by the human mind. Yet if we ask where mathematics works best, it is in areas like particle physics and astrophysics, areas of fundamental science that are very, very far removed from everyday affairs.” What does that imply? “It suggests to me that consciousness and our ability to do mathematics are no mere accident, no trivial detail, no insignificant by-product of evolution.”—Are We Alone?