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Michael Egnor: Physicist Sean Carroll rejects logic when he rejects free will

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Recently, in an interview with the Sean Carroll New York Times, physicist Sean Carroll dismissed free will. Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor explains why that means dismissing logic as well:

Michael Egnor: If we accepted his argument for materialism, we would have to stop believing in it—a curious, self-refuting result.

Logic is, of course, a massive discipline in itself and it has one striking characteristic: Logic shares no commonality with physics. That is, the Venn diagram of logic and the Venn diagram of physics don’t overlap in any way. Mathematical logic is entirely separate from mathematical physics. You can’t derive modus ponens: from Newton’s law of gravitation, and you can’t derive Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem from the equations of general relativity. If Carroll is right that man is governed entirely by the laws of physics, without remainder, then where do the laws of logic come from?

A materialist might argue (vaguely) that the laws of logic are just epiphenomenal vapor from our physical brains. But that can’t account for logic. If a brain state represents logic, then logic must exist in some way independently of the brain state because representation presupposes that which it represents. A map presupposes that which is mapped. And if logic is not represented by a brain state, but is merely another kind of brain state, then logic can’t exist if brain states are entirely governed by physical laws — which in themselves contain no logic.

Michael Egnor, “Physicist rejects free will—and thus fails logic” at Mind Matters News

This is not an excellent time to be a materialist. Materialism is losing its Cool. It’s not even making sense.


More by neurosurgeon Michael Egnor on free will:

How Libet’s free will research is misrepresented: Sometimes, says Michael Egnor, misrepresentation may be deliberate because Libet’s work doesn’t support a materialist perspective.

Does “alien hand syndrome” show that we don’t really have free will? One woman’s left hand seemed to have a mind of its own. Did it?

and

Does brain stimulation research challenge free will? If we can be forced to want something, is the will still free?

25 Replies to “Michael Egnor: Physicist Sean Carroll rejects logic when he rejects free will

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    If absolute free will is conceived of as the ability to make choices that are not influenced by external factors, then the only way that could be possible is for an individual to be entirely detached from both their present environment and their history. Otherwise, once you admit external influences on the choices we make, the question becomes one of to what extent we can be said to have free will and even do we have free will at all?

    The story from the Bible of Peter’s triple denial of knowing Jesus, true or not, illustrates the point. If an omniscient being, such as the Christian God, knows something to be the case then that is the case whether it is in our past or present or future. That is what omniscience must mean. Whether God decided that is what would happen is irrelevant. What God knows, is.

    Thus, as we know from the story, even though Jesus specifically warned Peter in advance of what would happen and even though Peter clearly believed he would not do it – feeling, as we all feel, that he had a choice in the matter – nonetheless, what Jesus foretold came to pass. So Egnor’s own Bible – not atheist materialists – provides strong evidence that he is wrong concerning free will.

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev

    If absolute free will . . .

    No need to go on, because no one believes free will is “absolute.” Everyone understands that all people are subject to various influences that impinge, sometimes very strongly, on their ability to choose a particular action (ask any addict). The Bible does not suggest otherwise. Indeed, the Bible states very clearly just the opposite.

  3. 3
    News says:

    Why is Seversky so interested in the Bible in this particular situation? Egnor is arguing from physics and logic. Can we address that?

  4. 4
    AaronS1978 says:

    I think this is very relevant to the topic please you should all read, this was written by Sean Carroll

    https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2011/07/13/free-will-is-as-real-as-baseball/

  5. 5
    Bob O'H says:

    That is, the Venn diagram of logic and the Venn diagram of physics don’t overlap in any way. Mathematical logic is entirely separate from mathematical physics.

    Mathematical logic provides the formal basis of the whole of mathematics. So Egnor is essentially arguing that mathematical physics doesn’t use mathematics.

  6. 6
    Belfast says:

    @News
    @3
    Seversky has a fiddle with only one string.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob O’H at 5 states,

    “Egnor is essentially arguing that mathematical physics doesn’t use mathematics.”

    No, he is not. Here is the full context of what he said,

    “Mathematical logic is entirely separate from mathematical physics. You can’t derive modus ponens: from Newton’s law of gravitation, and you can’t derive Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem from the equations of general relativity.”
    – Egnor

    He is clearly saying that Mathematical logic precedes Mathematical physics and thus you cannot derive Mathematical logic from Mathematical physics.

    Stephen Hawking himself admitted as much when he stated, “questions always persist that can neither be proved nor disproved on the basis of the axioms that define the system.”

    “questions always persist that can neither be proved nor disproved on the basis of the axioms that define the system. In other words, Gödel showed that there are problems that cannot be solved by any set of rules or procedures”
    Stephen Hawking – Universe, 139.
    http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/~da.....awking.pdf

    and

    Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”. Thus, based on the position that an equation cannot prove itself, the constructs are based on assumptions some of which will be unprovable.”
    Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010)
    https://books.google.com/books?id=7MzOBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA930

    As to free will and “the axioms that define the system”,,, “Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.”

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
    Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    Moreover, on top of that, the Kochen-Specker theorem undermines the determinism of atheistic materialists in the most fundamental way possible in that “it would not even be possible to place the information into the universe’s past in an ad hoc way”, because, “the result of any individual measurement of spin was not fixed (pre-determined) independently of the choice of measurements.”

    The free will theorem of John H. Conway and Simon B. Kochen,,,
    Since the free will theorem applies to any arbitrary physical theory consistent with the axioms, it would not even be possible to place the information into the universe’s past in an ad hoc way. The argument proceeds from the Kochen-Specker theorem, which shows that the result of any individual measurement of spin was not fixed (pre-determined) independently of the choice of measurements.
    http://www.informationphilosop.....eorem.html

    As Anton Zeilinger states, “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    As well, Anton Zeilinger and company, as of 2018, pushed the ‘free will loophole’ back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that the experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: In this Letter, we present a cosmic Bell experiment with polarization-entangled photons, in which measurement settings were determined based on real-time measurements of the wavelength of photons from high-redshift quasars, whose light was emitted billions of years ago; the experiment simultaneously ensures locality. Assuming fair sampling for all detected photons and that the wavelength of the quasar photons had not been selectively altered or previewed between emission and detection, we observe statistically significant violation of Bell’s inequality by 9.3 standard deviations, corresponding to an estimated p value of approx. 7.4 × 10^21. This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    This puts the deniers of free will, i.e. Determinists, i.e. Darwinian materialists, in a very awkward situation in regards to the experimental science itself.

    Basically the Determinist and/or Darwinian materialist must now claim that “a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure.”

    Closing the ‘free will’ loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell’s theorem – February 20, 2014
    Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as “setting independence,” or more provocatively, “free will.” This loophole proposes that a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure — a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector’s setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics.
    “It sounds creepy, but people realized that’s a logical possibility that hasn’t been closed yet,” says MIT’s David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. “Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....112515.htm

    In other words, instead of believing what the experimental results of quantum mechanics are actually telling us, the Determinist, and/or Darwinian materialist, is now forced to claim that the results of the experiments were somehow ‘superdetermined’ at least 7.8 billion years ago and are now ‘fooling us’ into believing that our experimental results in quantum theory are trustworthy and correct.

    Sabine Hosenfelder herself, instead of accepting the experimental results from quantum mechanics that show we have free will, has instead opted to say that events in the remote past, prior to the formation of the earth itself, were somehow ‘superdetermined’ and moreover, these ‘superdetermined’ events somehow ‘conspired’ to ‘fool us’ into erroneously believing our experimental results that show us that quantum theory is correct..

    Sabine Hossenfelder Proposes Superdeterminism” To Replace Quantum Mechanics
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/sabine-hossenfelder-proposes-superdeterminism-to-replace-quantum-mechanics/

    To call such a move on the part of Sabine Hossenfelder, (i.e. the rejection of experimental results that conflict with her apriori philosophical belief, namely her philosophical belief in ‘determinism’), unscientific would be a severe understatement. It is a rejection of the entire scientific method itself. She, in her appeal to ‘superdeterminism’, is basically arguing that we cannot trust what the experimental results of quantum mechanics themselves are telling us because events in the remote past ‘conspired’ to give us erroneous experimental results today.

    As should be needless to say, if we cannot trust what our experimental results are telling us, then science is, for all practical purposes, dead.

    John 3:12
    If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

  8. 8
    drc466 says:

    Bob O’H @5
    Further to Ba77 above, consider the following analogy:
    Draw a Venn diagram of 1) elements in the periodic table and 2) man-made vehicles. The two do not overlap – you cannot ride Nickel to work, and Segway isn’t an element. This is not to say that #1 is not REQUIRED for #2 – just that, in terms of classification, they don’t overlap.*
    This is Egnor’s point, and why Carroll’s deterministic philosophy fails. Carroll is attempting to ride his (material) physics Segway while denying the existence of the (immaterial) elemental logic that provides its foundation. You have merely restated Egnor, not refuted him.

    * Egnor equivalents being 1) a=b and b=c, so a=c, and 2) F=ma – each equation can be Venn diagrammed in either Logic or Physics, but no single equation belongs in both.

  9. 9
    Bob O'H says:

    He is clearly saying that Mathematical logic precedes Mathematical physics and thus you cannot derive Mathematical logic from Mathematical physics.

    Right, except that if A proceeds from B then A and B are not “entirely separate”. There is a definite relation between them.

  10. 10
    drc466 says:

    Bob O’H @9,
    I see what you’re saying, but Egnor provides the necessary context for the term “entirely separate”, and how he is classifying the two for Venn purposes, with the immediately following statement:

    You can’t derive modus ponens: from Newton’s law of gravitation, and you can’t derive Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem from the equations of general relativity.

    (Edit: see my previous analogy for how things can be entirely separate in terms of Venn classification, yet still have a relationship).

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Just because our choices are INFLUENCED by external forces does not mean we don’t have free will.

    And again, perhaps Jesus was telling Peter to deny he knows Jesus because Jesus knew the trouble Peter would be in.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    drc466 – OK, but Venn diagrammes aren’t directional, and my point is that he’s only looking in one direction. By doing that, his argument comes across as absurd.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob O’H

    ,,, “his argument comes across as absurd.”

    I strongly disagree, but anyways, for the sake of argument, as absurd as what? As absurd as say Coyne claiming that we have a choice to believe whether or not free will is an illusion?

    THE ILLUSION OF FREE WILL – Sam Harris – 2012
    Excerpt: “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”
    – Jerry Coyne
    https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/

    Or perhaps as absurd as Dennett claiming that ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’?

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    Or perhaps as absurd as Darwinists claiming that our beliefs about reality are unreliable and then being absolutely certain in that particular belief that our beliefs about reality are unreliable?

    Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself
    Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
    Excerpt: Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?
    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.
    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.,,,
    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.
    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.
    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.,,,
    Darwinism undercuts not only itself but also the entire scientific enterprise. Kenan Malik, a writer trained in neurobiology, writes, “If our cognitive capacities were simply evolved dispositions, there would be no way of knowing which of these capacities lead to true beliefs and which to false ones.” Thus “to view humans as little more than sophisticated animals …undermines confidence in the scientific method.”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/03/why_evolutionar/

    Or perhaps as absurd as a Darwinist claiming that our perceptions about reality are completely illusory and therefore completely unreliable and yet still being certain that his perceptions were reliable enough in order for him to draw that inference?

    Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
    Quote: “fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction (those organisms) that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”
    https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601

    Or perhaps as absurd as a Darwinist claiming that we live in a universe that is completely amoral, i.e. a universe of ‘blind pitiless, indifference’, and yet then he becomes a raging moralist at the drop of a hat when it comes to his beliefs about almighty God?

    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
    – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

    Bob, I’m just trying to get a feel for just how absurd you think Egnor’s argument actually is.

    Put another way Bob. on a hypothetical Venn diagram of absurd arguments, is Egnor’s argument more or less absurd than the arguments that have been, and are, put forward by Darwinists?

  14. 14
    AaronS1978 says:

    Sooooooooo I posted on Sean Carroll’s essay of free will which is totally contrary to what he is saying now, i mean that’s what this topic was about, his view on free will right? So he is contradicting himself, if so what does his opinion on the subject even matter?

  15. 15
    drc466 says:

    Bob O’H,
    I’d dispute your point, but your point makes no sense to me. How is Egnor coming at this “from one direction”? He is simply making the following points:
    1) True or False: Some mathematical equations/theorems express logic (e.g. if a=b, then b=a). T
    2) True or False: Some mathematical equations/theorems describe material/physical laws (e.g. e=mc^2). T
    3) True or False: There is no mathematical equation/theorem that falls into both category 1 and category 2 (e.g. logic doesn’t demand W=F*d). T
    4) True or False: Category 1 math describes reality independent of Category 2 math, and is not definable using Category 2 math. T
    5) True or False: Any philosophy that presupposes Category 2 math is sufficient to describe all reality fails due to Item #4. T

    Independent of the game of semantics around the definition of “Venn diagram” and “overlap” you are trying to play, which point above do you claim is invalid?

  16. 16
    Bob O'H says:

    drc466 – you utterly fail at 3. That’s how mathematical modelling works. Kepler’s laws described planetary motion. They can be derived, logically, from Newton’s laws of planetary motion.

    The whole point of using maths to describe physical systems is that you can use the logical framework of mathematics to derive new theories.

    What’s even the point of using mathematics to describe physical systems if we can’t use mathematial logic to derive new statements from our models? What’s the alternative?

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmmm, Bob claims,

    That’s how mathematical modelling works. Kepler’s laws described planetary motion. They can be derived, logically, from Newton’s laws of planetary motion.

    But Einstein’s general relativity cannot be derived logically from Newton’s laws, In fact it required an entirely new mathematical framework of non-Euclidean geometry. i.e. 4-D spacetime. Go figure!

    Atheism Is a Catastrophe for Science – Michael Egnor – September 20, 2016
    Excerpt: Nature is governed by astonishingly complex and elegant physical laws, and the laws themselves are written in the language of abstract mathematics. In fact, theoretical physicists must often explore utterly new mathematical theories in order to explain the behavior of inanimate matter.
    After all, Newton discovered calculus in order to do physics. Heaviside (using Maxwell’s equations) needed to develop the calculus of electromagnetic oscillators to understand alternating current electricity. Einstein (and his friend the mathematician Grossman) reinvented non-Euclidean geometry and tensor calculus to understand relativity. Heisenberg had to develop matrix mechanics to understand the quantum world. Dirac predicted the existence of anti-matter purely on the basis of mathematical considerations, and modern string theorists such as Edward Witten work at the cutting edge of mathematics. Black holes were predicted based on singularities in the tensor equations of relativity, and the Big Bang itself was discovered mathematically by Georges Lemaitre (a Catholic priest!) before it was detected empirically.
    It is astonishing (and beautiful) that the very retinaculum of the universe, from the subatomic world to the cosmos, is drawn in elegant abstract mathematics. The universe screams intelligent authority.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03154.html

    Bob also claims:

    “The whole point of using maths to describe physical systems is that you can use the logical framework of mathematics to derive new theories.”

    Really? And yet as Weinberg, an atheist, stated to Richard Dawkins, “”I don’t think one should underestimate the fix we are in. That in the end we will not be able to explain the world. That we will have some set of laws of nature (that) we will not be able to derive them on the grounds simply of mathematical consistency. Because we can already think of mathematically consistent laws that don’t describe the world as we know it. And we will always be left with a question ‘why are the laws nature what they are rather than some other laws?’. And I don’t see any way out of that.”

    “I don’t think one should underestimate the fix we are in. That in the end we will not be able to explain the world. That we will have some set of laws of nature (that) we will not be able to derive them on the grounds simply of mathematical consistency. Because we can already think of mathematically consistent laws that don’t describe the world as we know it. And we will always be left with a question ‘why are the laws nature what they are rather than some other laws?’. And I don’t see any way out of that.
    The fact that the constants of nature are suitable for life, which is clearly true, we observe,,,”
    (Weinberg then comments on the multiverse conjecture of atheists)
    “No one has constructed a theory in which that is true. I mean,, the (multiverse) theory would be speculative, but we don’t even have a theory in which that speculation is mathematically realized. But it is a possibility.”
    Steven Weinberg – as stated to Richard Dawkins at the 8:15 minute mark of the following video
    Leonard Susskind – Richard Dawkins and Steven Weinberg – 1 in 10^120 Cosmological Constant points to intelligent design – video
    https://youtu.be/z4E_bT4ecgk?t=495

    In fact, there are “an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.”

    The Limits Of Reason – Gregory Chaitin – 2006
    Excerpt: Unlike Gödel’s approach, mine is based on measuring information and showing that some mathematical facts cannot be compressed into a theory because they are too complicated. This new approach suggests that what Gödel discovered was just the tip of the iceberg: an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.
    http://www.umcs.maine.edu/~chaitin/sciamer3.pdf

    To repeat what Weinberg said, “we can already think of mathematically consistent laws that don’t describe the world as we know it. And we will always be left with a question ‘why are the laws nature what they are rather than some other laws? . And I don’t see any way out of that.”’

    The Christian has a ready answer to this dilemma of an infinite number of “mathematically consistent laws” that could have described the universe but didn’t,,,, “the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.”

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
    This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    But hey, you don’t have to take Dr. Gordon’s word for it. Both Einstein and Wigner are on record as to regarding the applicability of mathematics to the universe as a ‘miracle’. Shoot, Einstein even went so far as to chastise ‘professional atheists’ in the process of calling it a miracle.

    On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
    Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
    -Albert Einstein
    http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Moreover, as I pointed out the other day, “The belief that mathematics has a necessary existence, and that it is not contingent upon the Mind of God for its existence, prevented the rise of modern science and is what is currently behind the stagnation in theoretical physics with String Theory.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/honest-question-at-space-com-is-string-theory-worth-it/#comment-701274

  18. 18
    drc466 says:

    Bob O’H,

    The whole point of using maths to describe physical systems is that you can use the logical framework of mathematics to derive new theories.

    What’s even the point of using mathematics to describe physical systems if we can’t use mathematial logic to derive new statements from our models? What’s the alternative?

    Again, you have just not only not refuted Egnor, you have restated him!
    Shorter Carroll: “PHYSICS is all there is, coz materialism.”
    Shorter Egnor: “LOGIC is not the same as PHYSICS. PHYSICS however requires LOGIC. Since LOGIC exists, Carroll is wrong.”
    Shorter Bob O’H: “Egnor’s wrong – PHYSICS requires LOGIC!”

    Continuing my analogy of post 8 above, you can only claim I “utterly fail” at point 3 if you insist that, because elements of the periodic table (logic) are used in man-made vehicles (physics), elements are vehicles and vehicles are elements. Nope. At this point you appear to be being obtuse simply to avoid addressing the actual argument.

  19. 19
    Bob O'H says:

    Shorter Egnor: “LOGIC is not the same as PHYSICS. PHYSICS however requires LOGIC. Since LOGIC exists, Carroll is wrong.”

    But he also contradicts himself by saying ” Logic shares no commonality with physics. That is, the Venn diagram of logic and the Venn diagram of physics don’t overlap in any way. Mathematical logic is entirely separate from mathematical physics”. If physics requires logic, it can’t be entirely separate from it. This really shouldn’t be difficult to understand.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob: “If physics requires logic, it can’t be entirely separate from it.”

    True as far as it goes, but then again, if physics requires logic, but logic can’t be derived from physics, (which was Egnor’s main point), then naturalism and/or materialism must be false,

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    As Egnor stated, “If Carroll is right that man is governed entirely by the laws of physics, without remainder, then where do the laws of logic come from?”

    To quote Bob: “This really shouldn’t be difficult to understand.”

  21. 21
    Bob O'H says:

    True as far as it goes, but then again, if physics requires logic, but logic can’t be derived from physics, (which was Egnor’s main point), then naturalism and/or materialism must be false,

    I don’t think that makes sense. Isn’t enough that logic can be derived from a physical system?

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob states: “I don’t think that makes sense. Isn’t (it) enough that logic can be derived from a physical system?”

    But that is Dr. Egnor’s entire point. Logic CAN”T be derived from a physical system.

    If it were possible to ‘derive logic’ from a physical system, that is to say, if it were possible for logic to be ’emergent’ from a physical, i.e. material, substrate, (such as Darwinists falsely claim that information and consciousness are themselves supposedly ’emergent’ from a physical, i.e. material, substrate), then it directly follows that logic should have some physical, i.e. material, parameter that we can measure.

    Yet this plainly is not the case, to repeat:

    “Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism?”
    – Dr Michael Egnor

    To go a bit further in Dr. Egnor’s line of reasoning, if I may,,

    Darwinists ultimately seek to ‘scientifically’ explain everything in materialistic terms. i.e. Reductive materialism. And yet, if something is not composed of particles or does not have physical properties (e.g., length, mass, energy, momentum, orientation, spin, position, etc), it is abstract, even ‘spiritual’.
    Numbers, mathematics, logic, truth, distance, time, beauty, ugliness, species, person, information, etc.. etc.. all fall into that category of being an abstract property of the immaterial mind. It is amazing how many things fall into that ‘abstract’ category even though most everyone, including atheists, (“atheists” also happens to be an abstract term itself), swear that they exist physically.
    Take for instance the abstract concept of species, The term species is an abstract property and/or definition of the immaterial mind that cannot possibly be reduced to any possible materialistic explanations. i.e. How much does the concept of species weigh? Does the concept ‘species’ weigh more in English or in Chinese? How long is the concept of species in millimeters? How fast does the concept go? Is the concept of species faster or slower than the speed of light? Is the concept of species positively or negatively charged? Is the particle spin of species up or down, left or right? Or etc.. etc.. etc..?..

    Since the abstract concept of species itself is forever beyond any possible reductive materialistic explanation, then so much for Darwinists ever giving us an adequate explanation for the ‘Origin of Species’.

    But hey, don’t take my word for it, Darwinists themselves admit as much,

    What is a species? The most important concept in all of biology is a complete mystery – July 16, 2019
    Excerpt: Enough of species?
    This is only the tip of a deep and confusing iceberg. There is absolutely no agreement among biologists about how we should understand the species. One 2006 article on the subject listed 26 separate definitions of species, all with their advocates and detractors. Even this list is incomplete.
    The mystery surrounding species is well-known in biology, and commonly referred to as “the species problem”. Frustration with the idea of a species goes back at least as far as Darwin.,,,
    some contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology have,,, suggested that biology would be much better off if it didn’t think about life in terms of species at all.,,,
    https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-species-the-most-important-concept-in-all-of-biology-is-a-complete-mystery-119200

    In fact, Charles Darwin himself admitted that he did not have a rigid ‘physical’ definition for what the term ‘species’ actually meant when he stated that, “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience.,,,”

    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    – Charles Darwin

    In short, and in conclusion, to deny the independent reality, indeed, to deny the primacy of the ‘abstract’ immaterial realm of mind over the material realm , is simply insane.

    As Sedgwick told Darwin himself, “Here, in language, & still more in logic, we are point blank at issue— There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical. A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly,,”

    From Adam Sedgwick
    Cambridge – Nov 24 1859

    My dear Darwin,
    ,,, Here, in language, & still more in logic, we are point blank at issue— There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly Tis the crown & glory of organic science that it does thro’ final cause , link material to moral; & yet does not allow us to mingle them in our first conception of laws, & our classification of such laws whether we consider one side of nature or the other— You have ignored this link; &, if I do not mistake your meaning, you have done your best in one or two pregnant cases to break it. Were it possible (which thank God it is not) to break it, humanity in my mind, would suffer a damage that might brutalize it—& sink the human race into a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its written records tell us of its history.
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2548.xml

  23. 23
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 –

    Bob states: “I don’t think that makes sense. Isn’t (it) enough that logic can be derived from a physical system?”

    But that is Dr. Egnor’s entire point. Logic CAN”T be derived from a physical system.

    But isn’t that irrelevant if it can by derived by a physical system?

  24. 24
    drc466 says:

    Bob O’H,

    I’ll meet you halfway. I will agree that YOUR interpretation of what Egnor means when he says logic is entirely separate from physics would mean his argument is “absurd”. If you in turn agree that your interpretation cannot be correct since Egnor spends the next paragraph and a half defining exactly what he means when he says logic is entirely separate from physics, and it isn’t your interpretation!
    It is a truth indisputable that a Venn diagram of mathematical logic statements and mathematical physics statements do not overlap, in the same way that it is a truth indisputable that a Venn diagram of elements in the periodic table and man-made vehicles do not overlap.
    I can already hear Bob O’H arguing over whether apples are oranges:
    Egnor: “Apples are entirely separate from oranges. A Venn diagram of apples and oranges do not overlap in any way.”
    Bob O’H: “A-ha! But apples and oranges are both fruits, so they AREN’T entirely separate, are they? Egnor’s claim is absurd!”
    Congratulations, world – Bob O’H has discovered that Venn diagrams are entirely useless, because you can always find a relationship between any two categories! (A and not-A both use the term A, right? So there is overlap!!!)

    P.S. And I believe it would be you, Bob, whom Egnor is speaking of when he says “A materialist might argue (vaguely) that the laws of logic are just epiphenomenal vapor from our physical brains”, with your comment that ” isn’t that irrelevant if it can by derived by a physical system?”

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    So Bob you claim, without any examples, that logic can be derived from a physical system, Dr. Egnor claims it can’t. and gave his reasons for exactly why logic can never be derived from a physical system, namely, logic is profoundly immaterial in its foundational nature.

    Since logic is clearly immaterial in its foundational nature, and yet you make the contrary. indeed completely counterintuitive, claim that it can by derived by (or from) a physical system, then clearly it is on you to prove that such a counterintuitive proposition is feasible. (For instance, perform an experiment and show me exactly how much does the law of non-contradiction weigh or how fast it may go, or etc.. etc…)

    Good luck with that futile, and deluded, endeavor.

    In your fevered Darwinian imagination you may think such a materialistic explanation for the laws of logic is possible, but science could care less what you falsely imagine to be possible and is only interested in what you can actually prove to be feasible.

    Is God Real? Evidence from the Laws of Logic – J. Warner Wallace
    Excerpt: ,,, (1) The Objective Laws of Logic Exist
    We cannot deny the Laws of Logic exist. In fact, any reasonable or logical argument against the existence of these laws requires their existence in the first place.
    The Objective Laws of Logic Are Conceptual Laws
    These laws are not physical; they are conceptual. They cannot be seen under a microscope or weighed on a scale. They are abstract laws guiding logical, immaterial thought processes.
    The Objective Laws of Logic Are Transcendent
    The laws transcend location, culture and time. If we go forward or backward a million years, the laws of logic would still exist and apply, regardless of culture or geographic location.
    The Objective Laws of Logic Pre-Existed Mankind
    The transcendent and timeless nature of logical laws indicates they precede our existence or ability to recognize them. Even before humans were able to understand the law of non-contradiction, “A” could not have been “Non-A”. The Laws of Logic were discovered by humans, not created by humans.
    (2) All Conceptual Laws Reflect the Mind of a Law Giver
    All laws require law givers, including conceptual laws. We know this from our common experience in the world in which we live. The laws governing our society and culture, for example, are the result and reflection of minds. But more importantly, the conceptual Laws of Logic govern rational thought processes, and for this reason, they require the existence of a mind.
    (3) The Best and Most Reasonable Explanation for the Kind of Mind Necessary for the Existence of the Transcendent, Objective, Conceptual Laws of Logic is God
    The lawgiver capable of producing the immaterial, transcendent laws preceding our existence must also be an immaterial, transcendent and pre-existent mind. This description fits what we commonly think of when we think of a Creator God.,,,
    https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-god-real-evidence-from-the-laws-of-logic/

    Of note:

    John 1:1
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”

    ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic
    http://etymonline.com/?term=logic

    What is the Logos?
    Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,,
    In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.”
    https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-Logos.html

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