Intelligent Design Mathematics theism

Will President Dutarte have to resign? Mathematician Euler offered an equation taken as proof of God

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Leonhard Euler.jpg
Leonhard Euler, 1753/Jakob Emanuel Handmann

Recently, Philippines president Rodrigo Dutarte threatened to resign if anyone could prove that God exists. It turns out that the great mathematician Leonhard Euler (1707–1783) offered a proof of the existence of God.

Today, Euler is considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. His interests covered almost all aspects of mathematics, from geometry to calculus to trigonometry to algebra to number theory, as well as optics, astronomy, cartography, mechanics, weights and measures and even the theory of music.

Much of the notation used by mathematicians today – including e, i, f(x), ∑, and the use of a, b and c as constants and x, y and z as unknowns – was either created, popularized or standardized by Euler. His efforts to standardize these and other symbols (including π and the trigonometric functions) helped to internationalize mathematics and to encourage collaboration on problems. More.

Here’s Identity, often taken as a proof of God:

Euler’s identity is an equality found in mathematics that has been compared to a Shakespearean sonnet and described as “the most beautiful equation.” It is a special case of a foundational equation in complex arithmetic called Euler’s Formula, which the late great physicist Richard Feynman called in his lectures “our jewel” and “the most remarkable formula in mathematics.”

In an interview with the BBC, Prof David Percy of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications said Euler’s Identity was “a real classic and you can do no better than that … It is simple to look at and yet incredibly profound, it comprises the five most important mathematical constants.”

Some of Euler’s other thoughts about God, offered by a friend, cited by Adam Drozdek, “Leonhard Euler as an Apologist,” Theologische Zeitschrift 66 (2010) pp. 62-82:

He wrote in his Examen d’une controverse sur la loi de refraction des rayons, 1753, that

if other arguments for the existence of God make no impression on the spirit of Atheists, just the consideration of the structure of the eye should convince them about the existence of the supremely wise and powerful Being, in comparison with which the highest wisdom of man is reduced to nothing.

He talks about the human eye in his Letters:

Vision «is without a doubt the most wonderful thing which the human spirit could fathom.» The little that we know about the operation of the eye «is more than sufficient to convince us of the Omnipotence and infinite wisdom of the Creator; and its wonders
should enrapture our spirit to more pure adoration of the supreme being. We discover in the structure of eyes perfections which the most intelligentspirit could never thoroughly examine and the most skilful artist could never construct a machine of such a kind» (Letters 41). Although Euler raised the issue of God’s wisdom, indirectly he also addressed the problem of the existence of God: the eye is a witness of a supremely wise creator who only can be God. Euler was convinced that God «has surely followed in his works the simplest route» and thus the eye cannot be reproduced by a simpler device(Letters 43). Today, the intelligent design proponents use the concept of an irreducible complexity which, as it can be seen, would be endorsed by Euler:

“the eye is complex but it cannot be made any simpler since removing but one element from its construction would render the eye unworkable. Therefore, all the elements of the eye must have been put together at the same time to enable the proper execution of its function.” This is the proof of the existence of God from design, which is the first proof used in European philosophy, namely by Socrates, and was a proof frequently used in the age of Euler, frequently under the name of physicotheology.

And the more we know about the eye, the more complex it is.

But President Duarte may have other stuff to read…

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte 2017.jpg
See also: Philippines president claims he’ll resign if anyone can prove God exists. But leaves himself a fine-tuning loophole.

76 Replies to “Will President Dutarte have to resign? Mathematician Euler offered an equation taken as proof of God

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    My answer: I would first want to see a formal argument that Euler’s Identity implies the existence of God written out explicitly (as opposed to an array of statements marveling over the beauty of the equation). Moreover, that argument should be clearly valid at a minimum. I don’t expect such to appear, however.

    The basic problem is that Euler’s Identity is simply true by definition. How does one bootstrap such a truth into a proof that God exists?

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    This is silly. Math is a complex system of thought invented by humans. The fact that we CAN invent such systems leads to considerations of design, but nothing INSIDE such systems proves anything about any part of the universe except our minds.

  3. 3
    PaV says:

    “the eye is complex but it cannot be made any simpler since removing but one element from its construction would render the eye unworkable. Therefore, all the elements of the eye must have been put together at the same time to enable the proper execution of its function.” This is the proof of the existence of God from design, which is the first proof used in European philosophy, namely by Socrates, and was a proof frequently used in the age of Euler, frequently under the name of physicotheology.

    Was Euler the first to give us the notion of “irreducible complexity”?

  4. 4
    Nonlin.org says:

    Some see God in this equation as in everything around us, while others – unfortunately – see nothing. Just telling them “you should see” doesn’t quite do the trick.

  5. 5
    KD Jung says:

    Mathematics is to explain God’s wisdom in human wisdom. He studied mathematics with this idea. He thought his wisdom was nothing compared to the design of the eye. The Bible says that God created this world with wisdom. That wisdom is called creativity in today’s term. Euler alone achieved more than 30% of 18th-century mathematics. There are no mathematicians who surpass him in human history. His reasoning ability is about 10 times more than the reasoning ability of a well-behaved scientist. What Euler points out is that when he sees the structure and function of the eye, no one can make it, except the Creator, the Almighty. Moreover, he can not even imagine that the eye was accidentally created by itself. He saw this as a definite proof that there is an Almighty. He thought that humans who do not believe in this proof are stupid. Is there anyone who believes that the eye has been built on an evolutionary basis for an extended period of time? Some of us have blamed the design of the eye with our insignificant creativity.

  6. 6
    Nonlin.org says:

    daveS, polistra,

    No, Euler’s Identity is NOT “true by definition”, and math was NOT “invented by humans”.

    “Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe” Galileo Galilei Italian astronomer & physicist (1564 – 1642)

  7. 7
    daveS says:

    Nonlin.org,

    How do you know that Euler’s identity actually is true?

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Benjamin Peirce, a noted American 19th-century philosopher, mathematician, and professor at Harvard University, after proving Euler’s identity during a lecture, stated that the identity “is absolutely paradoxical; we cannot understand it, and we don’t know what it means, but we have proved it, and therefore we know it must be the truth”.[8]
    Per Wikipedia

    Here are some very well done videos showing the stringent ‘mathematical proofs’ for Euler’s Identity:

    Euler’s Formula and Euler’s Identity: Rationale for Euler’s Formula and Euler’s Identity – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgNtPOgFje0

    Euler’s identity – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zApx1UlkpNs

    Of related note:

    One of the most frequently mentioned equations was Euler’s equation, e^pi*i+1 = 0, Respondents called it “the most profound mathematical statement ever written”; “uncanny and sublime”; “filled with cosmic beauty”; and “mind-blowing”. Another asked: “What could be more mystical than an imaginary number interacting with real numbers to produce nothing?” The equation contains nine basic concepts of mathematics — once and only once — in a single expression. These are: e (the base of natural logarithms); the exponent operation; ?; plus (or minus, depending on how you write it); multiplication; imaginary numbers; equals; one; and zero.
    – Robert P. Crease, in “The greatest equations ever” at PhysicsWeb (October 2004)

    Euler’s identity – Mathematical beauty
    Excerpt: Euler’s identity is often cited as an example of deep mathematical beauty.[3] Three of the basic arithmetic operations occur exactly once each: addition, multiplication, and exponentiation. The identity also links five fundamental mathematical constants:[4]
    The number 0, the additive identity.
    The number 1, the multiplicative identity.
    The number pi, which is ubiquitous in the geometry of Euclidean space and analytical mathematics (pi = 3.14159265…)
    The number e, the base of natural logarithms, which occurs widely in mathematical analysis (e = 2.718281828…).
    The number i, the imaginary unit of the complex numbers, a field of numbers that contains the roots of all polynomials (that are not constants), and whose study leads to deeper insights into many areas of algebra and calculus.
    (Both pi and e are transcendental numbers.)
    Furthermore, the equation is given in the form of an expression set equal to zero, which is common practice in several areas of mathematics.
    Stanford University mathematics professor Keith Devlin has said, “like a Shakespearean sonnet that captures the very essence of love, or a painting that brings out the beauty of the human form that is far more than just skin deep, Euler’s equation reaches down into the very depths of existence”.[5] And Paul Nahin, a professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire, who has written a book dedicated to Euler’s formula and its applications in Fourier analysis, describes Euler’s identity as being “of exquisite beauty”.[6]
    The mathematics writer Constance Reid has opined that Euler’s identity is “the most famous formula in all mathematics”.[7] And Benjamin Peirce, a noted American 19th-century philosopher, mathematician, and professor at Harvard University, after proving Euler’s identity during a lecture, stated that the identity “is absolutely paradoxical; we cannot understand it, and we don’t know what it means, but we have proved it, and therefore we know it must be the truth”.[8]
    A poll of readers conducted by The Mathematical Intelligencer in 1990 named Euler’s identity as the “most beautiful theorem in mathematics”.[9] In another poll of readers that was conducted by Physics World in 2004, Euler’s identity tied with Maxwell’s equations (of electromagnetism) as the “greatest equation ever”.[10]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.....cal_beauty

    God by the Numbers – Connecting the constants
    Excerpt: The final number comes from theoretical mathematics. It is Euler’s (pronounced “Oiler’s”) number: e^pi*i. This number is equal to -1, so when the formula is written e^pi*i+1 = 0, it connects the five most important constants in mathematics (e, pi, i, 0, and 1) along with three of the most important mathematical operations (addition, multiplication, and exponentiation). These five constants symbolize the four major branches of classical mathematics: arithmetic, represented by 1 and 0; algebra, by i; geometry, by pi; and analysis, by e, the base of the natural log. e^pi*i+1 = 0 has been called “the most famous of all formulas,” because, as one textbook says, “It appeals equally to the mystic, the scientist, the philosopher, and the mathematician.”,,,
    The discovery of this number gave mathematicians the same sense of delight and wonder that would come from the discovery that three broken pieces of pottery, each made in different countries, could be fitted together to make a perfect sphere. It seemed to argue that there was a plan where no plan should be.,,,
    Today, numbers from astronomy, biology, and theoretical mathematics point to a rational mind behind the universe.,,, The apostle John prepared the way for this conclusion when he used the word for logic, reason, and rationality—logos—to describe Christ at the beginning of his Gospel: “In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God.” When we think logically, which is the goal of mathematics, we are led to think of God.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=3

    Alexander Vilenkin comments on the beauty of mathematics being ideally suited for describing our physical universe (particularly e^ipi+1=0)

    Quote: “It appears that the Creator shares the mathematicians’ sense of beauty.”
    – Alexander Vilenkin
    http://rfforum.websitetoolbox.com/post?id=3754268

    Leonhard Euler, the son of a Christian pastor, and a fervent Christian all his life,,,, the brilliant mathematician Leonhard Euler stated this about atheism:

    A DEFENSE OF THE (Divine) REVELATION AGAINST THE OBJECTIONS OF FREETHINKERS, BY MR. EULER
    Excerpt: “The freethinkers (atheists) have yet to produce any objections that have not long been refuted most thoroughly. But since they are not motivated by the love of truth, and since they have an entirely different point of view, we should not be surprised that the best refutations count for nothing and that the weakest and most ridiculous reasoning, which has so often been shown to be baseless, is continuously repeated. If these people maintained the slightest rigor, the slightest taste for the truth, it would be quite easy to steer them away from their errors; but their tendency towards stubbornness makes this completely impossible.”
    http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/.....2trans.pdf

  9. 9
    Nonlin.org says:

    daveS@7,

    Euler observed this equation to be true. Did you think he “invented” it?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_identity

  10. 10
    daveS says:

    Nonlin.org,

    I don’t think he invented the identity; if there are aliens that can do math, then I suspect it’s likely they know of this identity (or one equivalent to it). It has some existence independent of our minds.

    How do you think Euler determined this identity to be true?

    I know it’s true because if you calculate the left hand side, using the usual definitions, you get 0.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    As to this quote I cited in post 8:

    “The discovery of this number gave mathematicians the same sense of delight and wonder that would come from the discovery that three broken pieces of pottery, each made in different countries, could be fitted together to make a perfect sphere. It seemed to argue that there was a plan where no plan should be.,,,”

    Finding ‘unexpected order’ where it shouldn’t be found is a recurring theme.,, For instance, the inverse square law,,,

    “Newton proposed that Gravitational force is inversely proportional to the Square of the distance between two masses (Inverse Square Law). For an orderly, designed universe, this makes sense – why wouldn’t it be something nice and even, like the square of the distance? For someone who believes in a random universe though – why the Square? Why not r ^ 2.148273.. or r ^ 1.932157.. The universe is full of nice, neat relationships like this, at very fundamental levels – moreso than not. I find the ability of the atheist to accept so many coincidences nothing short of astonishing.”
    drc466 – UD blogger
    Inverse Square Law
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.g.....s/isq.html

    Designer gravity – Don DeYoung
    The force F between two masses m1 and m2, when separated by a distance r, can be written as F = (G m1 m2)/r2
    Where G is the gravitational constant, first measured by Henry Cavendish in 1798.(1)
    This equation shows that gravity decreases as the separation distance, r, between two objects becomes large but never quite reaches zero.
    The inverse-square nature of this equation is intriguing. After all, there is no essential reason why gravity should behave in this way. In a chance, evolving universe, some random exponent like r1.97 or r2.3 would seem much more likely. However, precise measurements have shown an exact exponent out to at least 5 decimal places, 2.00000. As one researcher put it, this result seems ‘just a little too neat.’2
    http://creation.com/gravity-the-mystery-force

    In regards to mathematics describing the physical universe, the atheist simply has no explanation for why such ‘unexpected order’ should be found. Einstein himself stated that, “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.”

    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

    It is also very interesting to note that the very belief that there is some type of unity, an overriding connection, of the laws of physics, i.e. a theory of everything, is itself a belief that arises from the presupposition of Design in the universe. i.e. A Theistic presupposition.

    “So you think of physics in search of a “Grand Unified Theory of Everything”, Why should we even think there is such a thing? Why should we think there is some ultimate level of resolution? Right? It is part, it is a consequence of believing in some kind of design. Right? And there is some sense in which that however multifarious and diverse the phenomena of nature are, they are ultimately unified by the minimal set of laws and principles possible. In so far as science continues to operate with that assumption, there is a presupposition of design that is motivating the scientific process. Because it would be perfectly easy,, to stop the pursuit of science at much lower levels. You know understand a certain range of phenomena in a way that is appropriate to deal with that phenomena and just stop there and not go any deeper or any farther.”,,, You see, there is a sense in which there is design at the ultimate level, the ultimate teleology you might say, which provides the ultimate closure,,”
    Professor of philosophy Steve Fuller discusses intelligent design in Cambridge – Video – quoted at the 17:34 minute mark
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nd-others/

    As David Klinghoffer noted, Why in the world would a scientist blithely assume that there is or is even likely to be one unifying rational form to all things, unless he assumed that there is a singular, overarching intelligence that has placed it there? Why shouldn’t the world be chaotic, utterly random, meaningless? Why should one presume that something as orderly and rational as an equation would describe the universe’s structure?

    Stephen Hawking’s “God-Haunted” Quest – David Klinghoffer – December 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Why in the world would a scientist blithely assume that there is or is even likely to be one unifying rational form to all things, unless he assumed that there is a singular, overarching intelligence that has placed it there? Why shouldn’t the world be chaotic, utterly random, meaningless? Why should one presume that something as orderly and rational as an equation would describe the universe’s structure?
    I would argue that the only finally reasonable ground for that assumption is the belief in an intelligent Creator, who has already thought into the world the very mathematics that the patient scientist discovers.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92351.html

    Moreover, when throwing the reductive materialism that undegirds Darwinian evolution into the mix, the insurmountable problem of mathematics describing the physical universe becomes all the more intractable for the atheist.

    Darwinian evolution is based on a materialistic view of reality which denies that anything beyond nature exists. On the other hand, Mathematics exists in a transcendent, beyond space and time, realm which is not reducible any possible material explanation. This transcendent mathematical realm has been referred to as a Platonic mathematical world.

    Platonic mathematical world – image
    https://image.slidesharecdn.com/quantuminformation2-120301000431-phpapp01/95/quantum-information-14-728.jpg?cb=1330561190

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”? It seems a stretch. What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    Simply put, Mathematics itself, contrary to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, does not need the physical world in order to exist. And yet Darwinists, although they deny that anything beyond nature exists, need this transcendent world of mathematics in order for their theory to be considered scientific in the first place. The predicament that Darwinists find themselves in regards to denying the reality of this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics, and yet needing validation from this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics in order to be considered scientific, should be the very definition of self-refuting.

    For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have a proof that Darwinian evolution works.
    (Chaitin 2012, 53).

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note, some atheists believe that mathematics and/or logic, all by itself, can make God dispensable. Yet, Godel, with his incompleteness theorems, proved that “we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable”.

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    Taking God Out of the Equation – Biblical Worldview – by Ron Tagliapietra – January 1, 2012
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) proved that no logical systems (if they include the counting numbers) can have all three of the following properties.
    1. Validity … all conclusions are reached by valid reasoning.
    2. Consistency … no conclusions contradict any other conclusions.
    3. Completeness … all statements made in the system are either true or false.
    The details filled a book, but the basic concept was simple and elegant. He (Godel) summed it up this way: “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.” For this reason, his proof is also called the Incompleteness Theorem.
    Kurt Gödel had dropped a bomb on the foundations of mathematics. Math could not play the role of God as infinite and autonomous. It was shocking, though, that logic could prove that mathematics could not be its own ultimate foundation.
    Christians should not have been surprised. The first two conditions are true about math: it is valid and consistent. But only God fulfills the third condition. Only He is complete and therefore self-dependent (autonomous). God alone is “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28), “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). God is the ultimate authority (Hebrews 6:13), and in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
    http://www.answersingenesis.or...../equation#

    As Bruce Gordon stated, 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.”

    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/

    The atheist simply has no explanation for why the universe should be describable by mathematics.

    Of supplemental note: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from death provides a very credible reconciliation between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into the much sought after “Theory of Everything”

    Gödel, Infinity, and Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – video
    https://youtu.be/x1Jw5Y686jY

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKggH8jO0pk

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    I think a better question would be

    Would God create a world where one could prove He exists?

    The implications of a definitive proof for God is that our behavior would change dramatically if our certainty that God existed was the same as the sun will rise in the morning.

    Would there be free will?

    Would there be faith?

    Would there be virtue?

    All our behaviors would be constricted to a very narrow range of what would be PC behaviors. But PC in terms of what we thought God wanted. We would be anything but human. We would be automatons. It would thwart His reason for creating us.

  14. 14
    daveS says:

    jerry,

    Would God create a world where one could prove He exists?

    Interesting question. This immediately raises the following question:

    Does/did God have any choice in the matter?

    To illustrate with a simple example, I would conjecture that it is/was impossible for God to create a world in which one cannot prove that the square root of 2 is irrational.

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    To illustrate with a simple example, I would conjecture that it is/was impossible for God to create a world in which one cannot prove that the square root of 2 is irrational.

    Can you imagine a world that has a different kind of mathematics? Or is our symbolic understanding the only one possible, as you see it?

  16. 16
    Celad says:

    polistra –

    //This is silly. Math is a complex system of thought invented by humans.//

    That was silly. The relationships always existed, we just symbolized and articulated them so that we could understand them.

  17. 17
    daveS says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Can you imagine a world that has a different kind of mathematics? Or is our symbolic understanding the only one possible, as you see it?

    That’s a good question. Once again, I can only conjecture, but I don’t believe mathematics could be any different in another world.

    I should clarify by adding that of course even in this world, people work within distinct axiomatic systems, in which different theorems hold. A person may assume axiom A holds from 8 to noon, and then assume axiom ~A holds from 1 to 5 (obviously one must be careful to keep one’s results from the two sessions separate.)

    However, I believe that if an alien from a different world/universe were allowed to look at this mathematician’s notes (translated of course), they would understand—“oh yeah, here you’re assuming A, while over here, you assume ~A. I would have come to the same conclusions.”

  18. 18
    Silver Asiatic says:

    daveS

    Once again, I can only conjecture, but I don’t believe mathematics could be any different in another world.

    Mathematics is a symbolic language which attempts to describe reality as well as describe computational abstractions which exist only in thought.

    So, it necessarily relies on many assumptions about what reality is, what the human mind is and how things work. These assumptions are givens – they cannot be proven.

    However, it seems your view is that in any world that God could create, all of these assumptions and givens are necessary.

    Some examples: The concepts of Time, that objects can be discreet and independent from each other, that infinity is incomprehensible, that paradoxes cannot be resolved … many more.

    Mathematics is a means of understanding that conforms to the nature and limits of the human mind. But do we have good grounds to believe that human minds and their methods are the only possible kinds of intellect that could exist?

    For myself, I don’t think so. I’m not talking about evidence that any different kind of mind/intellect could be created by God.

  19. 19
    daveS says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    But do we have good grounds to believe that human minds and their methods are the only possible kinds of intellect that could exist?

    For myself, I don’t think so.

    I have to agree here. I also don’t have much idea about what other sorts of minds/intellects could exist in this or other worlds.

    Going back a bit:

    Mathematics is a symbolic language which attempts to describe reality as well as describe computational abstractions which exist only in thought.

    So, it necessarily relies on many assumptions about what reality is, what the human mind is and how things work. These assumptions are givens – they cannot be proven.

    However, it seems your view is that in any world that God could create, all of these assumptions and givens are necessary.

    My view of mathematics is a little different. Mathematics attempts to be agnostic about as much as possible. For just about any assumption or given you identify above, one could also posit that such an assumption or given is false.

    The particular example that everyone refers to is geometry. Apparently Euclidean geometry works well enough in the physical world for us to use it in designing houses, for example. However, one can also investigate other geometries where the Euclidean parallel postulate fails, and that turns out to be productive in its own right.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    DS & SA:

    I see Math is back on the table, and BTW welcome back DS.

    SA you used a key term, “imagine a world.”

    You imply the possible worlds context of discourse; sufficiently complete descriptions of possible states of affairs.

    In that context, domains in Math tend to be abstract logic model worlds.

    Where I think a pretty good description would be, that Math is the [study of the] logic of structure and quantity. Of course, with non-naive sets and numbers at the heart — which brings in how von Neumann’s construction shows a key bridge, constructing numbers from the null set viewed as 0, etc..

    Some models are local, but some aspects of these and some models are universal, being populated by necessary beings. NB’s in the end are framework requirements for any world and so will be present in all possible worlds. A capital example is said construction:

    {} –> 0

    {0} –> 1

    {0,1} –> 2

    . . .

    {0,1, 2 . . . } –> w

    This will be framework for any world, and underneath lie first principles of right reason that are similarly framework, starting with LOI, LEM, LNC. Hence my point on Math being the LOGIC of structure and quantity.

    We also see that mathematics has abstract reality, being. Where, it is impossible to construct a world without these things.

    So, there is some universality.

    At the same time other things can vary, e.g. alternative axiom systems that would deny features of one another. However, as a lot of core math facts and structures are historically prior to most axiomatisations, the axiomatisations would not be accepted were they to be demonstrably chaotically illogical, incoherent and counter-factual.

    It’s not just how our brains are wired, it is that reasoned discourse on structure and quantity is possible and partly will be universal.

    So, I think the answer comes down to partly yes, partly no.

    KF

  21. 21
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    I think in a world where there is no concept of time, then those principles do not apply and therefore are not universal.

    It is the same with the law of identity – it assumes that objects must be discreet and independent of each other.

    The Christian teaching on the Trinity from the Council of Nicea onwards points to that view. Threeness in oneness.

    The distinction between being and non-being works from the perspective of human intelligence, but our intelligence does not need to be the universal standard in all possible worlds.

  22. 22
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Thanks for the welcome back.

    SA,

    Indeed, perhaps a monist would disagree with my view.

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, once we have a distinct possible world, LOI obtains . . . and it obtains for abstracta not just concrete entities, also being pivotal to the act of thinking much less communicating. A corollary is that “things” which cannot be distinguished are the same thing. Time is not relevant to core math, esp. sets and numbers. The triune God is understood such that the threeness and oneness refer to distinct aspects of the Godhead — see the classic shield of the faith diagram that the medievals thought of as the official Arms of God. Being vs non-being is important as the latter does not exist. There are circles and squares but no square circles. There is also but one null set, that set which collects nothing. KF

  24. 24
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF
    The question is with regards to what God could create. He could create a world that is entirely inaccessible to human reason. He could create a world that human intelligence could only perceive as being paradoxical and illogical.
    I think you are assuming that human reason and rationality are the only possible standards of understanding.
    God could create a world where what we, today, think is irrational would give a much higher understanding of God.
    Yes, the Trinity is three distinct persons – they also one being. No diagram can display this. Arms are parts of a whole. The 3 Persons are not parts, subordinate to a whole. Each one is the whole.
    There is no way that the human mind can fully explain or comprehend the simultaneous unity and yet separateness of the Trinity.
    In the Christian worldview, the Trinity is fundamental essence and foundation of all reality.
    The Trinity is an insoluble paradox from the perspective of human intelligence. It may be entirely different for angelic intelligences, for example.
    The Athanasian Creed, from the same time as the Nicene, supported by the fathers of the Nicene Council, says it:

    …we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

    There is simply no way to create a purely rational/logical or mathematical description of that belief. It is paradoxical in those terms.
    It is a statement of Faith, not of philosophy – it transcends reason.
    Thus, God could create an entire world where logic and mathematics not only do not apply, but would actually give a false understanding entirely.

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    Axel, I am not sure it is possible to create a world utterly inaccessible to our reason. If a world is possible, it has certain necessary, framework entities that obtain and are a gateway for any reasoning creature. Distinct identity, thus the core laws of thought, for one; so no, it is inherently impossible to create a distinct world where core logic does not obtain, LOI, LEM, LNC are framework for any world to be possible or actual. Distinct identity also carries two-ness with it [A vs ~A] thus numbers and the panoply of core mathematics centred on the counting numbers, so mathematics in its core is also universal and in principle accessible . . . I am very aware of its arduous nature to actually learn. I would further argue, as we also exist as morally governed, intelligent, responsibly and rationally significantly free creatures, that points to a necessary being, framework reality for ANY possible world. Namely, the inherently good creator God (who creates and sustains any actualised world), a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature. I suggest, heaven is such an actualised world. KF

    PS: I spoke to the logic of the triune Godhead, as linked already. The threeness and oneness refer to distinct aspects of being and are thus coherent. BTW, that is highlighted in: “one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons [Latin, essentially, faces], nor dividing the Essence [ = core being].” Much of what follows was an effort to correct many errors of the day, logic of identity and of being can also be abstruse. For example, note: “there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.” This speaks to distinct identity of person which is joined to unity of nature or being, hence also “they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite.” Yes, this goes beyond mere speculative philosophy, but it is actually coherent obviously though very difficult to understand; reading like a complicated legal definition that seeks to anticipate and block various ways to get it wrong or twist it, which reminds me of not a few things in math etc. And, any worldview will have core, unprovable commitments by faith, which will be difficult to understand and may bristle with difficulties. This is why I speak of faith-points that are subject to comparative difficulties analysis. See here http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Axel, can I confess a shocking thing? The definition on the whole speaks to me and makes a lot of good sense. BTW, faith and reason and moral responsibilities are inextricably intertwined.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Axel, I am not sure it is possible to create a world utterly inaccessible to our reason. If a world is possible, it has certain necessary, framework entities that obtain and are a gateway for any reasoning creature.

    When we say “possible” we are referring to understanding within human reason. We mean “philosophically possible”. When we talk about what God could do, we cannot use human reason as the only standard of judgement. God’s “thoughts are not our thoughts”. God’s mind transcends human reason.
    Human logic and rationality is consistent with that of the transcendent, but it is not equivalent.
    “All things are possible with God”. What this means is, we cannot assign probabilities to God’s thoughts or behaviors. We can learn, philosophically, that nature requires a first cause and that logic gives us good certainty about a necessary being. But we cannot use human reason to evaluate the thoughts and actions and nature of the Trinity. “Who has known the mind of God?”

    Distinct identity, thus the core laws of thought, for one; so no, it is inherently impossible to create a distinct world where core logic does not obtain, LOI, LEM, LNC are framework for any world to be possible or actual.

    Each person of the Trinity is a distinct whole. Each person is the fullness of God, lacking nothing. The persons are not parts of a whole. Each is a distinct, entire, infinite whole. How can three distinct, infinite, all-powerful, complete beings, form one infinite, all-powerful, complete being? It’s a logical contradiction. This knowledge is only known by Faith in statements that are divine revelation. Philosophy could never arrive at this understanding.

    The point here, is that the Trinity is “possible” – because the Trinity exists, as we know by Faith. However, the Trinity cannot be evaluated by reason and logic – it is a paradox for reason and logic. We can say that belief in the Trinity is consistent with rationality, but only because we have good reason to believe the teaching of Christ. Otherwise, it is impossible to describe how three distinct, complete beings can be one being – not as parts of a whole, but each as whole, and each identified with each other.

    This just stretches our awareness. Aristotle’s teachings give a foundation, in the natural world and reason – showing the logical need for first cause, necessary being. But moving beyond Aristotle, we discover revealed teachings that require Faith. We are taught by Christ – and putting faith in those divine teachings is a virtue. Faith itself is something we do, we accept and embrace the teaching because it comes from an authoritative source.

  29. 29
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    The definition on the whole speaks to me and makes a lot of good sense. BTW, faith and reason and moral responsibilities are inextricably intertwined.

    Yes, I noted your interest in the Nicene teachings and it is amplified by Athanasius’ creed which was directed against a false understanding of the Trinity that was current at the time (and today some Christians have a false idea also).
    But yes, reason is also a moral virtue – requiring integrity in recognizing and pursuing the truth. Then, we have to conform our mind to the truth, regardless of how difficult it might be to do it.
    Moral responsibilities make us disposed to faith – gives us strength of soul to accept divine teachings.
    Yes, faith and reason go together. Reason takes us a long way on the journey, but then we have to make a leap of faith.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, the key principles are necessary, framework to any possible world, it is not just HUMAN reasoning, but reasoning. Once distinct identity obtains, certain things are associated, necessarily so, and any distinct world already has distinct identity. As just one example, God cannot make a square circle. Not because God is too weak but because such is impossible of being. The form of words can be put together but the substantial thing cannot. Likewise, faith is central not only to the Christian faith but to any worldview and life agenda, that is, we have commitments to finitely remote first plausibles constituting one’s faith point. Then, we refer to comparative difficulties to carry out responsibilities to truth, reason and justice etc. KF

  31. 31
    Axel says:

    KF @ 25 :

    Hi KF. I’m with SA on this re the limit on our understanding; that ‘a priori’ might only be ‘a priori’ to our minds, though it seems the ultimate touchstone of reason to us – even though this whole universe seems to be a personal projection from each person’s mind.

    But you soon get incredibly technical, and musing on the difference in the respective scopes of our respective minds, it occurred to me what a wonderful metaphor it provides for the point SA and the Psalmist made about God’s thoughts being as far above our thoughts as the heavens are above the earth !

    And, alas, not entirely unwontedly, your link took me to a totally incomprehensible world. Thanks for the rely, though. Always good to hear from you and find your less technical posts.

    @26 :

    ‘PPS: Axel, can I confess a shocking thing? The definition on the whole speaks to me and makes a lot of good sense.

    What definition are you referring to, KF ?

    ‘BTW, faith and reason and moral responsibilities are inextricably intertwined.’

    Absolutely !

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    Axel,

    I spoke of the Athanasian creed clip you made, which pivots on logic of being and principle of identity; hence, clips from it. I pointed to the math slide show to document how things that make pretty good sense but are technical and finely balanced can come across as exceedingly abstruse.

    Next, it is not a prioris as such.

    Certain things are embedded in the framework for a distinct world to exist, any possible world. One of those is distinct identity and what it instantly brings with it. LOI, LNC, LEM, two-ness thus the naturals etc are examples. Other things — such as a square circle — cannot exist in any possible world. As this example shows, impossible of being because some core characteristics contradict others.

    KF

  33. 33
    jerry says:

    I haven’t followed this thread since I posed the question about God’s intentions. I just looked at it again. I asked

    Would God create a world where one could prove He exists?

    not

    Could God create another world?

    A completely separate idea and unrelated to the topic of the OP.

    Immediately it drifted off into an irrelevant question about choice and then mathematics such as the square root of 2 as irrational or not. And the implication that God could not create certain types of worlds. Which if true does not mean that God could not create an infinite number of different worlds.

    My point is that God would not want a world in which it was obvious He existed. He could certainly create one, but would He want to is the question. Whether the square root of 2 or irrational numbers exists in any world is another question.

  34. 34
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    You confused me and Axel there.

  35. 35
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    SA, the key principles are necessary, framework to any possible world, it is not just HUMAN reasoning, but reasoning.

    Well, you seem to be making claims for the mind of God. Human reasoning, a logical process, is sequential. It is time-bound. It moves from premise, through terms to a conclusion.
    I do not know your understanding of God.
    In my view, God is timeless. For God, there is no time, no need for sequential logic.
    So – do you think God’s reasoning works like human?
    You have stated that it’s not human reasoning, but just reasoning in general. So, all reasoning requires the limits you state?

    I have tried to show you that the nature of God is a trinity of three complete, entire, whole, infinite beings – none dependent. These three, each with infinite, fulness – lacking nothing, are actually one.

    I have shown that this idea is not reducible to human reason or logic. My point here is that God’s understanding of His own nature, cannot be constrained by the limits of human reason. The identity of God is not reducible to mathematics or logic. Thus, either God knows Himself poorly, incorrectly and with the same darkness that human reason knows God – or, God’s reason is not human reason.

    I have made this point as clear as I can. I accept that you may disagree. Again, I do not know your understanding of God. I had assumed you took a certain view, but perhaps not.

    Once distinct identity obtains, certain things are associated, necessarily so, and any distinct world already has distinct identity. As just one example, God cannot make a square circle.

    Again, I explained why this view is not correct.
    God is three infinite, non-contingent, complete beings. There is no way to resolve this logically or with the law of identity. Either the persons are not distinct, or there are three gods. You cannot resolve the mathematical formula: 1 = 1 therefore 1 = 3.

    That violates the law of identity.

    Not because God is too weak but because such is impossible of being.

    I have explained how three absolute infinites, lacking nothing of being, cannot exist at the same time, and moreover cannot be one being. Human reason and logic are not adequate to understand this, and obviously, God’s ways are not our ways, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.

    Likewise, faith is central not only to the Christian faith but to any worldview and life agenda,<,/blockquote.

    Yes. I will say that a rejection of the Christ as Logos is a rejection of rationality and reason also.

  36. 36
    daveS says:

    Jerry,

    My post was meant to be fairly closely related to yours.

    You argue that there are reasons to believe that God would not create a world in which one could prove He exists.

    I pointed out that despite these reasons, perhaps it’s logically impossible for God to create a world in which it’s impossible to prove He exists. (For example, the Kalam Cosmological Argument might “work” in every possible world).

    If that is true, then in any world God creates, it will be possible to prove He exists.

  37. 37
    Silver Asiatic says:

    jerry

    My point is that God would not want a world in which it was obvious He existed. He could certainly create one, but would He want to is the question.

    It depends on your theological views, of course.

    But from a Christian perspective, whether God’s existence is obvious or not, would not be the main factor in God’s desire to create a world. Again, from a Christian view, God did create a world where His existence was known and was obvious to all intelligent creatures (angels and the first human couple).

    But knowing that God exists alone is not enough to meet the challenge of why God created intelligent beings. In those cases with angels and men – a test was given. Both knew that God existed, but still, some angels and the first humans failed the test. It’s a test of fidelity and moral goodness.

    So, God did not create rational beings merely so they would discover that He exists. That’s only one small step. The fundamental reason why God created was so that intelligent creatures could share His happiness, and be like Him – living with Him, doing (in a small way) what He does. Thinking, creating, loving, family life … The human mind and innovative imagination is so powerful – we’re like little ‘gods’ (and we sometimes act that way, understandably). So creatures could not only discover God’s existence but could learn the highest form of living.

    Even if we have a high degree of certainty that God exists, it doesn’t mean we’re going to achieve moral goodness.

    We can look at a lot of Christians and other believers who have a high level of certainty that God exists – for them it is obvious, but they (I mean, myself) still fail quite often in the challenge of moral living.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, yes, we normally infer and reason in stages, though sometimes we can reason in parallel too. That does not affect or alter the force of the key conclusions on framework realities. Consider world W with some distinct A as opposed to — the dichotomy “pipe” character | — not A ~A:

    W = {A|~A}

    A is itself, rooted in the core characteristics that mark its distinctiveness. If we instead had things that are indistinguishable, they would be identical. That’s LOI.

    As | intervenes i/l/o the distinction, no x in W will be A AND ~A. That’s LNC.

    As the dichotomy locks out both-and, and we speak of entities in W, we have that any x in W will be A X-OR ~A, not both or neither. That’s LEM, strict form.

    Such are embedded in rational contemplation, communication (see Paul on distinct sounds in 1 Cor 14) and in the existence of both abstracta and concrete entities.

    On things not possible of being, a square circle would have core characteristics that cannot both hold, squarish and circular ones. It cannot be in any world, hence why God cannot make one. There literally is not and can never be any such thing.

    And yes, that is true of God as well as us.

    There is for some things, no unbridgeable gulch between God and us. After all, he invites, let us reason together — on certain things.

    Next, while UD is not a theology thread, I will comment on a point, inferring that likely you are not a native English speaker (not even in the sort of dialects that are common in these parts).

    The Athanasian creed as rendered in Latin then English (deriving from I believe a Greek original) carefully distinguishes “person” and “being.” The triune view of the Godhead is of three persons of one eternal nature, being one being. Not three parts or three beings in a society. The oneness of being is inseparable from the threeness of manifestation as Persons, with role-relationships. There is an element of mystery (we know not how such may be) but there is no contradiction as the threeness and the oneness speak to different aspects. In effect, if you wish a mathematical figure of speech, it is not 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 = 1, but that 1 * 1 * 1 = 1. Where threefold unity has distinction of the ones. A further loose analogy that is mathematical, is that a triangle is one and three at once, in different aspects. This is exploited in the classic shield of faith illustration. Yet another is physical-chemical: at triple-point, water is one chemical substance in three co-existing forms. There is the famed story of Patrick, challenged, picking a shamrock leaf and asking: 3 or 1? If 3, why one stem, if 1 why 3 lobes.

    Our problem is conceptual, tied to the logic of being and principle of identity. And with God, somethings are beyond our conception but are real. (Sort of reminds me of a few quantum oddities, e.g. the wavicle phenomenon.)

    (To see this, ponder is it possible to be due north of London, New York and Tokyo while standing at one point? At first, it seems not, but switch to a 3-d frame and we see yes, stand at the North Pole.)

    KF

  39. 39
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    with God, somethings are beyond our conception …

    Yes.

  40. 40
    Axel says:

    If I may interject here, KF – would not at least a signifcant part of the mystery that you view as residual, reside (no quasi homophone intended) in the fact that ‘personhood’ is integral, in our mortal human experience, with a distinct identity of being : the very quintessence of subjectivity.

    And yet there is the small matter of the true nature of each one of us being in Christ, in his shared Mystical Body. A ‘whole mess of persons’ adopted into the very life of the Holy Trinity, all sharing the same spirit….

    To my mind, KF, virtually by definition, the Holy Trinity is the ultimate paradox and infinite mystery. Understandaby, an atheist might see it as an oxymoron. This has led to the hilarious situation whereby Dawkins gratuitously dreams up what are, in effect, oxymorons (or tantamount to them, in terms of common-sense, such as a blind watchmaker), and with sovereign confidence, classifies them as paradoxes !

    And I can’t get over the way in which materialists speak of being informed by their intuition concerning truths that are readly accessed by elementary reason ! Though they are materialists, they want a part of ‘intutition’, ‘cos, ‘cos Einstein said it was good ; and ‘beauty'(‘elegance’) and stuff, too.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    Axel, we are going beyond UD’s remit now. I point here. KF

  42. 42
    jerry says:

    I pointed out that despite these reasons, perhaps it’s logically impossible for God to create a world in which it’s impossible to prove He exists. (For example, the Kalam Cosmological Argument might “work” in every possible world).

    I haven’t a clue what you are trying to say. Too many negatives. You seem to be making my point. Are you saying the Kalam Cosmological argument routinely convinces most people there is a God. I doubt many would agree with you. Do you personally believe the Kalam Cosmological argument? Do you believe the Kalam Cosmological argument convinces most people? What percentage of the people that belittle Intelligent Design do you think believe in the Kalam Cosmological argument?

    I did not say that there isn’t evidence that there is or is not a God. I said that if the evidence was overwhelmingly certain, a world would ensue that would probably not be desirable from God’s point of view. (whatever that is exactly?). We would be automatons.

    Certainly the Judeo/Christian God could make His presence known in lots of ways that are definitive if He desires it. For example, Christians pray to God constantly but how often are their prayers definitively answered. (Please don’t anyone tell me that God answers all prayers in ways we do not know or something to that effect. Assume I am familiar with Christian thought)

    But there is no evidence that prayer leads to God’s intervention. Yes, there are some things that are apparently miraculous. Catholics will point to Lourdes and other places for examples. I have a friend who is a lapsed Catholic who has just visited Lourdes with his wife who has cancer. God could certainly answer prayers in ways that are definitive but He doesn’t.

    Recently a well known writer said he was an atheist because he could not see any evidence that there is a God. My immediate thought was that the evidence is anything but overwhelming to many but that is the way it has to be. But there definitely is evidence, a lot of it. But history is full of so called Christians who acted as if they did not believe.

  43. 43
    daveS says:

    Jerry,

    Thanks for reading my post, anyway. I think we’re just on different wavelengths (and I probably should have included more context initially). It’s likely not worth the effort to take this further.

  44. 44
    Silver Asiatic says:

    jerry

    Yes, there are some things that are apparently miraculous.

    Well, that’s evidence. It may not be convincing enough for you, but it’s a place to look.

    Catholics will point to Lourdes and other places for examples.

    Yes, true. Catholics point to that and many other places and people where there is evidence. I think it’s important to be open to it and investigate.

    You seemed to dismiss Lourdes on an anecdote from a lapsed Catholic. As you say later, many Christians do not really believe what they profess. But there are many who do believe, and they tell of what they have experienced (like St. Bernadette of Lourdes, for example, among many others).

  45. 45
    jerry says:

    Well, that’s evidence. It may not be convincing enough for you, but it’s a place to look.

    You are completely misreading what I am saying. What may be convincing for one person may not be convincing for most. Why? That is the point I am making.

    It has nothing to do with me or what I believe. I have been to Lourdes and know the story of Bernadette very well. You should get the movie to look at the skeptics portrayed there

    You seemed to dismiss Lourdes on an anecdote from a lapsed Catholic.

    It illustrates my point perfectly. Someone who should believe does not really believe or else he would have lived his life differently. There is really not enough evidence to make him live his life differently. My friend does not really believe.

    God could do a lot more to make Himself known but he doesn’t. That is my point and I theorize the world would be much different if it wasn’t that way. Try to imagine a world where as I said God was as obvious as the sun rising in the east tomorrow. It would not be an interesting world and I believe God made it that way because He knew how people would behave if it was otherwise.

    I am trying to get some cartoons made that illustrate this. One is a series where people are arguing with each other and cheating others and in the next frame shows an enormous entity which says that you must obey me and be kind to each other or else. In the final frame there are only people being solicitous of each other and asking how they can be kind to them. Obvioulsy false virtue.

    I have other variations I am working on,

  46. 46
    Silver Asiatic says:

    jerry

    What may be convincing for one person may not be convincing for most. Why? That is the point I am making.

    I was commenting on an aspect of the point you were making – where you said that there was “no evidence”. I was just saying that there is evidence. Some people are convinced by that evidence, others not. But what you’re really saying goes beyond that, I understand. You’re saying it’s not a matter of some evidence but something totally obvious that everybody must accept. Ok.

    You should get the movie to look at the skeptics portrayed there.

    I’ve seen movies, read books – I’m very aware of the skeptics. The weight of evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of Lourdes, but that is not the point you’re making – I understand. You’re looking for 100% – where everyone without exception accepts it.

    Someone who should believe does not really believe or else he would have lived his life differently. There is really not enough evidence to make him live his life differently. My friend does not really believe.

    The part of your argument that I question is that simple belief or acceptance – even at a factual level, will necessarily result in moral perfection.

    We can be fully aware, totally convinced and recognize as a fact that a certain thing harms us. But even knowing that, we can still do that certain thing. So, it’s not just knowing something (that God exists) but it’s having the moral strength to act on the truth that you know.

    But both things are part of the world God created.

    Yes, you’re right – we do not have 100% obvious information about God’s existence. That is for a reason. In my view, it is for the discovery of God which takes a lifetime. We work and struggle and fight through the darkness – God reveals bits of light, hints of His presence. Then we follow those. This builds us in strength and gives us a goal.

    In the final frame there are only people being solicitous of each other and asking how they can be kind to them. Obvioulsy false virtue.

    Ok, we’re in agreement. Because there is ambiguity and we have to search and discover, then we have the chance to show real virtue. We’re making actual choices for good, rather than being forced into it.

  47. 47
    jerry says:

    where you said that there was “no evidence”

    I never said that. I said there is evidence but not overwhelming evidence. At least I tried to. And I maintain that is “good.” Because if there were overwhelming evidence there would be no value in assenting to the existence of God. And we would live in a very different world.

    I relayed this story a few times on this site but few if any understood its implications. I once shared an office with a Jewish adjunct while teaching. We got to discussing religion and he said there is no faith without doubt. There is no value in believing something without doubt. Doubt is necessary for belief to be meaningful.

    So what value is believing that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. The answer is None.

    It is a topic that few understand let alone consider and I occasionally bring it up. I rarely come here any more but occasionally check in to see if anything is interesting. Proof of God always get my interest for the reasons stated.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, after years of discussions, I have reached the conclusion that — beyond a threshold — it is seldom a matter of evidence. Attitudes to evidence and to others involved, yes. Ideologies, worldviews and assumptions, yes. Perceptions so coloured and perceived interests, yes. Agendas, yes. Distorting emotions, rage and the hardened or distracted heart, yes. Partyline and socio-political or socio-cultural identification (as opposed to core identity as a being), yes. Deleterious, blinding influences such as adherence to or being a fellow traveller with evolutionary materialistic scientism, yes. Influences of self-referentially incoherent frames of thought [such as the just named], yes. Turnabout projection to deflect and suppress cognitive dissonance, yes. Benumbing and blinding effect of so hardening the heart, yes. Adopying a crooked yardstick as standard of straightness, accuracy and uprightness, yes. Compounding such by dismissing plumbline, self-evident truths, yes. And more. The problem, in short, is to recognise when your system of thinking and reasoning has become materially corrupted and being willing to take up the painful toil of metanoia. KF

    PS: Just this week, I had a discussion with someone so pervaded by radical relativism, that holding up 3 fingers and 2 fingers separately then joining to make a 5,

    ||| + || –> |||||

    met with dismissal. That is how bad it can get. And these are the people making decisions about our future, starting with voting and moving up to influencing or sitting at the conference table with the fancy touchscreen whiteboard and fancier multimedia projector. Our civilisation is in deep trouble, and has got a suicidal mindset, like lemmings were made into an icon of. (Real lemmings seem smarter than that. But, people . . . ? History stands in devastating witness. But then, history that is inconvenient will be conveniently forgotten or dismissed — and don’t you dare try to remind us differently.)

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm: went looking for Metanoia. Wiki used to have an excellent general article, now gone. What’s left is thin gruel in an article on a rhetorical device and a suspiciously narrow discussion on theology that only hints of the two sisters kairos and metanoia. On the way, I am astonished that after over 400 years, it is not seen that usage in KJV etc of “repent[ance]” has expanded that word’s meaning through infusing the riches of metanoia and of kairos through translation. As, once happened to the Greek word, theos. My best rendering on reflection is that we here deal with: deeply motivated and fundamentally positive transformation of attitude, mindset, frame and trajectory and habits of thought (thus agenda for action) leading to — it is the motivating antecedent — permanent, radical change of path of life; often involving profound sorrow over and seeking forgiveness and cleansing from one’s former trajectory of thought and life. This article speaks: https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/463/columns/metanoia KF

    PS: How many times have I seen the golden few good, refreshing articles at Wikipedia gradually turned into thin gruel! I particularly recall a former discussion of the meaning of to lie.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    This seems to be an early version (not as fleshed out as my memory tells me): https://www.thefullwiki.org/Metanoia

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Taking a leaf from BA77’s book, scripture:

    Eph 4:17 So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls], 18 for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart.

    19 And they, [the ungodly in their spiritual apathy], having become callous and unfeeling, have given themselves over [as prey] to unbridled sensuality, eagerly craving the practice of every kind of impurity [that their desires may demand].

    20 But you did not learn Christ in this way!

    21 If in fact you have [really] heard Him and have been taught by Him, just as truth is in Jesus [revealed in His life and personified in Him], 22 that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], 24 and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].

    25 Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ]. 26 Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down. 27 And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].

    28 The thief [who has become a believer] must no longer steal, but instead he must work hard [making an honest living], producing that which is good with his own hands, so that he will have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak]. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin].

    31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. 32 Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave [c]you. [AMP]

    The resonances should be clear enough.

    KF

  52. 52
    jerry says:

    kairosfocus,

    You and I are talking about two different phenomena, evidence and hardened hearts. The OP was on a proof of God. Both evidence and hardened hearts are in operation in the world on this topic and on a lot else such as politics and economics.

    The hardened hearts might better be described as emotional hearts. People’s emotions drive what they will accept as truth and then only begrudgingly will they accept the obvious if it disagrees with their feelings which must be protected.

    Hans Rosling pointed out that the more educated one is, the more likely one is ignorant of the world around us and that many of our beliefs are based on unsubstantiated feelings. He was pointing to poverty and the rapid rise out of it in the last 200 years. But I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Rosling was an atheist which would be ironic given his focus on evidence.

    If one follows the physical evidence for God, one will get as far as Deism because there seems to be little concrete evidence for anything further than the construction of various coherent initial conditions which is what ID is about. This is where Ben Franklin essentially ended up who was one of the most conscientious thinkers in the last 300 years. But Ben had a weakness for the ladies.

    There is little to point to in science except human nature on how to behave and why. For that, one has to look elsewhere.

  53. 53
    daveS says:

    Hans Rosling

    Failing to recognize the name, I had to look him up. I remember seeing a famous and informative TED talk he presented. I didn’t realize he had passed already.

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the issue is the balance of duty to truth and the power of persuasion. From Aristotle in The Rhetoric, Book I Ch 2, we see pathos, ethos, logos as levers of persuasion, and then right there the remark that the judgements we make when we are pained and hostile are very different from those made when we are pleased and friendly. Perhaps later today into the morrow, I will try to speak to the actual substantial issue. I can summarise that we must have worldviews that are rooted in finitely remote faith points and which must be compared on their difficulties on factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power. IMHO there is adequate warrant that we can know (common, weak sense of sufficient warrant to be credibly true thus an object of responsible, reliable belief and action — not even Math post Godel is utterly provable) that the God of ethical theism is the most credible explanation of our world, one including morally governed, responsibly and rationally free creatures such as we are. I would suggest that, further, the history of Jesus of Nazareth points to the fundamental truth of historic, apostolic, C1 Christian faith. KF

  55. 55
    Silver Asiatic says:

    jerry

    I never said that. I said there is evidence but not overwhelming evidence. At least I tried to. And I maintain that is “good.” Because if there were overwhelming evidence there would be no value in assenting to the existence of God. And we would live in a very different world.

    Yes, you did say that. I was referring to your statement about no evidence on the efficacy of prayer:

    But there is no evidence that prayer leads to God’s intervention.

    So what value is believing that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. The answer is None.

    I fully agree. God created the world so that there was sufficient evidence, but not hard, 100% proof. That means, we can use reason and logic, but eventually we have to make a leap of faith – then even after that, we have to trust. We don’t need faith or trust to know that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.

    Proof of God always get my interest for the reasons stated./blockquote>

    Yes, when we talk about Proof of God, we run the risk of making this a mathematical formula. We can use logic to arrive at a reasonable idea. The evidence is strong. It seems impossible to deny the existence of God, but there is always a way to do it – however weak that foundation is.

    Eventually, some faith is needed. The reason for that, along with your idea that life would be boring without it – faith gives life drama, risk, importance. We actually make a very important decision to follow God. No decision is needed to believe that the sun will rise.

    It’s the same in human relationships – we have to learn to trust. God created the world like that for the reasons given.

  56. 56
    Silver Asiatic says:

    jerry

    If one follows the physical evidence for God, one will get as far as Deism because there seems to be little concrete evidence for anything further than the construction of various coherent initial conditions which is what ID is about.

    Fully agreed. ID only gets barely to Deism. In fact, we might even argue that ID doesn’t even get that far – biological ID can be explained by alien intervention. Cosmological ID cannot refute multiverse. Arguments about an infinite regression are not ID, not physical science – they are philosophical.

    This is where Ben Franklin essentially ended up who was one of the most conscientious thinkers in the last 300 years. But Ben had a weakness for the ladies.

    Very interesting point -yes. Franklin got as far as Deism – just using physical evidence and some basic philosophy. In my opinion, moral failings like lust, blind the mind to the more subtle connections needed to go from basic evidence, to more complex that leads to Theism.
    But Theism requires more faith – and moral failings like a weakness for the ladies, will block the soul from having that kind of faith. Cleanness of heart gives a vision to truths.

  57. 57
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Would you agree that Aristotle was a Deist?

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, Aristotle seemed to be all over the place. KF

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let me begin to pick up a bit. Worldviews first.

    I have long observed (echoing many others) that if an argument or conclusion A is challenged, it leads to B that supports it in some way. In turn B leads to C and so forth. This forces three alternatives: impossible infinite regress [we are finite and error-prone], question-begging circularity, finitely remote first plausibles defining a faith point at the core of a worldview.

    The first being impossible, the real issue is circularity and thus how start-points are warranted or at least made plausible. I follow others in arguing that comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and balanced explanatory power are key factors. I also see that crooked yardsticks used as standards for straightness, accuracy and uprightness would lock out what is genuinely so. Therefore, plumbline, self-evident truths are key tests for worldview start-points; never mind, that such cannot suffice to frame a worldview.

    For instance, Josiah Royce’s error exists is undeniably true and thus warranted to be known to undeniable certainty.

    This decisively undermines many ideological commitments and views in our day. Such as, views that deny that we can know beyond the inner life of conscious ideas, perceptions and opinions. Or, those that would turn truth and knowledge into relativised opinion, e.g. “your/my truth is . . . ”

    Likewise, we can consider it undeniable that we are morally governed, starting with duties of care to truth, sound reasoning, etc. If we deny such, we instantly imply grand delusion and radically undermine the credibility of responsible rationality. Amorality and nihilism crouch at the door.

    This already frames our worldview core challenge: we must account for a world inhabited by responsible, rational, morally governed, significantly free creatures — us. And denying or implying denial of that status directly undermines the point of a discussion. With might and/or manipulation make right nihilism crouching at the door.

    Okay, a first step.

    KF

  60. 60
    jerry says:

    Cosmological ID cannot refute multiverse

    But it can make the multiverse an absurd concept. From a previous comment I made a few years ago

    The only argument that has any traction is that the multi-verse is infinite. If it is not infinite then the actual finite number will always come up short in the fine tuning argument.

    If the multi-verse is infinite then all possibilities are possible including the one we live in. Two absurd implications of this are

    First, there must be an infinite number of universes that include each one of us leading our lives so that at every nano second a different path could arise and a different universe. For example, I missed a foul shot in high school that prevented us from making the playoffs. Not only is there an infinite number of universes where I miss the foul shot but there are an infinite number of universes where I make it and an infinite number of universes where I go on to become an All American basketball player. What a world!!

    Second, even more absurd, there are an infinite number of universes where the Judeo-Christian God arises. Here is an argument I have made beore on this.

    If an infinite number of universes are postulated, then this leads to an entity of infinite intelligence. Why?

    If there is an infinite number of universes, there will be a subset also infinite in number that develops intelligent entities. Then one could rank the infinite number of universes with intelligent entities by the level of intelligence present in each universe. This would lead to a ranking with no limit on the scope of the intelligence as one goes higher up the rankings.

    Then jokingly I made the comment that an infinite subset of these intelligent entities would say “Let there be light.” And to make even more fun out of this absurdity, I said an infinite subset of that would say it in English.

    An infinite number of universes is self contradicting. So we have to be left with some finite number but for every finite number we postulate, why wouldn’t there be just one more. What is to prevent it? Is there a cap on the number of universes?

    One absurdity after another. The techniques of calculus are finally becoming handy.

    The argument of the multi-verse is infinitely absurd.

  61. 61
    daveS says:

    jerry,

    If I may jump in, I don’t believe this is true:

    If there is an infinite number of universes, there will be a subset also infinite in number that develops intelligent entities. Then one could rank the infinite number of universes with intelligent entities by the level of intelligence present in each universe. This would lead to a ranking with no limit on the scope of the intelligence as one goes higher up the rankings.

    Even supposing that there are infinitely many universes with intelligent entities, that doesn’t mean there must be infinitely many distinct levels of intelligence.

    Furthermore, there could be infinitely many distinct levels of intelligence, but the set of levels of intelligence could be bounded above.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 2: The Philippines President’s challenge pivots on the concept of proof. As in, what degree of warrant constitutes reasonable, relevant and adequate reason to conclude that the God of ethical theism (and beyond, of the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition) credibly is?

    In an era of scientism, evolutionary materialism and selective hyperskepticism, that is a pivotal matter.

    Especially, given that post Godel, we know that not even Mathematics can provide utterly certain, guaranteed coherent frames of knowledge for domains comparably complex to Arithmetic. Similarly, science can provide provisional support for the empirical reliability of theories, but not proof beyond reasonable, responsible doubt. Where, also, it can be shown that claims or implications that science delimits knowledge or at least serious knowledge are philosophical or ideological impositions and collapse in self-referential incoherence as a direct result. Such notions also run afoul of the failure of demarcation arguments: there are no methods of investigation, analysis and reasoning that apply across the span of the generally accepted sciences which are unique to said domain and produce a body of uniquely reliable or credible knowledge. Sound methods of inductive and deductive reasoning, observation, description and classification, analysis, mathematical modelling, record and chain of custody etc are common across domains of interest, and there is far too much diversity across the sciences once one moves beyond the school level to impose a one size fits all method or definition. Worse, to do science, one crucially needs mathematics (and these days its extension in computing) which is precisely not an empirical science, but instead an abstract, introspective field of study that addresses the logic of structure and quantity, creating model logic worlds that often intersect powerfully with empirical domains of endeavour.

    So, we must be very careful in handling warrant in addressing the reality of God.

    In that context, we need to ponder who are doing the warranting, and how we may do so with any confidence. That is, we ourselves, and especially our inner introspective lives as reasonable, responsible, morally governed creatures are a major part of the evidence to hand.

    For, in order to be free to reason and in order for us to have the credibility to be trusted in alleged conclusions, we must rise far above the level of blindly mechanical and/or stochastic, gigo-limited computational substrates blindly grinding out whatever their inputs and stored data will lead to given the causal chains imposed by hardware organisation, noise, signals and software. Such devices are at best calculating up to the limits of noise, inputs and flaws, they are not free enough to reason rationally and responsibly under the binding moral government of duties of care to truth, sound and prudent reasoning, justice etc.

    Where, for certain, a purely material world governed by blind mechanical necessity and equally blind chance allegedly evolving purposelessly from hydrogen to humans simply cannot account for us. That is why, long ago now, J B S Haldane observed:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (NB: DI Fellow, Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth.)]

    So, we look for reasonable, responsible warrant for world roots adequate to account for a domain spanning hydrogen to humans, and know that it is not credibly a wholly material order. There must be room for mind, moral government and the human spirit. Where, too, we must adequately account for the one and the many, including good vs. evil.

    Cutting to the chase scene, we are looking for a grand. worldviews level inference to the best explanation of a world that spans from hydrogen to humans.

    The candidate to beat is: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and of the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    That is, it is a reasonable and responsible view to hold to ethical theism. In that context, we can account for ourselves as created to be in the image of God, able to sufficiently sense, understand and act into the world responsibly and freely. Where also, it then makes excellent sense to see a world that is full of signs of design of the cosmos, and of the world of biological life. Where also moral government and significant, responsible, rational freedom make sense as endowments by our creator.

    Further to this, the history of C1 Palestine on the further track record of the history of the Hebraic nation and of its prophetic tradition will make it clear that the Judaeo-Christian tradition is also reasonable and responsible.

    But, in the end, God is personal and persons are known in relationship. That is why the testimony of millions in light of the above and onward is further evidence that should not be lightly discarded.

    And, the principle here is that humble, penitent, even tentatively trusting prayer and stumbling in the way of the good, true, pure and loving will open up a world of encounter with God that is such that one may justly claim to know God.

    In the end, Mr President, the challenge is intensely personal.

    KF

  63. 63
  64. 64
    jerry says:

    Furthermore, there could be infinitely many distinct levels of intelligence, but the set of levels of intelligence could be bounded above.

    So you are postulating that these incredibly intelligent entities may be bounded in some way. It’s a conjecture but my guess if that were so they would conspire to find a way around the bounding.

    Is there some physical (does that term make sense) or other type of law bounding them from above? Who/What imposed this bounding? But maybe the bounding level if it exists is such that they can still say “Let there be light” in English.

    I suggest all read Issac Asimov’s short story, the “Last Question” for some fun thoughts on this. Asimov was an atheist.

    http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

    There is always some hypothetical that could be imposed no matter how illogical it is. But people’s self worth are often based on illogic. Sites like UD are useful because they facilitate unmasking events.

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, if DS thinks there is a continuum in possible degrees of intelligence, even a finite range could have infinitely many distinct values. I think the pivotal matter would be, can we rank intelligence. Then, we can point to the issue of possible, intelligent beings and then to that of a maximally intelligent being. (For argument, on was it Ari’s what rocks dream of, we can assign intelligence zero to a handy rock, defining a minimum.) A maximally intelligent being would be connected to a maximally great and necessary being. KF

  66. 66
    daveS says:

    jerry,

    So you are postulating that these incredibly intelligent entities are bounded in some way. It’s a conjecture but my guess if that were so they would conspire to find a way around the bounding.

    Is there some physical (does that term make sense) or other type of law bounding them from above? Who/What imposed this bounding? But maybe the bounding level if it exists is such that they can still say “Let there be light” in English.

    All I know is that this bounding is a mathematical possibility. Whether it’s realistic on not, I have no idea.

    I will add that even if we set aside this bounding objection, your argument seems to show only that there in a multiverse there would exist an infinite collection of beings of arbitrarily high finite intelligence. For example, we could have a sequence b_1, b_2, b_3, …, of beings where b_{i + 1} is twice as intelligent as b_i for each i >= 1. I don’t immediately see any logical problems with that.

  67. 67
    Silver Asiatic says:

    jerry

    Regarding arguments against the multiverse – yes, exactly, it can be shown to be absurd.

    But those are not ID arguments. They’re arguments against infinite regress, or infinite potential which are philosophical. ID can take no credit for those and make no contribution.

    ID only has physical evidence to work with. Once you get to the multiverse, none of the physical sciences can work on the problem. It all moves to philosophy, reason, logic, abstractions. Even mathematics does not work (contra DaveS’ arguments).

    An infinite state, which is required for a multiverse theory, cannot in principle be bounded and therefore cannot be fully analyzed.

  68. 68
    Silver Asiatic says:

    ID is limited to what can be observed.

    A multiverse posits worlds outside of the universe and therefore inaccessible to scientific observation.

    We can use logic to show that infinite universes are contradictory and irrational.

  69. 69
    john_a_designer says:

    SA @ 68,

    However, invoking the multiverse does provide the naturalist/materialist an easy escape hatch by which they can avoid the implications of an intelligently designed universe. Never mind the nasty unspoken fact that in doing so they posit presuppositions that must be accepted on the basis of faith.

  70. 70
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JAD

    True. There is much more evidence for the existence of God than of the multiverse. The MV is an escape hatch. It’s like positing alien directed panspermia of earth to explain biological evidence of intelligent design – which materialists could do that also if they realized that evolution does not work.

  71. 71
    ET says:

    JAD:

    However, invoking the multiverse does provide the naturalist/materialist an easy escape hatch by which they can avoid the implications of an intelligently designed universe.

    Or it just multiplies their problems. They cannot account for one (uni)verse, but it’s somehow easier to account for many? Really?

    Can/ will someone explain that to me?

  72. 72
    jerry says:

    But those are not ID arguments. They’re arguments against infinite regress, or infinite potential which are philosophical. ID can take no credit for those and make no contribution.

    If someone posits a physical phenomenon then it can be analyzed with logic. Once someone posits a multi-verse, then probability can be let loose. If the multi-verse is finite, then probability will eliminate it as an explanation for our universe. If the multi-verse is infinite, then it must encompass all possibilities and probability and logic will specify what are the possibilities including my absurd scenarios. Just think of the multi-verse as the universe of absurdities.

    As for what is ID call it ID or call it common sense. I always held that ID was just part of basic reasoning/logic about causes. Probability and logic are the main tools of ID applied to evidence and science. So the typical objections to it are absurd.

    One of the greatest enemies to the acceptance of ID is the ID people make it too complicated. For example, trying to fit Demski’s mathematics into it just makes it obscure and invites all the trolls with their nit objections.

    So we can disagree on just what ID is but it makes no difference. Just call it something like IR for Intelligent Reasoning.

    Remember ID is based on probability applied to science and evidence as to cause. While using logic, its conclusions are not certain. Consider my opinions on the existence of God. I maintain He doesn’t want it to be certain.

  73. 73
    john_a_designer says:

    [Here is something I’ve posted before which I think is worth repeating here.]

    In 2007 while making observations at the Keck observatory in Hawaii, Sandra Faber, a professor of astronomy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told science writer Anil Ananthaswamy,

    “that there were only two possible explanations for fine-tuning. ‘One is that there is a God and that God made it that way…’ But for Faber, an atheist, divine intervention is not the answer.

    “The only other approach that makes any sense is to argue that there really is an infinite, or a very big, ensemble of universes out there and we are in one,” she said.

    This ensemble would be the multiverse. In a multiverse, the laws of physics and the values of physical parameters like dark energy would be different in each universe, each the outcome of some random pull on the cosmic slot machine. We just happened to luck into a universe that is conducive to life. After all, if our corner of the multiverse were hostile to life, Faber and I wouldn’t be around to ponder these questions under stars.”

    Other atheists agree that God counts as a rational explanation. In a debate with Christian philosopher William Lane Craig, California Institute of Technology physicist, Sean Carrol said, “I’m very happy to admit right off the bat – [that God fine-tuning the universe] is the best argument that the theists have when it comes to cosmology.”

    However, Carroll then deftly takes away with the left hand what he had just offered with his right. “I am by no means convinced that there is a fine-tuning problem,” he told Craig.

    Oh? Is Carrol speaking for everyone? Is an airy wave of the hand all that is needed to solve the fine tuning as a problem. Other prominent physicists and astrophysicists would disagree— among them Sir Martin Rees, Paul Davies, Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark, Andrei Linde and Alexander Vilenkin to name a few. All these men, as far as I know, reject traditional theism. Nevertheless, they see fine-tuning as being a real problem in need of an explanation.

    For the theist fine tuning is a problem that has an easy answer. For us an eternally existing transcendent mind (God) is a sufficient explanation for the universe’s fine tuning. What is the non-theists explanation? The most popular, at the present, is the one given by Faber, an ensemble of universes—the so-called multiverse.

    Popular or not there are several major problems with the multiverse hypothesis. First, no one knows if any other universes besides our own exists. Neither does anyone have any idea how to detect another universe. Furthermore, even if we were able to detect another universe, how would we ever be able to prove there was a sufficiently large number of other universes to solve the fine tuning problem?

    Secondly, even if we assume for sake argument that a multiverse exists, does it really solve the problem? I would argue that it does not. An appeal to the multiverse is nothing more than a fallacious appeal to chance.

  74. 74
    jerry says:

    even if we assume for sake argument that a multiverse exists, does it really solve the problem?

    In other words all the anti-ID people have is an emotional attachment to a world view. However, emotions are much stronger than logic for most people. Certainly it is true for religion just as it is obviously true for atheism or any form of anti-religion. It is also true for politics as we see in our present world. It is certainly true in love.

    I have often said the most interesting thing in the ID debate is not the evidence but the behavior of the people and what they will do to justify their beliefs. So an interesting social psychology thesis is that people associate based on their emotional beliefs which then attracts the opposite beliefs.

    A imperfect physical analogy may be that the electro magnetic force vs gravity. The electro magnetic force is thousands of times stronger than gravity. So are emotions like the electro magnetic force and reason like gravity. Gravity is all around us and seems to rule our world until the electro magnetic force appears somehow and then dominates.

    Or maybe it is the strong force and not the electro magnetic force that is the better analogy. This is just pondering to explain the illogic of the anti-ID people.

  75. 75
    asauber says:

    Secondly, even if we assume for sake argument that a multiverse exists, does it really solve the problem? I would argue that it does not.

    Indeed. It makes it worse. Now, instead of one universe to explain, you have an uncountable number of universes to explain.

    Andrew

  76. 76
    Silver Asiatic says:

    jerry

    So we can disagree on just what ID is but it makes no difference. Just call it something like IR for Intelligent Reasoning.

    On a personal level, I agree. I have used ID as a series of arguments, but I also use ID within the context of my own Christian faith, using logic and common sense, as you said.

    But that’s really not what ID is supposed to be, strictly speaking.

    ID was designed for one very narrow purpose – to try to get the concept of Design into mainstream science. That’s it. That’s why Dembski does all of that complex math and ID researchers try to get scientific papers published. The only thing ID can talk about is whatever can be observed and measured.

    An infinite multiverse is absurd for reasons you gave. Even “one more” universe is absurd. Our universe does not have edges where something else can exist outside of it. The universe is all matter, time, space – it is The physical universe. That means one. A “second universe” of physical matter and the constants we find – would be part of Our universe.

    A second universe would be totally imaginary. Science could never observe it. By definition, if science can observe it, then it is part of our universe.

    So, even “one more universe” is just imaginary. It can’t be science.

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