Posts tagged ‘mathematics’

May 3rd, 2014

Philosophical Fragments Botches the Multiverse

by Max Andrews

Philosophical Fragments is a blog with Patheos and there was a guest post (don’t hold it against he actual blog owner, it’s a guest) named Mark Goldblatt (I’m not certain that’s the author but notice his employer and notice what he’s writing on… I’m just saying…) titled “Bad Epistemology.” Let me begin by telling you what I really think… I think this post is full of bad science, bad philosophy, bad semantics, quibbling over spilled milk, and botches the multiverse is an embarrassingly bad way. Aaaand, yes, there are some good things and I won’t forget to highlight them either.

If you want to argue against the multiverse [or quantum issues], fine, but do so in an informed and more educated manner than this.

Goldblatt begins his epic rant by discussing contemporary science’s search and desire to discover the truth about the cosmos and the origin of life. Quoting Neil deGrasse Tyson from the reinstatement of Cosmos:

“If you take the universe all the way back to the Big Bang, well, the entire universe was really small. So now you take the shotgun wedding – quantum physics and general relativity. In that shotgun wedding, if you follow through with all the predictions quantum physics gives you, it allows multiple bubbles to form – one of which is our universe. These are sorts of fluctuations in the quantum foam. Quantum physics fluctuates all the time. But now the fluctuations are not just particles coming into and out of existence, which happens all the time. It’s whole universes coming into and out of existence.”

November 17th, 2013

What Are the Odds?

by Max Andrews

The odds against an event is a ratio of the probability that the event will fail to occur (failure) to the probability that the event will occur (success).

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 1.55.02 AM

Most of the time you hear about “odds”, they are referring to the odds against. 

November 15th, 2013

Theoretical Probability

by Max Andrews

Below is a brief introduction to theoretical probability. Probability is something that is used very, very frequently in philosophy and science. I would encourage further research and familiarity with it than just this.

Definition:  If each outcome of an experiment has the same chance of occurring as any other outcome, they are said to be equally likely outcomes.

Let E be an event having equally likely outcomes, then the probability of E may be calculated with the following formula:

Important facts:

  1. The probability of an event that cannot occur (impossible event) is 0.  p(ø) = 0
  2. The probability of an event that must occur is 1. p(S) = 1
  3. Every probability is a number between 0 and 1, inclusive.  0 < p(E) < 1
  4. The sum of the probabilities of all possible outcomes of an experiment is 1.
    read more »

June 9th, 2013

The Philosophy of Science Directory

by Max Andrews

This is a compilation of posts, which focus on the philosophy of science. These posts will cover a broad spectrum within the philosophy of science ranging from multiverse scenarios, scientific theory, epistemology, and metaphysics.

  1. MA Philosophy Thesis: “The Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios”
  2. Natural Law and Scientific Explanation
  3. Science and Efficient Causation
  4. Which Comes First, Philosophy or Science?
  5. The Postulates of Special Relativity
  6. There’s No Such Thing as Creation Science–There’s Just Science
  7. Time Travel and Bilking Arguments
  8. “It’s Just a Theory”–What’s a Scientific Theory?
  9. Exceptions to a Finite Universe
  10. Teleology in Science
  11. Duhemian Science
  12. The Relationship Between Philosophy and Science
  13. The History of the Multiverse and the Philosophy of Science
  14. Where’s the Line of Demarcation Between Science and Pseudoscience?
  15. Miracles and the Modern Worldview
  16. Mass-Density Link Simpliciter
  17. Scientific Nihilism
  18. Q&A 10: The Problem of Defining Science
  19. Q&A 6: Scientism and Inference to the Best Explanation
  20. The Quantum Universe and the Universal Wave Function
  21. The History and Macro-Ontology of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics
    read more »

May 26th, 2013

A Missing Argument from March’s Debate

by Max Andrews

In preparation for my debate this past March I went through my opponents blog to find relevant arguments he may use. (He didn’t use any I had expected. Instead, he just did the scatter-gun approach by putting little, ineffective arguments out there hoping they’d stick instead of presenting a few robust, substantive arguments.) I found this argument on the impossibility of God from omniscience and omnipotence. I expected this because these are the types of arguments atheists should be using. In order to demonstrate a universal negative one must demonstrate that the referent is impossible or logically incoherent; that is, since contradictions are the only things that cannot obtain. To much misfortune, the argument was not presented. If it had been presented the debate would have been much more substantive. (To watch the debate for yourself, watch it here. Don’t take my word for it.)

May 14th, 2013

Infinity + 1 = ?

by Max Andrews

When we think of infinity we usually think of the usual two categorical distinctions:  a potential infinite and an actual infinite.  A potential infinite suggests that infinity is only an idea or a concept but doesn’t actually exist in the Platonic sense or in the physical sense. In any set, one may always be added.  An actual infinite is the notion that there exists such a set, Platonic or physical, whichis infinite.  A potential infinity may be symbolized by a lemniscate:  ∞.  An actual infinite can be depicted by the aleph-null or aleph-nought:  ℵ0 (The Hebrew letter aleph with a subscript zero).

First, let’s have a brief refresher on set theory. A set is any collection of things or numbers that belong to a well-defined category.  In a set notation, this would be written as {2, 3, 5, 7, 11} being the first five prime numbers, which is a finite set of things.  Let’s simply signify this set as S.  There is a proper subset (SS) of S.  There are members in S that are not in SS, but no member of SS that is not in S.  

December 10th, 2012

Q&A 1: Kalam and The Flying Spaghetti Monster

by Max Andrews

Hey Max,

I guess since I requested the Q&A section, I’ll start it off!

I recently had a conversation with an atheist in which I walked him through the Kalam Cosmological Argument. This inevitably led into a conversation about what criteria a “first cause” must meet. It was difficult for me to explain, and for him to understand how God exists as a necessary being, or out of His own nature.

The atheist resorted to a version of  “Flying Spaghetti Monster” argumentation, in which he said, “How do we know that the first cause wasn’t a giant pink unicorn, or that two universes didn’t just mate and form ours?”. For obvious reasons, his argument is absurd. But what’s the best way to explain the concept of the first cause, and why it couldn’t be a “giant pink unicorn”?

Thanks a lot,

Richie Worrell (USA)

Richie,

I’m always amazed at some of the philosophical lunacy some atheists come up with. The mockery of using phrases like “flying spaghetti monster” or a “giant pink unicorn” weren’t originally developed in response to the kalam. They were developed in response to intelligent design suggesting the designer could be a spaghetti monster. I recall Dawkins using it several times and it has gained popularity in response to the ontological argument.

Nonetheless, let’s accept his flying pasta, pink unicorn, and sexual universes for the sake of discussion. Let’s recap the the kalam argument:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
    read more »

October 8th, 2012

The Multiverse and Causal Abstract Objects

by Max Andrews

When considered in the range possible explanans for the origin of information in the universe/multiverse the options must meet the conditions of causal efficacy and specificity. The first condition states that origin of information must be causal. Information does not arbitrarily pop in and out of existence but requires a source. The second condition states that the origin must sufficiently explain the specificity in information and must provide more than mere Shannon information.

Consider a computer as an example for information relay (a phenomenal entity). The computer is and can be used as a channel, it can be a receiver, and it can be a source of information. However, to say that the information in the computer no longer needs an explanation for its origin would suffer the problem of information displacement. What begs the question is from where did the information in the computer come? The answer would inevitably become a software engineer or a programmer. Undirected material processes have not demonstrated the capacity to generate significant amounts of specified information. Information can be changed via materialistic means. The computer can change the initial coding from the programmer and introduce noise on the sending and receiving ends.

August 27th, 2012

The Language of God

by Max Andrews

In our experience, intentions get actualized any number of ways[1]: A sculptor by chiseling at stone, musicians by writing notes, engineers by drawing up blueprints. In general, all actualizations of intentions can be realized in language. Precise enough sets of instructions in a natural language can tell the sculptor how to form the statue, musician how to record the notes, and engineer how to draw up blueprints.

Why should an act of speech be God’s mode of creation? Language is the universal medium for actualizing intentions. The language that proceeds from God’s mouth in the act of creation is the divine Logos (Jn. 1.1-5). In the act of creation God the Father speaks the divine Logos in the power of the Holy Spirit. The divine Logos is not just language in the ordinary sense (utterances that convey information), but the very ground and possibility of language. Words need power to accomplish their end and God’s Word has that power (Is. 55.11).

Given that we are made in God’s image, the Trinitarian structure of creation is reflected in human speech.

“The word [goes] out of the mouth of God in such a manner that it likewise ‘[goes] out of the mouth’ of men; for God does not speak openly from heaven, but employs men as his instruments, that by their agency he may make known his will.”[2]

August 21st, 2012

The Magis Center for Reason and Faith

by Max Andrews

A reader of the blog recently contacted me about the Magis Center for Reason and Faith. I’ve since added it to the Resources page. A few years ago I was able to listen to Fr. Robert Spitzer give a presentation on the fine-tuning of physics. (I don’t remember if you can see me in the video but I’m in the house right.) There’s a wonderful resource, the Physics FAQ, which I’ve linked below.

The Magis Center of Reason and Faith is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to explaining the consistency between science and spirituality in contemporary physics. In the past ten years, implications of transcendence in physics, philosophy of mathematics, and metaphysics have become more pronounced. Indeed, no other decade in history has revealed more or better evidence for God. So what is this evidence?