October 8th, 2012
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.
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August 27th, 2012
In our experience, intentions get actualized any number of ways: 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.”
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August 21st, 2012
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?
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June 26th, 2012
Whenever probability is being considered there must be some type of relevant or total background information (usually depicted as k). The immediate objection when applying a probability rule or calculus to the fine-tuning of the universe in a multiverse scenario would be to say that this is universe is not an appropriate random sampling. In other words, if we know of [at least] only one universe with these values the random sample size is precisely 1; thus, no random sample can be used to assess the probability of certain values of physics in the argument. In statistics a random sample drawn must have the same chance of being sampled as all the other samples. Since we know of only one universe we do not know what the range of values for the constants and physics could be. Additionally, since we don’t know how narrow or broad these ranges could be there’s no way of drawing out any probability based argument for fine-tuning. However, we can know what other universes would be like if the values were different. If our natural laws have counterfactuals that are in any way incoherent then this is an appropriate sampling. Also, to make this objection and advocate that we just so happen to live in a life permitting universe in the multiverse then this objection cannot be made since the claim that we happen to life in a life-permitting one amongst countless others suggest we can know what the other samplings are.
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May 9th, 2012
Word of the Week: Mathematical Invariance
Definition: In Einstein’s use of the word, mathematical invariance established a genuine ontology in which the subject grips with objective structures and intrinsic intelligibility of the universe.
More about the word: Throughout Einstein’s work, the mechanistic universe proved unsatisfactory. This was made evident after the discovery of the electromagnetic field and the failure of Newtonian physics to account for it in mechanistic concepts. Then came the discovery of four-dimensional geometry and with it the realization that the geometrical structures of Newtonian physics could not be detached from changes in space and time with which field theory operated.
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May 3rd, 2012
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
Note that the primary argument is philosophical and mathematical. It’s not dependent on any particular cosmology; however, the leading model of cosmology and particle physics, the standard model (big bang), simply confirms the philosophy. The argument for premise 1 is that anything that begins to exist does so temporally, at some indexical moment of time. Because there is a difference between moments, an earlier or later than, there must be a cause to the thing which begins to exist, which determines its temporal existence. William Lane Craig offers two arguments for premise 2
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April 18th, 2012
Information theory is the branch of probability theory that deals with uncertainty, accuracy, and information content in the transmission of messages. It can be applied to any system of communication (electric signals, fiber optic pulses, speech, etc.). Random signals, known as noise, are often added to a message during the transmission process, altering the signal received from that sent. Information theory is used to work out the probability that a particular signal received is the same as the signal sent. In transmitting a sequence of numbers, their sum might also be transmitted so that the receiver will know that there is an error when the sum does not correspond to the rest of the message. The sum itself gives no extra information, simply a confirmation. The statistics of choosing a message out of all possible messages (letters like the alphabet or binary digits for example) determines the amount of information contained in it. Information is measured in bits (binary digits). If one out of two possible signals are sent then the information content is one bit. A choice of one out of four possible signals contains more information although the signal itself might be the same.
For more information see John Daintith and John Clark’s The Facts on File Dictionary of Mathematics (New York: Market Book House, 1999), 97.
February 8th, 2012
The Word of the Week is: Multiverse
Definition: The term to designate the existence of many worlds or universes. Contrary to just one world, a uni-verse, there are many worlds, a multi-verse.
More about the term: The multiverse is not monolithic but it is modeled after the contemporary understanding of an inflationary model of the beginning of this universe suggesting a plurality of worlds. Max Tegmark has championed the most prominent versions of the multiverse. There are four levels of the multiverse.
- Level One: The level one is, for the most part, more space beyond the observable universe. So, theoretically, if we were to go to the “edge” of the universe there would be more space. Having this model as a version of the multiverse may be misleading because there is still only one volume, landscape, or system involved. A generic prediction of cosmological inflation is an infinite space, which contains Hubble volumes (what we see in our universe) realizing in all conditions—including an identical copy of each of us about 10^10^29 meters away.
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