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    Sunday, July 16, 2006

    A Beautiful Mind: Who said this?

    Let us reflect now on what mathematics is. In itself it is an abstract system, an invention of the human spirit, and as such in its purity it does not really exist. It is always realized approximately, but – as such – it is an intellectual system, a great, brilliant invention of the human spirit. The surprising thing is that this invention of our human mind is truly the key for understanding nature, that nature is really structured in a mathematical way, and that our mathematics, which our spirit invented, really is the instrument for being able to work with nature, to put it at our service through technology.

    It seems an almost incredible thing to me that an invention of the human intellect and the structure of the universe coincide: the mathematics we invented really gives us access to the nature of the universe and permits us to use it. [...] I think that this intersection between what we have thought up and how nature unfolds and behaves is an enigma and a great challenge, because we see that, in the end, there is one logic that links these two: our reason could not discover the other if there were not an identical logic at the source of both.

    In this sense, it seems to me that mathematics – in which God as such does not appear – shows us the intelligent structure of the of the universe. Now there are also theories of chaos, but these are limited, because if chaos had the upper hand, all technology would become impossible. Technology is trustworthy only because our mathematics is trustworthy. Our science, which ultimately makes it possible to work with the energies of nature, presupposes the trustworthy, intelligent structure of matter, [...] the “design” of creation.

    Hint: He's a German, but not this one

    Give up? It's him.

    More interesting thoughts here.

    posted by Sydney on 7/16/2006 12:00:00 AM 5 comments


    Some might say that mathematics is the only thing which does exist, the only truth there is in the universe. We didn't invent it, we discovered it. It was already there before we existed. Perhaps mathematics IS God.

    By Blogger Greg P, at 11:14 PM  

    In the beginning there was the Word,and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Maybe they're right! (But is mathematics capable of love?)

    By Blogger sydney, at 5:54 PM  

    Ah, a can of worms indeed.
    Is God capable of love? Of what kind is the love of God as we see it, experience it? Seemingly a tough kind of love.

    By Blogger Greg P, at 10:13 PM  

    Well, from a Christian perspective, God is love. Suffering doesn't exist because God's love is tough, but because our fallen human nature tends to warp love. Love at its purest is closest to God. (C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves is a wonderful look at God as love, or love as God.)

    God as Reason (mathematics?) vs. God as Love seems to be contrary to the way we experience things, though, doesn't it? Reason is cold and hard and unemotional; love is warm and soft and purely emotional.

    By Blogger sydney, at 1:13 PM  

    > We didn't invent it,
    > we discovered it.

    Philospohy! I love it!

    It seems to me that mathematics is a special case of reason. What we have "invented" (and I do not care for this description) is a set of notational and mechanical formalisms that permit us to use the fruits of this kind of reason without constant, time-consuming resort to the first principles.

    We did not "invent" reason -- it is something we simply have or do. It is a part of our nature. One does not find reason floating around the universe, independent of a person. To wax theological for a moment, we got our nature from God, and He gives what He's got as a part of His nature.

    > love is warm and soft and
    > purely emotional.

    I had thought Syd, that you have teenage kids. If so, then you know that love at times can be kinda hard on the beloved. One of your earlier commenters has noted this with respect to divine love. Its relationship to parental love is not to be overlooked.

    And love is not purely emotional: it is an act of the will. Our Lord did not command us to have an emotion when He said "Husbands, love your wives" or "love your neighbor as yourself". In the end, love is the only reasonable response to dignity; human or divine. Sometimes warm and soft emotion comes with love, and it is a good thing it does. But love is not an emotion.


    By Blogger Tom Leith, at 3:02 PM  

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