Short post today. I just wanted to point to a brief and fascinating roundup of arguments for the existence of God from a cosmological/mathematical viewpoint:
God by the Numbers
Coincidence and random mutation are not the most likely explanations for some things.
by Charles Edward White
The article summarizes the evidentiary value of three numbers in mathematics that seem to point to an intelligent designer of the universe:
- 1/1010123 — “[D]erives from a formula by Jacob Beckenstein and Stephen Hawking and describes the chances of our universe being created at random. Penrose spoofs this view by picturing God throwing a dart at all the possible space-time continua and hitting the universe we inhabit.”
Related numbers are discussed, including proofs of the anthropic principle: “The fine-tuning of the universe is shown in the precise strengths of four basic forces. Gravity is the best known of these forces and is the weakest, with a relative strength of 1. Next comes the weak nuclear force that holds the neutron together. It is 1034 times stronger than gravity but works only at subatomic distances. Electromagnetism is 1,000 times stronger than the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force, which keeps protons together in the nucleus of an atom, is 100 times stronger yet. If even one of these forces had a slightly different strength, the life-sustaining universe we know would be impossible.”
- 10162 — “Darwin thought that all life, including humans, arose from a one-celled organism. But to get from a one-celled organism to a human being with a least a trillion cells, there would have to be many changes. Darwin says these changes were produced at random, but they would have had to occur in the right order. It doesn’t do any good to give an organism a leg until it has a nervous system to control it. Even if we limit the number of necessary mutations to 1,000 and argue that half of these mutations are beneficial, the odds against getting 1,000 beneficial mutations in the proper order is 21000. Expressed in decimal form, this number is about 10301. 10301 mutations is a number far beyond the capacity of the universe to generate.” … “Thus, the chance of getting 1,000 beneficial mutations out of all the mutations the universe can generate is 10139 divided by 10301, or 1 chance in 10162.” (Emphasis added.)
For Darwin’s theory to have a chance of being right, the universe would have to be a trillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion times older than it is.”
- eÏ€i — “It is Euler’s (pronounced ‘Oiler’s’) number: eÏ€i. This number is equal to -1, so when the formula is written eÏ€i+1 = 0, it connects the five most important constants in mathematics (e, Ï€, 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 Ï€; and analysis, by e, the base of the natural log. eÏ€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.’” … “Because of the serendipitous elegance of this formula, a mathematics professor at MIT, an atheist, once wrote this formula on the blackboard, saying, ‘There is no God, but if there were, this formula would be proof of his existence.’”
See the article for the rest of the rational about why these numbers are important. I’m not sure these three numbers prove the existence of God any more than that they prove that mathematics is a strange and wondrous beast with yet more secrets to be found than have been discovered thus far. The beauty of prime numbers, Fibonacci sequences, the golden mean, pi and other irrational numbers, and on and on.
Is it possible to imagine a world where 2+2 does not equal four?
Logicians and mathematicians do not like to think of mathematics or logic as being brought into existence by an orderly creator. Yet apologists all the time say that logic, itself, reflects the nature of God. They say that this is one of the principle evidences of the imago dei within us.
Indeed, if you believe in the Christian Trinitarian God, you should understand the implications: mathematics, 2+2=4, pi, and all that, are creations of God’s design. He does not bow to simple addition, algebra, or Euclidean geometry. They bow to him.
How futile is it that we attempt to prove God exists by using logic, reason, and mathematics—the very things he has created himself? Of course, all creation bears witness to its author. But, yet, it would seem the atheist is tilting at windmills. If God exists and wants his children to obey him on faith, would he make himself so easily discernible through logic?
Anyhow, interesting food for thought.
Charles Edward White is professor of Christian thought and history at Spring Arbor University in Michigan If you liked White’s article, here’s his homepage: http://myweb.arbor.edu/cwhite/ There you’ll find some articles, lecture notes, and even lecture recordings.
[tags]BlogRodent, Pentecostal, Charles-Edward-White, Chuck-White, theology, apologetics, mathematics, proof, reason, anthropic-principle, intelligent-design, creationism, evolution[/tags]
It is Euler’s Identity (which is a special case of Euler’s formula) that equals -1.
It should look like this:
For the derivation see the wikipedia article.
I remember the first time I saw this derivation. It seemed like magic.
good times, good times.
Shane, I would nod my head in agreement, except that I would only be pretending not to be a mathematical idiot. And that’s the kind of thing I restrict myself to doing only at office parties and church socials.
:: sigh ::
Pingback: Yesterday's Heretic 3.0: "Myth of beginning - Myth of ending"