Re: Chicken Soup for the Soul

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Wed, 03 Dec 1997 13:40:18 -0500 (EST)

At 10:50 AM 12/3/97 -0600, George Andrews wrote:
>Moorad Alexanian wrote:
>> There is a connection that I have never been able to fathom and that is the
>> notion of deterministic chaos and an omniscient God. We cannot make long
>> term predictions in such systems, which are indeed purely deterministic, and
>> must rely instead on probabilistic notions to make long range predictions.
>> Is this a possible connection to our viewing events as random while there
>> are indeed determined and somehow known to God?
>> Moorad
> Actually, the problem of classical indeterminism resides in humanity's
>incomplete knowledge or control of initial (boundary) conditions; as one author
>has said "you would have to be a god" in order to know the initial
conditions to
>the precision needed for strict predictability. However, an omniscient God - by
>definition - does have such knowledge; hence the connection you search for
is in

I was mainly thinking of systems which are very sensitive to initial
conditions. Therefore, the inability to make long-range predictions is true
even if one were to know the initial conditions exactly.

>However, it is also important for us to distinguish between epistemological
>(classical) notions of chance and ontological (quantum?) notions. The
former is a
>product of human ignorance and is what you are referring to but is inapplicable
>to the more fundamental quantum theory where the very notion of a particle's
>trajectory (spatiotemporal evolution) is inadmissible. In other words,
there is a
>fundamental uncertainty to nature that forbids complete knowledge of all
>attributes. However, this uncertainty is WELL understood and utilized to
>extract information from nature! It is merely a consequence of the wave nature
>associated to particles which of course poses no problem to God's omniscience.

I use deterministic chaos as an example where to us things appear to be
governed by randomness whereas they are really not chance events at all. I
do realize that quantum mechanics does introduce probabilistic concepts as
an inherent feature of nature. But can't we understand the origin of
Planck's constant as resulting from God's hands partially shaking when
creating the universe. [The former is partly on a humorous context but not
quite so either.] Quantum theory is not the final theory and so the
underlying laws of Nature must somehow be consistent with the omniscience of

>On the notions of design, surly the most ingenious design an intelligent
>(at least according to our understanding) could effect, is one that adapts
to its
>changing environment. Nature apparently achieves this via random exploration of
>possibilities until one is hit upon that maximizes or minimizes some
>characteristic such as "fitness", energy, or entropy. These "target"
>characteristics are found set in nature and therefore are, to me,
candidates for
>evidences of God's purposeful design. In other words, wy should nature minimize
>its energy and maximize its entropy in order to "survive" its environment?
>God said so!
>"Man casts the lot on the lap, but God determines the outcome" (Prov?)

However, such variational type of thinking in science always rises the
question on how light, for instance, "knows" that it must minimize the time
of transit through a material in its propagation through it.