Date: Thu Sep 04 2003 - 12:36:27 EDT
From: "Don Winterstein" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Richard wrote in part:
">One ought not to confuse our mathematical
>description of nature with nature itself.
>Remember a map of a city is a useful construct
>but it should never be confused with the real city.
"Agreed. But it has not been demonstrated that the mathematical description
of Reality is "our construct." On the contrary, it is eminently reasonable
to view it as our *discovery* of God's design. Remember, the revelation of
Almighty God declares that "In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos
was with God, and God was the Logos." What then could be more logical (i.e.
pertaining to the Logos) than the view that the Divine Logos designed
Reality according to the absolutely astoundingly overwhelmingly beautiful
mathematics that we behold all around us? "
Moorad has made a good point for a reason so far not explicitly cited here:
The real world rarely or never precisely complies with our "astoundingly
overwhelmingly beautiful" mathematical representations. Real phenomena are
too complex to fit our equations. The equations are precise only for
simple, isolated systems, which physicists love but are never more than
approximate. For planetary motion, for example, first order approximations
are often good enough; but if you want precision, you have to deal with the
full many-body problem. So the maths are analogous to Platonic ideas: they
look "beautiful" as abstractions but find implementation only in the
Don, speaking as an ex-experimental physicist/geophysicist
I think you have characterized the situation exactly backwards. It seems you
have confused the approximations necessary for numerical analysis with
incompleteness of fundamental theory. The problem is rarely that we can not
write down the correct equation because it is too complex. The problem is
that we can not *solve* the exact equation because it is too complex. You
own example proves this point. There is absolutely nothing *approximate*
about the equations governing the many bodied problem. We can write them
down with perfect exactitude. The approximations are introduced only because
we are unable to *solve* the exact equations.
Concerning the relation between Beauty and Physics, there have been many
excellent books written. My favorite is A. Zee's Fearful Symmetry which I
quote on my site to help people understand its application to the structure
of Scripture. Here's the article:
Here's a quote from page 3 of his book:
"Physicists have discovered something of wonder: Nature, at the fundamental
level, is beautifully designed. It is this sense of wonder that I wish to
share with you."
And here is his estimation of the spiritual beliefs of physicists:
"[Their beliefs] range over the entire spectrum, from the militantly
atheistic to the deeply devout, with the distribution dropping sharply
towards the devout end. I think that many theoretical physicists are awed by
the elegant structure that underlies fundamental physics. Those that have
thought about it are struck dumb with astonishment, as was Einstein, that
the world was in fact comprehensible."
You said "The real world rarely or never precisely complies with our
"astoundingly overwhelmingly beautiful" mathematical representations." While
you are certainly free to hold this opinion, I would be doing you a
disservice if I failed to inform you that it is *not* the consensus of those
"who have thought about it" (to use Zee's phrase quoted above).
In service of Christ,
Discover the sevenfold symmetric perfection of the Holy Bible at
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