Re: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Traditional Christian Hermeneutics

Date: Thu Sep 04 2003 - 12:36:27 EDT

  • Next message: Howard J. Van Till: "Re: Van Till's Ultimate Gap"

    From: "Don Winterstein" <>

    Richard wrote in part:

    "Moorad wrote:

    ">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
    simplest systems.

    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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