Re: definition of science

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Thu Apr 28 2005 - 16:44:39 EDT

The contingency of the universe is an aspect of the problem which I did
not have in view. Since Einstein claimed to accept Spinoza's god (deus
sive natura), he presumably would have believed that it could be only one
way. In Spinoza's monism, there were an infinite number of interconnected
aspects of the one, though we are aware only of matter and mind. The
connection is so tight that one aspect cannot change without concurrent
changes in the others.

Apart from Christian theism, which holds that God is free, the notion of
a multiverse holds that there is no single set of necessary
laws/constants--just that ours has to be pretty much the way it is for us
to be here to think about it, or to wonder about others. I suspect
Einstein would be as upset about this view as about quantum physics.

Anyway, thanks for the added insight.

On Thu, 28 Apr 2005 15:39:15 -0400 "George Murphy" <>
Breaking in in the middle, it seems to me that both of you are dancing
around the issue of the contingency of the world. That is an important -
though often little noted - aspect of the doctrine of creation: Divine
freedom means that God could have created a different, though still
rational, world. It is also a necessary aspect of a belief that the
universe has - or is a representation of - mathematical pattern: We've
known ever since the first discoveries of non-Euclidean geometries that
there is not one unique mathematical system.

Thus when Einstein said that he wanted to know whether God had any choice
in the creation of the world, the answer is "Yes."

BTW 1: Whitehead didn't reject Riemannian geometry in general but he did
think that space had to have uniform curvature.

BTW 2: The ASA Statement of Faith affirms a belief that God "has endowed
[the universe] with contingent order and rationality." How contingency
got in the final version is a happy accident. In committee discussions
of the proposed statement Jim wanted (following Thomas Torrance) to have
a statement about the contingent rationality of creation & included that
in a draft. I of course agreed with what was said but thought it might
be too technical a point to include in such a statement & others agreed,
so Jim was going to omit it - but somehow it didn't get omitted from the
version that was submitted to the membership for approval, & it was

Received on Thu Apr 28 16:46:49 2005

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