[asa] Goedelian mask

From: George L. Murphygmurphy@raex.com <Murphygmurphy@raex.com>
Date: Wed Mar 26 2008 - 08:41:03 EDT

In the past I - and others - have appealed to Goedel's theorem to argue that the universe is "logically open" - i.e., that it can't be described completely by any mathematical system.  I've even been guilty of saying that while this doesn't "prove the existence of God," it does point to some reality beyond the physical world.

Recently I've rethought that.  (I'm getting old enough, & have written enough, to publish a book of "retractions," a la Augustine.)  When some phenomenon remains unexplained scientifically for long enough, religious people are tempted to point to it as something that God must have done directly, & then appeal to this as a proof of God's existence.  (Cf. ID.)  But the atheist can (although most don't) simply say that Goedel's theorem tells us that there must be things that can't be explained in terms of our scientific laws.  Even if God has performed a miracle in the sense of doing something completely beyond the capacities of creatures, Goedel's theorem allows God to remain hidden.  Thus that meta-mathematical truth serves, to use Luther's phrase, as one of the "masks of God."

(Of course the principle of sufficient reason has problems with that, but quantum theory has already challenged that principle.)



George L. Murphy
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