Re: [asa] Musing on entropy, chaos, and omniscience

From: wjp <>
Date: Sun May 24 2009 - 20:46:49 EDT

Allow me to draw an interesting parallel.

The nature of light has long been a mystery.
Some have considered a particle (corpuscle), others
a wave of the ethereal medium.

It was inconceivable to early scientists that a particle
could be massless, yet light appeared to be emitted without
the emitting body losing any mass (e.g., the sun).

Consider what we call an atom today. An electron falls from a
higher energy level to a lower one, emits a photon, without any
change in mass.

How is this possible? Simple. We simply declare the photon to
be a massless particle. Nonetheless, a photon still is a carrier
of momentum and energy, all of which would have been inconceivable
to an early "mechanistic" science.

So while the energy of the atom has decreased, the mass has not.

If mass can so easily change character, why not energy?

Moreover, I don't know who Kim thinks is checking on the mass-energy
conservation of the universe, but it ain't anyone I know.

Galaxies could be being added to the universe daily, and I don't think
we could detect it.


On Sun, 24 May 2009 16:28:57 -0700, dfsiemensjr <> wrote:
> The problem noted parallels one from Jaegwon Kim, a philosopher, who
> argued that there cannot be a God because he would have to interact with
> the world and it would show up in mass-energy calculations. The guy did
> not realize that a Creator, not being physical, would not be bound by
> physical restrictions.
> This leads me to a couple questions: Would Kim's argument not run afoul
> of the mass-energy needs of the Big Bang? How would the perpetual need
> for more energy for new universes impact the multiverse notion?
> Dave (ASA)
> On Sun, 24 May 2009 09:15:08 -0400 "Alexanian, Moorad"
> <> writes:
>> Indeterminacy in quantum mechanics means that one cannot know without
>> disturbing the system to be known by means of measurements. If God
>> is spirit, how do we know if spirit cannot know without disturbing a
>> purely physical system? It seems that when we deal with the God of
>> Scripture, one is dealing with a nature that we know hardly
>> anything. Why constantly speculate without ever hoping to settle
>> anything?
>> Moorad
>> ________________________________________
>> From: [] On
>> Behalf Of Merv Bitikofer []
>> Sent: Sunday, May 24, 2009 8:09 AM
>> To: Randy Isaac; asa
>> Subject: Re: [asa] Musing on entropy, chaos, and omniscience
>> Another follow up response: And are you suggesting, Randy, that
>> modern
>> thinkers are packing too much into the label "omniscience" --beyond
>> what is Biblically warranted? Could there be such a thing as
>> partial
>> or limited omniscience? I know that not all Christians subscribe to
>> the
>> same notion, but I'm wondering if omniscience ranks anywhere close
>> to
>> being "doctrinal" among orthodox thinkers. I'm not asking these
>> things
>> rhetorically; I'm really interested in answers.
>> B.T.W. We have an occasionally outspoken professor here at K-State
>> who
>> (I have heard) argued that there can't be a God -- or at least not
>> an
>> omniscient one, because if He existed, then He would have knowledge
>> that
>> it is impossible to have ---or that the "having of it" would wreak
>> havoc
>> in the quantum world. (I don't know --it was probably about wave
>> function collapses with observer knowledge or the like; I only heard
>> about this second hand and so can't articulate his arguments well.)
>> But anyway, would this be related to your hesitance over the notion
>> of
>> exact tracking of a world that has inherent uncertainty?
>> I'm not sure why faith couldn't include the assumption that God is
>> simply not subject to the same limitation that is inherent to
>> creatures.
>> --Merv
>> Randy Isaac wrote:
>> > Are you implying that God's omniscience means he can distinguish
>> > between (i.e. identify) two water molecules? Or two protons? Or
>> two
>> > quarks?
>> >
>> > Randy
>> >
>> > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Merv Bitikofer"
>> <>
>> > To: "asa" <>
>> > Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 9:07 PM
>> > Subject: [asa] Musing on entropy, chaos, and omniscience
>> >
>> >
>> >> If any of you have time for some light mental meandering, read
>> this
>> >> and tell me if I'm off my rocker. (Bernie, if you don't count
>> this
>> >> intro, three paragraphs will get you almost all of the way
>> through
>> >> this! ---long paragraphs are the key strategy for you!)
>> >>
>> >> Many of us will be familiar with the same types of stories and
>> >> examples that teachers used to describe the concept of entropy:
>> the
>> >> shattered vase ---that can only appear to fly back together again
>> if
>> >> you play a movie backwards; or the messy bedroom that only gets
>> >> elevated to a neater (or lower entropy) state by the input of
>> work.
>> >> And we’re told that this is one of those one-way temporal arrows
>> of
>> >> physics that, unlike momentum and collision scenarios ---this one
>> >> won’t go backwards.
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> Yet it is fun to attempt this little thought ‘experiment’ to see
>> >> where it might lead. Take an ordinary collection of molecules ---
>> >> say, the water in your drinking glass. And now in your mind, run
>> the
>> >> clock backward --not just moments, but hours and days. And we
>> ‘see’
>> >> these molecules rushing back up the same pipe up into the same
>> city
>> >> water tower, and from there we witness what must look like
>> ordinary
>> >> diffusion. Various molecules bump into others, becoming more and
>> more
>> >> widely dispersed as they move farther back away from their joint
>> trip
>> >> down the pipe to join their buddies in your water glass. And as
>> we
>> >> follow their history back further down along the aquifers from
>> which
>> >> they were pumped, we might observe some that had been trapped
>> >> underground for years, and others were relatively recent comers
>> from
>> >> a global whirlwind tour before they were rained into some river
>> and
>> >> seeped down to their appointment with your city well. We may
>> wonder
>> >> if some found one or two of their present buddies early on and
>> >> managed to stay together all the way to your glass, but chaos
>> theory
>> >> makes this seem a virtual impossibility (short of temporary
>> >> micro-crystallization) – but we’ll assume a chaotic liquid state
>> >> here. So our historical molecules are bumping elbows with current
>> >> companions that they will never see again –in your future drink
>> or
>> >> otherwise. I don’t imagine we would have to go too far back
>> before
>> >> your present glass of water is completely ‘atomized’ into
>> individual
>> >> molecules and quite widely, even globally dispersed.
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> Now –with the omniscience of God Himself, we look in on all these
>> >> molecules in their historical locations and we KNOW that they
>> will
>> >> ALL be keeping a future appointment in your drinking glass in the
>> >> evening of May 22, 2009. This time, though, let’s watch the clock
>> go
>> >> forward. And as it plays we see something like the un-shattering
>> vase
>> >> flying together –and in ordinary forward time, no less! To the
>> less
>> >> omniscient inhabitants of our drama, it is totally unremarkable,
>> >> indeed invisible. But to us, it looks like diffusion in perfect
>> >> reverse. These not-so-omniscient, but otherwise savvy inhabitants
>> >> would be quite amazed if we identified the disjoint pieces for
>> them
>> >> ahead of time and then let them observe as they came together,
>> >> because they know the infinitesimal probability of such a thing
>> >> happening. But for us, the probability of occurrence is 1 since
>> we’ve
>> >> seen its future state. (Of course our mere act of informing them
>> &
>> >> any interactions at all will have to have been part of the
>> original
>> >> history of your present thirst episode since the slightest
>> >> modification throws everything off with chaotic amplification.)
>> It
>> >> must look all quite amazing from a “God’s eye” perspective. And
>> >> contrary to our unidirectional arrow –there would seem to be a
>> >> striking symmetry about these events; i.e. any temporary
>> collection
>> >> of molecules whether in a cloud, a drinking glass, or the
>> molecule
>> >> collective called ‘you.’ For after your ingestion of it, our
>> drinking
>> >> glass bunch all eventually go their separate ways again, never to
>> be
>> >> re-united. As they came, so they went. So the ‘asymmetry’ of such
>> >> events may be in part only an asymmetry based on ignorance or due
>> to
>> >> a lack of prior specification.
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> Tangentially, (speaking of the butterfly effect) it is rather
>> >> sobering & simultaneously useless for us to ponder whether or not
>> to
>> >> suppress that next sneeze or just let’er rip – the outcome of
>> this
>> >> choice will, by next year, make a difference on the level of
>> where a
>> >> hurricane hits the U.S. coast, or whether it even forms at all.
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> And now; who still wonders where the potential points of Divine
>> >> influence can enter the causal chains in our reality? A more apt
>> >> question might be: where aren’t they?
>> >>
>> >> --Merv Bitikofer
>> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
>> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
>> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
>> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> ____________________________________________________________
> All is not lost! Click now for professional data recovery.
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun May 24 20:47:36 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun May 24 2009 - 20:47:36 EDT