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

From: <mrb22667@kansas.net>
Date: Mon May 25 2009 - 14:38:37 EDT

I agree with your points (& I don't claim to be aware of the history & nuances
associated with the phrase "ex nihilo") --but I am sure you are correct that it
is simply a reflection of our ignorance and inability to substitute more
accurate phrases for it.

The Hebrew concepts of God bringing order to chaos are noteworthy. --Perhaps it
was more from modern science than from Scripture that we inherit our notion of
an "absolute beginning" (i.e. big bang). But cyclical or multiple universes or
not, it seems that at singularity points or "beginning of time" points, our
everyday observed laws now would probably not be recognizable in those events.

Another rabbit trail: how does one speak of time "beginning" since the latter
word is a reference to the former having been in place? Do cosmologists ever
theorize that maybe time had no "beginning" in a logarithmic sense? I.e. Maybe
time itself goes back and asymptotically approaches some point that we (on our
familiar linear scales) point to and say --there it is: the beginning.
But maybe there is no "first time" just as there is no "first number" bigger
than zero. When you are on a small enough segment of an exponential expansion
or acceleration, it will appear to be a linear progression; and hence a natural
enough way for us to approximate our present world when thinking of time.

Am I stumbling towards any cosmologists thoughts after them on well-trod paths?

--Merv

Quoting Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>:

> I too am grateful for the presence and consistency of the conservation
> laws, now that Creation is in place.
>
> But that really wasn't the point.
>
> Whatever God did to initialize Creation is the point, and it seems to
> me that "ex nihilo" as a process might well be the way it appears to us
> in our context. But that appearance may not be (and probably isn't) 
> particularly accurate if we were able to access the domain of God's
> existence. Our context does not span the whole of reality, most
> particularly not spanning the reality of God's existence. Who knows? He
> may have a workshop or laboratory, and raw starting stuff in forms of
> which we know nothing and of which we are incapable of knowing. We
> would never know the difference from that and ex nihilo. But the posit
> of ex nihilo just seems inappropriate, more akin to a statement of
> magic than a descriptor of divine creation. This is just an opinion.
> Perhaps most users of "ex nihilo" are aware of the implicit limitation.
> Maybe not.
>
>
>
> The use of this expression does offer a convenient shorthand, and I
> guess I would be hard-pressed to offer a concise substitute at this
> point.
>
>
>
> JimA [Friend of ASA]
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
>
> Surely, the issue of violations of conservation laws would not come to the
> fore if the cosmic background radiation did not force scientists to consider
> the creation of the universe--Of course, many are trying to avoid such
> logical conclusion by constructing theories where there is no singularity.
> Recall that even Sir Arthur Eddington, which I think may have been a
> Christian, found the notion of a beginning abhorrent to science. Therefore,
> once created, I think conservation laws ought to exist. Can you imagine a
> universe without conservation laws? I can't.
>
> Moorad
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
> Behalf Of Jim Armstrong
> Sent: Monday, May 25, 2009 12:21 PM
> To: ASA
> Subject: Re: [asa] Musing on entropy, chaos, and omniscience
>
> Re the first para - I don't see how this would necessarily be any
> violation. If Creation was "not" a "moment before" Creation, then all
> that is required is that Creation is "seeded" with something transformed
> from another plane of reality (in which God is a "resident"), a plane
> other than our space-time, energy/matter constrained existence which a
> moment ago didn't exist. But presumeably, God did exist. Ex-nihilo is
> our construct, bearing the implication that our existence is the only
> existence. Don't we hope that's not the case? Moreover, in Jewish
> thought (as I understand it), Creation was more an organization and
> shaping (and naming) event (from non empty-set "chaos") than literally
> ex-nihilo.
>
> JimA [Friend of ASA]
>
> Merv Bitikofer wrote:
>
>
> Indeed! and that any creation (or beginning point) ex-nihilo would be
> a violation of just about every law of conservation would seem to be
> the elephant in the room here. These philosophies take aim at a god
> that very few, if any, Christians ever claim.
>
> I also thought a recent public radio interview bordered on the
> ridiculous. The findings of some researchers were discussed that were
> purporting to show some correlation between prayer and the health of
> the pray-er. No biggie here --and it wasn't for them either; they
> were happy to concede the mechanism of mind-body links or the power of
> positive thinking. But then it got more dicey around the question of
> the effects of the prayer *on others*. Some had apparently researched
> and concluded that if the pray-er was personally close to the
> prayer-recipient, that there still was a positive correlation through
> some entirely unknown mechanism (they actually speculated about
> string-theory or quantum connections & such). But on prayer for the
> health recovery of a complete stranger ---here the conclusions were
> "clear": NO correlation (or in some cases people even got worse
> --which would seem to contradict the preceding conclusion and
> everything else they said, suggesting faulty research.) And their
> reasoning was straightforward on this: there could be no possible
> mechanism for such prayer to work. Which again, if they were taking
> aim at Christian spirituality (what else motivates such "studies" here
> in the west), then they missed the elephant in the room --and that is
> that Christians don't generally direct their prayers to or at the
> person in need. Prayers go to God (or maybe some saint). And God
> presumably may or may not grant the request. In which case no
> Christian would expect a causal mechanism to be found --and even the
> lack of correlation of results when praying for strangers would
> probably only be marginally troubling for some Christians. Others
> here have already pointed out the trouble with "putting God to the
> test".
> I really liked the exchange in "Bruce Almighty" in which God
> personally asks the protagonist what he wants: to which the Jim Carey
> character, after some serious and sanctimonious thought replies:
> peace on earth. And God replied: that's a great prayer .........
> if you're Ms. America. Now tell me what you REALLY want. Then the
> protagonist gives a more heart-felt plea regarding his own girl-friend
> situation, and God replies to the effect ----- now THAT'S a prayer.
>
> --Merv
> p.s. another profound line in that movie ran something like this:
> Jim Carey (who is allowed to play God for a day in a big city) asks
> the real God: "How can I make my girlfriend love me if I'm not
> allowed to violate her freewill in any way?"
>
> To which God replies: "If you figure that one out, then please tell
> me --I would really like to know."
>
>
> 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)
>
>
>
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Received on Mon May 25 14:39:05 2009

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