Math and GodDate: 10/23/2002 at 03:19:56 From: Mike Subject: Math and God Hi, I was wondering if you could give me some information on how people throughout history have used math to talk about God. Where could I learn about how philosophers have used math as a way to explore truth about God? Date: 10/23/2002 at 17:43:24 From: Doctor Ian Subject: Re: Math and God Hi Mike, I was going to point you towards this story, The Euler-Diderot Encounter http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~shallit/euler.html but alas, the story turns out to be apocryphal. However, that site mentions a couple of resources that you can follow up on. Plato believed that the universe was ultimately mathematical in nature. Einstein objected to the statistical nature of quantum mechanics because he felt that 'God would not play dice'. I particularly like the way that Carl Sagan used the idea of using mathematics as a place to hide evidence that the universe was designed. Proponents of creationism often try to use probability calculations to argue for the necessity of design. There are people who try to find coded messages in the Bible, the Torah, and other holy works, including the Q'uran: Beyond Probability - God's Message in Mathematics http://www.quran.org.uk/ieb_quran_nineteen.htm And of course, there are works like this: Word of God http://www.wordofgod.com/synopsis.html The answer to your question depends, in part, on whether you regard 'logical reasoning' as a branch of mathematics. If you restrict yourself to symbolic logic, then I suspect that you'll find very few philosophers using it - although everyone would be better off if they did, since it would help them identify their assumptions, and would make it easier for other philosophers to check their work. On the whole though, mathematics, being purely formal in nature, isn't really a useful tool for discussing God, which is the ultimate non- formal concept. About the most you can say is that God really seems to like mathematics, since it seems to be woven so tightly into the universe (at least if you don't ask Stephen Wolfram). I hope this helps. Write back if you'd like to talk more about this, or anything else. - Doctor Ian, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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