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Marc Flemming
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Post Mathematics Proves That God Exists post #1  quote:



Aristotle and Descartes would be pleased to hear Dr. William Hatcher proclaim that even God Himself cannot defy logic.

Hatcher, who is a self-proclaimed Platonist philosopher with a Ph.D. in mathematics, delivered a logical proof for the existence of God before an over-filled auditorium in Warren Hall last night.

The event marked the first in what the Baha'i student organization hopes will be a series of discussions about religion, science, and philosophy, and how the three topics interrelate.

"We just felt like there wasn't enough discussion on campus" about these matters, said Natasha Bruss, BC '05, President of the Baha'i club at Columbia. Baha'i is based on the teachings of the prophet Baha'u'llah, who preached that all religions are one, religion is progressive, and that faith is not meant to be dogmatic.

Hatcher, a Baha'i adherent himself, is similarly uninterested in dogma. His discussion explored the existence of God and carefully shied away from any of its implications. Rather, he stated, "we have to transform the religious discourse from a discourse about belief to a discourse about truth."

To that end, Hatcher began his discussion with an introduction to Aristotlean, or attributional, logic and its shortcomings.

Aristotle purported to have proven the existence of God, but he did so based on a kind of logic that deals with properties of objects, an approach, he argued, that's less than satisfying considering that God's attributes cannot be perceived. Aristotle insisted that there must be a first cause, namely God, in order to avoid the logical inconsistencies of an infinite regress of causes for the universe.

Avicenna, an ancient Muslim philosopher, employed a different form of logic in his proof. He examined the relations between objects rather than their attributes, and in doing so accomplished what Hatcher called "really amazing stuff." He claimed to have proved the existence of God without recourse to Aristotle's infinite regression principle.

Hatcher said that though many subsequent philosophers like Thomas Aquinas and Moses Maimonedes built on Avicenna's proof, they continued to fall back on the infinite regression principle. Hatcher argued that this principle is not sufficient to prove the necessity of God's existence. Modern mathematics demonstrates the logical possibility of infinite regression; negative integers, for instance, do not have a minimal element or something that can be labeled a "first cause."

Thus, Hatcher has attempted to wed modern mathematics and ancient philosophy in a proof of God's existence, drawing on Avicenna's concept of relational logic. "In relational logic, we want to know how the object relates to other objects. It turns out that the relational approach often yields more useful information [than Aristotlean attributional logic]."

The proof itself rests on four principles, the first of which is the assertion that something exists. Even if the world is an illusion, he pointed out, an illusory self, contemplating an illusory universe, is still something that exists.

Further, he said, everything that exists does so because of some cause, and the "principle of sufficient reason" states that every phenomenon is either caused by something external or caused by itself, but never both. "Everything that exists has to have a reason for existing," he said.

Working from these principles, Hatcher first defined what he called "the minimum criteria for Godhood," and then set about trying to prove the existence of a phenomenon to fit those criteria. God, he said, must exist and be unique, and must be self-caused as well as being the cause of everything else. "Every existing phenomenon is the end effect of a causal chain of possibly infinite length, starting with God," he said.

He then delved into Avicenna's discussion of the part-whole relationship. "All known physical phenomena are composites, except possibly the elementary particles of quantum mechanics," he stated. Thus, if A is a component of B, then B is composite, and furthermore a composite cannot be a cause of one of its components, because it could not exist without all its components in place.

From these definitions, he said, one can infer that the universe is a composite of all phenomena. He inferred that the universe itself, then, cannot bring any of its own components into being, as it could not have existed before the existence of the components.

Then, the universe could similarly not be self-caused, since it is caused by the aggregation of its components, and so there must be some object, G, that causes the universe but is not the universe itself. G must then be universal because it is a cause, directly or indirectly, of every component in the universe.

He concluded that G is the unique uncaused phenomenon, because, as the cause of everything, it can't be caused by something else.

Hatcher said that the strength of the proof is that each assumption it rests on is empirically grounded and is "far more reasonable than its negation."

David Kline, CC '07, said he was impressed, even though he felt that the logical proof of God, far from justifying faith, only requires a different kind of faith. But, with that faith in reason so characteristic of Columbia students, he said he appreciated that the talk was "a purely logical representation of the existence of God and not the meaning of God."

Source: Columbia Spectator


Old Post 02-24-2004 08:44 PM
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esskay
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post #2  quote:

That doesn't sound much like mathematics to me..

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post #3  quote:

Reminds me of The Simpsons when Homer becomes super smart and discovers God doesnt exist by creating an equation one of the good episodes

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post #4  quote:

Space = time.

If man traveled faster than light, he'd be traveling through time.

Time, is a man-made concept. In other words, it's not linear.

'now' and 'then' = 'here' and 'there'.

Somewhere, not somewhen, the universe was formed.

If God is the "beginning of time", he's simply chillin' in the center of the universe.

Maybe in a couple hundred thousand years we'll meet the good fella.


Old Post 02-25-2004 01:11 AM
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post #5  quote:

here's biological proof for God.

Principle of Biogensis: "Life can only arise from life."

well.... what else is there to say?


Old Post 02-25-2004 08:49 AM
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post #6  quote:

quote:
Dekka00 said this in post #5 :
here's biological proof for God.

Principle of Biogensis: "Life can only arise from life."

well.... what else is there to say?


Abiogenesis.


Old Post 02-25-2004 08:23 PM
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post #7  quote:

Proof that God exists.. well let's see. I think someone should give proof that He DOESN'T exist.

No one has been able to come up with anything that can create life or create a tree or design solar systems. It reminds me of a cute story about something like this. Man can only recreate through DNA, but they can't create the DNA.

quote:
One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.

The scientist walked up to God and said, "God, we've decided that we no longer need you; We're to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don't you just go on and get lost."

God listened very patiently and kindly to the man. After the scientist was done talking, God said, "Very well, how about this? Let's say we have a man-making contest." To which the scientist replied, "Okay, great!" But, God added, "now, we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam." The scientist said, "Sure, no problem" and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.

God looked at him and said, "No, no, no. You go get your own dirt."


Old Post 02-25-2004 08:38 PM
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post #8  quote:

quote:
Kookaburra said this in post #7 :
Proof that God exists.. well let's see. I think someone should give proof that He DOESN'T exist.

Why?

No one has been able to come up with anything that can create life or create a tree or design solar systems. It reminds me of a cute story about something like this. Man can only recreate through DNA, but they can't create the DNA.

I don't get this. We can't create this stuff, what about it? Are you saying that our inability to create life somehow proves God's existence? If so, could you please explain a little further because I fail to see the connection there.


Old Post 02-25-2004 08:49 PM
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post #9  quote:

quote:
Kookaburra said this in post #7 :
Man can only recreate through DNA, but they can't create the DNA


Actually.. we're not far from it. we've already managed to create a special lifeform that does not exist in nature and which contains all of the bare minimum elements of life in order to function & reproduce. And we've only scratched the surface of genetic engineering. It's a new field. Give it time.


Old Post 02-25-2004 08:59 PM
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post #10  quote:

Well, you know that kind of science is being outlawed quicker and quicker now Sean... People are scared

And as hatchjaw said, why the heck should someone have to prove God doesn't exist?


Old Post 02-26-2004 02:56 AM
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post #11  quote:

gaboman, for the same reason people want us to prove He exists. Why do people want us to try to prove He exists? And why do athiest spend so much time trying to discredit someone they don't believe in? For not believing in someone, they sure spend a lot of time thinking about Him.

Who knows why? Perhaps it's just built in us all to wonder?


Old Post 02-26-2004 03:09 AM
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post #12  quote:

What are you talking about? If someone claims an intangiable Being exists, they should back it up. I'm not claiming the existence of anything, so why should I (or anyone else) have to back this up?

And, yeah, as you said, it's probably built into us to wonder.


Old Post 02-26-2004 03:21 AM
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post #13  quote:

What are you talking about? You said why should anyone have to prove He exists. And then in your post above, you say if someone claims an intangiable Being exists, they should back it up.

Since you said why should anyone have to prove He exists, then why should anyone have to back it up if they believe He exists?

I think the article posted was fascinating, and I've always believed mathematics was the creation of God.

I posted my message on the "get your own dirt" joke because I thought it was cute and it explained in simple terms that people aren't as smart and independent as they think they are. We still have unseen forces more powerful than we can stand. Anyway... guess you aren't getting it, or I'm not explaining myself well enough. Sorry.


Old Post 02-26-2004 03:29 AM
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post #14  quote:

I said why should someone have to prove he doesn't exist.

Hmm... let me explain the way I'm thinking: someone says there's a ghost sitting next to me. I don't believe them. They say, "well, prove there's no ghost sitting next to you"... I walk away from this weird person.

Well, that's basically it...

I don't know this "get your own dirt" thing, but I'll go look for it.

PS. you think everything's the creation of God Kooka, not just maths!

PPS. I didn't see the evidence in the post even if I did it's probably pretty complicated... that's unfortunate.


Old Post 02-26-2004 03:37 AM
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post #15  quote:

True gaboman... I do think God created everything. The world, math, galaxies, life, etc. etc.

I don't think the original proof proves that God exists, but it was fascinating.


Old Post 02-26-2004 04:04 AM
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post #16  quote:

quote:
Kookaburra said this in post #15 :
it was fascinating.


To me it was nauseating. My head started spinning and sweat began to pour as I tried with all my might to not only remain conscious through the entire piece, but also to draw the connection between the space cadet's words and fundamental principles of mathematics.


Old Post 02-26-2004 04:19 AM
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post #17  quote:

I know that there has been growing support for the theories of dark energy and dark matter, and I think that recently there has been proof uncovered that dark energy exists, and that it is everywhere at all times...

I add that only to say that there is so much about not only matter and atoms and quantum theory that we just don't understand, but also of the properties that govern our very universe, let alone what powers our REALITY. We are only just coming to grips with a minute spec of the stuff, and there will be a lot more to learn as we continue to explore.

I don't know how to take this proof... I would like to get a more detailed explanation as to how mathematics was used to come to the final result. Not that I disagree that God exists; just that I don't know if this argument really breaks any new ground...


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post #18  quote:

its ethocentric to peg God as a He and attempt to pin the ultimate source of creation.

I don't even have a word to describe what it was that started Life. there is no logical description for it.

now back with relational logic. it sounds more like Eintein's. Nothing new to me that I don't know already. expressionism is the next reformation of unified relativity. imo, the author's explanation is about reconciling polar opposites/fundamentals (illusory and form). in EXP, there is no need to construct a paradox.


Old Post 03-02-2004 11:52 PM
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post #19  quote:

quote:
sayzak21 said this in post #4 :
Space = time.

If man traveled faster than light, he'd be traveling through time.

Time, is a man-made concept. In other words, it's not linear.

'now' and 'then' = 'here' and 'there'.

Somewhere, not somewhen, the universe was formed.



My favorite theory at the moment is that time does not exist, that only an infintesimal moment is 'everything' and we create or fulfill the shape of that moment by observation, including observation of our own imagination. It also means that there is no past, only 'memories' that are also created in this moment. It means the Big Bang hasnt happened yet as it has not been observed. Almost a mingling of quantum theory and philosophy.

kula


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post #20  quote:

you mean you can create the Big Bang?

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post #21  quote:

Apparantly, yes.(but not personally as my maths is not as gud as my inglish!) 'things' only truly exist when they are measured, and until they are their 'components' are not in a fixed state. The age of the universe is only as old as we can accurately measure.

Another way of looking at it is that all states exist simultaneously but by measuring we are creating a moment of time where only one state is manifested.

kula


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post #22  quote:

Creating a moment of time through the measurement or observation of a thing sounds like the existence or 'measurement' of time to me, so maybe time exists because we now have structures in place that measure it??

To me, some of the logic expressed by Kula seems strange. I can't see how saying that something is a certain way, actually MAKES it that way, no matter how accurately one believes their statement to be. That's sort of what I got out of Kula's explanation. If I didn't grasp it totally, please forgive me.

To an extent, saying that 'things' only truly exist when they are measured (or, I suppose, observed in any way?) seems to bring me back to the question about the tree falling in the woods with no one there to hear it. The tree falling makes a sound, regardless of whether someone was there to hear it or not. It doesn't relate to our perception of things, but it relates to the laws of physics that govern the universe. It's the same with other 'things'. They exist, truly, whether they've been measured (accurately or inaccurately), or not. If they have not been observed by us, then they don't necessarily exist "TO US", but they exist nonetheless.


Old Post 03-04-2004 06:27 PM
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post #23  quote:

quote:
The tree falling makes a sound, regardless of whether someone was there to hear it or not.


Technically not. It makes air molecules vibrate, but there is no actual sound before the molecules hit an eardrum, which sets off a sort of chain reaction that ends in an electrical pulse going along the auditory nerve to the brain which interprets the signal as sound. So in this case at least it is the observation that makes the thing exist.

But forgetting that for a moment, let's just think of the falling tree actually making the sound instead of the brain. We've heard trees falling many times and they always make a sound. So it's pretty safe to assume that it makes a sound even when no-one is there. But can we know that? I say we cannot. The best we can do is say that it's very, very probable that it does, because it does so every time we're around, but we can't be sure if it hasn't been observed.

Having said that, I don't think that observation makes things exist. But I do recall reading about quantum mechanics that observation can affect how things are. Not too sure about that though, quantum is a bit of a gray area to me and memory may betray.


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post #24  quote:

apparantly they've mathmatically proven that on a quantum level, things exist in 'superposition.' They exist in all states at once and observation forces it to 'choose' a state.

I personally think that's stupid. How can scientists be so smart, yet so dumb? Obviously they're missing something.


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post #25  quote:

Or they could be right. One thing I've learned going through life is not to trust my intuition too much. Things I've thought clearly and obviously stupid, impossible, or just plain wrong have, upon closer inspection, turned out to make a lot of sense.

So, while quantum mechanics may seem to defy common sense, there may be something in it. If I recall correctly it is, as theories go, the one that most consistently works when applied to regular physics. It most accurately predicts what happens to particles when something or other happens, or some such thing. Sorry about that description, scientific writing isn't my forte.


Old Post 03-04-2004 08:13 PM
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post #26  quote:

I have no doubt that quantum mechancis is accurate, but scientists think way to highly of themselves.

Just because they can't predict something, doesn't mean it's random.

bleh, I don't feel like going any further on this train of thought. One thing I've learned in my life is to always trust my intuition.


Old Post 03-05-2004 12:42 AM
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post #27  quote:

There is another way to look at it. If you imagine that Infinity is, instead of a number, a state, so that if something were moving it would possess a quality of infinte movement. We know that we cannot measure (at the moment...er..choice of words...hmm) infinite states so when we observe movement we are only able to observe a 'fixed' position for that energy configuration. The 'size' of the state/observation may be dictated by the interaction of chemicals/signals in our brain which, instead of trying to store infinite bits of information, economises with finite bits.

As every experience we can have is a measurement, even thoughts (as per the number of signals, ratios of chemicals etc, in the brain) then we may never be able to truly measure everything. Its like living on an infinite piece of cake. You can break off bits and survive on them, but trying to measure the whole thing in units of the bit youve broken off just wont work.

Measurement is a very specific thing we use to survive and percieve so it may be fair to theorise that we are just not built to understand anything beyond simple survival and the ability to experience only the things that we need to replicate.

kula


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post #28  quote:

Can a self-acknowledged "finite entity" "prove" the existence of an entity which said entity acknowledges as "infinite"?

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post #29  quote:

I would say not as proof is a concept arising from measurement and therefore becomes a measurement of its own. Experience is measurement so we may never to able to experience/know/proove an infinite state, although something may appear to be infinite (or God) from our our relative view point.

Kula


Old Post 03-07-2004 05:21 PM
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post #30  quote:

When it comes to the existence of God, I?d say definition 2a(1) of the word "faith" in Webster?s Third International Dictionary is relevant: "firm or unquestioning belief in something for which there is no proof"
Hebrews Chapter 11 comes to mind:The whole chapter is about faith.
Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
It doesn?t say that "faith is the substance of things that have been logically and irrefutably proven."


Old Post 03-07-2004 07:02 PM
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