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A Proof That God Exists


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#136    eight bits

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:18 AM

I'd just like to emphasize a point in Liquid Gardens' presentation, before it gets lost in the shuffle.

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I watched the first minute and then clicked it off when they listed pi as fine-tuned number; yes, if pi was at all different we wouldn't have circles, or something.

What pi's fine-tunedness illustrates is that some fine-tunedness is necessary, and not in the least "probabilistic." Pi cannot be any other value than what it is, exactly what it is, not even "a little bit" different from what it is exactly.

"Having circles" is not an optional feature of universes. Maybe in some universes, there would be nobody around to think about circles, or maybe there are thinkers, but circles don't interest them enough to think about them. No matter, pi is woven into the fabric of existence whether it is recognized or not, and whether circles are realized or not.

Einstein, who was a deist, believed in what appeared to him to be a mind or spirit distinct from the material universe itself. He recognized the issue of not knowing how much and what kinds of orderliness are necessary, to be a difficulty for his deist beliefs.

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What really interested me is whether God could make the world differently, that
is, whether the requirement of logical simplicity leaves any freedom.

~ reported by Ernst G. Straus, in Carl Seelig (ed.), Helle ZeitóDunkle Zeit: In
Memoriam Albert Einstein (Europa Verlag, ZuŁrich, 1956), p.72

The inference from natural order to God depends on natural order being contingent rather than necessary or inevitable. Otherwise, you might argue the existence of God from the rich orderliness of number theory, when in fact, all of it is simply tautological.

Since it could not be other than it is, nobody could have placed the orderliness there. The margin of freedom, a choice for some entity to have made, is crucial for natural theology to discern a maker distinct from Nature itself. The urgency of this problem would plausibly have been especially apparent to a Spinozan like Einstein.

Source for quotation, cite and discussion:

http://uncertaintist...-irreligion.pdf

Edited by eight bits, 04 April 2013 - 07:24 AM.

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#137    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:41 AM

I kinda wonder sometimes whey God didn't bury His message in all the unneeded decimals of a number like pi.  He seems to have preferred randomness.


#138    Rlyeh

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 10:44 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 04 April 2013 - 07:41 AM, said:

I kinda wonder sometimes whey God didn't bury His message in all the unneeded decimals of a number like pi.  He seems to have preferred randomness.
I'm not sure how that would work, it's humans that invented the formula and computed the value.


#139    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 11:57 AM

Pi is a pure number.  We compute its value but we don't have any control over what the next digit will be.  God, on the other hand, could easily have buried elaborate messages in it -- endless possible messages -- for us to find.  A circle would still be a circle as far as we could possibly tell (twenty or so digits of pi is all that is needed to calculate the diameter of the known universe to an accuracy less than that of the diameter of a neutron).  The millions and billions of digits of pi beyond that are nothing more than an interesting exercise in calculating power and a good test for randomness -- but it doesn't have to be random -- God could have put his Word in it in a way no one could mess with.


#140    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:32 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 04 April 2013 - 06:01 AM, said:

The list of "coincidences" that make our existence possible is well taken.  I've seen calculations that make the perfection of our universe for our existence unbelievably unlikely if taken as a chance event.

In order for things to be 'coincidences', we have to have some information about what the other options are, and I'm not sure which of the 'fine-tuned' constants could have other values and how we know.  I haven't had much luck finding answers to my questions, and that may be just because of limitations in my scientific understanding and expertise.  To me, there seems to be a big fat assumption in the fine-tuning argument:  the fine-tuned constants can have other values and the value that they currently have is improbable in some way.  I don't know what the basis for that assumption is.  Are there areas in our universe where these constants have different values, do we know if any of them are variable at all?

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#141    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:36 PM

View Posteight bits, on 04 April 2013 - 07:18 AM, said:

What pi's fine-tunedness illustrates is that some fine-tunedness is necessary, and not in the least "probabilistic." Pi cannot be any other value than what it is, exactly what it is, not even "a little bit" different from what it is exactly.

Thanks for link 8, I'll check that out when work is not interrupting important stuff.  Question though, in what way is pi 'fine-tuned'. Would we say pi was fine tuned if it simply had the value of 3?  Would it be fine-tuned if it was not a constant at all? Is the Pythagorean theorem fine-tuned?

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into"
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" - C. Hitchens
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

#142    eight bits

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:38 PM

Frank

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A circle would still be a circle as far as we could possibly tell (twenty or so digits of pi is all that is needed to calculate the diameter of the known universe to an accuracy less than that of the diameter of a neutron).

OK, I'll bite. What has that to do with our knowledge of the decimal expansion of pi to several orders of magnitude more than twenty digits?

I anticipate that I'll regret asking,  but take your best shot. I feel lucky today.

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#143    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:39 PM

What interesting and learned posts here, such fascinating numbers, such convolutions. So, somebody please remind me, which end of a boiled egg goes uppermost in the cup, the pointy end or the broad end? And in all this static I may have missed the bit were it was discovered exactly how many angels fit on the head of a pin....

Edited by Atentutankh-pasheri, 04 April 2013 - 12:40 PM.


#144    eight bits

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:19 PM

LG

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Question though, in what way is pi 'fine-tuned'. Would we say pi was fine tuned if it simply had the value of 3?  Would it be fine-tuned if it was not a constant at all? Is the Pythagorean theorem fine-tuned?

You mentioned that you had encountered it as a "fine tuning" example in one of the apologists' YouTube videos. But it isn't "fine tuned;" it isn't tuned at all.

A circle isn't a physical object, it is an ideal planar figure that comprises all the points on the plane which are equidistant from one designated point, the center. Pi is the ratio of the ideal figure's circumference to the figure's diameter. That ratio is identical for all planes, centers and diameters. That ratio cannot be expressed as the ratio of any two natural numbers, hence its decimal expansion neither terminates nor repeats.

All these things are necessary facts about that kind of ideal object. They cannot be otherwise than they are. God did not "fine tune" them, because God cannot change them. He might forbid us from thinking about circles, or he might avoid things that are close to circles in his own mighty work, but there is no circle with any different pi.

So, there is no answer to your questions about pi. It cannot be 3, it cannot be variable. Similarly, the Pythagorean Theorem cannot be different than it is. It can be misapplied (as it was when the state of Vermont was surveyed long ago by the lowest bidder...) but what it says, including that the exponents are exactly 2, not just "precisely" 2, cannot be other than what it is.

The physical things are much harder to know about. We also get surprises. The exponents in the inverse square law of gravitation, which relate force to distance, were long thought to be exactly two. Well, maybe they are, but "distance" itself turns out to be a labile quanitity. So it is that Mercury traces out a rosette instead of a single ellipse as it orbits the Sun, not because the "right exponent" of distance in the law of gravitational force isn't 2, but because Mercury travels through a space warped by the nearby solar mass.

What if, then, there actually is a "Theory of Everything," and what we see as fifty, or whatever, different constants are all fifty distinct manifestations of the same one thing? It happened before with electricity and magnetism - it used to be thought that changing either can "cause" the other to "appear." Now we know that they are more profitably viewed as two measurable aspects of one underlying thing.

Maxwell (or at least his typical reader) was surprised when he calculated that the speed at which a moving electric field would induce a magnetic field whose change would induce an electric field which would induce... in a self-sustaining push-me-pull-you was "coincidentally" the speed of light. Now we know that there was nothing coincidental about it.

The speed of light is not independent of the constants in the laws governing electricity and magnetism. Who knew? What other physical constants aren't indpendent of each other? Who knows?

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#145    Rlyeh

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:23 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 04 April 2013 - 11:57 AM, said:

Pi is a pure number.  We compute its value but we don't have any control over what the next digit will be.  God, on the other hand, could easily have buried elaborate messages in it -- endless possible messages -- for us to find.  A circle would still be a circle as far as we could possibly tell (twenty or so digits of pi is all that is needed to calculate the diameter of the known universe to an accuracy less than that of the diameter of a neutron).  The millions and billions of digits of pi beyond that are nothing more than an interesting exercise in calculating power and a good test for randomness -- but it doesn't have to be random -- God could have put his Word in it in a way no one could mess with.
Pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference to it's diameter in mathematics, even God would have little control over it.


#146    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:32 PM

Eight Bits:  Your points about how some of the constants we think are random may not be but instead derived from other constants is well taken.  It would mean that the very laws of physics are what they are because this is what they must be.  To me this would be a far more profound indication of design than what is being proposed (a largely chance line-up).  The second possibility allows for a multi-cosmos type of explanation, the former just cries for design.


#147    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:34 PM

View PostRlyeh, on 04 April 2013 - 01:23 PM, said:

Pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference to it's diameter in mathematics, even God would have little control over it.
What the digits of pi are beyond some arbitrary figure -- make it as high as you like -- are not relevant to us.  God is said to be omnipotent; He could make them anything He wants.  It would have no effect.


#148    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:38 PM

View Posteight bits, on 04 April 2013 - 01:19 PM, said:

You mentioned that you had encountered it as a "fine tuning" example in one of the apologists' YouTube videos. But it isn't "fine tuned;" it isn't tuned at all.

Thanks for the clarification that you don't view pi as being fine-tuned, I agree.  The only thing I might disagree with in your post is concerning how God cannot change pi, that does not seem logical to me even though I can't comprehend such a thing.  It seems to presuppose that there is some greater reality with laws and rules that God dwells in, and that he is somehow constrained by, when I don't know how he can be.  If we say that if God is to create a circle the ratio of the of the circumference to the diameter must be pi, where did that 'rule' come from if not God?  If it just 'is', then that 'is-ness' had to come from somewhere (under a framework where God actually exists and is the ultimate creator of course).

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"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" - C. Hitchens
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

#149    Rlyeh

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:40 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 04 April 2013 - 01:34 PM, said:

What the digits of pi are beyond some arbitrary figure -- make it as high as you like -- are not relevant to us.  God is said to be omnipotent; He could make them anything He wants.  It would have no effect.
What has this got to do with anything? This isn't relevant to God either. You seem to be under the impression God created mathematics.

Not even God can make a square circle.

Edited by Rlyeh, 04 April 2013 - 01:42 PM.


#150    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 02:16 PM

If God can't make a square circle then he isn't "God," but only some god.





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