what makes the laws of phsyics, and what makes them work?
Recently I posted a dialogue between myself and an atheist on this topic. This is the original argument as I make it on my God argument list.
1) Naturalists assume necessity of naturalistic cause and effect (from empirical observation).
Dictionary of Philosophy Anthony Flew, article on "Materialism" "...the belief that everything that exists is ethier matter or entirely dependent upon matter for its existence." Center For Theology and the Natural Sciences Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999) http://www.ctns.org/Information/information.htmlIs the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked above) "...One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of preceding physical causes.." Science and The Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead. NY: free Press, 1925, (1953) p.76
"We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... science which is employed in their development [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical causation is supreme, and which disjoins the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved."[Whitehead was an atheist]
http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gr/public/qg_qc.html Cambridge Relativity and Quantum Gravity. 1996, University of Cambridge The physical laws that govern the universe prescribe how an initial state evolves with time. In classical physics, if the initial state of a system is specified exactly then the subsequent motion will be completely predictable.
2) Therefore, if we agree with them, it is logical to assume naturalistic cause and effect as background condition to the emergence and/or production of the universe.
Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for the NASA IMAGE/POETRY Education and Public Outreach program
Q:Which came first, matter or physical laws?
"We do not know, but matter is derivative from energy, and energy is derivative from 'field' so in some sense, the physical laws that determine the quantum dynamics of fields must have been primary, with matter as we know it coming much later."
3) Since physical laws would have to proceed matter/energy, they would have to reside in some organizing principle (such as a mind?) since they could not reside in the workings of universe that did not yet exist.
This leads to a Dilemma:
a) Either the laws of physics are general law like statements demanding a law giver (law implies a law giver)
b) Or they are mere tendencies which mark conventional frames of reference for our observations of the universe.
*If the former, than since all products of the natural world require a cause, what causes the laws of physics? It seems there must either be an infinite regress of causes for physical laws, or a single organizing principle capable of directing physical law; such as a mind?
*If the latter, than the skeptic loses the lock on scientific rationality and with it, the basis upon which to critique religious belief as �unscientific.� After all, just because we don�t notice regular tendencies toward supernatural effects does not mean that they are impossible, if physical laws are nothing but mere tendencies.
4)Major Physicists propose Unitive principle they call "God."
MetaList on Science and religion
Stephen Hawking's God
In his best-selling book "A Brief History of Time", physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that when physicists find the theory he and his colleagues are looking for - a so-called "theory of everything" - then they will have seen into "the mind of God". Hawking is by no means the only scientist who has associated God with the laws of physics. Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, for example, has made a link between God and a subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson. Lederman has suggested that when physicists find this particle in their accelerators it will be like looking into the face of God. But what kind of God are these physicists talking about? Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions.
Ok These guys are not talking about the God of the Bible, but the fact that they do resort to organizing principle proves my basic point. They can't just leave the laws of physics unexplained, they have to resort to organizing principle that ties it all up in one neat package. But why assume that principle can't be the personal God of the Bible? The rest of this Website argues that it is. But the main point here is that it is very logical to assume an organizing principle such a mind which organizes and contains physical laws.But "which god" is dealt with else where. at the very least this argument gives us a Spinoza-like God.
5) Mind is best explanation for organizing principal.
This principal would not dwell in any location, since it must proceed the existence of all physical matter and objects. It cannot resides in any location, or in the actions of a energy and matter, since it must proceed them for them to come to be, or to exist. Mind is the only thing that explains:
a. non physical location--no topos
b. Organizing function; organizing information and structures. The major element of mind is organization and containment of information. Like a genetic structure has to reside in genes, where does an organizing principal for the universe reside? In a mind that creates the universe?
6) A mind that contains physical law can be said to be creator and thus God. Therefore,if we assume physical law there must be a "lawgiver," therefore, God exists QED
Corollary:Science cannot Explain Laws of Physics
A. Cause of Physical Laws Unknown
1)Physical Law Merely Assumed to Exist.
OFFICE OF DR. ROBERT C. KOONS Post-Agnostic Science:How Physics Is RevivingThe Argument From Design
Robert C. Koons
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712
"Some have objected that the anthropic coincidences cannot be explained, since they involve the fundamental laws of nature. The laws of nature are used in explaining other things -- they themselves cannot be explained. They are rock-bottom, matters of physical necessity, immutable and uncaused. This objection is sometimes based on actual scientific practice -- scientists seek to discover the laws of nature and to use these laws in constructing explanations of phenomena. They do not try to explain the laws of nature themselves. There are several points to make in response to this."
2) Skeptics object, but Some scientits now Ask.
Paul Davies, Author of God and The New Physics, and The Mind of God, skeptic turned believer due to the new evidence on design. From First Things, Tempelton Award address:
"All the richness and diversity of matter and energy we observe today has emerged since the beginning in a long and complicated sequence of self- organizing physical processes. The laws of physics not only permit a universe to originate spontaneously, but they encourage it to organize and complexify itself to the point where conscious beings emerge who can look back on the great cosmic drama and reflect on what it all means."
"Now you may think I have written God entirely out of the picture. Who needs a God when the laws of physics can do such a splendid job? But we are bound to return to that burning question:
Where do the laws of physics come from?
And why those laws rather than some other set? Most especially: Why a set of laws that drives the searing, featureless gases coughed out of the big bang toward life and consciousness and intelligence and cultural activities such as religion, art, mathematics, and science?"
Koons, (Ibid.) "...It is no longer true that scientists never seek to explain the laws of nature. Much of recent cosmology and unified force theory has attempted to do that. ...even if scientists never did attempt to explain the fundamental laws, it would still be an open question whether they should do so. Finally, whether something can or should be explained is itself an empirical matter, to be decided on a case by case basis, and not on the basis of dogmatic, a priori pronouncements. The anthropic coincidences are themselves excellent evidence that the laws of nature can and should be explained. If the laws really were absolute rock bottom, inexplicable brute facts, then we would be faced with a set of inexplicable coincidences. If the only price we have to pay in order to explain these coincidences is to revise our beliefs about the rock-bottom status of physical laws, this is a small price to pay."
B. How do Physical Laws make a universe?
"The laws of physics are proposed by some, as brought out by Furgesson, as constituting a "final cause" in place of God. This view is actually suggestive of an inversion and can be turned around into an argument for the exist of God. Barr states "The more serious problem with this idea of laws of physics as necessary first casue is that it is based on an elementary confussion. At most the laws of physics could be said to be the 'formal cause' of the physical universe, whereas by first casue is meant efficient cause, the cause of its very existancde. Hawking himself asked percisely the right queitson when he wrote 'even if there is only one possible unified theory is it just a set of rules and equasions? What is it that breaths fire into the equassions and makes a universe for them to descirbe? The usual approach of science constutcing a methematical model cannot answer the question of why there should be a universe for the model to describe.' That is decisive--crushing...." (in First Things)