This is one of my oldest original God arguments, meaning I made it up my self. Of course it's based upon things other people said. I find the need to re order it and re-think due to debate with a physicist Mat Hunt on CARM. I am not saying he was right, the dismissed it completely but arguign with him showed me a better way to argue it. So this is working toward re-booting the argument.
Original argument: Argument:
Original version here
There's a contradiction in the framework scinece takes to physical law as purely descriptive, the fact that the description is our perceptions, and the order and regularity we see in nature. Obviously the description is that of something ordered and organized at a certain level, but also something that contains elements of random event and uncertainty. That suggests an ordering principle but one that is of a mind.
That's ok, I still stand behind every statement. The problem is it's always met by atheist claims that laws of physics are no longer seen as perspective, they don't 'make thing happen. They are just descriptive so they are not even laws at all in any way they are just descriptions.
That's really the reason I said "organizing principle" instead "laws f phsyics." I knew that but I didn't realize how fastidious they would be in insisting on their terminology and their way of framing things. you can't say organizing principle beuase it's not scientific. We don't dare use our minds if scinece doesn't tell us we can then only in exactly the way it says to.
I have been arguing that there had to be some kind of structure or soemthing to make the regularity that brought the universe into being. But no it's just popped up for no reason, its' all just pure description and anything can happen,. there's no regularity, no reason for it. It's just what we observe. So I then I would go the other way. If it's just observation then your observation can be incomplete, there could be miracles, nothing to stop them. O no they never happen because "we" don't see it. I say "I do." they say "no I don't' so that means 'we ' don't."
In the final analysis they are just arguing form authority. Science says "you didn't say 'science may I' so you can't believe this." This is why I feel the need present the argument in a new way.
Atheist is in a dilemma.
I. The has to be a principle of ordering or organizing to account for the regularity we observe in the universe.
A. Can't exist apart from universe it describes
B. where is it located? Mind is the best candidate
or, if we accept that laws are only descriptive
II. The field is wide open, anything can happen, they open the door to God in scinece:
A. Change naturalistic paradigm
The paradigm of natural was based upon the idea of perspective laws of phsyics that told everything in the universe how to behave, and thus replaced God as the major explanations for the way things are.
(1). Materailism based upon cause and effect
Dictonary of Philosphy 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.html Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked above)
"...Beyond the Christian community there was even greater unease. One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of preceding physical causes. Quite apart from its possible status as the moment of creation, the Big Bang singularity is an offence to this basic assumption. Thus some philosophers of science have opposed the very idea of the Big Bang as irrational and untestable."
(2) Something from nothing contraidicts materialism
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. ... sciene which is employed in their deveopment [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical casation 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]
(3) Causality was the basis upon which God was expelled from Modern Science
It was La Plase's famous line "I have no need of that Hypothosis" [meaning God] Which turned the scientific world form beliving (along with Newton and assuming that order in nature proved design) to unbelief on the principle that we dont' need God to explain the univrese because we have independent naturalistic cause and effet. [Numbers, God and Nature]
(4) Materilism Undermines Itself
a) Big Bang contradicts causality (see quotation above)
b) QM theory seems to contradict cause/effect relationship.
c) Rejection of final cause
(5) Probabilistic Justification for assumption of Cause
We still have a huge justification for assuming causes inductively, since nothing in our experience is ever uncaused. The mere fact that we can't see or find a cause isn't a proof that there isn't one. The current paradigm will always try give a larger framework for the order in terms of "we describe as order." We can predict the order so we describe it in terms of C/e. This does point up the fact that C/e is probabilistic at it's root.
That should knock the fortress of facts mentality on it's you know what.
B. Opens door to miracles
Not so much becuase there's nothing to stop them happening, being no law to violate, although there is that, as it is that being descriptive, and descriptions being the product human observation, not description is ever going to be complete. So those who rule out miracles are merely asserting that their limited relative descriptions are absolute and they are ignoring and poo pooing the the observations of others (which include miracles) for ideolgoical reasons. It really forms a pattern of circular reasoning that the current dismissal of new evidence is based upon the previous unbari biased ignoring of prior observations of miracles, that get's taken as presumption or "fact." When they say "we just don't see this happening" its usually because they are closing their eyes.
III. Contradiction between regularity and Quantum uncertainty
A. This is the obvious reason they don't' talk about prescriptive laws.The point being that descriptive laws are the word of humans, the paradigm of physical law as non-legally binding description of the universe's behavior is a paradigm shift that took place from a more law-like paradigm due to the anomalies of Quantum theory. Meaning, scinece is a human work, a social construct, and is based upon limited observations and nothing more.
a poster on Physics Forums tells us at the popular level why scientifically minded people see it this way. This is the immanent poster "droog." you would expect to find someone like Alan Sokal explaining it but I really can't find anyone like that talking about.
"From time to time Mathematicians, physicists and philosophers give us reasons to believe that the world operates according to Platonic laws. Loop Quantum Gravity is just one recent example. For me though, this seems counter-intuitive. It seems more reasonable to expect laws to emerge from some underlying material framework -- after all, historically speaking, this is what we mostly observe of the world. Each time we successfully codify some emergent phenomena of nature we generally find ourselves describing some previously unrecognized material construct. Granted the classical materialistic view has been transformed almost beyond recognition by the 'new physics' of the 20th Century, but with no single conclusive Quantum interpretation at hand it seems prudent to reflect on past experience and assume that some as yet unrecognized material framework exists to explain all the Quantum phenomena as well."
I think what he's saying is--and this is just something so basic no "big gun" bothers to explain it--prescriptive laws changed to descriptive because they could not explain Quantum phsyics through law-like statements. That is a paradigm shift.
here's an established physicist and mathematician who writes text books, he hints at the very thing:
march 9, 2011, by Santo D'Agostino
"If you really believe that a scientific law tells a physical system how to behave, what happens when there is a historic change of perspective (a “scientific revolution”)? One can end up tied up in mental knots. Imagine saying in the 19th century that a physical system “obeys” Newton’s laws of motions, only to have to revise your opinion in the 20th century in light of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Do you now say that the same system “obeys” the equations of relativistic mechanics, and only approximately “obeys” Newton’s laws? Or do you say that you were wrong in your earlier statement, but now you’ve got it right; this is problematic, because how do you know you’re right? What if there is yet another revolutionary change in perspective? I find this awkward.
Consider some of what the history of science teaches. First, since science originated as the product of men and not as a revelation, it may develop further as the continuing product of men. If a scientific law is not an eternal truth but merely a generalization which, to some man or group of men, conveniently described a set of observations, then to some other man or group of men, another generalization might seem even more convenient. Once it is grasped that scientific truth is limited and not absolute, scientific truth becomes capable of further refinement. Until that is understood, scientific research has no meaning.
For me, the key word is describe. A scientific law is a convenient description of observations. The law of science does not tell the world how to be, the world just is; science is a human attempt to engage with the mysteries of the world, and to attempt to understand them."
B. Just because science doesn't frame laws of physics in a prescriptive fashion doesn't mean that there isn't some form of organizing principle behind things.In this last quote he's pointing to the dichotomy. The problem is glossed over by framing it in terms of "description of a prescription." Descriptive laws describe cuase/effect which is in a sens a prescription. The anomaly is almost showing. The effects of it as an anomaly are absorbed into the paradigm, and Kuhn tells us they will be. Yet that doesn't change the fact that there is a contradiction hovering below the surface.
Clearly there is some form of organizing principle and there is an obvious contradiction bewteen the two sides. The old paradigm of prescriptive laws becomes an anomaly in the new paradigm but that anamorphic is still there and we see the contradictions all the time.
...........(a) The D'Agostino article hints at anomaly of unexplained order:
"Today I’d like to discuss a pet peeve of mine. In many physics textbooks, one reads phrases such as:
a certain physical system obeys a certain law of physics
Here’s an example taken from page 147 of Chemical Principles, by Steven S. Zumdahl, Cengage, 2009 (although I am not trying to single out this author … examples are numerous, and this just happens to be the first one that was handy):
It is important to recognize that the ideal gas law is an empirical equation—it is based on experimental measurements of the properties of gases. A gas that obeys this equation is said to behave ideally. That is, this equation defines the behavior of an ideal gas, which is a hypothetical substance. The ideal gas equation is best regarded as a limiting law—it expresses behavior that real gases approach at low pressures and high temperatures. Most gases obey this equation closely enough at pressures below 1 atm that only minimal errors result from assuming ideal behavior.
What bothers me is that such statements might be misconstrued to mean that the equation tells the gas how to behave. And then the gas goes out and obeys and behaves properly, just the way any law-abiding citizen does when he or she obeys the laws of the land."
D'Agostino is telling us why the guy is wrong. the question is the guy is qualified to write textbooks too. Why does he say if if it's wrong? We could write it off as habit, a hold over form education that is still under the sway of the old paradigm. No doubt that's true, but it might also be true that there's' anomaly there that is still operative and so that's why people still speak that way.
...............(b) things never fall up.
Of cousre my entry astronomy class taught me that thins move toward the center of mass. They always do. They never run away form the center of mass. They never don't do it, unless you are in a special environment like an air place simulating weightless conditions. Why is there is order and regularity? It's written off as "it's just part of the description" as though that explain it. There's something handing, there's an implication unsaid, they are afraid to say it, that somewhere something does make things happen a certain way.
After all the flip side to "it's a description" is what's being described? Order?
.................(b) some physicists do recognize prior laws that determine things.
Fritz Schaefer, Universlity of Gerogia, Quantum Chemistry.
"Steven Hawking, The Big Bang,and God." lecture
"I want to quote from a book that I don't recommend. It is by a brilliant physicist, Leon Lederman, a Nobel Prize winner. It is called The God Particle and although the title sounds very appealing, the good information is all in the first paragraph. The rest of it is just a case for the building of the SSC, the Super Conducting-Super Collider, which we now know is not going to be built. Therefore the book is a bit of a Rip Van-Winkle sort of experience! But the first paragraph is wonderful; it's a great summary of what I have said so far:
In the very beginning, there was a void, a curious form of vacuum, a nothingness containing no space, no time, no matter, no light, no sound. Yet the laws of nature were in place and this curious vacuum held potential. A story logically begins at the beginning, but this story is about the universe and unfortunately there are no data for the very beginnings--none, zero. We don't know anything about the universe until it reaches the mature age of a billion of a trillionth of a second. That is, some very short time after creation in the big bang. When you read or hear anything about the birth of the universe, someone is making it up--we are in the realm of philosophy. Only God knows what happened at the very beginning.
That is about all that Lederman has to say about God--in the first paragraph--and that's the end of it. The thing that has made Hawking's book so popular is that he is talking about God from beginning to end."
we can see from the things Davies says below that he is one of these.
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."
...................(c) Determinsm would not be possible.
How can some scientists be deterministic if they don't believe in a degree of prescription?
"Some scientists have tried to argue that if only we knew enough about the laws of physics, if we were to discover a final theory that united all the fundamental forces and particles of nature into a single mathematical scheme, then we would find that this superlaw, or theory of everything, would describe the only logically consistent world. In other words, the nature of the physical world would be entirely a consequence of logical and mhathematical necessity. There would be no choice about it. I think this is demonstrably wrong. There is not a shred of evidence that the universe is logically necessary. Indeed, as a theoretical physicist I find it rather easy to imagine alternative universes that are logically consistent, and therefore equal contenders for reality." First Things: Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address (1999)
....................(d) natural world is contingent
quoted in Antony Flew, Philosophical Dictionary, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979, 242.
"Empirical facts are facts which might not have been. Everything that belongs to space time is a contingent truth because it could have been otherwise, it is dependent upon the existence of something else for its' existence going all the way back to the Big Bang, which is itself contingent upon something."
Paul Davies (ibid)
"There is not a shred of evidence that the universe is logically necessary."
"You might be tempted to suppose that any old rag-bag of laws would produce a complex universe of some sort, with attendant inhabitants convinced of their own specialness. Not so. It turns out that randomly selected laws lead almost inevitably either to unrelieved chaos or boring and uneventful simplicity. Our own universe is poised exquisitely between these unpalatable alternatives, offering a potent mix of freedom and discipline, a sort of restrained creativity. The laws do not tie down physical systems so rigidly that they can accomplish little, but neither are they a recipe for cosmic anarchy. Instead, they encourage matter and energy to develop along pathways of evolution that lead to novel variety-what Freeman Dyson has called the principle of maximum diversity: that in some sense we live in the most interesting possible universe."
These are not contradictions. Contingency and determinism are not contradictions. The non deterministic contingency of Davies still allows for causes to determine their effects, there's just grater latitude of diversity in outcomes because there are more variables. In both cases we are talking about things controlling other things.
......................(e) C/e still accepted and used
James Franklin (mathematician, History of Ideas)
What Science Knows and How it Knows it.
Encounter books 2009, 64-65
"The notion of Cause remains crucial to science, even though the most general physical laws do not mention causes. No physical laws or interpretations of those laws call into question such facts as that some diseases are caused by viruses...every technological application of scinece requires the notion of an intervention that will effect change..."
(2) framed in descriptive terms
"That physical laws are descriptive does not undermine the notion of causality. The motion of billiar balls in interaction is described and predicted by purely descriptive of conservation of momentum and energy, for example. That does not in any way supersede our understanding that one ball hit another and caused it to go flying off." The laws just describe the course of the causal interaction." It's a description complete in one way but partial in another, in the same way as a complete description of a person's actions without reference to their motivations..."
IV. God was taken out of science on the assumption of prescriptive laws of physics, with those Gone God should be welcomed back.
A. Order within Descriptive framework that allows for random event
There seems to halves of a single unified system; one side reflects order and organization and the other reflects uncertainty and random event. Order, regularity, cause, necessity all tuck away under the framework "descriptions" but it's celary a description fo a prescriptive principle. Yet there are elements o f unexplainable disorder such as Qm theory.
B. Implies a mind at work.
clear implication is that a mind is at work in the ordering principle; only a mind could keep up with the proper application of principles of order and principles of randomness. A mind would know to let go, so to speak, at certain points.
C. Science is human
the descriptions are not those of some sacred priesthood handing down truth from on high. Scientist are just humans trying to figure out what the observe, no different than philosophers, excepts philosophers are more free to play and speculate. Atheists abhor speculation but it's often what' needed.
This is reflected the analysis of Stephan Barr (In First Things)
"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 cause is that it is based on an elementary confusion. 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 existence. Hawking himself asked precisely the right question when he wrote 'even if there is only one possible unified theory is it just a set of rules and equations? What is it that breaths fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science constituting a mathematical model cannot answer the question of why there should be a universe for the model to describe.' That is decisive--crushing...." (in First Things)