# A Math Problem

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### #1 Dig4gold

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 07:36 AM

A math problem

Before you grab your calculators it isn't that kind of problem. It isn't a math "problem" it is a "math" problem. The problem is with math.

The insights from this thread come from a video by Dr. Jason Lisle who is an astrophysicist with a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a great speaker in my opinion. He interjects humor and never speaks down to his audience. The video is incredible and I would highly recommend it. It is lengthy but not boring at all. If at all possible watch the video, you wont regret it.

Where did math come from? Is there a secular explanation?

What is math? Math is the study of the relationships between numbers.

What are numbers? That sounds simple but it may be harder than expected. There are different answers but a good one is that numbers are a concept of quantity.

Numbers are abstract in nature and not physical. They exist in the mind.

Written numbers are not numbers but representations of numbers. Laws of math are conceptual, they exist in the mind.

Where did the laws of math come from? Did the laws of mathematics evolve?

They did not evolve because they do not change! You cannot explain math by evolution. When it comes to math everyone is a creationist.

Were laws of math created by people? We didn't create numbers, numbers existed before people did. The planets in the way they orbit the sun follow Kepler's law. But Kepler didn't make those laws - he discovered them. The mathematic formulas existed before people discovered them.

Laws of mathematics are conceptual, universal, invariant, exceptionless entites.

These facts are in harmony with the Creationist/Christian world view but present a problem with the naturalist/evolutionist world view.

To sum up, laws of mathematics exist in the mind. They are conceptual. The laws of mathematics existed before people. They are not the product of the human mind!

There was a mind before the human mind and I submit that it is the mind of God.

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### #2 Dig4gold

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 07:46 AM

If you really get hooked on fractals here is an upclose look:

### #3 greg

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 11:03 AM

Evolution certainly doesn't speak to how math was "made." Abiogenesis doesn't speak to how math was "made."

Certainly, it is compelling to believe that an omnipotent, timeless, eternal, and supernatural being created math, logic, and the behavior (loosely using that word) of chemistry and physics.

The thing about such a deity, is nothing is a problem for a deity. We remember "all things are possible with God." God can do the impossible.

In a world that has no God, you're right in that there is a problem for naturalist materialst atheists to find if/how these things came about. I don't think there's a problem outside of that. There is no reason to think it is not that case that Math has always been, according to this this universe. Logic has always been, according to this universe. I'm still curious about some of the Big Bang stuff. Again, that will be difficult to find, and It's hard for me to imagine a way for it to definitively prove.

### #4 Dig4gold

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 02:03 PM

Evolution certainly doesn't speak to how math was "made." Abiogenesis doesn't speak to how math was "made."

Certainly, it is compelling to believe that an omnipotent, timeless, eternal, and supernatural being created math, logic, and the behavior (loosely using that word) of chemistry and physics.

The thing about such a deity, is nothing is a problem for a deity. We remember "all things are possible with God." God can do the impossible.

In a world that has no God, you're right in that there is a problem for naturalist materialst atheists to find if/how these things came about. I don't think there's a problem outside of that. There is no reason to think it is not that case that Math has always been, according to this this universe. Logic has always been, according to this universe. I'm still curious about some of the Big Bang stuff. Again, that will be difficult to find, and It's hard for me to imagine a way for it to definitively prove.

Greg, I was kind of hoping for other alternatives if this view is not believed.

I understand your point; just as life did not arise from non-life (abiogenesis) math did not arise from a non-mind.

If math has always been then it would be eternal. Hmm, as a part of God's nature, i.e., His logic and wisdom, I can see your point there also.

Do you agree with the points that math exists in the mind and it existed before the human mind?

As an agnostic I am curious if this info is somewhat compelling to pull you into the direction of belief. Also, did you watch the video?

### #5 greg

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 04:47 PM

I think we might be speaking past each other.

As for the video, yes I watched it. I can't say I found it compelling.

at around 40 - evolution doesn't explain numbers, numbers don't evolve. This misunderstands what evolution is supposed to describe. Speaking on the larger view nat/mat/at - I suspect that they would suggest that there is a knowledge gap. Like I said before, invoking God can explain anything, even contradictions. Omnipotence can account for anything, even rocks that are a billion years old, having only existed a day, or a world that has recent creation and old creation.

The guy also says "universe always changes." I don't follow his comparison here. Seems like a strawman. The universe has some laws, it would seem. I certainly wouldn't expect math to change. I don't suspect discovered laws to change. I do suspect there could be more to the laws to find out. That's not an argument to the future as it's not definitive.

The fractal stuff and imaginary numbers I've picked up in my teens and have revisited numerous times since then.

It did cause a couple bits of thinking. Remember, these are just thoughts, not a deeply held conviction or an argument. Just thinking.

Math must not have been created. If it was created, it would be afflicted by sin.
Another line of thoughts has math as part of an impersonal god - a form of pantheism. God IN nature.
It is interesting that God can break the laws of physics making aged grapes out of water.

I don't think secular science has an answer beyond, "this is what is, and this is what (likely) has been and will (likely) be." It's not definitive as it's not testable. You cannot test eternity. Nevertheless you can run with what is known under current conditions and evidence as it is presented.

I think Teejay brings this stuff up a lot and I might start a new thread on the the idea of abstract concepts. I don't think they get in the way of naturalist materialists.

### #6 Dig4gold

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 01:18 PM

Greg, I'm glad it got you thinking even a little. I must say that I'm surprised that not more people are interested in this. It really got me going! Still, if the premises are correct that math is abstract and that it exists in the mind and that it existed before the human mind then there must be some other explanation for it other than God did it for the evolutionists. I have not heard any yet. And although this is an argument from lack of evidence I think it says something.

Did you see the second vid? I think I had a few flashbacks during it.

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 08:07 PM

Hi Dig, that is some really cool stuff...

http://evolutionfair...topic=5672&st=0

Awesome stuff.

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 08:10 PM

For some reason there wasn't a lot of participators back then either. I liked it.

### #9 ClarenceBoddicker

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:21 PM

This is really difficult from a philosophical standpoint because what would it even mean for math to exist or not exist?

What would it mean to say it "exists in the mind?"

If there were nobody who knew that 2+2=4 then 2 + 2 would no longer be equal to 4? To me, that's logically incoherent.

The "math" that exists in the mind is the knowledge of a mind that exists within a world governed by math. To me, saying the math of the world wouldn't exist without the math of the mind is like saying dirt wouldn't exist without shovels.

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### #10 Dig4gold

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:41 AM

This is really difficult from a philosophical standpoint because what would it even mean for math to exist or not exist?

What would it mean to say it "exists in the mind?"

If there were nobody who knew that 2+2=4 then 2 + 2 would no longer be equal to 4? To me, that's logically incoherent.

The "math" that exists in the mind is the knowledge of a mind that exists within a world governed by math. To me, saying the math of the world wouldn't exist without the math of the mind is like saying dirt wouldn't exist without shovels.

CB, if math did not exist then there would be no order and chaos would rule.
You are absolutely correct, two plus two will always equal four, it's not just a good idea, it's the law.
The point that math exists in the mind is interesting when you realize that it existed before the human mind existed. So which mind did it come from before the human mind?

### #11 greg

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 12:37 PM

It would seem that relations exist outside the mind.

I don't know that you would need a mind to have a Mathematic relationship.

Mathematics could be an impersonal "god" that always has been. It is not subject to sin or entropy. People can make mistakes with it, but it (itself) cannot be corrupted (as far as I know.)

### #12 ClarenceBoddicker

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 01:27 PM

CB, if math did not exist then there would be no order and chaos would rule.
You are absolutely correct, two plus two will always equal four, it's not just a good idea, it's the law.
The point that math exists in the mind is interesting when you realize that it existed before the human mind existed. So which mind did it come from before the human mind?

But my point is that math is not dependent upon minds as you keep claiming. You're equating the mind's ability to cope with a universe governed by mathematical rules, with those rules governing the universe.

Do not equate the mind's understanding of a rule with the actual rule. Little babies alegedly don't know if you cover something up that it still exists. Eventually their minds will learn this rule because it's a rule that governs the universe in which they exist. If that was not a rule of the universe, they wouldn't learn it. And if the universe had no rules, the mind would have no rules to learn. And if there were "no order" and chaos ruled, then the mind would have absolutely no ability to cope with this chaotic universe.

So I'm arguing that minds depend upon mathematics, not the other way around.

### #13 Dig4gold

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 02:02 PM

Well, Greg, CB, as I see it there only two options. Either there is a Mr. Mathematics, a really nice guy. You can really count on him. He's got it all, there nothing to add to him. Or there is a mind behind mathematics.

If we can say that in relation to us humans that it exists in our minds as an abstract concept then how could we say that it exists outside of the mind without us? And really if you take us of the equation does it really matter? It's like the question that asks if a tree falls in the forest when no one is around does it make a sound? The only correct answer to me is who cares.

We cannot place mathematics under the microscope, we cannot weigh it or see how far it stretches. It is a concept of the mind that the entire universe obeys as far as we know. A mystery for sure but I think it supports the mind of God in His creation.

### #14 ClarenceBoddicker

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 02:37 PM

Well, Greg, CB, as I see it there only two options. Either there is a Mr. Mathematics, a really nice guy. You can really count on him. He's got it all, there nothing to add to him. Or there is a mind behind mathematics.

There is no Mr. Mathematics, that's my whole point. There's just mathematics. And if there weren't mathematics, you would have something that's logically incoherent. Because mathematics is bound up in logic itself.

1 is a number. 0 is a number. If you have 1 of something, it exists, if you have 0 of something it doesn't exist. To discuss the idea of mathematics not existing, you have to propose a scenario where nonexistence no longer has any meaning.

If we can say that in relation to us humans that it exists in our minds as an abstract concept then how could we say that it exists outside of the mind without us?

By not equating the concept of a thing with the actual thing.

And really if you take us of the equation does it really matter? It's like the question that asks if a tree falls in the forest when no one is around does it make a sound? The only correct answer to me is who cares.

Yes, it would be impossible for us to test that math still exists without minds, since we wouldn't be left to see that it still exists.

But at least we could coherently describe a universe without minds. The moon would still orbit the earth, the planets would still orbit the sun. The sun would convert hydrogen through nuclear fusion, etc.

I don't think you can coherently describe a universe that no longer obeyed math.

So between the two, I think math is more fundamental to the universe than are minds.

### #15 Dig4gold

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 03:45 PM

CB: By not equating the concept of a thing with the actual thing.

That is part of the problem, math is not a "thing" it is a concept of the mind.
I appreciate all of the responses as I am grappling through this stuff.

### #16 Dig4gold

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 04:02 PM

Cool little video at this site:

http://www.opencultu...n_creation.html

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't get all of this.

### #17 Dig4gold

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 04:05 PM

An interesting thought from another site:

So we know that everything that is, is one. In some way or another everything in the whole universe is linked, it runs off the same codes that create music, gravity, speech, chemicals, light, frequencies, math etc. down to the structure of an atom to the structure of the whole universe it self. Our solar system is like clock work, all the planets rotate at certain speeds on their axis and around the sun in relation to how far they are from the sun and their mass (Conservation of angular momentum) we can find this also in tornados, cyclones, galaxies and the water the spirals down our drain.. These ratios are even the same found in music, the ratio and distances between notes of a MA7th chord is the same to that of that to the planets in our solar system. (Our solar system is humming at the sound of a major 7th chord), and the universe supposedly hums at the perfect pitch?
Our moods can change listening to music which is just vibrations in the air splitting the space around it to carry across the message it wish's to convey. These vibrational frequencies can be found in light and colour as well which can also shape our mood (green is calming, red is dangerous and fast), and across many factors which hold our universe together.
Anyway to the point, us humans have now figured out these codes and formulas and put meaning to them and understand them (to an extent), but where did they originate from? From where did they come from?
Did some higher being write them? Is it just a thing humans have made up to try and make sense of it all? Or have they just always existed?

http://www.ted.com/c...inate_from.html
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Posted 26 February 2014 - 04:36 PM

So between the two, I think math is more fundamental to the universe than are minds.

CB, seriously so rigid in your atheism that you refuse to appreciate how mathematical discoveries, like fractals, can provide a touchstone to a mind behind our minds so-to-speak?

Atheists talk with great bravado about how their atheism unshackles their minds to explore freely. However, when they're left standing there with a bagful of incoherence, they shrug their shoulders and say... It all just sorta happened

### #19 greg

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 05:23 PM

CB, seriously so rigid in your atheism that you refuse to appreciate how mathematical discoveries, like fractals, can provide a touchstone to a mind behind our minds so-to-speak?
Atheists talk with great bravado about how their atheism unshackles their minds to explore freely. However, when they're left standing there with a bagful of incoherence, they shrug their shoulders and say... It all just sorta happened

I don't think this commentary is really fair. It's largely speaking to the character and not the argument.
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### #20 gilbo12345

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 06:23 PM

I don't think this commentary is really fair. It's largely speaking to the character and not the argument.

I think it exposes the hypocrisy of atheism. Claim it allows one to think freely, instead its just a new colour of shackles

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