Mathematics, More than Theology, Helps Us Know God
Classical theology begins with the premise that God is infinite, but how can humans possibly have knowledge of God when infinity is, by definition, beyond the bounds of human imagination?
Classical theology begins with the premise that God is infinite, but how can humans possibly have knowledge of God when infinity is by definition beyond the bounds of human imagination?
First Things columnist Stephen Webb takes up the issue of an infinite God, comparing the deity to a mathematical expression called Graham's number, a massively large number that approaches infinity (as much as one can), but still describes a real-world phenomenon (the number of dimensions inside a geometric shape known as a hypercube).
Webb argues that if God is infinite, as theologians insist, then mathematics may aid our understanding more than theology. That's a sentiment echoed by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, who explained during a Big Think interview that physics may be the literal mind of God:
"The goal of physics, we believe, is to find an equation perhaps no more than one inch long which will allow us to unify all the forces of nature and allow us to read the mind of God. And what is the key to that one-inch equation? Super symmetry, a symmetry that comes out of physics, not mathematics, and has shocked the world of mathematics. But you see, all this is pure mathematics and so the final resolution could be that God is a mathematician."
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Musican. Actor. Fashion Icon. Internet Visionary?
- David Bowie was well known as a rock star, but somehow his other interests and accomplishments remain obscure.
- In this 1999 interview, he explains why he knows the internet is more than just a tool and why it was destined to change the world.
- He launched his own internet service provider in 1998, BowieNet. It ceased operations in 2006.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."
- Scientists strive to earn credit from their peers, for grants from federal agencies, and so a lot of the decisions that they make are strategic in nature. They're encouraged to publish exciting new findings that demonstrate some new phenomenon that we have never seen before.
- This professional pressure can affect their decision-making — to get acclaim they may actually make science worse. That is, a scientist might commit fraud if he thinks he can get away with it or a scientist might rush a result out of the door even though it hasn't been completely verified in order to beat the competition.
- On top of the acclaim of their peers, scientists — with the increasing popularity of science journalism — are starting to be rewarded for doing things that the public is interested in. The good side of this is that the research is more likely to have a public impact, rather than be esoteric. The bad side? To make a "big splash" a scientist may push a study or article that doesn't exemplify good science.
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