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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Ettore Minguzzi: on 9/2/14 at 14:04pm UTC, wrote The interested reader may find the published version "Augustine of...

Lawrence B. Crowell: on 11/9/09 at 19:51pm UTC, wrote Thanks for the high score. Of course I came in at a 3.4 or so, so I did...

James Putnam: on 11/8/09 at 14:55pm UTC, wrote Dr. Crowell, I did read your essay. I do not agree with the approach....

Lawrence B. Crowell: on 11/8/09 at 13:30pm UTC, wrote If you read my essay you will see that it connects with quantum...

James Putnam: on 11/8/09 at 5:02am UTC, wrote Dr. Crowell, Quoting you: "Physical postulates describe a world system...

James Putnam: on 11/8/09 at 3:54am UTC, wrote St. Augustine addressed the problem of the existence of intelligence....

James Putnam: on 11/8/09 at 2:46am UTC, wrote Dr. Crowell, It was good that St. Augustine had no concept of the theory...

Lawrence B. Crowell: on 11/8/09 at 1:42am UTC, wrote Minguzzi's paper is meant to draw parallels between Augustines ideas about...


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FQXi FORUM
October 23, 2019

CATEGORY: What's Ultimately Possible in Physics? Essay Contest (2009) [back]
TOPIC: Can God find a place in physics? St. Augustine's philosophy meets general relativity by Ettore Minguzzi [refresh]
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Author Ettore Minguzzi wrote on Sep. 22, 2009 @ 12:08 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this speculative work I investigate whether God may find a place in theoretical physics. The comparison between some aspects of the nature of God, as deduced by the philosopher St.Augustine, and general relativity, suggests to identify God with a chronology violating region of spacetime. From this conclusion some physical suggestions can be drawn. Among them novel solutions to the homogeneity and entropy problems of cosmology.

Author Bio

Ettore Minguzzi is researcher of mathematical physics at the University of Florence, Italy. He has earned his PhD from Milano University in 2002. His main research interests are in general relativity and applied gauge theories. In the last years he has contributed to global Lorentzian geometry and causality theory in particular with the study of the "causal ladder of spacetimes". He is a member of SIGRAV "Societa Italiana di Relativita Generale e Fisica della Gravitazione", SEGRE "Spanish Society on Relativity and Gravitation", ISGRG "International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation" and FQXi.

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Helmut Hansen wrote on Sep. 22, 2009 @ 17:49 GMT
Dear Mr. Minguzzi,

I have read your essay .. at least in parts.

I thought it was good that you have faced up your cards on the table and that you have shown how you define God. But I think your solution is far from clear. I have also defined God and my solution is completely different from yours.

After your journey through modern physics, especially through the world of general relativity, you still believe in God as a supreme being acting from a chronology violating region. My lesson after this journey was very different: I could no longer believe in God as a being. Instead of that I was forced to consider God as an impersonal basis of all that exists.

Like you I defined God explicitly. I defined God as something invisible and omnipresent. Both attributes are classical theological properties. Both are described in the Holy Bible; invisibility ..Romans 1.20; omnipresence .. Psalm 139. After this definition I asked myself: How must the universe look like if the ultimate foundation of it is described just by these two attributes.

Finally I found that these two properties could perfectly be described as a specific set of physical conditions which the universe had to satisfy if it shall base upon a sphere, that is described as invisible and omnipresent at the same time. I am calling this set the Principle of Radical Non-Duality. The most important point is: There is even concrete evidence that our universe does really follow this principle.

If theological attributes like invisibility and omnipresence are explainable as the natural result of some specific physical conditions of our universe then it is simply impossible to provoke any longer the existence of a GOD. There is no gap left to introduce a supreme Being like a God into the universe.

H. Hansen

Author ... The Taming of the One.

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Sep. 23, 2009 @ 03:38 GMT
Dear Dr. Minguzzi,

Can you please provide the proof for theorem 3.4? I was reading your essay thinking that it is no different than Gott's ideas until you addressed the very same point. Now I am not a believer in CTCs (macroscopically they are unphysical in the range of the validity of the correspondence principle as I have shown myself, and at the quantum level they destroy quantum mechanics' coherence as noted by Boulware and Hawking, and have serious problems in defining the expectation values as pointed out by Jacobson), but the ideas are interesting. So St.Augustine was right in the framework of classical mechanics, but he could not have anticipated quantum mechanics which spoils the whole discussions because of unitarity violations.

My take on St.Augustine's ideas is that you can understand God as the timeless platonic world of math.

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Author Ettore Minguzzi wrote on Sep. 23, 2009 @ 13:06 GMT
Dear Prof. Moldoveanu,

thank you for the questions.

I have posted this same paper, including the proof of theorem 3.4, here: arXiv:0909.3876.

The proof is still rather sketchy, I plan to give an expanded version later.

I will keep informed the readers on any update. The simpler chronological case is covered by reference [19], while the mentioned proof of the...

view entire post


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Anonymous wrote on Sep. 23, 2009 @ 15:08 GMT
Hi!

I read your essay with great interest! I think it is the best essay in this contest so far in the sense that it pushes really speculative ideas but with great technical rigor. It also reminded me of Tipler's "Physics of Immortality", in spirit if not in letter.

Best,

Obi

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Ray Munroe wrote on Sep. 23, 2009 @ 17:52 GMT
Dear Ettore,

I attended three week-long Templeton Foundation seminars on Science and Religion back in ’97 and ’98, and taught the science part of a college-level Science and Religion course in Fall semester 1998. I think it is a good program, but I am more interested in its applications: Technology and Ethics.

St. Augustine’s point 4 is very relevant to your paper “The will of God is eternal.” Is this equivalent to the will of God being omni-temporal? If so, then General Relativity requirements (such as no speed greater than “c” and causality) would also expect the will of God to be omni-present. Thus, the will of God would be everywhere.

Does that include us, and not just an infinite chronology-violating class of CTC’s? We probably cannot disprove CTC’s until we have a complete Theory of Quantum Gravity, but they seem highly unlikely in flat Spacetime. If a class of CTC’s connects the beginning of time (the Big Bang or Genesis) with the end of time (Heat Death or the Apocalypse), would this have the chronology-violating effect you are describing, or would this simply record the History of our Universe?

Whether or not there are minor gods (def. 3.3), there are many Religions with many different views regarding God/ gods. Thus, even if Science could prove the existence of “a God”, we might not know the characteristics of that God, so we would still have multiple Religions vying for our hearts and minds.

In Chapter 4, are you trying to explain the homogeneity of the CMB radiation with the physical properties of a God or a CTC? Doesn’t “Let there be Light!” work just as well? We need physical explanations for physical phenomena – even if we don’t fully understand them.

Good Luck!

Ray Munroe, author of A Geometrical Approach Towards a TOE

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Sep. 24, 2009 @ 05:12 GMT
Dear Dr. Minguzzi,

Thank you for your archive reference. I am not sure why I did not notice your paper there this Monday, because every Monday I read all the prior weak papers. Anyway, I will carefully read your proof.

About CTCs, probably the best intuitive argument against them was found by Boulware who noted that a particle can get generated at one point in space-time, travels...

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Sep. 24, 2009 @ 09:52 GMT
Hi Dr. Minguzzi,

A pleasure to read your essay contest .

Congratulations and good luck ,

sincerely

Steve

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Ray Munroe wrote on Sep. 24, 2009 @ 17:31 GMT
Dear Ettore,

If you can connect the end-of-time Heat Death with the beginning-of-time Big Bang via a CTC (if they even exist!), then you might be able to explain the isothermal homogeneity of the CMB radiation with a physical theory. Mixing God in the picture complicates things unnecessarily (which goes contrary to Occam's razor) because 1) you haven't explained this physical phenomenon any better by appealing to expected characteristics of God, 2) you probably haven't changed anyone's Religious persuasion with your presentation, and 3) now you need to explain the added complexity associated with the God Hypothesis.

There are other, more acceptable, physical ways to explain the isothermal homogeneity of the CMB radiation (I have ideas that tie into my multi-dimensional lattice theory). But remember that one of the complications is that we must simultaneously explain why matter clumped. If all matter was perfectly homogeneous, then an infinite (or near-infinite) Universe could not have formed clusters, galaxies, stars or planets because the net gravitational force on any infinitesimal volume element of space would have been zero.

Sincerely, Ray Munroe

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Sep. 24, 2009 @ 19:10 GMT
Dear Uncle Al ,

Nietszche too said ,God is dead ...and the superhuman was born ....

And Jung ????

Sodom and Gommoreh ...and Babilon the sad and the sin city ,the sister of Las Vegas .

In all writings ,sacred writings ,only one thing is important ,the love ,this universal love .And that's all in fact .

We see only with our heart ,the essential is invisible for our eyes .

Let's pray thus in sincerity for this planet and let's act in total universality and its laws of evolution .

Let's look above us before acting and even in our mind before thinking ,

And if we had given instead of exchanging .....the evolution always ...

Regards

Steve

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Author Ettore Minguzzi wrote on Sep. 29, 2009 @ 15:56 GMT
Dear Obi and Steve, many thanks for the congratulations. I happy to know that you enjoied the essay.

Dear Florin, thanks for the comments and suggestions, I will read your essay.

Dear Ray,

please understand that the aim of my work is not that of supporting a scientific reading of the sacred texts. This attitude has often lead to incorrect conclusions. Instead my aims are:

a) to draw a connection between two products of logical structured thinking,

namely St. Augustine thought on time and general relativity.

b) To show how a particular cosmological model that happens to be compatible with St. Augustine thinking and general relativity seems to be able to solve the homogeneity and entropy problems.

In particular it makes sense to ask if anything like (a) holds, as St. Agustine thought on time and general relativity represent the most important reflections on time of antiquity and modernity respectively.

In your second post you state that

"

1) you haven't explained this physical phenomenon [homogeneity of CMB] any better by appealing to expected characteristics of God,

2) you probably haven't changed anyone's Religious persuasion with your presentation, and

3) now you need to explain the added complexity associated with the God Hypothesis.

"

As I explained (2) is not between the aims of this work.

Concerning (1) and (3), I clearly separated the God of the first part with that of the second, which is simply a chronology violanting region that preceds the whole Universe. All my scientific considerations depend on the latter concept. Thus handling the concept of "chronology violanting region that preceds the whole Universe" does not bring in any particular complication apart from those of technical nature.

Best wishes,

Ettore

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Oct. 4, 2009 @ 22:59 GMT
This is a pretty interesting article. However I think the chronology violating region, which is identified as God here, is really no different from a singularity. There is a potential function associated with the TN spacetime. A geodesic in this spacetime is one where

p^2 – U_0^2 + c(E – pe^{-2β}) = 0

where β is the generator of the time dependent conformal factor and c is a complicated function from the Ricci curvature. This potential is a barrier to certain types of geodesic in the region where light cones are pointing horizontal. I attach a modified version of your diagram 1. The red geodesics are to low in energy to escape to the top region and they wind up and then retreat to the bottom again. This particle has scattered off the potential. The blue geodesic will wind up and asymptotically approach the closed lightlight region. The green geodesic, which is spacelike in this bottom region will escape the barrier. This is curiously a bit like the inverse of falling through the event horizon of a black hole.

The question comes to mind what this means quantum mechanically. This spacetime is close to being a CTC spacetime, but really what we have are closed lightlike curves. The bottom region we may regard as the domain of chaos, and we the observers live in the top region and detect radiation which emanates from the closed lightlike curve. The propagator for a quantum field will be of the form 1/p^2 + m^2, where the p^2 is computed above. The field propagator has a topology associated with it as it wraps around a region with a component parallel to the closed light like curve. This topology defines lightlike curves which pile up near the closed region. This will pertain to vacuum modes as much as real photons. This is where things become problematic, for this appears to then be similar to the inner horizon of the Kerr-Neumann solution that is an infinite “flash.” In other words the closed lightlike region appears to be a singularity.

Cheers LC

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Oct. 5, 2009 @ 01:59 GMT
I forgot to put on the attachment for my post above

attachments: TN_space.GIF

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Author Ettore Minguzzi wrote on Oct. 10, 2009 @ 12:59 GMT
Dear Lawrence,

thank you very much for the question. You argument that a photon traveling near the boundary would pile up his energies to give an infinite stress energy tensor at the boundary (let us call it a singularity) is more or less Hawking's main argument in favor of the chronology protection. The references at the end of my paper discuss this problem at length and the conclusion is that this mechanism does not always work so it cannot imply that CTC do not exist. The reason is more or less the following: first at the classical level there are solutions with well behaved stress energy tensor at the boundary thus any argument should be perturbative and probably quantum mechanical in nature. The problem is that if you work in a semi-classical framework, as Hawking did, treating a perturbation (say a photon) that moves on a fixed background you are making an incorrect assumption. The reason is that the spacetime geometry near the boundary is very sensible to perturbations and reacts accordingly. For instance if you slightly close the cones near the boundary you will see (look at the figure in my work) that the boundary moves down, if instead you open slightly the cones you will see that it moves up. In other words the semi-classical approach is untaenable because the assumption that you have a background which is almost insensible to perturbations is incorrect. How is it possible to make a perturbative argument near the boundary if it is not even clear where the boundary itself is located? One would need a non semi-classical approach, indeed some authors have claimed that a full theory of quantum gravity would be required (see Gott paper).

Nevertheless, even in the case that a singularity form, I have argued that the important fact in order to solve the inhomogeneity and entropy problems (and also for the connection with St. Augustine thoughts on time and creation) is that the causal structure (not necessarily the metric structure) leading to CTC proposed in my work makes sense. This is possible if the singularity at the boundary is a so called isotropic singularity, namely a singularity which can be removed by a conformal transformation. Similar ideas have been used by Penrose in his cyclic universe that he conceive to explain the entropy problem, and a mathematical study can be found in Lubbe and Tod's paper.



Thank you again for the question.

Cheers, Ettore

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Author Ettore Minguzzi wrote on Oct. 10, 2009 @ 13:05 GMT
For those who are interested in the details of the paper, I have now replaced the version at arXiv:0909.3876 adding two appendices, one with a treatment of the boundary of the chronology violating region and the other with the proof of theorem 3.4 (now clearer thanks to the first appendix).

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Oct. 11, 2009 @ 12:43 GMT
Thanks for your response. I will have to look these references up. I have never worked with the TN vacuum solution in any serious way, so I am not an expert on this subject. So it appears you argue in effect that we really need to quantize the entire spacetime, such as in a Wheeler DeWitt equation.

The TN spacetime has two regions, one chronal and the other nonchronal, with a closed lightlike region separating them. This is similar in feature to a Cauchy horizon, such as the inner horizon of a Kerr-Neumann solution. Of course in that case the causal directions are reversed, where the future direction of the causal region takes one onto the horizon, where as with the TN spacetime the past direction takes one to this horizon. From a physical perspective I would argue that this structure determine a quantum amplitude for the production of quantum fields in the causal region. The noncausal region may then not exist in the same manner as the causal region. This region, a sort of twilight zone space similar to the inner timelike region of the Kerr solution, may then be a sort of mathematical construction. That mathematical construction is something connected to the causal region which determines quantum amplitudes for the production of quantum fields.

The particles which can traverse the closed lightlike boundary from the nonchronal region to the chronal region are locally tachyons. The imaginary four momenta of such quanta suggest they are similar to the condition for particles in a potential barrier with

k = (ħ/2m)sqrt{E – V}

which is imaginary valued in the potential barrier region. Of course the potential function for the TN vacuum is a bit more complex than this, but I am making a physical argument here rather than one based on mathematics.

There might be in greater generality some holographic content here. If I were to observer far enough back in time in the chronal region of the spacetime I will observe strings near the lightlike boundary far redshifted according to the coordinates integrated in that spacetime. Another observer, assuming one can exist, which emerges from the nonchronal region observes a completely different dynamics. So there are two descriptions of string according to different causal domains of support for the S-matrix. It would have to be determined it if makes sense to have an S-matrix on a noncausal domain.

Cheers LC

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amrit wrote on Oct. 14, 2009 @ 18:24 GMT
Dear Ettore

God cannot find place in physics.

When we wake up observer in physics god is out of discussion.

yours amrit

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James Putnam wrote on Oct. 16, 2009 @ 01:53 GMT
Dear Dr. Minguzzi,

Your willingness to consider the conclusions of intellects such as St. Augustine is valuable to science. His input is valuable and should be included along with physicists such as Hawkins. Hawkins is more mathematical in his arguments, but Hawkins speculates about possible, theoretical, mechanical type effects. This universe requires far more than talk about space or time or sources of cause that might be imagined to exist at the mechanical or unintelligent structural level. Any theoretical physicist or anyone else puting themselves forward as an authority on the nature of this universe that gave birth to intelligent life must include support for their argument.

I would have gone beyond Confessions and included Concerning The Teacher. This second book lays out the logical case for the necessary pre-existence of intelligence before intelligent life could be possible. Whether that intelligence is called God or simply the original cause of all lesser intelligence that follows is not the crucial point. The crucial point is that there is no way to avoid postulating the pre-exiswtence of intelligence by science. Any challenge to this must include an explanation of the evolution of intelligence from dumbness. Grand pronouncements to the contrary without explanation count for nothing.

James

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William Wharton wrote on Oct. 31, 2009 @ 21:43 GMT
You have a very nice summary of St. Augustine's argument that God created time along with the creation of the Universe. I have a problem with your point 4: If God's will is eternal then that makes God static. We as Christians believe in a personal God who responds to things happening in the universe. A personal God can not be completely static. There is somewhat of a paradox here, because a personal God can not be completely omniscient either. Maybe God limits his knowledge of the future and at the same time directs the future to a specific outcome.

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Author Ettore Minguzzi wrote on Nov. 1, 2009 @ 16:05 GMT
Dear William,

thank you for the question that has also been raised by some colleagues. There seems to be a difficulty in reconciling the God's eternal will with the supposed ability of God to respond to things happening in the universe. My model does not assume the latter property (but God precedes the whole Universe so in principle he controls the initial conditions and hence the subsequent

development) indeed in my work I did not try to reproduce the whole body of beliefs on God's nature that can be found in Christianity or in other religions. Nevertheless St. Augustine thought on time and creation is reproduced, and this seems interesting because his conclusions on these matters are deductive in nature and well separated from other more arbitrary assumptions that can be found for instance in the Genesis (such as: God created the Sun and the Moon on the fourth day).

Your example shows that some religious beliefs seem paradoxical and a theologian would be more qualified than me to answer questions on the consistency of the beliefs which underpin a religion. My point is that at least the deductions of St. Augustine discussed in my paper are not contradictory. Hopefully my paper adds something on our understanding of the nature of God, of course you should not expect it to reproduce the body of beliefs that revolve around the concept of God. Consider the concept of

"energy". People use this word in several sloppy ways, sometimes indicating a force, or even a momentum. Physics has helped us to distinguish between these different aspects which stay behind the intuitive word "energy". Thus maybe my paper clarifies what "God" could be at least for what concerns the aspects of time and creation. The other aspects seems not to be covered by the technical

notion I have introduced.

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Nov. 1, 2009 @ 23:52 GMT
God as an explanation for things runs into the problem of

infnity - infinity = reality,

where this infinity is not something taken according to a limit or some analytical means.

Cheers LC

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 4, 2009 @ 18:21 GMT
Dear Dr. Crowell,

How do you arrive at this equation? Are you saying that the created is in addition to, added onto, and independent of its Creator? How is that possible? How does reality exist outside of infinity? What is your scientific basis for attributing the 'property?' of infinity to a Creator? Perhaps you might explain: What is the cause of the universe? What is the nature, not name, of any fundamental cause? And: What is the scientific explanation for the origin of intelligence? Can dumbness give rise intelligence? Is there empirical evidence for such a phenomenon?

James

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Nov. 4, 2009 @ 21:36 GMT
I am not a theologeon, but as I see it God is sort of the infinite unknown or unknowable. Even the Bible references that. Job is told "where were you when I laid the foundations...?" to signify that specific answers are not available about God. Paul makes reference to that in Hebrews "Faith is the evidence of things unseen ..." So theological ideas are not effective in science, which is about the evidence of things seen.

The "cause" of the universe is some quantum fluctuation. The nothingness is a vacuum that is unstable. Of course this might not be exactly a philosopher's idea of nothing, but it is good enough. The universe is then a map from one form of nothingess, this vacuum configuration, to another that is an Minkowski spacetime or void. In conformal geometry everything else in between in this map, or time evolution, is also in fact nothing. This is not exactly how I see things to be honest, but it is somewhat close.

Cheers LC

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 5, 2009 @ 01:22 GMT
Dear Dr. Crowell,

Thank you for your reply. Quotes from the Bible may or may not have relevance. I was asking about scientific explanations. Science for us is limited to what empirical evidence tells us. It is the case for theoretical scientists that scientific answers are not limited as such. For theoretical physicists, imagination is important because it can be applied in the form of names and ideas to otherwise unknown properties.

"The "cause" of the universe is some quantum fluctuation. The nothingness is a vacuum that is unstable. Of course this might not be exactly a philosopher's idea of nothing, but it is good enough. The universe is then a map from one form of nothingess, this vacuum configuration, to another that is an Minkowski spacetime or void. In conformal geometry everything else in between in this map, or time evolution, is also in fact nothing."

The cause of the universe is not some quantum fluctuation of 'energy?'. At least it isn't until physicists can explain what is energy other than a mechanical type idea applied to mechanical type theory. What is energy? Is there even a thimble full of energy held somewhere in a labratory so that we may witness its substance? Is energy the real God? Then perhaps 'energy' theory can give at least a clue to the origin of intelligence?

Re-quoting: "The universe is then a map from one form of nothingess, this vacuum configuration, to another that is an Minkowski spacetime or void."

What is the official definition of 'nothingness'? Minkowski spacetime is only of use to theorists. We have never been able to contain any portion of either space or time. There is nothing, (or is there?), upon which we can experiment that would tell us anything about fundamental properties of either space or time. There is only evidence about how objects move and sometimes change? How does this evidence tell us anything about life and intelligence?

Can dumbness morph into intelligence? There is no point in pushing atheism until there are better and more relevant answers offered than: The vacuum, (nothing?), fluctuated? Or: A ,(force?), caused that effect? Or: That Minkowski or Einstein gave us anything more than theory that fit, in the manner that they made it fit, the patterns observed in empirical data?

My point is this: Neither you nor I can define a Creator. Neither you nor I can explain the origin of intelligence. There is no equation that can capture the essence of either of these (except perhaps new work such as Dr. Klingman's).

The Bible is not the basis of my questions. I think that pronouncements about the origin of the universe, life, and intelligence are philosophical choices. So long as those pronouncements are put forward as personal opinions, there is no problem. When they are put forward as scientific knowledge, then they need to be challenged for authenticity.

James

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Nov. 5, 2009 @ 21:20 GMT
My point is not atheism. It is that God is a category, or a set of attributes, which by their basic definition are not amenable to scientific study. This essay by Minguzzi draws some parallels between Augustine's ideas about time or timelessnes with the Taub-NUT spacetime. It really only goes that far, but it does not prove the existence of God per se.

Cheers LC

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 6, 2009 @ 01:36 GMT
Dr. Crowell,

Actually there are properties that might lead one to believe in God, other than the testimonies of disciples. They are the most important properties of the universe, life and intelligence. Physics, at this present time, does not officially, as far as I know, have anything of importance to add to the investigation of intelligent life. I have noticed that you take opportunities to challenge theism, but I have not noticed a willingness on your part to challenge atheism. If you are not promoting atheism, then I have misjudged you.

However, if there is anyone out there who believes that atheism is bolstered by empirical evidence or theoretical science, then I would be interested in hearing their arguments. As someone, i.e. myself, who does not have a religion, but, also someone who recognizes that atheism has nothing to support its view other than a mechanical ideology that has been artificially pressed upon theoretical physics, I look forward to conversations with those who would claim physics evidence as demonstrating that a Creator is unnecessary to explain the existence of physicists and all other intelligent life.

Although I do not personally know the ultimate final answer to the origin of the universe, it does seem clear to me that up to this point atheism is the silliest, certainly not scientific, answer. Any evidence of intelligence requires the pre-existence of an intelligent source. Saint Augustine demonstrated that as a fact.

James

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Nov. 6, 2009 @ 18:10 GMT
Theism as a route to explaining the natural world amounts to saying there are supernatural processes, call it magic maybe, involved with things. So it means there are fundamental barriers to certain questions imposed by supernatural interventions. This is not really a statement of atheism, but it does mean that theism is not an effective approach in scientific research.

Cheers LC

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 6, 2009 @ 20:11 GMT
Dr. Crowell,

Theism is no more supernatural than is theoretical physics. To say that theism is supernatural while theoretical causes of changes of velocity are natural is purely opinion. They both rely upon unknown cause or causes. However, theism has the advantage of relying upon natural properties for its beliefs. They are the real properties of life and intelligence.

The theoretical properties of theoretical physics are unnatural, by definition, until they can be proven. What is electric charge? What train of cause and effect of any of the mechanical type causes of theoretical physics can demonstrate a credible linkage between the fundamental properties of the universe and human free will?

We do not know what cause is. Is it your position that we do know what cause is? What would be an example of an explanation of the nature of a cause? Obviously I ask for more than its name and effects. Is there a logical connection between such an example and the evolution of intelligent life? What about intelligence? What is its cause? Such a cause must already be a primary part of any natural explanation of the nature of the universe.

James

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Nov. 6, 2009 @ 22:17 GMT
From a scientific perspective I don't know what the nature of consciousness is. I am not a neurophysiologist.

Religious explanations of things do tend to rely on the supernatural, such as water into wine, or God said, "Let there be light."

Cheers LC

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 6, 2009 @ 22:34 GMT
Dr.Crowell,

I have not introduced any religious explanations, you did. I keep trying to keep my remarks based in empirical science. However, let's venture into the turbulent difficulties of religious belief. You quoted: "God said let there be light." If you rely upon the Hebrew word instead of the English word you will find that that word 'light' is all inclusive. It refers to physical light, awareness, understanding, intelligence, everything that is more properly represented by the word English word 'illumination'. In other words, it is illumination in its fullest sense.

James

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Nov. 7, 2009 @ 14:35 GMT
There are a number of Hebrew words for light, of which some do mean the same as a general meaning "illumination." What you are talking about is more of a metaphysical "beingness," which is the same as Hawking's question on why to the equations "fly." This is an interesting thing to think about, but honestly I think they fall outside the domain of science. There are not likely to be empirical supports for any conjecture along these lines.

Cheers LC

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 7, 2009 @ 18:01 GMT
DR. Crowell,

I know you are correct about that. My intention was not to claim legitimacy for religious beliefs, but rather to suggest that the fundamental causes put forward by theoretical physicists are no more proven natural than are some other types of beliefs. I think the word natural is often used to exhalt theoretical, mechanical type ideas about fundamental cause above the clearly natural properties of information and intelligence. I do not think that those who believe in the reality of mechanical type causes should be left free to claim the word natural as applying solely to their belief system. I say that information and intelligence are the natural, first principles of the nature of the universe. Everything else results from the natural application of these two properties.

James

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 7, 2009 @ 23:47 GMT
I have been conversing with Dr. Crowell here in Dr. Minguzzi's forum. I had already read Dr. Minguzzi's essay earlier and rated it a 10. My exchanges with Dr. Crowell were intended to bolster the writings of St. Augustine and their application to physics theory. ST. Augustine was no fool. He was a superior intellect. He was Christian and he did promote the Christian faith. However, for the purposes of theoretical physics, I want to point out that he was the one, perhaps not the first, but the one who's writings still exist where he logically establishes that the pre-existence of intelligence is required in order for human's to understand anything at all.

His position was that everything that we could possibly learn was due to our internal source of intelligence that already contained everything that we would ever learn. He credited the internal aspect of Christ with giving us that knowledge. I will not go that far for scientific reasons and because I do not have a religion. What I will point out is that: Whatever anyone wishes to credit our intelligence with, empirical evidence establishes that we do already contain all understanding necessary to make sense of all information we receive from the outside world. St. Augustine's argument in favor of this is found in his book 'Concerning The Teacher'. My apologies to Dr. Minguzzi if I have improperly used his forum to argue this case.

James

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Nov. 8, 2009 @ 01:42 GMT
Minguzzi's paper is meant to draw parallels between Augustines ideas about time, of which he had several (a potter's wheel count time etc). The article is interesting, though it is clear that Augustine had no concept of relativity or spacetime physics. He was educated in his day by Aristotelian philosophy, which he applied to the theology of Christianity. He was also guided by a sense of the fragility of world, as the ancient world was collapsing around him.

However, I pretty adamantly think that theological notions are outside the thinking of science. Further, to equate postulates of physics, or what might be called physical axioms, with theology is post-modernism. Physical postulates describe a world system that results in repeated or consistent observations. Theological statements of faith don't fill that role.

Cheers LC

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 8, 2009 @ 02:46 GMT
Dr. Crowell,

It was good that St. Augustine had no concept of the theory of relativity or spacetime physics. That would have made him susceptible to the errors of modern theoretical physics. Rather he was clear thinking in establishing the priority of the real property of intelligence. Information and intelligence are the prime ingredients of the nature of the universe. These properties are not theological notions. Perhaps I should ask first: Do you think they are theological notions?

James

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 8, 2009 @ 03:54 GMT
St. Augustine addressed the problem of the existence of intelligence. Modern theoretical physics has nothing to say about the same. Any theory put forward about the nature of the universe must address the existence of intelligence. Any theory that does not do this is merely a theory of mechanical convenience.

James

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 8, 2009 @ 05:02 GMT
Dr. Crowell,

Quoting you: "Physical postulates describe a world system that results in repeated or consistent observations. Theological statements of faith don't fill that role."

Actually the physical postulates of theoretical physics describe a robot world that results in repeated or consistent observations of imaginary mechanical type causes and real mechanical type effects. I do not make theological statements of faith. You are playing the wrong game with me. I make statements about the existence of information and intelligence. I have seen nothing that you have said that addresses anything to do with properties the universe that give rise to intelligent life. If you think that the causes of these properties are known, then please at least name them so that we may discuss them.

James

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Nov. 8, 2009 @ 13:30 GMT
If you read my essay you will see that it connects with quantum information. As for consciousness or intelligence, I am not prepared to make any declaration about that from a physics perspective. These faculties do appear to be involved with the brain and its physiological or biological basis. I am aware of, but no expert on, studies of brain dynamics which cast pretty serious doubts on the deux ex machine or ghost in the machine idea.

I am not making any strict atheistic statement here in line with Dawkins and others. Yet, I do think that theological ideas and science are largely separate, maybe analogous to the separation of churck and state idea. I think too much of an overlap results in corruption of both science and religion,

Cheers LC

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James Putnam wrote on Nov. 8, 2009 @ 14:55 GMT
Dr. Crowell,

I did read your essay. I do not agree with the approach. However, I do recognize that your work represents advanced theory. Your skills are high and to be respected. I gave you a 10 for sharing what you know and think at such a high level. You essay entry was an important contribution to the quality of this contest.

James

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Nov. 9, 2009 @ 19:51 GMT
Thanks for the high score. Of course I came in at a 3.4 or so, so I did not enter the winner circle. Minguzzi's paper was pretty good as well. I can't remember what score I gave yours, which was a month ago or so.

Cleers LC

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Author Ettore Minguzzi wrote on Sep. 2, 2014 @ 14:04 GMT
The interested reader may find the published version

"Augustine of Hippo's philosophy of time meets general relativity"

here

Kronoscope 14, 71-89 (2014)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/15685241-12341292

arXiv:0909.
3876v3

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