Don’t Take Away My Euler

One of the inherent problems I have with theism and any remotely connected form of deistic creationism is that it nullifies any mathematical and scientific progress made to date.

Accepting the hypothesis that a superior intelligence made the world as it is kind of defeats the purpose to there being science. It answers all the questions. It’s the everlasting “just because” answer to things. Hell, it’s the textbook Ken Lay defense.

Mathematics is a subject so finely in tune with nature it’s unreal. Equations are boiled down to bare bones simplicity. Even irrational constants, of infinite length, are supremely elegant since they turn up everywhere in the same, unadulterated form.

Accepting the hypothesis that a superior intelligence made the world as it is kind of defeats the purpose to there being science. It answers all the questions. It’s the everlasting “just because” answer to things. Hell, it’s the textbook Ken Lay defense.

Yet theists would denigrate all of this and take it for granted.

[fiddling with \LaTeX starts now]

e^{i\pi} = 1

This equation is immense. It deals with complex numbers, from the expansion:

e^{i\Theta} = cos{\Theta} + isin{\Theta}

It includes the concept of radians, which uses the timeless constant \pi and it equals unity! One! Numero Uno! How can you not be excited! It’s genius, since the value of the angle \pi is such that the cosine of it is 1 and the sine of it is 0. Show me someone who would take it for granted.

e^{i\pi} = 1

Show me someone who would take the Prime Spiral for granted. A serendipitous discovery, a Prime Spiral is a spiral pattern inside a grid-like distribution of integers, such as one you might make on square paper when you’re bored in a meeting.

Show me someone who would take Fermat’s Last Theorem for granted. Starting from the equation most people who’ve been to high school know off by heart:

a^2 = b^2 + c^2

Andrew Wiles managed to, after years of painstaking research, tie together multitude of concepts and conjectures to show that

a^n = b^n + c^n

is not true for n values over 2. Show me someone who would take his work for granted. I especially like the interesting concept of elliptic curves. To start off, find a decent graphing program (MacOSX includes a nifty one in Applications/Utilities called Grapher) and tell it to draw the following:

y^2 = x^3 + {\alpha}x + b

I ask of you to show me someone who would take all of this, all the work, all the beauty, all the history and civilisation and tears and sweat and bloodshed and say that it was all for granted. One such a person would be a theist, insistent upon the belief that there is an easy answer to everything and it lies in Faith. Even if it isn’t a creationist, a moderate theist would probably be inclined to believe in what Dawkins calls the ‘intelligent watchmaker’, who sets all the constants, all the formulae and after flicking the switch, retires. It belittles the work that’s put into the advancement of human knowledge, and by extension of civilisation.

Looking at one’s garden, one can admire the sheer complexity of the whole working of things and not need to heighten one’s sense of awe by believing there are fairies at the bottom of it. Faith diminishes the beauty in things. The Faithful like to talk about having the knowledge of being important in God’s plan. It’s allegedly spirit raising to lift oneself up onto such a high pedestal. It accounts for the beauty in Maths, they say.

I ask of you to show me someone who would take all of this, all the work, all the beauty, all the history and civilisation and tears and sweat and bloodshed and say that it was all for granted. One such a person would be a theist

It doesn’t. That gradual selection and evolution made the world the absolutely stunning place it is today makes it all the more wondrous and awe-inspiring. That one cannot account for the mysterious origin of the scientific constants does not mean that the answer lies in God. 600 years ago, people couldn’t account for anything else other than the knowledge that the Earth was flat. Look at where that got them. Science advances, explaining the beauty in beautiful terms.

Don’t tell me Maths is beautiful because God set the constants at one point in time (or absence thereof). Quite frankly, it’s insulting.

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One Response

  1. Nature is written in the language of math. Theorems and numbers are abstract entities isolated from the physical world. Did not Higgs discover this years before CERN?

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