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Guest intuition

What is Gravity?

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Guest intuition

It is said that Isaac Newton observed an apple falling from a tree and realized that some force must be acting on falling objects because otherwise they would not start moving from rest. Newton describes gravity mathematically in his law of universal gravitation, which states that every mass attracts every other mass in the universe, and the gravitational force between two bodies is proportional to the product of their masses, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

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Isaac Newton believed that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos. Newton is known to have said “Tis inconceivable that inanimate brute matter should (without the mediation of something else which is not material) operate upon & affect other matter without mutual contact.” [Newton to Bentley, 25 Feb 1693]

 Stephen Hawking states that “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”  [Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, 2010]

Gravity is a force. We can observe and describe this force. However, what “is” this force that occurs directly in front of us?

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1 hour ago, intuition said:

Isaac Newton believed that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos. Newton is known to have said “Tis inconceivable that inanimate brute matter should (without the mediation of something else which is not material) operate upon & affect other matter without mutual contact.” [Newton to Bentley, 25 Feb 1693]

 Stephen Hawking states that “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”  [Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, 2010]

Gravity is a force. We can observe and describe this force. However, what “is” this force that occurs directly in front of us?

I side with Newton and actually don't follow Hawking's reasoning: because there is gravity there is spontaneous creation?  It is not merely 'invoking God' i.e. the theistic God - rather it is the argument that David Bentley Hart presents in his book, God. I will try to find a quote and include it in a later post. 

If the "is" is a reference to God (not sure if that is your intention), I would ask if God is a force as gravity is a force. From my perspective, It is not.

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4 hours ago, thormas said:

I side with Newton and actually don't follow Hawking's reasoning: because there is gravity there is spontaneous creation?  It is not merely 'invoking God' i.e. the theistic God - rather it is the argument that David Bentley Hart presents in his book, God. I will try to find a quote and include it in a later post. 

If the "is" is a reference to God (not sure if that is your intention), I would ask if God is a force as gravity is a force. From my perspective, It is not.

I agree with your first statement. For your second comment, I would say, anthropomorphically, “I believe the force is the hand of God.” Having said that, I'm not sure I like attributing human form and attributes to God.

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1 hour ago, intuition said:

I agree with your first statement. For your second comment, I would say, anthropomorphically, “I believe the force is the hand of God.” Having said that, I'm not sure I like attributing human form and attributes to God.

Agreed. 

I have tried, and often failed, to move away from any anthropomorphism concerning God.

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8 hours ago, thormas said:

 Stephen Hawking states that...........

Always like Hawking though, will have to read more from/on him.

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Posted (edited)

A couple of things

I am not sure I followed Hawking's and Mlodinow's argument that God is not a necessary requirement for our universe. Hawking and presumably Mlodinow are proponents of a multiverse model and hence universes are popping into existence all the time. Of course there are critics of this and can be quite vociferous. Note Sabine does not let God theories off the hook either. Now Newtonian mechanics is wrong in the sense it is not accurate, ie Newton's laws do not explain the precession of Mercury. But of course Einstein's relativity does. But I seem to recall Einstein himself thought that relativity too will fall one day. And relativity and quantum mechanics are incompatible theories though they describe some aspects of reality really accurately.

Nowhere in The Grand Design do the authors state there is no God, only that it is an unnecessary addition to the theory (Similar to Sabine's position and I am reminded of Laplace's apocryphal rejoinder to Bonaparte "I have no need of that hypothesis.") Also, Newton's argument for God creating something out of nothing is an argument from incredulity … I don't understand how it could have possibly happened therefore God did it. 

Edited by romansh

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Guest intuition

I've been trying to figure out how to respond to your comments. I have to admit defeat, I don't know what to say, I can't disagree with what you say. When I look to the past I see this same conversation was alive and well as it is today; with people like us and great intellectuals debating the issue then as now. When I try to cognitively think through the issues myself, I get lost in the detail or overwhelmed by the five syllable words. However, when I meander through nature and take a picture of a flower with my macro lens, or a landscape with my wide angle lens, I get lost in the beauty. In the end, I always find myself thinking "I don't know." I wish I had the certainty of others (in both camps), but I don't. I seem to be able to think up the questions, but I can't seem to answer them. All I'm left with is to choose between opposing narratives and conflicting perspectives.

I think our experience boils down to the words of the 3rd century Rabbi Shemuel ben Nachmani, "We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” The corollary of which is "we believe what we want to believe." Until someone can go beyond the definition and explain to me what "1 ÷ 0" or "1÷ infinity" truly means, I'll just have to choose a narative that I want to believe. I think I'll choose a beautiful one.

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2 hours ago, intuition said:

... I'll just have to choose a narative that I want to believe. I think I'll choose a beautiful one.

You certainly could do a lot worse!  Sounds like a plan.

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Following is an interesting article from 'Brain Pickings" about Hawking's last book:

https://www.brainpickings.org/?s=hawking

Hawking's take on God, how most people think of God, is old time theism that has been long dismissed by many Christians and, probably, all progressive Christians. He states: "they mean a human-like being, with whom one can have a personal relationship." While that was the notion many grew up with, as did others for centuries, many, today, have moved from such a theistic to a more panentheistic understanding of God. David Bentley Hart in his book 'God', writes, "...(God) is not a 'being,' at least not in the way that a tree or a shoemaker is a being...Rather, all things that exist receive their being continuously from him...(God) is beyond being...(God) is being itself." Of Hawking, Hart writes, "it never crosses his mind that the question of creation might concern the very possibility of existence as such, not only of this universe but of all the laws and the physical conditions that produced it or that the concept of God might concern a reality not temporally prior to this or that world (universe), but logically and necessarily prior to all worlds, all laws, all events..." Prior, therefore, to the 3 necessary ingredients to 'cook up a universe.'
 
Hawking writes that there is "no possibility of a creator, because there is no time for a creator to have existed in" but even a modern day, progressive Christian or a Christian mystic, like Eckhart, does not think in terms of God 'needing time to exist.' Regardless, whether the universe had a beginning (Big Bang) or is eternal, without a beginning. God is the logical and ontological necessity that anything is at all. 
 
Most progressive Christians do not believe that God directs our fate - yet this is the god that Hawking argues against. Most of us grew out of this understanding ages ago. He also speaks of a heaven and an afterlife in terms that have been dismissed. The spiritual person can join Hawking, in saying that we are extremely grateful for life. We partake of Being, we have our being in God, in each moment. 
 
There is no proof, however the narrative we tell is beautiful. What we believe might not capture the fullness of God but it may indeed touch that Reality.
 
 

 

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5 hours ago, intuition said:

(snip)

I think our experience boils down to the words of the 3rd century Rabbi Shemuel ben Nachmani, "We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” The corollary of which is "we believe what we want to believe." Until someone can go beyond the definition and explain to me what "1 ÷ 0" or "1÷ infinity" truly means, I'll just have to choose a narative that I want to believe. I think I'll choose a beautiful one.

Intuition,

Well there is another alternative. You can just stick with the "i don't know'". It's quite a refreshing perspective to look from. Anyway, who needs a belief system? While having none is shocking to many, i would affirm that God showed me quite a while ago most clearly that i didn't need one. Such freedom and peace is not to be found elsewhere!

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, thormas said:

There is no proof, however the narrative we tell is beautiful. What we believe might not capture the fullness of God but it may indeed touch that Reality.

I read the 'Brain Pickings' article.  So, how would you restate, improve upon, my last statement that "I'll just have to choose a narrative that I want to believe. I think I'll choose a beautiful one"?

53 minutes ago, JosephM said:

Anyway, who needs a belief system?

I don't think I will ever get away from the "I don't know". In a world where we have to make decisions everyday, many of these decisions are made under the guise of knowledge, yet the decisions are still, in part, based on guestimations (estimates made without adequate information, the "I don't know" factor).  I don't think we can avoid having a belief system, our belief system happens by default whether we like it or not. Having said that, I would agree that freedom and peace is found when I can discover what I do (or can) know and what I do not (and cannot) know. The problem is that when it comes to the questions of cosmology and theology, the know and don't know becomes much fuzzier. In the 'Brain Pickings' article I saw a lot of inductive logic based on present theories that supposedly support Stephen Hawking's definitive answer to the eternal question; albeit a quite beautiful answer.

Edited by intuition

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Ignorance is bliss.  Not interested, thank you.

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10 minutes ago, Burl said:

Ignorance is bliss.  Not interested, thank you.

😂

“Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.” Thomas Gray (1742)

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31 minutes ago, intuition said:

I read the 'Brain Pickings' article.  So, how would you restate, improve upon, my last statement that "I'll just have to choose a narrative that I want to believe. I think I'll choose a beautiful one"?

The narrative is set: the Christian Story, is the one Christians grew up with. It has been 'updated and translated' from theistic to panentheistic concepts, but the geist remains. There only remains the ever present need to tell the narrative in a way that enables people of different times and different lands, to hear, understand - and decide if it 'speaks' to them. It is already beautiful, is it not?

39 minutes ago, intuition said:

I don't think I will ever get away from the "I don't know". In a world where we have to make decisions everyday, many of these decisions are made under the guise of knowledge, yet the decisions are still, in part, based on guestimations (estimates made without adequate information, the "I don't know" factor).  I don't think we can avoid having a belief system, our belief system happens by default whether we like it or not. Having said that, I would agree that freedom and peace is found when I can discover what I do (or can) know and what I do not (and cannot) know. The problem is that when it comes to the questions of cosmology and theology, the know and don't know becomes much fuzzier. In the 'Brain Pickings' article I saw a lot of inductive logic based on present theories that supposedly support Stephen Hawking's definitive answer to the eternal question; albeit a quite beautiful answer.

I agree, we don't know. The Christian narrative is a statement of belief (God in/with man, so man can be and have Life) that if accepted, calls and challenges one to be as God is and, to thereby, Live.

I also agree we can't avoid (a) belief (system). As Greeley, a sociologist, novelist, religious thinker and priest, said mythos is the flips side of ethos: what one believes influences/determines how one acts. Even Joseph's statement (above), that "God showed me quite a while ago most clearly that i didn't need one (a belief system)" is a belief. While, not mine, I respect that belief but I disagree that "freedom and peace is not to be found elsewhere." For some, it is found in a different belief.

I enjoyed Hawking's analogy of the hill and its reverse, the hole that was dug to create it. What is missed was that the soil, the land was 'there' and no one ever questioned that which must have been prior to any consideration of a hill or a hole.  Definitive answer?

 

 

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

It is already beautiful, is it not?

Yes.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

I enjoyed Hawking's analogy of the hill and its reverse, the hole that was dug to create it. What is missed was that the soil, the land was 'there' and no one ever questioned that which must have been prior to any consideration of a hill or a hole.  Definitive answer?

To me it is not definitive. To me the inductive logic does not disprove nor remove the necessity of a creator. It is an interesting narrative/analogy. Having said that, it is a much more believable narrative than the Hindu tortoise Akupara who carries the world on his back. 🙂

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5 minutes ago, intuition said:

the Hindu tortoise Akupara who carries the world on his back

Is the Hindu narrative meant to be taken literally?

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3 minutes ago, thormas said:

Is the Hindu narrative meant to be taken literally?

Yes.  Lettuce pray.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, intuition said:

Until someone can go beyond the definition and explain to me what "1 ÷ 0" or "1÷ infinity" truly means

Well it truly means we should not divide numbers by zero.

 

1=2: A Proof using Beginner Algebra

The Fallacious Proof:

 

5 hours ago, intuition said:

To me it is not definitive. To me the inductive logic does not disprove nor remove the necessity of a creator

There is no proof in the real world … if you are you have come to the wrong universe. Perhaps you are not convinced, that is fair enough. In the same way I am far convinced of the various notions of gods that have been proposed. I am far convinced that we (I) even need a notion of god.

 

Edited by romansh

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Guest intuition

 

20 hours ago, romansh said:

Well it truly means we should not divide numbers by zero.

duhhh!

20 hours ago, romansh said:

1=2: A Proof using Beginner Algebra

The Fallacious Proof:

How apropos.

The proof you quoted comes under the heading of “Classic Fallacies”. The line following Step 8 presents the challenge “See if you can figure out in which step the fallacy lies”. The answer, or fallacy, is in Step 8. The algebraic error is dividing by zero; i.e. 1 ÷ 0.

The fallacy is an example of when someone wittingly, or unwittingly, makes simple cognitive, logical, definitional .... or interpretive error. Magicians wittingly do this all the time through psychological misdirection (e.g. slight-of-hand), cognitive illusions (i.e. distort our perceptions by misdirecting) or mental forcing (i.e. verbal technique that gives an audience member an apparently free choice). In other words, one might say, your response and the fallacy you quoted is merely an example of my initial point. The point I was trying to make was that both "1 ÷ 0" and "1 ÷ infinity" are undefined, which I erroneously assumed was obvious. My example is inadequate, I was trying to keep my response brief and simple. I should have referred directly to the work of Kurt Gödel, who was a colleague and friend of Albert Einstein. What Gödel proved in his “Incompleteness Theorem” was that:

1)      If a (logical or axiomatic formal) system is consistent, it cannot be complete.

2)      The consistency of axioms cannot be proved within their own system.

Physics does not exist without mathematics. So, what are the consequences of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems for the foundations of physics? “Gödel’s incompleteness theorems are connected to unsolvable calculations in quantum physics …. Kurt Gödel demonstrated that some mathematical statements are undecidable; Alan Turing connected that proof to unresolvable algorithms in computer science.” (source: Paradox at the heart of mathematics makes physics problem unanswerable, Nature.com, 09 December 2015)

“In mathematics, no consistent system can prove its own consistency. Gödel, in effect, showed that there are “blind spots” in mathematics – unprovable truths. Does this fact tell us something deep about the difference between formal/algorithmical systems (e.g. computers) and human minds? What the Gödel result shows is that on the assumption that the system is consistent there will be “blind spots”. How plausible is it that our own belief system is consistent? Not at all. We all have inconsistent belief systems.” (source: these comments are taken from a presentation by Mark Colyvan, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. A link to his presentation is provided below)

So, I go back to the 3rd century Rabbi’s statement that "We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” We believe what we want to believe. We choose a belief system based on the world that we see, not the world that is. 

Burl provided the best response.

On 8/7/2019 at 9:39 AM, Burl said:

Ignorance is bliss.  Not interested, thank you.

 

Kurt Gödel & the Limits of Mathematics (September 2009):

 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Guest intuition said:

Physics does not exist without mathematics

I would strongly disagree here … without mathematics our descriptions of what we see as physics are weak. The cause and effect (that makes this universe unfold if indeed it is unfolding) is the same before mankind came into existence.

But I think we are in agreement here overall. Inductive logic that we use to investigate this universe does not provide proof. So the question becomes how do we act in this universe? By logic or beauty are two options? What causes us to choose either? Is logic beautiful and what are the underlying reasons for our answers?

Just some thoughts.

20 hours ago, Guest intuition said:

So, I go back to the 3rd century Rabbi’s statement that "We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” We believe what we want to believe. We choose a belief system based on the world that we see, not the world that is. 

I think your Rabbi is wrong here. 

Firstly I don't think we choose our beliefs … at least not in any formal-ish sense of the word choose. At least I don't. I find I have my beliefs. I can't help myself but as to approach things agnostically asking do things make sense. I did not choose to stop being deistically inclined; one day I found I could no longer sustain that belief.

So logically your rabbi should be far more agnostic than Jewish.

Edited by romansh

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