3 August 2010

Say again, science and religion have a joint role?

Via Shallit's blog, I just learned about a profound (for its naïveté) article published in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. I repost it below [the emphasis is mine].
Science, religion have a joint role
In recent months we’ve read some interesting articles in The Record regarding the important research currently underway at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo. Some of the world’s leading scientists are wrestling with a number of very big, profound questions, namely: Why is there anything? Why should there be anything? How and when did living cells first appear on our planet? What is the essential nature of life? What is the nature of — and relationship between — space and time? Did anything exist prior to the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago? Fascinating questions indeed.
Experts in the fields of mathematics, physics and related sciences are addressing these issues. I would like to suggest that the above questions are essentially metaphysical in nature, and that the research team should include a spiritual component. There is mystery here. I rather doubt that even Stephen Hawking can imagine, or describe, a perfectly straight line that continues forever; with no beginning and no ending. To do so would be to understand infinity, which is beyond the scope of our finite minds.
Ideally it would be great if science and good religion could work together, as partners, on these questions.
Paul Zacharias
 Huh, Mr Paul, have you ever opened a textbook in Relativity? Even worse, have you ever opened a schoolbook on mathematics that children learn in elementary school? Do you understand that in order to describe infinity or a straight line you don't need to have an infinite mind?

No, surely you haven't opened a textbook and surely you haven't understood what infinity means, otherwise you wouldn't be writing such stupidities. Or, perhaps, you have opened some books but failed to go past page 0 (which is often intentionally left blank), otherwise you wouldn't be saying such nonsense, not even if you were drunk.

I'm afraid that Mr Paul won't be hired by the Perimeter Institute as a consultant.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of arguments like: "Since you can only form concepts putting together pieces of concepts you already know, the fact that you have a concept of a god proves there is a god since how could you otherwise even think of it?"



What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant