God in Mathematics, interview with Vern Poythress

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God in Mathematics, interview with Vern Poythress

interviewed by Jerry Bowyer

Quote:BOWYER: Theistic foundations for probability?

POYTHRESS: Yeah. Where I go through the various attributes of God as manifested in the regularities involved in probability. So everybody depends on that.

BOWYER: So there has to be unity, but there also has to be diversity.

POYTHRESS: Yeah. Yeah.

BOWYER: And there also ‑‑ and symmetry. In other words, you throw a die, one-sixth probability is in symmetry with a one-sixth probability of getting two, which is in symmetry with a one-sixth probability, et cetera, et cetera. So you have unity, diversity, symmetry.

POYTHRESS: Yes. I'm saying everybody really secretly relies on God, but they won't admit it. And what happens is that the regularities, the lawful regularities of the entirety of probability theory and the entirety of its application in various realms in life depends on these lawful regularities. They're there, but the person who doesn't believe in God, says he doesn't believe in God, he still relies on those, but he thinks of those regularities as impersonal. So they're just there. They're kind of a cosmic mechanism. And you know, I argue that that really doesn't work because the features of the regularities include personal aspects.

BOWYER: What do you mean the features of the regularity include personal aspects?

POYTHRESS: Well, let's take the very simple one, that the heads will come up half the time, right? Well, that's already a statement about regularity. It's a general statement, and it's rational, and it's language-like. And those two features, rationality and language-likeness, are characteristic only of persons. What I think people often don't recognize is they think of the world -- because of the influence of materialistic philosophy -- they think of the world as matter in motion. Or even if they're dealing with human society ‑‑ it's regularities that have no further explanation other than they're just there.

But if you look at the character of what we expect the regularities to be, we expect them to be always the case. That's the feature of eternality: everywhere the case. That's the feature of everywhere present. It's characteristics of God. And everybody relies on that.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2021-01-24, 05:02 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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