Sunday, September 26, 2010

New podcast

Yes, Indeed, I'm starting another podcast! This one, however, will actually consist of podcasts with my own discussions. Please pray that I put diligent research into these podcasts, with a respect and humility before the truth. The topics discussed will include Apologetics, exhortations, and issues relevant to Christianity today.
Subsequently, the formerly "in christ alone" podcast name has been replaced with the title, "Lecture and Debate Feed"; this new podcast will be called, "in christ alone" as usual.

Currently, all the podcast contains is a test file and thus is quite empty! We shan't be disappointed, however, because as I blab, it will be filled!
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stephen Hawking's Latest Claims about the Universe

Stephen Hawking, a brilliant theoretical physicist/cosmologist has recently paired up with theoretical physicist/science writer Leonard Mlodinow to write "The Grand Design", a book about Hawking's (and possible Mlodinow's?) views on the universe. This book, according to many websites, has "reignited" the debate about God's existence! Well, to me, it hasn't been too noticeable, since I've pretty much had my head stuck in it the whole time! Regardless, I have seen the controversy it has caused.

First: I have not read the book. Therefore, making the proper assumption that one cannot speak much on a book unless they've read it, I will not say much. I have, however, read articles and reviews summing up the main message of the book. Does this mean I totally understand it? Nope! I do, however, seem to have picked up the same message that all of the reviewers of the book have as well, that including Roger Penrose.

There are only two ideas that I found quite surprising based on my analysis of the reviews and articles on the book, and I simply want to mention these and my thoughts.

1. "Philosophy is dead" -- A statement made on the first page of the book! I will resist the temptation to simply laugh at this (in agreement with Einstein, "the man of science is a poor philosopher"), and try to understand why he might have said this. After all, this is a man who is hundreds of times smarter than me and I can't be ignorant of the fact that he may mean something I do not understand.
Perhaps he meant something along the lines of, "Philosophical attempts to answer questions about the beginning of the universe have all fallen short, and are, in essence, unreliable." This seems to be more in line with what he said in the rest of the book. An Amazon reviewer in agreement with this statement said, "Philosophy is dead; long live (lowercase- P) philosophy!" Now, we live in a time where philosophers are invited to conferences concerning physics and cosmology because of the incredibly complex findings about the beginning of the universe. However, Hawking seems to believe that, ultimately, now that the randomness of quantum mechanics has been introduced and considered, we can no longer trust "Philosophy", but rather use modern science's assumptions to uncover the truth about the universe.

The problem here is that there seems to be no difference between "Philosophy", and "philosophy". "Philosophy" is made of the same "stuff" as "philosophy" (assumptions, logic, reason, etc). Modern science is completely filled with philosophical assumptions and philosophy in order to guide it. To claim that "Philosophy" is dead is to proclaim the death of "philosophy", which is a philosophical statement. Why ought we dismiss "Philosophy"? It seems to me that modern "Philosophy" has lead to existence of an external and non-physical cause of the universe as a logical deduction. When Hawking claims that philosophy is dead, does he mean that logic no longer has a place in determining the truth about the universe? If this is true, what better options do we have for determining truth? Scientific data? But, the thing is, scientific data is governed by philosophy. What, then, is there available for determining truth?

As a last point, it seems that Hawking assumes that God does not exist, to reason that philosophy is dead. For if God exists, how could philosophy be dead? God is inherently rational, should He exist, and God defines reality. Thus philosophy could never be dead if God existed. If God doesn't exist, philosophy is not necessarily alive, or at least epistemic rules are not morally binding. It seems that Hawking makes the assumption that God doesn't exist to come to the conclusion that we cannot trust "Philosophy" today, which seems to prove the existence of God.

2. The next claim is not old. I will be very simple about this. Hawking claims that
the universe essentially created itself in his new book. This idea is based on the fact that there is no singularity point, but rather there was a certain realm of energy and laws of physics, which equalized and thus produced material: our universe. This has nothing to do with the Kalam Cosmological Argument, however. You see, the universe, laws of physics, and space time fabric must exist in order for energy to exist and equalize. In order for a sequence of events to exist, a time dimension must be present. In order for energy to exist, physical laws that govern it must be present. Therefore, if physical laws exist and time exist, one cannot reason that the universe no longer needs an explanation, because they have assumed the universe to prove the universe! Can the universe create itself? Certainly not!

I hope I'll get to read this book sometime soon.... :-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Continuation of Lessons in Logic

Now that I've written posts on the Eight laws of sentential logic, I would like to continue on summarizing the things I've learned.

This Post will be about Logical Equivalencies. Subsequent posts will be about universally and existentially quantified statements.

Logical Equivalencies

Before one starts talking about so called "equivalencies", one must first define the word "equivalent". Since the words "Equivalent" and "equal" essentially carry the same "one-to one relational" meaning, one might infer that an equivalency is simply a statement which means the exact same things as that which is compared to it, only perhaps expressed in a different way. There are more distinct definitions of equivalencies and equals in mathematics, but for the sake of this post they will not be explored.

These Equivalencies will be expressed in symbolic Logic.

P    =   ¬¬P (P equals not not P)
P v P    =    P (A choice between P or P obviously is the same as "P")
P -> Q   =    ¬P v Q

(This one (^) is a little harder to grasp. It means, "P logically implies Q" is the same thing as "Either P is not true, or Q is true. For example, take this statement: "If I am a soccer player, I am an athlete." A saying equivalent to this is, "Either I am not a soccer player or I am an athlete." You really have to sit down and think about this for a while. Try applying the rule of Disjunctive Syllogism to this to test it:

The rule of Disjunctive Syllogism states that if (P v Q), and ¬P, then Q is true. The English version of this is: If it is true that either P or Q is true, and P is not true, then Q is true. Let us apply this to the soccer player/athlete statement.

It is either true that I am not a soccer player or I am an athlete. Logically symbolized, this statement is: (¬P v Q) Now if we add a "¬" to P, thus negating "¬P" and making it "¬¬P", then Disjunctive Syllogism says that, since "¬P" has been negated, "Q" must be true. So if it is not true that one is not an soccer player, then it logically implies that one is an athlete. (Q is true)

One more Equivalency:
P -> Q   =  ¬Q -> ¬P   (This, we learned because of modus tollens. If it is true that P is sufficient for Q to be true, then if Q is not true, P cannot be true)