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vol 6: Essays

Table of contents

Introduction
The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics revisited (September 2014)
On modelling the world (November 2010)
Why do we observe a quantized Universe? (August 2009)
Religion and survival (December 2008)
The Church that stole God (June 2008)
On the (non-) quantization of gravitation (June 2008)
Physical theology (December 2006)
An essay on physical theology (October 2002)
How much freedom should we trade for our security (August 2002)
On representation of the Word (February 2000)
Is the Universe Divine (December 1999)
On evolutionary Pneumatology (November 1999)
On visible salvation (October 1999)

The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics revisited (September 2014)

Wigner wondered at the amazing utility of mathematics in the physical sciences. Here we treat this observation as a datum in our bid to understand our world. The ancients surmised that God is pure unstructured action. Mathematical fixed point theory suggests that such an entity would have fixed points which we can identify with the fixed points in the observed Universe. So we propose a 'symmetry with respect to complexity' which can carry us to the simple fixed points of physics to the fixed points of the mathematical community, which we identify with the mathematical literature. It may not be suprising that these two sets of fixed point bear considerable resemblance to one another. back

On modelling the world (November 2010)

The intellectual foundation for the ancient dichotomy between God and the World is based on models of God and the World which are incompatible. Here we explore the idea that God and the World are identical be developing one model that embraces them both. back

Why do we observe a quantized Universe? (August 2009)

For a long time, people thought the Universe was continuous. The advent of quantum mechanics opened our eyes to the fact that this is not so. Everything we experience is quantized, individual trees, people, events and so on. Why? The mathematical theory of communication tells us that messages must be quantized to avoid error. This suggests that the Universe appears quantized because all our experiences are messages from the Universe. back

Religion and survival (December 2008)

The Roman Catholic Church is a mystery religion. It proclaims that the ways of God are invisible to us. We can only know what God wants through the Church. The Church itself has a very tenuous grip on reality. Survival, however, requires that we know how the world really works, so that we need a religion based on evidence, not mystery.back

The Church that stole God (June 2008)

The Roman Catholic Church claims to be the only available link between the human race and God. As a consequence it has monoplized God and killed theology. Here we propose to liberate God and theology from the Church by recognising that the Universe itself is Divine, so that theology can become a real science based on real human experience. back

On the (non-) quantization of gravitation (June 2008)

For more than 60 years much sweat, maybe some tears (and possibly a little blood) has been spent in the (so far) unsuccessful effort to quantize gravity. Here we interpret this situation as evidence that gravity is not quantized. back

Physical Theology (December 2006)

This essay proposes a transfinite network to link physics and theology. It follows the time-worn scientific path of uniting apparently disparate elements of the world by creating a mathematical space large enough to hold them both. By redefining continuity in terms of logical inference and infinity in terms of permutation, we hope to construct a model of reality which unifies our notions of 'god' and 'the world'. The approach is 'formalist'. back

An essay on physical theology (October 2002)

Submitted to the Dubai Strategy Forum, October 2002. We use the technical languages of mathematics and physics to illustrate a network model of the physical world. Then we move beyond physics to the wider space of human spirit. The move is made possible by the properties of networks.
Most importantly, we may draw ethical conclusions from the constraints imposed by the layered nature of real world networks. Networks do not work if higher ('softer') layers do not respect the protocols of the lower ('harder') layers upon which they are built. In particular, this potential error illustrates the danger of communities violating the rights of the people upon which they are built. back

How much freeedom should we trade for our security? (August 2002)

Submitted to the Shell and The Economist writing competition, August 2002. To gain insight into the relationship of freedom and security, I assume a network model of the world and identify freedom with entropy and security with the ability of the network to survive damage and noise induced error. The mathematical theorems of communication tell us that entropy may be exploited to overcome error, so this model raises the possibility that increasing freedom may increase security. back

On representation of the Word (February 2000)

Is there any way to construct a religion which is not arbitrary? One possible approach is to see all events (rather than an arbitrary subset of events) as revelations of divinity, and to interpret these events using the assumption that history, insofar as it is knowable, is internally consistent. The requirement of consistency is mediated by mathematics, which is by definition the set of all consistent symbolic systems, although hypothetical. The method of interpreting events in terms of mathematical models is coterminous with science, and may be used to ground religion in observable events rather than human constructs. back

Is the Universe Divine (December 1999)

If a notion of God is an essential element of religion, an important step toward global ecumenism is the development of a theology that is acceptable to everyone. The global growth and practical utility of science suggests that such a theory must be purged of all linguistic, geographic, historical and political parochialism by using mathematics in its language and publicly available data for its foundation.
This project is an exploration of the relationship between God and the world taking the scientific route, aptly described by Popper as 'conjecture and refutation'. The source of the conjecture is the classical exposition of the relationship between God and the world developed by Aquinas restated in the languages of formal logic, mathematics and computation. back

On evolutionary pneumatology (November 1999)

Historically, the internal unity of the Church has been maintained by Papal authority, and the Church sees itself as using this authority to guard the truth, guided by the Spirit. The evolution of science shows that such an authoritarian approach to truth is not necessary, and may even lead to error. The world is one, so that a scientific method that keeps us close to the world will also keep us close to one another. There is no Pope of science, or any other central authority. The integrity of science is maintained by maintaining the integrity of the scientific process, weeding out instances of error and even fraud as they come to light. Here the emphasis moves from the formal content of doctrine to the process of developing doctrine. We might say from the word to the spirit. The root of scientific faith is that the human spirits can arrive at practical truth by open dialogue with the world and one another. back

On visible salvation (October 1999)

The general theory of navigation is cybernetics. The word was coined by Norbert Wiener and defined as control and communication in the animal and the machine. Animals and machines control themselves through error signals, which measure how far they are missing their target. In its current meaning Salvation carries overtones of sin and of private misery. I would like to differentiate sin (with its concomitant guilt) from error, and so to construct a language of salvation which speaks in practical and public terms. Accusations of sin seem to be a potent source of the very division which practical salvation seeks to heal. back

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