Where did the laws of physics come from?


That doesn’t make any sense. If you take away the physical then you no longer have natural laws.

Einstein just rolled in his grave. Time and space are most definitely physical. Mass can physically warp spacetime.

Rational and conscious are two different things.

(Jon Garvey) #229


I gave a moral example, but any conviction based on other than empirical evidence would have done. And even “moral” beliefs have a wide application - for example, witness the animus that some militant atheists have against people who might accept a belief without empirical evidence!

An example of a non moral belief would be the conviction that the information my senses give me about the outside world is true, rather than simply allowing survival. That’s a metaphysical belief which, as a number of philosophers have argued at length, is not amenable to empirical verification…

In fact some careful simulation work (forget the ref, but trust me on this without empirical evidence to hand) has demonstrated that in every case, adaptations that produce only survival value out-perform those that favour truth. So we have to believe that our scientific knowledge (in particular, since it’s so far outside daily experience) represents truth against the preponderance of evidence. I’m not recommending you abandon it, though - just that it is a faith-based axiom.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #230

You said that you agreed that the universe is rational. There is no rational way that a non-rational entity, nature can produce something that is rational.

Also the universe and nature are the same thing. Thus something natural must be a part of the universe. There is no rational way that nature or the universe can produce itself.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #231



  1. relating to the body as opposed to the mind.
    “a whole range of physical and mental challenges”
    synonyms: bodily · corporeal · corporal · fleshly · in the flesh · [more]
  2. relating to things perceived through the senses as opposed to the mind; tangible or concrete.
    “pleasant physical environments” · [more]
    synonyms: material · substantial · solid · concrete · tangible · [more]
  3. relating to physics or the operation of natural forces generally.
    “physical laws”

See definition above. Things like bodies are physical. Ideas are mental or rational. Natural laws or the laws of physics are not physical because they are not things, they are not tangible, but ideas or rational. The fact that they describe the actions of the physical does not make them physical.

If Albert rolled over in his grave, it is because you do not understand his theory. Ti9me and space are not tangible things. They are aspects of Reality which we know only by our mind, not through our senses.

Einstein said that mass is related to space time, not that space time is mass.

Yes and No. What is your point?

Does the universe have a mind? How can it be rational without a mind, unless it was created by a Mind?


How did you determine that nature is no rational?

You seem to be jumping between two different definitions of “rational”. It might help if you used “conscious” when you are talking about a thinking being and “rational” to mean something that acts according to laws.

Why isn’t there a rational way that something non-conscious could produce the universe?


“relating to physics or the operation of natural forces generally”

Did you miss that one?

LIGO would disagree. They were able to measure the physical warping of space in those experiments.

(John Dalton) #234

Perhaps you’re right. I’m not sure what you mean when you say the universe is “rational”. Natural laws are a reflection of physical realities. Time may just be a measurement of anther sort, but space is giving me some pause for thought to be sure.

I didn’t :slight_smile: But I see these things as the products of our physical minds, and I guess this is more the kind of thing we were talking about.

Nice one, it’s hard to get around that one though! There’s probably not much in common with it.

Hmmm I’m not sure I understand the “survival value” vs “truth” aspect here.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #235

There could be many erroneous beliefs that (at least for the important moments) give an organism reproductive advantage. Perhaps unwarranted over-confidence in one’s abilities or strengths or attractiveness… Of course such over-confidence can backfire too only to end up disadvantaging a person when it is revealed ("pride goeth before a fall’). But not always immediately. It’s pretty plausible to see how such things can work both ways if differential reproductive success is the only aim in view. That’s the whole point.

Having to face the whole truth about myself or about everything in the world would probably end up being crippling to my daily activities or successes. So while it may be difficult to test this, I think evolution ends up being a most unreliable mistress as far as truth is concerned. Science more generally can help with that, I think. But to the extent that it wants to see its own philosophical foundation buttressed by evolution is to the same extent that it only succeeds in casting doubt on itself.

(Jon Garvey) #236

Well put, Merv.

Unfortunately I can’t find the article I read on this recently (citing the evolutionary algorithm reseach), but the argument was made by C S Lewis (and others before him), and refined by Alvin Plantinga from a philosophical standpoint in Where the Conflict Really Lies. AFAIK most of the objections have been answered in one way or another.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #237

I would say that natural laws are the reflection of natural order. The question is, Is order physical or rational? and I would say that it is clearly rational.

Certainly math real and is an important aspect of science, but math is not physical, not matter/energy, but rational. Math is a way we understand the order of nature, but it is not physical.

Measurements are rational, not physical.

Brains can be considered physical, but minds are not. Minds think which is not a physical activity, but a rational activity. The relationship of the brain to the mind is the relationship between computer hardware (brain) and computer software (mind)

To say that the good and beautiful are products of our minds indicates that there is nothing objective about these concepts, which is not true. Love is good. Flowers are beautiful.

Yes, it is the mind that makes that decision as to these values, but it makes them rationally and based on objective values.

The question I usually raise is, Is life good? If life is not rational and inherently good, then there is no reason for living. Survival is not a rational goal in life if life has no meaning and purpose.

I would not separate truth from survival. Truth makes survival possible and meaningful. I wonder if we could show that belief in God makes life longer and more enjoyable (on average) this would convince non-believers that God is Real. I don’t think so.

Even so I do think that God created humans i9n God’s Image which does act to insure their survival and to seek God’s Truth and Presence in their lives. Now it appears that too many of us are content with the scientific world that we have created using that Image and not the Kingdom of God promised by Jesus through the Spirit.


At least in my view, space and time are intrinsically tied to one another. Relativity has shown us that space and time change with each other. Even Einstein combined the measurements into what he called spacetime.

The analogy I find intriguing is how we meet up another person. If I tell you to meet me at 2 pm that isn’t enough information. If I tell you to meet me at 5th and Main streets, that’s also not enough information. If I tell you to meet me at 2 pm at 5th and Main streeets, that’s the information you need to successfully meet up.


Here is a question that came to my mind. The number pi is an irrational number. Does pi need to see a psychiatrist so that it can learn to be rational?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #240

Physics - Wikipedia

OverviewContentsHistoryPhilosophyCore theoriesRelation to other fieldsResearch

Physics is the natural science that studies matter and its motion and behavior through space and time and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main **goal is to understand how the universe behaves.**

This quote from the wiki makes clear that physics is the science of the physical which is defined as matter, its motion and behavior, energy and force. While it says that its goal is understand how the universe be3haves, it would be better stated by saying how the physical universe behaves, since it does not pretend to include humans, fauna, and flora in its definition of the physical. Laws of nature is how we understand the physical, but they are not physical, but not rational

You are mistaken again. This is the experiment that demonstrated the reality of gravity waves. Science did believe that space was physical and filled with “ether” until Einstein proved this wrong.

Gravity is real, light and heat are real, energy is real. Time and space are real, but not physical, not matter or energy.


And how did they measure those gravity waves, and what are gravity waves to begin with?

“Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time (the fabled “fabric” of the Universe) caused by massive objects moving with violent accelerations (in outer space that means objects like neutron stars or black holes orbiting around each other at ever increasing rates, or stars that blow themselves up).”

And how do they measure those ripples in spacetime? Here is a description of what they are measuring with their laser interferometer:

“If no light comes out when the arms are the same length, then what comes out if the arms change lengths? In that case, with one arm longer than the other, one beam has to travel farther than the other so it takes longer to return to the beam splitter and recombine with the other beam. Since they don’t arrive at the same time, the beams’ waves will be slightly offset when they merge, which causes the light waves to interfere in a different way than they did when they traveled the same distance.”

They are actually measuring tiny, tiny changes in distance as space itself is distorted by gravitational waves. They are directly measuring the physical warping of spacetime.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #242

HA HA That’s a good one.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #243

What’s a good one? @T_aquaticus seems like he posted an accurate account of how we measure such gravitational waves.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #244

@pevaquark and @T_aquaticus

Gravity warps space. Gravity waves are like light waves, they are bursts of energy. What this experiment does is detect gravity waves by showing that they interfere with laser light beams, which are also waves. . .

If a gravitational wave passes through the observatory, it will alter each laser beam’s arrival time, creating an almost imperceptible change in the observatory’s output signal. from the cited article.

Yes, gravity warps or bends space and time. No. that is not what this experiment indicates. Thus there is no evidence that space and time are physical, that is composed of matter. The experiment does not measure physical changes on space.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #245

@Relates: HA HA That’s a good one.

This is the context.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #246

Wrong. There is no interaction between the gravity wave and the electromagnetic wave.

How does it alter the laser beam’s arrival time? Your quote doesn’t say but it was accurately said already by @T_aquaticus:

Space itself is compressed (or expanded) and thus the light takes less time (or more time) to reach the sensor as the gravitational wave passes through.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #247

Then my argument is that there is still no evidence that space is physical. We know that gravity compresses (or expands) time, but no one argues that time is physical. The same with space.