Where did the laws of physics come from?


(Richard Wright) #368

Hello John,

It’s not just me. With the exception of Buddhism, every religion/worldview has the, “higher power” as the source for the ultimate questions of life.

You and I must be reading different atheists. When the leaders of your movement refer to, “God”, they invariable mean a creator and explanation of the universe, whether the biblical god or not.

You need faith to have beliefs about the ultimate questions, whether respect to my assertions or no. On a deeper, and more, “real” level, everyone here has deeply held beliefs and has come to promote them. The, “non-faith” stance could theoretically work with someone who simply doesn’t care to think about life beyond the here and now, but that isn’t how human beings have ever been. We seek answers to everything. At least for me, to hold the view that an unthinkably enormous entity that is infinitely complex and has produced conscious, intelligent life in a world of good, beauty, love, order, purpose,evil, etc.is not evidence of something beyond the physical is a view that is counter to the evidence, thereby is held by faith.


(John Dalton) #369

Yet it is a separate issue. I guess we can’t have a discussion about it if you don’t recognize that.

I can’t see what that has to do with what I was talking about. Respectfully, maybe you should read it again?

That’s not what you said, and hence not what I responded to. So “faith” means “deeply held belief”? That’s straightforward enough.

I’m not so sure of that. I hold certain beliefs about ultimate questions as I’ve said. I don’t call them “deeply held”. Nothing in my life depends on them. They’re more of simple opinions based on highly limited knowledge, than anything.

As do I, but I don’t see how any answers are apparent. I do care to think about things beyond the here and now, and spend a fair bit of time doing so. I don’t see how “faith” is involved in doing so.

And we’re back to this. Something could be anything, as I’ve noted, including areas beyond our powers of comprehension or imagination. It seems as if we’re going in circles here, I guess enough has been said on my part!


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #370

@Clark_Vangilder, Welcome!

I agree and disagree with you. Laws or concepts are not things, because they are not physical, that is made of matter/energy.

You are correct in they are not things, but they are about things which makes them “rational” or mental. This means that when true that they explain the causes of events and thus have agency. Natural laws are real and thus can be verified as true or false. They are logos, not mythos.


(Mitchell W McKain) #371

This is something which I agree with @Relates and not @Clark_Vangilder as I explained before, even though I agreed with some aspect of what he was saying. When we talk of the universe we are not talking about the word “universe” but about what the word refers to. Likewise when we talk about the laws of nature we are often not talking about the scientific models but about what the models are describing – which many think amounts to the very geometrical structure of space-time itself. As such, the referent is very much a thing no different from any other thing which are also part of this same structure. I think it is pretty clear that the question in the title of this thread is a case where we are not talking about the models but about what the models are describing.


(Mark D.) #372

Interesting. I usually agree with you and have butted heads with both Clark and Relates here before. This time I feel for what Clark is saying. I think he has thought himself to an epiphany regarding the nature of what “laws of physics” refers to with which I agree. This usage of “laws” refers to consistency/reliability. Whatever else they may be, the laws of physics do not direct the universe the way a traffic control person orders the flow of cars at an intersection. Thinking about laws as human devices to describe the regularity of nature fits very well with your description of mathematics as being in some way idiosyncratic to our species. Our language really does influence our concepts and not always in optimal ways.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #373

May be not but the3 laws of nature do direct nature the way that a traffic signal directs cars at an intersection. Aldo the rules of the road that governs speed limits, and which side of the road we drive, etc.

The laws of nature reveal how the universe works, the structure of the universe and how energy and matter interact. They are rational rather than physical, but they reflect the physical because the physical is rational.


(Mark D.) #374

I understand you to be saying that the laws of physics are analogous to automated traffic signals and the rules of the road. But drivers in traffic have the ability to behave contrary to those rules and to fail to notice or even disregard a traffic signal. Surely you aren’t saying that matter and energy could as easily behave randomly but only show the regularity we find because the laws of physics somehow force them to? I say the laws of physics are simply a description of how the world works. Whether it could be otherwise or not is entirely speculative. But, thanks to science, we do know a lot about how things work and are able to exploit that regularity to achieve desired outcomes.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #375

In a sense there are two kinds of descriptions. One says that a bird flies naturally because3 it flaps its wings and it able to lift itself off of the ground. The other says that using stationary wings, a propeller, and a source of power we can obtain enough lift for a airplane.

Human beings use natural laws to obtain an unnatural result, enabling humans to fly. This also brings unnatural problems like airplane crashes.

To say that science is purely descriptive about how nature works is false. Science l=tells us how nature works so we can use this information to improve on nature for our own purposes. As we need to use that our information about how climate change has developed to stop and reverse it, if possible.


(system) #376

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