Where did the laws of physics come from?


This is certainly true of some christians, but not all christians, at least in my estimation. For example, many christians argue that life could not come about through natural means (i.e. abiogenesis). We see others arguing in this very thread that the singularity that gave rise to our universe could not have come about through natural means.

But I do understand that there are many views within christianity so I will be careful to not overuse generalities.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #82

This is not argument by declaration. God is by well established definition rational and omnipotent. That does not mean that you have to agree with this, but you cannot dismiss it by your argument by declaration. Yours is argument by declaration by making this statement.

Above I outlined the two alternatives we have: A rational universe created by a Rational God, or an irrational universe created by a no god. You make it clear that you have chosen the latter, but refuse to admit it while playing irrational word games. If you don’t know the difference between God and a pink unicorn, then something is seriously wrong.

In chapter 4 of his book, The River Out of Eden, pp. 96-97, Dawkins rejects the "Why is there something rather than noting? question and the rational understanding that life has meaning and purpose.

If you think that the universe is not rational, that is you prerogative, but then you should not give the impress ion that you think it is rational. You cannot defend irrationality with rational arguments.


What I am questioning is the claim that God as an explanation is a rational explanation. Just re-asserting your claim doesn’t get past this question.

What about a rational universe created by no god? Why isn’t that an option?

Where does Dawkins state that the universe is not rational?

(Richard Wright) #84

Hello T,

Yes, but my point is that people don’t believe in god because we don’t have physical explanations for some aspects of nature. If we discovered tomorrow how the first protocell developed, I doubt many Christians would stop believing in God.


Gotta say I love this discussion:

@T_aquaticus @Richard_Wright1 @pevaquark

They do start talking about the fine tuning of the universe stuff in the first minutes, but it takes a very interesting direction shortly after that.

(Joshua Hedlund) #86

Do you have any good examples of this? You mention quantum mechanics, but I mean, do you have any examples with relevant quotes from philosophers regarding this or another example?


Cosmic laws/principles do not come from a place/location in space, or a specific time as referenced to eternity{ beyond time }.

Ergo the question is moot because cosmic laws/principles do not come or go.

Cosmic laws/principles are eternally existent everywhen and complement our finite, occupied space Universe aka God.

At best, we can say cosmic laws/principles comes to the human via their access to metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concept i.e. humans, via access to mind, discover eternally existent cosmic laws/principles.

Universe/God has no purpose. Humans attempt to apply a purpose to our finite, Universe/God.

Humans, dogs, cats, autos, houses etc come and go. Occupied space Universe/God does not come and go i.e. our finite, occupied space Universe/God exists eternally and is eternally complemented by the metaphysical-1 cosmic laws/principles.

This is my first post in BioLogos, so still learning how the format works.


In his 1842 book The Positive Philosophy, the French philosopher Auguste Comte wrote of the stars: “We can never learn their internal constitution, nor, in regard to some of them, how heat is absorbed by their atmosphere.” In a similar vein, he said of the planets: “We can never know anything of their chemical or mineralogical structure; and, much less, that of organized beings living on their surface.”

Comte’s argument was that the stars and planets are so far away as to be beyond the limits of everything but our sense of sight and geometry. He reasoned that, while we could work out their distance, their motion and their mass, nothing more could realistically be discerned. There was certainly no way to chemically analyse them.
10 impossibilities conquered by science

(Phil) #89

Welcome, @cosmic4, It is good to have you here. It is certainly a learning curve with the format, but you will get used to it. It has a lot of features most of us never use. As time goes on, tell us a little of your background and viewpoint, as that helps in understanding what position you are posting from and thus what you are communicating.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #90

Welcome, Cosmic4. As Phil said above, we’d love to get to know you. One nice feature most folks wish they had known right off is how to launch a quick response like I just did here with a quote of yours. When you see something in another post that you’d like to respond to, all you need to do is highlight the section of text (like I did in your post above), and then click the grey “Quote” button that pops up. This does two things: 1. It opens a response post for you (if one wasn’t open already); and 2. It includes the text you are responding to in your own newly opened post. That helps people follow what got your attention in the first place.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #91

I haven’t read Comte so I can only speculate about his motivations here. But do you think that his speculation about the inaccessibility of star interiors should be taken in a descriptive or a prescriptive spirit? I strongly suspect that nearly everyone who says such things isn’t trying to build a hedge around science to tell it “thou shalt not tread here”. It is more their assessment that they just can’t see how science would ever get there given the current state of affairs as they see it. I may speculate that I think it impossible for anybody to ever run a 3 minute mile. But this doesn’t mean I go around the world watching everybody to make sure nobody does. That would be silly. I wasn’t prohibiting it … I was merely speculating descriptively based on my current understandings of the history of things and human physiology. I’ll be happy to be shown wrong, of course – and as you would correctly point out, people said the same about a 4 minute mile and were proven wrong. But such speculations were never impositions or prohibitions, which is my point.

So I think some atheists have been feeling a bit over-defensive (and perhaps understandably so) in thinking that philosophy is trying to build fences. But I would be surprised if this has ever actually been the case. Other than the occasional questions such as “should we clone people” or “build nuclear weapons” or such things with heightened moral significance, I can’t recall how either philosophy or religion of recent centuries have tried to enforce any prescriptive mode.

with edits


Thanks Mervin for warm welcome and higlight tip, as you can see I used here above.

I guess this is appearing in the “where did laws of physics come from forum”

I now see Phil{ moderatior also welcomed me } Not sure if I should share backgrund of me in this thread{?}. Maybe there is a place for that specific info? Ive always been a little reluctant to give out to much personal information on the internet as there is plenty of people out there I would not want to know my location.

I’ve been around since 60’s. R Buckminnister Fullers is one of all time favorite authors. He was very cosmic. A fair amount of cosmic my ideas stem from or inspired by his thoughts and processing pathways.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #93

Oh – no pressure. Share as much or as little as you are comfortable sharing. Your anonymity is also safe if you choose to keep it that way so that you can share more if that helps others know where you’re coming from. :sunglasses:

Added: Another little feature you might be interested in [I just used it here] is the little grey pencil underneath your own posts that are already posted. You can actually edit your own posts which I shamelessly do all the time, whenever I see embarrassing typos or think of a better way to say something. You can always put added material in brackets or add the comment ‘edited’ at the bottom if honesty compels you to disclose you’ve changed what you first wrote.

(Phil) #94

Certainly I was not wanting you to share private details unless desired, more of thinking that it is good to know if you are coming from a perspective of young earth, ID, EC, or perhaps as agnostic, atheist, or whatever if not too personal. Those kinds of things (pun intended) help readers understand how to read the comments and foster understanding of your position. Most of the time that just comes out with time.


Hi JPM. Young Earth? I thought Earth had been around for a few billion years.

I dunno what ID or EC is. Again, R Buckminister Fuller is one of my all time favorite authors. Ive also read Feynman and others in physics cosmology arena.

I feel like or think of myself as a cosmic thinker. One of my earliest cosmic thoughts, around 10 years old, was laying in a field with my two buddies, looking at the stars, I stated to them, that, maybe our Universe, is inside a much larger human body, and that body is inside another very large human body etc.

Of course I dont think that way now days. As made clear in first post, we live within an eternally existent, finite, occupied space Universe/God.

And this eternally existent, finite, occupied space Universe/God is eternally complemented by a finite set of cosmic laws/principles.

There is no origin, or ‘comes from’ or source, in he most cosmic sense.

I believe, at best we have initiating circumstances for this or that. Ex big bang concept is associated to a set of initiation circumstances, within an eternally existent, finite, occupied space Universe/God.

Ergo the question of this thread is ‘moot’ i.e. it presumes/assumes cosmic laws/principles did not exist sometime in past.


Just for context, this thread of the discussion started with this statement from @BoltzmannBrain :

“The question of whether science will be able to explain fundamental questions, on the other hand, is seriously debated in philosophy of science, and there are a ton of atheists and even ontological naturalists who firmly argue that it is not possible. It is like comparing climate change deniers to people who say that string theory might be right.”

It is entirely possible that I misunderstood what Mr. Brain was getting at, but I took it as referring to the impossibility of understanding the processes that gave rise to the physical laws we see in our universe. I see a lot of parallels between Mr. Brain’s statement and Comte’s statement in that there are methodological or ontological barriers that the scientific method can not break through.

This is the internet, so oversensitivity is always a possibility. :wink:

I think there are two layers to this. First, there is the reaction common to many scientists. When you tell a scientist that they can’t figure something out it triggers a reaction of “Oh yeah? Watch me!”. I think this is a normal human reaction that applies equally to atheists and theists. Second, the atheist reaction has more to do with the underlying Argument from Ignorance which is summed up in the opening post. It is something along the lines of, “Since science can never figure out where the laws of physics came from, then you can’t help but conclude that God did it.”

I would probably agree that atheists are overly sensitive to logical fallacies. I guess it is our burden to bear. We atheists have been told on many occasions that we should believe in God because we don’t have an explanation for X or Y, so sometimes we jump the gun when we start to see parts of that argument being pushed forward even if the Argument from Ignorance is not actually being used. I am probably guilty of that at times, perhaps in this very thread.

The other idea moving through this discussion is belief, and I think that is something I tend to ignore at times. If someone believes in God then it is very natural for them to conclude that God is involved somehow. As one poster mentioned (may have been you), no one believes in God simply because we lack an explanation for the origin of physics. If there is something that atheists and theists can both agree on is that each person has the right to their own beliefs.

(Richard Wright) #97

Hello BoltzmannBrain,

Thanks for the video!

I love Ard Louis because he gets to the core of what I believe is the most compelling case for God, that is to take in the totality of existence and argue that God is a better explanation than the other alternatives, which are the eternal universe, a universe popping into existence from ontological nothingness and the multiverse. He and his colleague also rightly bring out the fact that atheists want to restrict the argument to science, but also engage in philosophy, as to when science is reaches its limit, when they tend to lose their curiosity. Good Job!


Would you say that God is a better explanation, in your estimation, because you already believe in God?

(Jon Garvey) #99

But here are a couple of other examples of philosophy putting blinkers on science:

  • Under the mechanical philosophy of Bacon and the early scientists following him, action at a distance was impossible (as it hadn’t been under Aristotelianism). Newton had a different philosophy, expressed fully in Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which apparently was Morean (after Thoms More, contra Descartes) and embraced the real existence of space (and God as extended throughout space), thus making gravity acting at a distance conceivable.

Incidentally, remember that at this time science simply was natural philosophy… as it is now, actually, though many scientists have forgotten what philosophy it is that directs their research.

  • The philosophy of materialism discourages us from understanding how the quantum world consists of potentialities rather than objective reality. Heisenberg went back to Aristotle’s concepts of potency and act in disputing this with Einstein’s philosophy of dogmatic realism.

  • That same philosophy of materialism says that there are no non-material spiritual entities to investigate, or makes it impossible to do so by insisting that only material methodologies are legitimate. This, of course, is the equivalent of a mechanical philosopher insisting that Newton find the train of interacting particles between his gravitational bodies, or Einstein insisting that quantum entanglement was absurd because of the absolute limitation on the speed of light.

(Richard Wright) #100

Hello T, that was pretty quick.

Yes, partly because I believe in God already, which is partly for the reasons laid out in the video. Which, if you watch it, discusses the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics behind physics, which implies a mind behind it all. And for the fact that from what we know from science that a universe popping into existence from ontological nothingness and the eternal universe don’t make much sense. That leaves God and the multiverse, and it just makes more sense, to explain a universe with good, bad, intelligence, purpose, etc. to have faith in a higher power than another physical entity.