In the next instalment of our Animated Apologetics blogs, Mark Herring poses the question: Why does mathematics work?
Because when you think about it, mathematical entities like numbers, sets and equations are non-physical and abstract. They can’t cause anything. And yet, for some reason, the physical universe operates … mathematically.
As Galileo put it: “The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics.”
“Scientists do not use mathematics merely as a convenient way of organising the data. They believe that mathematical relationships reflect real aspects of the physical world. Science relies on the assumption that we live in an ordered Universe that is subject to precise mathematical laws. Thus, the laws of physics … are all expressed as mathematical equations.” – Paul Davies, physicist.
Observations of mathematical relationships by great minds from Pythagoras to Newton to Higgs have resulted in world-changing events: the discovery of gravity, pinpointing the location of new planets, predicting the existence of radio waves, formulating the general theory of relativity – the pillar of modern physics, and even predicting elementary particles.
So how do we explain the astonishing applicability of mathematics to the physical world?
Why is mathematics so effective? How does the naturalist argument fall short? And why did Nobel Prize-winning physicist and mathematician Eugene Wigner’s explanation stun the scientific community? That’s exactly what this new 5-minute animation from Reasonable Faith sets out to explore.
Reasonable Faith is a worldwide apologetics movement headed by William Lane Craig, a well-known Christian philosopher and debater. Dedicated to the articulate and intelligent defence of Christianity as a rational belief system, the website is full of interesting articles, media, courses and resources and well worth a visit.