Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why does science work so well?

It is amazing to me that science (and especially theoretical physics) works so well. We can think things, write down abstract mathematical equations, and then predict the outcomes of experiments. Why does what goes on in our brains have anything to do with the physical world.

Eugene Wigner received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963. In 1960 he published an essay "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences which is often referred to. The concluding sentences are:

The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
I think the doctrine of creation provides a natural explanation for this miracle and gift. God made us in our image. He made the physical world. He wants us to engage with that world, enjoy it, and marvel at his work. Please note, I am not claiming that the success of science proves that God exists and made us and the world. Rather, just that the Bible's picture of who God is and who we are provides a coherent perspective on these issues.

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