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If Man Created Infinity...

Writing in the Huffington Post, emeritus mathematics professor Herb Silverman compares the axioms adopted by mathematicians to the assumptions made by monotheistic religions, and ponders infinity across mathematical and religious contexts.

Some excerpts:

I ask you: Which abstraction is more practical for better understanding and solving real world problems: mathematics and its scientific implications, or God? Even religious believers no longer attribute an eclipse to God's wrath. We know that the next total lunar eclipse will be on April 15. And most believers accept that earthquakes have more to do with plate tectonics than with God's anger over specific human behaviors. A 'God axiom' might give comfort to some, but it lacks predictive value.

Mathematicians, unlike most theologians, recognize that their axioms are just made up, but believers assume their god is real and infinite because a finite god would be limited and could be replaced by a more powerful god. However, we now know mathematically that there can't be a largest infinity. In fact, there are infinitely many infinities. So any infinite god could theoretically be replaced by a more powerful infinite god.

Read the essay.

Start Date: 
Tuesday, February 18, 2014