Mathematical proof of God’s existence?

Kurt_gödelNPG D23949; St Anselm after Unknown artistThe great mathematician and logician Kurt Gödel, who died in 1978, left behind a series of equations that purport to prove the existence of God.

As I understand it (and I don’t understand the math!), the equations test the validity of St. Anselm’s ontological argument for God’s existence, which defines God as the greatest being that can be conceived.  Such a being would have to have the property of existence; otherwise, we could conceive of a greater being, namely, one that exists.  And that one would be God.

This sounds like a language game, but philosophers have wrestled with the argument for centuries, finding it more formidable than it might appear on the surface.

Now two European computer scientists have run Gödel’s mathematical proof on a computer and found it valid.

You do the math:

“Ax. 1. {P(φ)∧◻∀x[φ(x)→ψ(x)]} →P(ψ)Ax. 2.P(¬φ)↔¬P(φ)Th. 1.P(φ)→◊∃x[φ(x)]Df. 1.G(x)⟺∀φ[P(φ)→φ(x)]Ax. 3.P(G)Th. 2.◊∃xG(x)Df. 2.φ ess x⟺φ(x)∧∀ψ{ψ(x)→◻∀y[φ(y)→ψ(y)]}Ax. 4.P(φ)→◻P(φ)Th. 3.G(x)→G ess xDf. 3.E(x)⟺∀φ[φ ess x→◻∃yφ(y)]Ax. 5.P(E)Th. 4.◻∃xG(x)”.

After the jump, a news story on the computer scientists’ work.  I also include Gödel’s proof and a link explaining the above mathematical notation. [Read more…]

The world’s favorite Bible verses

phone-1052021_640Do you have the Bible app YouVersion on your phone?  Over 255 million people from around the world do.  It gives the entire Bible in over 1500 versions and in over 1,000 languages.  (This was originally the project of a church here in Oklahoma.)

The technology gives the YouVersion people lots of data.  They can tell what Bible passages are the most highlighted, bookmarked, and shared with others.  With those criteria, guess what the world’s favorite Bible passage is.  See the answer after the jump.

The link also gives the favorite Bible passages of 88 different countries.  What can you tell about them or about the state of Christianity on the basis of that Bible verse?

UPDATE:  Notice how the world’s favorite Bible verse is about being “called”; that is, it is about vocation!

[Read more…]

Legal rights for robots as “electronic persons”

I_Robot_-_RunaroundA committee of the European Parliament has passed a measure that would give legal rights to robots, classifying them as “electronic persons.”  It also imposes obligations, such as liability for any damages they might be responsible for.  The report also says that robots must not be made so as to appear “emotionally dependent” and must have a kill switch, should they go rogue.
That the committee is thinking in science fiction terms is evident in its implementation of Isaac Asimov’s Laws of Robotics, which he developed in his I, Robot series:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

The committee measure says, “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm,” while allowing robots the right to defend themselves as long as this rule is not violated.  The measure specifically says that developers must follow Asimov’s laws.

The entire European Parliament will vote on the measure in February.  For the entire document in English go here. [Read more…]

From Russia with Love

6341892558_531c1e9e93_zDonald Trump and his supporters have been dismissive of U. S. Intelligence claims that the Russians were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee e-mails.  These made Hillary Clinton look bad and were then given to Wikileaks, which made them public.  Those intelligence agencies have released a report giving the basis for blaming Russia and Vladimir Putin’s intelligence operations.

The unclassified version of the report leaves out the details but gives the nature of their evidence.  (Read the report for yourself here.)  It says that Putin despised Clinton and wanted Trump to win.  The actions, which also included the use of paid “trolls,” were intended to discredit Clinton–though the Russians expected her to win–and to boost Trump’s chances.

Defenders of Trump have said that some other group could have done the hacking, that the CIA has often been wrong (including finding evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq), that the intelligence agencies are part of the establishment, that they are part of the Democratic administration (despite their non-politicized organization and their history of conflict with liberals), etc., etc.   Yes, lots of things “could have” happened.  But I am not aware of any evidence connecting the hacks to anyone else other than the Russians.  (Do you know of any?  If so, please let us know in the comments.  I’ll continue my thoughts after the jump.) [Read more…]

Marshall McLuhan, conservative Catholic

5571845609_c077117223_oMarshall McLuhan, who basically invented the study of media, became an icon of the 1960’s with his praise of the new information technology and his predictions of the new tribalism that it would make possible.  McLuhan arguably predicted the effects of the internet before the internet was invented.

And yet, as Jefferson Pooley reminds us, McLuhan got his start as a conservative cultural critic who, influenced by G. K. Chesterton, became a traditionalist Catholic who opposed the reforms of Vatican II.

I would argue that his criticism of the printing press and the thought-forms it made possible is connected to his opposition to the Reformation, which he called “the greatest cultural disaster in the history of civilization.”  And that his “global village” that he thought the new electronic media would usher in represents his yearning for Medieval Catholicism, with its visual images and its corporate unity.

Read Pooley’s piece on McLuhan, started after the jump. [Read more…]

Top 10 Google searches of 2016

cyborg-438398_640The internet contains unfathomable amounts of information.  Search engines allow us to find anything we want to know, giving us access to knowledge on an unprecedented scale, thus advancing the capabilities of the human mind.

When we can fully connect our minds to the internet, we can attain the next level of human evolution.

So see what the year’s top searches on Google were. [Read more…]