Faith and Gödel's incompleteness theorems


#1

I’m curious if anyone with knowledge of formal logic & mathematics can comment on whether Gödel’s theorems have any relevance to discussions of faith. Specifically to the strident atheists who would pose that science renders belief in God irrational.

Not that Gödel’s theorems have anything to say about God directly. But if I understand correctly they do place some limitation on the formal “proveability” of mathematics. The problem is that I don’t understand very well, and figure I am on thin ice if I say that mathematics, which underlies science, involves a certain leap of faith (by way of defining some axioms) in assuming that mathematics always “works”. But I’m curious if this line of reasoning leads anywhere, or is totally off the mark.

In a related vein there is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which puts a specific limit on a certain type of scientific knowledge. Not that it says anything about God. But science proves a formal limitation on the precision with which we can know, or even define, certain physical quantities.

I guess my question is, are these concepts at all useful in demonstrating to rationalists that there are things that are formally outside the bounds of what can be known by pure logic & scientific reason. And that there are certain things that will never be known with scientific certainty.

One problem I see is that you could go off the deep end in the other direction, into a postmodern morass of fuzzy thinking and existentialism. So I wouldn’t push it too far. The other problem is that proving science has limitations is different from proving a valid role for faith. So maybe it’s misguided altogether. Comments welcome.


#2

Nobody will ever accept, even the most logical conclusion of God, if they do not want him to exist. Its not like, it isnt obvious that there is something more to the world then meets the eye, and that it is probably God.

If God came down to earth in front of the whole world and said

" i am the key to eternal life",

Richard dawkins would say

“It is an hulucination brought on by somekind of mass delusion, coupled with chemical reactions in your brain”

He would run around with all his atheist freinds, preaching to people about how logical it is to be atheist and that the limits of science is a rational excuse to close you eyes to faith; telling the world that they have been brainwashed; this he would sooner do, then think that God is real.


#3

[quote=Bobby Jim]In a related vein there is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which puts a specific limit on a certain type of scientific knowledge.
[/quote]

My understanding is that, at the quantum level, to know one thing you have to not know another thing. You can’t know both things at the same time. Specifically if you know the position of something you can’t know its momentum.

Also the outcome of an experiment depends on the method by which you observe it.

[quote=Bobby Jim]I guess my question is, are these concepts at all useful in demonstrating to rationalists that there are things that are formally outside the bounds of what can be known by pure logic & scientific reason.
[/quote]

I’m not convinced that it is necessary to demonstrate that there are things outside the bounds of what can be known by pure logic and scientific reason.

[quote=Bobby Jim] And that there are certain things that will never be known with scientific certainty.
[/quote]

There may be. There may not be. It’s about what we want to know. As long as what we want to know can be known, then we are good to go.

[quote=Bobby Jim]One problem I see is that you could go off the deep end in the other direction, into a postmodern morass of fuzzy thinking and existentialism.
[/quote]

Pomo is good for challenging what folks think they know. That’s what it is designed for. I don’t know what existentialism is good for. Maybe somebody can tell me?

:getholy:

[quote=Bobby Jim]The other problem is that proving science has limitations is different from proving a valid role for faith.
[/quote]

Faith is theoretical science. Hebrews 11:1


#4

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