This one doesn’t fit into any topic we’ve seen or written about before — well, that’s not quite true. It’s by Jason Lisle, one of the world’s few creationist astrophysicists. He used to be with Answers in Genesis, but he recently moved to the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page.
The last time we wrote about one of Jason’s essays was Jason Lisle: All Science Is Creation Science. His essay today seems to be a continuation of that theme. The title is Evolutionary Math? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Most people have heard of “evolutionary biology.” But the term “evolution” is often applied in a broader sense (gradual, naturalistic changes over long ages) to other fields of study. Some people study geology or astronomy from an evolutionary perspective. But has anyone ever studied “evolutionary mathematics”? What would an evolutionist mathematician study?
That’s how it begins. When we encounter things like this we have to wonder: Is this stuff as crazy as it seems, or is it profound and we’re incapable of grasping it? We’ll leave that as an open question as we proceed with Jason’s essay:
Numbers are concepts. Thus, they are abstract in nature. They exist in the world of thought and are not material or physical. You cannot literally touch a number, or even see one, because they are not made of matter.
He goes on like that for a few paragraphs, but it’s not worth repeating here. We know all that. Let’s read on to see where he’s going:
If numbers are not material, do they actually exist?
Some people might think that only physical things can exist — that matter and energy comprise every real thing. But, of course, in the Christian worldview we can have non-material entities that do exist. God is an obvious example. He exists, but is not made up of matter or energy. So the Christian worldview allows for numbers to have real existence, even though they are not material things.
In Jason’s opinion, it’s the Christian worldview that allows numbers to exist. He seems to be saying that they really exist, in the sense of Platonic forms. Then he asks:
Can a secular worldview make sense of abstract concepts like numbers?
Well, dear reader, how about it? Assuming you have a secular worldview, can you make any sense of numbers? Jason continues:
Mathematical laws are universal — they apply everywhere. When we add 2+3 in Europe, we get exactly the same answer as we get in the United States. For that matter, laws of mathematics work just as well on Mars, Alpha Centauri, the Andromeda Galaxy, or in the core of a distant quasar. Many laws of nature, including the laws of physics and the laws of chemistry, are mathematical in nature. So if laws of mathematics were different in various regions of the universe, then presumably laws of physics and chemistry would also differ in an unpredictable way. This would render astronomy impossible.
Uh, Jason … it’s Genesis that renders astronomy impossible. Here’s more:
Laws of mathematics are discovered by people and written down by people. But they were not created by people. As discussed above, laws of mathematics do not change with time. Therefore, they existed before people existed. So they obviously cannot be a creation of man. The equation 2+3=5 was true long before any human being thought about it, realized it, or wrote it.
Have you figured out yet where Jason is going with all of this? Stay with us, all will be revealed:
How then do we account for the origin and properties of numbers or the laws of mathematics that describe them?
The evolution of numbers makes no sense whatsoever. 7 has always been 7, just as 3 has always been 3. Likewise, the expression 2+3=5 was as true at the beginning of time as it is today. Mathematical laws and the numbers they govern are invariant—they do not change with time and, therefore, cannot have evolved from anything!
Got that? Unlike mice and men, numbers didn’t evolve. Moving along:
The secularist is truly stuck when it comes to mathematics.
The answer is that numbers are not the product of a human mind, but rather the product of the mind of God. The terrible dilemma faced by the secularist simply does not occur in the Christian worldview. It’s not a problem for the biblical creationist to have conceptual entities existing before human minds because human minds are not the only minds that exist in the Christian worldview. Numbers are a reflection of God’s thoughts. Numbers existed before people because God’s thoughts existed before people.
Aha! You didn’t see that coming, did you? Here’s another excerpt:
Laws of mathematics are a reflection of how God thinks about numbers. The internal consistency of mathematics is a reflection of the internal consistency within the Godhead. … Laws of mathematics are real and, yet, not physical — just as God is real and not physical in His essential nature.
It’s all so obvious! On with the article:
The biblical creationist can also make sense of why the physical universe obeys mathematical laws. God upholds the universe by the expression of His power. So, naturally, the universe will be consistent with the thoughts of God. … The properties and usefulness of laws of mathematics make perfect sense to the consistent Christian. But mathematics is simply not amenable to a naturalistic, evolutionary explanation.
It’s somehow also consistent with Jason’s worldview that occasional miracles get tossed in to confound those universal laws. And now we’ll skip to the end:
Numbers cannot have evolved because numbers cannot change. For the most part, secularists don’t even attempt to explain mathematics at all. Mathematics is an inherently creationist field of science. There are creation biologists and evolution biologists. There are creation geologists and evolution geologists. But when it comes to mathematics, everyone is a creationist.
We know that reading this has been a stunning, eye-opening, life-changing experience. That’s why we’re here. It’s all part of the Curmudgeonly service.
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