This is number 14 in a series of posts called The Case Against Physicalism. The purpose of this series is to explore all the reasons why physicalism is most likely wrong. I am defining physicalism as the philosophical belief that nothing exists beyond physical matter and the forces that control it. Here we explore what has been called the unreasonableness of mathematics in enabling us to understand our universe.

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Image: Wikipedia. I find this Nobel laureate physicist fascinating and not only because of an uncanny resemblance to my grandfather. He was a pioneer of quantum mechanics and made many important contributions. His observation of the miracle of mathematics and his appreciation for that gift is considered in this post.

Nobel laureate physicist Eugene Wigner stated the observation most clearly and provocatively:

“The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is…

This is the third part of post 13 in the series The Case Against Physicalism. In earlier posts we looked at challenges to exclusive Darwinism posed by the emergence of life and necessary components of life, the complexity of biochemical systems, the missing fossil record and the emergence of whole new life forms in short geologic time. This last part asks how the complex machines of life, such as bacteria’s flagellum, which require simultaneous assembly of multiple complex elements can emerge from the micro-change mutations filtered by natural selection that exclusive Darwinism insists explains all of life.

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Two images of the flagellum of bacteria, below from Wikipedia, above from Michael Behe’s book. The structure suggests the idea of a machine. One of the most significant questions in evolution is whether machines like this are “irreducibly complex” and whether evolution alone can bring together all the necessary elements to make them functional. Behe asks how could a mousetrap-like biochemical machine evolve over time? But, supporters of exclusive Darwinism believe they can respond to this challenge.

5. The multi-element “machines” of life

There is strong…

This is number 13 Part 2 in the Case Against Physicalism where we investigate if exclusive Darwinism can explain life and its history. In the first part of post 13 we discussed the role of Darwinism in culture and religion, and looked at the challenge that the emergence of life and the mechanisms needed for life posed to exclusive Darwinism. Here we look at further challenges: complex biochemical systems, the missing fossil record, and the emergence of major new life forms in very short geological time.

2. Development of complex biochemical systems

Life is made up of a whole number of complex biochemical systems. Evolutionary biology…

This is the 13th in a series of posts called The Case Against Physicalism. Evolution has long been the frontline of the supposed conflict between religion and science. For too long theists and anti-theists have battled over evolution. Denying evolution is without doubt anti-science. Theistic belief does not rest on whether the Darwinian beliefs are correct or not. But, for the most outspoken anti-theists who use science as their bully pulpit, more has been claimed for Darwinian evolution than current science supports. This does a disservice to the credibility and authority of science.

As this presents a primary scientific argument…

This is the 12th post in a series calling into question the belief system known as physicalism. The incredible coincidences of the values of matter and forces and the necessary interrelationship between them is often used as a primary argument by theists against physicalism. No question this topic creates unease among dedicated physicalists and has led to a few attempts to explain the remarkable coincidence under this belief system. But, those attempts only serve to demonstrate how devastating the facts of fine tuning are to the physicalist position.

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Image: wikipedia. In discussing the overwhelming coincidence of fine tuning for life, Philosopher John Leslie used the example of facing a firing squad of 20 highly skilled marksmen. All fire as ordered but you find yourself still standing there, alive as ever. What happened? One must conclude that either it was designed that way or you got very very lucky. One response of the physicalist community, called the “anthropic principle” says in effect: “Of course you were lucky because if you weren’t you wouldn’t be here to talk about it.” The other option is the multiverse theory that such a coincidence requires an infinite number of universes for chance to allow for ours with just the right numbers.

No one who wishes to defend the dogma of physicalism can avoid…

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One of many Washington farm workers speaking out and pleading with Washington legislators to pass a bill that would protect their jobs and the farmers that employ them from farm-destroying class action litigation demanding three years retroactive pay. They tell their stories here:

A bill that would protect farm jobs and the farmers that employ them is vigorously fought by labor activists and lawyers who stand to earn millions suing farmers out of business

Will family farming in Washington state survive an onslaught of at least 30 class action lawsuits, with many more to follow? If the lawyers win and farmers have to pay three years retroactive overtime pay, few farms will survive. Republican legislators have introduced a bill aimed at preventing this unfair demand for back pay. But, will Washington’s Democratic legislative leaders agree?

At stake are the orchards that provide the…

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Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Joe Osmundson’s post on “Seven Problems in Christianity That Killed My Faith” is a heartfelt, thoughtful and rational attack on Christianity. It has received over 6000 claps and a great many comments suggesting that many if not most Medium readers share Joe’s very serious issues with Christianity. I hesitate to call it an “attack” because there is a sense of sadness and regret in having to say goodbye to a faith that once meant much to him.

As a believer such a rational and understandable presentation of why not to believe spurs a desire to respond, to defend the faith…

The 11th in the series The Case Against Physicalism. The previous post discussed the wide range of mysteries that remain despite, or in some cases, because of the success of science. Faith is considered the domain of religion and physicalists denigrate faith as opposed to the solidity of the science they trust. But, one cannot be a physicalist without faith, above all the faith in “promissory materialism” and the belief that once science is done no mysteries will remain.

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Image: Wikipedia. St. Paul’s definition of faith has been the standard for believers since the earliest days of Christianity. But, does this definition also apply to those who accept physicalist science as providing the best story of what is real and true?

St. Paul in the New Testament book of Hebrews defines faith this way:

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped…

Number 10 in the series called The Case Against Physicalism. When physicalism is questioned the standard defense is calling up the remarkable success of science. The argument goes: given its efficacy, how can anyone question that the discoveries and methods employed compel the physicalist belief? But, Roman success in subjugating the world did not mean their worldview was correct. Belief in Mars as the god of war was not the secret to the Roman’s success.

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash. The success of the scientific method and the knowledge of the universe this method has revealed is truly astounding. But, does this success mean that the philosophical claim of exclusive physicalism is justified?

There are a number of problems with this “success means we are right” defense as leading philosophers have explained. …

Number 9 in a series called The Case Against Physicalism. No surprise that the failure, so far anyway, of current science methods to solve the mystery of conscious experience is considered by many to be a make or break issue for physicalism. The question may not be settled, and may never be. But the difficulty in finding physicalists solutions provides a strong indication that something may be missing.

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Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash. “Is that all there is?” That’s what Peggy Lee asked in the song that haunts us today. Is the brain all there is to human experience? Can everything in our minds. souls, experience, memories be explained by the random action of random particles assembled by purposeless and random laws? As hard as scientists have tried for the past many years to clearly answer that question based on physicalism, the mystery of conscious experience continues to elude.

Consciousness appears to be one of the few make it or break it issues for physicalists. If physicalists can show that consciousness is produced exclusively by neural activity in the brain, it…

Gerald R. Baron

Husband, father, grandfather, semi-retired, farm advocate, author, communicator. Deeply curious about science, nature, spirit and history.

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