THE MIND OF GOD: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World by Paul Davies

THE MIND OF GOD: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World

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Are we but ideas in the mind of God? Platonic forms in one of many infinite universes? Davies (Theoretical Physics/Univ. of Adelaide, Australia; co-author, The Matter Myth, p. 1510, etc.) increasingly assumes the mantle of metaphysician as he probes once again theories of origin and destiny, space and time, and creation by design or chance. Some of this tracks familiar Davies ground: a reprise of Plato and Aristotle, Aquinas and Newton, Hoyle and Hawking. Quarks and GUT theories are revisited, as are chaos theory and quantum cosmology. But what makes this exercise different is the extent to which Davies probes computer science and mathematics to develop extraordinarily rich concepts of the nature of complexity. These chapters deal not only with the paradoxes inherent in self-reflecting systems and GÉdel's proofs of undecidability in mathematics but relate these famous theorems to Turing's universal machines and the nature of ""computable"" vs. ""noncomputable"" numbers. The upshot of all this lofty discourse is the idea that the laws of physics (or nature) are ""computable"" and that the universe lends itself to simulation, given a universal computer. The more enthusiastic mathematicians exploring these ideas are prepared to say that such computers reveal the organized complexity of the universe, are capable of self-replication, and are therefore alive. Davies concludes that maybe the ultimate answer cannot be obtained through reason but only through mysticism, and he again states his conviction that we are truly meant to be here.... That's not necessarily the conclusion all readers will reach, but the mathematical excursions make this latest Davies volume of more than passing interest.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0671797182
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster