Tuesday, March 11, 2014

From musical birds on a wire to natural numbers controversy; string theory to theory of everything- some thoughts

A month ago I wrote about the Music of the Spheres, the ancient concept developed by Pythagoras and promoted by Plato that there is a hidden order and musical harmony behind what we see manifested in the physical universe. Pythagoras believed that numbers were the foundational glue that ordered the worlds, and further, that as the planets and universe went about their business orbiting and just being, that they emitted an actual musical score, thrumming as strings.

If this sounds a lot like string theory, Pythagoras had the initial glimmers. If you'd like to read more, I discussed the concept of the Music of the Spheres into three parts. Part 1 begins here.

Imagine my delight when I came across this from South America. It is from 2009, so it's not new, but isn't this just charming:

LifeBuzz describes:

Birdsong, by Jarbas Agnelli
One morning while reading a newspaper, composer Jarbas Agnelli saw a photograph of birds on an electric wire. He cut out the photo and was inspired to make a song using the exact location of the birds as musical notes. He was curious to hear what melody the birds created.

He sent the music to the photographer, Paulo Pinto, who told his editor, who told a reporter and the story ended up as an interview in the newspaper. It ended up Winner of the YouTube Play Guggenheim Biennial Festival.

A physics controversy is erupting. It seems that a youtube video is making a splash. According to this article it has been seen by 1.5 million people as of February 4, 2014.

Two physicists explain: The sum of all positive integers equals −1/12


I read several Physics chat rooms and forums and it seems there is a huge debate over this. Two string theory scientists had recently posted in their Youtube video explaining that all the positive integers added up to infinity equals a negative number. Who knew there were that many string theory scientists & geeks. Anyway, there is huge debate over their results. The link above is a good article explaining what the string theory scientists are about.

The article opens this way-
"How far should scientists go in simplifying complexity to engage the public imagination?"

Though the scientists say they focus on the infinite, what they're really focusing on is the eternal.

God is the infinite. Only God can simplify the eternal so that man's finite brain can understand it. This is why unsaved people cannot understand the bible, and this is why unsaved scientists cannot understand the complex. In fact, the only people who can understand string theory are Christians.

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16)

One of the scientists saying this positive number equals a negative number thing is Tony Padilla. Padilla says,

"It’s by no means obvious, but this is the only sensible value one can attach to this divergent sum. Infinity is not a sensible value. In my opinion, as a physicist, infinity has no place in physical observables, and therefore no place in Nature."

No, infinity does not have a sensible value. How can one put a value on the infinite (eternal)? However, if you think about it, numbers in general do not have a sensible value! It is finite man who developed counting systems with values. Though in the US we use base-10, others use base 12. This mathematician wrote,

"Humans, for the most part, count in chunks of 10 — that's the foundation of the decimal system. Despite its near-universal adoption, however, it's a completely arbitrary numbering system that emerged for one very simple reason: We have five fingers on each hand."

Mayans used base 20 and Babylonians used base 60. So scientists who put all their trust (faith?) in a value of
Babylonian numerals
a number forget that assigning a value to a number, (written in what is only a man-made squiggle after all, remember XVII?), is just as arbitrary and at root, have no sensible value, either.

David Hilbert, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, described infinity as “a mathematical abstraction that does not have a physical content.”

That's because infinity is God (eternal) and God is spirit! God does not have physical content.

Linnaeus: Table of the Animal Kingdom (Regnum Animale)
from the 1st edition of Systema Naturæ (1735)
OK, this math positive numbers equal negative numbers thing is a classic example of scientists attempting to classify the unclassifiable. Physics comes extremely close to who God is and one of His infinite qualities, omniscience. The scientists are trying to order and organize something that is impossible to order and organize without knowing God. They are UNspiritual people trying to learn spiritual things- 1 Corinthians 2:13- and with a finite mind, no less.

Some parts of our physical existence can be seen and understood, but even Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, had a difficult time with his hierarchical organization trees because new species kept cropping up that destroyed his finely created "kingdom-class-order-phylum-genus-species hierarchical taxonomy.

And physicists try to do the same, but with math. It works to a degree but just when they get close, like mercury squirting out from under their thumb, their theories collapse. Their pursuit is like Tantalus', eternally reaching for the fruit and the water that was eternally outside his grasp. It is a classic case of 2 Timothy 3:7!

Hilbert was right, more right than he knew. Infinity IS a mathematical content that has no physical...it's God. But they will never accept that. I watched the BBC series "Atom" a couple of summers ago, narrated by physicist Jim Al-Khalili. He showed how even this dimension we are living in is likely a hologram, AKA not real - and how right he is! Which is the 'real' dimension? This one or the one that appeared before the disciples' eyes on the mount of Transfiguration, with Moses and Elijah 'suddenly' appearing and speaking to each other? The one that Elisha's servant saw, or the one that Elisha asked God to reveal which was there all along? In physics this hologram universe is called the 'holographic principle'. PBS Nova describes the holographic principle--

The holographic principle, simply put, is the idea that our three-dimensional reality is a projection of information stored on a distant, two-dimensional surface. Like the emblem on your credit card, the two-dimensional surface holds all the information you need to describe a three-dimensional object—in this case, our universe. Only when it is illuminated does it reveal a three-dimensional image. This raises a number of questions: If our universe is a holographic projection, then where is the two-dimensional surface containing all the information that describes it? What “illuminates” that surface? Is it more or less real than our universe?

So when math guys say that all positive integers added to infinity would result in a sum that is a negative number, why NOT? What is real about anything we know, except for what God revealed to us in His word? all that math is, and physics, is an arbitrary philosophical construct based on man's interpretation of things outside of the only construct that makes sense- the bible.

Physicists seek the Theory of Everything. "A theory of everything (ToE) or final theory, ultimate theory or master theory refers to the hypothetical presence of a single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe. ToE is one of the major unsolved problems in physics." (source)

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” (1 Timothy 6:20)

We rejoice in the Creator without succumbing to worshiping the creation. We take delight in Who God is, without attempting to overlay scientific theories that explain Him. He is eternal, infinite, expansive, majestic, and above all, holy. The Theory of Everything that scientists constantly seek, is ... the bible. Best of all, it's not a theory. It is fact.

"Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high," (Psalm 113:1-9)


  1. Oh, Elizabeth, this was exquisite!

    I participated in a homeschool practicum last summer that delved into the beauty of math. This was a new concept to me, and I struggled to keep up with the crumbs that fell from the table. However, the LORD has given me just enough intelligence to be glad there are people like you who see the beauties in the creation of our Creator which are hidden to the rest of us. You give me a little taste of what heaven will be like, when even I will know as I am known!! :)

  2. Love Love Love the "bird song".

    What hidden treasures the Lord has for us to discover - and many more yet to come!


  3. That is incredible. There is not one thing in the created universe since the beginning that does not have significance. Including the "random" positions of these birds.
    Psalm 147:

    3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

    4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

    5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.


Throwback Thursday: If We had X-ray Vision, what would Sin Look Like?

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