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Geometry existed before the creation; is co-eternal with the mind of God; is God himself ... Where there is matter there is geometry. ... geometry provided God with a model for the Creation and was implanted into man, together with God's own likeness - and not merely conveyed to his mind through the eyes. ... It is absolutely necessary that the work of such a Creator be of the greatest beauty...
Kepler - Harmonice Mundi (1619)

Perhaps there will be prattlers who, although completely ignorant of mathematics, nevertheless take it upon themselves to pass judgment on mathematical questions, and on account of some passage in Scripture, badly distorted to their purpose, will dare to censure and assail what I have presented here.
Copernicus -
Introduction to On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Sphere

I have two sources of perpetual comfort - first, that in my writings there cannot be found the faintest shadow of irreverence towards the Holy Church; and second, the testimony of my own conscience, which only I and God in heaven thoroughly know. And He knows that in this cause in which I suffer, though many might have spoken with more learning, none, not even the ancient Fathers, have spoken with more piety or with greater zeal for the Church than I.
Galileo

Mathematical Sciences..discussions that treat various aspects of mathematics, computer science, and related fields from a Christian perspective.
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"Recently, geneticist Francis Collins described the experience of watching his teacher Nobel laureate Willis Lamb elucidate the principles of relativity and quantum mechanics by "deriving simple and beautiful universal equations from first principles. Were these mathematical descriptions along with DNA another language of God?" - Language of God 2006 , pp. 62, 63.

GalileoStampMuch earlier, Galileo in the early 17th Century claimed that the universe (or at least the planetary part) could not be understood "unless one first studies  its language whose characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it." - God and Nature 1986, p.123.)

His comment offers confirmation to historians of the Scientific Revolution who attribute the widespread application of mathematical methods to the physical world as the signal contribution of the seventeenth century to the earlier scientific tradition. While scientists have reason to appreciate the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" (Eugene Wigner) pure mathematics is carried out without without any concern for useful applications. Andrew Philip's short review suggests paths to relating mathematics and Christianity.

Two recent books, Mathematics and the Divine: A Historical Study (2005) and Foundations From God: Mathematics and Victorian Faith (2007), are reviewed in the book section below


Introduction to the field

Mathematics and Christianity has only recently developed sufficient constituency to actively organize and publish a journal. The Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences (ACMS) formally organized in 1985. The computer science subgroup of the ACMS, which consists of computer scientists and mathematicians who teach computer science, also maintains a webpage.    

Blaise Pascal--Wikipedia

The 2004 Inaugural Issue; of the Journal of the ACMS provides an excellent introduction this diverse field. The Journal continues to offer thoughtful articles.

Christian Schools

Nance, Jim. 1996. Worldview Test Case: Christianity in Math Class. In Repairing the Ruins: The Classical and Christian Challenge to Modern Education, ed. Douglas J. Wilson, 59-71. Moscow, ID: Canon Press.

Videos

Oxford Professor,  mathematician John Lennox:

Creator or the Multiverse? Does the fine tuning of the universe point to God or an infinite collection of universes?  8 Minutes

Christianity and the tooth fairy  Does science deal with reality and religion with everything else?  8 Minutes

Dr. Rosalind Picard (MIT)   Do Robots Have Feelings?  at The Veritas Forum at Rice Youtube 7 Minutes

Judea Pearl,The A. M. Turing 2011 Award Lecture (Video)
The Mechanism of Causual Inference: A Mini "Turing Test" and Beyond
"The whole lecture I found interesting, but of possible interest would be around 21:30, where he gets into Abraham being the first scientist, and counterfactuals and our sense of justice.  He then moves into counterfactuals in physics.  It was a philosophical lecture on Artificial Intelligence"--thanks to Robert Tholen

General Articles

 


SYNOPSIS

Episode image for The Turing Solution

The Turing Solution

The Turing Solution

Mathematician and code-brea

Video 1 BBC
Video 2 BBC

June 2012

Alan Turing, born June 23 1912, is famous for his key role in breaking German codes in World War 2. But for mathematicians, his greatest work was on the invention of the computer.

Alan Turing's brilliance at maths was spectacular. Aged 22, just a year after his graduation, he was elected a fellow of King's College Cambridge. And it was just a year after that, that he turned his attention to problems in the foundations of mathematics and ended up showing that a simple machine, set up to read and write numbers and to run a few basic functions, could in principle do all the things that are do-able in mathematics. His 'universal' machine was just a concept - a paper tape that could be read, interpreted and acted on robotically. But the concept was profound....

James Bradley, An Augustinian Perspective on the Philosophy of Mathematics, Journal  of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences, November 2007.

expensivetextFrom a Christian perspective, both modern and post-modern approaches to the philosophy of mathematics have significant shortcomings. This paper explores an alternative. It summarizes Augustine of Hippo's views on the four classical themes of the philosophy of mathematicsthe ontology of mathematical objects, their epistemology, the nature of truth in mathematics, and how we account for the effectiveness of mathematics in describing the natural world. It then traces what has happened to Augustine’s perspective in the roughly 1600 years since it was written concluding with a discussion of some spiritual and intellectual problems with the currently dominant secular perspective.

Gary De Young, "Perspective on Mathematical Modeling." Pro Rega June 2010: 1-10.

The mathematical modeling process is an iterative scheme by which we try to refine our understanding of a physical-world phenomenon by translating assumptions about the phenomenon into mathematical language where mathematical results are discovered, which are then translated back to a physical world meaning.

A Christian professor reflects on his life and work in mathematics

Anderson, Kerby "Computers and the Information Revolution" (web link)

Carlos Bovell, Pairing and Plus-ing the Godhead: An Algebraic Analogy,  PSCF 55 (September 2003):166-174. 

This essay is an exercise in the integration of mathematics and theology. Its purpose is to show the usefulness of mathematics with regard to theological discourse. The author explores the problem of the Trinity and illuminates certain factors that contribute to our failure in comprehending it. An algebraic analogy is employed that (approximately) represents the doctrine of the Trinity. The analogy serves to illustrate the means by which humans innately group and combine individual objects. Such combining and grouping, it is argued, obtains by means of a pairing mechanism. This binary mechanism, though capable in most mathematical enterprises, is inadequate when one considers the relations within the Trinity. Moreover, the
very operations that define our means of arithmetic conception fail to apprehend the divine perichoresis

Robert L. Brabenec, "The Impact of Three Mathematical Discoveries on Human Knowledge,"  JASA 30 (March 1978): 2-6.

The year 1826 is noteworthy, marking the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry. This discovery changed the way in which man thought about mathematics and led to a rapid growth of many new kinds of mathematical structures as well as the adoption of the axiomatic method as the format for these developments.


SYNOPSIS

R. Judson Carlberg, My View: Ken Olsen, a lifetime of science and faith May 14, 2011.  A summary of the life and work of a Christian pioneer in computer science.

 Apocalyptic AI by Robert M. Geracisted 8 Dec 2011 at 22:24 UT

Get ready for the four robots of the apocalypse as we review a book that should be close to the hearts of robots.net readers - because you actually helped research it: Robert M. Geraci's "Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality". Geraci, a professor of religion and researcher of all things eschatological, notes that, 

"excepting rapture theologians of fundamentalist Christianity, popular science authors in robotics and artificial intelligence have become the most influential spokespeople for apocalyptic theology in the Western World."

You heard that right, roboticists and AI researchers have risen to second place when it comes to who we think of when the topic is apocalyptic theology. And with fundamentalists blowing two more apocalyptic predictions since the book was published, who knows, we may be number 1 now. But how can robots and AI be theology? Read on for a full review of Geraci's book.   more

 

Faw, Harold, "Does Scripture Support Standardized Tests," PSCF  42 (June 1990): 86-93. A standardized test involves observations of an individual's behaviour made under specified conditions for the purpose of meaningfully comparing it with that of other people. Because of the very extensive use of these instruments, a storm of criticism has arisen and a great deal of misunderstanding surrounds them. While the critics have often been right, standardized tests do yield information which can facilitate good decision making. Provided we have a clear understanding of their limitations and we use them with a view toward service, standardized tests may indeed help to move us toward the goals of justice and equity.

Geertsema, Jan C., " A Christian View of the Foundations of Statistics" PSCF 39 (September 1987):158-164. In order to develop a Christian approach to an exact science such as Statistics, it is useful to view such a science within the various broader contexts with which it is connected. Various contexts of Statistics are discussed and the relevant philosophical currents are indicated. These call for a Christian response, which is briefly touched on.

Hartley, A M., The Philosophy of the Law Idea and the Role of the Prescientific
in Statistical Inference
. Journal of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences, December 2004.
  Joel  C. Adams,   Why Christians Should Study Computer Science (and other 
technical disciplines) 
H. Harold Hartzler, "The Meaning of Mathematics," JASA 1 (January 1949):13-19 An 
ASA Classic

Georg Cantor-- Wikepedia

J. J. O'Connor and E F Robertson, Christianity and the Mathematical Sciences - the Heliocentric Hypothesis (web link)

Ladislav Kvasz, "The Invisible Link Between Mathematics and Theology ," PSCF 56 (June 2004):111-116.

Georg Cantor

Bruce A. Hedman, "Cantor's Concept of Infinity:
Implications of Infinity for Contingence
,"
PSCF 46 (March 1993): 8-16.
Georg Cantor (1845-1918) was a devout Lutheran whose explicit Christian beliefs shaped his philosophy of science.

Pennello, Gene, "A Statistical Test that Fails to Substantiate Decay in the Velocity of Light" PSCF 45 (June 1993):116-119

Michael Veatch, "Mathematics and Values: Can Philosophy Guide Projects?," 1997.
 This paper attempts to find points of contact between a Christian worldview and the choice of mathematical projects and methods.

Vern Polythress, A Biblical View of Mathematics  (From Foundations of Christian Scholarship: Essays in the Van Til Perspective, Gary North Ed.  1976: 158-188.

Vern Polythress, Mathematics as Rhyme, JASA 35 (Dec 1983): 196-203. Using the analogy between the universe and a choral poem, one may view: mathematics as the "rhyme" of the universe. In that perspective new light is thrown on the unique subject matter of mathematics, the a priori character of its truth, and the relation of mathematics to other areas of knowledge. A route is thereby opened for richer use of creativity in mathematics.

Wade, Rick "Pascal: An Apologist for Our Times," (web link)

Williams, Bill R., Dickerson, Mark S., "A Mathematical Analogue for a Model of the Trinity, " PSCF 56 (June 2004):102-110

Books

PLATO'S GHOST: The Modernist Transformation of Mathematics by Jeremy Gray. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008. 515 pages, glossary, bibliography, index. Hardcover.  ASA Review

Hartley, Andrew M., Christian and Humanist Foundations for Statistical Inference (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock), 2007.   Review by Steve Bishop UK

James Bradley, Mathematics in a Postmodern Age: A Christian Perspective, edited by Russell W. Howell & W. (Eerdmans, 2001)

James Nickel, Mathematics: Is God Silent?, Ross House Books (2001) This book revolutionizes the prevailing understanding and teaching of math. The addition of this book is a must for all upper-level Christian school curricula and for college students and adults interested in math or related fields of science and religion. It will serve as a solid refutation for the claim, often made in court, that mathematics is one subject, which cannot be taught from a distinctively Biblical perspective.--Amazon

Daniel J. Cohen,  Equations From God: Pure Mathematics and Victorian Faith, The John Hopkins University Press, 2007 PSCS Review by Calvin Jongsma www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Book%20Reviews2005-/6-08.html

This excellent review provides a fine starting point for developing insights into faith and mathematics!

T. Koetsier and L. Bergmans, eds., Mathematics and the Divine A Historical Study  Elsevier Science; (Dec 30 2004) MAA  Review by Calvin Jongsma

John Byl,  The Divine Challenge: on Matter, Mind, Math and Meaning, by  Banner of Truth Trust, 2004. Paperback, 336 pp., $16.99. ISBN 851518877. MAA Review by Russell W. Howell)

 Russell W. Howell and W. James Bradley,  Mathematics in a Postmodern Age: A Christian Perspective, ed. by . Eerdmans, 2001. Paperback, 407 pp., $28.00. ISBN 0-8028-4910-5. MAA Review  by Bonnie Gold

Larry L. Zimmerman, Truth and the Transcendent: The Origin, Nature, & Purpose of Mathematics, (Answers in Genesis, 2000)

G. Chase and C. Jongsma,  Bibliography of Christianity and Mathematics, 1st edition 1983, Messiah College

Teaching Resources