No Christ, no Physics

This thing we call physics or modern science, which is more properly called natural philosophy, does not and cannot exist, not as a coherent concept, outside of Christianity. That is the testimony of history.

If you do not believe the testimony of history, please inquire further. Please ask  Jean Buridan de Bethune, Nicolas of Oresme, Albrecht of Saxony, Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Theodoric of Fribourg, William of Occam, Roger Bacon, Thierry of Chartres, Gerbert of Aurillac, William of Conches, John Peckham, Duns Scotus, Thomas Bradwardine, Walter Burley, William Heytesbury, Richard Swineshead, John Dumbleton, and Nicholas of Cusa.

For that matter, read Newton:

Newton saw his science as working to increase his own faith in God and helping others in their belief. Writing to a young clergyman, Richard Bentley, on this theme, Newton said:

“When I wrote my treatise about our system, I had my eye upon such principles as might work with considering men for the belief of a deity; and nothing can rejoice me more than to find it useful for that purpose.”

(10th December, 1692)

Newton goes on in the same letter to note elements in his cosmology which he feels are a “contrivance of a voluntary Agent” and “arguments for a Deity”. For Newton, his science was not incidental to his religion, rather it is an essential and motivating part of it.

If you do accept the testimony of history, the question is why this is the case.

Consider: by the modern secular worldview, man was evolved by an unitentional natural process, including his brain parts and the various faculties of his mind, including therefore his reasoning powers.

By the modern secular worldview, there is only the data of the empirical world to deal with, the metadata of metaphysical truth is rejected as either arbitrary, or speculative, or beyond human knowledge.

Modern science is a tower without a foundation. It rests on nothing. When asked about the assumptions and axioms that must be true or else nothing in science is true, modern popularizers of scienceeither stammer or change the subject or speak nonsense. They have no answer.  (Here I mean the heresiarch Carl Sagan in particular, but take any atheist popularizer as you like)

Hence, the operations of the laws of nature, which have visible effects, can be known, but the source of the laws of nature, which are invisible and metaphysical, cannot be known. Merely to use one example, the idea that all actions have an equal and opposite reaction could indeed be inductively deduced from empirical reasoning, after observing the collissions of billiard balls and the like. But far more likely is it a specific application of a general metaphysical principle that nothing comes from nothing, that is, every effect has a cause sufficient to cause it.

This rule cannot be an empirical reasoning, inductive or otherwise, since it applies to all times, all places, and under all conditions, observered or not, and its truth cannot be confirmed nor denied by any observation whatsoever. The only thing empiricism does when an effect arises from an unseen cause is to assume an unseen cause exists. Without this, no empiricism is possible.

All empirical observations are conditional. They depend on the time, place, and conditions of the observation. Sometimes, as in modern physics, they depend on the presence of an observer, who, by bouncing some sort of particle off the observed particle, changes it.

No metaphysical observations are conditional. They are necessary. They are deduced from the categories of thought itself.

Now, modern secular philosophy, for better or worse, dismisses metaphysics as immaterial and unnecessary, and makes an abortive attempt to smuggle the needed metaphysical axioms of physics in through a backdoor, as it were, either by asserting they are arbitrary postulates, or by asserting they have no relation to reality.

Listen to your average modern secular talk about the relation between pure mathematics and math as applied to physics. Or, better yet, listent to the foremost genius in physics history has yet produced.

“Insofar as mathematics is true, it does not describe the real world. Insofar as it describes the real world, it is not true.”

The brute illogic of the concept will make your head spin. Einstein, for all his accomplishments in physics, here makes a howler of an error in Philosophy 101. He treats mathematical knowledge, that is, rational knowledge, as an imperfect branch of empirical knowledge. It is a mistake of epistemology.

By his formulation, a perfectly truthful mathematics would be meaningless in describing the world, and a perfect description of the world would be untrue. This, from a man who devoted his life discovering ever more subtle and truthful ways to describe the world using mathematics.

Why the disconnect? Well, his metaphysics is bad. Einstein in this passage assumes truth exists only in empirical statements (descriptions of the world) and not in fornal, abstract reasoning (mathematics).  He cannot account for the coherence of form and matter. To him, it is, at best, an eerie concidence.

But if he really believed this statement, he would do no science, and would never attempt to use mathematics to describe such things as the motion of bodies at near lightspeed, nor the procession of Mercury, nor the way light bends around a star. How could he? A successful attempt would be true (mathematically coherent aka rational) therefore meaningless (describing not the real world al) or would be meaningful (describe the world) but not true (mathematically coherent); but could not be both.

Obviously the Christian worldview in general, and Thomist philosophy in particular, sees no paradox between empirical and rational knowledge because it does not assume a divorce can exist between them. For us, any idea in the mind of the Logos, the governing logic of the universe, can be reflected both (1) in the realm of Platonic ideas that He creates, and in the human faculty of reason by which we apprehend such ideas, and (2) in the visible realm of material objects the He creates. He ordains that material objects participating in those ideas, and commanded by the same power that created all things ex nihilo to abide by a fixed nature, including the formal nature of the objects which can be described by the ratios and proportions (or “logos”) of formal logic (or “logos”).

Now, how one can explain the coherence between form and matter without a Christian metaphysic, or at least a Thomist or Aristotlean idea of the relation of the One and the Many, that I do not know and cannot imagine.  Modern science perhaps could have grown out of Neoplatonism or Aristotleanism but it did not, that is, not until these dead end ideas were given new life in the Middle Ages by Aquinas and Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Grosseteste, William of Occam and the other monkish father of so called modern science (which is actually Medieval, nor modern, in its birthdate).