Laws of Physics, where did they come from?
The physical universe and the laws of physics are interdependent and irreducible. There would not be one without the other. Origins make only sense in face of Intelligent Design.
"The naive view implies that the universe suddenly came into existence and found a complete system of physical laws waiting to be obeyed. Actually, it seems more natural to suppose that the physical universe and the laws of physics are interdependent." —*WH. McCrea, "Cosmology after Half a Century," Science, Vol. 160, June 1968, p. 1297.
Paul Davies: The universe obeys mathematical laws; they are like a hidden subtext in nature. Science reveals that there is a coherent scheme of things, but scientists do not necessarily interpret that as evidence for meaning or purpose in the universe.
The only rational explanation is however that God created this coherent scheme of things since there is no other alternative explanation. That's why atheists rather than admit that, prefer to argue of " not knowing " of its cause.
Our very ability to establish the laws of nature depends on their stability.(In fact, the idea of a law of nature implies stability.) Likewise, the laws of nature must remain constant long enough to provide the kind of stability life requires through the building of nested layers of complexity. The properties of the most fundamental units of complexity we know of, quarks, must remain constant in order for them to form larger units, protons and neutrons, which then go into building even larger units, atoms, and so on, all the way to stars, planets, and in some sense, people. The lower levels of complexity provide the structure and carry the information of life. There is still a great deal of mystery about how the various levels relate, but clearly, at each level, structures must remain stable over vast stretches of space and time.
And our universe does not merely contain complex structures; it also contains elaborately nested layers of higher and higher complexity. Consider complex carbon atoms, within still more complex sugars and nucleotides, within more complex DNA molecules, within complex nuclei, within complex neurons, within the complex human brain, all of which are integrated in a human body. Such “complexification” would be impossible in both a totally chaotic, unstable universe and an utterly simple, homogeneous universe of, say, hydrogen atoms or quarks.
Described by man, Prescribed by God. There is no scientific reason why there should be any laws at all. It would be perfectly logical for there to be chaos instead of order. Therefore the FACT of order itself suggests that somewhere at the bottom of all this there is a Mind at work. This Mind, which is uncaused, can be called 'God.' If someone asked me what's your definition of 'God', I would say 'That which is Uncaused and the source of all that is Caused.'
The following quotations from Einstein are all in Jammer’s book :
“Every scientist becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men.”
“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man.”
“The divine reveals itself in the physical world.”
“My God created laws… His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking but by immutable laws.”
“I want to know how God created this world. I want to know his thoughts.”
“What I am really interested in knowing is whether God could have created the world in a different way.”
“This firm belief in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God.”
“My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit, …That superior reasoning power forms my idea of God.”
The argument of the supervision of order
1. We find in nature many laws like the law of gravitation, the laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics.
2. Just as in any state, the government or the king makes different laws and supervises their subjects that the laws are carried out, so the laws of nature had to be generated and supervised by some intelligent being.
3. So, for everything that happens according to those laws there has to be a supervisor or controller.
4. Man can create small laws and control limited things in his domain, but nature’s grand laws had to be created by a big brain, an extraordinarily powerful person who can supervise that those laws are carried out.
5. Such an extraordinary, omnipotent person can be only God.
6. Hence, God exists.
Do the laws of physics point to the existence of God?
The universe obeys laws and rules of mathematics and physics. They constrain how physical stuff behaves in the universe. The force of Gravity does not change, a hot cup of tea will always get cold, rather than hotter, the earth rotates constantly 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn't change anywhere in the universe.
These Laws of Physics, where did they come from? This is one of the very fundamental questions we can ask. What is their origin? Can laws come about naturally? How did they come about fully balanced to create order instead of chaos?
Descartes ( 1596 – 1650) and Newton ( 1643 — 1727 ) established the discovery of natural laws as the central aim of inquiry. Since they presupposed that God exists, there was no problem to think of physical laws as rules, laid down by God that move the universe in accordance with His divine determinations.
Johannes Kepler, Defundamentis Astrologiae Certioribus, Thesis XX (1601)
"The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which He revealed to us in the language of mathematics."
The greatest science fathers thought so. Kepler formulated three major laws of planetary motion which enabled Isaac Newton to devise the law of gravitation. Working from the carefully measured positions of the planets, Kepler mathematically deduced his three laws from the data.
Newton, Galileo, and Copernicus viewed the universe as orderly and capable of mathematical description precisely because a rational God had fashioned it so. These brilliant scientists and mathematicians believed that, since God had designed the universe, then "all phenomena of nature would follow one master plan.
One mind designing a universe would almost surely have employed one set of basic principles to govern all related phenomena.
And Einstein said: I want to know how God created this world. I’m not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the properties of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.
The supreme task of the physicist’ was to comprehend the order that underlies the workings of the entire cosmos – from the behaviour of the tiny particles jiggling around inside atoms to the convulsions of galaxies in outer space.
In 1952, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to Maurice Solovine, where he expressed how he was struck by the wondrous orderliness of the world. He wrote:
You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way.
With the advent of secular materialism, that view was challenged. Does the implementation of the law of physics depend on the action of an intelligent rational agency?
According to Einstein, there is one and only one way in which all the components — matter, radiation, forces, space and time fit together to make reality work, just as the gears, springs, dials and wheels of a mechanical clock uniquely combine to keep time.
And in his article: The Evolution of the Physicist's Picture of Nature (1963) 1
It seems to be one of the fundamental features of nature that fundamental physical laws are described in terms of a mathematical theory of great beauty and power, needing quite a high standard of mathematics for one to understand it. You may wonder: Why is nature constructed along these lines? One can only answer that our present knowledge seems to show that nature is so constructed. We simply have to accept it.
One could perhaps describe the situation by saying that God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe. Our feeble attempts at mathematics enable us to understand a bit of the universe, and as we proceed to develop higher and higher mathematics we can hope to understand the universe better.
"Mathematics is a game where mathematicians invent the rules. Physics is a game where the rules are given to us by nature. What is interesting is that the rules of nature appear to be in the same mathematical rules as the mathematicians have concocted" So, of course, the question is: what is the source of the rules of nature?
Physics is the manifestation or effect of mathematic interacting with matter in our "real world".
Mathematics IS the true fabric of reality. Mathematicians can't invent any rules. Everything is already there or here.. Mathematicians just uncover.. not discover the rules of the game. The rules are embedded in everything in the known universe.
Feynman said: "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle." The laws of nature can be described in numbers. They can be measured and quantified in the language of mathematics.
And Paul Davies: Our complex universe will emerge only if the laws of physics are very close to what they are.... Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favourite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are—they just are.”
Superforce (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 243.
The mysterious coherency of the mathematical forms underlying the cosmos is solved if we recognize these to be the result of the action of a powerful designer who created them with the goal to make the universe life-permitting.
According to Hawking, the laws of physics, not the will of God, provide the real explanation as to how life on Earth came into being.
The Big Bang, he argues, was the inevitable consequence of these laws 'because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.'
The laws of physics do not stand in a causal relationship. They cannot cause something to happen. They can explain how a jet engine works but not how it came to exist in the first place. Evidently, a jet engine does not emerge merely by the laws of physics on their own— intelligence and creative engineering is required.
The Standard Model of physics comes with several constants of nature — numbers like the mass and charge of the electron — that have to be measured in experiments. The values of these “free parameters” seem to be without any deeper meaning. Despite of it, particle physics is a wonder of elegance.
But is it even conceivable that there is no necessary intentional agent at the bottom of all existence giving the rules? Why did all physical start, constrained by these rules? If there was no divine agency, how can the existence of physical laws be explained? With an ur-simulator? by a random fundamental " law generating machine"?
That alternative to God would have, for no known reasons, start generating every possible process of chaotic trial and error of potential laws. Testing every circumstance, every possible niche, exploring every escape hatch, until getting a state of affairs that works, giving a sudden rise by a lucky accident to physical laws, going hand in hand and start imposing their rules to physical stuff, created at the Big bang.
But how could all this occur without physical stuff? The rule is just an expression of a constraint that is actually enforced by interaction with the physical system. Furthermore, if the laws of nature had been different so that they forced electrons to attract rather than to repel one another, the universe as we know it, would not exist.
Marco Biagini, Ph.D. in Solid State Physics:
Science has proved that the state of the universe is determined by some specific mathematical equations, the laws of physics; the universe cannot exist independently from such equations, which determine the events and the properties of such events (including the probability for the event to occur, according to the predictions of quantum mechanics).
However we know that a mathematical equation cannot exist by itself, but it exists only as a thought in a conscious and intelligent mind. In fact, a mathematical equation is only an abstract concept, which existence presupposes the existence of a person conceiving such a concept. Therefore, the existence of this mathematically structured universe does imply the existence of a personal God;
this universe cannot exist by itself, but it can exist only if there is a conscious and intelligent God conceiving it according to some specific mathematical equations.
Is it even conceivable that the existence of natural laws can exist without physical things to act upon, and a lawgiver? Would it not be utterly mysterious and border to the nonsensical to claim no lawgiver nor physical stuff to act upon is necessary?
How could it be honest simply to claim of not knowing, and leaving it by that? Things could just happen, for no reason at all.
If God is killed off, the laws just free-float in a conceptual vacuum without explanation.
How could it be imagined, that abstract, non-physical objects -- laws of nature, would be living in their "transcendent state" , and by the advent of the Big bang, physical stuff would find them suddenly starting to impose their rules on matter, energy and space, as if abstract things would be able to move from non-causality, to force physical things to behave in a certain manner, obeying their rules ?
A suggestion is that physical necessity could eventually have enforced these laws to come into play, and, for example, forcing electrons by their creation and first appearance, start to attract one another. In other words, other laws would eventually not even be possible, and there were no other options, but the state of affairs had to be the way it is. How can we reject that this was not the case?
Could it be said that rather than thinking of laws as rules that have an existence above and beyond the objects they govern, these laws are reduced to particularly concise and powerful descriptions of regular behaviour, but nothing more than that?
If these laws are a mere descriptive conception, they do not exist independently and transcendently. They do not exist in some platonic form beyond the behaviour of matter and energy. The laws are just descriptions of the inherent nature of physical things which could not behave and be differently. But is that so?
Sean Carroll: There are an infinite number of self-consistent quantum-mechanical systems that are different from our actual universe. And there are presumably an infinite number of ways the laws of physics could have been that aren’t quantum-mechanical at all. Many physicists now suspect that the laws of physics in our observable universe are just one possibility among a very large “landscape” of physically realizable possibilities.
There is no reason why there could not be a universe hostile to any life form. Universes of black holes, high-entropy universes, a universe that changes its underlying structure with great frequency making it impossible for life to exist for long periods of time, a universe that does not permit the formation of stars, galaxies etc.
Some argue that physical laws are just described, but not prescribed. On the prescriptive view, these laws explain why all electrons attract one another, whereas on the descriptive view the laws just restate the fact that all electrons attract one another. The problem with the descriptive view is that it does not give any explanation whatsoever why the behaviour is the way it is.
Is it justified to say simply: laws of nature do have a privileged role in physical explanation, but that privilege is due to their simplicity and generality, and not going further to attempt to explain why they exist in the first place? The problem is, that this does not explain anything at all in regards to their origin !!
Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate from the University of Texas, Austin, described himself as “pretty Platonist,” saying he thinks the laws of nature are as real as “the rocks in the field.”
MIT physicist Max Tegmark goes that far to claim that mathematics does not describe the universe — it is the universe. “Everything in our world is purely mathematical — including you,” he claims. In 2014 he argued in “Our Mathematical Universe” that mathematics is the fundamental world reality that drives the universe.
His claim is basically that mathematics is operating in a god-like fashion. Does it not make more sense, in the end, to conclude that God used beautiful mathematics to create the world? And there, we have the three ingredients that make up reality: Conscious intelligence, abstract mathematics, and the material world.
Our nonphysical thoughts somehow mysteriously guide the actions of our physical bodies. This is no more scientifically explicable than the mysterious ability of nonphysical mathematical constructions to determine the workings of a separate physical world.
The fundamental laws of physics
Newton’s Three Laws of Motion.
Law of Gravity.
Conservation of Mass-Energy.
Conservation of Momentum.
Laws of Thermodynamics.
Invariance of the Speed of Light.
Each one of the fundamental laws of nature is essential for life to exist. A universe lacking any of the laws shown in Table above would almost certainly be a universe without life.
Only in the 20th century, it became clear that the incredibly diverse phenomena that we observe in nature are based on just a small number of physical laws, each of which may be described by a simple mathematical relationship.
The brilliant mathematical encoding of nature's deep structures, these physical laws can all be written on one side of one sheet of paper.
On the deepest level of the universe, there is cosmic harmony and coherence of the elemental forces and universal constants which govern all of nature. There are certain universal constants that describe the universe mathematically, and, remarkably, this set of constants is critical to the formation of a life-permitting universe.
The listed universal constants are indispensable for the mathematical description of the universe. Is there scientific evidence for the existence of God? When cosmological models were first developed in the mid-twentieth century, cosmologists believed that the selection of a given set of constants was not critical to the formation of a life-permitting universe.
Through subsequent parametric studies that varied those constants, scientists began to realize that relatively small changes in any of the constants would produce a dramatically different universe and one that would not be life-permitting in any way.
In our universe, energy is manifest through four fundamental forces: gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak. In order for our universe to be life-permitting, then each of these fundamental forces requires fixed parameters over long periods of time. If they were not, then the interaction amongst each other and with space and time would be random and chaotic, and the universe would not be life-permitting.
The operation of these constants within the universe gives rise to a variety of interactions and interrelationships from which the equations of physics are derived.
As Richards and Gonzalez write: Our very ability to establish the laws of nature depends on their stability. (In fact, the idea of a law of nature implies stability.) Likewise, the laws of nature must remain constant long enough to provide the kind of stability that life requires through the building of nested layers of complexity.
If a universe is not to be random and chaotic but permitting life, the interactions and interrelationships among space, time, and the different kinds and emissions of energy require unchanging universal constants. These quantitative parameters control virtually every interaction in the universe, and they are integral to the equations of physics.
Why are there laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable? The greatest scientists have been struck by this fact. There is no logical necessity for a universe to obeys rules, even less by the rules of beautiful mathematics. But nature obeys the laws of physics without exception.
The properties of the most fundamental units of complexity we know of, quarks, must remain constant in order for them to form larger units, protons and neutrons, which then go into building even larger units, atoms, and so on, all the way to stars, planets, and in some sense, people.
The lower levels of complexity provide the structure and carry the information of life. There is still a great deal of mystery about how the various levels relate, but clearly, at each level, structures must remain stable over vast stretches of space and time.
And our universe does not merely contain complex structures; it also contains elaborately nested layers of higher and higher complexity. Consider complex carbon atoms, within still more complex sugars and nucleotides, within more complex DNA molecules, within complex nuclei, within complex neurons, within the complex human brain, all of which are integrated into a human body.
Such “complexification” would be impossible in both a totally chaotic, unstable universe and an utterly simple, homogeneous universe of, say, hydrogen atoms or quarks.
. . . the numerical coincidences [necessary for a life-permitting universe] could be regarded as evidence of design. The delicate fine-tuning in the values of the constants, necessary so that the various different branches of physics can dovetail so felicitously, might be attributed to God. It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in the numbers, has been rather carefully thought out. Such a conclusion can, of course, only be subjective. In the end it boils down to a question of belief. Is it easier to believe in a cosmic designer than the multiplicity of universes necessary for the weak anthropic principle to work? . . . Perhaps future developments in science will lead to more direct evidence for other universes, but until then, the seemingly miraculous concurrence of numerical values that nature has assigned to her fundamental constants must remain the most compelling evidence for an element of cosmic design
The laws themselves defy a natural existence and science itself has no clue on how to explain them coming into being naturally. So when you use deductive reasoning, cancelling out all that does not fit or will not work, there is only one conclusion left that fits the bill of why the laws exist, and why they work together to make order instead of chaos.
Even one notch off in how one law works with another that total and complete chaos would be the result. When all conclusions fit and point into one direction only, what is science supposed to do? According to the scientific method you are supposed to follow the evidence regardless of where it leads, not ignore it because it leads to where you don want to go.
The existence of laws of physics… strongly implies that there is a God who formulates such laws and ensures that the physical realm conforms to them.’ There has to be some organizing principle. God is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence—why there is something rather than nothing. The existence of these mathematical equations implies the existence of a personal, conscious and intelligent Creator. Atheism is incompatible with the view of the universe, presented by modern science, since the intrinsic abstract and conceptual nature of the laws ruling the universe, implies the existence of a personal God.