And We Are All Mathematician Even if We Don’t Know It

imageJohn Klotz has a new posting on his Quantum Christ blog. The title sort of says it all but you need to read The God of Probability: The Shroud and Divine Providence to know why.

To the extent that I depend on intuition – and I do, probably more than I want to admit – I have a gut sense that the shroud is probably (probability-wise) authentic. So right after reading John’s posting I went awandering through the internet for something on intuition. (By-the-way, I intuitively know that awandering is a word even though Google doesn’t support the idea.  In retribution, I have created a new word: agoogling.)

I found this wonderful, a-thousandfold quotation by Einstein:

The rational mind is a faithful servant and the intuitive mind is a sacred gift. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Intuition kicked in; I just knew in my gut that Einstein never said that. You can spend a whole day lost in Wikiquotes but it just takes minutes to discover that Einstein never said any such thing. That is okay. I like the message. Henceforth you should attribute the quotation to me.

If you want to have some early morning fun before the coffee is ready go to the Wikiquotes entry for intuition. Two-step (or go awandering) on down to Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man. I like this:

Knowledge is necessary, too. An intuitive child couldn’t accomplish anything without some knowledge. There will come a point in everyone’s life, however, where only intuition can make the leap ahead, without ever knowing precisely how. One can never know why, but one must accept intuition as fact.

Here is what John Klotz said:

Intuition is a process which is pure thought and there is no need to access the conscious brain. Information is considered and utilized at blinding speed and appears to be instantaneous. Two recent works that discuss this phenomenon are Blink. The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell and Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious   by Gerd Gigerenzer

There is one item that all of us factor into our intuition: the law of probability. That doesn’t mean we are always right because our sense of the probabilities may be askew. Yet, it is possible to analyze the probabilities of a particular situation and arrive at a mathematical solution. Our subconscious does that intuitively.

You need to read The God of Probability: The Shroud and Divine Providence

John, I agree. Nice posting.

Note to Russ Breault

from the conference

imageWhen it comes to prioritizing the uploading of video recordings to YouTube, just remember that Andrew Silverman’s talk, Natural, Manufactured Or ‘Miracle’? was particularly interesting.  I do want to hear it again, soon.

Andrew quickly honed in on the subject of consciousness, more specifically, about what Robert Lanza calls biocentrism. “Without consciousness, space and time are nothing,” says Lanza and he argues that “The universe bursts into existence from life, not the other way around as we have been taught.”

I read the best selling book (Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe). I’m not sold on the idea but I find it fascinating. This is why I sat up a bit more, focused a bit more. Later, when I spoke with Andrew he called the subject mind-centrism. I do like that better.

Back to Andrew’s talk. He quotes Max Planck: 

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

He quotes Erwin Schrödinger

And Andrew cites a paper by Stanford’s Andrei Linde, one of the primary authors of the inflationary universe theory. The cited paper is called Universe, Life, Consciousness. One telling sentence reads:

Is it possible to introduce a “space of elements of consciousness,” and investigate a possibility that consciousness may exist by itself, even in the absence of matter, just like gravitational waves, excitations of space, may exist in the absence of protons and electrons?

What does this have to do with the shroud? It may be a stretch but it should be fun to think about it.

Andrew states (from the abstract for his talk):

Developments in quantum theory and cosmology have led some eminent scientists to postulate that consciousness, awareness and will are far more than incidental products of the material universe but may be fundamental to existence itself.

And wonders:

Could it be that the image on the Shroud might well be the single most important piece of physical evidence to help us discover more about the relationship between mind and matter, the nature of humanity and our relationship to the material universe and to each other?

Could it be?

It is one of those “you had to be there”  talks. You have to see the video. Russ, I will be unfairly impatient.

Anticipating the Conference: Andrew Silverman on the Shroud and a Relationship Between Mind and Matter

Andrew Silverman  | 10-Oct-2014  10:45-11:15 am


Those who postulate that the Shroud image was manufactured have been unable to suggest any manufacturing process which could account for key macroscopic and microscopic features of the image. If it was not manufactured then how did the image form?

There would seem to be two main schools of thought regarding how this could have happened. Some scholars believe that it was an unusual combination of already recognised natural physical processes e.g. the Maillard reaction occurring as a result of putrefaction e.g. Rogers or electrical discharge as a result of seismic activity e.g. De Liso. Others postulate that it might have been a miraculous event occurring as a result of divine intervention and possibly associated with resurrection. In this paper I present a third possibility.

[ . . . ] In this paper I will discuss the possibility that the Shroud image may have been caused by a short intense burst of electromagnetic radiation from the body that was contained in the Shroud and discuss whether this might be consistent with speculations regarding the nature of matter, space and time which have previously been suggested by physicists including those quoted above. [See full abstract including references] Empirical research on Near Death Experiences may support the notion that physical death is not the end of the mind. Since the image on the Shroud appears to have occurred after the death of the man on the Shroud I would suggest that the question of whether consciousness survives physical death does at least have some relevance to Shroud studies.

Could it be that the image on the Shroud might well be the single most important piece of physical evidence to help us discover more about the relationship between mind and matter, the nature of humanity and our relationship to the material universe and to each other?

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

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