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Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

James A. Lindsay , Victor J. Stenger

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Infinity and God have been close bedfellows over the recent millennia of human thought. But this is James A. Lindsay’s point. These two ideas are thought, mere concepts. Lindsay shows in a concise and readable manner that infinity is an abstraction, and shows that, in all likelihood, so is God, particularly if he has infinite properties.

This book is about math. It is about God. It is about stressing the importance of not confusing these two ideas with reality. Never the twain shall meet.

“A short and engaging read on the meeting of two huge ideas, infinity and God, that leaves us seeing both as abstract ideas that may have nothing to do with reality. Honest and accessible, Dot, Dot, Dot is a great little book to stretch your thinking.” - Peter Boghossian, author of A Manual for Creating Atheists
"Timely, important and very readable, this book pulls the rug from under theists’ feet." - Jonathan MS Pearce,The Little Book of Unholy Questions

“Read this to avoid making any more cardinal sins and learn how much math is an amazing human endeavor.” - Aaron Adair, PhD, The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 280 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 218 pages
  • Editeur : Onus Books (14 novembre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°336.342 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 4.9 étoiles sur 5  7 commentaires
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Maths does not equal God... 21 novembre 2013
Par Johnny P - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a really good book which sets out, for the mathematical layman, the problems with infinity and connecting the abstract concept to God. If God has infinite abilities, knowledge or attributes, then how does this effect his reality?

Maths is a description of reality, useful for human understanding. It is not reality itself, and it is high time theists stopped using maths to get to God.

Lindsay does a great job in showing this.
10 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Lindsay a New Hero For Me 8 avril 2014
Par Kerry Shirts - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This book has the most stunning and insightful powerful arguments against putting infinity with God I have ever read. He single handedly dismantles the idiocy of trying to make God infinite. The best explanation anywhere in print, and one of the most important books written on this topic. This is a MUST read for everyone who thinks God is infinite. It can't work, and with minimal math, he demonstrates with simple logic why it is folly. A devastating destruction of William Lane Craig's Kalam argument as well. Craig simply has no clue what he is talking about. Go with Lindsay.
8 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Finite Minds on Infinity: Can be Done, Even without the "Big Guy" 20 juillet 2014
Par Aaron Adair - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Infinity is a really, really weird concept. It takes any intuitions we have and makes us say apparently silly things. But there are rigorous ways of dealing with infinity, but there are also limitations, even for the most brilliant mathematicians.

One of the points is that you never really reach infinity. No matter where you start on a number line or how long you count forward, you never even get closer to infinity. This means that it is not possible to use something finite to create an infinite set. That is, you cannot construct infinity from finite sets and operations. Hence we get lazy when writing a set that is supposed to go on forever with … (hence the title of the book). And yet we can talk about infinite sets. In fact, we can talk about different sized infinities. If that didn’t make sense to you, then you are getting the point about how weird infinity is.

In this book, mathematician James Lindsay shows many important points about how infinity is used and understood by mathematicians and how the terminology is poorly used in other contexts, especially when applied to God. In many ways the book is focused on problems with the infinite god concept, but what I found as one of the more interesting threads running through the book is the problem with mathematical Platonism. What Lindsay shows very well is how much math is a human project. We chose the various axioms and definitions, and those different choices can lead to all sorts of amazing conclusions. But showing how much math is a human invention, it shows that there isn’t really a “true form” of the set of all rational numbers and the like. We chose the rules. Historically, there have been arguments about whether negative numbers are really numbers, or if i is a number or not. Or even if zero is a number! Why do most people consider these objects numbers in the end? Because of what we can do with them. They are practical, even imaginary numbers (I couldn’t do the physics I learned in grad school without them).

Seeing the human side of math (rather than the human side of certain mathematicians) was excellent, especially when it comes to the sorts of concepts that bugger human comprehension. I value the volume for doing more than just showing what makes an infinite God incoherent, but it shows how much math is truly a human adventure and not simply that boring stuff forces on you in school.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Treat the term “infinity” carefully when discussing concepts of God 26 janvier 2016
Par D. Newton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is a book that I would recommend to those theologians who can understand it because they can sharpen their thinking on some aspects of theology. It is also a nice introductory text about some aspects of mathematics. After reading this book I must say that it did nothing to shatter my faith and Christians should not be afraid to read it.

The book sets out to prove mathematically that:
[1] God does not exist
or at the very least
[2] there is almost certainty of the non-existence of God.

I note that nowhere (unless I missed it) does the author give us a clear definition of what is meant by God. The author's main approach seems to be to prove that any type of god he looks at does not exist.

As an amusing aside I mention that one physicist/mathematician proved mathematically that bumble bees cannot fly. The assumption was that the wings of bumble bees support flight by laminar motion. Since most of us have seen bumble bees fly we know that something was wrong about the proof! The assumption of laminar flow was the problem and as far as I recall bumble bees fly by using vortex shedding. So both the assumptions and the mathematics used have to be correct in order to avoid nonsense.

I would point out that there is no universal consensus amongst mathematicians about whether mathematics is a human invention or an independent reality. (For more discussion see Meaning in Mathematics, edited by J Polkinghorne, Oxford University Press, 2011.) The author tells us that he has a viewpoint lying between the "intuitionists" and "formalism" that is informed by "fictionalism". Thus it appears that he views mathematics as being essentially a "human invention" and rejects Platonism (i.e. presumably rejects the "independent reality" mentioned above).

Many aspects of the workings of the universe appear to work by definite laws e.g. gravity/relativity and electromagnetism. These laws were in operation long before scientists discovered them. They happen to match precise mathematical equations. As a physicist that earned his living as an electrical power engineer I would point in particular to the laws governing electromagnetism (Maxwell's equations). Light waves did not need physicists, mathematicians, or engineers to create the equations first before they came into existence. It is those types of facts that makes some lean towards the "independent reality" viewpoint.

I must point out that I was brought up as a Christian but rejected belief in God for about 40 years then started to regain my faith again. I was a pretty hard core atheist i.e. the universe was self-existent, matter organised in the form of the brain was the sole source of consciousness, and there was no life after death. So death was an eternal release from suffering. Although I was in no hurry to die I felt a great sense of peace about the future: after all the only time I have had problems was after I started to exist. If my present faith in God is in fact wrong then I look forward to future non-existence. Meantime my faith makes life more interesting for me and I enjoy fellowship with my Christian friends. If there is no immortal life that is OK by me!

I find no problem with the concept of God being finite since I do not believe that anything that can be assigned a numerical value (e.g. a real number) can be infinite. At minimum all we require is that God has properties/potentials that are "large enough" to satisfy our concept of what God can do or be. If any property is a trillion times larger than the "large enough value" then that value is large enough for most people to be suitably impressed with that aspect of the magnitude of God. There is no need to get bogged down by infinity. Moreover, by not having to worry about infinities one can talk more logically about one aspect of God being greater than some other aspect of God.

The implications of some of the author's arguments would appear to spill over from the non-existence of an infinite God to the non-existence of mathematical entities such as:
"pi" and "e", where "e" is the limit as N tends to infinity of (1+[1/N])^N, and presumably all the irrational numbers. We have no problem with using a finite number to represent "pi" and "e" and the irrational number root(2) when doing everyday calculations - as long as we use a sufficiently large number of significant figures for them to give sufficiently accurate calculation results.

It seems implicit that the author believes in the objective existence of the Problem of Evil. However, he then tells that goodness, liberty, and justice are subjective and have no reality apart from our mental constructions by which we perceive the world. Why should evil be an “objective reality” and goodness be a “subjective reality"? Surely good and evil should both be regarded the same way i.e. both objective or both subjective.

The author argues against Kurt Godel's argument for the existence of God. Now Godel is much more famous for other work in which he proved a theorem called Godel's theorem, In a nutshell Godel's theorem says that: given a finite set of axioms and then using logic there will be questions that one can pose whose truth or falsity cannot be decided using that set of axioms and the application of logic. We may well have a situation where proofs for and proofs against the existence of God cannot settle the question of God's existence. This leaves open the possibility that it is not necessarily illogical to have faith in God. Moreover, for those that have faith in God then Godel's theorem indicates that some truths about God cannot be deduced from axioms and logic: so we rely on what God has revealed to us in sacred books e.g. the Bible in the case of Christians. More on Godel is given below in extracts from Vincent Poirier's review of the book "The continuum hypothesis" by P J Cohen, Dover 2008.
>> More comments on Godel's theorem (start) <<
[The book, The Continuum Hypothesis] proves that a long standing problem in mathematics (the Continuum Hypothesis) has no solution. What does this mean?

Most mathematicians believe in a scaled down version of Hilbert's Programme. Hilbert hoped that all of mathematics followed from a small collection of definitions and axioms, much like all of geometry was once believed to follow from Euclid's five axioms. Formal set theory, as defined by Zemerlo and Frankel, seemed to provide all the axioms needed for this task. However Kurt Gödel proved that the programme is impossible to realize: any formal system will have propositions that are possible to state but impossible to prove. In other words, no set of axioms can completely define all of mathematics.

Paul Cohen proved that the Continuum Hypothesis is one such statement.

Georg Cantor... first stated the Continuum Hypothesis and he spent years trying unsuccessfully to prove it. In the 1930s, Kurt Gödel proved that if you assumed that the Hypothesis was true, you did not contradict formal set theory.

In 1964 Paul Cohen proved that if you assumed the Hypothesis was false, you did not contradict formal set theory either. And so he shows that in the context of set theory the Continuum Hypothesis is unprovable.

You might wish to read the whole review since the above is just an extract but it is an example of Godel's theorem in action!
>> More comments on Godel's theorem (end) <<

The author mentions that nobody has ever seen God through telescopes, or met him after landing on the moon etc. (One of the early Soviet cosmonauts said the same thing.) However, no Christian with a sufficient level of education would expect to see God in those circumstances.

I do not comment on the Bayesian methods applied to determine the non-existence of God since I am not familiar with them. Others will probably comment on such use.

I enjoyed reading this book and I agree that the author has demonstrated the useful result that God cannot be infinite.
8 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A recomended lecture about the infinity for the layman 25 décembre 2013
Par Anonymous - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
(Sorry for my English, I'm not a language native).

I always have been intrigued when apologists talk about the infinity in several arguments when trying to "demonstrate" the existence of their gods, and frankly I didn't have any way to counter them, as I'm a layman in these subjects.
So when I view this ebook I thought "wow, maybe at last I can learn something about this".
The content is well written, sometimes a little deep, but understandable. I learned that there are several types of infinity, that there are infinities greater than others, that a infinite number of larger infinities can be created Infinitely, that infinity is strange, and that apologists in general don't have any idea what are they talking about, and how they use these abstract concepts is bad business for them.
So if you want to know a little more about this subject, better learn from a real mathematician and not from a religious salesman, now I feel a little more educated and confident about this concept, and I will not feel so intimidated when they blab about this in their apologetics.
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