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Introduction for Math 419. Uncertainty (Variability) Exists Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) said, ” nothing is certain in life but death and taxes.” Is time of death known? Is amount owed in taxes? Uncertainty (Variability) is Unavoidable reading from Denny & Gaines. Uncertainty Exists.

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introduction for math 419
Introduction forMath 419
  • Uncertainty (Variability) Exists

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) said,

”nothing is certain in life but death and taxes.”

          • Is time of death known?
          • Is amount owed in taxes?
  • Uncertainty (Variability) is Unavoidable
      • reading from Denny & Gaines
uncertainty exists
Uncertainty Exists

James 4:13-15

13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.“ 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.”

uncertainty in nature
Uncertainty in Nature
  • Location of atomic particles
  • Weather
  • Diffusion of Molecules
  • Drift of Genes in a Population
  • Spread of Disease
  • Failure Time
variability exists
Variability Exists
  • Results vary in repeated experiments under “identical” conditions
  • Instruments are limited to finite precision. Calculations made on measurements with finite precision will always have an associated error.
disorder in nature
Disorder in Nature
  • Spider Silk
    • Is it rubber or steel?
      • 4X stronger than steel
      • Absorbs 3X more energy than Kevlar
    • Strength comes from order in the structure of amino acids (crystalline polymer).
    • Extensibility comes from molecular disorder (randomness) in the arrangement of amorphous protein chains connecting the crystals.
uncertainty variability disorder
Uncertainty, Variability, Disorder
  • A negative notion of these ideas existed among Christians and scientists for many years
    • Uncertainty viewed as necessary evil that could be tamed by clever ideas and (as a last resort) inferential statistics.
    • Variability and disorder seemed to be in direct conflict with predictability.
    • The presence of uncertainty and disorder in nature was often thought to be holding back science and the discovery of truth.
    • Many Christians have struggled with how chance and disorder could exist in a world designed by God, the creator.
      • How does it fit with the providence of God?
changing scientific view of chance
Changing Scientific View of Chance

Albert Einstein said about the notion of chance in nature

“God does not play dice.”

  • Niels Bohr responded,
  • “Stop telling God what to do.”
chance in science
Chance in Science
  • A chance event is one (not caused by the organism itself) which could not have been predicted even with knowledge of the initial conditions
  • Chance is not a causal agency which makes things happen, but rather a description of the way we understand the workings of certain events in the world around us.
henri poincare 1854 1912
Henri Poincare (1854-1912)

“A very small cause, which escapes us, determines a considerable effect which we cannot ignore, and we then say that this effect is due to chance.”

christian view of chance
Christian View of Chance
  • Many Christians are still uncomfortable considering the notion that things in the world can happen by chance.
    • Partly due to the presence of chance in current scientific theories like evolution
  • God uses chance and disorder in his design of nature.
nature declares god
Nature Declares God

Romans 1:18-20

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

science explores nature
Science Explores Nature
  • Commonly defined as the investigation or study of nature through observation and reasoning, aimed at finding out the truth.
  • The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge humans have gained by such research.

Proverbs 25:2

2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;

to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

nature declares god1
Nature Declares God

Psalm 19:1-4

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

science and religion
Science and Religion

No Conflict Here



Truths of Nature

Truths of the Bible

Search for Truth (Science)

Search for Truth (Bible Study)

Conflict Exists Here

Our Interpretation of Nature

Our Interpretation of the Bible



From Don England’s Faith & Evidence

god s ways are higher
God’s Ways are Higher

Isaiah 55:8-9

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,“ declares the LORD. 9 As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Blaise Pascal(1623-1662)

“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.”

molecular diffusion
Molecular Diffusion
  • Transports molecules solely by the random motions of other molecules
        • At room temperature, each oxygen molecule collides with a neighbor about 6 billion times per second.
        • It is impossible to predict the location of a single molecule even a fraction of a second ahead of time.
designed uncertainty in biology
Designed Uncertainty in Biology
  • God’s design uses molecular diffusion to send signals across the junction between vertebrate motor nerves and muscles.
  • No direct transmission is necessary!!
christian view of chance1
Christian View of Chance
  • How can God can operate in a world where things sometimes seem to happen by chance?
    • Events that appear random from a human perspective need not be uncaused from a divine perspective.
    • God can determine the outcome of what man calls “random” events.
christian view of chance2
Christian View of Chance
  • God created the world and set in place what man calls laws of nature
    • An example is the law of gravity
  • Some laws of nature are now thought to involve chance events
    • An example is genetics
god does play dice
God Does Play Dice
  • God built uncertainty into the world around us in many amazing ways.
  • What seems like uncertainty to us is in fact certain to God.
    • Proverbs 16:33

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

god s people cast lots
God’s People Cast Lots
  • Acts 1:23-26

23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.

24 Then they all prayed for the right man to be chosen. "O Lord," they said, "you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen

25 as an apostle to replace Judas the traitor in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs."

26Then they cast lots, and in this way Matthias was chosen and became an apostle with the other eleven.

god is in control
God is in Control

 Colossians 1:15-17

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.17He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.