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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Mathematical Providences


   My title may be surprising because the “p-r-o” word most people would expect to follow “mathematical” is “probability”.  This branch of mathematics deals with chance and possibilities that can be predicted with some level of certainty, from the flip of a coin to the probability of winning a lottery.
   However, some lectures by Professor Edward B. Burger in a DVD Course entitled Zero to Infinity: A History of Numbers, inadvertently (from his point of view) brought a new awareness of providence to my thinking about math. He explained the phenomena in nature of certain numbers and proportions being consistent.  It is called the Fibonacci sequence because it was first pointed out by a man of this name who lived in 12th century Italy.  The numbers are 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on.  Spirals found in creatures as diverse as snails and uncurling ferns follow a pattern.  They are also found in non-living things like hurricanes and spiral galaxies viewed through a telescope.  This images may help to picture it.  The Fibonacci numbers are part of the blueprint for our universe, and they tell me something about the intelligence of its maker.

   During another lecture Professor Burger explained that if a number is chosen at random, it will NEVER be a whole number.  If a number were to be chosen randomly (using the digits 0-9), you would never get an infinite number of zeroes after the decimal place.  OK, you say, so what?  Well, our world consists of whole numbers.  We have two eyes, ten fingers, 46 chromosomes, and the list goes on.  The fact that our lives (except dollars and cents) consist of whole numbers speaks to me of the design of God.  We are not here by random accident.  

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