Fascinating! I highlighted a couple of parts I agree with:
A Polish priest and mathematician who was a friend of the late Pope John Paul II has won the world’s richest academic prize for work that shows how maths can offer circumstantial evidence of God’s existence.
Professor Michael Heller, 72, a pioneering cosmologist and philosopher specialising in mathematics and metaphysics, received the £820,000 prize yesterday in New York.
His theories do not so much offer proof of the existence of God as introduce doubt about the material existence of the world around us. He specialises in complex formulae that make it possible to explain everything, even chance, through mathematical calculation.
According to the Templeton Foundation, which has awarded its prize for Progress toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities for 35 years, Professor Heller’s research has “pushed at the metaphysical horizons of science”. The prize money is adjusted every year so that it remains greater than the amount given by the Nobel Foundation, which awards the Nobel prizes.
Professor Heller was nominated for the award by Professor Karol Musiol, Rector of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, who said: “His unique position as a creatively working scientist and reflective man of religion has brought to science a sense of transcendent mystery and to religion a view of the universe through the broadly open eyes of science.
“He has introduced a significant notion of theology of science. He has succeeded in showing that religion isolating itself from scientific insights is lame, and science failing to acknowledge other ways of understanding is blind.”
In a statement yesterday, Professor Heller, a professor in the philosophy faculty at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow, said: “If we ask about the cause of the universe we should ask about the cause of mathematical laws. By doing so we are back in the great blueprint of God’s thinking about the universe, the question on ultimate causality: why is there something rather than nothing?
“When asking this question, we are not asking about a cause like all other causes. We are asking about the root of all possible causes.
“Science is but a collective effort of the human mind to read the mind of God from question marks out of which we and the world around us seem to be made.”
When he was a boy, Professor Heller’s family were sent to Siberia. His father had built new factories in Poland and joined a group that sabotaged a chemical plant in the south when the Nazis invaded at the start of the Second World War.
The family feld to Lvov and were sent from there to Siberia by the Russians, where Professor Heller went to primary school. By the time he entered secondary school, the war had ended and he and his family returned to Poland. His father was persecuted again when his son decided to enter a seminary.
In spite of the suppression of religion in Poland during much of his adult life, he went on to reach the top of his field academically, doing research in universities around the world including Oxford and Liège.
He worked with Pope John Paul II, when he was Archbishop of Cracow and was one of a number of academics and scientists invited each summer to Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence, to debate the latest research in their respective fields.
His greatest scientific influence has been the philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who once wrote: “When God calculates and thinks things through, the world is made.”
John Templeton, chair of the John Templeton Foundation and son of Sir John Templeton, who established the prize in 1973, said: “Michael Heller’s quest for deeper understanding has led to pioneering breakthroughs in religious concepts and knowledge as well as expanding the horizons of science.”
Professor Heller, who also worked with John Paul II when he was Archbishop of Cracow, said yesterday that he would donate his prize money to the development of the new Copernicus Centre in Cracow, an academy for research into science and theology.
The end of time?
— The work of Professor Heller, above, revolves around the search for a fundamental theory of creation. His research ranges beyond Einstein and into quantum mechanics, cosmology, physics and pure mathematics, including his own version of the Heisenberg equation, below. Although his theories do not prove the existence of God, they may provide circumstantial evidence that He exists
— So long as the Universe had a beginning, we can suppose it had a creator, he says. But if the Universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?
— Professor Heller argues against the Newtonian concept of creation, that is, against the idea of an absolute space and an absolute time and of God creating energy and matter at certain times
— He suggests modern theologians should go back to the traditional doctrine that the creation of the Universe was an act that occurred outside space and time