In interesting science and religion news, with a little philosophy thrown in, a Science historian cracks “the Plato code”.
“A science historian at The University of Manchester has cracked “The Plato Code” – the long disputed secret messages hidden in the great philosopher’s writings. … Dr Jay Kennedy, whose findings are published in the leading US journal Apeiron, reveals that Plato used a regular pattern of symbols, inherited from the ancient followers of Pythagoras, to give his books a musical structure. A century earlier, Pythagoras had declared that the planets and stars made an inaudible music, a ‘harmony of the spheres’. Plato imitated this hidden music in his books. The hidden codes show that Plato anticipated the Scientific Revolution 2,000 years before Isaac Newton, discovering its most important idea – the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics. The decoded messages also open up a surprising way to unite science and religion. The awe and beauty we feel in nature, Plato says, shows that it is divine; discovering the scientific order of nature is getting closer to God.”
This brings up two concepts I will explore: mathematical harmony in nature, and the music that harmony makes as expressed by Pythagoras through today’s sonification of the Large Hadron Collider’s Higgs-Boson (“God particle”). Bear with me. There’s pictures 😉
God said He is evident in nature. He said that it is so plain, on That Day no one will have any excuse for not seeing it.
since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 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. (Romans 1:19-20)
I’ve often pointed to Fibonacci as one example of this. Fibonacci numbers are used in the analysis of exchange markets, in strategies such as Fibonacci retracement (in financial mathematics), and are used in computer algorithms such as the Fibonacci search technique. They also appear in biological settings, such as branching in trees, arrangement of leaves on a stem, the fruitlets of a pineapple, the flowering of artichoke, an uncurling fern and the arrangement of a pine cone. The sequence is used in architecture, math, seen in nature, music is based on it.
What IS the Fibonacci sequence that is prevalent the foundation of so many disciplines? The series begins with 0 and 1. After that, use the simple rule: Add the last two numbers to get the next. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987… and so on. The end result is mathematically structured, architecturally pleasing, biologically intelligent, it is also beautiful–
In musical scales- “Notes in the scale of western music are based on natural harmonics that are created by ratios of frequencies. Ratios found in the first seven numbers of the Fibonacci series (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8) are related to key frequencies of musical notes. Fibonacci and phi relationships are often found in the timing of musical compositions. As an example, the climax of songs is often found at roughly the phi point (61.8%) of the song, as opposed to the middle or end of the song. In a 32 bar song, this would occur in the 20th bar.” source
The above cartoon shows an unconventional sports application of the Fibonacci numbers (left two panels). (The right panel instead applies the Perrin sequence).
One form of divine revelation is nature through its creation which teaches us about God. Mathematicians have not been able to explain why this sequence is so ubiquitous across so many disciplines but acknowledge it occurs too frequently to call it an anomaly.
That Plato was able to see the divine in the universe and attribute it to scientific order was revolutionary in his day, when it was supposed that the many gods fighting with each other was what caused chaos in the heavens and upset for the people on earth. It was the reason he had to code his findings. It was blasphemy. His own teacher was executed for publicly discussing the concept and Plato was at risk for even thinking it. But he did think it.
Fallout for the Plato Code undoubtedly will be ongoing. The author says the impact of what Plato had coded is as big as if archaeologists opened a tomb and found Jesus diary. He also likened it to the missing link between science and religion…However, these things are not revolutionary for bible believers. (I hope). Paul wrote about in Romans thousands of years ago. The LORD’S harmonizing presence in nature is also expressed in the Psalms and in Job, among other books, that are even older than Romans. However, if this philosophy paper on the Plato Code has the impact on secular culture today in the mind of even one lost person, The Plato Code will be a treasure beyond all compare.
On to the second concept: music. Sorry this is long. I don’t like long blog entries myself. The Plato Code guy said that “Plato used a regular pattern of symbols, inherited from the ancient followers of Pythagoras, to give his books a musical structure. A century earlier, Pythagoras had declared that the planets and stars made an inaudible music, a ‘harmony of the spheres’. Plato imitated this hidden music in his books.” Wikipedia says this ‘music’ is not literally audible, but a harmonic and/or mathematical and/or religious concept.”
It was made audible this week!
Immediately I thought of the new sound library from the folks at the Large Hadron Collider. Last week they announced that they had found a way to sonify, or put to sound, the music that the Higgs-Boson subatomic particle makes when it crashes and then reverberates. Their search for the Higgs-Boson, known as the “God Particle” is supposed to be the glue that holds the universe together.
In a background news article published in 2008 explains:
“In the wake of centuries of effort to seek deep connections between music and mathematics, a team today concludes that music does have geometry. More than 2000 years ago, Pythagoras discovered that pleasing musical intervals could be described using simple ratios. And the idea of the so-called musica universalis or “music of the spheres” emerged in the Middle Ages which said that the proportions in the movements of the celestial bodies – the sun, moon and planets – could be viewed as a form of music, inaudible but perfectly harmonious.”
It IS viewed as a form of music, inaudible but perfectly harmonious as confirmed by an upload this week:
“But Richard Dobson – a composer involved with the project – says he is struck at how musical the products of the collisions sound. “We can hear clear structures in the sound, almost as if they had been composed. They seem to tell a little story all to themselves. They’re so dynamic and shifting all the time, it does sound like a lot of the music that you hear in contemporary composition,” he explained. Although the project’s aim is to provide particle physicists with a new analysis tool, Archer Endrich believes that it may also enable us to eavesdrop on the harmonious background sound of the Universe. … And Mr Endrich says that those who have been involved in the project have felt something akin to a religious experience while listening to the sounds. … “It’s so intriguing and there’s so much mystery and so much to learn. The deeper you go, the more of a pattern you find and it’s fascinating and it’s uplifting.” (It is God who made that pattern.)
You can go to the LHC sounds library (loads slow) and listen to the universe, the music of the spheres, the musica universalis, that Pythagoras proposed existed over 2500 years ago. Or click this link to an MP3 to listen to one of them and click here to read an explanation of what you are listening to.
Kepler, 20 centuries after Pythagoras, turned his attention to Pythagoras’s concept of musica universalis, in studies on chronology and “harmony,” the numerical relationships among music (Fibonacci numbers), mathematics and the physical world, and their astrological significance. He wrote in his Harmonice Munde (1619) that he wishes “to erect the magnificent edifice of the harmonic system of the musical scale . . . as God, the Creator Himself, has expressed it in harmonizing the heavenly motions.”
Proving once again, that “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 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. (Romans 1:19-20)”