DOES GOD PLAY DICE? Insights from the Fractal Geometry of Nature

Paul H. Carr


Albert Einstein once said: "I am convinced the Old One (God) does not play dice." New

findings about the fractal geometry of nature, chaos, and complexity challenge this negative

statement about the statistical nature of the physical world. Albert Einstein reflects an old

metaphor: chaos and randomness are bad. Scientists have recently discovered that phenomena,

from fluctuations of the stock market to variations in our weather, have the same underlying

order. Natural beauty in mountains, plants, and snowflakes reveals a new fractal

geometry, characterized by a complex interplay between randomness (symbolized by dice) and

global deterministic laws (which load the dice). Darwin's theory of evolution is similar to

fractal analysis: random mutations and global natural selection. Fractal statistics is like picking

a card from a stacked deck, rather than one which is shuffled to be truly random.

This paper will show how old metaphors are being replaced by the new:

"God plays dice with the universe, but they're loaded dice,"

as stated by chaos theorist Joseph Ford. The creative polarity of randomness and law, which

characterizes he self-creating natural world, is in consonance with Taoism and contemporary

theology. Paul Tillich believes we have freedom only in polar interdependence with destiny,

which are analogues of randomness (spontaneity) and law. This interdependence is seen by

Gordon Kaufman as the serendipitous creativity of God. Continuing creativity is a common

theme for multipolar Process Theology and theologians like Hefner and Teilhard de Chardin.

Hefner believes we are created co-creators, and Teilhard de Chardin that evolution is converging

toward an Omega Point.