The Golden Ratio

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Discussion by: nsf834

I was talking to a coworker today about the lack of evidence supporting god. He than said something about what is called "The Golden Ratio." I couldn't really say much because I have never heard of this. Does anyone have knowledge of this ?

26 COMMENTS

  1. The Golden Ratio (or Phi) is the ratio of 1.618…:1. It can be found throughout nature and the universe and it has been used extensively in architecture, art and even music. Stalks of wheat, the nautilus, a human face and a dolphins body all conform to the Golden Ratio. A more apt description of the Golden Ratio might be beauty. That might be more appropriate, at least, than God. Also, the larger you climb the fibonacci scale the close you get to Phi.

    You can find a brief article about it here: http://impress-design.com/the-golden-ratio-and-design

    • In reply to #1 by JWMSales:

      The Golden Ratio (or Phi) is the ratio of 1.618…:1. It can be found throughout nature and the universe and it has been used extensively in architecture, art and even music.

      The nautilus shell is a logarithmic spiral, but it’s not using the golden ratio.

  2. The so called “Golden Ratio” refers to the ratio of 1 to 1.62 (approximately.) It has the interesting property mathematically of, when a rectangle of sides in this ratio is geometrically added to a square dimensioned to the long side of the rectangle, the resulting larger rectangle has the same ratio.

    It has been ascribed aesthetic properties, as well as provoking ancient mathematical interest. Rectangles of this ratio, a window perhaps, simply “look right.” At least, there are a lot of architects who believe this, and without speaking for all people and all applications they may well be right.

    How it supports the existence of god, I do not know. No more and no less I suspect than pi, the ratio of the circumference of any circle to its diameter. Quite how god could have had anything to do with this, in our universe anyway, escapes me.

    Wikipedia has lots more information.

  3. There has been a bit of exaggeration in the ratio many examples if measured from nature do not conform natural selection provides a fair bit of variety, also many organisms do not conform in any way to the ratio so there is some confirmation bias. However there are a number of organisms which use it and even if everything they say is true about it then it still says nothing about god/s. Any number of things are common because of the nature of the universe or because they are useful or inevitable, no-one for example is surprised that apples always fall down and never up. No-one any more claims this is only explicable because of some deity, gravity provides sufficient answers.

    Here are some examples of people who see the claims made about the golden ratio of being overblown

    here

    and here

    I don’t know enough mathematics personally to confirm this but as an art teacher I have witnessed many poor examples in art text books and by teachers that show pure conformation bias for example choosing a part of a famous painting that conforms and ignoring areas that do not.

    So I tend to take a skeptical view.

    • In reply to #4 by Reckless Monkey:
      I am also very skeptical because of computer and TV screens and standard photo printing sizes and paper sizes. They were and are anything but the Golden Ratio, not even close, and people are happy with them. For instance, these days, 16:9 seems to be the most visually pleasing ratio, at least when it comes to screens. Since the golden ratio is a proof of God’s existence, He may not be pleased with our new found addiction to 16:9. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widescreen) informs us that we are shifting towards a 21:9 ratio, which is pure blasphemy.

  4. I have witnessed many poor examples in art text books and by teachers that show pure conformation bias for example choosing a part of a famous painting that conforms and ignoring areas that do not.

    Yes, I agree. Contemporary design principles are easier to find and explain psychologically. Much of classical art does seem to be forced into the Golden Ratio. There are some excellent art examples and then some works have been are clearly “retrofitted” into the format.

    I found this which seems interesting and is an attractive blog.

    Popular amongst new agers is the flower of life and sacred geometry.

  5. The “Golden ratio” (phi) is a natural outcome of the roots of a simple quadratic equation. It’s an inevitable outcome of mathematics, no deity needed. It appears in several places, notably in the ratio of successive terms of the Fibbonacci series, which some plants grow according to, thus the ratio appears in nature at times. It is no more strange that phi appears in nature than Pi or e appearing when you try to describe natural phenomena with mathematics. It’s “appearance” in nature is caused by our attempts to describe nature mathematically.

    As Kronecker said: “God made the integers; all else is the work of man.”

    Personally, I think Kronecker ascribes too much to the deity.

  6. Funny thing is that the Bible never mentions any maths anywhere except once where it is stated that the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is 3.0! This answer is,of course, incorrect. Seems old Yahweh (i.e God) was not so hot on the maths and would not have passed a year 6 Math exam. Anyway maybe he focused all his study on the Golden Ratio and missed class the day they were doing Pi. Could happen to anyone.

  7. The Golden Ration can be calculated as follows. Take a rectangle for which holds that the width divided by length divided equals length divided by width+length. So W/L = L/(W+L) . Divide everything by W and make L/W = F, giving 1/F = F/(F+1). Solve this equation and one of the values of F equals the golden ration.

  8. It is often stated that the Nautilus or spiral galaxies form a golden spiral. That, however, is not true. They form logarithmic spirals and there are sound biological and physical reasons why they do this, but not golden spirals.

    The golden ratio (or something close) can be found in arrangements of leaves, but there is also a sound biological reason for this: The golden ratio is often called the most irrational number, that means it is harder than any other irrational number to approximate the golden ratio by a diophantine approximation. Let me give you an example by comparing the golden ratio F with another irrational number, say Pi:

    You can approximate Pi by 3+remainder. Since the remainder is smaller than 1, its inverse value has to be larger than one. We can now approximate the inverse value in the same manner: Pi=3+1/(7+1/(15+…)). The larger the integer in every approximation, the better the approximation because a large inverse value means a small remainder. Already the second approximation (integer seven) gives you 22/7, which is only approx. 0.0013 form Pi. But for F it holds that F=1+1/F, therefore the approximation is F=1+1/(1+1/(1+…)). The integer is always one, the approximation as bad as can be.

    Therefore, if you arrange leaves by adding up golden angles (approx. 137.5°) the overlap is minimized and photosynthesis is most efficient. No god needed, nature figured that out itself!

  9. IIRC it’s supposed to be the ratio of the walls of Solmon’s Temple.
    You get various claims that it matches the growth pattern of snail or nautilus shells amongst other things, but these claims are demonstrably false. Essentially the claim relies on you not actually checking anything, like most cons.

  10. As others have said, Phi is an emergent property of the Fibonacci sequence, which is a scale resulting from feedback. The last two integers added together form the next. (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.) At first glance, it would be easy to confuse it with a design, however explained adequately it’s not difficult to see how it could occur naturally.

    While others have likened it to Pi, which they’re correct to do, this might appear as a non sequitur to your uneducated friend who clearly can’t connect the dots.

    So I would liken it to something like a snowflake. Does your friend think snowflakes are proof of god? There’s every possibility he might, but then refer him further, to the structure of an atom. When an atom is capable of making four bonds (for example a carbon atom), then when bonded with four other atoms (say hydrogren) it will inevitably form the centre of a symmetrical four-way structure. (hey presto, methane) This can hardly be called design, it’s as inevitable and self-evident as the fact a triangle has three sides. Likewise, water molecules when frozen under certain conditions form crystal structures, like that of the structure of an atom but far more complex, dictated by the properties of the water molecule. Thus you get a completely natural, undesigned, symmetrical snowflake.

    In a similar vein, when segmented or layered natural structures in plants or shells form on top of one another or are influenced by one another, the underlying structures effect the next ones, often just like the Fibonacci sequence which inevitably results in a close approximation of the Golden Ratio.

    The Golden Ratio isn’t something that was invented by human minds and then discovered throughout the universe, as if a message send by the creator of the universe. It was extrapolated from nature, and so it is not at all surprising that it would therefore be found in nature.

    • In reply to #13 by Seraphor:

      As others have said, Phi is an emergent property of the Fibonacci sequence, which is a scale resulting from feedback. The last two integers added together form the next. (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.) At first glance, it would be easy to confuse it with a design, however explained adequately it’s…

      I know about the magic of phi, pi and e, which are indeed remarkable numbers. But there are two other numbers that are way more remarkable and fundamental and yet ignored in the quest for intelligent design: 0 and 1, or as computer philosophes call them, false and true.

  11. not checking comments so far I assume you’ve been advised but the important thing is you are wrong:

    I couldn’t really say much because I have never heard of this.

    whenever anyone cites “proof of god” prior knowledge of the subject is not important, in fact complete ignorace is fine in such cases because if you’re ignorant you are in a position to question, e.g.

    “golden ratio?” what’s that can you explain it to me…?

    but more importantly, whatever answer you get; “so how does that prove god?”

    now the answer will be the same, golden ratio, pretty shape of DNA, the laws of physics so “perfect” for life…. the answer will be an argument from personal incredulity: “It must be so because I think it’s clever and therefore must have been done by someone clever”

    the golden ratio is just one of those things that happen in nature, being part of nature we have some sensitivity to it, including an aesthetic appretiation. it’s just a ratio, just like Pi. Pi is Pi and it crops up throughout nature because it is simply a constant in geometry, our understanding of nature is realised through the language of maths.

    Phi and Pi and all other mathematical values of nature are human constructs to describe a natural phenomenon (is pi pi because it’s the ratio of masurements of a circle or is a circle a circle because it’s a shape thats c=2rXpi?).

    putting it simply god must be true because things are things.

    with regards to aestetics themselves e.g. god invented the golden ratio because we find it pleasing, is just as circular. we find things pleasing because we have the evolved capacity to be pleased by things in our environment. it’s just nailing old assumptions onto discovered facts.

    Finally, any argument for the existance of god requires definition. get anyone to describe their definition og god and let them tie themselves in knots.

    It’s not about answers, it’s about questions

  12. Are you sure your friend wasn’t talking about the Golden Rule? That’s an ethical code, along the lines of ‘One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.’ That would seem to make more sense.

    As for the Golden Ratio, I agree with the commentators who say its appearances in art, architecture and nature are somewhat overstated.

  13. The golden ratio shows up significantly less in nature than it is claimed to, and this is provable by simple measurement. Not least because there is a lot of natural variation. It doesn’t even show up in art of often as it is claimed to. People are making the data fit the hypothesis but measuring from arbitrary points that make the subject sort of fit the ratio.

  14. Ask your friend if he thinks that the existence of The Golden Ratio is any more suggestive of God’s existence than round planets or symmetrical snowflakes.

    I know nothing about The Golden Ratio but my guess is that it is only meaningful to humans i.e. that the proportion strikes us as beautiful because of the way that our brains have evolved. If this is true, then the existence of the Golden Ratio is no stranger than the existence of beauty in women or the peacock’s tail. It could simply be that buildings that adhere to the dimensions of The Golden Ratio look like they aren’t going to collapse any time soon. I also like the point made by others here that there are an awful lot of objects in this world and it would be odd if a certain number of them didn’t roughly conform to this magic measurement.

  15. Isnt this just the ratio of the sides of a sheet of A-series paper? So that an A4 page folded in half is two A5 pages, the ratio of them both being the same.

    http://www.papersizes.org

    Unlike American paper sizes, Legal and Letter, which lack this convenient property, and are therefore – if your coworker is to be believed – less godly.

    • In reply to #21 by OHooligan:

      Isnt this just the ratio of the sides of a sheet of A-series paper? So that an A4 page folded in half is two A5 pages, the ratio of them both being the same.

      http://www.papersizes.org

      Unlike American paper sizes, Legal and Letter, which lack this convenient property, and are therefore – if your coworker…

      No, the ratio for A series paper is root 2 (1,414)

  16. polygamy teachings of demons. because polygamy is only making the perpetrators get the curse multiply exponentially. ha … 7x
    Book : There is evidence evil curse in polygamy. http://allahswtadalahiblis.blogspot.com/2013/09/book-there-is-evidence-evil-curse-in.html
    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM CHRISTIAN N ISLAM .
    1 . THERE REALLY IS THE NAME CURSE descent ?
    2 . WHO IS THE SONS OF GOD GENESIS 6:2 ?
    GENESIS 6:1-8
    {6:1} And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
    {6:2} That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they [were] fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
    {6:3} And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
    {6:4} There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of
    God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown.
    {6:5} And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.
    {6:6} And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
    {6:7} And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the
    earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
    {6:8} But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
    Now let us investigate , who is the “sons of God ” is ?
    Most of the commentators prefer the interpretation of the children of God = the angels of the Lord who fall into sin . So many books and movies made ​​that tells about it .
    Is this true? This interpretation WRONG TURN . HA … 7X
    3. DID YOU KNOW THAT POLYGAMY IS THE SINS OF THE SIXTH STATED IN THE BIBLE? WHAT FIRST TO FIFTH SINS?
    4. WHY KEEP GOD IN HUMAN EXTERMINATE THE AGE BY NOAH Flood?
    5. POLYGAMY TURNED AWAY SINS OF THE WICKED SINS homosexuals. IS IT? What is the evidence?
    6. If Abraham did not practice polygamy, it will not be born Ishmael. When Ismael is not there then do not be born Muhammad ibn Abd Allah. If Muhammad was never born then there would be no Islam and no Antichrist. ha … 7x
    7. If Solomon did not polygamy then the kingdom of Israel did not break into the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. If it is not broke then there will never be war between the kingdoms of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. If Solomon did not polygamy then he will not fall into idolatry and Solomon will get into heaven.
    8. The question now is what Muhammad ibn Abd Allah, who claims to be a prophet of the of all the prophets of the Lord. Muhammad legalize polygamy, whether it is also affected by the curse of polygamy?
    IF YOU WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS IN, THEN BUY N READ BOOK “There is evidence evil curse in polygamy”.
    Lord Jesus Bless you.
    AMEN

  17. In reply to #22 by TrickyDicky:

    In reply to #21 by OHooligan:

    Isnt this just the ratio of the sides of a sheet of A-series paper? So that an A4 page folded in half is two A5 pages, the ratio of them both being the same.

    http://www.papersizes.org

    Unlike American paper sizes, Legal and Letter, which lack this convenient property, and a…

    ;) Actally the ISO paper series has been shown to be “sinister”! See www

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