It does seem that the mathematical laws of physics and chemistry existed before our universe existed. Otherwise, as the universe cooled and its particle forms changed, like in the destruction of anti-matter, etc., how would the universe know what the new forms of matter were to be.
The only alternative is jisbond's claim that god created the math laws as the universe cooled, sort of like making up the universe on the fly. That seems to be what most western scripture says. An intriguing idea, but I prefer the concept of pre-existing laws, mainly as they are consistent with physics. So I postulate that the laws of mathematical physics existed in the universe that our universe came from, probably via Smolin's black hole creation hypothesis.
But accepting that math prexisted the universe, there is still what I call "wiggle room " for god.
A good example is spontaneous symmetry breaking. That apparently happened over and over again as the universe cooled and the unified field split into gravity and the GUT force, and then the GUT force split into the strong nuclear and electroweak forces, and finally the electro-weak split into the weak nuclear and the EM force. And of course, the EM force can still split into electric and magnetic fields.
Not every symmetry break was spontaneous, but I read that most of them were. In a spontaneous symmetry break, nature has to choose between at least two options, with each option having different outcomes. So in the creation of the nature, and actually the creation to some extent of the math/physics laws governing the present universe, there was apparently an element of choice. The choice could be completely random. That is, no god needed. But on the other hand, the choices provide a means whereas god could guide the evolution of the universe.
Quantum mechanics- not the Feymann kind which is governed by events in the future and is rather deterministic in that the future is already decided, it can only happen one way- but rather ordinary QM also has elements of probability and therefore nature makes choices all the time. That provides mucho wiggle room for god. It is the only way that I can imagine that god or whatever can control my life to the extent that I perceive. I could be just reading my hopes into the personal data I collect. But it does not seem that way to me.
The idea that Feymann quantum mechanics is determinitic just came to me. Take the EPR experiments where two entangled particles are created and fly off in opposite directions. According to conventional QM, the two particles should not know each others properties. But when one is measured, the other automatically has the opposite property. Since scientists do not understand how this can happen, they invented the word entanglement.
But Feymann easily understands it. A signal comes back from the future and informs the second particle what the properties of the first particle are. Since there can only be one future, I see this as deterministic.
Same with the double slit experiments. Signals coming back from the future tell the photons whether or not a photon has been detected at one of the slits. All deterministic.
And it is the basis of QED- quantum electrodynamics- perhaps the best theory ever invented. But it leaves no wiggle room for anything. No choices. No probability. No randomness. There is only one future, and if we already know about it as Feymann's particles do, then everything is determined already, and Alexander is right. Everything is determined by math.
The only exception I can think of is a black hole. Signals cannot come back from the inside of a black hole. Well, there are virtual particles, like gravitons (virtual) that perhaps tell us that there is a huge mass in inside. But the universe already knows that as it cannot see, from a distance, the absorption of mass into the hole.
Anyway, I seem to be faced with the choice of giving up Feymann and the backwards flow of time, or giving up god and future uncertianty. In other words, if Feymann is the basis of the standard model, it's either god or standard physics.
Is there a way to derive the standard model without the backwards flow of time? That's the only other possibility.