Stumbled upon this statement in Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow's The Grand Design

According to Descartes, God could at will alter the truth or falsity of ethical propositions or mathematical theorems, but not nature. He believed that God ordained the laws of nature but had no choice in the laws; ...

Is this an accurate description of what Descartes said? If yes, what does it mean that mathematical theorems can be changed? I don't understand why, if he thinks that laws of nature are fixed with respect to God, mathematical theorems are not? Aren't mathematics more basic than laws of nature? For example, isn't "one plus one makes two" more basic or unchangeable than the fact that things with mass pull each other?


"Is this [the above] an accurate description of what Descartes said? "

No, it is not.

See Descartes and The Eternal Truths :

You say that you think it is ‘very hard’ to propose that there is anything immutable and eternal apart from God. You would be right to think this if I was talking about existing things, or if I was proposing something as immutable in the sense that its immutability was independent of God. But just as the poets suppose that the Fates were originally established by Jupiter, but that after they were established he bound himself to abide by them, so I do not think that the essences of things, and the mathematical truths which we can know concerning them, are independent of God. Nevertheless I do think that they are immutable and eternal, since the will and decree of God willed and decreed that they should be so. Whether you think this is hard or easy to accept, it is enough for me that it is true. (Fifth Replies [to Fifth Objections, by Pierre Gassendi, to the Meditations on First Philosophy], AT 7:380, CSM 2:261)

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