Saturday, July 27, 2013

God and Quantum Physics

One of the fascinating developments of the last two decades is how much work in both philosophy and science points to the existence of a transcendent, personal mind. Scholars in the philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, evolutionary biology, paleontology, cosmology, and quantum physics, have all made significant contributions to furthering the plausibility of the hypothesis that, contrary to the prevailing scientistic paradigm, the ultimate reality is not matter but mind.

One recent addition to the discussion is a piece by physicist Antoine Suarez at Big Questions Online. Suarez's article is a little abstruse, but the gist of it is that quantum mechanics has repeatedly demonstrated that two particles at vast distances from each other are nevertheless "entangled" such that a change in one is correlated with a corresponding change in the other.

The problem is that there's no known physical means by which such correlation could occur. The fact that it does strongly suggests that correlation is coordinated from outside the space-time manifold. In other words, laws of physics such as the law of conservation of energy, are somehow controlled from outside the physical universe.

As Suarez puts it:
To understand these implications it is crucial to be aware that quantum physics is not only a description of the material and visible world around us, but also speaks about non-material influences coming from outside the space-time [universe].
He also says this:
It is compatible with physics that a mind outside space-time can purposefully control quantum randomness. Quantum experiments help to overcome materialism.
Given what he writes in his essay the above is a conservative claim. Such a mind is not merely compatible with physics but appears, in fact, to be required by the physics. Suarez adds this:
But are we not claiming after all that invisible non-material principles underpin the whole visible world and not only the dynamic of human brains? Does this mean that in addition to the human mind, other minds (the mind of God and other spiritual beings) govern the corporal world? And if any such non-material agency does pervade the whole universe, which behavioral features are distinctively human? These may be interesting questions for the discussion online. Be it as it may, we cannot have nature without non-material (spiritual) agency.[Emphasis mine]
There's an interesting lag effect at work between science/philosophy and culture. In the 19th and early 20th centuries the prevailing philosophical view was a kind of atheistic materialism that admitted the existence of nothing but what could be ultimately explained in terms of matter and energy. The vast majority of the culture, however, still lived as if the traditional verities of Judeo-Christian religion were true and binding on their personal lives.

Gradually, however, religious belief gave way to the inexorable influence of materialism on men's minds and the culture in the latter half of the 20th century began to reflect the secular, amoral, implications of a world with no transcendent meaning or moral authority. Ironically, the abandonment of the religious view in favor of the atheistic view was gaining steam in the culture just as materialism was beginning to fracture in science and philosophy.

Now those fractures have developed into an incipient collapse and both science and philosophy are pointing us more and more insistently toward the Divine just as the culture has most deeply bought into the 19th century notion that we're all alone in the cosmos with no God to save us or to demand anything of us.

It's a very awkward situation and would be humorous were it not so tragic.