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God vs. Quantum Mechanics: One and the same?

 
 
Icon
 
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 06:36 am
Throughout my short lived history on this planet I have had this undeniable and insatiable urge to learn. My parents were VERY Christian and so this is how I was raised. Inevitably, I began my research at a young age with the bible, moving on to the Torah, Koran and so on. The one thing that I could never fathom is that they all state that God is "perfect in every way". My first observation of this was that "God" could not be perfect in EVERY way because that would force him to be perfectly flawed. If he is perfectly flawed then he is not perfect at all. Several different realization such as this came into view the more I learned about science, philosophy and the nature of the universe. One day, I found a book called The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World by Paul Davies. This book was VERY fascinating as it attempted to explain how God could have created the universe and dives into Quantum Theory. So I began to wonder, if "God" created everything then he also created quantum mechanics but at the same time, why would "God" create something which, by all rational purpose, removes the need for "God" in the equation of life. Quantum theory, although young, mixed with Particle Physics, also a young science, could propel mankind into a whole new realm of possibilities and power which was previously described as "god-like".

So I wonder, where do God and Quantum Theory meet? Are they Mutually exclusive or can they exist in the same universe?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,853 • Replies: 26
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xris
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 08:18 am
@Icon,
It comes down to problem of description...job description... what is our purpose for existance is the nagging question..Trying to relate any knowledge old or new with a faith driven need is an academic question..
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jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 08:22 am
@Icon,
It also comes down to the question whether God can have a "mind."
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Icon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 11:19 am
@Icon,
Or even if God exists. I understand this. I suppose, since I have no conclusion per se, that I will offer this up for the more knowledgeable to chew up and spit out. If quantum mechanics were to give us unlimited energy through gravitons, the abiltiy to travel as waves and the power to alter the quantum state of any particle (creation from raw elements) then would we not be gods ourselves? Would God need to interject? Could we prove or disprove the theory of God?
xris
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2008 01:07 pm
@Icon,
I think what you are really saying is there poss that it could prove god or godly powers..
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sarek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 01:56 am
@Icon,
In my world view the QM perspective and the God perspective are two sides of a mirror.
The QM world is dominated by the passage of time. Is is about unpredictability and at the same time about cause and consequence. This is the world of the living and the mortals where the presence or absence of free will matters.
If you restrict the image of God to the world of QM you would deny Him knowledge of the future. Einstein rightly said 'God doesn't throw dice'

The God perspective is the timeless world. Compare it to the perspective of a photon which travels forward in time at an infinite speed. If it starts at the beginning of the universe it would see it evolve to the end in no time.
There is no beginning or end and the past, present and future are already known. In fact, there is no difference between them. This is what Alpha and Omega signifies. It is also an explanation for the passage where it says that 'nobody can know me and live'. God already IS(I AM) and does not become.

I see it like this: God is the universe that is supposed to be. The QM world of time is the way the universe becomes what it must be. That is where the living play their various parts.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 03:42 am
@sarek,
So you dont think god is poss. you KNOW he exists...your just using QM as another means to enfoce your belief system....
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sarek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 04:13 am
@Icon,
No, I believe God exists.

The world of time and Quantum is an absolute necessity if there is to be free will. Only one sidenote is needed here: QM is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for free will. It is an enabling, not an enforcing condition.

Both ways of viewing reality are equally valid. It is just a matter of perspective. It is just like the dualism between waves and particles and between relativity and quantummechanics. You can never understand the whole if you look only at each of the parts in isolation.

I am not enforcing any belief systems. I see the reality of the physical world and attempt to reconcile that with more traditional religious and philosophical systems such as the entire Judeo-Christian complex(including Islam) and Buddhism.

My key to reality is first and foremost science. Their description of reality is what I use for guidance, not religious texts. In that I have the attitude of Thomas.

What I have found however, and somewhat to my surprise is that the words in many of the ancient religious texts are far from purely mythical. Provided one uses the correct frame for interpretation they are slowly beginning to make sense to me as part of an overarching cosmology. They seem to show a profound understanding of the universe.

While thinking on these matters I observed a strange phenomenon. If you see science, philosophy and religion as separate fields you don't get a complete picture of reality.
But I have found that by reconciling and combining them they are beginning to mutually reinforce and supplement each other, gradually becoming what I believe to be the very first outline of an entirely new paradigm. But it only makes sense when the parts are seen as a whole, never when considered separately.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 04:20 am
@sarek,
but it is belief and how cleverly you wrap it up it is only that...nothing more..
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sarek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 04:34 am
@Icon,
That is thinking in the old paradigms. Science is science and religion is religion and never the twine shall meet.
Science knows and religion believes.

I am trying to move beyond that old framework. If you see only the trunk of the elephant or only the tusks it makes no sense at all.
Once you see the whole elephant it suddenly makes sense. Then you can see the logical relationship between tusks and trunk.

But, I agree it is a work in progress. Only slowly is the outline becoming visible.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 04:58 am
@sarek,
I can see no problem with looking for a creator..its just i have not found a description of a creator that i like....No one described America and then we looked for it...we discovered America and then we found out how wonderful it was...If i look for a creator i dont come with baggage to find my particular creator, i just look..
0 Replies
 
sarek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 05:16 am
@Icon,
Even the word creator may not be valid from all perspectives. How can one speak of a creator when observing something that is timeless. But if your perspective is our known universe imagining a creator somewhere out there is very well possible.

The irony is perhaps that I believe there are fundamental reasons science may never be able to either prove or disprove the existence of a creator. Our physical perspective simply won't let us.

Reaching new conclusions on the basis of old factual material is also a kind of discovery. Perhaps the new conclusions can even be said to be an emergent property of the existing system as soon as it reaches a certain level of complexity.
But these discoveries are every bit as new as finding a new continent.

There is also the fact that no one can meaningfully(mind the emphasis) theorize on something which has not been discovered yet unless this theorizing has at least a partial basis in what is already known. You can theorize on the completely unknown, but that is called speculation.

And not even Columbus set out on his voyage completely unprepared. He just found something he did not expect. But both his motivation for going and his search methods were based on established knowledge.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 05:33 am
@sarek,
sarek wrote:
Even the word creator may not be valid from all perspectives. How can one speak of a creator when observing something that is timeless. But if your perspective is our known universe imagining a creator somewhere out there is very well possible.

The irony is perhaps that I believe there are fundamental reasons science may never be able to either prove or disprove the existence of a creator. Our physical perspective simply won't let us.

Reaching new conclusions on the basis of old factual material is also a kind of discovery. Perhaps the new conclusions can even be said to be an emergent property of the existing system as soon as it reaches a certain level of complexity.
But these discoveries are every bit as new as finding a new continent.

There is also the fact that no one can meaningfully(mind the emphasis) theorize on something which has not been discovered yet unless this theorizing has at least a partial basis in what is already known. You can theorize on the completely unknown, but that is called speculation.

And not even Columbus set out on his voyage completely unprepared. He just found something he did not expect. But both his motivation for going and his search methods were based on established knowledge.
So what word would you use to describe the creator, if there was one, of this universe....whats in a word..Speculation is all we have initially, if the speculation looks a reasonable assumption you look for proof to support your speculation..The speculation that i dont agree with is the assumption that a particular god exists and im going to prove it..
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sarek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 06:20 am
@Icon,
Ultimately the only term that is really useful is 'that which is'
While I do believe in the existence of God I have no certainty about who, where or what.
I can only theorize.
I am currently looking into a teleological concept where God is seen as both the cause and the consequence of everything.
But that image of God only appears if we look at it from our own causal world 'over the border' into the timeless(where border is only an illusion caused by limited perception).
This looking over the border and thus connecting the two perspectives is necessary because the causal perspective per se beacuse of the laws of QM has no perceptable definite purpose or end state while the timeless perspective has no inherent ability to change. Each perspective separately is therefore lacking if we want to learn about the whole.
The real trick is linking the timeless and the timeful. I am currently thinking about several possible mechanisms for that interrelation.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 06:35 am
@sarek,
Well im here to be convinced but it had better be good...musing can be confused with assuming and assuming can be confused with theism..theologist start with a premise and then usualy falter but i wish you best..
0 Replies
 
sarek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 05:21 am
@Icon,
Thankfully I am not a theologist. I am and always will remain myself.

Science has to remain the basis for all attempts at theorizing. I, for one, would never ignore evolution theory because it is inconvenient.
It does get tricky indeed when one leaves the realm of science and logic and enters that of metaphysics. Careful treading is required.
socrato
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 10:18 pm
@sarek,
God is not a probability. You either accept it or you don't.
Axis Austin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 11:46 pm
@socrato,
First I just want to mention that this is my first ever post (of hopefully many) on the site. I am tired so I didn't read through every post in the thread, but I have a couple things to say. First to the original poster, I've read that same book and very much enjoyed the Quantum Mechanic part. I knew nothing about it before and it perked my interest toward a whole new area in the philosophy of religion.

Second, a previous poster said that God is the timeless universe that simply is (in contrast to the temporal world of QM). However, that is a controversial assertion that I don't necessarily agree with.


Finally, why do God and QM have to be competing explanations of the world? QM, as far as I understood it through the book, is an uncertainty principle. Could that not be an appropriate place to consider God as the reason for certain effects? I believe that is one of Davies' points.
sarek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 03:00 pm
@Axis Austin,
First off, welcome to the forums:) I hope you are enjoying them as much as I am.
Axis Austin wrote:


Second, a previous poster said that God is the timeless universe that simply is (in contrast to the temporal world of QM). However, that is a controversial assertion that I don't necessarily agree with.


Defining God is always a controversial exercise. There are so many definitions. But if an aspect of God is being all-knowing then the QM perspective does not qualify because that 'world-system' (as far as we know now) contains no certain knowledge of its future. In short, what kind of God does not know the future?
OTOH a timeless perspective encompasses all possible knowledge from the earliest past to the remotest future thereby fulfilling the requirement of being all-knowing.
A very important addendum is the fact that QM theory assumes the observer to be part of the observed system. If God is to interact with the universe then God cannot be separated from the universe.

Axis Austin wrote:

Finally, why do God and QM have to be competing explanations of the world? QM, as far as I understood it through the book, is an uncertainty principle. Could that not be an appropriate place to consider God as the reason for certain effects? I believe that is one of Davies' points.


Guess I answered that one above. Unless I am missing something in your question. Could you perhaps elaborate?
Axis Austin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 07:53 pm
@sarek,
If God is to interact with the universe then God cannot be separated from the universe. [/quote]

I agree with this statement and take it as evidence for God's temporality. Explaining God's timeless interactions (if God is timeless which you seem to assert) with a temporal world gets difficult. That is, the interaction between time and timelessness is difficult to understand, argue for, etc.

Why does knowledge of all events necessitate a timeless God? Could not God be temporal and yet know past and present?

Finally to further explain my question about God & QM: scientific/religious people have had a difficult time fitting the two together. Where does God fit into a scientific worldview? I am asking whether or not the unexplained events of the universe (which scientists account for with the uncertainty principle of Quantum Mechanics) can't be better explained as God's actions in the world.

I am out of practice in the philosophical realm and a newbie to Quantum Mechanics so I can be completely wrong. But those are my thoughts.
 

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