Traditionally, Western science has stubbornly held to the Modernist worldview that rejects the supernatural, or realm of the spirit, relegating it to religious superstition. But this Enlightenment paradigm has pretty much run its course., and it doesn’t bode well for naturalism.
I’ve been accused by atheists of not knowing what I’m talking about and that I cannot make a connection between the quantum world and the spiritual world. I readily admit that I’m no expert on this subject but I can read and there are experts who agree with me. I’ve already shared what theorists who are not making a case for theism have said along these lines. So before I leave the subject, it’s time to hear from a couple of experts who do believe in God.
Jean Staune is a French professor of Philosophy. In writing on the idea that science and religion are converging, he’s pretty much making the point of my last three posts here:
“The central idea of all monotheistic religions is that the world in which we live –the world of time, space, energy, and matter –cannot be its own cause because it has been created by a transcendent principle: God. The science of the 19th century seemed very close to demonstrating that the world caused itself. Science not only failed in this demonstration, however, it has actually demonstrated the opposite. Science has suggested through quantum physics that it alone cannot provide a complete picture of reality. It has provided the basis for a credible way to understand the existence of God, because the world no longer limits itself to our level of reality. Quantum physics does not prove the existence of God. It nonetheless takes us through a giant step from a scientific materialism that ruled out the existence of God, to a position where, on a scientific basis, we can start to understand the concept of God’s existence. A belief in materialism is still possible under quantum physics, of course –but only if it is transformed into a kind of “science fiction” materialism, somehow able to integrate the “de-materialization of matter.” New experiments show that matter itself does not have a strictly material reality.” (Staune, “On the Edge of Physics“, quote from Phil Mason, “Quantum Glory“, p.98 *)
Raymond Chiao is a Catholic believer. His day job is quantum physicist and researcher, formerly at the University of California in Berkeley, currently at University of California in Merced. Chiao writes:
“The Bible asserts that God created the quantum world and that it has been uniquely designed and crafted to respond to the creative voice of God…. The quantum world view of a nonlocal universe has been borne out time and again. Specifically, the Uncertainty Principle has taught us that the classical world view is untenable. Work by Einstein, Bell and many others, including our experiments on quantum tunneling at Berkeley, have told us that it is impossible to believe in a local, “realistic” universe. This has opened up new possibilities for religious understanding. At the heart of quantum physics is the wave-particle duality. In particular, in the Born interpretation of the wave function, a detection of a particle can be thought of as the materialization of the particle at a particular place at a definite time, out of a wave which is not localized in space nor in time. Although the wave function is itself not directly observable, its properties can be inferred from the manifestations of the particle, which are directly observable.” (Chiao, “The Quantum Wave of Faith”, Science & Spirit, 1999 *)
Going along the lines of reality being like a virtual construct (see second video in “Reality…what reality?), Chiao writes the following in an article titled, “Quantum Non-Localities: Experimental Evidence”:
Thus the existence of the universe itself is contingent upon the continual observations of the Creator. The idea of contingency of existence, in the sense of the utter dependency of the universe for its properties and existence at each moment upon its Creator, is thereby introduced via quantum physics into philosophy and theology …Furthermore, this viewpoint suggests a new meaning of the immanence of the Creator with respect to creation, since God is acting everywhere at once in the universe. Thus God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent…The neo-Berkeleyan viewpoint introduced here suggests not only a continual creatio ex nihilo qua creatio continua by an immanent Creator, but also a singular creatio ex nihilo by a transcendent Creator. Moreover, the above Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effects imply a quantum non-separability, which ties together the universe non-locally as a whole.” (Quote from this article *).
By the way, Chiao is no light weight. According to his bio, besides being professor for 38 years at UC Berkeley, where he earned international acclaim (including the Willis E. Lamb Medal and the Einstein Prize for Laser Science) studying nonlinear and quantum optics, Chiao is pursuing a new line of groundbreaking research on gravitational radiation at UC Merced.
Finally, one more quote from Staune from “On The Edge of Physics”:
“Quantum phenomena prove the existence of another level of reality; one, which lies outside space and time since non-locality is its principal characteristic. We have a very extensive knowledge of some characteristics of quantum phenomena, and it is this scientific knowledge that demonstrates the existence of a level of reality that escapes time, space, energy, and matter, and yet still has a causal effect on our material level of reality.”
When we say “spiritual” we mean non-corporeal, non-material. But no Christian theologian, philosopher, or scientist is suggesting that the non-local world is itself a spirit entity. It’s merely the non-material framework or realm where the spiritual world likely operates. But this non-local world is still part of creation. We believe God exists outside of the material and non-local frameworks altogether, yet He interacts with it personally and intimately.
This series is inherently dishonest.
You present quantum physics as if it indicates the possibility of an underlying reality that appears to be a home for the supernatural yet made manifest in this reality with the agency you call ‘God’. You then try to use this idea as if it somehow allows you the scientific means to justify believing that Jesus Christ was Yahweh Incorporated and that miracles attributed to this figure indicate some scientific validity for a connection to a Quantum Creator, a Dimensional Dabbler, an Invisible Interventionist.
This thesis is your New Age version of the same snake oil used to sell any woo. You’ve go nothing but woo. And this is why the same reasoning you use here to justify your preferred version of woo is no different in principle from any other wild claims of woo using quantum physics. Whereas you conclude therefore Jesus, Deepak Chopra concludes therefore The Self, yogis conclude therefore levitation, chiropractors conclude therefore life energy, hippies conclude therefore geometric and crystal healing. I mean, seriously, the list of woo is endless because, you know, quantum mechanics and underlying realities, yada, yada, yada. It’s all deceit and mirrors. You can no more connect quantum physics to Jesus than Deepak can stop time by looking at a watch. Yet both of you insist that serious questioning your utter lack of linking evidence for your preferred woo is somehow unscientific!
You demonstrate your lack of understanding every time you try to make a link by baiting and switching your linguistic framework (ie. “a non-local world”) between a quantum framework and and a classical one. And a way you can prove this to yourself about the gross differences between them is to look at a passing automobile and make it stop simply by looking at it. Then look away for a moment, and then look back. See how it has changed location when you weren’t looking and how you brought it to a stop simply by looking at it? Demonstrate in this world the Observer effect! Go ahead. After all, that’s the quantum world you trumpet in defense of your woo, But Lo! And Behold! Ain’t working so well, is it?
And that’s the point here about dishonesty. You want this world to reflect the world you want to imagine. Your want this reality to support your beliefs. You’re coming at quantum physics exactly backwards. You can’t use quantum physics to describe classical physics. Two. Different. Frameworks. Two Different Languages. Stop jumping between them as if doing so is scientifically valid and descriptive of the reasonableness of your woo.
Dimensional Dabbler… I am so stealing that!
Thank you for your unqualified opinion, Tildeb. You are free to believe whatever you want, as am I. But trying to dismiss me by labeling me a New Ager not only shows your unwillingness to accept anything that doesn’t agree with you, but that you don’t seem to know the difference between pantheism (New Age) and Christianity. And if you do know the difference, you’re the one being dishonest here.
But I’m the one who’s dishonest now, besides not knowing what I’m talking about? So, according to your superior intellect and vast knowledge of all things, these physicists and philosophers are also dishonest? Chiao doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he’s a…(gasp)…Christian physicist? Only atheist scientists count? If you cared to notice, most of my post was quoting other people.
Also, if you cared to notice, I clearly made the distinction between my beliefs and that of pantheism (New Age). I also said (along with the people I quoted) that quantum theory opens the door to a realistic discussion about the spiritual world.
And when you dismiss me as “New Age” (which I’m clearly not) you’re also putting yourself above eminent physicists like Fritjof Capra, Nick Herbert, David Bohm, Fred Alan Wolf, David Albert, John Hagelin and Amit Goswami, just to name a few. These scientists all embrace a pantheistic worldview. I suppose all scientists who don’t agree with you are “snake oil salesmen.” Excuse me if I don’t take you seriously.
If you were honest with yourself, you would realize that all you’re revealing is your stubborn clinging to a narrow-minded 19th century naturalist worldview that is slowly collapsing around you. Well, good luck with that. As I said before, prepare for disappointment.
I’m not labeling you a New Ager, Mel. I am labeling your understanding and use of quantum mechanics to be just like any other New Age gibberish. You have a belief. You’ve gone out to see if you can find any sciency support for that belief. You think you’ve found it in quantum mechanics and so you quote people who seem to support your belief.
THAT is why this series of posts is dishonest. It is cherry picking of the worst kind because you have demonstrated – YOU – that you don;t understand the terms you are trying to use. I have done my best to point out the difference between what you think some of these terms mean and what they actually mean.
You wave it away.
You then make another post, and another, and another utilizing exactly the same mistakes and then trying to buttress your original misunderstanding by inserting chosen quotations from equivalently biased and prejudiced religious supporters. This is not different than believing in the trinity and then seeking some person in science to support the belief and discover Francis Collins… as if the science that Collins works with in some way can be associated with the Trinity he believes in. That’s what your quotations are. Cherry picking.
There is zero evidence for a creator in any of this – either at the macro level where we successfully use classical physics or at the extreme edge of micro. There is zero evidence for any supernatural agency inhabiting the quantum world… and the reason is because the quantum world is the natural world described differently. One and the same. What’s different is the LANGUAGE we use to try to describe it. This is where I point out a fundamental problem you keep repeating: you are switching back and forth and trying to make one LANGUAGE describe two realities – one you call ‘natural’ (because we supposedly understand it) and one you call ‘supernatural’ (because we don;t understand it with classical physics). How do you respond to this criticism?
You wave it away.
You repeatedly refuse to accept that the terminology we use in quantum physics is about RELATIONSHIPS. You simply can’t have ‘entanglement’ without at least TWO things. Two things, Mel. What is entangled? Not one thing. Not the other thing. Both things are entangled with each other. Like Earth and Mars. No woo is required or needed. What is locality? It’s about the RELATIONSHIP between an action here and an influence over there… not measured in distance but in TIME. I’ve explained this. Right now the Earth is here and Mars is there. The wave function collapses because we’re measuring location and lose any ability to capture velocity (you can’t be ‘here’ if you’re moving over ‘there’, now can you?). But we can capture velocity if we don’t try to capture location! You see what the wave collapse means?
You wave it away. Who cares,. right? Entanglement is a deliciously sounding science term to hint at some underlying connective tissue between all things… a common thing sort of like a hidden god, a creator god, eh? But entanglement is not a thing I keep telling you; it describes the relationship regarding what we can measure, namely, location and velocity.
What mediates the action and influence between entangled things?
Fields. That’s what connects here to there. That’s how you explain ‘spooky action at a distance’ and it is constrained by the speed of light. This is what is known as Einstein’s locality. So what’s non locality mean? Is it about space? No! It’s about time. It’s about collapsing the wave function – a mathematical equation about everything that gives us probabilities of EITHER where or when a particle may be when measured. This act of measuring is called the Observer Effect; it collapses the wave function – a means to calculate mathematical probability – to either where or when a particle may be. Non locality means at the same time! How can this be? When particles are separated by distance? I’VE ALREADY EXPLAINED: distance – what we call ‘space’ – the human construct here: there is only difference is distance – in ‘space’ – when there is a difference in TIME. Non locality means AT THE SAME TIME. Forget about distance. What we’re beginning to investigate is the nature of time and what time itself means (entropy!).
No woo is required. This is straight up ‘naturalism’ hard at work. There no superstitious nonsense here about gods and POOF!ism and Oogity Boogity!. Nor is it any support for walking on water, passing through walls, raising the dead, and so on. Nada.
You don’t use any of these terms appropriately. You use them within the framework of classical physics as if it’s somehow magical or contains or provides breathing room for hidden powers and agencies. Granted, you don’t come right out and say this but you do argue about the POSSIBILITY being reaosnable… thanks to quantum mechanics and the weirdness it reveals about reality. Well sure, as I’ve already said; all things are contained in the wave function no matter how ludicrous the idea might be. Sure, it’s POSSIBLE unicorns exist somewhere somehow, but that doesn’t RAISE the likelihood from as close to zero as one can get when there is the same amount of evidence in its favour – none – as there is in your model for Jesus’ miracles. And quantum mechanics is not your ally, as I’ve already said. You’re simply trying to use it for a religious purpose.That’s your intent. Not to understand reality. Not to understand quantum mechanics. But to sell your religious woo.
The physicists you use – in the same way creationists in all their modern New Age guises (ID) use Collins – ATTRIBUTE the underlying set of constants to an organizing agency they call ‘God’. Yeah? So? They don’t extract this attribution from quantum mechanics anymore than Collins extracts the attribution for the Trinity and the Moral Law Giver from his work on the Human Genome Project. All of them IMPORT religious ideas and then apply it liberally to align with their religious beliefs. You shouldn’t be surprised at this. When others then use these folk and their scientific credentials to try to support some version of woo, it always a failure to understand the difference between a premise and a conclusion, understand the difference between a scientific evidence-adduced conclusion and a religious attribution in its place. That’s a failure. It’s a mistake. It’s sometimes hard to catch. But to wave away this criticism of a FALSE attribution that I’m doing my level best to explain – claiming the quote indicates scientific support and agreement for a religious belief by way of a religious attribution – is itself dishonest.
That’s why I claim with what I think is a justification based on compelling evidence your series of posts here is dishonest.
Tildeb, you are a master hand-waver! Just wave away any physicist or scientist who dares mention an intelligent design as “equivalently biased and prejudiced religious supporters.” Better yet, lump them in with New Agers. Apparently, the only unbiased scientist is one who is an atheist. Haha…whatever. Yup, let’s bring out the unicorns!
Tell me how the language I’m using is “dishonest” when I say that these advancements open the door to a discussion about the material world and the spiritual world? You are the one making conclusions and dismissing any contrary view out of hand. What are you so afraid of that you cannot tolerate an open discussion on these things? And I’m only echoing (using direct quotes) what some eminent scientists in the field are saying, and some of them were atheists before they were theists. Again, this diatribe of yours just reveals YOUR prejudicial bias against any talk whatsoever that doesn’t fit into your worldview. Well, I’m sorry but your views are not the only valid ones on the planet. MANY people who ARE experts (unlike you) find what I shared to be a legitimate discussion. So, excuse me but I really don’t really care what you agree with or disagree with. Of course, you will just call it hand waving. Well, look in the mirror when you talk about hand waving.
And I’ve asked this before, but please keep your comments more concise. I don’t need a 1,200 word white paper on your exalted opinion.
But did you notice I already answered your criticisms? Apparently not. I suspect yours was simply a response to mask your TLDR. So I won’t explain anymore.
If you really, really want to keep going down this path (which Tildeb has already explained is hopelessly dishonest), then you would be more justified in concluding panpsychism, not the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, Yhwh.
John, if you keep making these kinds of comments you only reveal how much you don’t know what you’re talking about. You obviously didn’t read the post or you don’t care to understand the distinction I made between pantheism and a Christian worldview.
Panpsychism is a just close cousin to pantheism in practice, New Agers embrace both. Again, I made the distinction between those philosophies and Christianity. Everything is in God (Col.1:16-17) but God is not everything, nor is our consciousness God. He holds all things together, not us. The quantum world is still part of His creation, but it extends beyond the natural world we can see and observe.
Even under the Old Covenant (“God of the Pentateuch” as you seem to like to say), there was a difference between biblical immanence and pantheism or panpsychism. David said the following:
Panpsychism is a just close cousin to pantheism in practice
Perhaps you should look up Panpsychism, Mel.
Actually, I stand corrected. i see Spinoza did try to link Pansychism with a pantheistic idea. That is not a reading of it today as expressed through working theories like Integrated Information Theory.
So, Mel, pursuing the path you think you’re pursuing, would it not be more logical to arrive at panpsychism, much like Buddhist hold, rather than the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch? And yes, it is the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, unless, of course, you can show me where any other person or culture outside the Canaanite hills independently ever mentioned this god… your god.
Excluding some mild 17 Century CE dabbling amongst a few philosophers, there are no gods in panpsychism, just consciousness, for which we have evidence actually exists. What we also have is evidence of consciousness growing more complex over time through cosmic evolution. In fact, we are the universe made conscious. That is what neuroscientist’s Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch’s IIT states. A staunch advocate for this modern expression of panpsychism and the quantifiable nature of consciousness, MIT physicist, professor Max Tegmark, arguably goes even further than Tononi and Koch in proposing that like a solid, a liquid or a gas, consciousness is not just integrated information busy holding itself together, terrified of failure, but rather a state of matter; a fourth state that has until now eluded scientific investigation but is material, measurable and mathematically verifiable.
So, if you want to play with QM, and try and find some kind of tangible ‘spiritualism’ in it, then given 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution staring you in the face, there to analyse, is it not more logical to arrive at panpsychism?
I have no idea what your point is here. I am not pursuing panpsychism. You’re wasting your time and mine with this argument.
No, you’re pusuing spiritualism in QM. That does not logically arrive at the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, but it might lead a person to panpsychism.
Answer this: what does 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution tell us, Mel?
Let me put it this way. I agree with your take on panpsychism, I just disagree with your conclusion about what I’m pursuing. I understand what it is and I am not going down that path at all.
QM is not in the bible, Mel. As I pointed out to you a while ago, the Greeks had been discussing the nature of the atom for 500 years before Jesus (at the time the Pentateuch was being written), so people were quite capable of speaking about such things. And even a more poetic statement like, “It’s turtles all the way down,” could be construed (through clever hermeneutics) to pertain to the hidden nature of reality… of the physical world.
The bible contains no such thing. So, you’re trying to explain supernatural claims by forcing Quantum Theory into your theology. Isn’t that what you’re pursuing?
So, you agree then that 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution (of the evolution of consciousness) leads more logically to Panpsychism?
Newtonian physics is not in the Bible either, John. You might as well say neurobiology or trigonometry, for that matter, is not in the Bible. Quantum theory tries to explain the non-local world outside of dimensional time and space, not only is it part of creation but part of the invisible world the Bible talks about.
I really don’t care what cosmic evolution logically leads to, so I’m not going to waste my time on that question.
The bible has a cosmogony, Mel, and that cosmogony is disastrously, hopelessly, fatally wrong.
Of course you’re not going to waste your time… Because addressing that actual, tangible, real 13.8 billion years-long history of the universe leads inexorably to panpsychism, not the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch.
You’re not interested in honest enquiry… You’re only interested in propping up your pantomime.
Thank you for your opinion, John.
The major problem you – and your scientists in this post who are Christian – face is this: You all begin with a presuppositional belief based on the assumed veracity of the Bible. Not the complete innerancy, but enough core text to label the unknown as you are trying to present it over this series of posts as the work of a god. And of course, not just any god, but Yahweh and his human form, the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth, thus extending deism to now incorporate theism.
While you could always claim a god ”did it” as who in all honesty could gainsay you? any further claims that it was your god, Yahweh/Jesus are fallacious and without any foundation in evidence at all.
To build a scientific case for the supernatural ( which strikes me as a contradiction of terms in the first place) based on your belief of the veracity of the contents of the bible , most of which we know ( including you, Mel) is nonsense, is simply dishonest.
Stick with faith, until either proven right or wrong. This way you can at last continue with a clear conscience.
Oh, and is there a chance you can un-moderate me now?
I mean, you allow Tildeb and John through and they are ten times worse than me. And John is an Australian. That simply has to count against him, surely?
John’s an Aussie! Well, that’s different. 🙂
Actually, John is moderated, too. I try to get all of the comments that are relevant and pass them through. The only one of you “blokes” I didn’t moderate was Tildeb (yet) because he was not posting so many comments (although they are very long). I also moderate if people are not respectful or they get obnoxious. But, Ark, it’s not that you’re better or worse, you have everyone beat hands down on the sheer number of comments. You already have the second most comments on my blog! Not to mention, you bring up so many unrelated subjects to my posts that I don’t have the time to unravel, I just don’t need the chaos on my site. And I won’t be used for people’s atheistic sermonizing. Actually, I don’t have time for a half dozen Fundamentalist atheists all firing away at the same time with long comments when my time is so limited. You’ll just have to be patient here.
You spent the entire reply telling me I write too many comments and didn’t address the major points of my comment.
Do you wonder why I push for at least a single straightforward answer?
Of course I ignored the rest of your comment. Because you went on with your nonsense about the veracity of the Bible, which is NOT the subject of the post, and also is another case in point why you’re moderated. This is my blog, I pick the subjects.
And again, some of these physicists and scientists came into the field as agnostic/atheists, so the premise of your argument in bogus.
Oh, I am not disputing your right of content etc, but only that you seem unwilling to address the fact that you are tying to build a case of validity for the supernatural without being honest enough to include your theism into the mix. This simply makes your narrowly focused topic seem somewhat disingenuous.
It is as if you are building your case back to front when a truly honest approach would start from the perspective of outright faith.
After all, it is only through faith can you attach any veracity whatsoever to your god and the claim Jesus of Nazareth is the creator of the universe.
That at least is the truly honest approach, and you would garner a lot more respect than what appears to be continually muddying the waters.
Just saying …
The narrow focus is because of my time constraint. Quantum theory is a big enough subject on its own without bringing my particular theology into it. If we deny the non-local world, none of us have any grounds to talk about anything invisible and unprovable with classical physics. Again, it’s like Hamlet arguing against Shakespeare.
And of course you would want me to start with my theology! Then you could argue endlessly against that instead of dealing with the reality of intelligent design and the invisible world around you and in you.
And you guys love to tell me how dishonest I am. Let’s talk about dishonesty for a moment. The fact that you won’t admit we all intuitively know there’s an intentional design to the cosmos makes you an irrational person and your reasoning suspect.
So, whether the Bible is viable or not is beside the point. The question here is whether there is such a thing as what is referred to as the “supernatural” and, on a broader scale, is there intelligent design. Theology is an altogether different issue.
Get used to it, Ark. This is Mel’s modus operandi.
There’s no escaping physics, Mel: you and Ark are entangled.
I would appear so.
Should we wear condoms?
Behave yourself, Ark.
I always behave myself. Sometimes goodly, sometimes badly.
I love pondering that which transcends the material aspect of the world, but I also love the Enlightenment thinking led from oppressive theocracy to the freedoms of Western liberal democracies. Also, I believe in the limits of science (i.e., limited to the world in its material or objective aspect), but believe that it is enormously instructive within its scope and that some of my conservative friends who reject evolution and global warming are a danger to us all. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.
I love both, too. I agree, too, that we don’t need to reject science to defend the Bible. And we can listen and learn from all of it.
Thanks for your comments.
Wonderful post ! But I would like to add here that besides knowing how to meditate , its equally important to know that how to handle spiritual experiences -both your own as well as those that you keep on hearing/reading !
So here’s another one from Spiritual Series (Featured yet again on Livingwiseproject.com) :
“Don’t Hallucinate,Just Meditate ” – (5 Minute read )
Would love hear your feedback ! 🙂