Skip to comments.Concept of 'hypercosmic God' wins Templeton Prize (Quantum Mechanics meets Metaphysics?)
Posted on 03/16/2009 4:29:12 PM PDT by GOPGuide
Today the John Templeton Foundation announced the winner of the annual Templeton Prize of a colossal £1 million ($1.4 million),
D'Espagnat boasts an impressive scientific pedigree, having worked with Nobel laureates Louis de Broglie, Enrico Fermi and Niels Bohr. De Broglie was his thesis advisor; he served as a research assistant to Fermi; and he worked at CERN when it was still in Copenhagen under the direction of Bohr.
Unlike classical physics, d'Espagnat explained, quantum mechanics cannot describe the world as it really is, it can merely make predictions for the outcomes of our observations. If we want to believe, as Einstein did, that there is a reality independent of our observations, then this reality can either be knowable, unknowable or veiled. D'Espagnat subscribes to the third view. Through science, he says, we can glimpse some basic structures of the reality beneath the veil, but much of it remains an infinite, eternal mystery.
Unconventional 'God' So what is it, really, that is veiled? At times d'Espagnat calls it a Being or Independent Reality or even "a great, hypercosmic God". It is a holistic, non-material realm that lies outside of space and time, but upon which we impose the categories of space and time and localisation via the mysterious Kantian categories of our minds.
"Independent Reality plays, in a way, the role of God or 'Substance' of Spinoza," d'Espagnat writes. Einstein believed in Spinoza's God, which he equated with nature itself, but he always held this "God" to be entirely knowable. D'Espagnat's veiled God, on the other hand, is partially but still fundamentally unknowable. And for precisely this reason, it would be nonsensical to paint it with the figure of a personal God or attribute to it specific concerns or commandments.
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...
The thrust of d’Espagnat’s work was on experimental tests of Bell’s theorem. The theorem states that either quantum mechanics is a complete description of the world or that if there is some reality beneath quantum mechanics, it must be nonlocal that is, things can influence one another instantaneously regardless of how much space stretches between them, violating Einstein’s insistence that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.
D'Espagnat's veiled God, on the other hand, is partially but still fundamentally unknowable.
And for precisely this reason, it would be nonsensical to paint it with the figure of a personal God or attribute to it specific concerns or commandments.
The first two sentences above are, I believe, sound.
The logic falls apart with the third quoted sentence - the statement assumes that man has himself "painted" or created the characteristics of God (i.e., a God capable of having a personal relationship to mankind and a God who created mankind in a moral context).
However, if, on the basis only of physical observation of matter and energy using the scientific method, we are unable to obtain ultimate knowledge of the characteristics of God, as he (correctly I believe) suggests, then one simply can't make such a definitive statement about the nature of God as is implied by the third sentence quoted above.
Like, *PING*, folks.
I appreciate this information. I’ve been teaching Christian apologetics, and this adds to the cosmological argument, especially since it is from a scientific perspective.
>>D’Espagnat’s veiled God, on the other hand, \
>>is partially but still fundamentally unknowable.
Which is why that Creator made Himself known via The Word.
Craigs syllogism is by far the tighter of the ways to express this notion. As a Christian apologist, W. Lane Craig is astonishing to listen to.
I've been saying that for years and years and years but nobody would listen. Now this Johnny-come-lately puts it into print and gets the credit..........It just ain't fair!
Because you don’t have a degree in quantum mechanics.
But the speed of light as we know it is only the speed of light in physical three-dimensional space. 3D space can be thought of as embedded in multi-dimensional spaces that our minds can never comprehend, and with that there can be unknowable metrics that have small distance in nDim-space even if immensely large in 3D. Visualize a sheet of paper (2D-space) folded over on itself. Two points 11 inches apart in 2D can be zero inches apart in 3D. Proceed by induction.
Don’t yell at me, I just posted the article.
Thanks for the ping!
Sounds like D’Espagnat is looking hard for a ‘safe zone.’
Let's be precise. First: Bell's Theorem doesn't quite say this. What it says it that if there is a completely deterministic hidden variable theory underlying quantum mechanics (as, say, classical physics) it cannot be a local hidden variable theory. Second: Einstein does not insist that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, what he insists on is quite a bit weaker logically speaking: the velocity of light is an invariant independent of the constant velocity of an observer measured in any reference frame.
This is weaker because it allows plenty of things to travel faster than the speed of light. For example, two scissor blades closing towards each other at near light-speed have an apex which can move faster than light. Hypothetical particles on the other side of the light cone, such as tachyons, could also exist which do not violate this edict. Objects in our universe beyond our horizon lie outside our light cone: for mathematical if not physical purposes they are separated by spacelike distances and are moving "faster than the speed of light."
Finally, the combination of the two of these together as you phrase them suggests that quantum mechanics somehow supersedes Special Relativity. This is not true. Dirac formulated his theory of the electron in a way consistent with relativity, and the Klein-Gordon equation is also Lorentz invariant (check your Bjorken and Drell.)
Quantum teleportation -- of which the EPR thought experiment and experimental arrangements suggested by Bell are very simple examples -- does not violate the Special Theory, because there is no way a physical observer can use these means to actually transmit information. If he could, he would be able to change the relativistic meaning of simultaneity, and thus arrive at two observer locations which measured different speeds for light. Quantum mechanics does not allow this; paradoxically, although EPR implies "spooky action at a distance," it does not imply a violation of the Special Theory.
Quantum Evolution: The New Science of Life
by Johnjoe McFadden
Quantum Evolution tackles the hairiest heresy of evolutionary biology, the one most likely to get scientists figuratively burned at the stake: the notion that any force more selective than blind chance could drive mutation. Such "directed evolution" smacks too much of a retreat into creationism for most science-minded readers to be comfortable with, but there's no prior reason to reject the idea. Molecular biologist Johnjoe McFadden risks the Inquisition by suggesting just such a possibility in Quantum Evolution: The New Science of Life. Directed at a general but somewhat sophisticated readership, it covers the basics of both standard evolutionary theory and quantum-level physics, then synthesizes them in an interesting theory of made-to-order mutation that explains enough to warrant attention and is, importantly, testable.
McFadden's writing is clear and sharp, and shows a high regard for the reader's intelligence and patience for complex ideas. This is no airplane book--except for those already well-versed in the latest in both evolutionary theory and subatomic physics. The rewards of reading are great, and the author bows just enough to established theory that he might meet the fate of his intellectual predecessors. The ideas underlying Quantum Evolution may be right or wrong, but they challenge received wisdom without plunging into dogmatism--and that's good science. --Rob Lightner
How did life start? How did something capable of replicating itself emerge from the primordial soup? How did it defy the odds? And how did it carry on seeking out the very mutations that enable survival? Living organisms are controlled by a single molecule - DNA. Yet the study of physics tells us that the behaviour of single molecules is also controlled by the laws of quantum mechanics. The implications of this for biology have not been fully thought through. Until now. In this debut, Johnjoe McFadden puts forward a theory of quantum evolution. He shows how living organisms have the ability to will themselves into action. Indeed, such an ability may be life's most fundamental attribute. This has radical implications. Evolution may not be random at all, as recent evolutionary theories have taught: rather, cells may, in certain circumstances, be able to choose to mutate particular genes that provide an advantage in the environment in which the cell finds itself.
"The form and dynamics of every living organism on this planet is controlled by a single molecule of DNA. Recent experiments suggest that size alone is not a bar to quantum behaviour. A group based in Vienna have recently fired fullerene molecules through the double slit experiment and demonstrated that these particles have no problem in sailing through both slits simultaneously. And fullerene is big - 60 carbon atoms in a cage-like structure, the famous 'buckyball' molecule - with a diameter similar to that of the DNA double helix. If fullerene can enter the quantum multiverse then the microscopic constituents of our own cells, including DNA, are in there as well." --Johnjoe McFadden
Some excerpts from Quantum Evolution: The New Science of Life...
The New Science of Life
Chapter 1 What is Life?
Chapter 2 The limits of Life
Chapter 3 Lifes biggest action
Chapter 4 How did we get here?
Chapter 5 Lifes actions
Chapter 6 What makes bodies move?
Chapter 7 What is quantum mechanics?
Chapter 8 Measurement and reality
Chapter 9 What does it all mean?
Chapter 10 The beginning
Chapter 11 The quantum cell
Chapter 12 Quantum evolution
Chapter 13 Mind and matter
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