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
by Lothar Schäfer
That the basis of the material world is non-material is a transcription of the fact that the properties of things are determined by quantum waves, - probability amplitudes which carry numerical relations, but are devoid of mass and energy. As a consequence of the wave-like aspects of reality, atoms do not have any shape - a solid outline in space - but the things do, which they form; and the constituents of matter, the elementary particles, are not in the same sense real as the real things that they constitute.
Rather, left to themselves they exist in a world of possibilities, between the idea of a thing and a real thing, as Heisenberg wrote, in superpositions of quantum states, in which a definite place in space, for example, is not an intrinsic attribute. That is, when such a particle is not observed it is, in particular, nowhere.
In the quantum phenomena we have discovered that reality is different than we thought. Visible order and permanence are based on chaos and transitory entities. Mental principles - numerical relations, mathematical forms, principles of symmetry - are the foundations of order in the universe, whose mind-like properties are further established by the fact that changes in information can act, without any direct physical intervention, as causal agents in observable changes in quantum states. Prior to the discovery of these phenomena information-driven reactions were a prerogative of mind. The universe, Eddington wrote, is of the nature of a thought. The stuff of the world is mind-stuff.
Mind-stuff, in a part of reality behind the mechanistic foreground of the world of space-time energy sensibility, as Sherrington called it, is not restricted to Einstein locality. The existence of non-local physical effects - faster than light phenomena - has now been well established by quantum coherence-type experiments like those related to Bells Theorem. If the universe is non-local, something that happens at this moment in its depths may have an instantaneous effect a long distance away, for example right here and right now. By every molecule in our body we are tuned to the mind-stuff of the universe.
In this way the quantum phenomena have forced the opening of a universe that Newtons mechanism once blinded and closed. Unintended by its creator, Newtons mechanics defined a machine, without any life or room for human values, the Parmenidian One, forever unchanging and predictable, eternal matter ruled by eternal laws, as Sheldrake wrote. In contrast, the quantum phenomena have revealed that the world of mechanism is just the cortex of a deeper and wider, transcendent, reality. The future of the universe is open, because it is unpredictable. Its present is open, because it is subject to non-local influences that are beyond our control. Cracks have formed in the solidity of the material world from which emanations of a different type of reality seep in. In the diffraction experiments of material particles, a window has opened to the world of Platonic ideas.
That the universe should be mind-like and not communicate with the human mind - the one organ to which it is akin - is not very likely. In fact, one of the most fascinating faculties of the human mind is its ability to be inspired by unknown sources - as though it were sensitive to signals of a mysterious origin. It is at this point that the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Ever since the discovery of Humes paradox - the principles that we use to establish scientific knowledge cannot establish themselves - science has had an illegitimate basis. Hume was right: in every external event we observe conjunction, but infer connection. Thus, causality is not a principle of nature but a habit of the human mind. At the same time, Hume was not right in postulating that there is no single experience of causality. Because, when the self-conscious mind itself is directly involved in a causal link, for example when its associated body takes part in a collision, or when the mind by its own free will is the cause of some action, then there is a direct experience of, and no doubt that, causal connections exist. When this modification of the paradox is coupled with the quantum base, a large number of pressing problems find their delightful solutions.
Like the nature of reality, the nature of knowledge is counter-intuitive, and not at all like the automatic confidence that we have in sensations of this phenomenon. The basis of knowledge is threefold. The premises are experience of reality, employment of reason, and reliance on certain non-rational, non-empirical principles, such as the Assumptions of identity, factuality, permanence, Causality, and induction. Where do these principles come from? Neither from an experience of external phenomena, nor from a process of reasoning, but from a system program of the self-conscious mind. By being an extension of the mind-like background of nature and partaking of its order, mind gives the epistemic principles - those used in deriving knowledge - certainty. Since they are not anchored in the world of space-time and mass-energy but are valid nevertheless, they seem to derive from a higher order and transcendent part of physical reality. They are, it can be assumed, messengers of the mind-like order of reality.
In the same way, moral principles. Traditional societies based their social order on myths and religious explanations. By assuming a purpose in the world, they told people why things are the way they are, and why they should act the way they were supposed to act. In the animist ontogenies values and knowledge derived from a single source, and life had meaning in an animist covenant as Monod called it. By destroying the ontological base of the animist explanations, - their astronomy, physics, and chemistry, - science also destroyed the foundations of their values.
In this process Monod saw the origin of the contemporary sickness in culture, das Unbehagen in der Kultur: on the one hand science is the basis for our power and survival; on the other, it has broken the animist covenant, rendered life meaningless in the process, and disconnected the world of values from the world of facts.
The sickness of spirit and the concomitant erosion of moral standards are the great danger for the future of mankind, already apparent in the public adoration of violence and debased behavior. At its roots is the unsolved question, on whose authority are the moral principles to be based now that the authority of the animist myths has been found lacking?
For those who are willing to listen, the answer is: on the authority of mind. In the same way that the self-conscious mind grants certainty to the epistemic principles, it invests authority in the moral principles. Like the former, the moral principles are non-empirical and non-rational, - not derived by a process of logic nor verified by experience - messengers from a higher reality beyond the front of mass-energy sensibility.
Epistemic principles give us a sense of what is true and false; moral principles, of what is right and wrong. The former establish the certainty of identity, permanence, factuality, causality; the latter, of responsibility, morality, honesty. By the same process that allows us to accept, without possible verification, the epistemic principles, we can also accept the authority of the moral principles. Violation of any one of them will put us in contrast to the nature of reality. If the nature of the universe is mind-like, it must be assumed to have a spiritual order as well as a physical order. As the epistemic principles are expressions of physical order, the ethical principles are expressions of the spiritual order of physical reality. By being an extension of the transcendent part of the nature and partaking of its order, mind establishes the authority of the ethical principles.
The challenge of reality and the ability to explore it are wonderful gifts to mankind. Understanding reality requires refinement of thought. That is, it has to do with culture. It requires an effort, is not afforded by automatic, intuitive reflex. Making sense of the world takes the response to a challenge, not the complacency of common sense. It is one and the same as striving for the moral life. An important part of it is the need to become aware of the specific character of human nature, to recognize the human mystery as Eccles called it: the mystery of how mind and body interact, how self-conscious human beings with values emerged in an evolutionary process supposedly based on blind chance and brutality. The evidence is growing that there is more to human nature than the laws of physics or chemistry, more to the process of evolution than blind chance and brutality; that evolution is more than, as Monod wrote, a giant lottery, and human beings live at the boundary of an alien world that is deaf to our music and indifferent to our hopes and suffering and crimes.
The barbaric view of reality is mechanistic. It is the easy view of classical science and of common sense. In epistemology mechanism is naive realism, the view that all knowledge is based on unquestionable facts, on apodictically verified truths. In physics mechanism is the view that the universe is clockwork, closed, and entirely predictable on the basis of unchanging laws. In biology, mechanism is the view that all aspects of life, its evolution, our feelings and values, are ultimately explicable in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry. In our legal system, mechanism is the view that the assumption of precise procedural technicalities constitutes perfect justice. In our political system, mechanism is the view that the assertion of finely formulated personal rights constitutes the ideal democracy. In our public administration, it is the view that responsible service manifests itself by the enforcement of finely split bureaucratic regulations. All of these attitudes are the attitudes of barbarians.
The quantum phenomena have taught us that, without naive realism, knowledge is possible. They have taught us that, without naive animism an ethic of knowledge, as Monod has called it, and a life with values are possible. Principles exist which are valid even though they cannot be verified. The discovery of the quantum phenomena has established a new covenant - between the human mind and the mind-like background of the universe - one that provides a home again to the homeless and meaning to the meaningless life. Whether or not the human mind is separate of the brain, as Sherrington and Eccles thought, I do not know. But I do not doubt that it is human only in some parts, and in others shares in the mind-like background of the universe. It is now possible to believe that the mind is the realization of universal potentia, a manifestation of the essence of the universe. Therefore, the only good life is in harmony with the nature of reality.
We continue to struggle to define all things in terms of the dimensional parameters of which we are 'aware,' but at some point it becomes wise to accept that there are dimensional parameters that we are simply not equipped to discern, and thus unable to employ in our descriptions and computations.
We may not even have a reasonable realization of what 'travel' is.
But only his elect will ever accept that with any degree of equanimity.
“3D space can be thought of as embedded in multi-dimensional spaces that our minds can never comprehend,”
If our minds can never comprehend it, then how can we know it exists?
Thanks for posting the article.
I’ve read all the posts, so far, and I feel I can definitively make this statement.
I’m in way over my head.
But of course!
By placing all the anomalies the we find in our observations in a single abstract to create a way of artificially quantifying the unknowables. This is what 'science' has always done.
Not so! - There are several models that better describe observations than the "Big Bang." Hanging onto the bang is what necessitates ridiculous things like Dark Matter/Dark Energy to pollute our minds.
As I’m surveying the vagaries of brane theory, I have become convinced that our conceptualization of dimesnion Time is the problem at the base of this entire cosmology conundrum.
Reminds me of some Buddhist discussions I’ve read, to be honest....
Big Bang = Big can of bandaids.
God works through His natural laws, and through the hearts of men.
Don’t expect manna every day.
1 cor 13:12
Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Time was the base of my conundrum too, until the Obama Recovery came along, and shut down all activity ;o)
· Google ·
Where’s Mr. Kidd ?
ping for later
I was just having fun! No yelling intended! I just love this stuff.
bookmarking for later . . .
Thanks for the ping . . . good topic!
You'll get hit both ways then.
You are right. Well thought and well said.
But, he started out as Jehovah. He made himself known at a time and place and to a people first.