Atheists and Quantum Theory


While I personally do not believe that quantum theory is yet a complete theory, as a philosopher/theologian, I derive some satisfaction in that its implications challenge the ideas of material realists who find no need for there to be a Creator-God.

Quantum theory holds that fundamental reality consists not of actual “stuff” but of possibilities or tendencies to exist. In other words, before something becomes an actual, non-reversible physical event, it first existed in strange mixed state of occupying multiple locations simultaneously (called the superposition principle).

Staunch materialists are obliged to live with the uneasy idea that fundamental reality is non-material and its activity is non-local, that is, the domain of quantum potentials is not in spacetime. So the ordered universe of classical measurement does not have its origins in a physical cause.

This has led some (brave) physicists to suspect that mind or consciousness is fundamental to the material universe, its laws, and forces.

Furthermore, there is a problem of figuring out how the world of classical (Newtonian) mechanics, that we directly experience, can be governed by fundamental randomness at the quantum microscopic scale. There is a real contradiction between the physics of the very small and the physics of the very large. However, since the universe is a unified whole, one must be the logical outcome of the other.

I believe this can only be resolved if there is a non-material organizing principle already operating on the quantum level. That is, potentials are not to be understood as random but as deterministic. Consciousness and mind are the only operations I know of that cannot be pinpointed in space, yet, as principles of agency, they always work with possibilities and seek to determine these possibilities into concrete forms.

Consciousness and mind are the only operations non-physically complex enough to explain nature’s incessant drive for self-organization and bio-complexity as emerging from a realm of mere potentials.

Here is where theology can now enter into the equation. What non-material principle of consciousness and mind has the aptitude and drive to create a unified and coherent universe? What non-material principle would tell us that it came from God?

The answer is LOVE. The essence of love is to unite. Nothing is more apparent in the observable universe than its profound capacity to create structure by forming relationships.

I predict the next upheaval in science will come from the recognition that love is more than a romantic notion. Love is the ultimate substance and non-material principle of agency in the universe.

Love is also the fabric of our spirit and life. What we love and intend governs how we choose to turn the inner realm of possibility into the concrete activities of our physical bodies.

Posted on July 24, 2008 by thegodguy

This entry was posted in god, Inner growth, love, metaphysics, Reality, religion, science, spirituality, unity and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 thoughts on “Atheists and Quantum Theory

  1. An interesting post, but you seem to have some misconceptions as regards Quantum Mechanics.

    Quantum theory holds that fundamental reality consists not of actual “stuff” but of possibilities or tendencies to exist.

    This is somewhat dependent upon the interpretation of QM to which one subscribes; however, the most commonly held interpretations (Copenhagen and Many Worlds) would not say that the superposition of a particle is a non-physical thing. In fact, the only interpretations with which I am familiar that would make such a claim are extreme fringe positions which are held by an extremely tiny minority.

    There is a real contradiction between the physics of the very small and the physics of the very large.

    Only Gravity presents any actual problem between QM and Classical Mechanics. The electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces have been perfectly reconciled.

    Contrary to the point of your post, QM has never caused me any distress, as a Naturalist.


    • The multi-universe theory suggests Intelligent Design!
      Posted on December 15, 2012 by thegodguy

      The multi-universe theory is one of science’s latest models for describing reality within the framework of quantum mechanics.

      On the quantum level, not only have scientists tried to fathom the mystery of the collapse of the wavefunction—that is, how do all the possible outcomes of quantum indeterminacy (generated by the wavefunction) collapse into a single measurable event, but also, what happens to all those other possibilities after a single actuality is determined?

      The first question still remains a big mystery but the second question is in theory, answered by the very recent multi-universe theory (also called “multiverse” or parallel universes theory). I find it strange that this new theory ignores the scientific method in that it cannot be proved or disproved through any experimentation! (Ironically, this is the exact problem natural scientists have with the existence of God—that God cannot be proven or disproven.)

      In this new theory, all the quantum possibilities become actualities by creating new worlds with different histories. In one world Abraham Lincoln is shot and assassinated (like ours) but in other, equally real worlds, he lives. Likewise, in yet another world, Jesus is embraced by all and not crucified.

      On pondering this theory it also seems strange to me that if fundamental reality is a blind throw of the dice (as quantum theory currently suggests), why does each throw lead to a world that makes some causal sense within its own framework? Each world scenario seems to be arranged into a series of relationships with internally consistent order. That means each possible world consists of a coordinated design. (The human mind cannot even think of a world without successive and simultaneous coherence, or without intelligent structure—because each world has to lawfully sustain itself.)

      A single world consists of a myriad of complex processes forming a unified and coherent realm. The multi-universe theory suggests that numerous worlds of great complexity are all the accidental outcomes of a fundamental process consisting of pure uncertainty. How does each throw of the dice lead to a coherent outcome? How can order be the result of mindlessness—over and over again?

      I find such a scenario more mentally challenging than embracing a metaphysical Creator-God. I am not a fan of the “multiverse” theory but am still amused by what it suggests. I believe fresh new geometrical principles and trajectories have to be acknowledged and applied to the quantum world. I addressed these new geometries in my award-winning book Proving God.


  2. Pingback: Atheists and Quantum Theory | Jeffrey H. King's Blog

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