3
Does quantum theory prove God exists?

My philosophy teacher told us that because the tiny quantum particles are able to spontaneously reproduce, and that the Big Bang was able to randomly occur, there must be a superior being. I don’t get this logic. He’s a philosophy teacher, so I wouldn’t trust his grasp on scientific principles. But it did get me thinking.

Can anyone give a brief explanation of what quantum theory is, and how in the world people might use it to prove God’s existence? Or how it doesn’t prove it at all? Thanks a lot!

Posted: March 4th 2011

logicel

Victor Stenger covers this topic very well in his book. Here is a review.

Here is a summary by Stenger.

Posted: March 7th 2011

See all questions answered by logicel

Eric_PK

There is no brief explanation for what quantum theory is; it’s complex and more than a big non-sensical. Noted Physicist and Noble Laureate Richard Feynman once said that nobody really understands quantum mechanics.

And he was talking about physicists.

So, across the other fields, you see a ton of people who know just a little about quantum theory and use it to justify their beliefs.

My read is that the probabalistic nature of quantum theory makes it very hard to use it to justify a belief in god,

Posted: March 7th 2011

See all questions answered by Eric_PK

brian thomson www

The words “philosophy teacher” in your question immediately set off alarm bells. There are “philosophers” out there who abuse the word “quantum” for their own purposes e.g. Deepak Chopra and his quantum healing and other quantum mysticism . How is this possible? Let me have a go …

A full explanation of all quantum theory is way beyond the scope of this site, but the first concept to understand is that energy is not “continuous” in nature but exists in discrete “packages” which we call Quanta. This was first observed with light and other radiation, since this simple insight offered Max Planck a solution to the black body problem . Einstein extended this idea to apply to Light (as photons), and it also explained the photo-electric effect and other physical curiosities.

Many scientists started working on what became known as Quantum Mechanics , which is where things really started getting strange. Schroedinger’s Wave Equation allowed physicists to describe matter as “probabilistic”, as if its existence was uncertain: Heisenberg in turn put forth his Uncertainty Principle, which stated (in simple terms) that you can never “nail down” matter with absolute precision. There was plenty of gnarly abstract Maths involved, but scientists such as Neils Bohr also struggled with how to express these theories in physical terms, leading to the Copenhagen Interpretation

Schroedinger (among others such as Einstein) was alarmed by some of the implications of Quantum Mechanics, and described a “thought experiment” in which a cat was put in a box with a mechanism that could kill it at any random time. While the box is closed, you don’t know whether the cat is alive or dead at any given time, until you open the box. Under a Quantum Mechanics interpretation, the cat is both alive and dead, until you open the box and “collapse the wave function”. This “thought experiment” was adopted as useful by the physicists themselves, and Schoedinger had no choice but to go along with them – since numerous real experiments, such as the double slit experiment, strongly supported the theory. This trend has continued, and these days, quantum theories are still backed by mountains of experimental results, regardless of how Schroedinger, Einstein and others felt about it.

In my view, there are two aspects of quantum theory that explain why it gets abused by the likes of Deepak Chopra. The first is the “probabilistic” nature of matter: if nothing really exists, then everything is negotiable. The late Douglas Adams used this idea in his Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which an “Infinite Improbability Drive” allowed a spaceship to travel across the universe in no time at all: something that wasn’t impossible, just highly improbable to a precisely determined degree.

The other problem is the role of the “observer”, the idea that things only fully “happen” if they are observed to happen. Ever been asked “if a tree falls in the forest, but no-one is there to hear it, does it make a sound”? An incomplete understanding of this can offer the illusion of control, over matter and reality. I haven’t read The Secret, but I know it involves “quantum mysticism” too. You can change reality if you want it badly enough, the book says, and the “uncertainty” in the “quantum world” lets you do this – allegedly.

As for how this proves the existence of “God” ... I see nothing more there than wishful thinking, to be honest. I don’t know how you get from “everything is uncertain” to “God certainly exists”. Sounds like another “god of the gaps” argument: “I don’t understand – ergo, God did it”.

Posted: March 7th 2011

See all questions answered by brian thomson

 

Is your atheism a problem in your religious family or school?
Talk about it at the atheist nexus forum