Quantum Mechanics / Physics?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #21

I’m struck by the historical parallel this has with early astrology / astronomy. The various cosmological models were much more about being able to predict where things should be in the sky than they were about explaining what they are or why they move as they do. So today too, prediction is in many ways the most valued currency for models in similar ways. If the other questions accrue value, it is by proving their predictive utility.

Thanks for your explanations. Much of that still remains beyond me, though; through no fault of your own I’m sure.

(George Brooks) #22


I see entanglement as God “folding the universe”, so that 2 different points in our 3-dimensional world are touching in a different manifestation of the universe viewable and real to God.

(Cindy) #23

That sounds like how they got around in a Wrinkle in Time! Lol

This has been an interesting read! I still question how much QM effects our reality. There is much pseudoscience built around QM.

I look forward to taking physics next Fall! It’s been decades.

(Mitchell W McKain) #24

It seems to me that this has all the same squirming characteristics of the creationists who simply cannot accept the determination of the scientific evidence. And thus I see their “interpretations” as no more worthy of consideration than those of the creationists. No hidden variable looks to be a rather final answer to question as far as I am concerned, and no amount of rhetoric or excuses is going to change this. So it looks like we will simply have to leave this with an agreement to disagree.

(Steve Schaffner) #25

It seems to me that you’re substituting invective for evidence or argument.

Physicists are as a group unlikely to care a whole lot about your personal feelings on the subject. If you want to make an argument that can convince physicists, do so.

There are no hidden variables in the many-worlds interpretation, so I don’t see the relevance of this statement.

(Mitchell W McKain) #26

And this particular physicist knows that what really matters in physics is the objective evidence (the results of the tests made of hypotheses) and not the interpretations various individuals make in order to dismiss the evidence which does not agree with their philosophical choices.

We covered that already. Interpretations extending reality to unobservables is irrelevant to the findings of the actual science.

Again, I repeat, we have reached the place where we must agree to disagree.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #27

What is true is that multiverse is not provable science, which means that it is not science because science is based on scientific evidence. On the other hand theology or knowledge about God is provable based on the best evidence we have.

Jesus Christ is out best evidence for the existence of God and Who God is.

QM does apply to the quantum world, but not to the non-quantum world.

(Mitchell W McKain) #28

The conclusions of science are based on the objective demonstrable evidence. However science does indulge in speculations as part of the process by which it proposes an hypothesis. To that degree at least, the multiverse is science. However you can object that it isn’t a proper scientific hypothesis because it is no more falsifiable than God. On the other hand, the multiverse is included in a few theoretical frameworks which connect to falsifiable hypotheses. So while it is quite correct to say that it is on the same epistemological footing and objectivity as religious beliefs, it is not 100% correct to say that it is not science.

Nope. It is not provable. There is no sound valid argument or objective evidence for the existence of God. The best you can say is that in some ways the comparison is not entirely fair because while the multiverse is definitely a product of speculation in recent times, God is an established belief by which a majority of people have lived their lives by for millennia. Some people think that should count for something.

Claims like that is probably why the new atheists have challenged whether Jesus actually existed. I personally find such challenges to be far fetched to the point of sounding a little desperate. But I also don’t think this can be counted as anything like objective evidence. To that extent, at least, I think we can grant that the new atheists have made their point.

QM does not apply to the macroscopic world but is not irrelevant to the macroscopic world. Events in the the quantum regime can and do affect events in the macroscopic and as a result the events in the macroscopic are no more determined by pre-existing physical conditions (according to the premises of the scientific world-view) than are the events in the quantum regime. This is because chaotic dynamics connects the two.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #29

I think a neat example is stellar death:

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #30

What is their point and where have they made it?

I disagree. There are valid arguments and objective evidence for the existence of God. There may be no fool proof arguments, but there is no foolproof arguments for anything.

The multiverse as fare as I know is not falsifiable and thus not scientific theory as we know it, although it is scientific speculation as are many things.

If there were chaotic dynamics between the two, we would have no universe. Since we have a universe there is no chaos between them.

Matthew, thank you for the information.

The information that about stellar death demonstrates the QM governs the background on which the universe exists. This background is constantly changing, but I do not consider this background as determinate of the macro world.

The Big Bang created the universe and set it into motion. This is the macroworld. The quantum world forms the background of the universe/Big Bang.

(Dominik Kowalski) #31

A bit off-topic but nontheless, this was an expected development with the ongoing shift in the scholarly consensus in the last four decades. The consensus has become way more conservative the more historical evidence came up, so I don´t think that it is surprising that this caused a reaction from the other side to dispute or ignore pretty much everything which leads to this radical positions (mythicism) or the reanimation of naturalistic theories for easter which have been already dismissed in the early 20th century. So at least what we can say is that the reaction is not surprising, but it is built on no real evidence.

(Dominik Kowalski) #32

Aquinas arguments for the existence of God, developed from Aristotlelian philosophy, is in my opinion a good example for a real proof, albeit a philosophical one of course.

Some claims are though and isn´t that exactly what Luke Barnes is doing, simulating possible universes with different constants? Some theories can be refuted by this method, here the apparent fine-tuning of the dark energy:

(Mitchell W McKain) #33

chaotic dynamics is not the same thing as chaos. Chaotic dynamics is about the behavior of non-linear differential equations which do not match the linear approximations of them which scientists have been using for centuries. It is more a matter of scientists getting ahead of themselves and jumping to unwarranted conclusions again. It is about the kind of infinite complexity found in things like the Mandelbrot set, so that you cannot assume that a small change in parameters (moving a tiny distance on theMandelbrot set) makes only a small difference to the result. That infinite complexity in the equations governing the laws of nature is what connects the macroscopic world to the quantum world because it shows that macroscopic doesn’t always ignores what is happening in the microscopic. Sometimes the smallest causes can have the biggest effects.

So why is it called chaotic dynamics? Perhaps you can say it tumbled down the neat little world that scientists were painting for themselves and threw THEM into chaos within their own minds. Reality was a lot more complicated than they thought! You can also say that some of the results is behavior that seems more chaotic because it is so much more complicated. The complexities were always there but most of the time it looked so simply ordered that the complications were easier to ignore.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #34

A response to a question by Luke Barnes from the Blog.
It doesn’t touch fine-tuning at all. The possible range for the cosmological constant (CC) is 10^120 times larger than the actual value. When physicists estimated the degree of fine-tuning, they could afford to be quite conservative – a factor of even 10^10 doesn’t matter much. So our simulations that show that a factor of 300 doesn’t totally shut down star formation doesn’t much matter for the degree of fine-tuning.

It does matter if you want a multiverse to explain the value of the constant. We ask: what value of the CC would we expect if their were a multiverse? And, from our simulations, that number turns out to be about 50 times larger than the actual value. So it’s a problem for the multiverse, but not at all a problem for fine-tuning.

Speculation can be fun, esp. when it seems to be backed by backed by math, as does the multiverse. Still the question the question arises, so what if the multiverse is true since there is no way to know if other universes exist, much less travel to one… We cannot even travel or communicate to another solar system. While I would not dismiss this work completely, it seems a waste of enormous resources which should be better used.

I did read a older article found in Discover magazine which I am sure is still on the internet, whereby the writer based on interviews with scientists made the case that the multiverse was an idea which was developed by some scientific thinkers as an alternative to those who used the view that the universe was fine tuned, presumably by God.

The question is not fine tuning. The question is about how fine tuning is done. If we must use a multiverse of billions of universes to fine tune our universe in a way that we cannot verify, it seems that Occam’s Razor is needed to bring some reasonable order.

(Dominik Kowalski) #35

You misunderstood my point and I probably wasn´t clear enough. I´m familiar with the answer he gave, and I don´t want to attack the fine-tuning itself, since its reality is not disputed. It is just, and that is very important in my opinion, that through the simulation interesting implication arise as such, that the cosmic lottery is not the likely scenario, but if there indeed are other universes, and I agree with you that we can´t observe them in principle, they would be similar to ours.
My opinion is that such work is important because, as the scientists conclude in their paper, it hints at deeper levels of natural laws and we should hope for the physiscists to find those as it would show that (intelligent) life wouldn´t be an accident but integrated in the deepest structure of the universe itself. How much closer could we possibly approach God through science?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #36

Bro. Dominik,

I could not agree with you more. The problem I have is that much too often as documented by the Discover article scientists are trying to use their knowledge in a negative way against theology, rather than try to reconcile science and theology, which is what I am trying to do.

Even many of the good people here on BioLogos are hostile to some extent to try to reconcile theology and science. Indeed this is not easy and if you are afraid of failing it is safer not to try. Also the Western dualistic world view tells us that science and theology cannot be reconciled.

As for myself I have found that this is false. It is indeed ironic that at the time when our rationalist friends expected Christianity to disappear, it is more relevant than ever, and materialism is in deep intellectual peril.

As you pointed out above, the “conservative” point of view has become stronger with the emergence of new evidence. The New Atheism is a reaction to this, but not based new evidence, but the same rejected old evidence.

The best evidence I find that intelligence is rooted in the structure of our universe is the fact that intelligent life evolved on earth through the interaction of life and the physical. Now this is supposed to be the role of BioLogos, the study of how God shaped human beings to be formed in God’s own Image and what I have been working on, but it seems that I get more static than support.

I hope you are interested.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #37

OK, now its coming back to me. Chaos Theory, which isn’t about chaos, because chaos does not submit to rational theory. So we have a misnomer which causes all sorts of confusion because scientists misuse words. Random is another problematic word that causes confusion.

However the Chaos Theory that I remember was not about Quantum Mechanics, it was about complexity, as you say. QM is about the interplay of quantum particles. We are told that QM is predictable although not in a way we expect.

(Mitchell W McKain) #38

Well, they do appropriate words for specialized use, but so does philosophy, theology, and the majority of other human activities whether it be cooking or football. Most of the time they just take words which are rather vague and give them precise mathematical definitions. But in this case I pretty much agree with you. In fact, I can think of an even worse example, when they use the word “order” to talk about entropy. This causes all kinds of confusion among non-scientists (non-physicists to be more precise).

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #39

Please inform me if scientists have given a precise mathematical definition to the concept of “random,” because it seems to me that they have taken a perfectly good word that has a precise definition and given it the reverse meaning.

All three of these words, chaos, random, and entropy, deal with the lack of order in nature. The problem is probably because there is no lack of order in nature, even though some scientists want to say that there is a lack of order.

In a way entropy is the least problematic to me. It is a technical word, and what it says is that under certain circumstances there is a lack of motion or change, not an absence of order. The lack of motion means that work cannot be done, not that order is absent.

(Mitchell W McKain) #40

Yep. Definitely. Mathematical definition only.

Not in physics, they do not.

Chaos in chaotic dynamics is about complexity and the sensitivity of the whole system to very small changes in the parameters.

Random in quantum physics means no hidden variables to determine the outcome. The most that can be determined is a probability distribution. Beyond that, the causes simply do not exist within the observable measurable framework of the scientific worldview.

Entropy in thermodynamics is about probability due to counting the number of possible states.

Some vague philosophical concept of “order” has nothing to do with any of it.