Quantum properties, God, and determinism

Like when he calmed the storm on Galilee?

From the original dead thread:

@Jon_Garvey: 'Bilbo

The problem with the first question is that it doesn’t begin to address the nature of free choice under God’s sovereignty. A strictly correct, but woefully incomplete, reply would be “the first”, ie that Pharaoh freely chose, and that God had planned that he should. That leaves a lot of metaphysical options open, a lot of mystery, and yet agrees with what Scripture implies about human choice in relation to God’s sovereignty, and that’s where I take my lead from. In this particular case, it states that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and yet that Pharaoh was freely accountable for his actions.’

How… Evangelical. It’s just a story. It’s worth exploring as ancient fiction, but says nothing whatsoever about meaningless free choice and God’s meaningless sovereignty.

‘A number of the problems are reduced if we don’t buy into the post-Renaissance definition of free-choice as “completely autonomous and completely arbitrary”: character, circumstances and other things all constrain the freedom of the will.’

Isn’t the Enlightenment post-Renaissance? But yes, that’s on the way to the meaninglessness of irrelevant free choice.

‘The question of “randomness” in nature, however, is simpler, in that once divorced from mere epistemology, it can only mean that things happen without cause, and therefore without any intelligibility whatsoever to God or man. Constrain chance by a probability curve, and it’s no longer random, but simply of a real but unknown cause - and God knows all things, and sustains all things, and governs all things for good.’

This idiosyncratic idiolectic is rich with fallacy. No effect happens without cause. I can’t think of anything in nature which isn’t an effect ultimately apart from the if null then not null principle that grounds being in the absence of God. In QM random effects are driven by indeterminate causes. There is no lack of information there of course. It is indeterminacy that makes effects as unintelligible to God as to the cat. Oooh, we haven’t mentioned the relativity of simultaneity anywhere have we? Or chaos. What’s that I hear you say? Indeterminacy is obviated by the collapse of the wave function? That QM has no effect up here at the mesospheric Newtonian level? So God DOES know if it’s going to rain tomorrow? Even though nobody knows specifically why it rains? At what scale, with what precision does He know? Can He know? And the formation, the position, the velocity of a raindrop tomorrow isn’t influenced by photon quanta?

How is randomness, chance constrained by a probability curve and therefore no longer… chance, randomness? Where is that assertion in physics? And what’s the difference between a chance, random effect and one caused by an indeterminate reality, that God can not possibly know any more than the cat?

‘So his purpose for randomness beyond his knowledge and sustaining and governance would be what, exactly? Would you rather fly in a plane engineered entirely by expertise, or one in which 5%, or 50% of the decision nodes in the design were generated randomly? But it’s logically impossible to create randomness anyway, because by definition it’s the absence of organisation, and creation is by definition organisation.’

God’s purpose for randomness beyond his knowledge and sustaining and governance is that He’s cool with that, humble in the face of its prevenience. Organization is part of that prevenience. He just instantiates it. If God doesn’t ground being, if null then not null comes with meaningless order. There’s a remarkable adherence to the false dichotomy line here. Reminds me of Clive Staples. ‘Jack’ Lewis.

I too have heard it said that quantum events play a role at molecular scales for individual mutations. However, I haven’t heard anyone actually present any evidence that it’s so, least of all on the Solid Scientific Consensus platform of Biologos. If it were so, then surely one would expect any directionality to be statistically non-existent over the course of time. I understand from the study of mutations that the same ones tend to occur over and over again, which is why scarcely any useful new strains came out of decades of mutation experiments. In other words, the mutations aren’t actually ontologically random at all - they form patterns.

That looks like another example of the same pareidolia to me. Seeing patterns that aren’t there, as in a probability curve is a supernatural constraint on chance.

And if one did manage to show that “random” quantum events were a significant influence on the direction evolution has taken, you’d be back to the truth that their randomness is formally indistinguishable from choice: there is no known cause of individual quantum events within nature, which most logically means the cause is outside nature - R J Russell’s “quantum tweaking” rides again, suggesting that God was directing evolution all along, since nature wasn’t.

There it goes again. There’s nothing logical about it. It’s purely fallacious. Mutations are majorly deleterious, minorly neutral and in about the third sigma, beneficial.

But where is the scientific evidence that ontological randomness exists in the universe anyway? If so, where is it, and how is it distinguished from divine or creaturely choice? And where is the theological evidence that God has ever made unintelligibility a creative force?’

And again! The scientific evidence is in the eye of the beholder. For some of us there’s nothing but. Where isn’t it? The divine, if anything, instantiates it as it has no choice. Creatures are prewired by it and determinism for it and determinism: chance and necessity.

@Klax has brought this discussion back to the original theme, which is evolution guided or not. My position is that the random vs predetermined is a false dichotomy.

This whole issue becomes even thornier when we look at the opposite side of human evolution, the issue of genetic diseases. If God is guiding each and every mutation then we can only conclude that God is purposefully giving children horrific genetic diseases that cause them serious pain and can even lead to their death. @T_aquaticus

My position that God used evolution to create humanity, which means used random variation. This does not mean that God guides each and every mutation, since God uses natural selection to “edit,” or select in or out every mutation. Evolution is not random as Darwin clear, but every one else seems to ignore. It is mixed, both random and guided, but it is ultimately guided because natural selection has the final say…

Let me cite an important example of sickle cell anemia. Most people know that SCA originated in the part of east Africa which is afflicted by the deadly disease malaria. One sickle cell gene is a Godsend because it provides immunity to malaria, but a pair of these genes produces the at times painful, but not fatal anemia.

Where malaria is a threat, sickie cells are a blessing. Where it is not it is a curse. So which is it, good or evil?

@T_aquaticus ,raises the question as to why God would allow millions of babies to be born with serious genetic defects which causes serious pain and even death? I will raise the even more serious question as to why God would allow each and every one of us to be born in to this evil world knowing that each one of us will surely die?

The fact is that God is good, not because this world is not without sickness, sin, and death, but because God gives us the ability and tools to overcome sickness, death, and sin. Sickness is not ultimate. Death is not ultimate. Sin is not ultimate. Jesus Christ is ultimate. …

The very human and vulnerable Jesus we see in the Garden of Gethsemane in Mark is not the same Jesus as in the Gospel of John. One was helpless, one was not, My views move towards Mark for two reasons. Given the two mutually exclusive portrayals, its obvious which version would be made up and John’s completely undermines the sacrifice Jesus actually made. Hercules times ten-million on the Cross loses all its value. It just ends up being an unnecessary event steeped in primitive blood magic.


St. John the Stenographer of chapters 14-17, yes, he certainly had a different take.

Jesus is perfectly God and perfectly human. He died on the Cross not because He was helpless, but because He choose not to use His power, which was the power of God, not of Man-Hercules.

Mark and John both portray His sacrifice clearly, but from different perspectives. Jesus Christ paid the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual price of my sins not because He had to, but because He choose to do so out of Love.

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