In this post, I survey a number of human disciplines to show that the probabilities of quantum physics are at the core of every action in the cosmos. Cases in each discipline will be examined but due to space limitation only one publication will be referenced.
- Particle physics:
It has been proven that any two particles that were once together (say in an electron) and have been separated, will continue to instantly communicate information even when they are millions of miles away from each other. Amazingly they do that at a speed that exceeds the speed of light.
There is fundamentally an enduring relationship between particles that do not think like us. This is still a mystery for scientists.
They also exhibit a probabilistic nature due to the fact that a particle has a dual wave/matter character. This was found since the early 20th century. Much has been written on this by scientists but for space I will cite here one recent book: (Cf. Manfred Eigen, 2013, From Strange Simplicity to Complex Familiarity, Published by Oxford University Press.)
- Chaotic systems:
Chaos Theory is a field of study of dynamic systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. It has applications in meteorology, physics, engineering, and economics. The so-called butterfly effect shows how a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a storm in America. Although these systems are called deterministic, they nevertheless exhibit unpredictability akin to the probabilistic nature in quantum physics.
- Evolution of biological organisms:
When the Atheist biologist Richard Dawkins published his book "The Selfish Gene" in 1976, evolutionary biology had not advanced to another understanding of evolution in which genes mutate to develop more adaptive organisms to the environment and organisms collaborate in order to spread their population. Still selfishly they want to propagate their genes, they nevertheless collaborate in order to survive together an adverse condition. Many examples have been cited. Here is one: Some birds that fly in groups may be faced with a predator. Since they know of the danger, they send one of them ahead to clear their way or inform them of the predator such as an eagle. If a predator eagle is approaching, the single bird will cry at a tune that only the others in the group will recognize as a warning even if he becomes a victim of the eagle. Attempts to discredit this phenomenon have failed. But the whole picture introduces the concept of collaboration in other living species at the cost of losing life. (Cf. Russel Stannard, 2000, "The God Experiment. Can Science Prove the Existence of God?", Published by Hidden Spring).
- Recent findings in the use of collaborative information systems:
Collaboration is now globally recognized as the optimum way for streamlining processes and the efficient delivery and deployment of solutions in businesses. I developed and implemented applications in collaborative information systems such as IBM Lotus Notes and Microsoft Dynamics for nearly two decades. The Internet has facilitated the emergence of a global village and the transmission of information between centers of learning, academia, businesses, and networks of ordinary persons. Quantum computers are also based on the theory of probability but processes are executed at a very high speed. Nothing is certain. Trial and error in the development of systems is a process of probability.
(For MS Dynamics see: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm.aspx; For IBM Lotus see:
http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/; For Quantum Computing see: http://oxfordquantum.org/)
- Recent findings in sociology:
Brené Brown, Professor of sociology at the University of Texas has shown and written on vulnerability which opens the individual to love and to achieve confidence that he is loved in society. (Cf. Brené Brown, 2012, "Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love and Lead", Published by Gotham). See also how Brené Brown was transformed into the loving parent through her research: http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/16/being-vulnerable-about-vulnerability-qa-with-brene-brown/
- Recent findings in neuroscience:
Dr. Andrew Newberg, neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, co-authored the popular book "Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief" based on his research in which using brain imaging techniques and devices he observed Christian nuns in deep prayer and Buddhist monks in deep meditation. His conclusions affirm the positive effect of meditation and prayer, but more to the point how these individuals achieve a sense of union with God (Cf. An interview by Robert Wright with Dr. Andrew Newberg can be seen here:
http://www.meaningoflife.tv/video.php?speaker=newberg&topic=complete or simply read the transcript at
Dr. Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California wrote extensively about the role of emotions in arriving at decision making. He is well known for his somatic marker hypothesis which provides a contemporary scientific validation of the linkage between feelings and the body. Although he stops at the level of consciousness from a materialist view, his 21st century research into the effect of emotions on the body and the brain is a recognition shared by other professors such as Dr. Brian Baker at the University of Toronto who see communication, stability, anger management and love as important attributes for life (Cf. Antonio Damasio, 2005, "Decartes' Error, Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain", Penguin Books)
- Game Theory:
Game theory is used by economists to attempt to predict/guess the most likely outcome of an economic activity. Military strategists use it to increase security in the likelihood of an attack by the opponent force. But it can be applied to everyone with a mind. Consider a man and a woman who are starting to date each other. Both go through the probabilistic nature of the question: Is he fit for me? Is she fit for me? It is gambling for a good future in marriage.
In the end, out of the above observations, I offer a little attempt at an introduction of an interdisciplinary theory that would probably contribute to the human hope for eternal life with theological and spiritual insights.
Details of the Quantum Mystery in Particle Physics:
For many years, I have studied quantum physics starting with a formal course in university before graduation in electronic engineering in 1976. Although quantum physics has been used in numerous inventions since its discovery (such as transistors in electronic devices, lasers used in CDs, quantum cryptography, quantum computers and more), no scientist claims to fully understand it nearly 90 years after the formulation of Quantum Theory. Finding the Higgs boson in the past year at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, for which Peter Higgs and Francois Englert have been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics, has opened more questions than answers for scientists to explore. The elusive Higgs boson, dubbed the "God Particle" by Leon Lederman, reveals the quantum nature of everything from matter to antimatter and energy, calculated at almost the beginning of the Big Bang. In his 1993 book "The God Particle," Leon Lederman, who is also a Nobel Laureate, asks "If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question?" Decades earlier, two brilliant minds, Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, debated the nature of matter only to disagree.
Quantum theory is a theory for subatomic particles that impact the universe since the Big Bang. An electron that is fired through an electronic gun has a dual character. It is both a particle and a wave. In his encyclopedic book titled "From Strange Simplicity to Complex Familiarity" and published in 2013 Professor Manfred Eigen, also a Nobel Laureate in chemistry, asks "How can something be spatially confined, like a particle, and at the same time non-confined like a wave? How can one explain the intrinsically probabilistic nature of all quantum processes which as such are deterministic?" Eigen thinks "Explanation is based on experience; therefore explaining something is to a large extent a matter of getting used to it." (P. 43). According to Bohr (and his many disciples including Paul Dirac and Wolfgang Pauli and many other 20th century scientists following the Copenhagen school), only an observer mind can measure its coordinates including location, momentum and time. Since the electron can take multiple paths at the same time, it is not in one space and its path cannot be controlled, thus uncertainty arises. This uncertainly is governed by Heisenberg's Principle of Uncertainty. In other words, nothing exists until the observing mind determines it. The deterministic universe of Isaac Newton has lost its credibility to the open probabilistic indeterminate universe of quantum physics. Manfred Eigen brings to the reader's attention Schrodinger's Equation published in 1926 that describes in mathematical elegant form the relationship between matter and wave. But more surprises were to come. In his 1935 EPR thought experiment named after him and his colleagues Podolsky, and Rosen, Einstein wanted to challenge Bohr but found that communication between particles that were once part of a photon is instant even though they are hundreds of thousands of miles away from each other. In quantum physics, if one of the particles changes its spin, the other changes its spin immediately. Einstein remained convinced till the end of his life that there must be hidden variables that contribute to this strange phenomenon. Schrodinger wrote a letter to Einstein in which he referred to the phenomenon as quantum entanglement. He was, like Einstein, puzzled that communication of information between particles at distance seemed to exceed the speed of light because it violated the upper limit of speed of any body set by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. Yet quantum entanglement was experimentally proved by Alain Aspect and his collaborators in 1982. Subsequent experiments confirmed the validity of quantum entanglement. It is on this particular point that scientists seem to be puzzled.
Quantum Physics and Theology:
John Polkinghorne, retired professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University, wrote, in one of his latest books: Quantum Physics and Theology in 2008, about relationship as science is attempting to discover it at the subnuclear level: “Quantum theory brought to light a remarkable form of entanglement between subatomic particles that have once interacted with each other (the so-called EPR effect), which implies that they remain effectively a single system however far they may subsequently separate spatially- a counterintuitive togetherness-in-separation that has been abundantly confirmed experimentally as a property of nature. The physical world looks more and more like a universe that would be the fitting creation of the trinitarian God, the One whose deepest reality is relational.” (Cf. John Polkinghorne, 2008, "Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship" Published by Yale University Press). Dr. Stephen Barr has written extensively on the relationship of quantum physics and theology (See, for example, his article in First Things here).
The above findings support the 2 most important observations in quantum physics:
1. The probabilistic nature of particles which yields the Uncertainty Principle
2. The communication between particles at long distances (quantum entanglement)
From 2 above, everything must be in a relationship to live. In Christianity God is a relatedness or a relationship of selfless love. It is our belief that God the Father being Love (1 John 4: 8) abandons the fullness of divinity and gives all he has to his image the Son (John 10:30; Col 1: 15-19; Phil 2: 6-11 ) who in turn returns this love in the Holy Spirit who is the binding love of Father and Son (John 15). The concept that God is relatedness or relational is found not only in Holy Scriptures but also in doctors of the Church including St. Thomas Aquinas and, in our days, Joseph Ratzinger (Bishop of Rome Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI).
If this is true, then we can say that the cosmos is signed by the stamp of the Triune God of Christians.
From 1, we all live in a cosmos still in development. Certainty is achieved beyond this life when we are in the togetherness of the family of the kingdom of God. Hell is reserved to those who never loved nor dared to explore the probability of opening themselves or being vulnerable to others or accepting the vulnerability of the other that in him God lives. According to St. Paul "For now we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face" (1 Cor. 13: 12).