So you think you understand the physical world? In the late 1800’s, physicists thought everything was known and the only discoveries left were a few minor details. Then in the 1900’s, along came quantum mechanics and Pandora’s Box was open. It soon became evident that the Newtonian physics we held dear as a practical explanation of how the universe works was only an approximation. In the ensuing 112 years, not a single prediction made by quantum mechanics has been proven wrong. The problem is many of the predictions include spooky actions, that require an observation in order for it to become reality and such non-intuitive interactions, have been confirmed experimentally.
Einstein was extremely bothered by the mysterious implications of quantum theory and spent more time pondering its ramifications than he spent on the theory of special relativity. In a nutshell, the enigma starts when we realize quantum theory requires that an observation at one place will instantaneously influence what happens far away without involving any physical force. The whole idea that observing an atom in one place caused the atom to be there was just plain spooky.
A large part of our economy is based on products that rely on quantum theory and ultimately it is the framework of all of physics. You haven’t heard much about quantum physics because it is the skeleton in physics’ closet. It is not intuitive and seems so far-fetched that if it is explained to you, a rational mind’s first response is “HOGWASH.”
So here is your first dose of hogwash: Quantum theory says without any physical force connecting two considerably distant objects, observation of one can instantaneously influence the other (unchallengeable experiments have confirmed this to be true). Additionally, quantum theory says an object can be in two places at once. The object only settles on a particular place when it is observed.
As quantum theories crash into the need for consciousness, the potential for speculative pseudo-science abounds. The undisputed results of quantum experiments describe a mysterious role for consciousness in the physical world but stay a hotly debated question. For nearly 80 years, physics departments discouraged interest in the strange implications of quantum theory, but their attempts to avoid encountering the very nonphysical consciousness failed. Today this challenge is front and center, not just in physics but psychology, philosophy, and computer engineering.
Quantum mechanics has a story to tell us about the physical world. Today that story has many conflicting views and interpretations. They range from contending that observation creates a physical reality of many parallel worlds where each of us are in each of them, to a universal connection where the future impacts the past and even free will is challenged. Digging deeper into quantum theory has even led some to speculate on a reality beyond physical reality.
The experimental results are undisputed; the fact that an object’s place can be created by observation is a reality. Since quantum theory applies to everything, observation creation is not just for atoms and electrons but every other thing with mass in our reality. The concept that what previously existed in the past is created by how we choose to look at it is a concept physicists prefer to leave to philosophers.
Quantum theory leads us to the experimentally proven principle that any objects that have ever interacted are forever entangled. What happens to one object instantly influences the other. The connectedness appears to extend over the entire universe.
The microscopic world of quantum theory differs greatly from the macroscopic human world. Some argue that the quantum world of weird interaction has no bearing on the human scale view of nature. The founders of quantum theory beg to differ and now after years of ignoring the weirdness, many in physics today agree we fundamentally don’t understand what is going on. Classical physics gives us a mechanical picture of the world that has been used to deny God and anything beyond the mechanical viewpoint. Quantum physics hints at something beyond the classical view of the physical world. We cannot draw conclusions about the mysteries of quantum mechanics, but the door is open for speculation. Speculation abounds, the wide range of interpretations show that profound questions are still wide open. The one constant that appears in all the different worldviews created from interpretation of quantum physics is the one that physics would like to avoid. It is the mysterious intrusion of the conscious observer creating the physical world. The search for the meaning of a participatory universe is ongoing.
What does all this have to say about the science of understanding God? It simply says that there are so many unexplored possibilities that can connect our little spot in the universe with parallel universes, multi-universes, and the possibility for the coming and going of information, that we can’t possibly have a correct story to describe what is really going on. Our scientists have lots of ideas that will always be speculation. Albeit with each passing year, ever better refinements are made to their speculations. If my story says that my consciousness is connected to an all-knowing God who is conscious of every universe near our universe and all those in parallel dimensions, who can build an argument to refute me?
None of this discussion matters because we aren’t meant to understand it with certainty. Even a genius struggles to describe the physical world. When you get right down to it, an asteroid will send humans to extinction long before the story plays out. If you want a God in your life, science takes us down to this fact – FAITH IS ESSENTIAL.
If we can evolve to another level in the quantum entangled universe, the wonders that await us are unimaginable and worthy of dreaming about. Keep the faith brother.