This is a response to Dean Esmay regarding the video he linked to me. I’m not well grounded on Quantum Mechanics, so I’ve had to educate myself on the fly as this went down. I should thank you, Dean, because I now know more than I did. What follows is a commentary on the video, based on what I’ve been able to find out. I’ve sent the video to various people who I know who have greater expertise in the subject, so I’ll update this post when they get back to me.
Dean Esmay has a problem with atheists and he likes to let us know. In our conversation he made the good old claim that god exists. His evidence? He thinks Plato’s writings are a good enough example for a quick ‘Gotcha’, but, in a move that surprised me, he actually linked some science.
*As an aside – why is anything Plato wrote proof of god?*
The running claim in it is that Quantum Physics disproves materialism. Well, ok, I’m sure that’s nice, but materialism isn’t atheism. Materialism is the idea that everything is either made only of matter or is ultimately dependent upon matter for its existence and nature. It is possible for a philosophy to be materialistic and still accord spirit a place, but most forms of materialism tend to reject the existence of spirit or anything non-physical. I can see why people would conflate the two.
The video then goes on to say that because QP disproves Materialism then it proves God, and cites a bunch of stuff to help it back up that claim. It details what is known as the observer effect. Unless you want to slog through the linked wiki article you’ll just have to put up with my hatchet job of a summary for it. The observer effect is where you look at something and it changes what it’s doing. Let’s call it the ‘Uncle Bob is looking at me in the shower’ effect if you will.
Philosophers have used this as the jumping off point for several arguments surrounding the question ‘Does this prove God exists?’
Dean and those who made the video, have taken some factual insights into the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum (like Schrodinger’s cat only with more maths), some knowledge of the Participatory Anthropic Principle (PAP), and have found a way to insert God as a necessary component to the universe. Say I made a cake and in addition to flour I used sawdust. I can now say that sawdust is integral to the structure of cake. Voila.
I’ll freely admit that I’m only finding this out now as I research this stuff, so feel free to tell me I’m wrong. I could well be.
So where does this leave us? With a few questions.
Have we ascertained that the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics is correct regarding the need for a conscious act of observation?
Does the wavelength collapse have to take place prior to the creation of that observer? In other words; what observed the observer, therefore creating it?
If God observes everything all the time then why, when we use the double slit experiment described in the video, does anything happen at all? Are there layers of observation? Does the change in wavelength only occurs when we, humans, are watching? If God exists and counts as an observer, then it would need to be a God who makes no observations, or else the results of quantum physics (the very ones trying to be used to support God’s existence) fail to make any sense.
Modern philosophers – and I include the religious when I say that – have a tendency to abuse Quantum theory once they grasp the idea that if nothing really exists, then everything is negotiable (the probability of existence). They also bang on about things only happening if they are observed to, thinking themselves highly scientific because this sounds similar to the scientific method’s Observation principle with very limited understanding. You see that particular one in things like ‘You ever seen a monkey become a man’ when they try and disprove evolution.
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 blame the overabundance of mystery people give quantum mechanics. Oh, yes, to the people who know how it works it’s a pretty straightforward business, but to those who only half understand it it’s basically magic. Why? Well, it uses maths like words and words like maths and jumps up and down on the macroscopic world of classical mechanics we inhabit.
Most physicists are comfortable acknowledging that Quantum theory works just because it works and understanding why is for sissies, but by this careless attitude they allow the peddlers of woo to get their hands on it.
The video Dean provided can be summed up as ‘There’s a god, this is proof, no really you guys’ and everything in it can be explained by Quantum Mysticism. Thank you Dean for ‘settling on something with its own wiki page – I’ve had to deal with guys who believe carbon nanotubes are proof for god’ *attributed to Clay Garner*
But let’s look at the links.
Links to the double slit experiment – no mention of god.
A link to an abstract that provides its, as yet unsupported conclusion, in its abstract. Much rigor, such science, wow.
Doesn’t open for me. Let me know if it does for you.
Pay wall. Sounds like a wrestling promo – who’s theory is correct, Bells or Einstein’s?! Come see, this Sunday, Sunday SUNDAY!
Edit – oh joy, I found a PDF. Long story short, yes, the writer found that Bells inequalities had been violated. But the existence of each measurement (whether or not you actually do that measurement) is all you need for Bell’s inequality! So if the inequality is false, then the result of those measurements don’t exist if the measurement isn’t made!
Watching the video in full kinda invalidates what you’re trying to prove with it.
TL;DR – we don’t know that we don’t know, this could be the case. Again, pay wall.
Bell’s theorem is really about local realism. Experimental results could in principle violate Bell’s inequality but not agree with QM predictions either. This would still rule out local realism and all theories satisfying it. The fact that QM does predict correlations higher than allowed by Bell’s inequality and experimental results do agree with those predictions is kind of incidental.
Even though Haisch has a fair bit on the credit side of the ledger he’s used some dubious and pseudoscientific stuff in his books such as advocating reincarnation and aliens. I’m surprised that Dean is keen on him as he promotes a pandeism rather than monotheism.
I fail to see how this proves a god or even supports the assertions made in the video.
Something’s wrong with the site.
Doesn’t support your assertions.
Err, what? The way they are using the term reality is completely different to the way you are using it.
I will be passing this one on elsewhere – Based on your usage of it this looks like a case of quote mining. But, who knows, perhaps my expert will have a better time with this than me.
You’re inferring things that this study does not support.
Again, reality being used incorrectly.
Oh, for fucks sake, the ability to violate Bells inequalities does not prove a god exists!
Well that was fun (no it wasn’t). Now my head is swimming with Quantum Mechanics and I’m almost sure that I’ve attracted the attention of Great Cthulu.
I’ll do the book as soon as it arrives.