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It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Prvb.
ON VIDEO- [past posts- verses below]
.Quanta a mystery?
.Bowling balls need a bowler
.You see it- you did it!
.What’s the big mystery?
.Light both wave and particle
.Observer created reality
.Interpretation of data
.Atoms- Electrons- Nucleus- all ok
.science- or magic?
. Double slit test
.Wonderful- Wonderful Copenhagen?
.Chance or determinism- that’s the question
.Maybe my duplicate will go to heaven!
Ok- I want to make this as simple as possible- don’t be afraid of the title.
I have actually taught some of this over the years- because in the field of Physics [the study of stuff] this particular area has been used by thinkers [wrongfully] who refute God [atheists].
So- the past week or so I’ve been commenting about a documentary I’ve been watching on PBS [Fabric of the cosmos] and have also been going thru an old Physics course I bought years ago.
It just so happened [yes- I did not plan it] that they both deal with Quantum Mechanics [the study of very small particles].
As I listened to the good men- I noticed lots of contradictions- and over exaggerations [maybe they are just excited about their field?]
Now- if I were to guess- I think part of the excitement- is based on some of their ‘world views’.
Meaning- in the whole debate about God- and science- many have tried to argue that the physical universe is ‘not designed’.
The Christian thinker [and the early philosophers] did argue that you find design in the Cosmos.
So- when Quantum physics as a separate field arose in the early 20th century- it seemed to be an area where those who ‘want’ no design [or predeterminism] could finally say ‘see- we now have proof that the universe is ruled BY CHANCE’.
The Physicists I’ve been hearing the last few weeks have made this statement more than once.
I have taught that this actual statement- is nonsensical.
Because- chance is simply a word that describes the odds of something.
It is not ‘a thing’ that can cause [or rule] something.
Ok- what they really mean to say is something like this ‘we have found that random acts- probability- is a factor in what’s happening’.
Now- that’s ok- if they say it that way [even though I do not agree with all that they are saying- this would be the proper way to say it].
So- what’s the big thing that the quantum guys are saying?
It’s really not that hard- or such a ‘great mystery’ [which many are saying].
It comes down to the way Atoms work at the sub atomic level.
Atoms have Electrons inside them- that ‘orbit’ around the center [nucleus].
In these ‘orbits’ [circles] the electrons seem to pass from one circle- to another- without actually traveling thru the space.
They kind of ‘jump’ from one line- to the other.
This is called the Quantum Leap.
So- some have said this is proof that ‘something comes from nothing’ [see- that’s the worldview working].
Actually- it is not proof that something comes from nothing- and the scientists who were saying this at first- have stopped saying it.
Because- they were shown to be wrong.
The other thing that these guys have been saying is ‘we now see that the fundamental WORKING OF THE UNIVERSE- IS BY CHANCE’.
This is simply not true.
In the beginning of the 20th century a scientist by the name of Niels Bohr debated with Einstein about this very thing.
Bohr said these particles were actually reacting- working- based on the observation of the scientists looking at them.
Yes- he said the fact that they were being observed- made them act a certain way.
Einstein did not believe this at all- he responded ‘I prefer to think the moon is there- whether I look at it or not’.
But- over time- some in the field of quantum Mechanics have said Einstein has been proven wrong- and Bohr right.
But Einstein never said that Quantum mechanics was not true- he just said over time- we will understand more about the field.
Because that’s the job of the scientist- to keep looking for causes behind events [see- if you ‘stop’ looking for a cause- and say ‘it’s chance’- it would be the same thing that some have accused the Christian thinker of- that when the Christian says ‘see- we have no further explanation- so God did it’. Now- I do believe ‘God did it’- but- in science- you continue to look- as much as possible- for the chain of events. And this is what Einstein was saying].
There were experiments done [Double split- etc.] that showed that these particles did not respond in the normal way.
That is- individually.
But- over time- you could predict the way they acted- as a group.
The example used was like a casino- even though the casino owner cannot say who will win in his casino- yet- because of the odds- the probability- over time he could be assured that the house will make more- then the people gambling.
Ok- this is fine- this is not some type of mystery that overthrows ‘all that we ever knew about the universe’ [which some of the men are saying].
Also- in the documentary I watched- carefully- they said it has since been proven that Bohr was right- and Einstein wrong- in the area of the observation of the particles being affected- simply because they were being looked at.
But- the documentary did not show how- they did go on to explain the concept of entanglement- and ‘spooky action’ but I was waiting for them to show me how Bohr was proven right about the idea that when a particle is looked at- it then reacts a certain way.
[In the field of Quantum Mechanics there is no equation that actually shows HOW this works.
QM has many formulas that do indeed work- that’s why we have electronics- cell phones- computers- etc. – the laws themselves do indeed work.
But there are no equations that show Einstein wrong and Bohr right- in the particular area of ‘observation created reality’.]
They never showed that.
In short- the Atom has electrons in it- that orbit around the center.
These particles seem to jump from one orbit- to another [The Quantum leap] without traveling thru the space.
In my mind- the Atom is a finely tuned ‘machine’ that exists everywhere.
The fact that these machines exist- and work- is part of the Grand design.
The reality of the Quantum Leap does not ‘overthrow all that we ever knew about the universe’.
It is a unique part of the created order.
In short- that’s it.
And the fact that they exist- and function- like everything else- is proof of design in itself.
Because we cannot predict how each and every particle will act- but we can predict how they will act as a group- is not proof that anything happens ‘BY CHANCE’.
If you want to call it ‘a law of probable’s’ that’s fine.
But as a whole- or group- they do work in an orderly fashion.
Now- there’s a lot more to Quantum Mechanics- but in a nutshell- that’s was the big debate.
QUANTA A MYSTERY!
– One of the physicists talking about Quanta- a minimum amount of energy that an electron puts out that can no longer be subdivided- said ‘this is amazing- nothing else is like that- for example- if you eat food- there is no minimum amount you must eat- why this is so is an absolute mystery!’.
Now- is he correct?
Is this so amazing?
The actual subject itself- the study of atoms [and everything else] is in categories- we define things by saying- well- it is A THING [meaning- they have limits- big and small].
By definition- yes- there are barriers-categories-limits to things.
Now- it’s a bit deeper than this- he is referring to insights Niels Bohr had in the study of Quantum mechanics.
But this is really no ‘mystery that changes everything we thought we knew’- not in the way the scientist talked about it.
BOWLING BALLS NEED A BOWLER
Now- I don’t want to be ‘picky’- but I found it interesting that in order for the host of the documentary to give an example of how these particles were reacting- he gave an example of a man throwing them- like bowling balls [the example was fine] down an alley.
He was doing this to show the probability of them acting a certain way- over time.
The point is- even in his example- he has someone ‘throwing them’- which would be the ‘cause’ for the effect.
Now- I know this was a simple example- for the viewer to understand better.
But it is natural- even in a simple example- to have an actual cause- for an effect.
And what he was trying to show in the example- was that there was no ‘cause’.
YOU SEE IT- YOU DID IT
Some argue that Quantum mechanics ‘proves’ that there are effects without a cause.
Which is an ideology that atheists try to use to say ‘there is no God’.
They appeal to the seemingly ‘causeless’ reaction of the electrons/particles that have no ‘movement or location’ until they are observed.
Actually- they do not see that they are contradicting themselves when they say this.
They are telling you [and me] there IS A CAUSE.
They are saying the cause is OBSERVATION by humans.
Now- if the Copenhagen interpretation holds true [it is being challenged by other interpretations- pilot wave-Hidden variables- consistent history] it would confirm the bible.
The bible teaches us that man is unique- he has ‘dominion’ over the created order [Genesis- Romans- etc.]
Meaning- man- has a special ‘rule’ or authority over creation in a way that all creation ‘submits’ to his caretaking.
So- if Bohr is correct- that particles at the most fundamental level of reality- act- move- ‘locate’ themselves- only when man is observing them- then- this would be consistent with the biblical world view.
Bohr’s view is better defined as ‘observer created reality’.
WHATS THE BIG MYSTERY?
In short- in the Copenhagen interpretation- it seems as if Electrons/ sub atomic particles are doing what they do- simply because they are being observed.
As I studied what other physicists are saying about this interpretation I found out that many of them believe this whole thing is way overblown.
I came to this conclusion BEFORE I READ THEIR DOUBTS TOO.
Like I said above- if it is true- then fine.
It proves GOD.
If we keep looking- maybe there will be a scientific answer to the problem.
The other scientists said stuff like ‘the reason these other guys are talking like it is such a mystery- it overthrows our whole view of the way we thought the world worked…’
They said it was kind of a ‘rite of passage’.
Like they picked up this ‘mysterious’ way of speaking- because it simply gets you into the ‘in crowd’.
I’ll be honest- that’s what it looked like to me.
If one little unsolved part of the puzzle [why the particle seems to be affected by the observer] is not solved yet- fine.
This in no way would overturn all the science that has been done since the days of Aristotle- to Ptolemy- up to Copernicus- down the line thru Newton- and then to Einstein.
It simply is not as big as they are making it out to be.
Christianity Today magazine ran an article a few years back- saying ‘will Quantum Mechanics be the big challenge to God’.
Guess they were simply trying to be trendy-
Maybe they should read my Blog?
LIGHT- WAVE AND PARTICLE
In the documentary- fabric of the cosmos- one of the scientists said part of the ‘mystery’ was that waves are not particles- and particles are not waves.
He used the example of an ocean wave [light wave] and rock [light particle].
This insight of Einstein at the beginning of the 20th century was indeed true.
The famous test- double slit- that seems to have confounded these men- to the point of using language like ‘this mystery will overturn all that we ever knew about the…’
The test showed that light has BOTH the characteristics of wave and particle- not that hard to see.
This simple reality seems to back up the Pilot Wave interpretation of QM’s-
Waves [both light- and ocean] are made up of particles. And yes ‘a particle is not a wave- and a wave is not a particle’.
But waves are made up of particles- and as simple as this sounds- that seems to be a part of the answer to the so called ‘puzzle’.
PAST POSTS [verses below]
In the last Philosophy post I hit on the 10th-14th century development of modern thought- today I want to jump into the 16th-18th centuries. Like I said in a previous post- after the Renaissance and the Reformation and the great scientific revolution- you had the world in somewhat of a tailspin.
What I mean is for hundreds of years people trusted in the old institutions [like the Catholic Church] to tell them what was true or false- then with the development of all these modern movements people began questioning stuff.
Was it good to question things? Sure. But some challenged the very foundations of thought and knowing [called Epistemology] and went a bit too far.
Some thinkers went back to the thought of Plato [400 years BC] and said that the mind is the main source of all knowledge- these were the 17th century Rationalists.
Rationalism- as a philosophy- was an outgrowth of all the great strides that man was making in all these other areas of life. The Scientific Revolution totally challenged the age old beliefs of many in the church.
Math became a sort of new ‘god’. How so? As science invented the Microscope and Telescope- man was able for the first time to peer deeply into the heavens- and to see deeply into the microscopic world.
As the great minds [Copernicus] showed us that the Universe was different than what we thought [Heliocentric versus Geocentric] man was able to do mathematical calculations and to say that a specific planet or star [or Comet] would show up at an exact date- or spot- and Walla- it would happen [you could look thru the Telescope and sure enough the math was right- the object that was calculated to be there- was.]
These calculations were mathematical formulas- so math began to be seen as the new religion in many ways.
There are even some thinkers in the modern day that still say the only ‘real truth’ that exists is mathematical formulas. Yeah- one guy wrote an entire book on the subject- the problem? Well- his book was not written in math- but words.
Yes- even the extreme deniers of Objective truth do make mistakes.
Now- what’s wrong with rationalism? Of course being rational is okay- but the philosophy itself denied real Objective truth. Truth that corresponds to some other ‘outside’ reality.
This form of thinking [rejecting outside reality] is called Relativism/Subjectivism. While there is some truth to all the various fields of thought- yet extreme Relativism denies ‘reality’ as most of us understand the term. There was a strong resistance to the 17th century rationalists- we call this Philosophy Empiricism.
The main thinker in this field was John Locke. Locke lived most of his life in the 17th century- but his thought laid the foundation for the 18th century Empiricist.
This philosophy says that the mind does indeed play a major role in the knowledge of things- but this knowledge does not originate in the mind [Plato] but in the ‘thing’ itself [Aristotle- remember when we covered these men? Plato was an idealist- Ideas were more real than matter. Aristotle was a Realist- closer to the thought of Locke].
Locke developed a theory called the Correspondence theory- that truth that the Mind discovers corresponds to real things that actually exist apart from the mind.
Locke was a practicing doctor- and most of the other thinkers of the day had room to speculate about reality in a way that Locke could not.
He lived in a real world with real patients who had real symptoms- in a nutshell Locke had to diagnose his patients based on his findings- he could not deny that there was a real problem- he had to have his ‘feet on the ground’ [based in reality] while engaging with his head up high.
Okay- I think we’ll end with this. Maybe you can go back and read some of my previous posts on this subject- just to become a little more familiar with it.
As Christians- we are not ‘required’ to know Philosophy- or current events- or science- but it helps us engage the culture when we do educate ourselves in these areas.
Go slow in learning [not too slow!] and try and see how the Christian Worldview agrees with- or rejects certain aspects of these different felids of thought.
Most Christians would reject Rationalism as a Philosophy- because it denies real objective truth- it says truth is relative- whatever the mind can conceive- or think- can be defined as truth [Unicorns?]
Biblical truth is based on real historic events- 1st Corinthians chapter 15 says that if we deny the physical resurrection of Christ- a real event- then our faith is in vain.
Christians base their faith on a real historic event- not simply on a belief system.
As I read a few chapters every few days- I want to comment on the important- relevant stuff.
One of them being the very word Relativity.
Now- I am tempted to go back and review all the posts we did on physics [you long time blog readers might remember?].
But this book is not a physics book per se’- but a biography.
Yet a quick review might help.
Einstein became famous for a few things- most of us know the famous equation E=mc2.
Simply a conversion of mass into energy formula- it works for all things- not just Nuclear.
His theory of Relativity shook up the world of physics- and Einstein is indeed the father of what we call modern physics [and Quantum theory].
Okay- what he did was he took the centuries old ideas of Newton [the father of classical physics] and he said that time and space were not absolutes.
That’s is- that depending on the observer [and his speed] time actually changes.
Some in the scientific community could not fathom what he was saying.
The book has actual headlines from the NY times- they openly doubted some of Einstein’s work
I remember reading this years ago- but this time I saw the real headlines.
They said stuff like ‘what is this new theory- that space might be limited- this defies the actual definition of space’.
Now- it would take too long to tell you what they were covering- but it is one of the various theories of the universe.
In actuality- the times might have been right in this one case [it’s a theory that the universe is curved- has no detectable edge- if so- you can than argue for an infinite universe in a closed space- because there is no edge- or end].
As a side note- logically- the times was correct.
Just because you can’t find a ‘sharp edge’ to a thing- that does not mean the thing is ‘endless’.
I covered this years ago in our apologetics posts- it was interesting to have re –read this from this author [Isaacson].
He is a good author- and explains stuff well.
Okay what was the other stuff that some objected to?
Some associated- wrongly- the theory of Relativity- with the modernist philosophy called Relativism.
Relativism [remember the philosophy stuff?] said that there was really nothing as objective truth- that what you see might be just as true as what someone else sees.
You might both be looking at the same thing [morally- murder- etc.] yet to one it might be wrong- to the other- right.
This idea- Relativism- was strongly rejected by many philosophers- especially those with a Christians/Theist background.
Even today this is one of the major debates going on in the world of the philosophy.
But- some confused what Einstein was saying- and they thought [or used it] to back up the ‘moral’ philosophy of Relativism.
This was a mistake.
Einstein himself- as I mentioned in an earlier post- was not a relativist at all- that is when speaking about moral absolutes.
So some began to associate him- as one of the new ‘Jew’ scientists- who were introducing dangerous doctrines to the world.
Yes- some of the objectors to Einstein objected on the basis of this new ‘Jewish science’ that was breaking away from the moors of Christian science- whose father was Isaac Newton.
See how both anti Semitism- and religious belief played a role in this?
I’ll end with a quote from a famous man of the time- an up and coming politician- I mean he could awe his audience like no other.
Obama- Clinton- even the great communicator- Reagan- were no match for this man when it came to giving a speech.
He said ‘Science- once our greatest pride- is today being taught by Hebrews’.
Who said this?
The future leader of Germany- Adolph Hitler.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have
At the start of the 20th century Ether was an accepted ‘scientific truth’ that most [if not all] scientists accepted.
It would be like Dark Matter today- something that seems to be ‘true’- most of the scientific community speak of it as real- yet- as far as we know- we have never once actually detected it.
So- ether was this theory that said light/energy is a wave [not particles] and therefore for this wave to move thru space- it needs a carrier.
Ether was this so called vapor like substance that allowed Energy/light to travel.
At a young age Einstein accepted this idea- but he was learning at a time when particle physics was just getting off the ground.
Though atoms and molecules [particles] were indeed part of the conversation- yet they were not totally proved yet.
So- part of the great breakthrough of Einstein put to death the idea of Ether- and instead we learned that light is not a wave so to speak- but a sort of particle beam- we did not really need the Ether concept- and to be honest- it never was really there.
This is just one little tid bit from the book that I thought interesting- today you would be considered a fool if you still talked about Ether [in this way].
Yet- at the time of Einstein you were a fool if you did not accept it.
Einstein would later challenge the field that he launched- Theoretical/Quantum physics.
He felt like some of the ideas were not really scientific- too much speculating.
That’s what I see as I watch/read about some of the most popular ideas that seem to make it into the TV specials that cover these subjects.
It’s often the theories/ideas that are ‘way out there’ that are the most interesting- and get the most viewers.
The problem is- many of these ideas are [in my view] modern day Ethers- they are accepted ‘fact’ even though we don’t really know if they exist.
When I see shows on alternate universes- parallel worlds- where we supposedly have duplicate lives and all.
Well- this is not science- this is not even Ether- its fairy tale land.
Yet- these same theorists will mock belief in an omnipotent being- because they want to see the facts.
So- over the next few weeks I will try and hit a little more on the books I’m reading- cover some more important news stuff- and try to be as challenging as Hunter.
Sometimes it’s when we go against the status quo- when we are open to see things differently- that’s when we make major breakthroughs in our thinking.
We should not cast off all the stuff that has come to us down thru the ages- but we need to realize that some of the stuff that seems to be accepted fact today- just might be the Ether of yesterday.
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