Catholicism and Idealism

So recently I have encountered a new type of apologetic from some Christian apologists wanting to provide direct evidence of God.

It is idealism.Basically,apologists have been mounting evidence for the existence of a non-material creator from quantum mechanics.

And according to the evidence in quantum mechanics,idealism is most likely true.

What is this Idealism?Idealism derived from that apologetic states that the universe is made out of information that is beneath everything.Even time and space.Our minds see that information and when we observe it,the information which was in a wave state of nothing definitive turns into a particle.

Thus,our minds participate in the universe and are very important because the picture of the universe from information and uncertain waves appears when we specifically observe it.

Our observation plays a role in perceiving the universe.

Here are some videos about the evidence of God from quantum mechanics and explanations of Idealism:

The question that I wanted to ask is this:

Is Idealism in any way compatible with Catholic theology on the sould/mind?Are the observations from quantum mechanics compatible with Catholic theology on such matters?

OK, I took one for the team and watched the third video. This seems to be an attempt to “reconcile” some strange things in quantum mechanics with Scripture (and, where to start with strange things in quantum mechanics?)

There’s nothing about quantum mechanics that is ***in***compatible with Catholic theology, because the two do not share any surface area. The two sets do not intersect, so they are perfectly compatible with each other.

Catholics don’t feel the need to “reconcile” science with Scripture (or Church teaching). We don’t feel the need to demonstrate that quantum mechanics is obscurely taught in the Bible. But there’s nothing WRONG with thinking that. It is not the teaching of the Church, but it is not AGAINST the teaching of the Church. If a Catholic wants to believe this, he is perfectly free to do so.

But, as a student of quantum physics, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the science itself was presented. I don’t agree with the conclusions that were drawn (about Scriptural connections), but the actual science was presented clearly and accurately. FWIW, the unidentified guy at 7:20 of the third video is Dr. Lenny Susskind, one of my science heroes.

Quantum mechanics is not incompatible with Catholicism. It is, of course, absolutely incompatible with natural human reason. But, then again, you could say the same thing about the Trinity or the Eucharist.

It is quite possible that our understanding of quantum mechanics is wrong and based on erroneous interpretations of observations. For example the interpretation of the double slit experiment in video one is erroneous in my opinion. Many physicists simply do not understand the statistical nature of their detectors in the presence of noise. This is because physicist tend to be either theoretical or experimental. Some interpretations require expertise in both domains which most lack, Another interpretation of the double slit observation is that as the signal level gets low, the Signal + Noise incident on the detector is dominated more by noise. When this happens, the detectors fire independently. No particles required.

Don’t get too hung up on quantum mechanics. It is a young theory and will be evolving for a long while.

OK, now I gotta view the first video.

[cue [URL=“”]Jepoardy theme music while DavidFilmer watches the first video]

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? The first video was AMAZING.

Many physicists simply do not understand the statistical nature of their detectors in the presence of noise. This is because physicist tend to be either theoretical or experimental. Some interpretations require expertise in both domains which most lack,

But we need only consider Alain Aspect. His experiments PROVED Bell’s theorem (that local hidden variables cannot predict the conclusions of quantum mechanics) , and his experimental results have been verified MANY times over, in both abstract theory and laboratory verification.

Another interpretation of the double slit observation is that as the signal level gets low, the Signal + Noise incident on the detector is dominated more by noise. When this happens, the detectors fire independently. No particles required.

Well, obviously, particles ARE required to fire the detectors. You seem to be saying that it is difficult to distinguish between the particle fired in the experiment, and some random “noise” particle which might pass through the detector.

The problem with that idea is that the particle fired by the experiment will ALWAYS pass through the detector. An extraneous “noise” particle cannot cancel out the experimental particle, and thus the detectors would detect more than one particle, which is an easy event to filter out.

The experiment designed and conducted by Alain Aspect remains the definitive proof.

David, I know you to be a gentleman and a scholar from your posts. I don’t want to go off topic with our discussion on quantum mechanics too much and I hope you don’t mind some friendly banter.

For the sake of the OP let me be clear that classical electromagnetic wave theory is all that one needs to understand the simple results of most tests (including the ones offered in the videos) that claim things like wave-particle duality, etc. The problem is that very few physicists actually understand classical electromagnetic wave theory so they jump to mechanical understandings of these things. Quantum mechanics is completely buried in electromagnetic theory. But for one who does not understand classical EM theory and lacks the necessary tools (Maxwell’s equations in time varying non-linear media) quantum mechanics provides a simpler tool set, but leads to some erroneous interpretations of how things really work.

The creator (Nobel prize winning physicist Charles Lamb) of what is now known as quantum electrodynamic theory was very much against the concept of a photon or wave-particle duality and actually created quantum electromagnetic theory directly from Maxwell’s equations.

Max Plank was always against the concept of a photon and instead put the discrete energy state on the material, or the detector itself where it belongs.

Modern physics now understands that Einstein got things wrong when he put the discrete energy levels on the electromagnetic wave when describing the photo-electric effect. The discrete energy levels can just as easily be on the material or the detector. So no light particles are needed, just a harmonic resonating detector (with discrete frequency energy states).

Compton has a chapter in his classic book on Compton scattering that describes how the Compton scattering effect can be described with classical wave theory, but the photon theory provides for much easier math (for those not versed in classical EM theory).

So without the need for photons in the double slit experiment, we simply interpret the results as wave interactions. When the field strength is very low, it just means that we have very low SNR on the detector and since the thermal noise signal from within the detectors are uncorrelated we see no interference pattern. These are NOT photons, they are just discrete detections triggered by the self noise of the detector. Since the self noise is limited to a narrow bandwidth (since narrow band filters are used) the noise itself is a coherent source that can destructively interfere with the weak signal from the light. In the end there are two time varying voltage signals generated by the detector, one from the signal, one from the self noise. These two band-limited signals interfere with each other. This is because light is a wave and not a particle. So you can have light impinging on a detector but the detector reads zero since the Signal plus Noise can cancel and does in a well understood pattern described by advanced mathematical detection statistics…

You will note complaints such as saying that two particles can’t cancel out, reveal an a-prior assumption that light is a particle and not a wave. This is one of the modern mistakes of amateur interpretations of quantum mechanics that leads to all of the wacky interpretations.

Please understand OP that I am not saying that quantum mechanics is wrong. I am saying that quantum mechanics is entirely described by classical electromagnetic theory, and was in fact derived directly from it. But after a bunch of approximations, it leads to a simple set of equations that can also be interpreting using particles instead of waves and arrives at the same results. But what is going on in the real world is waves, not particles. If one looks at things as if the particles were real, then one is forcing a non-physical model onto reality which when used to infer further information leads to erroneous results. Like for example, when one says that two particles can’t cancel.

It is circular logic:

  • Since light is a particle, then two particles can’t cancel.
  • Since we see a detection on one detector but not the other then we must have a single photon that impinges on the detector.
  • Since only one photon was present it must have gone through only one slit and not both.
  • Therefore light is a particle and not a wave.

Can you see the circular logic OP?

Food for thought. Some other serious-minded modern rethinking of the interpretations of quantum mechanics. MIT is now showing us how spooky quantum effects can be generated with classical, easy to understand fluids. Not so spooky after all I guess.

One interesting quote: Later, the Northern Irish physicist John Stewart Bell went on to prove a seminal theorem that many physicists today misinterpret as rendering hidden variables impossible. But Bell supported pilot-wave theory. He was the one who pointed out the flaws in von Neumann’s original proof. And in 1986 he wrote that pilot-wave theory “seems to me so natural and simple, to resolve the wave-particle dilemma in such a clear and ordinary way, that it is a great mystery to me that it was so generally ignored.”

OK, THAT’S an interesting article!!! But it’s gonna be a tough sell to people who have already accepted a non-deterministic existence. I noticed that the two physicists who spoke most strongly against the idea happen to be the only two scientists mentioned who are Nobel laureates. Neither think the Copenhagen doctrine is very good, but they seem to like this idea even less.

OK, my favorite quantum physics joke, which was going around when there was talk of faster-than-light neutrinos (since discredited):

So the bartender says, “Sorry, buddy, we don’t serve faster-than-light neutrinos here.”
A faster-than-light neutrino walks into a bar…

Tis a strange world we inhabit.

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