Quantum physics experts?

Would anyone with a solid knowledge of quantum physics please PM me? I’m interested in learning more about it, specifically as to how it could apply to objections to some theological positions.

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God does not play cards with the Universe ?

I know a little bit about it but I don’t think I would know enough to apply it to theology.

I have a “good” knowledge of quantum physics - I would not call myself an “expert” in this field (I majored in mathematics, but my studies included a good dose of quantum mechanics).

I would be happy to discuss these topics in the CAF forums, so that current and future readers may benefit. I am not interested in a PM discourse. Post your questions in the public forum, and I (and (probably) other knowledgeable members) will be pleased to reply.

“I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” (Richard Feynman)

well I am a physics major and I have had an introductory course on quantum physics but I am in no way an expert, as Ahimsa pointed out no one is

I have heard some objections to God using quantum mechanics, I have torn some of these down and even come up with a few of my own in support of God. So please, post them here so everyone can see and learn.

I ask the OP if he has had any PM feedback in this regard. He has offers to discuss this in the public forum, but he has not responded in a public manner. If he is otherwise engaging in a PM discussion then that is perfectly OK, but I think he should give the rest of us the courtesy of a reply.

I’ve had some replies but as yet I don’t quite have answers to my questions.

Specifically it seems to me that quantum superposition is problematic for Aquinas’ assertion that a thing can only be actual and potential in different respects, that the spontaneous generation of matter at the quantum level is problematic for Aquinas’ assertions re: the nature of causality, and that the spontaneous decay of isotopes is problematic for Aquinas’ assertion re: the necessity of an actual motion to actualize the potential of a thing.

I had always understood (as a physics-knowledgeable friend once explained to me) that the bizarre qualities we see emerging from QM are artifacts of our inertial frame of reference, not objective reality. Thus if you could see inside the box where Schrodinger’s Cat was being kept and observe the cat from its own inertial frame of reference, the cat would be either alive or dead, not both simultaneously.

SW85
All falls apart because; God is OUTSIDE of time and space!

Can you pray for the dead?
YES!!!

You can pray for your friend who dies today and your great, great, great grandfather who died 150 years ago… Time is only relative to us…NOT to God!

The protestant is wrong to say…“Can’t pray for the dead”. They have put God into a box, telling us what God can and can’t do!
Dogknox

Well I’m not a quantum physics expert specifically, but I am trained and work professionally as a scientist, and I would just caution beware of trying to draw any inferences about theology from the natural sciences. Particularly something that is so abstract as quantum mechanics. Personally my pet peeve is misappropriation of thermodynamics, but I think the same applies to quantum mechanics. This is a highly mathematical description or abstraction of physical phenomena. It really doesn’t make sense to pull it into service of something it wasn’t designed to describe. Part of the problem you will run into is that the math is very difficult to comprehend in terms of our everyday experience. And the farther you get away from the math, and into the realm of non-mathematical descriptions or analogies about what the math means, the less precise you are, and the more inaccuracies or misconceptions creep into your understanding.

In divinity school my wife took a course where they used a book on “quantum theology” where they used concepts of modern physics to come up with ways of describing religious concepts. From what she told me, it was totally bogus.

To change any substance in appearance it texture must change, right down to the molecule. Ore into steel, coal burning ash, water to ice… etc.
But: God can change into a dove and still be God. He can take the appearance of smoke or fire…etc. and still not change!!
God can take the form of man and yes even bread and wine and still be 100% God!! He can take any appearance, look as bread taste as bread but not be bread, he desires any appearance yet stays “God unchanged!”

God lives outside of “Quantum physics”!!

Dogknox

Quantum physics has no application to theological problems.

Thomistic philosophy does, but it is hardly taught anymore.

Hi SW! :wave:

You’re probably not going to find any quantum mechanics “experts” on this board at all. I have a bachelors in physics as do several other people, there are engineers and mathematics types who are pretty good too… but none of us is an expert by any means.

Specifically it seems to me that quantum superposition is problematic for Aquinas’ assertion that a thing can only be actual and potential in different respects

Except for the fact that in a superposition the item is neither truly actual nor truly potential. If it were only a potential being, it would totally not exist. If it were totally actual, it would not be in a superposition in the first place. Can you perhaps be more specific on exactly why you see this as a problem?

that the spontaneous generation of matter at the quantum level is problematic for Aquinas’ assertions re: the nature of causality

Spontaneous generation of matter… or imaginary particles? We have yet to see anything approaching even an electron magically pop into existance without a cause… as of yet, we haven’t even OBSERVED an imaginary particle (they’re too small!). We’ve only observed their effects. We have a theory about what is acting to cause that effect and we act on that theory with reasonable certainty, but we’ve still never put eyes on to an imaginary particle.

and that the spontaneous decay of isotopes is problematic for Aquinas’ assertion re: the necessity of an actual motion to actualize the potential of a thing.

This is actually an interesting one that I’d like more time to think about…

I had always understood (as a physics-knowledgeable friend once explained to me) that the bizarre qualities we see emerging from QM are artifacts of our inertial frame of reference, not objective reality. Thus if you could see inside the box where Schrodinger’s Cat was being kept and observe the cat from its own inertial frame of reference, the cat would be either alive or dead, not both simultaneously.

Eh, this is called the theory of “hidden variable”. It doesn’t have much credibility in the Physics community, since the two slit experiment when acting with a single electron (or photon, for that matter) absolutely seems to contradict the idea of a hidden variable with no superposition. However, you DO still find some credible scientists who cleave to this theory.

A new book by Robert Spitzer, S.J., former presidemt of Gonzaga U. and founder and president of the Magis Institute for Faith and Reason, deals with the theological implications of modern physics. The title is New Proofs for the Existence of God (Eerdmans, 2010). It should be interesting to all posters on this thread.

THANK you for this post! It perfectly describes my attitude towards this kind of stuff, and I’m so glad someone else out there thinks the way I do.

A person shouldn’t be talking metaphysics about something until they understand the math for themselves, understand where the idea and the math came from, and appreciate the fact that it is a model. For example, is an electron a wave or a particle? That’s not really the right question. The right question would be: What mathematical model can we use to describe our observations in this scenario? Sometimes we have to use a wave model, and sometimes a particle model is easier.

Thank you! It’s gratifying to know someone out there agrees with me. I find a lot of threads here that discuss scientific topics get very irritating. Much of this is a form of pseudoscience - appropriating the language and concepts of science to lend credence to something to which the science simply doesn’t apply. Sometimes the intent may be good, to use “modern” concepts to understanding old truths in new ways, but if it involves misconstruing science, then it lacks credibility.

It’s PhD level work, you’re not going to be able to use it for the purposes that you want without investing 4 or 5 years of Graduate level work.

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