The Religious A priori

Rational Warrant for Belief

Berekeley_Goswamai argument

The Berkeley_Goswamai Argument.

Acutally this argument is just called the "Berkeley" Argument because it has a certain resemblence to Bishop Berkeley's famous dictim, "to be is to be percieved." But it is not really the same argument. Acutally, it is about "callapsing the wave function" in quntum phyisics.

Glen Miler, Christian Think Tank

"The quantum one--in which an observer is required--has a rather staggering possible implication, as noted by physicist John Gribbon in Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality (p. 15-16): "Take the Copenhagen Interpretation literally, and it tells you that an electron wave collapses to make a point on a detector screen because the entire Universe is looking at it. This is strange enough; but some cosmologists (among them Stephen Hawking) worry that it implies that there must actually be something 'outside the Universe' to look at the Universe as a whole and collapse its overall wave function" [Note: Gribbon lists himself in the footnote as another who 'worries' about the same thing!]

Dr. Robert J. Rullell , Ph. D., University of California, Santa Cruz, 1978 (physics) Founder and Director, The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley, 1981-present
"Eugene Wigner and others have suggested that it is mind acting on matter that accounts for quantum phenomena.."

Christepher Southgate

God Humanity and the Cosmos

visited 6/12/06

Some physicists, e.g. Wigner and Wheeler, have identified the classical measuring apparatus of the Copenhagen interpretation with consciousness. If so, they must be using a much broader definition of consciousness than is usual. What level of consciousness would be needed to make something determinate? Is the cat sufficiently conscious to determine the outcome of the experiment? Would earthworms do? What about viruses? The effect of pursuing this line of inquiry is to move towards a form of panpsychism - the doctrine that every part of the natural world no matter how humble is in some sense conscious!

An alternative might be to ask does God collapse the wave function? (Click on this related topic to see the problems with this point of view.)


Does God collapse the wave function?

In order to understand how the Schrödinger Wave Equation relates to reality, we could postulate a transcendent world observer - a divine mind whose observations collapse the wave functions on our behalf. In effect this would be the quantum-mechanical version of Bishop Berkeley’s idealism. This is memorably summarised in a couple of limericks:

There was once a man who said ‘God
Must think it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree
Continues to be
When there’s no one about in the quad.’

And the reply:

Dear Sir, Your astonishment’s odd:
I am always about in the quad.
And that’s why the tree>br> Will continue to be,
Since observed by Yours faithfully, God.

The problem with this attractive solution to the measurement problem is that it proves too much. Invoking a divine observer leads to the question of why there should be any quantum measurement problem at all. Why should anything be left indeterminate for us to determine by our measurements? Is God only interested in those aspects of creation that are above a certain size?

Dr. Amit Goswami agree:

"Scientific Proof for The Existence of God"
An Interview with Amit Goswami, by Craig Hamilton

What is Enlighement magazine.
Issue curret as of April 7, 05.

"Goswami is convinced, along with a number of others who subscribe to the same view, that the universe, in order to exist, requires a conscious sentient being to be aware of it. Without an observer, he claims, it only exists as a possibility. And as they say in the world of science, Goswami has done his math. Marshalling evidence from recent research in cognitive psychology, biology, parapsychology and quantum physics, and leaning heavily on the ancient mystical traditions of the world, Goswami is building a case for a new paradigm that he calls "monistic idealism," the view that consciousness, not matter, is the foundation of everything that is."

"A professor of physics at the University of Oregon and a member of its Institute of Theoretical Science, Dr. Goswami is part of a growing body of renegade scientists who in recent years have ventured into the domain of the spiritual in an attempt both to interpret the seemingly inexplicable findings of their experiments and to validate their intuitions about the existence of a spiritual dimension of life. The culmination of Goswami's own work is his book The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World. Rooted in an interpretation of the experimental data of quantum physics (the physics of elementary particles), the book weaves together a myriad of findings and theories in fields from artificial intelligence to astronomy to Hindu mysticism in an attempt to show that the discoveries of modern science are in perfect accord with the deepest mystical truths."

"Quantum physics, as well as a number of other modern sciences, he feels, is demonstrating that the essential unity underlying all of reality is a fact which can be experimentally verified. Because of the enormous implications he sees in this scientific confirmation of the spiritual, Goswami is ardently devoted to explaining his theory to as many people as possible in order to help bring about what he feels is a much needed paradigm shift. He feels that because science is now capable of validating mysticism, much that before required a leap of faith can now be empirically proven and, hence, the materialist paradigm which has dominated scientific and philosophical thought for over two hundred years can finally be called into question."

Notice that the lattest theories about the state of universe beyond event horizon pot no space, no time, and dense mass in a state we annot imagine.

Ste Odenwald, NASA

Astronomy Cafe, 2004.

If the pre-Big Bang state was timeless, what is the best guess as to what it was like?

We don't know.

All we can do is watch our best current theories predict what this could have been like.

Without including quantum mechanical effects, the Standard Big Bang model predicts an incomprehensible singularity state of infinite density and zero space and time. Physicists and cosmologists during the last 20 years have attempted to add quantum mechanical effects in various ways, and have come up with an initial state called the Planck Era when the scale of the universe was about 10^-33 centimeters at a time 10^-43 seconds after the Big Bang. This is an absolute horizon to cosmology because 'before' this era, all properties were determined by acausal, quantum fluctuations in some indeterminate quantum state. There was no time or space then, not at least in any intuitive way of thinking about the situation.

If we ever develop a true unified field theory that includes gravity, we may have more to say about what this state may have been like. But that seems to be a very far off goal, especially in so far as actually testing such a theory is concerned. If you can't test it, or in principle falsify it, then it is not science that you are doing, but philosophy!

Still, speculating about this initial state is fun, and very few of us in the Profession can avoid thinking and writing about this question.

two important points to be made here:

(1) they do not just attribute the universe to poping out of nothing. No one seems to think that is a viable idea.

(2) this uknown state that is no time and no space would be compatible with the mind of God. If our reality is a thought in some giant mind it's origin point might look like that, no time, no space, some indefinable state.

Interview with Goswami

The Religious A priori