reconcile quantum mechanics with your atheism

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reconcile quantum mechanics with your atheism

How do you reconcile quantum mechanics with your atheism? Clearly the Schrodinger's cat paradox leaves the door open for Bishop Berkeley type idealism whereby consciousness creates reality and God is the ultimate observer (aka Wigner's friend) who sustains all that reality via observation. To what extent do you think the majority of physicists believe in this very Christian somewhat solopsist version of the Copenhagen interpretation? Do you reckon it is a minority or just a few whack jobs that take it to this extreme an interpretation? It bothers me.

I think I adhere to a many worlds interpretation or at least a consistent histories interpretation because I can't believe that human consciousness creates reality. It smells like quasi-religious bullshit to me. However the cat paradox still leaves my atheism a little vulnerable as there does not seem to be any conclusive evidence about the existence of a multiverse, yet. However it is preferable to the alternative Copenhagen interpretation, even when it is more prosaic. Do you think a many worlds or multiverse approach is becoming a more popular interpretation among physicists these days? I'm hoping you will know more about this than me because I am worried that quantum physics leaves the door open to idealism and/or God. I'm interested in your beliefs and opinions as a fellow atheist.


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I'm sorry, the question is

I'm sorry, the question is for yellow number five or anyone else that would like to answer.


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I know very little about

I know very little about quantum mechanics, but I will address something about your post. It seems you are conveying the idea that all the doors have to be closed in order to be an atheist.

Atheism is the lack of belief in god(s). There are doors open for the existence of a god, but until I see something come through that door I will continue to disbelieve. There are doors open for the existence of invisible blue trolls too.

All the gaps in our knowledge don't have to be filled in order to not believe there is a god. As time has gone by the gaps in our knowledge have been being filled by science. In the past theists claimed god was necessary to explain lightning and the diversity of life etc... Now that those things have been solved they keep pushing their gods into any gaps they can find. They are becoming desperate at this point. Often times they try to cram their gods into doors that are already closed.

 

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...I can't believe that human consciousness creates reality.


I don't get this. Are there people who argue that without us being here that the universe wouldn't exist?


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Have you seen the particle

Have you seen the particle accelerator? (LHC)

 

http://public.web.cern.ch/Public/Welcome.html

 

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Juan wrote: How do you

Juan wrote:
How do you reconcile quantum mechanics with your atheism?

There's nothing to quantum mechanics that illustrates a requirement for a god.

 

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Clearly the Schrodinger's cat paradox leaves the door open for Bishop Berkeley type idealism whereby consciousness creates reality and God is the ultimate observer (aka Wigner's friend) who sustains all that reality via observation.

I remember having the same thoughts when I first read about Berkeley. But there's nothing in QM that requires a 'god's eye view' to collapse every wave function.  We don't even need to see the wavefunction as a real physical entity.

 I must also ask:  what role do you think QM has on the macro level?

 

Quote:

To what extent do you think the majority of physicists believe in this very Christian somewhat solopsist version of the Copenhagen interpretation?

I think the Copehagen view, and the many worlds view, are two of the most popular solutions... along with Dirac's "just shut the fuck up about it" response. But I don't think any physicist uses the Copenhagen interpretation to argue for a god. If you disagree, please cite one.

As for the Copenhagen interpretation being "solipsist', this comes off as a non sequitur to me.  

 

Quote:
 

Do you reckon it is a minority or just a few whack jobs that take it to this extreme an interpretation? It bothers me. I think I adhere to a many worlds interpretation or at least a consistent histories interpretation because I can't believe that human consciousness creates reality.

 

I don't even think that the copenhagen solution has to lead to this ramification.

Quote:
 

It smells like quasi-religious bullshit to me. However the cat paradox still leaves my atheism a little vulnerable as there does not seem to be any conclusive evidence about the existence of a multiverse, yet. However it is preferable to the alternative Copenhagen interpretation, even when it is more prosaic. Do you think a many worlds or multiverse approach is becoming a more popular interpretation among physicists these days? I'm hoping you will know more about this than me because I am worried that quantum physics leaves the door open to idealism and/or God. I'm interested in your beliefs and opinions as a fellow atheist.

 

I can't even fathom how an argument from ignorance can lead you to anything other than saying "I don't know".  

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i think that Todangst

i think that Todangst covered it pretty well. i just dont see the theist argument in that. . . sorry

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Juan wrote:How do you

Juan wrote:
How do you reconcile quantum mechanics with your atheism?

I honestly never felt the need to reconcile it, as it is already reconciled. If it be a natural phenomena, my world view remains intact.

 

Quote:
Clearly the Schrodinger's cat paradox leaves the door open for Bishop Berkeley type idealism whereby consciousness creates reality and God is the ultimate observer (aka Wigner's friend) who sustains all that reality via observation. To what extent do you think the majority of physicists believe in this very Christian somewhat solopsist version of the Copenhagen interpretation? Do you reckon it is a minority or just a few whack jobs that take it to this extreme an interpretation? It bothers me. I think I adhere to a many worlds interpretation or at least a consistent histories interpretation because I can't believe that human consciousness creates reality. It smells like quasi-religious bullshit to me. However the cat paradox still leaves my atheism a little vulnerable as there does not seem to be any conclusive evidence about the existence of a multiverse, yet.

Thank you for a wonderful question. Let me suffice it to say that I don't think conciousness creates reality per se. If you stand under a ton of bricks and I drop them upon you, we can be pretty sure of the outcome, in this universe at the very least. This is ultimately what matters to our philosophy and science. I understand the many worlds hypothesis, but I ultmately fail to see how it impacts us in the practical or philisophical sense. I ultimately think Hawking shares that view, and the quote in my signature alludes to exactly that:

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/WritingScience/Ferris.htm

 

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The Nazi leader Hermann Goering may or may not have said, "Whenever I hear the word ´culture,' I reach for my revolver." The line appears in Schlageter, by the Nazi playwright Harms Johst, where a storm trooper says, Wenn ich Kultur höre . . . entsichere ich meinen Browning ("I cock my Browning&quotEye-wink. Hawking's joke was made in a conversation with T.F., in Pasadena, California, April 4, 1983. The complete exchange was as follows:

HAWKING: I regard [the many worlds interpretation] as selfevidently correct. T.F.: Yet some don't find it evident to themselves. HAWKING: Yeah, well, there are some people who spend an awful lot of time talking about the interpretation of quantum mechanics. My attitude-I would paraphrase Goering-is that when I hear of Schrodinger's cat, I reach for my gun. T.F.: That would spoil the experiment. The cat would have been shot, all right, but not by a quantum effect. HAWKING (laughing): Yes, it does, because I myself am a quantum effect. But, look: All that one does, really, is to calculate conditional probabilities-in other words, the probability of A happening, given B. I think that that's all the many worlds interpretation is. Some people overlay it with a lot of mysticism about the wave function splitting into different parts. But all that you're calculating is conditional probabilities.  

Quote:
However it is preferable to the alternative Copenhagen interpretation, even when it is more prosaic. Do you think a many worlds or multiverse approach is becoming a more popular interpretation among physicists these days? I'm hoping you will know more about this than me because I am worried that quantum physics leaves the door open to idealism and/or God. I'm interested in your beliefs and opinions as a fellow atheist.

Well, look, anyone who has had the misfortune of viewing the film "What the Bleep Do We Know" knows that woowoos and true believers can bend any aspect of science to fit their world view so long as they ignore critical thinking and actual facts. All it really is is the "God of the Gaps" manifesting itself to the ignorant. The more we learn about the universe, the more gaps we create - they do become smaller, but gaps will always exist, and as a scientist I would not have it otherwise.

When you've had a creationist demand fossil evidence of a "missing link" to fill an evolutionary gap only to present such a fossil and have them retort, "well now there are TWO evolutionary gaps", you'll understand what I mean.

I'm not really in any position as a layman to say what's going to happen in the future of cosmology, though I will state for the record that I am a fan of Lee Smolin's ideas regarding fecund universes.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Oh boy. I first started

Oh boy. I first started running into the second law argument. My recaction to that was:

1. The bible is not a science textbook and has no ancient hebrew word "second law" or any of the laws of thermodynamics.]

2. If second law makes anything possible then Suerman is possible

3. The second law argument Jesus fans try to use usually never takes into account all the other laws.

4. And why would, if we were to be that gullible, this argument defaut you your god and not , Allah, or Vishnu, or Thor?

 

Now people are trying to argue QM.

Again, this is nothing more than trying to dress up their myth and pass it off as real. If one is going to argue that QM requires a god then it should also require Superman flying as well.

If it makes no sense that a man cannot litterally fly as dipicted by the Superman Character then why would it be any more possible to "poof" instantaniously turn dirt into a human?

YOU CANT BE SERIOUS TRYING TO USE LAGIT SIENCE TO justify that bullcrap! 

 

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Juan wrote: How do you

Juan wrote:
How do you reconcile quantum mechanics with your atheism? Clearly the Schrodinger's cat paradox leaves the door open for Bishop Berkeley type idealism whereby consciousness creates reality and God is the ultimate observer (aka Wigner's friend) who sustains all that reality via observation.

The idealism stance seems to be based on a misunderstanding of the term "observer" in the context of QM. Basically, an observer is anything (ANYTHING) interacting with the quantumly questionable item (cat, radioactive isotope, whichever).

(Sorry, I'm going to restate the Cat thought experiment...)

If you simplify the Cat to a single atom of zinc-69 (half-life of about an hour, decays to Gallium via beta decay), that single atom goes in a box completely shielded from all radiation (which would interact with the atom). During a one hour segment, there is a 50% chance of that atom decaying. Until the atoms or that electron, interact with anything, the atom is in a state of decayed-not-decayed (the weird QM overlap.)

When we open the box to look in, the light we shine on it interacts with the atom making its waveform collapse to either decayed or not-decayed depending on what happened.

(Done.)

In reality (outside of experiments), atoms are interacting with each other all the time, shedding photons, absorbing photons, heck, even gravitating towards each other, so these weird dual states don't last very long at all.

Hopefully this makes some sense. If it doesn't, don't worry; Neils Bohr (a father of QM) said "And anyone who thinks they can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy hasn't yet understood the first thing about it."

On the other hand, I may not understand the first thing about it either. Smiling

-Triften 


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Juan wrote: How do you

Juan wrote:
How do you reconcile quantum mechanics with your atheism? Clearly the Schrodinger's cat paradox leaves the door open for Bishop Berkeley type idealism whereby consciousness creates reality and God is the ultimate observer (aka Wigner's friend) who sustains all that reality via observation. To what extent do you think the majority of physicists believe in this very Christian somewhat solopsist version of the Copenhagen interpretation? Do you reckon it is a minority or just a few whack jobs that take it to this extreme an interpretation? It bothers me. I think I adhere to a many worlds interpretation or at least a consistent histories interpretation because I can't believe that human consciousness creates reality. It smells like quasi-religious bullshit to me. However the cat paradox still leaves my atheism a little vulnerable as there does not seem to be any conclusive evidence about the existence of a multiverse, yet. However it is preferable to the alternative Copenhagen interpretation, even when it is more prosaic. Do you think a many worlds or multiverse approach is becoming a more popular interpretation among physicists these days? I'm hoping you will know more about this than me because I am worried that quantum physics leaves the door open to idealism and/or God. I'm interested in your beliefs and opinions as a fellow atheist.

You really want to play that game? Like we haven't heard this argument before.

"You dont know everything so therefore my deity(incert name here) exists"

EEEEETTTTTTTTT!

Wrong. 

You are trying a bait and switch tactic which is nothing more than, "Pay no attention to the mythology behind the curtain"

Whatever the scientific process has yet to discover does not default to "spirit sperm knocking up girls" or surviving rigor mortis after 3 days. If you are going to say "Anything goes" acording to QM then Harry Potter can fly around on a broomstick and Allah will give you 72 virgins when you die. 

Incerting magic as a default answer to what science has yet to explain is not only rediculous, but dangerous and will stiffle the ability to find future answers. Your god is not needed for life to exist and certainly not a fictional one with a book that talks about talking donkeys and talking snakes. 

QM is not mythology and has a solid foundation in science. I doubt whatever we dont know about the universe will lead us to a cosmic David Copperfield being daddy. 

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Brian, he's not

Brian, he's not presenting it as an argument of his. He's saying it's something he's heard. Calm down... have some dip (Credit to George Carlin.) He said he's an atheist and is wondering where this argument goes so don't accuse him of a bait-and-switch right off the bat.

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I need to holster my one

I need to holster my one trick poney and take my Rittlen once and a while.

My bad, as they say. Sealed

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AtheistInWonderland

AtheistInWonderland wrote:

Quote:
...I can't believe that human consciousness creates reality.


I don't get this. Are there people who argue that without us being here that the universe wouldn't exist?

AtheistInWonderland meet Hogspanker.

 

 


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No problem man. As you can

No problem man. As you can see it took me 4 years to see your response. I've been out for awhile. But I'm reading all of this stuff now and I'm loving it.


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Welcome back, Juan.

 

It's a good question, this. 

 

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Juan wrote:No problem man.

Juan wrote:

No problem man. As you can see it took me 4 years to see your response. I've been out for awhile. But I'm reading all of this stuff now and I'm loving it.

She's gone.

Where have you been?

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All that matters is that he

All that matters is that he came back. Smiling

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 Welcome back Juan.  Let

 Welcome back Juan.

 

Let me pose a couple of observations of my own that might help frame an answer to your question.

 

As an amateur astronomer, I can point my telescope in any direction I feel like and see a great many stars which would otherwise be below the threshold of what we can observe. Now, while we certainly don't know everything about how stars form and develop, we are pretty close to a solid understanding about the basic ideas. All of those stars can be fairly well understood through a handful of basic parameters such as the mass and the metal content.

 

Looking further out with much larger and more expensive telescopes, we can see galaxies in every direction. Again, we certainly don't have all the answers about how they form and develop but they all see to be able to be categorized by a smallish number of parameters, despite the fact that the light from most of them left before our own sun had formed.

 

So it seems that it is not really viable to say that our minds are somehow a requirement to develop the nature of reality. Taking that even further, if we posit that there are conscious minds spread evenly throughout the universe, we are not in contact with them to come to an agreement on just what we should see. Even if we were, how could the universe ten billion light years in one direction look anything like the universe ten billion light years in the opposite direction?

 

OK, so minds don't make reality. That seems to be pretty basic. What then of the Copenhagen interpretation? Well, the fact that it seems to have explanatory power should also be a bit if a gimmie that there is something there.

 

Honestly, the history of science hides a bit of an embarrassing fact. In one of his presentations many decades ago, a questioner put forth a similar idea to Heisenberg and the answer amounted to “Because I say so!”. Heisenberg never wrote on that point to further develop it, so we don't know if he was being serious or facetious. Even so, some explanation for reality must be obtainable that accounts for the nature of the universe where minds cannot be the sensible explanation.

 

Here I would not get too caught up in the idea of multiple universes. You would still have to deal with the “communication problem”. Most proposals for multiple universes are not in communicable contact with each other and thus fail to explain reality any better than minds.

 

The Hugh Everett model at least has the advantage (if you want to call it that) of each unique universe developing from a preexisting state. However, it lacks the ability to explain the isotropy within our universe. So still, something else is needed.

 

Now we do have at least a partial answer to the above problem. If we allow for the universe to have existed for a non-zero time before the inflaton field blew out, then the big picture of isotropy is covered. Add to that the idea of quantum renormalization and the Schrodinger equation can be accounted for without lofty presumption on the part of Heisenberg.

 

Don't misunderstand me on the above. That might not be the answer that we could get to one day. Perhaps there is more to consider. Perhaps even questions which we have not yet discovered. However, for right now, it is a working position which does not seem to provide really obvious objections of which I am aware.

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A conscious observer is most

A conscious observer is most definitely NOT required to 'collapse the wave-function' in quantum mechanics, which is what gives rise to all this crap.

All it needs is for something in an indeterminate quantum state to interact with something which has macro-scale effects. This can be a recording instrument, which only much later is inspected by a human observer, to verify this.

Some have tried to maintain the 'woo' by saying this ultimate human observation somehow reaches back thru time to cause the collapse, but that is really stretching things.

Another fundamental aspect of quantum-scale events is their essentially perfect randomness, which is exactly the wrong characteristic to indicate any influence of a conscious mind, so perfectly consistent with Atheism, but problematic for someone who believes in a conscious being behind all things.

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Consciousness does not cause

Consciousness does not cause wavefunction collapse.

 

QED


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That just happened to me

That just happened to me this morning!

I was on my way out, but I couldn't find my keys! In fact, due to there being an extremely low, but non-zero probability of their being in any particular place, you could say that my keys were in all possible locations at once!

But then I looked in my pocket and suddenly collapsed their wave-fucntion, et voila, they appeared exactly where they should be!

But then, due to my knowing their exact location, they suddenly gained infinite momentum, and they could be anywhere in the universe by now! Fucking quantum mechanics! What a bitch!

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When my mind was still

When my mind was still young(er, I think it's actually still quite moldable Laughing out loud) I watched what the bleep do we know, because it was the first quantum physics thingy I could find on the internet. The moment they said that the quantum thing could reach back in time, and would only collapse if a conscious observer saw the data, I thought of an experiment to do that (namely destroying half the data, and checking if half the time the pattern would change to a particle pattern).
Someone then told me, and gullible as I was I believed him, that they had actually done this and the experiment concluded that consciousness did have an influence.

Of course this was a blatant lie, and if I ever find the person who did this... I will give him a very nasty look.

On-topic: there's no reason to think quantum mechanics are not compatible with atheism.


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Thunderios wrote:When my

Thunderios wrote:

When my mind was still young(er, I think it's actually still quite moldable Laughing out loud) I watched what the bleep do we know, because it was the first quantum physics thingy I could find on the internet. The moment they said that the quantum thing could reach back in time, and would only collapse if a conscious observer saw the data, I thought of an experiment to do that (namely destroying half the data, and checking if half the time the pattern would change to a particle pattern).
Someone then told me, and gullible as I was I believed him, that they had actually done this and the experiment concluded that consciousness did have an influence.

Of course this was a blatant lie, and if I ever find the person who did this... I will give him a very nasty look.

On-topic: there's no reason to think quantum mechanics are not compatible with atheism.

And of course, if a conscious observer did actually have the effect of reaching back in time to 'collapse the wave-function', this would remove any need for a God, since our own observation would do the trick. So there is just no need for a God, as long as our emergence was one of the possible outcomes of that wave-function. Quantum theory has no negative impact on the plausibility of the natural history of the Universe we understand via Science.

There is nothing to 'reconcile' with a non-belief in God.

The onus is still very much on the believer to reconcile their idea of a God, and his claimed attributes, with reason and the massive evidence of a largely chaotic and hostile Universe, and the fundamentally imperfect nature of the world we inhabit, and the many screw-ups in the 'design' of life-forms, including ourselves. All of which is vastly more compatible with processes governed by the blind laws of physics and the statistical probability of small pockets of order emerging in such an enormous space of possibilities.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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