Can an atheist agree with quantum physics?

relrick
Theist
Posts: 61
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
Can an atheist agree with quantum physics?

What are your thoughts on Quantum Physics as related to holding a materialist position regarding the creation of the universe? It is my assumption that as an atheist you must hold a materialist view of our creation. Quantum physics shows us that at a sub atomic level there is actually no matter, just the illusion of it, and that everything is light vibrating at different speeds. Does this challenge the atheist position that our universe is the product of chance?

Thoughts?? 


JeremiahSmith
Posts: 361
Joined: 2006-11-25
User is offlineOffline
relrick wrote: Quantum

relrick wrote:
Quantum physics shows us that at a sub atomic level there is actually no matter, just the illusion of it, and that everything is light vibrating at different speeds.

Er, so? All this means is that if you believe the universe is solely matter and energy that you're just really naming the same stuff twice. 

Quote:
Does this challenge the atheist position that our universe is the product of chance?

No. 

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


relrick
Theist
Posts: 61
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
JeremiahSmith

JeremiahSmith wrote:

relrick wrote:
Quantum physics shows us that at a sub atomic level there is actually no matter, just the illusion of it, and that everything is light vibrating at different speeds.

Er, so? All this means is that if you believe the universe is solely matter and energy that you're just really naming the same stuff twice.

Quote:
Does this challenge the atheist position that our universe is the product of chance?

No.

 Perhaps you're not understanding... Unless you're stating that you believe that light and matter are the same?? Is that what you mean?? I'm saying that according to quantum physics, there is no material world,... only light.  So I'm not saying they're the same at all. One is real and one is an illusion.


Fish
Posts: 315
Joined: 2007-05-31
User is offlineOffline
relrick wrote: Quantum

relrick wrote:

Quantum physics shows us that at a sub atomic level there is actually no matter, just the illusion of it, and that everything is light vibrating at different speeds.

I believe this is a mischaracterization. To say that there is no matter is not technically correct, as subatomic particles do have mass. It simply illustrates the fact that saying something "has mass" is not intuitive.  Just because an electron is not "solid" in the way that you may say a rock is does not mean that it is merely an illusion.

The fact that Newtonian physics cannot be applied at this vastly different scale is not contradictory with a materialsit view.


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5492
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
relrick wrote: Unless

relrick wrote:

Unless you're stating that you believe that light and matter are the same?? Is that what you mean?? I'm saying that according to quantum physics, there is no material world,... only light. So I'm not saying they're the same at all. One is real and one is an illusion.

 

Yes, energy and matter are the same. E=mc^2

 


Rev_Devilin
Rev_Devilin's picture
Posts: 485
Joined: 2007-05-16
User is offlineOffline
relrick wrote: What are

relrick wrote:

What are your thoughts on Quantum Physics as related to holding a materialist position regarding the creation of the universe? It is my assumption that as an atheist you must hold a materialist view of our creation. Quantum physics shows us that at a sub atomic level there is actually no matter, just the illusion of it, and that everything is light vibrating at different speeds. Does this challenge the atheist position that our universe is the product of chance?

Thoughts??

 

No mass no gravity, no time no space time, ? aye but it's all an illusion just think happy thoughts and you can escape this fictional gravity, and fly off to Neverland like me ....... weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


JeremiahSmith
Posts: 361
Joined: 2006-11-25
User is offlineOffline
relrick wrote: Perhaps

relrick wrote:
Perhaps you're not understanding... Unless you're stating that you believe that light and matter are the same??

First off, now that I reread your post, you've totally mischaracterized what quantum mechanics actually says. It doesn't deny the existence of particles, like quarks and electrons and whatnot, that actually make up matter. Perhaps you've gotten it confused with string theory, in which photons and the particles of matter would be made of vibrating strings of Stuff, but even then it wouldn't say that matter doesn't exist, only that it's fundamentally made of the same or similar Stuff that photons are. It's like saying that the body doesn't exist because it's made of cells. 

Quote:
Is that what you mean?? I'm saying that according to quantum physics, there is no material world,... only light. So I'm not saying they're the same at all. One is real and one is an illusion.

Again, you've totally misunderstood quantum physics. But even if matter were really composed of vibrating light, you've still also misunderstood materialism. Materialism isn't just "only matter exists" -- that kind of naive interpretation would mean materialists would deny light, magnetism, and electricity. Materialists believe that everything is made of matter and energy in the physics sense, or rather that everything consists of interactions of the various particles and fields. Even if matter were just an illusion caused by light vibrating at different speeds -- and that doesn't even make sense, now that I think about it -- materialists would still believe in the existence of light, and even if materialists really did possess the belief that only matter exists, it would simply mean that they would have to revise their knowledge of what matter was made of.

So, not only is it true that quantum physics doesn't affect materialism at all, but even your mistaken interpretation of quantum physics doesn't affect your mistaken interpretation of materialism at all.

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5492
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Quantum physics

Quote:

Quantum physics shows us that at a sub atomic level there is actually no matter, just the illusion of it

 

 

 

This looks like a distorted view of what I said a few months back.

 

While I agree matter is an illusion, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


Textom
Textom's picture
Posts: 551
Joined: 2007-05-10
User is offlineOffline
I don't know if this is

I don't know if this is where the argument in the OP is going, but it looks like a lead-in to an argument that says something like "even materialists have to believe in non-material things on some level, therefore science is supernatural."  Or maybe even "Therefore science is religious."

I like Dennett's response to the question of what makes a religion different from a belief (which I recently came across).  In a religion, you *seek approval* from the entities you believe in.  No scientist seeks approval from quantum phenomena.

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


magilum
Posts: 2410
Joined: 2007-03-07
User is offlineOffline
Matter may not be an

Matter may not be an illusion, but the character of our experience of it is. Both we and our environment are constituted of things we can't experience at a fundamental level (i.e. we experience 'matter' as opposed to 'atoms'; 'light,' not 'photons' ).

[edit: friggin' smilies] 


Watcher
atheist
Posts: 2326
Joined: 2007-07-10
User is offlineOffline
relrick wrote: What are

relrick wrote:

What are your thoughts on Quantum Physics as related to holding a materialist position regarding the creation of the universe? It is my assumption that as an atheist you must hold a materialist view of our creation. Quantum physics shows us that at a sub atomic level there is actually no matter, just the illusion of it, and that everything is light vibrating at different speeds. Does this challenge the atheist position that our universe is the product of chance?

Thoughts?? 

I'm going to steal something from the band Tool here.

"A young man on acid today realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration.  That we are all one consciousness, experiencing itself, subjectively.  There is no death, life is only a dream, and we are an imagination of ourselves.  Here's Tom with the weather."

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


Eloise
TheistBronze Member
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1807
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
relrick wrote: What are

relrick wrote:

What are your thoughts on Quantum Physics as related to holding a materialist position regarding the creation of the universe? It is my assumption that as an atheist you must hold a materialist view of our creation. Quantum physics shows us that at a sub atomic level there is actually no matter, just the illusion of it, and that everything is light vibrating at different speeds. Does this challenge the atheist position that our universe is the product of chance?

Thoughts??

Does it challenge the chance universe position? No not at all, quite the opposite, it helps to reinforce the position and expound on details. Some underlying assumptions will slowly change and new paradigms will form, but probability plays a key role in that; the shift is towards it, not away.

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


Cernunnos
Cernunnos's picture
Posts: 146
Joined: 2007-07-04
User is offlineOffline
Quantum theory is part of

Quantum theory is part of the materialist view.

Fundamentally energy exists in discrete amounts and matter has wave propeties. 

...and Watcher I think that Tool quote is 'stolen' from Bill Hicks. Eye-wink

 

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.


Eloise
TheistBronze Member
Eloise's picture
Posts: 1807
Joined: 2007-05-26
User is offlineOffline
Cernunnos wrote: ...and

Cernunnos wrote:

...and Watcher I think that Tool quote is 'stolen' from Bill Hicks. Eye-wink

 

ah yeah, it is, I thought I recognised it. 

Theist badge qualifier : Gnostic/Philosophical Panentheist

www.mathematicianspictures.com


I AM GOD AS YOU
Superfan
Posts: 4793
Joined: 2007-09-29
User is offlineOffline
I really enjoyed this, PBS

I really enjoyed this,

PBS - ( NOVA ) Xlint, Quantum Physics Video Series

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html

The Elegant Universe

And the book, http://www.wwnorton.com/catalog/fall03/005858.htm

....  just some thoughts ,

"theory of everything" .... such mind twister words; infinite, god, consciousness. Is it all circular ? Then what's outside the circle ? No wonder people believe in some god concept .... but god of abe ? geez people ....

Looking out at the big , looking in at the small, it seems rather infinite? in both directions. That is the miraculous scientific picture, and then there is even more possible infinite universes and dimensions, so it can seem. ???

Science is amazing "god" research. The study of the small (quantum physics), has taught us that the small is as infinite as the big. We are now seeing into the small further than we have seen out into the big.

Multiple big bangs? Is our cosmos just one of many, or infinite universes ? What's beyond the presently "seeable" cosmos of objects, surly not just a void ? Gezzz , where are we ? I am lost ....

When I was young, my cool dad once told me not to be intimidated. He said, "There is no one person who can even make an average modern pencil out of earth by themself, we are so connected, and no single human knows much."

The cool Buddhists don't debate god, god is just all this, and miracles are mere inventions and misunderstandings of humans. (da da xains)

In the big picture, earth is not a grain of sand, it is a mere atomic speck.


theotherguy
theotherguy's picture
Posts: 294
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
I believe in quantum

I believe in quantum physics because it is experimentally proven.

 Not in string theory though. I will presume string theory to be garbage until there is actual experimental evidence to back it up.


Guillaume
Guillaume's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: 2007-10-18
User is offlineOffline
"Matter" is just a word

"Matter" is just a word used by us humans of today, with our scientific knowledge, to describe the world that surrounds us. It doesn't mean it's written in stone and will never be proven "wrong".

Science is not a dogma. It constantly evolves based on new theories and new understanding of the universe. Obviously in some centuries, when our level of understanding has improved, we will consider all we take now for granted as wrong and primitive. That's why science is not like religion.

A nice example is evolution: all the scientists working in that field would wholeheartedly admit Darwin was wrong in a lot of practical details, even if his main intuition and theory is still considered as right. That does not mean evolution is wrong. Our understanding of it just gets better with time.


letitworknow
Bronze Member
letitworknow's picture
Posts: 9
Joined: 2007-09-06
User is offlineOffline
I think you may be

I think you may be misunderstanding what matter is.  Matter is energy "balls"  if you will,  i understand uncertainty principle and that subatomic particles are smeared because it is all up to probability at that level.  light is only one form of energy you can also have sound energy, chemical energy, heat energy and so on.  to say that matter is "light" is misleading.  

   Yes it is true, if you where a subatomic particle then matter at the scale that we know it would seem to be a illusion, however we have classical mechanics or Newtonian physics at our level that can more or less prove that matter and the world as we know it are in fact real.  

Yes it does prove that our universe is chance.  Chance is the underlying theme of quantum physics.  If you would like to learn more about quantum mechanics with out getting to mathmatical (if that is really possible)  you should check out "quantum: a guide for the perplexed" by jim al-khalili.  It is a good  book for the uninformed. 

If anything the uncertainty principle should be more of a concern for theist because it proves that you can never know everything which is what most of them would claim that there god is capable of.  


RationalDeist
Theist
Posts: 130
Joined: 2007-11-12
User is offlineOffline
theotherguy wrote:

theotherguy wrote:

I believe in quantum physics because it is experimentally proven.

Not in string theory though. I will presume string theory to be garbage until there is actual experimental evidence to back it up.

What if it better (more simplistically, with fewer equations) describes our universe? As Stephen Hawking so boringly points out in "The Universe in a Nutshell", from a positivist point of view, that makes it as real as it needs to be. There are many interesting questions that Einstein asked of quantum physics such as 'just because we cannot measure both the velocity and position of a particle doesn't mean that it doesn't have both.' Many of his argument fell flat, but the principal still exists.  Many of the responses to Einstein were "if we cannot measure such a thing, then it does not matter if it exists."

Taking it a step further, physics is not concerned with actual reality, it is concerned with the best way to describe reality.  Even if the models are never testable, if the models work, then to physicists they are real.


el.kundo
Posts: 31
Joined: 2007-08-02
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Taking it a step

Quote:
Taking it a step further, physics is not concerned with actual reality, it is concerned with the best way to describe reality.

huh? where's the problem here? yes, we want to describe actual reality. is there another one?

Quote:
Even if the models are never testable, if the models work, then to physicists they are real.

 

but to see if the models work, they have to be testable. that's how science works. make predictions that follow from your model. if experiments confirm the predictions, your model is valid for another day, if they don't, your model is false.

 

At this point, string theory isn't yet testable so it's (just) an interesting and maybe hopefull idea to some scientists. but if it can't make correct predictions, it can't be considered true.

 

"And the only people I fear are those who never have doubts."
Billy Joel, 1993

And God spoke: You can stand under my umberella -ella -ella -eh -eh -eh ...


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
Quote: hat are your

Quote:

hat are your thoughts on Quantum Physics as related to holding a materialist position regarding the creation of the universe? 

My thoughts are that you are about to demonstrate ignorance of QM conjuncted with woo-woo statements, misunderstanding the term materialist, committing a category error, and setting up a false dichotomy.

Quote:

 Quantum physics shows us that at a sub atomic level there is actually no matter, just the illusion of it,

Do you actually know anything about QM? If I asked you, for example, for the Heisenberg equations or the principle of sum-over histories, could you tell me? 

Furthermore, you are fallaciously setting up a category error in relation to the term material. This has nothing to do with the philosophical dichotomy you are trying to set up

Quote:

 and that everything is light vibrating at different speeds.

This is complete gibberish, empty, idiotic, moronic, flat. I knew you couldn't keep the woo-woo out. Light cannot "vibrate at different speeds", nor can that produce material. Material is interchangeable with energy, and breaks down into thus at the Planck temperature. Light is a wave which has a fixed speed, absolutely constant in all frames of reference, which is givenby Maxwell's equations and the Lorentz Transformations. 

You are thinking of strings with relation to "vibration". THat you conflate photons and strings suggests you never finished high-school. The Kaluza-Klein model does not make any proclamation that matter is vibrating light. THis is new age gibberish.

Quote:

 Does this challenge the atheist position that our universe is the product of chance?

This is a strawman of all Cosmological theories pertaining to the boundary condition. 

Quote:

 Thoughts??

You're an idiot. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism