Faith and Physics: Part Two

Quantum Physics(Before you read this, review Faith and Physics Part 1)

We have discovered that in quantum physics a human observer plays an active role in determining what is real. Reality isn’t a “given” waiting for us to discover it. Rather, it is potential waiting for us to give it life. Albert Einstein, who did not like quantum physics at all, complained: “Do you mean to tell me that the moon only exists when I look at it?” He eventually had to accept that was the case when presented with the data. Now we need to go a step further.

In the quantum universe every time we make an observation we birth a reality. But it is clear that we could have made any number of observations but only made the one. For example, we looked left when we could have looked right. What happened to all the things we could have observed into existence but did not? Those potentialities continue to exist because, while they have no mass, they do possess energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics insists that energy can neither be created or destroyed. So where did they go?

Many quantum scientists believe that every possibility comes to actual expression somewhere or sometime. To account for this they theorize that there must be as many universes as there are possibilities that could be observed. I can be sure, for example, that somewhere out there my UNM Lobos are winning the NCAA tournament every season. But it goes deeper than that. As physicist Hugh Everett has theorized, each of these “Many Worlds,” as physicists call them, likely corresponds to a different Me. In other words, my observations don’t directly generate worlds, they generate different versions of Me. Each Me then produces its own World.

It’s a different way of looking at things for sure! But what does it mean? Materialist science makes everything (including me) the product of physical processes that can be studied and explained. Quantum science reverses that by making physical processes the product of something non-material, namely, observations and reflections, a process in which I participate.

Looking at the world that way things get interesting (and a little crazy). If everything is a product of observation (a process physicist John Wheeler called “Genesis by Observership”), I too must be the product of an observation someone else is making. To use the image I introduce in Kali, A Novel, we may all be characters in someone’s book or video game just as we ourselves are creating the reality being lived by an infinite number of creatures including the people around us.

At this point, you might well say, “That isn’t how life feels! It feels like everything has its own existence separate from me, an existence I must constantly adapt to because it does not obey or serve me!” But quantum science invites us to ask, are you sure that is true? Are you strictly bound to a given reality that sets your limits and determines your fate or are you less limited and more powerful than you think? It turns out that there is someone who has offered an answer to those questions and even provided stunning examples that illustrate how the world really works, a man named Jesus.


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