Quantum Mechanics and Free Will


There are two forms of causality. One is called final causality. It describes why something occurs because of a subsequent event. I put on my shoes to go outside to check the mail. The reason (checking the mail) for one event (putting on my shoes) follows after the event itself. Cause follows effect. Human beings operate in the realm of final causality. The other is called efficient causality. This is the kind of causality I learned about in physics class. In physics, all causes must precede the resultant effects. Or at least they did when I was taking physics over 50 years ago. Now, it turns out that on a quantum mechanical level not only can two physically separated particles influence each other, they can influence each other through time. Experiments indicate that such particles can engage in final causality.

There’s an interesting post over at Mind Matters about the scientific and philosophical implication of quantum mechanical violations of efficient causality. (H/T, Mark Trapscott)

These two views of causality appear to be irreconcilable and they lead to deep mysteries. If everything is physical, then why is causality at the higher, human, level the complete opposite of causality at the lower, physical, level? Because final causality cannot come from its opposite, efficient causality, then something must intervene between the levels. That, in turn, implies that the human level cannot be reduced to the physical level.

Also—

Instead of eliminating the mystery of final causality, the experiments deepen the mystery. There must be an observer in order for the entangled causality to occur and physical processes cannot observe anything. So the very occurrence of reverse causality at the physical level means there is top down influence from the human level to the physical level. Not only is quantum physics unable to explain human final causality, it cannot explain its own final causality by itself. Its final causality is a trickle down effect from the human level.

And herein lies the rub. If human observers are necessary for physical final causality to occur, how do humans come to have the capability in the first place? This question points to a yet even higher source of final causality that extends beyond the human realm, and is responsible for the final causality that humans exhibit.

Thus, these quantum physicists are showing that—far from final causality being a minor physical phenomena that can be explained away with an experiment—our entire universe is imbued with final causality within its very fabric and this final causality must come from some source beyond the universe.

Read the whole thing and Genesis 1:1.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


Yesterday’s TKPOTD took a retrospective look at Bill Schmalfeldt as Mr. Down Twinkles and Slappy McWingnut. While I was reviewing posts for possible recycling today, the TKPOTD for 2 June, 2013, had a link to any earlier post titled Slappy McWingnut’s Surprise. That post begins by quoting a still older post.

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In December, 2011, I posted this brief article.

Christopher Hitchen’s Surprise

Allahpundit posts:

I ask this earnestly, not to troll: If Hitchens is getting a surprise, isn’t it necessarily a nasty surprise according to Christian doctrine?

Christopher Hitchens’ beliefs concerning God were nearly 180 degrees opposed to mine. Either he is in for a big surprise, or I’m not. Either he is meeting a Maker whose existence he denied, or I will pass on into nothingness when my life ends.

I greatly admired Mr. Hitchens’ talents as a writer and debater, but I believe that God is just and that, being just, God will honor the choice Mr. Hitchens took to be separated from Him.

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After listening to some of the recent preaching by Slappy McWingnut (aka Elder William, The Lord of Satire) (No, I won’t link to it.), it seems that his view of God is nearly as far out of line from mine as was Mr. Hitchen’s, but in a different direction.

McWingnut preaches that his god is a “pissed-off” god who hates being interrupted by prayers. Another part of McWingnut’s schtick seems to be that one can keep this god from being angry by giving money to support his ministry. (OK, that’s a fair parody of a lot of “religious” scam artists.) McWingnut preaches his god’s hate.

The God I serve is loving, and because He is, He grants us the freewill to choose to love or not love Him in return. If we choose to enter into a loving relationship with Him, He is delighted. If we do not, He respects our choice.

If you check out the answers in the back of the book, you’ll see that God says that at some point He will gather those of us who choose to be His to live in His presence. You’ll also see that He says that He will honor the wishes of those who have chosen not to love Him.

My God loves everyone, including Slappy McWingnut.

UPDATE—I’ve had a question about describing God’s reaction to our love for Him as “delight.” In the opening section of Ephesians, Paul writes that God’s intention for us is

… εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ …

which can be translated as

… for adoption as children through Jesus Christ according to the delight of His will …

That word in boldface, εὐδοκίαν, literally means well-seeming or, idiomatically, delight. Most English translations render it as pleasure or good pleasure, but I believe that “delight” better reflects the joy that God says He finds in loving relationships with us.

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Here endeth the lesson.