THE PHYSICS OF FAITH

After a week away from ranting about the real world, my mind has wandered once again to things metaphysical. In the past I’ve spoken of faith, and its attendant paradox. By its nature, it faith cannot coexist with certainty (unless one is deluded; not a rare phenomenon in our society). Enmeshed with this lives the sister paradox of an omniscient God and humankind’s free will. Recently, it occurred to me that there is a parallel in the physical universe—we call it quantum physics.

Before you yawn, be assured in the knowledge I was never a physics major, nor was I particularly stellar in calculus, so I’m incapable of boring you with complex mathematical dissertations on particle dynamics. But I do know that one of the most perplexing mysteries of life is the so-called duality of wave/particle physics. Whether you were riveted by this concept, slept through the class entirely, or haven’t the foggiest idea of what I’m speaking, it’s worth spending a few minutes on its implications. Briefly, electromagnetic energy, such as light,, behaves either as discrete units, or particles, when observed in a certain way, and waves when observed in other experiments, but never as both. It has two simultaneous existences and seems to be able to change its nature depending on the manner in which it is observed or measured. While one group of researchers developed a device that reportedly showed both characteristics simultaneously, it relied on two equally unfathomable properties: the concept that quantum particles can exhibit “nonlocality,” or the disconcerting ability to be in two places at once, and on the equally bewildering idea of quantum entanglement, in which an action on one particle can affect another at a distance.

The notions that a particle can predict the future, or occupy two places at once, or can become “entangled” through space, are counter-intuitive. More than that, they are metaphysical. Perhaps they are the bridge we haven’t yet learned to cross that separates what we call science from theology, the missing link. Secularists likely believe it’s only a matter of time—years, decades, centuries, or millennia—until we build that bridge. Or perhaps it can’t be crossed until we’ve left the physical world, in a mortal or spiritual sense.

I leave that for you to decide.

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One Response to “THE PHYSICS OF FAITH”

  1. Sue Says:

    nice teaser

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