Home » Intelligent Design » Peer-Reviewed Stealth ID Classic : The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987)

Peer-Reviewed Stealth ID Classic : The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987)

Frank Tipler co-authored a book with John Barrow entitled The Anthropic Cosmological Principle which was a peer-reviewed book published by Oxford University in 1987.

The principle thesis:

Intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes into existence, it will never die out.

They derive the thesis from Schrodinger’s equation
Schrodinger's Equation

From Schrodinger’s equation they derive the following formula:

Universal Wave Function

which predicts, through physical first principles alone, at the end of time that there must be an Intelligent Entity that is conscious, all-powerful, all-knowing, non-material, eternal. By all counts, such an entity would properly be called, “God”.

Tipler says in Dembski’s book Uncommon Dissent

(the chapter is available for free at ISCID at the link Tipler on Peer Review):

A recent poll of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, published in Scientific American, indicated that more than ninety percent are atheists. These men and women have built their entire worldview on atheism. They would be exceedingly reluctant to admit that any result of science could be valid if it even suggested that God could exist.

I discovered this the hard way when I published my book The Physics of Immortality. The entire book is devoted to describing what the known laws of physics predict the far future of the universe will be like. Not once in the entire book do I use anything but the known physical laws, the laws of physics that are in all the textbooks, and which agree with all experiments conducted to date. Unfortunately, in the book I gave reasons for believing that the final state of the universe—a state outside of space and time, and not material—should be identified with the Judeo-Christian God. (It would take a book to explain why!) My scientific colleagues, atheists to a man, were outraged. Even though the theory of the final state of the universe involved only known physics, my fellow physicists refused even to discuss the theory. If the known laws of physics imply that God exists, then in their opinion, this can only mean that the laws of physics have to be wrong. This past September, at a conference held at Windsor Castle, I asked the well known cosmologist Paul Davies what he thought of my theory. He replied that he could find nothing wrong with it mathematically, but he asked what justified my assumption that the known laws of physics were correct. At the same conference, the famous physicist Freeman Dyson refused to discuss my theory—period. I would not encounter such refusals if I had not chosen to point out my theory’s theological implications.

….
As a physicist, I am aware that quantum mechanics, the central theory of modern physics, is even more deterministic that was the classical mechanics of which Darwin was aware. More than this, quantum mechanics is actually teleological, though physicists don’t use this loaded word (we call it “unitarity” instead of “teleology”). That is, quantum mechanics says that it is completely correct to say that the universe’s evolution is determined not by how it started in the Big Bang, but by the final state of the universe. Every stage of universal history, including every stage of biological and human history, is determined by the ultimate goal of the universe. And if I am correct that the universal final state is indeed God, then every stage of universal history, in particular every mutation that has ever occurred, or ever will occur in any living being, is determined by the action of God.

Though I do not agree with all of Tipler’s ideas (forgive me Frank), the derivation from the Schrodinger equation above has been found reasonable by various scholars. And certainly having someone of John Barrow’s reputation as the principle co-author of the book where the derivation was originally given certainly lends a degree of respectability to the idea.

A reasonable possibility from physical laws alone is that ID has a Designer available at the cosmological scale. ID cannot answer whether the Designer of the cosmos is also directly the author of life. For example, we can say Rachmaninoff composed the famous Rachmaninoff 2nd Concerto. If God made Rachmaninoff’s ancestors, does this mean we can say God designed the Rachmaninoff 2nd? In like manner, we can’t be too quick to say God is the direct author of life even though the laws of physics may predict His existence. ID can only suggest that something is designed. However knowing, through the laws of physics, that God may exist, it certainly makes the design inference a little more palatable.

Salvador Cordova

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53 Responses to Peer-Reviewed Stealth ID Classic : The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987)

  1. SC – What does O stand for in that final formula? Thanks.

  2. “O” stands for Observations. The exact derivation is on page 471, but one does not really need all the details of the math. If one recalls the idea which Thomas Aquinas offered of a “First Cause”, then one might simply say Barrow and Tipler phrase the idea in terms of the laws of physics for an “Ultimate Cause”.

    The equation reflects the net effect of all the quantum systems and observations of those quantum systems resulting in the universe being one massive quantum system. That massive quantum system must be “Observed” by the Ultimate Observer (God) for the physical world to come into being. It is interestng, they shied away from using the term God in their 1987 book, but chose the term “Ultimate Observer” which is strictly speaking, correct. It was not until 1996 that Tipler equated the Ultimate Observer with God. That’s when the idea really raised some ire!

  3. Barrow and Tipler’s ideas were actually forseen 12 years before their book by Physicist FJ Belinfante in his book Measurements and time reversal in objective quantum theory

    We thus see how quantum theory requires the existence of God. Of course, it does not ascribe to God defined in this way any of the specific additional qualities that the various existing religious doctrines ascribed to God. Acceptance of such doctrines is a matter of faith and belief.
    If elementary systems do not “possess” quantitatively determinate properties, apparently God determines these properties as we measure them. We also observe the fact, unexplainable but experimentally well established, that God in His decisions about the outcomes of our experiments shows habits so regular that we can express them in the form of statistical laws of nature. This apparent determinism in macroscopic nature has hidden God and His personal influence on the universe from the eyes of many outstanding scientists.
    F.J. Belinfante

  4. Hey, Salvador is a cool guy! Anyone who likes Rachmaninoff can’t be all bad. It was Rachmaninoff, and the Second Concerto in particular, that inspired me in the seventh grade to pursue the piano as a career. It would be four more years before I would perform the Rach 2, but that inspired me to major in music. Was this all front-loaded?

  5. Hey Gil,

    You’re a cool guy too. I wanted to be a professional musician. Piano was my major instrument in college before I graduated as an electrical engineer with a minor in music.

    Hey, great minds think alike. :-)

    I wonder if Bill Dembski plays the piano as well?

    Salvador

  6. Here is a crude 2-page essay elaborating on Barrow and Tipler’s derivation. I hope it shows something of the physical experiments and theory involved.

    God in the Equations

    Salvador

  7. Tipler: “quantum mechanics says that it is completely correct to say that the universe’s evolution is determined not by how it started in the Big Bang, but by the final state of the universe. Every stage of universal history, including every stage of biological and human history, is determined by the ultimate goal of the universe.”

    This agrees with the observation that evolutionary algorithms must be given a purpose in order to achieve anything creative.

  8. While Schrödinger’s theory describes how a wave function collapse looks like from outside the wave function, it does not say what observant entities see INSIDE of the wave function. How would we know wether or not the wave function that encapsulates us has collapsed or not? Do Barrow and Tipler treat this conundrum?

  9. Gil, A little off topic, but I’d like to expose my two and four year old girls to some classical music. What would you recommend?

    Saxe

  10. [Off Topic]

    Dear Saxe,

    Isn’t it amazing how random mutation and natural selection produced all the wonderful musical artistry of the great composers, not to mention the musicians who play this stuff and the people who invented and perfected the art of creating musical instruments? Man, that RM+NS stuff is really cool! :-)

    I am particularly fond of the romantic era, and especially the genre of the concerto, which combines the personality of a solo instrument with the richness of an orchestra. The repertoire is so vast, but I would recommend the violin concerti of Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, and the Emperor (fifth) piano concerto of Beethoven, the second piano concerto of Brahms, the first piano concerto of Tchaikovsky and the second piano concerto of Rachmaninoff. This music is transcendent.

    I have recorded three solo piano albums of music by Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Gershwin which I am happy to give away for free.

  11. Music is a form of specified complexity. Good music is highly teleological. Here is some specified complexity by Franz Lizst. It was a collection of specified complexity which he designed during his courtship with Princess Carolyn of Russia. It is a lullaby fit for a princess.

    I used the piece as my college entrance audition several years ago. My recording of the piece can be downloaded if you right click over the link and do a “save target” to capture the entire Mp3:
    Liebestraum in A-flat Major

    Another favorite is Rachmaninoff’s 18th Variation from Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. You can get a 1-minute sample from Amazon:

    Rachmaninoff Samples

  12. GilDodgen wrote:
    “Isn’t it amazing how random mutation and natural selection produced all the wonderful musical artistry of the great composers, not to mention the musicians who play this stuff and the people who invented and perfected the art of creating musical instruments? Man, that RM+NS stuff is really cool!”

    You said it, Gil. That’s why Darwin’s theory is so widely considered to be one of the greatest ideas in man’s history.

    It brings to mind the famous, beautiful closing passage of the Origin of Species:

    “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

  13. Saxe you better start with Bach and Mozart. Liszt, Brahms and Rachmaninoff for two and four years old? Guys give girls some time to evolve :-)

  14. It’s an interesting idea, but I am unconvinced…

    For one thing, there are some mathematical problems with the wavefunction of the universe (though there has been some recent progress, and I think it will be an important concept in quantum gravity). So all considerations of god aside, it is not really known how to make this concept work properly yet.

    Secondly, it is not clear to me that the copenhagen interpretation will work for a wavefunction of the universe. the intuition is based on classical measuring devices observing otherwise isolated quantum systems, but the modern interpretation of measurement and wavefunction collapse is that it is an artifact of treating the measuring device classically. So i think the consensus is that if you consider a wavefunction of the universe there is no need for a separate observation process.

    These are difficult physical and conceptual issues which we can debate—I certainly don’t have all the answers. What I find much less debatable is the inference that a putative observer of the wavefunction of the universe would have the following qualities:

    1. Conscious
    2. Intelligent
    3. Non-Material
    4. All Powerful
    5. All Knowing
    6. Eternal

    I can’t really find any justification for asserting these qualities—they seem to me more the qualities the author *wants* such an observer to have.

  15. danb asked: “While Schrödinger’s theory describes how a wave function collapse looks like from outside the wave function, it does not say what observant entities see INSIDE of the wave function. How would we know wether or not the wave function that encapsulates us has collapsed or not? Do Barrow and Tipler treat this conundrum? ”

    In quantum cryptography, we can detect the effect of an intelligent intrusion into a crytographic system because someone’s intelligent choice has triggered a collapse. See: http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~jford/crypto.html

    By way of extension, because we see the universe, we are detecting that some agency is collapsing wave functions in the future.

    We are being created through the Ultimate Observer’s act of knowing (measurement) in the future. In other words, your question is approaching QM classically (where the past affects the future). But the Quantum idea is the reverse: the future affects the past. The fact we exist is evidence our wave functions are being observed at the end of time and have not yet collapsed in the present. The past and present exist because of what will happen in the future. If our wave functions were already fully collapsed, the world would be at an end.

    So to answer your question, observant entities (you and I and everyone) encapsualted inside the Universal wave function would not even exist to make observations in the present world were it not for the Ultimate Observer in the future peering back into time. In a way, our wave functions have collapsed, but in the future. The history of the universe is fixed by a future event.

    This rather shocking inference was borne out by experiments in the 1970 with Wheeler’s double-slit-delayed-choice experiment which happened actually in Tipler’s school, the University of Maryland. We were able to demonstrate the future affects the past in small quantum systems. More amazingly, one could even somewhat re-write the past (quantum erasure experiments) and thus make something anew.

    If a future observation affects a small quantum system, by way of extension, all the universe must be affected by a future observation. Barrow and Tipler agrues that through unified guage theory, all features of the universe (not just position and momentum but even physical constants and properties of matter, etc.) arrive through an Ultimate Observation (quantum measurment) at the end of time.

    Again, it is basically Thomas Aquinas idea of a “first cause” jazzed up into the language of modern physics where things are driven by an “ultimate cause”. The only difference is Aquinas had a philosophical musing, and Barrow and Tipler have the laws of modern physics to make their case. They’ve given Aquinas’ argument some serious teeth through quantum mechanics.

  16. Physicist: “It’s an interesting idea, but I am unconvinced…”

    Thank you for your informative input. My aim is to show that the idea is at least reasonable from known physical laws alone. If we knew for a fact it were absolutely true, we would no longer be exploring the issue theoretically. It demonstrates that ID at the cosmological scale (and thus implicity at the biological scale ) is at least plausible from interpretations of existing physical theories with no reference to any sort of religious text.

  17. you’re welcome, and I think it is definitely interesting to examine these issues. but i would caution that the conclusions seem highly speculative to me…and there is a lot more work to be done on understanding wavefunctions of the universe before inferring ID and god, to put it mildly!

  18. also scordova,

    “By way of extension, because we see the universe, we are detecting that some agency is collapsing wave functions in the future.”

    this is not necessarily true—and what i mean by speculative.

  19. I’m sorry scordova but I can’t get past the idea of future events influencing the past. A future event does not exist in the present, therefore it cannot influence anything because it doesn’t exist. A plan for a future event can affect the present, but the past is gone forever and the future has yet to happen. I do not know how you can resolve this unless you and your friends are advocating time travel. Or am I mistaking what you mean to say? I don’t accept Tiplers (and De Chardins) theories about the “Omega Point” i.e the universal apotheosis theory, but I do appreciate a similar line of thought. From my understanding “God” became “God” through a very long process of becoming or evolving to an apotheosis, but it happened a very long time ago, before the universe as we know it existed. The universe we live in is what came about after that period of cosmic evolution due to the intellectual effort of “God”.

    My experience is that we live in a virtual reality of sorts. Everything we experience is very similar to what you would experience in a computer controlled virtual reality. All matter/energy manifests in a very similar way to how pixels in a VR game create an illusion of reality. The computer controls the pixels which are all essentially the same thing. Through the arrangement of the same thing in a very complicated fashion at a minute level the computer can shape any world the user can imagine. 1′s and 0′s take on the appearance of people, places, and things. In our universe quantum particles are like pixels in a unviversal computer mtarix, but instead of the “brain” of the computer being in a set location like a hard drive and processor, the universal computer’s brain is everywhere, the pixels or quantum particles are part of the brain. The pixels or quantum particles exist within a sub quantum unified field (posessing consciousness, intellect, and ability to control everything within it)which exists in many dimensions which we cannot perceive. Imagine if you were born in a virtual reality holodeck and had no knowledge of computers and virtual reality technology, you would be unable to figure out how the world you live in came into existence because all you would have access to would be the virtual reality dimension. The hardware and software that controls the virtual reality exists in dimensions which are differnt then the virtual reality dimension.

    So when we try to figure out how the universe works based on nothing more then what we can see with our eyes or experiment with, we will be unable to reach an accurate depiction. There are too many hidden variables. You may see the souffle, but if you’ve never seen a kitchen, fire, utensils, or food of any type, any theory you could come up with about the origins of the souffle would be based on a lack of experience with the whole concept of cooking food.

  20. As the great Nobel physcist Bohr said, “t if you aren’t confused by quantum physics then you haven’t really understood it.”

    Hi Mentok,

    I appreciate your point of view. However, we have been able to confirm the future affects the past experimentally. Here is s description of the experiments involved:

    http://www.fortunecity.com/ema.....qphil.html

    From a purely operational standpoint (as in when money counts) the problem of the future affecting the past is being factored into the design of various nano-molecular computing devices. These devices are so tiny that it is conceivable a current computation may be affected by a future event. When I had done some work with a nano-molecular research team, one of the researchers was exploring this problem, the problem of a “double-slit-delayed-choice” effect on a nano-molecular computation. We had to ensure the archticture prevented or impeded these kinds of undesirable effects.

    Ironically, this quantum wierdness is actually desirable for the next generation of quantum computers. I think the following artilce will be very helpful:
    http://www.goertzel.org/benzin.....rticle.htm

    regards,
    Salvador Cordova

  21. “…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.”

    –Albert Einstein

  22. Saxe,
    Gotta put my 2 cents in on classical music for the kids. You can hardly get any better than Prokokiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”. There are videos out there that have the the story interspersed with clips of the orchestra playing. Great stuff.
    (another musician-gone-engineer)

  23. Oops, Prokofiev

  24. Sal writes:
    which predicts, through physical first principles alone, at the end of time that there must be an Intelligent Entity that is conscious, all-powerful, all-knowing, non-material, eternal. By all counts, such an entity would properly be called, “God”.

    Personally I would only consider “God” to, not only be able to bring about an orderly, habitable and inhabited universe, but to also grant or deny eternal salvation.

    Therefore, playing the DA, I would reject your claim because the formula’s output of an Intelligent Entity could still be an uncaring, uninvolved and unknowing (unknowing of what goes on here) entity, that could only be considered “God” in the most liberal use of the word.

  25. Josehph wrote: “Therefore, playing the DA, I would reject your claim because the formula’s output of an Intelligent Entity could still be an uncaring, uninvolved and unknowing (unknowing of what goes on here) entity, that could only be considered “God” in the most liberal use of the word.”

    Well, I can almost appreciate why you say that. But the equations would say nothing of God’s other possible attributes (such as whether he is benevolent, forgiving, etc.). They are simply silent on those matters. We don’t reject the existence of gravity because it does not answer questions of God’s character. If quantum theory predicts His existence, we don’t need to reject the inference simply because it says nothing of His character either. It merely offers the possiblity He exists. Answers about His character must come from somewhere else.

  26. Gil said: “Isn’t it amazing how random mutation and natural selection produced all the wonderful musical artistry of the great composers, not to mention the musicians who play this stuff and the people who invented and perfected the art of creating musical instruments? Man, that RM+NS stuff is really cool!”

    Valerie replied: “You said it, Gil. That’s why Darwin’s theory is so widely considered to be one of the greatest ideas in man’s history.”

    Dear Valerie,

    You are obviously a very sweet and good person, and, I must admit that you have exhibited tremendous courage in defense of your thesis. You are very articulate and express yourself very well. However, the notion that random events zapping nucleotides can produce a piano concerto, the pianist, the orchestra and the musical instruments, is just plain silly, to put it mildly. You only have 10^80 subatomic particles and 10^17 seconds in the history of the universe to accomplish all this.

    Darwin’s idea was clever in his day, when people didn’t know much about how things work.

  27. scardova: I still don’t see how a theory which predicts that a future event can influence the here and now can be taken as a realistic viewpoint. Someone may come up with interesting theoretical constructs which may be interesting theories on paper, but in reality the future doesn’t exist. The past doesn’t exist. All that exists anywhere exists in the ever present now. Since the future doesn’t exist there is no possibility of something happening there nor something which is happening there to somehow travel back in time to affect our time. The double slit test or other tests showing the faster then light connections of particles at great distances can be explained without resort to the impossible made possible by a theory.

    I am actuyally quite surprised that physicists could believe in time travel (if you do), just because Einstein theorized about it that doesn’t change the simple fact that the future and the past will never exist in any other space time then the space time they occupy while they happen. Once an event in time passes it is gone forever. Any future event does not exist, any past event does not exist. Since you guys are theorizing about future events affecting current events what you are doing is theorizing that something that doesn’t exist is influencing something. The most we can say on this and not fall into the realm of science fiction is that the past may be affecting us with a future goal in mind (consciously or unconsciously), no different then if you made a plan last year to grow some tomatoes and you planted some seeds and now you have tomatoes. In the past a plan may have been made for the future and now we are being affected by that plan for a future event, but that is not the same as theorizing that an actual future event which has occured in the future is influencing our current reality or that a past event can affect our present directly. Maybe I’m reading you guys wrong? Are you saying that a plan from the past of some type with a future goal in mind is affecting us or are you saying an actual future event is influencing us through some type of time travel back in time?

  28. Mentok

    conventional quantum mechanics doesn’t predict communication of information backward in time. So I think there is no sense in which an observer `influences’ the past in any planned, intentional way.

    In fact, I suppose this lack of transfer of information somewhat scuppers the interpretation of the proposed final observer as a guiding/designing force.

    In any case, as I’ve said above extrapolating any of this to a wavefunction of the universe is *highly* speculative, and it’s far from obvious that the extrapolation is necessary or even makes sense (either physically or mathematically). So I wouldn’t rely on this proposal at all!

  29. Again playing the DA (devil’s advocate):

    Sal:
    But the equations would say nothing of God’s other possible attributes (such as whether he is benevolent, forgiving, etc.). They are simply silent on those matters. We don’t reject the existence of gravity because it does not answer questions of God’s character. If quantum theory predicts His existence, we don’t need to reject the inference simply because it says nothing of His character either. It merely offers the possiblity He exists. Answers about His character must come from somewhere else.

    My point is that “God” is all about character. For without character we could have a designer with seemingly “God-like” qualities, but on closer inspection those qualities evaporate like liquid nitro exposed to the tropical sun.

    Quantum theory may predict an existence, but to say that existence is “God” still requires faith.

  30. “Quantum theory may predict an existence, but to say that existence is “God” still requires faith.”

    I think it is fair to say it requires faith to accept that this Existence is the God whom a person of faith would call God. I agree with that.

    As Belinfante said above, “Acceptance of such doctrines is a matter of faith and belief”,

    Salvador

  31. Physcist and Mentok,

    I think your comments offer very reasonable skepticism and highlight very valid concerns. George Murphy (physicist and minister, and no friend of ID) was the one who introduced me to the idea. He commented though he didn’t fully accept the idea, he could not completely reject it either.

    I’m of the opinion, Barrow and Tipler have made a good enough case that it deserves more exploration. I don’t think the idea of the Omega Point as Tipler has formulated will succeed (sorry Frank), however, the idea of an Ultimate Observer seems at least plausible, if not inevitable.

    If every atom in the present is subject to a boundary condition defined in the future, it would stand to reason the future of every atom in the universe deeply influences the present state of that atom. By way of induction, the destination of the universe is more, or at least equally influential, than it’s past. This strikes me as a very straight forward and simple deduction.

    The double slit experiment (which is covered sophomore or junior university physics), no matter how wierd the results, makes sense mathematically, albeit in a very counter intuitive way. If a photon’s behavior in the present is affected by a future observation, why should this not be the case for every atom and every photon that ever existed? Thus, an ultimate observation seems like a reasonable and logical consequence of what we observe in the lab.

    I think the following reservation by physisict is very reasonable, however: “In fact, I suppose this lack of transfer of information somewhat scuppers the interpretation of the proposed final observer as a guiding/designing force.”

    Belinfante offers his idea regarding this, and I think I shall read his ideas some more. I think physcist concern here is worth giving one pause.

    I want to say, I appreciate all of the discomfort expressed over Barrow and Tipler’s ideas by several of the participants, and your objections evidence a reasonable and healthy level of skepticism. I appreciate your willingness to pond these ideas.

  32. scardova you wrote:

    “If a photon’s behavior in the present is affected by a future observation, why should this not be the case for every atom and every photon that ever existed?”

    How can any “affected behavior” of a photon be said to be caused by a future observation when we have no way of of ever seeing into the future in order to see the cause of the effect? If we see a photon being affected how is it possible to know that the cause of that behavior is from a future event? Since the future has not yet happened it seems to be impossible for any future event to directly influence the present. I can easily understand how a future event can influence the present if that future event is like the tomato analogy i.e of a goal set forth in the past for a future result which will affect our present time, but any theory which includes time travel needs to be better throught out.

  33. Mentok asked: “How can any “affected behavior” of a photon be said to be caused by a future observation when we have no way of of ever seeing into the future in order to see the cause of the effect? ”

    This is an inferenced based on the double-slit-delayed-choice experiement which the Shrodinger Wave funciton predicts. The result of the experiment demonstrated that present day choices affected the past history of a photon. That means for example, if we conducted an experiment over a vast distance, say on the order of the diameter of the orbit of Mars, my observation of a photon from mars at 6pm February 23,2006 is affecting the behavior of that photon in the past at 3pm February 23, 2006.

    If this is true, then it stands to reason the photons around us today are being affected by a future observation in the future.

    What is hard is not the idea, it is the acceptance of the idea. Let me encourage you to look at:
    http://www.geocities.com/sunja.....icles.html

    I sincerely appreciate your inquiry into this, and I’m sorry if I’m doing a poor job explaining. Please let me know if the above link was helpful.

    Salvador

  34. Scordova

    I’m glad you appreciated my comments. one good thing is that it at least encourages people to think about the weird things we definitely *do* know about quantum mechanics!

  35. scordova you wrote:

    “if we conducted an experiment over a vast distance, say on the order of the diameter of the orbit of Mars, my observation of a photon from mars at 6pm February 23,2006 is affecting the behavior of that photon in the past at 3pm February 23, 2006.”

    The problem with this theory is that it will always be impossible to verify it, and it goes against logic. The problem is the nature of time in that it is a continuous stream, there is no future and there is no past, there is only now at all times. There was a past and there will be a future but they do not exist. So nothing from the future exists, therefore there is nothing that can affect the present from non existent time, the same goes for the past.

    No one knows if time is continuous or quantized. Many suspect that both time and space must be quantized in any quantum theory of gravity. Here’s a nice discussion of it. -ds

  36. “As the great Nobel physcist Bohr said, “t if you aren’t confused by quantum physics then you haven’t really understood it.””
    Maybe so, but that doesn’t imply that if you ARE confused you HAVE really understood it.
    Although quantum physics is quite successfull it will probably be replaced at some point by an even more successfull theory that need not imply the things that some of you think quantum physics (and general relativity and what not) implies about the “ultimate observer”. There are plenty of examples of scientific theories which were claimed to be “equivalent” to some obscure passage in the bible (but of course in different words), but then later it turned out the scientific theory had to be rejected because of contradictory facts.

  37. scordova says: “In quantum cryptography, we can detect the effect of an intelligent intrusion into a crytographic system because someone’s intelligent choice has triggered a collapse. See: http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~jford/crypto.html

    By way of extension, because we see the universe, we are detecting that some agency is collapsing wave functions in the future.”

    But Scordova, quantum cryptography does not specify what things look like from within the wave uncollapsed wavefunction, which is where we would be right now, if some outside intelligence hadn’t collapsed our wavefunction. How do we know that both cases wouldn’t look identical and indistinguishable from each other? And since we can’t compare the two how possibly can we arrive at the “we must be in a collapsed wave function” conclusion?

  38. I did not say we are in a collapsed state, I pointed out future observation collapses our wave function. The considerations above where I mentioned the photons from Mars suggests that the photons emitted in the present might have an observation in the future. After all, what observed us to give definition to the physical world which constitutes our planet and our own minds and bodies?

    Salvador

  39. Sal says: “I did not say we are in a collapsed state, I pointed out future observation collapses our wave function. The considerations above where I mentioned the photons from Mars suggests that the photons emitted in the present might have an observation in the future.”

    I don’t see how this future observation requires any omnipotence.

    Sal says: “After all, what observed us to give definition to the physical world which constitutes our planet and our own minds and bodies?”

    On what grounds do you base your claim that we need to be observed to define our physical world? How do you know you aren’t living in an unobserved and uncollapsed wave function? Do you see what I’m asking? If you were living in an uncollapsed wave function, what would it look like?

  40. All this talk about quantum physics has left me thinking about a film I caught last summer titled “What the [Bleep] Do We Know?” Has anyone out there seen it, and if so, what are your feelings about it?

    Personally, I was fascinated by the sense of smarmy spiritualism that seems to go hand in glove with notions of quantum effects and observer-based reality. I found myself intrigued by what the film had to say, yet I was also rather dubious about a film showcasing commentary, on the one hand, by the likes of Drs. Fred Alan Wolf and John Hagelin, and on the other, by Ms. JZ Knight “channeling” the spirit of Ramtha the Enlightened One.

    By the way, in the coming sequel to “What the [Bleep”, called “Down the Rabbit Hole,” one segment is devoted to the famous double-slit experiment referenced above. I suppose the notion of the future shaping the past is counterintuitive, but then, if an electron behaves either like a particle or like a wave depending upon whether or not it is being observed, I would imagine there’s a lot of room for discussion.

    I saw part of it, decided it was a waste of time, and changed the channel. -ds

  41. “How do you know you aren’t living in an unobserved and uncollapsed wave function? ”

    You’re question delves into the possibility of no collapse. One solution is Everett’s many worlds. That is the photons around us that get emitted never get observed, they remain indeterminate. Reality splits off into may worlds. Your question, mathematically speaking delves into the possiblity of the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI). In a sense it is not completely outrageous in as much as a quantum computer relies on a system being in multiple states simultaneously!

    However, there has been an experiment which would favor John Cramer’s transactional interpretation (TI), and thus this argues against the many-worlds interpretation (MWI). The experiment basically showed that the MWI of the quantum law was inconsistent with that law.

    danb asked, “If you were living in an uncollapsed wave function, what would it look like? ”

    I suppose, you would not know it from an unobserved one. You have made a good point in other words. However, for an unobserved universe to happen, then, the many world’s interpretation (MWI) would likely have to be true, but as I pointed out, that interpretation may have been experimentally demonstrated to be false, not to mention, that seems no less outrageous than to presume the existence of some all-powerful Observer.

    One thing that can happen however, is if the Ultimate Observer chooses to reveal Himself by some show of power at the end of time, then I would not presume it was an illusion if He so chose to do so. Experimental confirmation. I hold out hope that may one day happen. :-)

    “I don’t see how this future observation requires any omnipotence.”

    With respect to the universe, if the observation brought the universe into existence, it is all powerful by definition, at least with respect to this universe.

    Salvador

  42. Danb,

    If I may ask, do you think physics precludes the existence of the Ultimate Observer?

    I think Barrow and Tipler have certainly made a good case from science alone that He could exist. That is, the possiblity of some All-Knwowing intelligence is on the table, completely independent of religious texts.

    That in itself, at least give ID a possible “mechanism” for various features of the universe.

    Salvador

  43. Sal says: “However, there has been an experiment which would favor John Cramer’s transactional interpretation (TI), and thus this argues against the many-worlds interpretation (MWI). The experiment basically showed that the MWI of the quantum law was inconsistent with that law.”

    What experiment is this? Please do not keep us in suspense.

    Sal says: “With respect to the universe, if the observation brought the universe into existence, it is all powerful by definition, at least with respect to this universe.”

    Where did you look up this definition? Human observation is capable of collapsing wave functions. In fact, every wave function we’ve measured we’ve collapsed! Why aren’t humans capable of collapsing all of the universe that we can observe? (And since we haven’t seen any more than that, what’s left?) I’ll save the “source of the universe/source of God” argument for another time. I’m only concerned with what is required by quantum mechanics.

  44. Sal asks: “If I may ask, do you think physics precludes the existence of the Ultimate Observer? ”

    Of course, not. I’m just stating that physics does not require an Ultimate Observer. As far as I know, no one has proven or disproven God, or can. I’d be very suspect of any such proof anyway. There are many snake oil peddlers that just want to tell you what you want to hear. I wouldn’t suggest looking for confirmation of your faith in proofs. It kind of defeats the point of faith, doesn’t it?

    -Danb

  45. danb wrote: “Why aren’t humans capable of collapsing all of the universe that we can observe?”

    Technically speaking, we’ve collapsed the parts we have observed. We haven’t observed the whole universe, that would entail measurement of every atom. Saying you see a star, doesn’t imply that you’ve measured every quantum system in the star.

    danb wrote: “What experiment is this? Please do not keep us in suspense.”

    Rregarding the experiment:
    Professor John Cramer on Quantum Mechanics
    Professor John Cramer’s website:
    “A 50 minute discussion of quantum paradoxes and interpretations, with emphasis on new data (The Afshar Experiment) that appears to falsify the Copenhagen and Many-Worlds Interpretations, but is consistent with the Transactional Interpretation. “

    Cramer on QM

    I should note, although Cramer drops the need for an observer proximally, it does not negate the regress problem which leads to a non-material mind somewhere in the pipeline. The question of a regress to some ultimate cause remains as well as a regress to a non-material cause, even if the copenhagen interpretation has become antiquated.

  46. John Cramer’s website at University of Washington:
    http://faculty.washington.edu/jcramer/

  47. [...] I have said argued several times I think science can legitimately hypothesize God being a causal agent of nature. See Peer Reviewed Stealth ID Classic: The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987) for a discussion of the God hypothesis based purely on physics with no appeal to philosophy or theology whatsoever. [...]

  48. [...] In the Peer-Reviewed Stealth ID Classic : The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987), John Barrow and Frank Tipler argue the case for MWI. Several presumed the book was generally unfriendly to ID. For example see Barrow and Tipler on the Anthropic Principle vs. Divine Design by William Lane Craig. I highly respect Craig, but I will argue that Barrow and Tipler are more friendly to ID than they have been given credit for. [...]

  49. [...] [For the reader’s benefit, the science of the universal wave function and God are described here: Peer-Reviewed Stealth ID Classic : The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987).] [...]

  50. [...] Frank Tipler is a student of Wheeler. Tipler and co-author Barrow explicitly extend Wheeler’s hypothesis in Peer-Reviewed Stealth ID Classic : The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987). Instead Tipler and Barrow suggest some sort of Ultimate Observer in the distant future. They call their idea the Final Antrhopic Principle (FAP). The Ultimate Observer they call the Omega Point (I refer to it as Omega for short). They argue the properties of Omega must be that it is eternal, all-powerful, all knowing, non-material and intelligent. These properties are straight forward deductions of physical law…. [...]

  51. [...] In the case of engineered products we often might think of designers (plural) versus a designer (singular). It may be that some Ultimate Intelligence created the universe and (by way of extension) engineers. But even for those of us who accept that there is an Ultimate Intelligence, it is not customary to say that God made automobiles and airplanes and genetically engineered food. [...]

  52. [...] Tipler is author of The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987), one of the 3 ID books which began the modern ID movement. [...]

  53. [...] the thread Peer Reviewed Stealth ID Classic I point out Tipler’s comment: I discovered this the hard way when I published my book The [...]

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