Monday, April 20, 2009

On God and Quantum Mechanics

In quantum mechanics, there is a concept of Heisenberg uncertainty due to which you cannot accurately calculate the values of two canonical observables simultaneously. One simple example of this is, in all realistic conditions, you cannot calculate accurately the exact location and velocity of a particle simultaneously. This might seem nothing but some theoretical nonsense, however there has been enough scientific evidence about its validity. The consequence of this effect is that our universe is no longer deterministic but rather probabilistic.

When this effect was highlighted, there were many people who were quite opposing to it. Some people believed God's playing Dice with us, some people believed God can't play dice with us and some felt we should not question what does! Before I further go ahead, let me briefly describe what actually deterministic nature of Universe is and what's its relation with God. Before the advent of quantum mechanics, it was believed that if you know the state of universe at one point of time then you could accurately describe the state of universe at all points by applying pure scientific laws. This was attributed as Deterministic state of Universe. The deterministic nature of the Universe downplayed the Role of God in functioning of Universe. Once I have the set of laws and known state of Universe, I can know everything… then what's the need of so called "God"? This was the question raised by lot of people including scientists. There were theories thrown up about self-organized structure of universe doubting the very existence of God.

It was quantum mechanics that strengthened the idea of existence of "God" indirectly by proposing some revolutionary ideas. Heisenberg Uncertainty principle abolished the idea of Determinism, i.e. even if you have set of scientific laws and a known state of Universe you cannot accurately calculate the state of universe at any unknown point. Irrespective of how it sounds, this effect has decreased the power of science! Now with science, I can only give the probability of what can happen but cannot accurately say what will happen. As bizarre as it sounds, quantum mechanics produces many such intriguing results that down plays the absolute power of science and indirectly strengthening the idea of God.


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