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A ‘Final Theory’ of God – An Overview: Part II

A ‘Final Theory’ of God demonstrates that philosophy, science and religion are all saying the same thing, only in different ‘tongues’. But it also shows that they are all seeking the same thing – a supreme law, and a supreme lawmaker.

Science finds a supreme law in the fundamental laws of physics, both Classical physics and quantum physics. However, although science claims to be on course for discovering the principles that will constitute a ‘final theory of everything’, it still cannot explain how the quantum laws transform into the Classical laws, then revert again to the ‘free will’ inherent in human behavior, which reflects the quantum laws. So in the absence of a ‘final theory of everything’ to act as a kind of supreme lawmaker, as we have seen, scientists propose, for the time being, a multiverse as a supreme lawmaker.

Philosophy approaches the problem in a different way. It first seeks to establish a supreme lawmaker, which then dispenses a supreme law. In the Western tradition, the supreme lawmaker purports to be ‘the people’ electing representatives to promulgate a supreme law.

Religion identifies the supreme lawmaker as God, and in the Christian and Judaic traditions, only God can determine the supreme law, which is the Ten Commandments as the “heads and principles” of the Law, as Philo described them.

The Principle of Freedom as the Foundation of a Supreme Law

But there is a far more important and intriguing element in the search for a supreme law and a supreme lawmaker. In philosophy, science and religion, the search reveals, more or less distinctly, the principle of freedom as the fundamental principle of the supreme law.

In science, the freedom of fundamental particles to choose from an almost infinite number of probabilities is the basis of quantum theory. Freedom is the symmetry that the physicist Brian Greene says is the “foundation from which the laws [of physics] spring.[1]

The philosophical search for justice also has as its foundation the principle of freedom. The people should be ‘free’ to choose their representatives, and the object of justice should be the preservation of the people’s freedom.

In religion, the principle of freedom is inherent in the First Commandment. God is said to have delivered the people from “the house of bondage” so that they would be free to serve God. But even then, the people were free to choose whether to obey God or not – “if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant” [Exodus 19: 5]. And “all the people answered” to say yes [Exodus 19: 8]. Some people could not answer on behalf of others; each person was free to choose. That places freedom as the fundamental basis of God’s law, and the fundamental basis of any relationship between God and each and every human being.

The Principle of Freedom Requires a God as the Supreme Lawmaker

A ‘Final Theory’ of God shows that it is this principle, the principle of freedom, which speaks of a God.

In science, it means that the quantum laws cannot transform into the Classical laws unless particles are compelled to adopt the probability that leads to the Classical laws. But since freedom is the very foundation of the quantum law, the law itself cannot compel particles to adopt that path; that would violate the symmetry that is the “foundation from which the laws spring”. And multiplying the probabilities by postulating a multiverse doesn’t resolve that problem. That necessarily means that only a supreme lawmaker can compel particles to choose the path that leads from the quantum laws to the Classical laws, and sets in place a universe capable of creating and sustaining life. And only Genesis Chapter 1 explains how that occurred with the words “And God said” followed by “And God saw”.

The words “And God said” act like a particle detector that is switched on, thus enabling particles to ‘know’ what future environment they should prepare for. The words also symbolize a manipulation of probabilities, as envisaged by Kaku, in order to compel particles to adopt the right path; the path that leads to the classical laws of physics.

The words “And God saw” relate to the observation element of the quantum behavior of particles. The observation was necessary to make the Classical laws irreversible. “As Sakharov first pointed out, our very existence depends on an irreversible effect that established an excess of matter over antimatter at [the very earliest] stage [of the universe].”[2] Only the Supreme Lawmaker as a conscious outside observer could make the required observation.

The observation, symbolized by the words “And God saw”, creates “a consistent and definite history [that] becomes manifest only after the future to which it leads has been fully settled.”[3] The words “And God saw” make “irreversible” the intention expressed by the words “And God said.” And that provides the “quantum mechanical model” envisaged by Weinberg.

Even more fascinating is that Genesis even emphasizes the fact that the quantum laws are being transformed into the Classical laws at certain stages of the creation process with the symbolism of God naming (always in capitals) the new state of matter and energy. That is why the naming only occurs in the first three Days with the words “And God called etc.” [Genesis 1: 5, 8, 10]

In philosophy, freedom necessarily requires equality. Any system of morality or justice that has the effect of one person or group of people imposing their authority on others, whether by claims of superior intellect, strength, or numbers, necessarily violates the principles of freedom and equality which are both the foundation of morality and the object of justice. It leads to tyranny.

In religion, as we have already seen, the very foundation of the Christian and Judaic traditions is freedom. But that is also the case in other religions across the world, as it was in many early systems of justice such as the Code of Hammurabi and the Edicts of Asoka.

But the essential point to note about freedom as the foundation of the law, as the symmetry from which all laws spring, is that it is a principle that cannot be violated by the law itself. It requires something apart from the law, but with a power over the law, to compel the adoption of a certain path. And that means the author of the law; a Supreme Lawmaker.

In human terms it means that freedom cannot recognize as law the commands and doctrines of other human beings. It can only recognize as law the commands of a Supreme Lawmaker – God.

That is the basic thesis put forward by A ‘Final Theory’ of God. And it does so by subjecting the scientific, philosophical and religious evidence to a rigorous legal methodology that confirms the existence of God beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, the book raises a number of important ancillary issues.

Morality, Instinct and Reason

First, it demonstrates that the human brain comprises three principal faculties: morality as a physical neurological structure which the IVF pioneer Sir Robert Winston describes as a “morality module”, and I call a neurological moral network; secondly, primitive human instincts– instincts necessary for the survival of the human species, which include the instincts for reproduction, survival, security and vanity, all of which are activated by the prospect of pleasure, or the fear of pain; and third, a capacity to reason.

The capacity to reason is a neutral factor – more reason doesn’t guarantee better decisions, and less reason doesn’t necessarily lead to worse decisions; often it is the reverse. But furthermore, the book demonstrates that what we recognize as ‘wrong’ or ‘evil’ is, in essence, reason in the service of one or more primitive instincts in response to some perceived pleasure to be had by indulging that instinct, or in response to the fear of some perceived threat. Conversely, ‘good’ or ‘right’ is reason in the service of morality as it speaks to us from the neurological moral network. It acts to regulate the demands of our primitive instincts.

As I demonstrate in the book, the Genesis account of the creation of “man” clearly identifies these distinct mental faculties, and the story of the Garden of Eden is an account of the activation of the neurological moral network in the first of the human species. Furthermore, the book shows how Genesis explains the phenomenon of human consciousness as the activation of the neurological moral network in the brain which gives human beings a capacity to recognize their own mortality.

The Voluntary Assumption of Obligations as the basis of the Moral Law

The second ancillary issue addresses the problem of the assumption and imposition of obligations which act to modify and restrict the freedom that is the fundamental basis of morality and justice. Since freedom as the foundation of morality and justice cannot recognize as law the commands and doctrines of other human beings, the assumption of obligations cannot be out of fear of punishment, or any other form of compulsion. And the only instance where human beings freely and voluntarily assume obligations which restrict and modify their freedom is the creation of new human life; and they assume those obligations out of unconditional love for the life they create.

The creation of new human life, in the image of those who create that life, automatically activates the neurological moral network, thus causing a voluntary assumption of the fundamental obligations that modify freedom. And it is those obligations, which constitute the fundamental principles of morality, that operate to subject human beings to the only obligations they can freely and voluntarily assume without surrendering their freedom to the authority of another human being. That is the Fifth Commandment – Honour thy father and thy mother. Commandments Six through Ten thus set out the principles that form the basis of those obligations, and the basis of the moral law that is God’s Law.

The most important aspect of this activation of the neurological moral network, however, is that it also induces recognition that the obligations we assume by the creation of new human life are also obligations that we have towards all life.

But it is not only the creation of new life that can cause an activation of the neurological moral network in the brain. Each and every human being has such a moral network; and each and every human being can access that moral network if they make the effort to do so. As Christ said, the “kingdom of God is within you” [Luke 17: 21, and see Deuteronomy 30: 11 – 14]. If we seek it, we can find it. And the Psalmist gives a methodology: “Be still, and know that I am God.” [Psalm 46: 10]

The creation of new human life simply activates it automatically; but only if those who create new life are not so in bondage to their primitive instincts that they simply fail to recognize the obligations presented to them for their obedience.

Activating the neurological moral network requires that we free ourselves from bondage to our primitive instincts; and that is the hard part for most people. The prospect of the pleasures to be derived by indulging our primitive instincts all too often silences the voice of the moral law as it speaks to us from the neurological moral network. And we should be in no doubt that reason will eagerly justify indulging the temptations of our primitive instincts in violation of the moral law.

Conclusion

These are just two of the ancillary issues that arise out of the thesis of A ‘Final Theory’ of God; but they are fundamentally important issues that go to our conceptions of justice, morality, politics and economics. They set the groundwork for a new constitutional disposition. And they awaken the human spirit to its true moral purpose, and its true moral destiny.

Notes:

[1] Greene, page 225.

[2] Rees, page 154.

[3] Greene, page 189.

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2014 All Rights Reserved

 

A ‘Final Theory’ of God – An Overview: Part I

By the time I had published my second book in 2007, I had already become weary of the relentless attacks on the notion of God from certain scientists, and an ‘intellectual’ clique of atheists and humanists like Richard Dawkins, AC Grayling, and the late Christopher Hitchens.

The effect of the scientific denial of the existence of God is best illustrated by Steven Weinberg, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, when he proclaimed in his book The First Three Minutes that “the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”[1] In an attempt to deflect the criticism his remark attracted, Weinberg sought to ‘explain’ what he meant in his next book, Dreams of a Final Theory. There he makes this remarkable statement: “I did not mean that science teaches us that the universe is pointless, but rather that the universe itself suggests no point. I hastened to add that there were ways that we ourselves could INVENT a point to our lives, including trying to understand the universe.”[2]

In other words, in answer to his critics, Weinberg suggests that we can “invent” some point to our lives by dedicating ourselves to proving that there is no point to life. That sounds more like ‘a Final Theory of Despair’.

So far as the ‘intellectual’ clique of humanists and atheists are concerned, their “cause”, according to AC Grayling, is to “invite people to a truer and healthier view both of the world and of the source of what is good in human life.[3] That is, a “truer and healthier view” than the religious view that only a God can provide some purpose to life, and only a God can provide any kind of objective sense of morality and justice. And, of course, in order to discover this ‘utopian’ “view” we need look no further than their ‘superior intellects’, sense of compassion, and their ‘superior’ understanding of ‘tolerance’ and ‘justice’.

The “cause” proclaimed by this ‘intellectual’ clique betrays a disturbing authoritarian streak. But more pitifully, it also reveals a deep sense of insecurity; an insecurity that can only be assuaged by the acknowledgement of others that their “view” of the world is the only view that provides the “best, most generous, most sympathetic understanding of human reality.”[4]

Sad as this combination of insecurity and authoritarian inclination may be, it is also highly dangerous. That is because the very thing that they claim to be the source of the world’s problems, a Supreme Lawmaker as the author of a Supreme Law, is the very role they aspire to assume for themselves.

Essentially their argument is this: if you reason in the right way you will agree with us; if you don’t agree with us, that, in itself, is ‘evidence’ that you have not reasoned in the right way.

Apart from the inconvenient fact that such ‘reasoning’ is simply a claim that there is a supreme law that is discoverable by adopting the correct procedures, in other words, something similar to religion, they also see as ‘fair game’ for ridicule, insult and humiliation, anyone who reveals themselves to have failed to apply the ‘right’ kind of ‘reasoning’, thus coming to a view different to theirs. That is the danger of insecurity in those with an authoritarian streak – they are ‘tyrants’ frustrated by their inability to impose their view on the rest of us.

However, the most delusional aspect of their ‘thinking’ is their belief that we would all agree with their view if only we would renounce any notion of God. In fact, the contrary is the case. Their view, as exposed in my review of Grayling’s book The God Argument (http://www.freedomvrights.com/godargument.html), is a view that the vast majority of people would reject whether or not they believed in God, or subscribed to any form of religion. Their view is firmly rooted in the indulgence of some of the most primitive human instincts, the sort of instincts we share with animals. And it doesn’t take a belief in God to reject the primordial carnality of such a view of “human reality.” Their view of ‘morality’ is one that would be certain to provoke strife, discord and conflict – the very charge they levy against religion.

Nevertheless, it was the incessant “banging on the table[5] by this ‘intellectual’ clique of wannabe ‘tyrants’, and the lofty declarations from certain scientists, that  finally compelled me to take a closer look at the so-called evidence that is claimed to provide the compelling ‘proof’ that there is no such thing as God.

I should emphasize, however, that I do not subscribe to any particular religion, so I didn’t approach the evidence from a subjective, religious standpoint. Instead, I approached it from a strictly objective, legal perspective, as I did over the years in the many legal cases I investigated. The consequence was that the evidence took me to some unexpected places. I had to re-evaluate some of my own strongly-held opinions in light of the evidence.

But that is the nature of law. Lawyers have to leave their personal opinions and views at the door of the court and go where the evidence takes them. And that is how I conducted this investigation.

Quantum Physics versus Classical Physics

For those with a detailed understanding of physics, let me apologize in advance for what may seem a rather basic summary of these two concepts. However, they are important for the discussion that follows.

Since I mostly address the effects of quantum physics in A ‘Final Theory’ of God, the term Classical physics is used to include special and general relativity; in other words, it comprises the laws that apply from the level of isolated atoms and molecules through to the cosmic world of planets, stars and galaxies. It is the physics that defines the predictable, deterministic world we see all around us.

Quantum physics relates to the behavior of sub-atomic particles like electrons, photons and quarks. These particles make up everything we know as ordinary matter and, as Weinberg says, scientists study these fundamental particles because they believe that by doing so they “will learn something about the PRINCIPLES that govern everything.”[6] That is, scientists believe that the behavior of fundamental particles may lead them to a ‘final theory of everything.’

The first thing to note about fundamental particles is that they are not like tiny grains of sand. They are more like waves. Scientists call this property of a particle its wavefunction. The wavefunction determines that a particle can adopt any one of all probable states. But the important aspect of this, as explained by the physicist Brian Greene, is that “a particle can hang in a state of limbo between having one or other particular property … and only when the particle is looked at (measured or observed) does it randomly commit to one definite property or another.”[7]

In brief, we could say that there is a two-stage process that determines the physical universe.

First, particles are ‘free’ to choose from all probable states. Second, only when a particle is observed will it choose one specific state.

Many physicists believe that this is the basis for what we describe as “free will.” The popular television physicist, Michio Kaku, describes the effect of quantum physics by saying that in a “quantum play, the actors suddenly throw away the script and act on their own. The puppets cut their strings. Free will has been established.”[8] That establishes freedom as a fundamental principle of physics, or at least quantum physics.

But Kaku says that “physicists realize that if [they] could somehow control these probabilities, one could perform feats indistinguishable from magic.”[9] As will become apparent, this is an important element of the argument in A ‘Final Theory’ of God.

There are also two other aspects of particle behavior we ought to note.

The first relates to what are described as delayed-choice experiments. In these experiments, particles are fired through a beam splitter at a detector. When the detector is switched off, the particles show an interference pattern demonstrating that they are in a wave-like mode. However, when the detector is switched on, the particles pass through one or other slit on the splitter and appear as a dot. That means they are in a particle-like mode because they have assumed a specific state after being measured (observed) by the detector.

But when this experiment is modified, the behavior of particles becomes even more peculiar. If the detector is switched off after the particle has been emitted, the particle appears to predict that the detector will be switched off before it is fired, and adopts a wave-like state. If the detector is programmed to randomly switch on and off as particles are fired at it, the particles always ‘guess’ correctly whether the detector will be switched on or off when they arrive. Brian Greene notes that the particles appear to “have a ‘premonition’ of the experimental situation they will encounter farther downstream, and act accordingly.”[10]

Greene goes on to say that these experiments suggest that “a consistent and definite history becomes manifest only after the future to which it leads has been fully settled.”[11]

That conclusion is reinforced by further modifications to the experiments in which an erasing device is placed just in front of the detector which causes the particles to revert to a different mode. But it also suggests that whatever state a particle adopts by perceiving what the future environment may be can be undone at any time before the actual observation is made. And that is an important aspect of these experiments, as we shall see.

The second aspect of particle behavior we should note relates to what are called Feynman’s “sum over paths” equations. Richard Feynman, another Nobel Prize-winning physicist, demonstrated that although particles are free to choose from all probable paths, the path that leads to the Classical laws of physics is the most probable path. But as Kaku notes, “Feynman showed that the Newtonian (Classical) path is simply the most probable path, not the only path.”[12] Particles are still free to adopt any of the other paths.

There remains only one further thing to note about the relationship between quantum physics and Classical physics – and that is the question of how the quantum laws morph into the Classical laws. Scientists still don’t know the answer to that question, which prompted Weinberg to suggest that what is needed is a “quantum-mechanical model” that shows how, “as a result of repeated interactions of a [conscious outside observer] with individual systems, the wave function of the combined system evolves with certainty to a final wave function, in which the [conscious outside observer] has become convinced that the probabilities of the individual measurements are what are prescribed by the Copenhagen interpretation.[13]

Now that may all sound like gobbledygook to non-scientists, but all it really means is that we need an explanation of how the uncertainty inherent in the quantum laws that apply to fundamental particles have brought about the predictable, deterministic physical world we see all around us. And that explanation has to include an explanation for the necessity for a conscious outside observer in order to ensure that particles adopt a particle-like state; but not just any particle-like state, but the state that brought about the universe and life as we know it.

And that leads to an evidential problem when we come to consider the arguments for and against the existence of God.

The Evidential Problem

The most notable aspect of the evidential problem is that both sides of the argument tend to use the word evidence in a very loose, non-legal sense. The result is that the arguments go round in circles.

In law, very strict rules apply to the use of evidence, the weight to be attached to evidence, and the party that has the burden of adducing evidence. In general, the party asserting a claim has the burden of proving the claim by adducing the evidence necessary to meet the standard of proof required for the type of action that is brought.

In most Anglo-American systems of justice, there are two broad standards of proof: beyond a reasonable doubt for a criminal charge; and on a balance of probabilities for a civil claim.

The reason for the higher standard of proof in criminal cases is obvious; the consequences are that much more severe, often resulting in incarceration, or even execution (in some States in the United States).

In respect of the evidence for and against God, only the higher standard of proof is applicable. There are two reasons for that. First, without going into the evidence in full, although I do so in the book, each side of the argument can quite comfortably meet the standard of proof on a balance of probabilities – because of the unknowns involved. The second reason is that the issue goes to some very deeply held beliefs that define many people’s very existence; and such deeply held convictions should not be undermined by mere speculation or abstract ‘theory’, and certainly not by what the previous Astronomer Royal and physicist, Sir Martin Rees, calls a “hunch”.[14] Only the highest standard of proof is appropriate.

And that brings us to the first limitation in respect of the evidence. Max Planck, the physicist who first formulated quantum theory, once noted that “science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And it is because in the last analysis we ourselves are part of the mystery we are trying to solve.[15] But that limitation doesn’t only apply to science. Religion has the same limitation. As the Preacher says, “[God] hath set the world in [man’s] heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”[16] And “though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.[17]

That limitation also leads to a second limitation, which relates to what scientists would claim to be the conclusive nature of scientific evidence. That claim is based on the fact that scientific evidence is evidence verified by experiment. Yet, that is the limitation, because evidence verified by experiment comprises only a small proportion of the evidence on how the physical world functions. The CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) website says this: “Here’s a sobering fact: The matter we know and that makes up all stars and galaxies only accounts for 4% of the content of the universe!” The rest is dark matter and dark energy. But more limiting for the scientific evidence is that the 4% scientists do know something about is composed of sub-atomic particles; and those particles, as we have seen, are subject to quantum laws. And most scientists will acknowledge that they still understand very little about those laws. As Weinberg says, “I admit to some discomfort in working all my life in a theoretical framework that no one fully understands.[18] And Weinberg goes on to say that “we really do need to understand quantum mechanics better in quantum cosmology, the application of quantum mechanics to the whole universe, where no outside observer is even imaginable. … No one today knows even the rules for applying quantum mechanics in this context.[19]

The debate regarding the existence of God falls squarely into this category of evidence. To invoke as incontrovertible ‘evidence’ for a claim, facts regarding only some 4% of the issues in dispute, and then acknowledging that no one even understands why the 4% works in the way it does, is to invite a legal motion from those who argue for the existence of God of “no case to answer.[20]

But that is not the road I go down in this book, because a lack of evidence by one party does not in itself prove the claim of another party. In other words, the fact that science cannot prove that God does not exist is not evidence that God does exist.

As such, the debate for and against the existence of God is like any legal case. In almost every legal case, most of the facts are agreed by the parties. It is the small element of unknown or disputed facts that make a case contentious. And the burden of proving that the unknown or disputed evidence supports a particular party falls on the party making that assertion.

That is where the arguments for and against the existence of God all run aground.

It is futile for those arguing in favor of the existence of God to point to the remarkable coincidences that had to occur in order for the universe and life as we know it to exist. Scientists like Martin Rees acknowledge that. As Kaku says, “It is no accident, [Rees] believes, that the universe is finely tuned to allow life to exist.”[21] But to get round the improbability, Rees, like many other scientists, simply multiplies the probabilities ad infinitum by postulating a multiverse.

Conversely, it is also futile for scientists to simply keep multiplying the probabilities in an attempt to eliminate the impossible improbabilities. The multiverse theory is what I liken to a multi-lottery. Instead of increasing the number of entries in one lottery, the multi-lottery theory multiplies the number of lotteries so that our one entry is bound to win in one of the billions of lotteries that is the multiverse. But the problem is that we still then don’t know where the lotteries came from; we still don’t know who makes the draws; and we still can’t know whether we have won until the numbers are drawn.

In the legal arena, such arguments cannot establish the required burden of proof for either of the parties. As any astute lawyer will know, the only real way to address such a deadlock is for the party asserting a position to demonstrate that their position must hold even assuming the alternative theories.

But that poses a problem for those claiming the non-existence of God. They can’t exactly establish a theory of the non-existence of God by assuming the existence of God. That would have the effect of providing Weinberg with precisely the “quantum mechanical model” he says is required; except the conscious outside observer would be God. And as I demonstrate in the book, that is precisely the kind of model set out in Genesis Chapter 1.

However, compelling as the evidence is in Genesis Chapter 1, it still doesn’t satisfy the required burden of proof for those asserting the existence of God. And that is because we could simply reverse the argument and say that the term God is used in Genesis in the same way as Weinberg uses conscious outside observer. In other words, both ‘models’ recognize the need for an observation in the creation of the universe and life.

So what is really required is evidence, in the form of a theory, that the fundamental principles that determine and govern the laws of physics require a Supreme Lawmaker.

And that is the kind of theory formulated by A ‘Final Theory’ of God.

Click here to read Part II

Copyright © Joseph B.H McMillan 2014 All Rights Reserved

Notes:

[1] Weinberg, Steven. The First Three Minutes, 1993 paperback edition, page 154.

[2] Weinberg, Steven. Dreams of a Final Theory, Vintage Books 1994 (paperback), page 255 – emphasis on invent is mine.

[3] Graying AC, The God Argument, Bloomsbury 2013, page 3

[4] Grayling, page 4.

[5] Alf Ross – describing those who invoke ‘justice’ in support of an argument.

[6] Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, page 61.

[7] Greene, Brian. The Fabric of the Cosmos, Penguin Books 2005 (paperback).

[8] Kaku, Michio. Parallel Worlds, Penguin Books 2006, page 149.

[9] Kaku, page 147.

[10] Greene, page 189.

[11] Greene, page 189.

[12] Kaku, page 164.

[13] Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, page 84.

[14] Rees, Martin. Just Six Numbers, Phoenix 2000, page 174.

[15] Quoted in Kaku, page 158.

[16] Ecclesiastes 3: 11.

[17] Ecclesiastes 8: 17.

[18] Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, page 85.

[19] Weinberg, Ibid, page 85.

[20]No case to answer” is a legal motion in which the defence elects not to advance any evidence on the basis that the prosecution’s evidence simply cannot support the charge brought.

[21] Kaku, page 250, quoting Rees.