Thursday, 10 July 2008

Questions on Muslim apologetics : Q 3

Abdullah G said ...

Can any logical/rational argument for the existence of God be true in light of what we know from Quantum Mechanics. We know that QM show a world that runs counter to our intuition, so how can any argument based upon ration hold?

Adam deen said...

It surpirses me that one would want to even try to deny such an established statement, why dont things just pop into existence right now in our day to day lives ?

The Kalam cosmological argument thus follows
1. Anything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Quantum Theory is used to counter premise number one. In one of the ten interpretations of Quantum theory ( it is not known which of the interpretations are correct as they are all empirically equivalent)[i] virtual particles can arise spontaneously out of the quantum vacuum. This would be contrary to the idea that anything that begins to exist has a cause. However, what you must note is that the vacuum is not nothing, but rather it is a sea of fluctuating energy that serves as the indeterministic cause of such partials [ii]. A sufficient defeater of premise one would be to provide an empirical example where something begins to exist from literally ‘nothing’, i.e. there not being anything there at all. The nothing here would be analogous to providing a counter example to suggest that the universe can spontaneously begin to exist without a cause. Hence the quantum theory does not constitute a substantive counter to the theory that things do not pop into being out of nothing.
[i] Quantum Reality, Nick Herbert
[ii] [ii] Does Physical Cosmology Transcend the Limits of Naturalistic Reasoning ?, Bernulf Kanitscheider


Anonymous said...

why not simply see the universe as a process or part of a larger process?

we understand weather as being a process with various factors interacting and determining what happens. primitive men who did not understand the process ascribed to Gods various weather phenomena such as the north wind or thunder.

just because we do not yet fully understand all the ins and outs of the universe, there is no need to invoke a God. You can guarantee that if you do, you will never improve your understanding of it.

Anonymous said...

Your critique might carry more intellectual weight if you didn't misquote "particles" as "partials" throughout- you ought to mean "virtual particles" but clearly don't know that you ought to.
The answer to your faux naive question about things "popping into existence" is perfectly clearly given by basic quantum mechanics; the larger the theoretical "thing", the smaller the probability of its sudden appearance; the probability of anything above the sub-atomic scale spontaneously arising is so small as to be effectively zero.

Adam Deen said...


Thanks for your comment.

So do you agree with the first premise that "anything that begins to exist has a cause" ?

Anonymous said...

No. Fluctuations in the quantum vacuum require no cause. The Big Bang may have been such a fluctuation.