Breeched Wales Bloviating in the Hot Sun

Location: Long Island, New York, United States

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Quantum Darwinism

I have often heard fundamentalists falsely state that "Evolution" wasn't real science like say, a hard science like physics. Not being scientifically literate they are not aware that Darwinian thinking is actually expanding into other areas of science. Historically, Darwinian style solutions to science problems started in economics with Malthus. Although Malthus was wrong about the relationship of human population to productivity, a refined Darwinism did migrate back from biology into economics via Hayek. Darwinism is now moving into the thoughts of physicists as we shall see below.

These theories even apply to the very subject that is rebelling against them, religion. Being social institutions themselves religions do evolve and are amenable to the methods of Hayek.

On the cutting edge of quantum physics, things aren't looking up for those who were hoping that one day Darwin would be discredited. There are cosmological hypotheses that use a form of natural selection to explain how our universe arose. Now a group of scientists have come up with quantum darwinism.

A team of US physicists has proved a theorem that explains how our objective, common reality emerges from the subtle and sensitive quantum world.

Now don't misunderstand, the theorm they proved was mathematical. After all scientist don't prove scientific theories, they disprove them. However, scientific theories must pass the hurdle of being non-contradictory and having a mathematically proven theorem at the heart of a scientific theory guarantees consistency.

It's starting to look to me like the creator of not only the universe and life as we know it but also our day to day existence is a process and not a personal god. The process, natural selection, is quite powerful and awe inspiring. Too bad some people are too blinded by faith to consider the possibility.

If you wish to name this process (or creator), God, it is certainly not the god of Christianity. Neither is it the god of Einstein. He was foolish enough to assign the attribute of "not playing dice" to his formulation of god. The evidence so far is to the contrary. The only creative "higher power" that has been discovered by science is natural selection and it depends intimately on chance.

Deism says it is rationality and reason that leads to God. Is the process of natural selection the God of deism? The process natural selection is itself is essentially one of trial and error and thus is a creative force worthy of the name Creator. But does a process operating at different levels count as one "diety". Natural selection operating on universes, quantum mechanics, species, and cultural institutions are certainly alike in kind but not in identity. This seems instead to lead to a multiplicity of gods and not one. So is deism wrong in assuming the final result of the inquiry would lead to a single entity.

If you are wary of thinking of a process as entity consider the fact that the human body itself is a process more than a static entity. The materials of which the body is make is constantly being replaced. An eddy in a river is a entity that exists despite a constant replacement of the particles of which it is made. The eddy itself may dig a deeper channel for itself in the bed of the river thus changing as it grows older. We are more like and river eddy than we care to believe. Perhaps our god should be too.

Perhaps instead of fighting Darwinism, religion should embrace it.