Thursday, November 12, 2015

Modelling Outside our Frame of Reference and Creation

This is less about science and more about the philosophy of explanations.

Quantum Theory and to a lesser extent General Relativity involve throwing away everyday assumptions and intuition based on everyday experience.

Quantum Theory works beautifully mathematically but is seemingly impossible to conceptualize.

General Relativity is easy enough to conceptualize but involves counter-intuitive departures from everyday expectation.

Regarding Quantum theory, Niels Bohr, a pioneer in the field, stated (I quote from Jim Baggott's 'The Quantum Story'- excellent if narrative more than attempting mathematical rigour):

These (quantum mechanical electron orbital) models have been deduced, or if you prefer, guessed, from experiments, not from theoretical calculations. I hope that they describe the structure of atoms as well, but only as well, as is possible in the descriptive language of classical physics. We must be clear that, when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images and establishing mental connections.'

There remains a great deal of truth in this statement. Quantum Theory plays by certain mathematical rules, and does so with beautiful precision. For the discoverers of the rules, there must have been quite a bit of exhilaration involved along the way. This is clear in the writings of say Heisenberg. However, attempts to understand the behaviour of the Quantum scale world have failed to pull it into an everyday intuitively-correct framework of logic. That is to say, our mental picture of what is really happening in the Quantum world fails to crystallize out, to the exasperation of many. 

The dynamics of reality are clearly bigger than our conceptual abilities.

Why do atheists try to patronize God then? Surely it is the most ridiculously patronizing and doomed exercise imaginable. Even if a person says they don't believe in him, hypothesize him. It is still daft to try to work him out.

When it comes to origins (carefully avoiding the emotive and suggestive word 'creation'), somehow the descriptions of how the Big Bang happened seem to me to be exercises in delusion. Maybe that is because I don't understand a lot of the maths and concepts well enough. Or maybe I am registering the analytic mind stretching itself further than it can sanely and reliably go. 

I believe in creation. By God. In six time periods or ages. I don't know how he did it in the rigorous, analytical sense.

Read Genesis 1 and 2. He uses poetry to describe how he did it; for the same reasons Bohr alludes to in the quote above. A connective picture illustrating certain points deemed by the author to be important using a framework familiar to the recipients. An exercise in necessary condescension from a Greater Mind to a lesser.

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