The Weirdness of Quantum Mechanics Explained

Or more properly, one of the many weirdnesses of Quantum Mechanics explained:

This is part of a larger talk on the extremely new field of Quantum Physics and Biology, which you can also see on Youtube.

As somebody with no scientific training and a background in literature and theology, what stuff like this inspires is, of course, wonder–and also a little shower of quotes:

The universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. – JBS Haldane

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.
It is the glory of kings to search a matter out. – Proverbs 25:2

God is a comedian playing to an audience afraid to laugh. – Voltaire

THE real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life is not an illogicality; yet it is a trap for logicians. It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait. I give one coarse instance of what I mean. Suppose some mathematical creature from the moon were to reckon up the human body; he would at once see that the essential thing about it was that it was duplicate. A man is two men, he on the right exactly resembling him on the left. Having noted that there was an arm on the right and one on the left, a leg on the right and one on the left, he might go further and still find on each side the same number of fingers, the same number of toes, twin eyes, twin ears, twin nostrils, and even twin lobes of the brain. At last he would take it as a law; and then, where he found a heart on one side, would deduce that there was another heart on the other. And just then, where he most felt he was right, he would be wrong.

It is this silent swerving from accuracy by an inch that is the uncanny element in everything. – G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

God, under carefully controlled laboratory condition, will do whatever he likes. – Me, parodying the Harvard Law of Animal Behavior

I have no Nobel Prize winning explanation for this super-weird phenomenon and still less for even weirder stuff like particle behavior that seems to suggest stuff like backward time travel. But I do have a theological speculation: God enjoys mystery and teases us with it to draw us further on and further into himself.

Or as Werner Heisenberg put it, “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist. But at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.

Being able to endure mystery while also hungering to plumb it ever more deeply is the mark of both a healthy scientific and a healthy theological mind. It’s such a pity that those prey to scientism and fundamentalism so often often shout down such people in pursuit of their simplistic dogmatisms.


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