# Quantum Christianity?

Hallelujah! At long last, we can reconcile Jesus and science — all we need is to know a little quantum physics. Very little quantum physics. So little that we can get it all wrong, and it really doesn’t matter. Heed this call to improve the world by having Christians embrace physics!

It is time for the spiritually faithful to openly support the acceptance of this new science, which is called quantum physics theory. It replaces Newtonian physics theory, which is based on concepts developed in the 17th century when scientists separated themselves from the Church of Rome to avoid being burned at the stake when their discoveries were at variance with the teachings of the church.

Uh, hey, what? I had no idea that Newtonian physics was a cop-out to avoid conflict with Catholicism. The things you learn on the interwebs…

The Newtonian physics the-ory describes most day-to-day physical phenomena well, but does not support concepts of intuitive, spiritual or other "nonphysical" phenomena, such as electricity and field theories.

This is getting weirder and weirder: electricity is non-physical? It’s an intuitive, spiritual phenomenon? I know James Clerk Maxwell was a devout evangelical Christian, but he managed to keep all of that out of his work.

I think you can see where this is going: wicked Catholic-appeasing Newton doesn’t support spirituality (which is already ridiculous and ahistorical), but quantum physics does.

Quantum physics theory sees the universe as an infinite, interactive field of energy patterns (quantum holograms) in which the true intentions of humankind influence the application of infinite sources of energy in our physical world.

See?

I don’t think quantum physics includes human intention as a factor at all. This sounds more like Deepak Chopra’s version of physics, i.e., total bugwackin’ nonsense.

So how does this guy justify this idiosyncratic version of physics? By personal experience, of course.

I have personally experienced and observed the moving of physical objects, the changing of chemical compositions and the healing of sickness by means of true intentions, alone. I foresee a near future in which each of us "who does not doubt in his heart" quietly and without ostentation, helps to keep turning the wheels of industry, transportation and electric generation, as required. How many Christians truly believe in the teachings of Jesus?

I look forward to our bright future in which the prayers of devout Christians cause the turbines of dynamos to whirl about telekinetically, generating free godly energy for us all.

If you doubt this, you do not truly believe in the teachings of Jesus, who was all about magic-powered industrial machinery.

1. coragyps says

“I have personally experienced and observed the moving of physical objects, the changing of chemical compositions and the healing of sickness by means of true intentions, alone.”

I smoked some of that stuff he’s on, too – back in the day. As Ringo observed, it makes it hard to find the door.

2. sisu says

The Newtonian physics the-ory describes most day-to-day physical phenomena well, but does not support concepts of intuitive, spiritual or other “nonphysical” phenomena, such as electricity and field theories.

Magnets!

3. says

I don’t care if it rains or freezes
Long as I got my quantum Jesus
Powering the engine in my car

Hey, faith can move mountains and shit.
Killed By Fish

4. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

Member of Mensa? More evidence that bright people can believe a whole bunch of stupid shit.
And talking of shit, for some reason I was drawn to the first 5 letters of the last word of the paper’s title!

5. ibyea says

Errmm… E&M is part of Newtonian physics.

I think Orac would love this as another example of Choprawoo.

6. unclefrogy says

thank you for that was the antidote to this past week ends threads that left me with a much more negative outlook. if the great minds of the religious community keep making these kinds of deep discoveries and announce them to the world I see a very bright future for the rational approach to life.
very funny stuff!

uncle frogy

7. says

According to the Bible, he did turn water into wine. That undoubtedly involved quantum mechanics. If he distilled it a to a higher concentration of ethyl alcohol, it could be used as a virtually unlimited source of energy.

8. jazzbot says

And I was drawn to the by-line: By Robert Radford, Times Colonist
Colonist? I wonder if that was a typo or intentional.

9. brucecoppola says

My dad used to fix balky machinery by repeatedly yelling “JEESUS CHRIST”!!! So maybe there’s something to this.

10. Rip Steakface says

Man, whatever PZ. I think it would be friggin’ awesome to have people standing around psychically manipulating turbines to produce infinite energy. Just feed them and you’re good.

…Of course! That’s how the Imperium continues to work!

11. PFC Ogvorbis (Yes, they are) says

Schrödinger’s Jesus? Until they opened the tomb, he was either dead or alive? It all makes sense now!

12. PFC Ogvorbis (Yes, they are) says

My dad used to fix balky machinery by repeatedly yelling “JEESUS CHRIST”!!! So maybe there’s something to this.

Only if he was working on a VW at the time. Specifically, a VW Quantum.

13. Synfandel says

And I was drawn to the by-line: By Robert Radford, Times Colonist
Colonist? I wonder if that was a typo or intentional.

Times Colonist” is the name of the newspaper for which he writes. What looks like a typo?

14. ibyea says

@Hairy Chris
Personally, IQ points are overrated.

15. Tyrant of Skepsis says

ibyea,

It’s very unusual to count Maxwellian electrodynamics as part of Newtonian physics, as it was devised 150 years later. Conceptually and historically it is the first step in the invention of relativity theory, so it would make sense to call it proto-einsteinian :). I think what you wanted to say is that electrodynamics is counted as “classical physics”, with classical as in “not quantum”.

16. Sastra says

The Newtonian physics the-ory describes most day-to-day physical phenomena well, but does not support concepts of intuitive, spiritual or other “nonphysical” phenomena, such as electricity and field theories.

Yes, electricity is “nonphysical” — according to folk physics. And religion and spirituality rest on folk physics (along with folk biology, folk psychology, and … well… pretty much “folk” everything, since all sophistications are but a contrived veneer.)

The intuitive dualism at the center of supernaturalism divides reality into things that are solid — rocks, people, food, animals, etc. — and things that are not solid or not quite solid — air, fire, magnetism, light, electricity, thoughts, feelings, willpower, etc. That last category is a puzzler: they’re all real things, but not things that you can pick up in your hand. Therefore, they exist in “higher” state of some kind, in some other sort of realm where, presumably, there are rules about the way things behave that are a bit like the physical rules we can perceive.

This is thinking like a child — or, perhaps, a pre-scientific philosopher going by gut instincts and superficial insights. If we discover that things which seem immaterial like air or electricity are material after all, then the original concept just gets shoved to the rear of the mind and turned now and then into an analogy — but believed to be immaterial all the same.

Ask believers to explain what “spirit” is. I’ve done this, and copied down the results. When they finally get down to descriptions (you must be very, very patient because they don’t like to get analytical here) they usually end up sputtering on about light, air, energy, smoke, sparkles — only even less physical in a nebulous sort of way. You know — spirit is what thoughts are made of, assuming they’re made of something. They’re powers. Intentional forces. Like the wind.

Many theists think it possible that God is a type of energy. At least, when you ask, they often hesitate and say “well … maybe.” They really, really don’t understand real physics. They go by the folk physics of our primitive ancestors and childhood brain.

Quantum physics theory sees the universe as an infinite, interactive field of energy patterns (quantum holograms) in which the true intentions of humankind influence the application of infinite sources of energy in our physical world.

Uh huh. And theology sees the spiritual realm as an infinite, interactive field of energy patterns in which the true intentions of God influence the application of infinite sources of energy into our physical world. Got it.

17. Herr Mann says

Since quantum theory doesn’t explain how is it that there are pygmies + dwarfs, I’m not buying it.

18. jazzbot says

19. What a Maroon says

I had no idea that Newtonian physics was a cop-out to avoid conflict with Catholicism.

See, the church teaches us that we are fallen, and we need Jesus to lift us back up. Newton told us that we’re constantly falling, and not even Jebus can stop us.

20. robro says

#10 @brucecoppola — My dad would do the same thing to cars he was repairing, although he would add colorful phrases so it came out “Jesus Christ! son of a god damned bitch!” Oh, and he would slam the doors, possibly to loosen the quantum woo so he could fix the beast more easily.

21. Tyrant of Skepsis says

You’re the candle in the dark
But your juice is borrowed from the vacuum

At last we have the spark
Of the spiritual mobile perpetuum

You provide the fluctuation
When our quantum wave collapses

While hesitant to become too physical
You spread ev’rywhere as time elapses

You are the energy and light and sprit
And many other things that please us

All Glory be to You oh Lord
All Glory be to Quantum Jesus

22. unclefrogy says

I thought a colonist was someone who administered colonics.
uncle frogy

23. Tyrant of Skepsis says

I thought a colonist was someone who administered colonics.
uncle frogy

May I ask you what you think your enemies are up to, then? :D

24. The Lorax says

I confess I lol’ed, rather loudly, at electricity being an intuitive concept.

25. rr says

I see – it’s doubt that prevents Christians from charging batteries with their minds. And the firmament is a hologram!

/takes another Valium/

26. unclefrogy says

took me two minutes you got me
hehehehehehehehe
uncle frogy

27. M Groesbeck says

Quantum theory is, to be fair, quite significant in terms of its implications for the importance of human thought in the universe.

Of course, the woo-bots get it almost perfectly backwards. The very bugfuck weirdness of quantum reality — which gives the woomeisters the sense that they have license to insist that really, reality is all about human opinions — actually implies the opposite of what they want it to. Reality isn’t centered on (and seems perfectly indifferent to, if one wishes to anthropomorphize at all) subjective human thoughts and intuitions. The universe is so much bigger than we are that we are only in the past hundred years starting to work out models for how little obligation the universe is under to behave in conformity with any ideas about it that we might have.

This is one thing that quantum mechanics and relativity certainly have in common — they describe phenomena that indicate that no, really, we humans with our human minds are really not important on the universal (macroscopic or microscopic) scale. We’re still just fumbling at the edges of something which is much bigger and more complicated than we are, and really quite alien in fundamental ways.

It’s also great fun.

28. ikesolem says

Looks like another attempt to explain things you don’t understand by referring to the alpha chimp in the sky. Started off with thunder and lightning – once that was explained as the gods fighting in the sky, now we have a physical theory. We really have no idea what came before the Big Bang or what initiated it, so – hey – must be a god behind it all.

Basically, if you allowed the religious crowd to control science, they’d just stop scientific progress at that point, write something down as the gospel truth, and persecute anyone who disagreed later on (see Galileo).

Certainly modern non-deterministic probability-based physics provides plenty of room for whatever fantastic suppositions you might want to make – and yes, quantum theory is fundamentally a probabilistic theory – which is why Einstein didn’t like it much (‘God does not play dice with the universe’). Actually, much popular writing in cosmology and quantum theory adopts a quasi-religious perspective, sad to say – “The God Particle”, etc.

29. ibyea says

@Tyrant
Yeah, you are right. I was actually thinking if I should call it classical instead. But at the same time, I was thinking that E&M uses some stuff from Newton.

By the way, I like the term “proto Einsteinian”. The equations just seem to say, “this is the speed of light”. But then you ask “compared to what?”. And the equations just answers back “this IS the speed of light”. And you are just left wondering, WTF?

30. says

A quantum physicist was driving down the road one day when he was pulled over by a policeman.
“Do you have any idea how fast you were going sir?” asked the policeman.
“I’m afraid I don’t officer” replied the physicist, “but I know exactly where I am.”

I’m sorry I’ll get my coat, I know the way out.

31. Tyrant of Skepsis says

And you are just left wondering, WTF?

Yeah, exactly. How could Maxwell not see this? After having made one of the greatest scientific discoveries, he had an even bigger one practically staring at him and didn’t see it. Extremely fascinating. Special relativity was the simplest interpretation, he could have discovered it in a fortnight! Yet, none of the great minds of the 19th century saw the true implications, and those who did, did not dare to take them seriously. I often wonder – is the same happening to us now, and if yes, what is the great insight that is lurking just beneath the surface today?

32. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

I foresee a near future in which each of us “who does not doubt in his heart” quietly and without ostentation, helps to keep turning the wheels of industry, transportation and electric generation, as required.

Of course, Monsters Inc. was way out in front of this when it started running all of Monstropolis on the power of screams and laughter.

Speaking of laughter . . . .

33. peterh says

It just can’t get any stupider . . . .

34. firstapproximation says

That’s nothing. There are examples of Quantum Biblical Literalism from ConservaPOEdia.

Obviously many people refuse to read the Bible and thus miss out on the benefit of its foreknowledge. Had scientists carefully studied the walking on water with an open mind, then it may not have taken 1900 years before they recognized the existence of wave-particle duality. Ditto for many other phenomena.

Quantum tunneling is the ability of particles to move through energy barriers even though ostensibly impossible based on traditional laws of mechanical physics. This was not discovered by scientists until the 20th century.

Jesus proved this was possible in John 20:26, when he appeared before the Apostles in a closed room with completely shut doors.

The second chapter of the Gospel of John describes the conversion of water into wine by Jesus at a wedding reception. Intuitively one would expect the conversion to occur before anyone tasted the drink. But under quantum mechanics, it is not until observation that matter acquires a definite state. John 2:9 describes this precisely as required by quantum mechanics, and the KJV misses this subtle issue of timing in the conversion.

35. Guest Speaker says

WTF?!?!
I’m outraged when I read that drivel in what should be a respectable publication. I’m embarrassed for the Canadians up there in the Pacific Northwest.

How does that appear in the “technology” section of the paper?

We invite you to write about the nature of faith from an individual point of view, to share experiences about your own tradition and practice, while respecting others’ opinions and religions.”

Anybody else up for it?

36. says

Quantum Holograms only work when embedded in \$20 silicone bracelets …

37. 'Tis Himself, OM says

Fuckin’ quantum, how does it work?

38. says

They tried that already. It’s called being a Christian Scientist.

My great-grandmother died a Christian Scientist. In terrible agony, with women praying for her healing right up until the end.

My dad could tell you a thing or two about Christian Scientists. Not one of those things complimentary.

sigh…
Quantum physics deals with the interaction of matter and light on the sub micrometer level (just to include some macroscopic events). In other words, it’s the interaction of charged matter and the electromagnetic force. There is a side branch that deals with the interaction of the strong and weak forces (those are the things with the really stupid names) within the atomic nucleus, but that’s not really what we’re talking about here, now is it? Newtonian physics deals with the motion of objects. It does not deal with the electromagnetic force, but rather with the gravitational force, and those pesky laws they make you memorize in high school physics. See how they’re incompatible? But hey, let’s compare them anyway: two charged unit masses(ie 2 electrons in atomic units, to make the math easier) separated by the same distance will be disproportionally affected by the coulomb repulsion, by a factor of 4×10^42. This is why gravity isn’t included in quantum chemical calculations. It’s contribution is too damn small to be detected.
I found this bit really irritating for some reason, and I’m just a bloody chemist! I would hate seeing a physicist’s reaction to this nonsense.

Quantum physics theory sees the universe as an infinite, interactive field of energy patterns (quantum holograms) in which the true intentions of humankind influence the application of infinite sources of energy in our physical world.

Funny, none of my professors ever mentioned that. And it’s either “quantum theory,” or “quantum physics.”

40. Gorbin Wafflemunch says

Joy – Pick a topic mysterious and misunderstood enough that it sounds like there could be a scientific explanation of Jebus. I’m not sure if this desperate groping is hilarious, depressing or just deeply troubling. Where will the goal posts shift to next I wonder?

41. says

I dub this nonsense Chopra Santorum, a frothy mixture of feces, anal lube, and really bad science.

42. Tyrant of Skepsis says

I find the prolonged santoric badmouthing of anal frothing juices to be unfair

43. laschesis says

Those words – they do not mean what you think they mean…

44. says

My dad could tell you a thing or two about Christian Scientists. Not one of those things complimentary.

well they run a decent paper

45. catnip67 says

I once had a debate with a catholic “science” teacher who was attempting to defend his faith with the statement “well, you believe in electrons, don’t you?” perhaps this is what he meant…..

46. mnb0 says

My favourite part is how Radford describes E = mc2 as the start of quantum mechanics. I always thought it was a consequence of Einstein’s SRT and that quantum mechanics started with Max Planck five years earlier.
Apparently I had it always wrong. Or maybe Mr. Radford is an ignorant?

47. thevenerable says

This seems to be based on David Bohm’s “holographic” interpretation of quantum mechanics. Or, more precisely, upon Michael Talbot’s mystical misinterpretation of it.

48. 4004bc says

Who needs a University degree in physics, when these clowns can explain it all in a couple of paragraphs (my apologies to real clowns for the association).
Must get more of this religious thing, I am sooo tired of thinking for myself. Can I get a side order of inappropriate touching from the minister to go with that…because quantum Jebus says that you can’t demonstrate that it happened because no-one else was there to observe the action.

49. Aquaria says

these clowns can explain it all in a couple of paragraphs (my apologies to real clowns for the association)

Don’t apologize. Clowns are evil.

50. wcorvi says

PZ, I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this:

If the bible disagrees with science, then the science is wrong.

If the bible AGREES with science, then it proves the bible correct.

51. Dave, the Kwisatz Haderach says

So that’s a promise right? We have his word that the godbots will be providing the electricity in the near future. Assuming for a moment that the fantastic telekinetic powers don’t show up, would they prefer over-sized hamster wheels or pods from the matrix to fulfill their obligations?

I gotta say, I can’t wait to reduce my power bill by chaining a fundy up to a wheel in the basement.

52. petejohn says

So, to summarize. Quantum woo-woo, ergo Jesus.

This idiot really cannot think. Even if all the woo-woo he spit about quantum physics were the case, that wouldn’t mean that Jesus was real, let alone that he was the son of God, let alone that he was crucified and resurrected, let alone that the Judeo-Christian god were real, let alone that we should all be Christians and not Jews or Buddhists or Jains or whatever.

53. AlanMac says

@Guest Speaker #36

I’m embarrassed for the Canadians up there in the Pacific Northwest.

Arrghhh!!!!!

Victoria and Vancouver Island are not in the Pacific Northwest. :-p

54. Tyrant of Skepsis says

petejohn

Even if all the woo-woo he spit about quantum physics were the case, that wouldn’t mean that Jesus was real,

How awfully newtonian of you!

55. ibyea says

Gah! He thinks $E=mc^2$ is quantum mechanics! The horror!

56. tmruwart says

Well I actually saw Jesus Heal the Stick!
Oh, wait, that was a magician in Vegas who kind of looked like Jesus so I assumed he was the real deal and could make that stick stand up and walk beside him just by, well, praying I suppose.
Or, maybe it was an all-but-invisible thread tied to the stick…

Did you all ever think that this guy, Robert Radford, has, in fact, discovered something new? Let’s call it the Quantum Moronic Field that, when in the presence of christians (or any religious folk), produces Morons. Stupidity would be a good description of field strength.

That’s as far as I am going to take this for now…

57. Larry says

Quantum physics replaces Newtonian physics? WTF?

That is so fucking stupid on so many levels.

I wish Dick Feynman were still alive. He’d of had this guy’s skin for a new pair of bongo drums.

58. F says

this new science

Ah. Ah ha ha ha. Hahahahahaha!

New.

59. DLC says

Uh, right.
So, I can scrap dumbass ideas like 1/2gt^2 ?
what’s the new equation, 1/2 JesusT^2 ?

60. Crudely Wrott says

Quantum physics theory sees the universe as an infinite, interactive field of energy patterns (quantum holograms)

1. Infinite . . . Field: Possibly infinite. Volume/Size Jury is still out as is the Shape/Dimension Jury. Come back every few years for updates.

2. Interactive Field: Yo. Given.

3. Energy Patterns: Undefined energy and unspecified patterns are a lot like looking at optical illusions. That eerie sense of displacement you first feel? Your brain just got fooled.

4. . . . Holograms: Like where all the information is everywhere in even the most withered consciousness? Like all truth is contained in every idea? What do you do with your fingernail and hair trimmings? Do you honor each protozoan that you swallow, each embryonic spore that dies up your nose? Sheesh.

5. Quantum Holograms? Dude . . .

61. jrkrideau says

Well he is an engineer and when they go off the rails it seems they really do. See the Rutan exchange at Scholars and Rogues re climate change.

Still, the shame of it! He’s from my old uni. We never thought even a “plumber” was that nutty.

62. bcskeptic says

The entertainment value of this wacky bullshit is just priceless. Rolling on the floor laughing… The nutjobs who dreamed all this up must just think that science is that way too. No wonder they are so deluded with all the Jebus bullshit.

63. Crudely Wrott says

The nutjobs who dreamed all this up must just think that science is that way too.

That’s right, bcskeptic. Because they are told that they must rely on that which is written because it is the only truth, the notion that being written becomes quantumly entangled with the notion of authority and the hierarchy of command. What emerges is a sincere conviction that all of science is written and is assumed to be immutable.

It’s so sad when people just won’t pay attention.

Everybody knows that nothing is certain; all outcomes have some probability and that means that, well, there’s just no certainty.
*

Well, there are some pretty good guesses! ;^>

64. jakc says

Well I say it’s about time someone went after Newton and his “gravity” theory. We need to start teaching Intelligent Falling in our schools, which I’m sure has some quantum aspect.

65. says

Aren’t all religions Quantum anyway? Don’t they all collapse when placed under observation? ;-)

66. mikelaing says

According to the Bible, he did turn water into wine. That undoubtedly involved quantum mechanics.

Sigh… Unfortunately, this is just more proof that the Bible is true, as it predicted alchemy … and alcoholism.

67. says

there is a professor of psychology promoting homeopathy in Frankfurt/Oder, whose supporters have quotemined a physics professor in Vienna (the guy behind quantum entanglement theory) to make it appear like there is a physicist endorsing their homeopathy nonsense…

68. Tyrant of Skepsis says

You are probably referring to Anton Zeilinger. He’s not behind entanglement theory, he is an experimenter who has performed some crucial tests of entanglement.

69. julietdefarge says

I’d like to suggest polite letters to the editor at:
letters@timescolonist.com

70. kemist says

My favourite part is how Radford describes E = mc2 as the start of quantum mechanics. I always thought it was a consequence of Einstein’s SRT and that quantum mechanics started with Max Planck five years earlier.

It’s a very weird thought since this equation has nothing to do with, uhm, quanta. The starting point of QM is to realize that everything is discontinuous, that it exists in discrete little bits. The maths that are used for it should show this. E = mc2 implies none of this. At least not directly.

And that’s without noting Einstein’s low opinion of QM.

Robert Radford is a retired electrical engineer and a member of Mensa whose spiritual activities have included being a church organist and teaching elder.

How the fuck could he become an electrical engineer with such ignorance of QM, relativity, physics and science in general ? This is the very basis of the science and maths necessary for EM signal analysis and generation. I get that there’s a difference between science and engineering, but you need the science part for any engineering you might want to do to work. For FSM’s sake, he describes electricity as non-physical. How did he think the circuits he designed worked, magic ?

It’s a chance for him he’s retired, ’cause I don’t know anybody who would hire an electrical engineer who thinks that what he’s doing is hocus-pocus and is influenced by his intentions. And the more I read about people who say they’re members of Mensa, the more it seems to show Mensa as an association of vain idiots with delusions of intelligence and IQ as a very poor measure of said intelligence.

71. judykomorita says

FlipC @ 68 – you just won a shiny new internets. Congratulations!

72. David Marjanović says

See, the church teaches us that we are fallen, and we need Jesus to lift us back up. Newton told us that we’re constantly falling, and not even Jebus can stop us.

That’s so awesomely put I hope I won’t forget to put it into my quote folder when that becomes possible again.

By the way, I like the term “proto Einsteinian”. The equations just seem to say, “this is the speed of light”. But then you ask “compared to what?”. And the equations just answers back “this IS the speed of light”. And you are just left wondering, WTF?

Exactly. The extremely counterintuitive discovery that uniform motion is totally relative except when light does it* is why Einstein repeatedly wondered whether he should have called the Theory of Relativity the Theory of Invariance.

* I oversimplify, of course.

73. David Marjanović says

You are probably referring to Anton Zeilinger. He’s not behind entanglement theory, he is an experimenter who has performed some crucial tests of entanglement.

Yep, some really impressive ones.

Entanglement isn’t a separate theory, it’s a very basic prediction of quantum physics.

74. says

Tyrant of Skepsis, David M.,

Thanks, I’ve corrected my blog entry, though with “behind” I more or less meant “commonly associated with it”. And I didn’t mean to imply that it was a separate theory, but then I shouldn’t have called it a theory…!

75. Tyrant of Skepsis says

is why Einstein repeatedly wondered whether he should have called the Theory of Relativity the Theory of Invariance.

That right there would have saved us quite a lot of PoMo nonsense.

76. sc_b606d96be3a9d79b5f47f915b6533b7e says

Quite odd that the Evangelists never quote Jesus as speaking about quantum physics. If I were a cynic I might imagine that Jesus knew nothing about the subject, or about anything that did not involve Jewish folklore and Galilean peasant life.

The God of the Gaps takes many forms. Most people are happily ignorant of quantum physics, and even experts on the subject are rather baffled by it. So, of course, that must be the gap where God is hiding, as he has not turned up anywhere else. But, as PZ alluded to, Deepak asserts that quantum mechanics teaches us about Brahman, not about Jesus. Others would say that quantum physics is merely an extension of the Buddha’s teachings. Evidently religious obscurantism is not an exact science.

And Newton’s theories were not motivated by a desire to “separate” from Rome; Newton was never in the Catholic Church in the first place. Newton’s theories hurt the notion of a personal god, but so has every other scientific discovery made by man.

77. lpetrich says

Sastra, that’s a GREAT point about substantial vs. insubstantial things. You ought to blog on it some time.

It’s worth mentioning that words in a lot of languages for “soul” or “spirit” are derived from words for “air” or “wind” or “breath”. Thus the Holy Spirit was originally the Holy Breath. Pffft! Not surprisingly, most of these metaphorical extensions were done centuries ago.

Woo-woo about QM goes back decades. Will Durant in his “Story of Philosophy” (1926) stated that “we approach a vitalized physics and an almost spiritualized matter.” Some Xian apologists ask why believe in wave-particle duality and not the Trinity?

Two and a half centuries before, some people criticized Sir Isaac Newton for something that they considered too woo-woo or “occult”: gravity. They preferred theories like Descartes’s space vortices that make the planets move. Newton himself responded that “I don’t make hypotheses” about the nature of gravity.

In the mid 19th cy., James Clerk Maxwell developed a mechanical model of electromagnetism; he also found a pure field theory unsatisfying.

It must be noted that “spirit” or “soul” was often more-or-less equivalent to the “vital force” of vitalism; is it fair to say that folk biology is usually vitalist? In mainstream science, vitalism died a slow death over much of the 19th cy. and early 20th cy. As more and more was discovered, it became evident that a “vital force of the gaps” was not a very reasonable hypothesis. Needless to say, molecular biologists have found zero evidence of a vital force.

Advocates of woo-woo therapies often have vitalist theories as their “theoretical justification”, but they haven’t pushed vitalism the way that creationists have pushed creationism. I’ve also seen essentially zero effort to debunk vitalism by mainstream biologists.