Quantum Metaphysics 101: How Evolution Created God
First, let’s get hypocrisy out of the way. Suppose one contemplates the Earth, and asks, “What is it made of?” A problem arises in that the word “made” implies a Maker, which in turn leads to the question, “What is the Maker made of?” And that, of course, leads to the question, “What is the Maker of the Maker made of?” And that… well, you see the problem! In prior centuries, the typical solution to the problem has been to insist that the Earth was Made, but the Maker was not — pure hypocrisy, since there remains the question, “What is the Maker made of?” A better solution to the problem is to use some other word than “made” when asking such questions, a word less associated with the notion of “making”. For example, there is “comprised”, or “constituents”… Then it becomes possible to ask questions in a more rational way: “What are the constituents comprising the Earth?” and “Was the Earth Made?” and “If the Earth was Made, what are the constituents comprising the Maker?” Thus disappears the hypocrisy associated with the notion that Item A can exist, be “made of” Item B, and therefore must have been Made, while Item C can exist, be “made of” Item D, but was never Made. Thus the task of this essay is to show how something complex can exist without being Made. It may take a while, since a lot of background material must be presented before all the pieces are put together.
The most important descriptions in Physics, concerning how the Universe works, are General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Of the two, Quantum Mechanics is probably the more important, because General Relativity depends on the existence of the Universe, while Quantum Mechanics operates in spite of the existence of the Universe. In other words, even if the Universe did not exist, (such as before the Big Bang), Quantum Mechanics can still describe the kinds of events which are possible. In a way, it can be said that Quantum Mechanics is a natural consequence of one single philosophical point: Consider the question, “Why is there Something, rather than Nothing?” (Even God must qualify as “Something”.) Well, notice that the definition of “Nothing” literally is “No Thing” –in other words, Something must be able exist in order for Nothing to be defined! And, reversing the starting point, suppose that there was indeed Nothing: What would there be to prevent Something from existing? Nothing! The purely philosophical answer to the question thus appears to be: “The non-existence of Something would be a paradox.” And, returning to the questions asked at the start of this essay, we might instead ask, “What properties does (fill in the blank) have, which distinguish it from Nothing?” For anything/everything that exists, there must be an answer to that question! In Quantum Mechanics there is a concept sometimes called as “energy fluctuations in the vacuum”. Particles of matter and energy are allowed to pop into temporary existence, and then vanish again before they can be detected. Every single type of particle known to Modern Physics, and any other particle which is able to exist, does exist, everywhere, temporarily, undetectably, and “all the time”. (The popping-into-existence-and-vanishing is what happens all the time. In-between such random appearances, there is Nothing.) Even if the Universe did not exist, fluctuations of Space/Time/Mass/Energy would still be possible. Thus does Quantum Mechanics match philosophy: Both Something and Nothing Always Exist! (Some theorists consider the Big Bang to be merely a giant fluctuation, but that is irrelevant to the current discussion.)
In Quantum Mechanics a number of descriptions of interactions between small numbers of particles can be simplified by noticing that they have Symmetry. Most of the time, if you view an event, and view a mirror-image of that event, both events are quite possible and equally likely. This is called “Parity Symmetry” (or P-Symmetry), and it means that only half of all possible events need be described. Next, and also most of the time, if you consider an event among ordinary particles, the same event can also occur among particles of anti-matter. This is called “Charge Conjugation Symmetry” (or C-Symmetry), and it also is a way of cutting in half the total number of events which need be described. Third, and again most of the time, if you make a movie of an event (involving just a few particles), and play that movie backwards, then the portrayed event is also a possible distinct event. This is called “Time Reversal Symmetry” (or T-Symmetry), and again it allows the total number of events needing description to be cut in half. There are exceptions to the individual Symmetry rules. For example, some events among ordinary particles prefer to result in a “left handed outcome” rather than equal numbers of both left-handed and right-handed outcomes. However, it happens that those same events, among particles of anti-matter, prefer the right-handed outcome! Thus we see a broader kind of Symmetry, encompassing both Charge Conjugation and Parity. And some exceptions to “CP Symmetry” exist, but are balanced by including Time Reversal (into a grand “CPT Symmetry”). So the concept of Symmetry is important, and needs to be remembered.
In Quantum Mechanics, anything that can happen is given a particular statistical chance of happening. Everything is both uncertain and probable (of course, a probability of .00001 is perhaps better labeled “IMprobable”, but the word “probable” technically includes the improbable). One interesting thing is that the probabilities themselves can sometimes be manipulated. It is known that under certain conditions, the probabilities associated with the “energy fluctuations in the vacuum” can be reduced. That is, the likelihood of certain fluctuations occurring will be lessened. The importance of Symmetry implies that under certain other conditions, the likelihood of certain fluctuations occurring will be enhanced…. The essence of those fluctuations is that particles of matter or energy appear from Nothing, persist for a short time, and then vanish again. When it happens, the temporarily-existing particles are called “virtual particles”. While virtual particles exist, they are identical in every way to ordinary, constantly existing particles. And ordinary particles are constantly interacting with the spontaneously appearing — and disappearing — virtual particles. (All known natural forces, such as gravitation and electromagnetism, are described in Quantum Mechanics as being logical consequences of those interactions.) Anyway, the current point to be remembered is the fact that the probability of appearance of virtual particles can be manipulated.
Consider a pond of still water. If one tosses a pebble into the water, waves ripple outwards from the entry point in classic fashion. In Quantum Mechanics, every single thing has a particle-like aspect and a wave-like aspect. And every event that occurs generates wave-like (and particle-like) results. Furthermore, there are two possible results for every event. One result is known as a “retarded wave” and the other result is known as an “advanced wave”. The names refer to time…. The retarded-wave result proceeds from the moment of the event into the future, at the normal rate of sixty seconds per minute. Ripples on a pond are retarded waves. The advanced-wave result proceeds from the moment of the event into the past. Physicists have not yet detected any advanced waves arriving from future events, although Quantum Mechanics plainly permits them to exist. Now recall what was previously written about virtual particles, the energy fluctuations in the vacuum. They exist everywhere and all the time, but they are never allowed to be directly detected. So it is a simple step to conclude that while advanced waves may exist in real-energy form (the kind which can be detected), they almost certainly exist in virtual-energy form. (Any simple thing that can exist in reality, will exist in virtuality.)
Mathematicians have a pastime/game/investigation generally known as “cellular automata”. The game-form of this thing is called “Life”. On a two-dimensional grid of squares, certain cells in the grid are arbitrarily filled, and the rest are left blank. Simple rules are applied to the pattern of occupied cells. Empty cells may become “birth cells” in which occupants will appear. Overpopulation and loneliness can cause filled cells to become empty. After the rules are applied, therefore, a new pattern of filled cells will exist. Then the rules are applied again (for the next “generation”). The patterns that can be generated are often very intriguing. Now consider the infinite and eternal void, which existed before the Big Bang, and which had 3 or 4 or 11 or 20-something or who-knows-how-many geometric dimensions. Consider virtual particles spontaneously popping into existence, everywhere and all the time. Consider that while they exist, they are as real as can be. And most important, consider that existing particles can affect the spontaneous appearance of other virtual particles nearby. It sounds like a natural recipe for a game of Life, right? In the game of Life, patterns can appear which are dynamically stable. Some will take more than a hundred “generations” to return to the original configuration. Some take only two generations. Some can produce “offspring” of various shapes and activity…but our computer simulations of Life are limited. Two-dimensional, they are, and have boundaries, such as the time allotted to run the simulation, and the edges of the grid. The infinite and eternal void by definition has no boundaries to interrupt the course of the game. And Evolution is most certainly a consequence….
As random patterns of virtual particles pop into existence in the infinite and eternal void, some patterns which are temporarily dynamically stable are bound to appear. Some will move with respect to others, and collisions will usually — and quickly — rupture the stability of both. Consider more about how these groupings of virtual particles can form, break, interact, reform, re-interact, rebreak, and reform in multitudinous ways. Won’t some of those groupings, by pure chance, be slightly more stable than those original temporary patterns? They would then tend to persist for a significant interval. A grouping that randomly acquired some small amount of self-repair ability could persist over the long term. Next, given enough opportunities for interaction, certain groups are going to happen to interact in such a way that neither is destroyed. Such “groups of groups” of virtual particles constitute a crude degree of organization. In an ever-changing envrionment, the current example being the unending appearance/disappearance of virtual particles, it is obvious that more-stable organizations will persist longer than the less-stable. Enter the next fact: The more stable an organization is, the more complex it is capable of becoming. Finally, note that “feedback” is a description of how these organized groupings of virtual particles, encountering each other and sometimes coalescing can eventually reach a point of enormously complex dynamic stability. This would likely include the ability to grow in an organized way, and perhaps even the ability to reproduce.
“Consciousness” appears to be based on patterns and flows of energy. Evolution of organized, dynamically stable patterns of virtual particles should eventually produce flowing patterns equating to consciousness. From there a battle for supremacy may have been inevitable…or not, depending on how quickly the first consciousness seized the initiative. The winner of that battle may be referred to as “God”. Depending on the starting conditions and the outcome, other gods may exist, too. This chain of reasoning makes no claims concerning the thought-processes and desires (whether selfish or selfless) of any such entity or entities. Thus it is impossible to state, without supporting evidence, whether God is alone…. According to religious doctrine, “souls” are the offspring of God. What are the properties of souls, existing as seems possible in an environment of ever-changing patterns of virtual particles? 1) Being made of virtual particles, they must be directly sensitive to other virtual particles. The ban in Physics on detecting virtual particles applies only to things made of real particles. 2) Existing by manipulating the probabilities of appearance of virtual particles, souls are capable of many things in the real world. All the forces in Physics are described in terms of real particles interacting with each other through virtual particles. Control of virtual particles means control of natural forces, potentially. Telekinesis and levitation are two obvious possibilities. Occupying a physical body, the metaphysical soul can manipulate energy patterns and thus control a human brain — but doesn’t die with it. 3) Precognition means detecting virtual-particle “advanced waves”. Psychometry means detecting virtual-particle “retarded waves”. Telepathy can be the direct transmission of virtual particles between souls. Teleportation may be equivalent to a Quantum-Mechanical phenomenon known as “tunneling”. And so on….