Re: BIBLE: Quantum computers & Many Worlds Hypoth.

Fri, 30 Aug 1996 10:43:34 -0400 (EDT)

Glenn, I had assumed you were primarily asking about Shor's claim that a
computer which used clever quantum eigenstates to factorize large numbers
would be evidence in favor of the many-worlds hypothesis, and only
secondarily asking about the theological implications. So I assumed that,
by dealing with the first, the second question wouldn't be so important.
But since you specifically ask about the second, I'm willing to tackle it.

> Now my question once again, is what are the theological implications of the
> finding of a solution for mathematical problem which exceeds the capacity of
> our single universe? And since Loren agrees that a computation requires a
> physical operation, if the number of operations in the time frame allowed
> given the number of particles within the speed of light distance of the
> computer is such, that other physical objects must have been accessed, what
> should the Christian response be?

First, if someone did something like this, we would need to know if it
really IS due to the "many-worlds" quantum interpretation. It might or
might not be.

Assuming that the many-worlds quantum interpretation could be proved, THEN
we would need to know something about how the brain works. Are important
personal decisions in any way analogous to a "quantum measurement"? Does
a personal decision really "split" yourself into multiple universes, each
universe corresponding to one possible decision?

IF we assume all that (!), what would be the theological and philosophical
implications? It seems to me that in this case, free will _effectively_
would not exist. (Yes, you could still make choices, but every possible
choice you could make would spring into existence. Your current state
of being would essentially be a victim of a particular quantum history.)
If free will was subverted in this way, I would immediately
compell you and myself to read Jonathan Edward's book on the subject
of free will. (I wouldn't give you or myself any choice in the matter,
because if I did, versions of ourselves might not read it. ;-) I haven't
read that book yet, but as I understand it, Edwards argues _against_ the
notion of free will, at least as it was popularly conceived in his time.
There might be some other good theologians of the past who have deeply
considered the implications of no-free-will, too, but I don't know of any

Loren Haarsma