Re: quantum physics and Buddhism

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Sun Jun 19 2005 - 19:25:32 EDT

Strikes me that you have to ask a couple questions. Is the universe
absolutely static? Am I (or the particles that currently form me)
simultaneously at time t, t-x, t+x and all other times? Or am I moving
through the states of the manifold in such a way as requires my view of
simultaneity to be different from that of someone moving relative to me?
The former suggests to me that determinism is the wrong term, for there
is no causality when things are absolutely static. The latter is
deterministic, but this needs qualification. First, self-determination,
which is required for moral responsibility, is a class of determinism.
What just happens, that is, is not caused, is outside of the moral realm.
But the manifold must take all components, including those of
self-dtermination by every moral entity, into account. This means that
the assumption that one can look ahead along the time line and see
exactly what WILL happen does not describe the manifold, except from the
timeless view of the deity. That the entire universe is known to him does
not make it determined, for knowing is not equivalent to causing--the
common mistake of those who want to restrict omniscience.

On Sun, 19 Jun 2005 16:48:57 -0500 "Glenn Morton"
<> writes:
I am right now preparing a philosophical argument which involves looking
at the world-lines through the manifold conceived by General Relativity.
While what I am putting together is a bit more subtle than this, Brian
Green states:
“If you were having a great time at the stroke of midnight on New year’s
Eve, 1999, you still are, since that is just one immutable location in
spacetime.” Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos, (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 2004), p. 139
“If you think of the universe as one four-dimensional entity with world
lines winding through it like so many garden hoses, it is clear why. This
four-dimensional entity does not change-it is like an intricate, fixed
sculpture. If you want to know what it is like to experience living in
that universe, you must look along the world line of a particular person
from beginning to end.”
Richard Gott, Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe, (New York: Houghton
Mifflin Co, 2001), p. 17 (my bolding)
Such a view would imply that the past is not gone, which has certain
implications to theology.
Would not such a view lead to a hyper-Calvinism? More later when I
finish and am ready to have my ideas critiqued.

From: [] On
Behalf Of
Sent: Sunday, June 19, 2005 3:36 PM
Subject: Re: quantum physics and Buddhism
Randy reported how determinism is an essential part of Buddhism (at least
according to the Dalai Lama) and the resulting tension with quantum
Lest we think our own house is in order, we should remember that there
are also Christians who present absolute determinism of cause and effect
as essential. A fringe-ish example of that (they also dislike relativity
and much other modern science) is found in a group called Common Sense
Science (see, if you have a strong stomach).
But such a view is also found in more respectable circles, such as R.C.
Sproul in his book "Not a Chance!" that came out a few years ago. I have
not read this book, but apparently he makes strong statements like "If
chance is, God is not." I don't know whether Sproul is driven to this by
a desire to retain the cosmological argument in apologetics, or by his
strong Calvinism (which some would call Hypercalvinism), or what. But
the role of chance in quantum physics seems to present a problem for some
expressions of Christian theology as well.
Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado |
"Any opinions expressed here are mine, and should not be
attributed to my employer, my wife, or my cats"
Received on Sun Jun 19 19:28:53 2005

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