Re: [asa] Contingency and Quantum Indeterminacy

From: George L. <>
Date: Wed Mar 19 2008 - 13:46:16 EDT

I see that the responses to this have focused appropriately on David's question about physics but it may be worth noting the theological context.  Torrance's ideas about the "contingent rationality" of the universe motivated the inclusion of the phrase in the ASA statement.  The reference is to "contingent order and intelligibility," so that the emphasis is more on the contingency of the rational patterns that underlie the universe rather than with the contingency of individual events, though of course the latter is not excluded.  God could have created other universes that are equally rational but obey rational laws that differ from those of our universe.  That's why, anter alia, we have to observe the world & do experiments in addition to theorizing.

Or to put it another way, the answer to the question that Einstein said interested him most - whether God had any choice in creating the universe - is "Yes."



> > > In the ASA statement of faith, we use the term "contingent order."  Contingency is important in Torrance's thought as well as Polanyi's.  Contingency is also part of Aquinas' teleological argument.  Does the notion of contingency as we use it require a creation ex nihlo, a big bang?  How does contingency relate to quantum indeterminacy, since states are only represented by probability distributions?  Are quantum probability distributions completely open, or are they bounded by more basic physical laws? > -- David W. OpderbeckAssociate Professor of LawSeton Hall University Law SchoolGibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology(ASA Member) >

George L. Murphy
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