Monday, September 8, 2008

New Age Doctrines - Part 3 - Quantum Metaphysics

Hello all. It has been a while since my last post, I have been very busy of late, overstretched perhaps. But, I have been getting alot done though. There have been several people who have been writing emails to me, which has been good, the material from these emails will find there way into posts in the near future.

Now, Quantum Metaphysics. Ever since Fritjof Capri's groundbreaking book "The Tao of Physics" the question as to whether or not the findings of quantm physics supports the New Age paradigm has been a controversial one related to the New Age movement. This is due to the apparent parrallels between the philosophy of easter mysticism and the philosophical implications of modern advanced physics. Since Capri's book there have been countless books released following this theme. Now skeptics maintain that it is a coincidence that there appear to be similarities , saying that in reality the two fields are discussing completely different things. The New Age movement therefore gets accused of making huge leaps between fact and conclusion. Often this certainly is the case. What I would like to do is therefore go through the points slowly, moving gradually from fact to conclusion, as the weaker writers within New Age tend to make huge leaps in this regard. As with the other topics, I'll start off with general descriptions and then try and go deeper into the specifics.

To quickly summarise, the main points which are put forth as being complematary between these two fields are the following:

1) The relativity (or lack of absolute reality) of Space & Time.

2) The interconnectedness of all energy / matter.

3) The importance of the "observer". In quantum physics this concept is central to wave/particle duality, first introduced in relation to light, then later to all sub-atomic particles. In Mysticism the Observer is the deepest aspect of Consciousness, the Spirit, which is unaffected by the constant change of the world, remaining in it's peacefull bliss regardless of outward circumstances.

Now, the major dispute is that the Scientists who don't support these parralles maintain that these attributes only apply to the sub-atomic world, and do not have any macroscopic effect or importance outside of the applications in advanced technology, or that they simply are being misinterpretated (I have heard someone argue that the oberserver in Quantum Physics is actually the equipment interfering in the experiment, must look this up). If, in fact the observer effect could be proven 100% to be general consciousness effecting reality (even just at the quantum level), than this on it's own would be a major concession, as one of the central premises of the Naturalistic worldview which is so prevalent in modern Science is that Consciousness is created by the brain and is thus limited to the brain.

The third point here is probably the most significant, the observer effect in wave/particle duality (popularly known by the twin slit experiment and Schrödinger's Cat), there is much debate over the implications of this. New Age movies such as "What The Bleep..." and "The Secret" have concluded that we create our own reality and that Quantum Mechanics supports this conclusion. The Scientific field however reacts with horror when such statements are made, particularly seeing such an advanced Science being used to support what many Scientists view as quackery.

Fritjof Capri received both praise and criticism for "The Tao of Physics". His critic's did however acknowledge that he did in fact have a strong understanding of both Physics and Mysticism. And it must be said that he was correct when he pointed out that when you place the statements of Physicist's and Mystics side-by-side, you can't tell who said what. A few examples should suffice to convince anybody of this at least. The question is, does it mean anything? Is it a coincidence, are the concepts found in completely different contexts as the Naturalist maintain, or is it an example of inner and outer Sciences coming to the same conclusions, albeit through different means as the New Age movement proclaims?

From what I've seen, conservative Christians seem to support the skeptics on these kind of issues, not wanting to support anything that would give evidence towards the New Age worldview. (However, I do know of some more liberal Christian books written which have a very similar theme to the New Age quantum metaphysics.) I'd like to leave it here for today, nice and short. Please comment if you feel so inclined, and I'd love to be sent any related links that you know of. I am writing mostly off the top of my head, so if you see any mistakes please point them out to me and I will attempt to resolve them.



Zetetic_chick said...

Hi Jim,

Maybe you'd like to read the "anti-matters" website:

It deals with scientific, spiritual and philosophical topics from a non-materialistic philosophy.

Jim Clark said...

Thank you Zetetic Chick, I will have a look.


Katinka - all considering said...

Hi Jim,

You've got some interesting posts here. Have you seen my recent articles about quantum spirituality and evolution? Re: Amit Goswami?

Jim Clark said...

Hi katinka, thanks for the encouragment. I haven't had a chance to read the article in question, though I do try and read as much off your blog as I can, when I find the time.