Perhaps it was inevitable that as a practising Catholic
who is also a practising physicist, I would eventually write something
about the relationship and conflict between science and religion. This
is a topic that has been of interest to me for a long time. I shall attempt
to establish that the conflict that is generally perceived to exist does
not, but that there are deeper levels on which conflict does exist and
has yet to be reconciled. I think that the two most important issues are
In general, I shall contend that over and over again ecclesiastics have
made two mistakes:
presuming that ancillary philosophical theories are essential to the Apostolic
when they are not.
It would be amusing (if not so distressing) to note that whereas the hierarchy
is keen to hold on to outmoded philosophical positions that are inimical
to the Gospel, in recent years it has discarded and repudiated rich and
valuable liturgical and other traditions
that were highly supportive of Catholic Truth
presuming that certain Scriptural texts should be taken literally,
when they should not.
It has been accepted since the earliest days that neither the Bible's human
authors, nor its Divine Author, intended it to teach mathematics, astronomy,
physics or biology!
Parts of the Bible are histories: but even in this regard, its account
is not disinterested and impartial. Rather it is heavily imbued with an
interpretation of history as an encounter with God.
I accept that the Bible is inerrant in those matters which God intends
it to deal with, but it is often not an easy matter to determine what these
This is a similar problem to that of the exercise of Infallibility
within the Church.
It is about time that the Magisterium learned to do better. Unfortunately,
The Historical Perspective
In primitive times it was common to use God (or angels and demons) as an
for anything that was not otherwise comprehensible: plague, bad harvests,
mental illness, comets, the motion of the planets, birth, death etc. With
the advance of Natural Science, the stage on which such a "God of the Gaps"
could act shrank until it became clear that in the end it would vanish
altogether. At this point the contention was raised that there was no need
for the "hypothesis of God" and that religion and faith were redundant
and could only serve to hamper progress.
I believe that this is entirely mistaken. While it was understandable
that less sophisticated societies should seek theological rationalizations
in the face of their own ignorance, this does not make it right for them
to have done so. Equally, the fact that this eventually came to light does
not mean that the true role of religion and faith has been supplanted,
any more than the true activity of God has been voided.
The Metaphysical Perspective
St Thomas Aquinas knew very well that God usually acted through
(many) intermediate causes, not directly: that God's characteristic role
was as "unmoving first mover" and that
positive divine intervention was unusual
and so miraculous. Hence,
it would have come as no surprise to him, or any other reflective medieval
mind, that the gaps in Natural Science have closed and now leave no
room for God to act directly in the usual run of things. This
in no way derogates from God's role as the initiator of all activity, the
governor of all regularity, the source of all intelligibility, and the
sustainer of all being.
The Laws of Physics still require explanation.
Why are they what they are? Why are they at all? Moreover, it does not
mean that God never acts miraculously:
only that usually events proceed in accordance with the laws that
govern them. Note that "Natural Science" is the study of what naturally
or usually happens: natural and habitual or usual behaviour is what is
at issue here: the rules, not the exceptions.
The Epistemological Perspective
It is commonly thought that Science
deals with certainties, whereas Religion deals with matters of sentiment.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Popper has elucidated [The
Logic of Scientific Discovery: 1959, Conjectures
and Refutations: 1963] the fact that (unlike Mathematics) Natural
Science never deals with proofs, but only with disproofs.
No scientific proposition is definitive or certain. All are provisional
and subject to reformulation if not rejection, with the passing of time.
Even the most deeply held principles of Physics, such as relativity, are
subject to continual re-evaluation, doubt and dispute: and rightly so.
It is by their being held to account against experiment that they are tested
and exonerated: or not!
As a theory successfully withstands more and more provocative and stringent
tests, then one's confidence
(faith or belief) that it is trustworthy (note the religious language)
builds up. Once a certain (arbitrary) point is reached, one tends to dispense
with a previous or competing theory and adopt the successful theory as
part of one's paradigm of nature. This sudden transition (paradigm
shift or "leap of faith")
is an example of a "catastrophe": a discontinuous response to a slow build-up
As I have tried to suggest in my last paragraph, there is a close
correspondence between the scientific method and the life of faith.
Both Science and Religion are based on evidence. In neither case is the
evidence conclusive. In both it is natural and necessary to adopt as working
certainties conclusions that are not formally certain. In both is it necessary
to remain open to other, as yet unimagined, possibilities if progress is
going to be made.
This should really not come as a surprise, as Theology was always considered
to be Queen of the Sciences, and that many pioneers of Natural Science
were clerics (e.g. Mendeleyev), lay theologians (e.g. Newton) or otherwise
men of faith (e.g. Galileo). The basic difference
between Science and Religion is that it is not generally possible, practicable,
admissible or appropriate to conduct controlled experiments to test religious
theories. It is for a similar reason that it is not possible to conduct
psychological experiments on a friendship or romatic relationship: to do
so would call into question its basis, and so destroy the very thing that
one was attempting to investigate. Human relationships have to be conducted
on the basis of faith and trust and sincerity: not according to "double-blind"
controlled laboratory conditions!
Of course, it is possible to turn Science into a rigid conservative
orthodoxy where new ideas are excluded. Equally, it is possible to turn
Religion into subjective, self-serving, wish-wash: where truth is whatever
one wants it to be and everyone's account of reality is taken to be equally
valid, but this is not Apostolic Catholicism! Cardinal Newman devoted
much of his life to attacking this Liberal agenda.
I shall now review a number of topics where Science and Christian belief
have come into conflict. My main interest is in the final topic: that of
within Quantum Mechanics.
The Geocentric Cosmos
I have covered this subject elsewhere. In brief,
the Church wrongly insisted on an Aristotelian view against mounting evidence
to the contrary. There was never any real conflict between Scientific truth
and Christian belief. The Church was simply mistaken in believing that
Geocentric cosmology was a necessary adjunct to the Gospel. Galileo was,
as far as can be told, an orthodox Catholic all through his conflict with
Heaven and Hell
Even in the early years of the Twentieth Century, it was commonly thought
within Catholicism that Hell was a physical locale, geometrically located
within the volume of planet Earth:
"As to its locality all kinds of conjectures
have been made .... The Bible seems to indicate that hell is within the
earth, for it describes hell as an abyss to which the wicked descend. We
even read of the earth opening and of the wicked sinking down into hell.....
no cogent reason has been advanced for accepting a metaphorical interpretation
in preference to the most natural meaning of the words of Scripture. Hence
theologians generally accept the opinion that hell is really within the
earth. The Church has decided nothing on this subject; hence we may
say hell is a definite place; but where it is, we do not know."
[The Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 7 (1910)]
and, to a lesser extent, that Heaven: the habitation of God, the angels
and saints, was similarly a physical locale, somewhere "up in the sky".
It is now generally accepted that these opinions are false, and also rather
silly. Once more, there was never any real conflict between Science and
Christian belief: just with an extravagant and naively
literal interpretation of Holy Scripture.
Although "seven days Creationism" has not significantly persisted within
Catholicism, it is still a powerful force within Evangelical Christianity.
Again, I would dismiss this as a misguided literalist twisting of the Tradition,
and see no conflict between the fact that the Universe (and even planet
Earth!) is unimaginably old and the creation stories included in the Word
of God. I give my account of creation
I hope that my readers will excuse me counting Economics as a science.
It is not scientific in the sense that physics, chemistry and biology are.
This is because it is not experimental, but only observational:
like astronomy. Moreover, it deals with hugely complex systems, namely
human societies and their behaviours. Nevertheless, it does seek to give
analytical, predictive and quantitative accounts of the systems it studies.
Moreover, some of these theories can be disproved: at least to an extent,
so I think that it deserves the adjective "science" every bit as much as
astronomy and psychology.
I have dealt with this subject elsewhere.
In brief, the Church held to the belief that money in itself was of no
value, and so could not be "hired out" for a fee in the way that any other
commodity (such as a plough, or a room at an inn) might be. Here there
is a real problem. There is no doubt but that Scripture explicitly forbids
the lending of money at (any) interest. Moreover, it does so as a question
of Justice, not ritual purity. This seems to be in conflict with the most
simple analysis of economic affairs. Either this teaching must be understood
as applying justly in the historical context in which it was given: but
I find it difficult to see how it could, or it must be accepted that there
is a real conflict between "the dismal science" and the Tradition: and
that the Tradition is wrong!
As yet, the Magisterium has failed to explicate this problem, choosing
instead to pretend that:
the Bible doesn't say what it manifestly does say (this is typical) and,
perhaps more importantly,
the manifest Biblical teaching was never explicitly and enthusiastically
promoted by Popes and Councils, when it was!
As a faithful Traditionalist, I can only await
the unravelling of this mess. I am sure that an answer will someday be
found to this problem, though I can presently see none!
During the pontificate of Paul VIth, the Church played with Marxism. Even
now, the Church's "social teaching" is heavily imbued with collectivism,
in the form of "The Common Good", and the notion of intrinsic social
rights, such as the "right to education" or "the right to work". Both
of these ideas, I take to be repugnant to reason. Still, this is not a
conflict between Economic Science and Christian belief: just between truth
and the new-fangled vain imaginings of various left leaning ecclesiastics.
This was the common theory: that life was a distinct Aristotelian substance
which had to be added to an inanimate body in order to "bring it to life".
It is exemplified in the idea of God "breathing the breath of life" into
Adam. I have given my account of what Life is elsewhere.
Personally, I am convinced that there is no hard division between animate
and inanimate matter; but rather that any complex system participates
to a degree in the ideal or form
of Life: constancy in flux.
Historically, this was the "Big One".
I take for granted that Evolution, in its broad sweep, is a good description
of the emergence of life from inanimate matter, and its subsequent development
and diversification. I also accept that "Selection
of the Fittest" is the mechanism behind this process. Given my understanding
of what life is, evolution is inevitable. The only
question is: "is it sufficiently rapid a process to have observable effects?"
If the answer to this question was "no", then it seems to me that Life
could not have succeeded without a huge amount of miraculous
Divine Intervention; for there is no other mechanism at hand to explain
the "Origin of Species".
At the start of the process of the evolution of Life, there was a huge
increase in complexity. This was inevitable, because the first living beings
were very simple: hardly alive at all! For most of the time that life has
existed on Earth, there hasn't been much progress or increase in
complexity in living organisms. For an unthinkably long period of time,
life was restricted to single-celled aquatic orgamisms. Even in the relatively
short period of time since the emergence of multi-cellular life,
been at best fitful. Is a sheep significantly more complex than a Tyrannosaurus
Rex? What did become rapid was the growth of diversity. The one
thing that has tended to improve over recent evolutionary time is
the general level of mental capability (in the animal kingdom!) This became
dramatic in the case of the primates and especially the hominids.
The Biblical account of the creation of Adam
seems to make it clear that he was made directly from inanimate material,
and subsequently vivified by "inspiration" of a life-force,
courtesy of God. This flies directly in the face of the evolutionary account
that sees all living beings, including humanity, arising from other species.
Really, the conflict here is between Science and "the manifest meaning
of Scripture". One can only repeat that the Bible does not pretend to be
a biology text-book, and should be interpreted with great care. In my view,
the issue here is similar to that of the place of the Earth in the Cosmos
rather than that of Usury. Galileo and Darwin
both rocked the Ecclesiastical barque, but for no good reason. The question
of usury has excited little interest, yet
is altogether more important.
The issue here is not between science on the one hand and belief on the
other. Science, as yet, has nothing to say about either "the soul" or "the
spirit", nor about the ethical value of (human) life. It is difficult
to see how it could do. Only when one has decided either that the foetus
is "just a blob of cells" or "a human being with all the ethical status
that this implies" does a conflict arise, I speak somewhat glibly. A scientist
with no religious affiliation could take either side of this argument.
In principle, a Catholic might just barely account abortion as sometimes
the lesser of two evils, on the basis that:
The foetus was not then "ensouled".
This was the opinion of Thomas Aquinas.
It was subsequently rejected by the consensus of theologians.
It has been repudiated by the Magisterium.
Of course, even a "not yet ensouled foetus" would deserve respect as a
living being, and one with the destiny of becoming fully human.
Foetuses sometimes do not develop to full term, but spontaneously abort.
This typically occurs because of some severe genetic abnormality.
God might be expected to deal with
"artificial" abortions in a similar way to that in which He deals with
these "natural" abortions.
Personally, I find abortion a very distasteful affair, and am opposed to
it in all but extreme circumstances, where one has to choose between various
responses to a situation, none of which are entirely just.
I have covered this at length, elsewhere. In
brief, I believe that the Church is guilty of:
Presuming that if a proposition is generaly true of a mass of instances,
then it applies to every particular
Adopting one scientific perspective (i.e. physiology)
as normative and falsely opposing this to another (i.e. psychology).
Forgetting that Theology is prior to Natural
Science, just as God is prior to the Cosmos.
Once more, I see no conflict between truth and authentic
Christian Belief, only a mistaken view, on the part of the Magisterium,
as to what authentic Christian Belief is.
The conflict here is two faced. On the one hand, scientists tend to discount
all reports of paranormal and miraculous events. Because it is thought
that these cannot be replicated under controlled experimental conditions,
they are dismissed as coincidences and figments of the imagination. This
view is understandable, but flawed on two grounds:
The premise that something is not usual does not imply that it never
A lot of scientific scepticism in this field arises from the fact that
there is no theoretical framework on which to hang any account of paranormal
"If I can't understand this, then it can't be happening".
In the beginnings of Science, there was no theoretical framework on which
to hang anything!
There was a fine line between Astronomy and Astrology, and between Chemistry
As Popper has remarked: we only notice and take account of those phenomena
that we expect and look out for: other things pass us by.
Of course, not all Scientists adopt such views. Some prominent psychologists
and physicists are active proponents of paranormal phenomena.
The Church's position is ambivalent. When it suits Her, She sides with
the sceptics: decrying superstition in all its forms. On the other
hand, when paranormal phenomena can be interpreted as miracles and
taken to signify Divine Approbation, then She is keen to affirm their validity.
Obvious examples are the Resurrection of Christ; the charismata characteristic
of the infant Church, now supposedly reappearing within pentecostal and
charismatic groups; the self-levitations of St Philip Neri; miracles of
healing associated with Lourdes; the Stigmata,
Bilocations, Prescience etc associated with Padre Pio; and so on.
She is also open to the possibility of "demonic forces" as an explanation
for paranormal phenomena.
Personally, I do not think there is any real conflict here. Usually
events proceed in accordance with the laws of physics, but sometimes unusual
events occur which are not exhaustively
explained by these laws, though they may be compatible with
them. I believe, following (I think) C. S. Lewis, that such exceptions
may occur often in the life process of the conscious
person as (s)he exercises Free-Will.
Nevertheless, such events are infrequent.
There are an infinite number of "rational numbers":
such as "5"; "2/3"; or "1045678 / 267543", each of which is the ratio of
two integers. However these are infrequent compared to the more
infinitely numerous irrational numbers: like "Pi"; "e" or "the square
root of 2". These are solutions of simple equations that explicitly involve
only rational numbers, but which are themselves not the ratio of any two
This world view is open to various kind of para-normal (beyond-the-usual)
events. These could range from the activity of conscious human beings (both
the common-place conscious free-willing that we all engage in, and psychic
abilities such as telepathy and psychokinesis that seem to be the preserve
of certain gifted individuals); through that of demons and angels;
to God HimSelves. The ethical and spiritual character of any particular
phenomenon has to be evaluated in its own terms. While the Church is, I
am certain, wise to caution against dabbling with
psychic forces; I do not believe that all non-ecclesiastical paranormal
phenomena are either demonic or essentially dangerous.
The bedrock of all science from the days of Aristotle down to the beginning
of the Twentieth Century has been what I call the Von Trappe Principle:
Comes from Nothing, Nothing ever could." This is a statement of
the idea that all physical phenomena are contingent: depend for their
being on other phenomenathat precede them. I put the last three
words in italics because it is not entirely obvious to me that they
are a necessary part of the idea. Contingency has historically been used
as the basis for the best founded argument
for the "existence" of God.
In recent years the most simple application of this has been challenged
within physics, on the basis that the concept of "nothing" isn't as well
defined as might be thought. In brief, the idea is that the vacuum we are
familiar with (which most people would be content to think of as nothing)
is an altogether more complicated beastie than it appears at first sight:
full almost to overflowing with activity. It is thought that the true-void
is an unstable higher energy state, which spontaneously decayed to the
space-time that we know, much as a pan of boiling water bubbles up into
steam. This "Higgs Field" driven "Inflationary Big Bang" would create mass-energy
as a by-product of the boiling of the true-void. As our Cosmic Bubble
vacuum grew, it liberated more and more energy to the electromagnetic and
other matter fields: simply because its own energy-density was negative,
compared to that of the true-void.
If this theory is true, and a lot of circumstantial evidence supports
it, it tends to subvert contingency in two ways:
The two realities that obsess us: space-time and mass-energy, are revealed
as nothing at all; when taken together.
So there is no need to invoke a creative act that made either from nothing.
No conservation law has to be broken by a "Creator".
The existence of Mass-Energy simply cancels out with that of Space-Time.
The "separation out" of Space-Time and Mass-Energy would be spontaneous
It would require no instigation: much as a pencil balanced on an infinitely
sharp point simply has to fall over eventually, even if it is not jogged
and even if it was somehow exactly balanced "at the start".
It would seem therefore that this theory would "explain away" the need
for a Creator and render the hypothesis of God redundant.
Of course it isn't quite as simple as this! Thomas Aquinas and others who
developed and promoted the argument from contingency didn't do so on the
basis that it was a matter of history: a temporal sequence of events. Rather
they perceived the essential self-inadequacy of every physical thing, which
deficit could not be supplied by any other physical thing(s). The Higgs
field (which is what makes the cosmic vacuum have a negative energy-density)
is just as contingent as any other physical entity. Physics does not and
cannot give any account as to why it should exist, if indeed it
does. Moreover, why/how did the other fields of the "Standard Model" of
particle physics, and the space-time metric of General Relativity exist,
in the pre-Cosmos of the true-void, when they were in no way exemplified?
If they don't exist in the true-void, then how could/did they gain reality
as/when the true-void started to boil into the vacuum? This mirrors the
debate between Platonists and Aristotelians about whether "The Forms"
are real and objective or not.
The Higgs field is a means to an end, a way of allowing for space-time
and mass-energy to come to be, by "borrowing from one account to pay for
the other". While I would not suggest that the first chapter of Genesis
proposes the existence of the Higgs field and explicitly supports the "Inflationary
Big Bang" theory of Cosmology, it should be noted that it is, to a degree,
compatible with it. This is because the Act of Creation is portrayed by
Genesis as two-fold: the imposition of intelligibility on the void,
by God's Word; and the separation of the void (pure potentiality)
to make non-void (actuality) by God's Spirit:
"The Earth was without form and void,
and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God
was moving over the face of the waters." [Gen
"Earth" and "waters"
here indifferently mean that true nothingness, which is "without
form" and is "void". In the absence
of any vacuum, there was no free energy, so all was "darkness".
"And God said, 'Let there be light';
and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated
the light from the darkness." [Gen 1:3]
Energy (light) comes into being, in the context of a "separation" from
"And God said, 'Let there be a
firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters
from the waters.'" [Gen 1:6]
Space (now "the waters") comes into being, in the context of a "separation".
Mathematically, this whole affair is just one example of how continuity
and causality does not necessarily imply predictability. I have elsewhere
given an account of how non-linear chaotic behaviour breaks the link between
causality and determinism. Here, I would point out that all examples of
"spontaneous symmetry breaking" do too. Moreover there is a class of functions
f(x) = exp(- 1/x)
; x > 0
f(0) = 0
f(x) = 0
; x < 0
which are everywhere continuous and indefinitely smooth (infinitely differentiable)
and yet no amount of information gained about their behaviour in one subdomain
(here x < 0) yields any clue as to their behaviour in another subdomain
(here x > 0). Whenever such a function appears in physical theory (the
Airy function is a practical example) it signals the breakdown of determinism.
It may, for example, indicate a circumstance in which an indefinitely
small deviation from zero of some variable (such as the angle of inclination
of a pencil standing on its point) can grow to macroscopic size in a finite
period of time. While the existence of such circumstances is to a degree
surprising, there is no mystery here. In practice, such singularities
of causation are always obscured by the abundance of microscopic deviations
from zero of all variables induced by the interaction of any system with
its neighbourhood. Only if a thing had no neighbourhood, no context, would
its indeterminental singularities be revealed. Moreover, I suggest that
the answer to the question:
"How long will elapse before a infinitely sharp pencil balanced
perfectly on its point begins to fall over, in the absence of any thermal
or other extrinsic disturbance, and ignoring Quantum Mechanics?"
is simply, "no time at all". As soon as it is put exactly in its initial
place, it would start to deviate from it. The moment of release is the
only moment at which the process of toppling can start. If it doesn't start
then, it will never do so. Given that an indefinitely tiny (i.e. no) deviation
will certainly result in its eventual toppling, then it cannot remain standing
Relating this to the Higgs Field and the Inflationary Big-Bang, it would
seem that as soon as the Higgs Field had reality, then the true-void
would immediately decay to the Cosmic vacuum, so the question "what
instigated the initial boiling of the true-void" isn't very significant.
On the other hand, the question "what instigated the Higgs Field?" is.
It seems to me that the "Argument from Contingency" is unaffected by this
apparent debunking of the need for a Creator.
A second cornerstone of all Science is the idea that one is studying something
"out there" rather than either a figment of one's own imagination or
a construct of one's own art. It would seem that this is a necessary basis
for the "Argument from Contingency" to
be valid, for if all phenomena are only apparent to me, not real; then
so is their contingency. It might be that the uncaused first cause needed
to explain all that I perceive is nothing other than myself, and that I
am God! This is the extreme "idealist" position, in which matter is a figment
of my mind, which alone is real. All is subjectivity. Now, although not
position is implausible; for it implies that I am able to imagine music
(for example) which I am entirely incompetent to execute as a performer
or score as a composer!
The problem here with modern physics is "Quantum Uncertainty" or "The
Collapse of the Wave-Packet". I do not intend to give a proper account
issues here. Suffice to say that it is very difficult to see how conventional
Quantum Theory can be aligned with any notion of objective reality. Whenever
something is observed it is always found to have a nice, clearly
defined, state. It is: "here"; "travelling at this velocity"; "orbiting
with such an angular momentum"; "has this length"; "is bent by so many
degrees" or whatever. However, when it is not being observed, it
is described by a "Wave-Function". In general it then rapidly looses such
definiteness, and only has a propensity to exhibitany particular
value of any property. The mathematics envisages that it has no particular
position or momentum (for example), but rather participates in a
range of these. It is in a "mixed state".
Note that the notion of "The Observer" is
up within the manipulative prescriptions of Quantum Mechanics. When
something is not being observed, it is described by a Wave-Function. This
evolves in accordance with the Dirac
Equation: of which the more famous Schrodinger
Equation is an approximation. Whenever an observation is made, this Wave-Function
suddenly and discontinuously vanishes. It is immediately replaced by another
function which is special, in that it generates a unique value for
exactly (and only) that single property which is being measured:
the Eigen-Value. It almost seems that if there was no observer, then there
would be nothing to be observed.
A deep problem with Quantum Epistemology
is that what counts as an observer is undefined.
Everything seems to be down to different points of view. There is no
One Universe, but as many views of reality as there are observers.
Each observer views all other observers as "nothing special", one object
among many. Yet each knows him/her-self to be something special. Whenever
two observers interact, they agree on their accounts of reality, for at
this point they count as only one observer. When they cease to interact,
each will inevitably generate a "mixed state" account of the other as one
object among many and this Wave-Function will only collapse to a definite
description on their next conference.
Moreover, at the finest level of reality, Quantum Mechanics suggests that
"things just happen", without being caused in the standard physical sense
of having an impetus behind them. There is an incipience or potentiality
about the vacuum. It is a mass of possibilities, with unimaginable numbers
of short lived negative energy particle-antiparticle pairs being born then
collapsing into mutual destruction over and over again. Those things that
are observed to happen, do so because they succeed against the general
tendency to dissolve back into nothingness. If a pair of evanescent or virtual
particles, by being separated in a field, pick up enough energy to supply
their deficient rest mass; then they stabilize and become ordinary particles
of palpable matter. So it would seem that the kind of causality operating
here is St Thomas' finality!
The prospect of reality selects out those potentialities
that are fit to attain it from the myriad of possibilities that
to achieve this target.
For many years, I have been troubled that these two Epistemological problems
in Quantum Mechanics: its apparent subjectivity and its arbitrariness,
undermined the "Argument from Contingency", and so were a real challenge
to the Catholic Faith. Now that I have written down my view of the matter,
I am much more sanguine. Though as an Objectivist-Realist I dislike talk
of observation collapsing the Wave-Packet (and as a physicist I can glimpse
ways in which such talk might be avoided) even if this is a necessary part
of a rational account of reality, it does not affect the proposition that
all physical things are contingent and derive their being from other contingent
being. Only if the extreme idealist position is adopted, in which my mind
is the Cosmos and I am God (though not immortal: and what happens when
I sleep?) is the argument undermined. This is not a difficulty for me,
as I have no difficulty in rejecting this extreme position. Quantum arbitrariness
used to seem even more problematic to me, especially as I am fairly convinced
that something along these lines is true. However, now I have realized
that causality still operates at the finest level of reality: only that
it is final causality rather than initial causality, this
problem has dissipated.
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