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Waheguru Wave-Particle Duality

INTRODUCTION

Regular visitors will be familiar with the many exchanges we have had over the years with Sikh apologists who have utilised a varying number of contradistinctive methodological approaches in their attempt to rescue the logically incoherent theological concept of Nirgun-Sargun.

It ranged from the inexplicable self-defeating strategy adopted by the likes of I.S. Dhillon (1, 2, 3) and Project Naad, which was to uncritically dismiss the a priori Law of non-Contradiction (LnC) whilst fallaciously maintaining that Waheguru is true without objectively proving it, to the likes of Saajan Sandhu and Bijla Singh who perceptively chose the opposite approach of making their defence through an internal critique of their theology without rejecting LnC.

There is, then, a third approach opted for by some Sikh apologists who, in an attempt to objectively negate LnC, appeal to the presence of corporeal things that can supposedly co-exist contradictorily.

In this regard, one particular example that is repeatedly cited by some Sikh apologists is the Copenhagen Interpretation (CI) of the Wave-Particle Duality (WPD) in Quantum Mechanics (QM).

In doing so, however, these keen defenders of the faith, who have the courage to think so radically outside the box, inadvertently set themselves up for the big fall, for, in appealing to WPD they must also necessarily identify which interpretation of WPD they hold to be true.

It is irreconcilable for a theory, open to many uncorroborated interpretations, to be simplistically cited as evidence for proving the absolute truth regarding the nature of God’s being or essence.

For one thing, since this divinely revealed truth of God’s existence is, fundamentally speaking, absolute in nature, any evidence cited in an attempt to corroborate this absolute truth cannot rest on shaky grounds.

If these Sikhs do indeed stand by the tenuous notion that Waheguru can exist contradictorily, and that concrete evidence exists in the real world as indirect support of this, then the evidence must, at the very least, be well established and firmly corroborated.

Moreover, in the case of WPD, not only must these Sikhs make an informed choice over the available interpretations, but should also furnish a scientific reason (as this is a scientific theory) as to why they have betted on one to the exclusion of all others.

What one will find is that each WPD interpretation carries with it an open can of worms, which, rather than strengthening a theological argument, will instead weaken it by raising a slew of seemingly insurmountable questions vis-á-vis God’s purpose in creating the universe and mankind’s relationship with him.

Before we continue, let us denote certain keywords that shall repeatedly be used throughout this paper:

CI: Copenhagen interpretation
WPD: Wave-Particle Duality
QM: Quantum Mechanics
LnC: Law of non-Contradiction

A PRIMER ON THE WAVE PARTICLE DUALITY

Sikh apologists, Project Naad, attempted to rescue the theology-proper of Nirgun-Sargun from the assertion that it is contradictory, and thus false, by appealing to WPD. In their paper Sikhism, Science and Quantum Physics, which was presumably written in response to our website, they claim:

Science has been used exhaustively to determine the nature and characteristics of matter i.e. whether matter is a wave or a particle. …
Quantum field theory explains this by stating that matter is neither a wave nor a particle. It is something more abstract and could be considered as a simultaneous co-existence of all possibilities. This leads to the idea of superposition i.e. all possibilities potentially existing at the same time. [1]

There are also other Sikhs who favour this counterargument. One such individual is forum frequenter going by the name of ms514:

Perhaps the author [Abu Adeeba of Islam-Sikhism] would like to explain the concept of a photon, which exhibits properties of both waves and particles? Right…

And we will, of course, certainly oblige. We contend that Sikhism’s theological concept of the Nirgun-Sargun duality ascribed to God’s nature is contradictory; and since all contradictions are false according to LnC, Sikhism is, therefore, a false religion.

Sikhs who make recourse to WPD do so by asserting that existential reality exhibits contradictions; that is to say, since LnC is violated by the presence of corporeal things existing contradictorily, God, who is the creator of these paradoxical phenomena, must also be able to exist contradictorily.

And this is precisely what Project Naad holds by supporting such affirmations through the use of scripture:

The Sikh scripture mentions the idea of superposition as being an intrinsic part of creation and the creator.

“You have thousands of eyes, and yet You have no eyes. You have thousands of forms, and yet You do not have even one. You have thousands of Lotus Feet, and yet You do not have even one foot. You have no nose, but you have thousands of noses. This Play of Yours entrances me.” SGGSJ page 13

“He Himself is formless, and also formed; the One Lord is without attributes, and also with attributes” SGGSJ page 250

“At the same time, He is both hidden and revealed. For the Gurmukh, doubt and fear are dispelled.” SGGSJ page 1048 [2] (bold, underline ours)

Before we come to define Superposition’s role vis-á-vis WPD and QM, as well as the theological implications towards Sikhism and Waheguru, it will help if a brief overview is provided to better understand and clarify the science that lies behind these hypotheses.

WPD is a concept that insists that all matter exhibits both wave and particle properties at the quantum level. WPD is, thus, considered a central tenet of QM, while CI, which, according to a poll taken at the 1997 UMBC quantum mechanics workshop, is considered the most popular interpretation of QM followed by the Many Worlds interpretation, [3] attempts to reconcile the seemingly paradoxical nature of matter, which can apparently behave both as a wave (something which occupies a large space) and a particle (something which occupies a small space) simultaneously.

The famous double-slit experiment, first carried out by English scientist, Thomas Young, in 1801, essentially consists of light (photon) being passed over or through a medium to determine its nature. Science then had to wait until 1961 for a source other than light to be used when Clauss Jönsson performed the experiment using electrons, which again exhibited wave and particle characteristics.

The major problem with CI, and therefore with QM in general, is that it is, according to Prof. Paul Marmet, [4] based upon “three unsurmountable [sic] difficulties:

a) Negation of causality
b) Negation of realism and
c) Involvement of infinite and imaginary velocities or masses.” [5]

THE CURIOUS CASE OF CAUSALITY

Causality is the basis of all scientific work
Causality is the condition that renders science possible
[6]
– Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

Before moving on to examine the implications of discarding the law of causality from science, it is necessary at this stage to remind ourselves of what the scientific method of discovery and advancement is vis-á-vis prediction, experimentation and theory.

Prof. of Geology, Donald Prothero, defined it in lay terms as follows:

In that regard, the scientific method is similar to many other human endeavors, such as mythology and folk medicine, which observe something and try to come up with a story for it. But the big difference is that scientists must then test their hypotheses. They must try to find some additional observations or experiments that shoot their idea down (falsify it) or support it (corroborate it). If the observations falsify the hypothesis, then scientists must start over again with a new hypothesis, or recheck their observations and make sure that the falsification is correct. If the observations are consistent with the hypothesis, then it is corroborated, but it is not proven true. Instead, the scientific community must continue to keep looking for more observations to test the hypothesis further (fig. 1.1).

This is where the public most misunderstands the scientific method. As many philosophers of science (such as Karl Popper) have shown, this cycle of setting up, testing, and falsifying hypotheses is unending. Scientific hypotheses must always be tentative and subject to further testing and can never be regarded as finally true or proven. Science is not about finding final truth, only about testing and refining better and better hypotheses so these hypotheses approach what we think is true about the world. Any time scientists stop testing and trying to falsify their hypotheses, they also stop doing science.

One of the reasons for this is the nature of testing hypotheses. Lots of people think that science is purely inductive, making observation after observation until some general scientific law can be inferred. It is true that scientists must start with observations, but they do not arrive at scientific principles from induction. [7] (bold, underline ours)

He added:

Most people think that science is about finding the final truth about the world and are surprised to find that science never proves something finally true. But that’s the way the scientific method works, as philosophers of science have long ago demonstrated about logic of the scientific method. Science is not about final truth or “facts”; it is only about continually testing and trying to falsify our hypotheses, until they are extremely well supported. At that point, the hypothesis becomes a theory (as scientists use the term), which is a well-corroborated set of hypotheses that explain a larger part of the observations about the world. [8]

Influential particle theorist at Harvard, Lisa Randall, agreed that a theory is:

A definite physical framework embodied in a set of fundamental assumptions about the world – and an economical framework that encompasses a wide variety of phenomena. A theory yields a specific set of equations and predictions – ones that are borne out by successful agreement with experimental results. [9] (bold mine)

While particle physicist Lee Smolin stated:

A scientific theory that makes no predictions and therefore is not subject to experiment can never fail, but such a theory can never succeed either, as long as science stands for knowledge gained from rational argument borne out by evidence. There needs to be an honest evaluation of the wisdom of sticking to research program that has failed after decades to find grounding in either experimental results or precise mathematical formulation. [10] (bold ours)

But where does the scientific method stand if causality is negated for a physical phenomenon? How can scientists set up experiments to determine causal relationships for things that are ostensibly considered uncaused (causeless)? Further still, if a hypothesis is said to be uncaused, how can “observations or experiments” be setup to falsify or corroborate it?

The counterintuitive implications of this stance are perhaps the reason why Marmet holds to the seemingly a priori position that:

Nothing is created from nonexistence. We firmly believe that a cause is always essential. [11]

He further elaborates:

The aim of science is to explain phenomena and predict new observations. Practicing scientific research means to find out why an effect has been produced. It would be ridiculous and absurd to answer that there is no reason or no cause leading to the observed results – that results simply happen like that. It would certainly be more rational to answer that we do not know. [12] (bold, underline ours)

The implication of negating the law of causality within science is, indeed, absurd since it is clearly self-defeating; and yet we have a major interpretive model which is established upon this premise of causelessness.

Marmet declares:

The Copenhagen Interpretation claims that Modern Physics does not always require a cause! [13]

And:

According to the Copenhagen interpretation, there is no cause to a phenomenon. Consequently, since quantum mechanics is not causal, it is useless to look for causes. One might well ask why so many physicists look for causes when they use and support a model that is not causal! [14] (bold ours)

Werner Heisenberg, a prominent contributor to CI, clearly affirmed this self-defeating point:

The law of causality is no longer applied in quantum theory. [15]

It is only in holding to this preposterous stance that someone like Prof. Daniel Greenberger could nonsensically proclaim that “Quantum Mechanics is Magic”, [16] and why a distinguished physicist, such as, Richard Feynman, could conclude:

The theory of quantum electrodynamics describes Nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiments. So I hope you can accept Nature as she is – absurd. [17] (bold ours)

But, what an educated and critically minded person, who hears of any claim from a scientist, should do, as Smolin urges, is “evaluate it as strictly as you would an investment. Give it as much scrutiny as a house you would buy or a school you would send your children to”. [18] Hence, what does Feynman mean when he claims that the theory of quantum electrodynamics “agrees fully with experiments”?

Marmet answers:

Physicists are taught to believe that when an equation gives a correct prediction, it proves that the model is correct (even if the model is absurd). Furthermore, they claim that, since the working model is absurd, one must conclude that Nature is absurd. [19]

And the problem with CI, and thus WPD, is that it is most assuredly absurd vis-á-vis both the mathematical model and the accepted notion that it is uncaused.

The overarching problem is the attempt made through the interpretive framework of CI to reconcile between nature and mathematics, as Marmet perceptively pinpoints:

It is clear that mathematics must cope with the internal mathematical relationship between various physical concepts. The mathematical formalism used in physics forms probably what is the most coherent and logical internal system that exists in science. However in physics, the choice of the mathematical relations is controlled by external relations dictated by Nature with the help of experiments and observations. The Copenhagen interpretation is expected to provide the external link between Nature and mathematics. It is clear that the Copenhagen interpretation fails completely to give a rational explanation of Nature. (bold, underline ours)

Therefore, in regards to the WPD hypothesis, it is “feasible mathematically” and “not a problem as long as we consider that it is an internal property of the mathematical formalism. However, if one claims that this is an external relationship described by the duality of waves-particles, that interpretation is absurd“. [20] (bold ours)

Similarly, Marcus Chown recognised:

There are at least half a dozen different interpretations of quantum theory. Each one is a way of relating the mathematics of quantum theory to what might be going on in the real world. [21]

On this basis, Marmet reiterates that the mathematical theorem of WPD cannot exist in reality:

The dualistic model is just as absurd as the Copenhagen interpretation because, in both models, no physical reality can exist BEFORE DETECTION. [22] (bold, underline, capitalisation ours).

Why? Because:

In the Copenhagen interpretation, things are created by the observer’s knowledge. There is an incompatible difference between:
a) combining mathematically two sets of properties in an equation, and:
b) saying that, in reality, light is simultaneously made out of a wave and of a particle.
Condition a) is possible. […] b), that is the model of light made out of a wave and of a particle, is totally irreconcilable. [23]

And Marmet quotes Heisenberg as alluding to just this point:

The paradoxes of the dualism between wave picture and particle picture were not solved; they were hidden somehow in the mathematical scheme. [24] (bold, underline ours)

ESSE EST PERCIPI – EXISTENCE IS PERCEPTION

If actually all our knowledge is derived from perception,
there is no meaning in the statement that the things really exist
[25]
Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976)

CI becomes ever more absurd when one learns of the alleged phenomenon known as the Wave Function Collapse: [26]

Prior to the act of measurement, the ‘reality’ of a quantum object exists only as a series of ‘ghost-like’ probabilities that correspond to the wavefunction. As soon as the attention of an intelligent observer is directed at the object (in other words, an attempt is made somehow to ‘measure’ it), its wavefunction ‘collapses’ and the object is changed from a superposition of probabilities to a ‘classical’ phenomenon. Once the state vector is defined as our knowledge of the system, measurements that alter our knowledge also alter the system. The system therefore has no reality independent of the measuring apparatus (and its interpretation). Wigner (1961; 1963; 1964) therefore argued that wavefunction/state vector collapse requires the interaction of the system with a conscious (information processing) observer. As Wheeler (1994, 19) succinctly put it: … we have no right to say that the electron is at such-and-such a place until we have installed equipment, or done the equivalent, to locate it. What we thought was there is not there until we ask a question. No question? No answer! [27] (bold ours)

Philosopher David Berlinsky elaborated further:

So long as no one is looking, the electron is all things to all men. But let the physicist have a look, and boom! the particle that could be here and there becomes here or there all over again. The wave packet collapses into just one of its possibilities. The other quantum states that it embodies vanish, and they vanish instantaneously. No one knows why.
Niels Bohr […] embraced this interpretation of quantum mechanics, whence its designation as the Copenhagen interpretation. It has become canonical.
It has not, however, explained the connection between the quantum realm and the classical realm. “So long as the wave packet reduction is an essential component [of quantum mechanics],” the physicist John Bell observed, “and so long as we do not know when and how it takes over from the Schrödinger equation, we do not have an exact and unambiguous formulation of our most fundamental physical theory.” [28] (bold ours)

To show this self-conflicting hypothesis, Erwin Schrödinger “devised a thought experiment to explain his own perplexity”. Called Schrödinger’s Cat, Berlinsky explicates:

Imagine that a cat has been placed in a sealed container, together with a device that if it goes off will kill it – a revolver, say, or some sort of radioactive pellet. Whether the device goes off is a matter of chance. So long as no one is looking, the cat exists in a superposition of quantum states, at once half dead (the gun might fire) and half alive (it might not). As soon as an observer peeks into the box, that superposition gives way. That cat is either dead or alive and there are no two ways about it. [29]

If the reader does not appreciate the profundity of this analogy, let us cite an alternative:

The most accurate way of describing the state of the yet-to-be-observed atom is to put into English the mathematics describing the state of the atom: The atom was simultaneously in two states: it is wholly-in-the-top-box-and-not-in-the-bottom-box, and simultaneously it is wholly-in-the-bottom-box-and-not-in-the-top-box. This is saying that the atom was in both situations at the same time.

Putting it this way, however, boggles the mind. It’s saying a physical thing was in two places at the same time. The quantum mechanical term for this situation is that the atom is in a “superposition state” simultaneously in both boxes.

Quantum mechanics says the method of looking creates the present situation of the atom concentrated in a single box or spread out over two. It says more than that: the method of looking creates the atom’s history – apparently backward in time. Finding it in a single box implies it had come on a single path after its earlier encounter with the semi-transparent mirror. Interference establishes that it had come on both paths after that earlier event. …

Quantum theory tells us that any look, anything in fact that provides information, collapses the previously existing state. There’s no immaculate perception. [30] (bold, underline ours)

According to Cramer, CI teaches that the result of the experiment is not decided and does not exist “until such time as the observer collapses the state vector into one or the other of these states by making an observation, since it is the change in the observer’s knowledge that precipitates the state vector collapse”. [31] Little wonder Marmet said that “such a description does not make sense”. [32]

Thus, it is unsurprising to find a physicist of the calibre of Richard Feynman candidly stating:

What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students in the third or fourth year of graduate school. It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don’t understand it. You see my physics students don’t understand it… That is because I don’t understand it. Nobody does. [33]

So, how would these proponents go about inoculating their neophytes from the potential disease of disillusionment during those crucial early stages of indoctrination?

Niels Bohr realized that he had to confront the influence of knowledge on physical phenomena in order to allow physicists to just get on with doing physics without getting bogged down in philosophy. He thus asserted his principle of complementarity: The two aspects of a microscopic object, its particle aspect and its wave aspect, are “complementary,” and a complete description requires both contradictory aspects, but we must consider only one aspect at a time.

We avoid the seeming contradiction by considering the microscopic system, the atom, not to exist in and of itself. We must always include in our discussion – implicitly at least – the different macroscopic experimental apparatuses used to display each of the two complementary aspects. All is then fine, because it is ultimately only the classical behavior of such apparatus that we report. [34] (bold, underline ours)

Indian theoretical physicist at the Bose Institute, Kolkata, Prof. Dipankar Home, further revealed:

[T]he philosophy of complementarity was an attempt to go beyond pragmatism. Bell remarked:

Rather than being disturbed by the ambiguity in principle, Bohr seemed to take satisfaction in it. He seemed to revel in contradictions, for example between “wave” and “particle.” That seem to appear in any attempt to go beyond the pragmatic level. Not to resolve these contradictions and ambiguities, but rather to reconcile us to them, he put forward a philosophy which he called “complementarity.”

Once Bohr recognized that wave particle dualism was inescapable, he did not concentrate on overthrowing the ideas of wave and particle but on removing the paradoxical consequences by limiting their use. [35] (bold ours)

His reveling in contradictions is similar to the reveling of these Sikhs who, perhaps recognising the illogicality of the Nirgun-Sargun concept, wherein Waheguru is simultaneously both attributeless (sans creation) and its opposite, feel they have no other choice except to defend an absurdity. If only they were sincere and critically minded enough to recognise that they do: Islam!

But there is certainly more to this ad hoc hypothesis than some care to admit. One of the main proponents of CI, Heisenburg, acknowledged the influence of philosophers, who brazenly rejected realism, over his decision in accepting this theory; in his own words:

The next step was taken by Berkeley. If actually all our knowledge is derived from perception, there is no meaning in the statement that the things really exist; because if the perception is given it cannot possibly make any difference whether the things exist or do not exist. Therefore, to be perceived is identical with existence. [36] (bold ours)

As Marmet noted:

Heisenberg admits that he just carried Berkeley’s idea of modern philosophy to modern physics.

Who, then, was Berkeley and what did he say of realism (“defined as the result that matter has its own existence independent of the observer”)?

“[Bishop] Berkeley was an Irish philosopher of the seventeenth century” and this is what he had to say of reality:

It is indeed an opinion strangely prevailing amongst men, that houses, mountains, rivers, and in word all sensible objects have an existence natural or real, distinct from their being perceived by the understanding. [37]

Marmet quotes Berkeley further as claiming:

Some truths there are so near and obvious to the mind, that a man need only open his eyes to see them. Such I take this important one to be, to wit, that all the choir of heaven and furniture of the earth, in a word all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world have not any subsistence without a mind, that their being is to be perceived or known.

And, thus, did Berkeley bizarrely conclude:

Esse est percipi meaning Existence is perception. [38]

Hence, Marmet observes that “modern philosophy is astonishingly identical to modern physics as suggested by the Copenhagen interpretation of Bohr, Heisenberg and Pauli” where “matter is not considered to have its own independent existence before it is detected, just as in the case of modern philosophy of Descartes and Berkeley”. [39]

The question we wish to raise at the end of all this is whether these Sikhs, who have conveniently hitched a ride on Heisenberg’s, Bohr’s and Pauli’s bandwagon, agree with them and their predecessors, Descartes, Cardinal Ballarmino, Bishop Berkeley, Hume, et alia, that existence is nothing more than perception (esse est percipi)?

SARGUN AND NON-REALISM

The can of worms that these Sikhs have opened begins with the major obstacle of reconciling the philosophical notion of non-realism, which they are forced to embrace having acceded to WPD, and Sikh theology.

What these Sikhs have perhaps overlooked is that God (Waheguru), or more precisely the Sargun nature of God, is all-pervasive through the very fabric of existence, i.e. space and time.

According to Daljeet Singh, one of the definitions of Naam is that it “extends to all creation. There is no place or space where Naam is not”. He then qualifies the meaning of Naam by adding:

There are numerous verses in Guru Granth Sahib where Naam and God have been described synonymously. Both Naam and God have been mentioned as […] ‘permeating and informing all things, beings, space and interspace.’ […] This unambiguously leads us to conclude that God and Naam are one and the same. [40] (bold, underline ours)

Are we to infer from this that if matter does not exist until it is observed or perceived, then Waheguru, who is in every place or space of creation, will not be manifest until matter is perceived?

In contradistinction to non-realism, Prof. Taran Singh, former head of the Dept. of Guru Granth Studies at Punjabi University in Patiala, believed that creation is real, emphatically declaring:

The Supreme Reality is one and indivisible, its manifestations and the form of creation is real, not illusory, the Supreme Reality is personified consciousness which is creative and is eternally progressing. [41]

The ‘Sidh-Gosti’ (Raga Ramkali, pages 938-46) of Guru Nanak maintains that all creation is real because it has its ground in the One Real…. [42]

Similarly, Prof. Sohan Singh elucidated the meaning of the word sat(i), from the clause sat(i) nam(u) of the mool mantra, to mean “‘truth’ or ‘reality’ […] as existence, in contrast to reality as something non-existing, yet real”.

He further added that sat(i) can also mean “power (sakti)” and that “there is no other approach to truth other than the empirical approach. But existence is truth, because it is power, energy. An energy-less existence, would not be existence at all-dead matter is dead once [sic] for all, and no philosophy with any credibility can ever resurrect the concept of a dead matter”. [43] (bold ours)

He concluded:

Guru Nanak was always antipathetic to any view of the world which denigrated its reality or made the world illusory. To make the world illusory is to inject non-being into the very texture of the world. This would tantamount to vitiating man’s dharma in the world. He was, therefore, firm on the principle that the creation is as real as the Creator …. [44] (bold ours)

If the empirical approach is the only way of determining and discovering truth, then how can such an approach empirically quantify CI and WPD when it is known that “in both models, no physical reality can exist before detection”? [45]

It is this “rejection of realism” that is today, according to Arthur Jabs, leading to “a large and growing number of physicists who feel the need for a realistic formulation (Bell [1973]; Rayski [1973]; Bunge and Kalnay [1975]; Levy-Leblond [1976]; Bunge [1977]; Roberts [1978]; Max- well [1982]; Burgos [1984]; Popper [1985]; Stapp [1985]; Rohrlich [1987]; Bohm et al. [1987]; and many others)”. [46]

There is yet more; Prof. Wazir Singh, head of the Dept. of Guru Gobind Singh Religious Studies at Punjabi University in Patiala, in clarifying the term purakh(u), said that “the supreme Being does not possess consciousness, but rather it is consciousness… He is the cosmic consciousness, in the sense of personification of the cosmos that is self-aware.” [47]  (bold ours)

This throws out another conundrum for these Sikhs to mull over, and one which Project Naad glaringly overlooked:

The Sikh scripture also goes further to mention that mind or consciousness and matter are interchangeable and that the spirit of God rests within both.

“You Yourself are conscious of Your Creation.” SGGSJ page 1076

“Wherever I look, I see the Lord pervading there, in the union of Shiva and Shakti, of consciousness and matter” SGGSJ page 21

“The distinction between Shiva and Shakti – mind and matter – has been destroyed, and the darkness has been dispelled.” SGGSJ page 163

“He Himself is mind, and He Himself is matter” SGGSJ page 1236

If matter cannot exist independent of a conscious (information processing) observer, and yet Waheguru is said to be consciousness itself and fully conscious of his creation, how then can WPD be a viable model when CI is established upon the notion of a wavefunction collapse?

This quandary was also highlighted by Christian philosopher, William Lane Craig:

In short, Hawking’s wave-functional analysis of the universe requires the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics, and in another place Hawking admits as much (Hawking [1983], pp.192-3). But why should we adopt this interpretation of quantum physics with its bloated ontology and miraculous splitting of the universe? John Barrow ([1988]. p. 156) has recently remarked that the Many Worlds Interpretation is ‘essential’ to quantum cosmology because without it one is left, on the standard Copenhagen Interpretation, with the question. ‘Who or what collapses the wavefunction of the universe?’ – some Ultimate Observer outside of space and time? This answer has obvious theistic implications. Indeed, although ‘the theologians have not been very eager to ascribe to God the role of Ultimate Observer who brings the entire quantum Universe into being’, still Barrow admits that ‘such a picture is logically consistent with the mathematics. To escape this step cosmologists have been forced to invoke Everett’s “Many Worlds” interpretation of quantum theory in order to make any sense of quantum cosmology (Barrow [1988], p.232). ‘It is no coincidence’, he says, ‘that all the main supporters of the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum reality are involved in quantum cosmology’ (Barrow [1988]. p.156). [48] (bold ours)

And with this final observation, we come to the final problem, and that is: what interpretation of WPD will these Sikhs invoke in defending their understanding of Truth and what legitimate scientific justification will they provide for accepting one to the exclusion of all the others (and yes, there are many others)?

WAVE PARTICLE INTERPRETATIONS GALORE

John Cramer said:

Despite an extensive literature that refers to, discusses, and criticizes the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, nowhere does there seem to be any concise statement that defines the full Copenhagen interpretation. [49]

And the reason for this, as we have already seen, most plausibly stems from the euphemistically termed paradoxes that are an inevitable consequence of CI. The result is, as Marmet identified in his book Absurdities in Modern Physics, that “many different versions of the Copenhagen interpretation can be identified… [all of which lead] to the most astonishing set of contradictions that ever existed in science”. [50]

These differences, unsurprisingly, filter over to affect even the results generated from Young’s double-slit experiment because the apparent behaviour of a particle is based not only on what Michael Brooks called “updated versions” of the experiment, but also more importantly, “how you detect them”:

Place a detector far behind the slits, and a single electron will produce a characteristic interference pattern – a wave has seemingly passed through both slits at once.

Place separate detectors close enough behind tie slits, and only one registers a click – as if the electron were a single particle.

All that leaves a fundamental question: how can stuff be waves and particles at the same time? Perhaps because it is neither, says Markus Arndt of the University of Vienna, Austria, who did the buckyball experiments in 1999. What we call an electron or a buckyball might in the end have no more reality than a click in a detector, or our brain’s reconstruction of photons hitting our retina.
“Wave and particle are then just constructs of our mind to facilitate everyday talking,” he says. [51]

Dipankar Home and John Gribbin concur:

This duality is one of the key puzzles of quantum mechanics, the most successful theory we have of the way matter and radiation behave at the atomic and subatomic levels. How can something be both a particle and a wave at the same time? Common sense, based on our experiences in the macro world, says that this is impossible. But quantum mechanics requires that in the micro world, light, electrons and other entities can behave as either wave or particle, depending on the experimental arrangement. …

By moving the detector about, we can build up a picture of the pattern made by the photons. Quantum mechanics predicts that this will be the standard interference pattern, just as if each photon has somehow gone through both holes in the intervening screen, and interfered with itself before deciding where to go next. [52]

Speaking of the Bohrian thesis, John Wheeler, therefore, acknowledges this ad hoc approach:

It is wrong to attribute a tangibility to the photon in all its travel from the point of entry’ to its last instant of flight…. What answer we get depends on the question we put. The experiment we arrange, the registering device we choose. By his choice of question, the observer decides about what feature of the object he shall have the right to make a clear statement.

Only AFTER the detection process is complete, can we infer which of the two classical models, wave and particle, is relevant to the experiment in question. As already mentioned, to avoid any logical inconsistency due to mutual incompatibility between these two classical pictures, the possibility is precluded that a single experiment whose observed results contain one subset of data comprehensible in terms of a classical wavelike propagation coexists with another subset of data interpretable by using a classical particle like propagation all the way from a source to a detector. [53] (bold, capitalisation, underline ours)

According to Marcus Chown:

Bohr proposed that the face you see [a particle-like or a wave-like face] depends on how you set up your experiment. And, he said, you’ll never see both at the same time in one experiment. He called this the “principle of complementarity”. (bold ours)

Hence, not only does CI stand on shaky epistemological grounds, but the results from the double-slit experiment will always be inconclusive, and thus uncorroborated, owing to the bizarre notion that “observations make a difference to what we will see”. On these grounds, Albert Einstein, categorically rejected this unscientific principle:

Einstein took exception to this: he refused to believe that the very fabric of the observable universe could change depending on our choice of measuring equipment. But he never managed to find an experimental way to refute complementarity, and Bohr’s influence ensured that it gradually became the accepted view of how the quantum world will manifest in our classical experiments. [54] (bold ours)

So, then, how much do we really know about this strange magical world of QM, and, by extension, WPD? Relatively little, according to the New Scientist

If you want to know how little we know, ask a roomful of physicists what goes on when we measure a particle’s properties. All will be able to calculate the result of the measurement but the explanation they give will differ wildly.

Some will tell you that new parallel universes necessarily sprang into being. Others will say that, before a measurement is performed, talk of particles having real properties is meaningless. Still others will say that hidden properties come into play.

Another group will tell you that they deal with physics, not philosophy and dismiss the question without giving you an answer. It has been thus for more than 80 years. “These conceptual challenges are still not understood at all,” says Markus Aspelmeyer at the University of Vienna in Austria. “We’re still right at the beginning.” [55]

Hence, how can anyone say for certain that WPD is corroborated when we admittedly know so little? No wonder Home and Gribbin conceded:

But three centuries after Newton, we have to admit that we still cannot answer the question ‘what is light?’ As yet there is still no answer to the basic question: is light ‘really’ a wave, a combination of wave and particle, or something entirely different which cannot be comprehended except as an abstract mathematical description? As Einstein remarked in 1951, four years before his death, in a letter to M. Besso: ‘All these fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no nearer to the answer to the question ‘what are light quanta?’ Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows it, but he is mistaken.’ [56]

However, this proverbial rabbit hole simply continues to spiral out of control. Rosenblum and Kuttner are more than honest in their evaluation of the many interpretations of QM:

There is no way to interpret quantum theory without in some way addressing consciousness. Most interpretations accept the encounter but offer a rationale for avoiding a relationship. They usually start with the presumption that the physical world should be dealt with independently of the human observer. …
Each interpretation we will discuss is currently defended as the best way to view what quantum mechanics is telling us. Each, however, presents a weird view of the world. How could it be otherwise? We saw the weirdness of quantum mechanics right up front in the most basic experimental findings. Any interpretation explaining those findings that goes beyond FAPP (or “Shut up and calculate!”), must be weird.

Though the interpretations we discuss have been developed with extensive mathematical and logical analysis, we package each in a few nontechnical paragraphs. Thoroughness in understanding them is not crucial for what follows.

It’s enough to get the flavor of the wide range of views expressed and to see that quantum physics shows that profound questions about our world are wide open. Notice particularly how each interpretation involves consciousness or tries to evade the encounter. [57]

MANY WORLDS INTERPRETATION

It is surely the most bizarre of all the ideas [58]
To what extent are these possible worlds fictions?
They are like literary fiction in that they are free inventions of the human mind
[59]
– John Stewart Bell (1928-1990)

Lev Vaidman of Tel Aviv University, Israel, said:

[L]ike many other physicists, touts an alternative explanation. “I don’t feel that I don’t understand quantum mechanics,” he says. But there is a high price to be paid for that understanding: admitting the existence of parallel universes.

In this picture, wave functions do not collapse to classical certainty every time you measure them; reality merely splits into as many parallel worlds as there are measurement possibilities. One of these carries you and the reality you live in away with it.

“If you don’t admit many-worlds, there is no way to have a coherent picture,” says Vaidman.

Or, in the words of Feynman again, whether it is the Copenhagen interpretation or many-worlds you accept “the paradox is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality ought to be”. [60] (bold, underline ours)

We shall allow Rosenblum and Kuttner to provide a somewhat lengthy explanation of this bizarre hypothesis, which, according to the aforementioned poll taken at the 1997 UMBC quantum mechanics workshop, came second behind CI:

The many-worlds interpretation accepts literally what quantum theory says.

Where the Copenhagen interpretation has observation collapsing the atoms wavefunction into a single box-and Schrödingers cat into the living or dead state-the many-worlds interpretation “just says ‘no'” to collapse. If quantum theory says the cat is simultaneously alive and dead, so be it! In one world, Schrödingers cat is alive, and in another it is dead. “Many worlds” may be the most bizarre description of reality ever proposed.

Hugh Everett came up with the idea in the 1950s to allow cosmology to treat a wavefunction for the universe. Since there are no “observers” external to the entire universe, the many-worlds interpretation resolves the mystery of the conscious observer by the sensible-seeming ploy of including consciousness as part of the physical universe described by quantum mechanics. …

In the many-worlds interpretation, when you look into one of the boxes, you entangle with the atom’s superposition state. You go into a superposition state both of having seen the atom in the box you looked in and also of having seen that box empty. There are now two of you, one in each of two parallel worlds.

The consciousness of each one of you is unaware of the other you. Nothing we actually experience conflicts with this bizarre view.

Instead of the look-in-a-box experiment, you might have chosen to do an interference experiment. It is your exercise of free will-your being able to freely choose to do either experiment-that brings about physics’ encounter with consciousness. In the many-worlds interpretation, you are part of the universal wavefunction. Everything that can possibly happen as the wavefunction evolves does happen. You both looked in a box and did an interference experiment. You took both options. You exercised no free will.

To bring more than one observer into the picture, let’s go back to Schrödinger’s cat. Alice looks in the box while Bob is far away. The world splits in two. In one world Alice, call her Alice1, sees a live cat. In the other, Alice2 sees a dead cat.

At this point Bob is also in both worlds, but Bob1 and Bob2 are essentially identical. Should Bob1 meet Alice1, he would help her get milk for the hungry cat. Bob2 would help Alice2 bury the dead cat. Macroscopic objects Alice2 and Bob1 exist in different worlds and, for all practical purposes, never encounter each other.

After Bell’s theorem and the experiments it allowed, we know we cannot have both reality and separability. In the many-worlds interpretation, there is no separability. And there is no single reality, which is essentially equivalent to no reality.

The many-worlds interpretation stirs strong feelings. One academic author decries it as “profligate” and refers to its proposer as a “chain-smoking, horned-Cadillac-driving, multimillionaire weapons research analyst.” (At the time Everett proposed it, he was just a graduate student.) On the other hand, a leader in quantum computing writes that the many-worlds interpretation “makes more sense in so many ways than any previous world-view, and certainly more than the cynical pragmatism which too often nowadays serves as a surrogate for a world-view among scientists.” (By “cynical pragmatism” he surely means the unquestioning acceptance of Copenhagen.)

There’s an unresolved problem with many-worlds: What constitutes an observation? When does the world split? The splitting into a finite number of worlds is presumably just a way of speaking. Are infinitely many worlds continuously created?

In any event, this interpretation vastly extends what Copernicus started. Not only are we removed from the center of the cosmos to a tiny spot in a limitless universe, but the world we experience is just a minute fraction of all worlds. However, “we” exist in many of them. Though bizarre, the many-worlds interpretation is a fascinating base for speculation. [61]

In light of this speculative model, one can appreciate why Maggie McKee would say that the Quantum “theory has been criticised for casting doubt on the notion of an objective reality – a concept many physicists, including Albert Einstein, have found hard to swallow”:

Other interpretations of quantum theory – of which there are at least half a dozen – deal with the measurement problem by suggesting even more far-fetched concepts than a universe dependent on measurement. The popular many worlds interpretation suggests quantum objects display several behaviours because they inhabit an infinite number of parallel universes. [62]

On the other hand, Frank Tipler, while accepting this tenuous interpretation, reluctantly acknowledged:

Of course, the Many Worlds Interpretation may be wrong; most physicists think it is (most physicists think it nonsense). But the overwhelming majority of people working on quantum cosmology subscribe to some version of the Many Worlds Interpretation, simply because the mathematics forces one to accept it. The mathematics may be a DELUSION, WITH NO REFERENCE IN PHYSICAL REALITY. [63] (bold, capitalisation, underline ours)

And Berlinsky comically noted:

The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is rather like the incarnation. It appeals to those who believe in it, and it rewards belief in proportion to which belief is sincere. [64]

But, would these Sikhs also be sincere in their belief? Would they be sincere enough to explain, in scientific terms, why they would wager on this particular interpretation and not the others?

Furthermore, how would they reconcile between the existence of a seemingly endless number of parallel universes and their theology? Would they accept the idea that there also existed an endless number of Wahegurus or 10 Gurus in each universe?

And after all this, there exist more interpretations, including one carried out by Iranian-American physicist, Prof. Shahriar Afshar, in 2001. Called the Afshar Experiment, some have speculated that it negates the many worlds model. Prof. Afshar believes his version of the double-slit experiment “contradicted the standard result”, which holds that “nothing really exists until it is measured”, and it, therefore, “made no sense to talk about an objective reality independent of observers because our observations make a difference to what we will see”. He concluded:

According to my experiment, one of our key assumptions about quantum theory is wrong.

Cramer holds that “Afshar’s experiment also falsifies the ‘many worlds interpretation'”:

Afshar has identified a place where the Copenhagen and the many worlds interpretations are inconsistent with the formalism of quantum mechanics itself.

More interestingly, however, is the motivations for accepting and rejecting any of the surplus number of interpretations. Chown recognised that:

Afshar is aware that each person’s opinion of his experiment depends on their own view of how quantum theory should be interpreted. Valentini, for example, believes that there must be something behind quantum theory, and that things do have properties with well-defined values (New Scientist, 29 June 2002, p 30), so it is unsurprising that he finds a refutation of Bohr’s ideas so appealing. Cramer, too, has a vested interest in Afshar’s experiment. He has developed his own interpretation of quantum theory, called the transactional interpretation. This uses waves that travel backwards in time to allow quantum particles to interact and, Cramer says, it stands up to Afshar’s experimental test. [65]

And, of course, these Sikhs also have their vested interests in simplistically appealing to WPD in defence of their religious beliefs.

There is then the Penrose interpretation that is a variation of the wavefunction collapse, which proposes, again purely mathematically, that the wavefunction is a physical wave that randomly collapses without the intervention of an observer.

Penrose suggests that the threshold for wave function collapse is when superpositions involve at least a Planck mass worth of matter. He then hypothesizes that some fundamental gravitational event occurs, causing the wavefunction to choose one branch of reality over another.

Penrose believes that things can exist in more than one place at one time. In his view, a macroscopic system, like a human being, cannot exist in more than one position because it has a significant gravitational field. A microscopic system, like an electron, has an insignificant gravitational field, and can exist in more than one location almost indefinitely. [66]

And the list goes on:

Heisenberg’s uncertainty paper was aimed at providing a satisfactory interpretation of the new quantum theory. Today there are many interpretations of quantum theory-the Copenhagen, the many worlds (Everett 1957; De Witt and Graham 1973), the realistic statistical (Ballentine 1970), the (nonlocal) hidden variables (Bohm 1952; Vigier 1982), the modal (van Fraassen 1981, 1991; Kochen 1985; Dieks 1994; Bub 1992; Healey 1989), the quantum logical (Finkelstein 1965; Putnam 1968; Friedman and Putnam 1978). [67] Yet there is no agreement on the basic question: what does it mean to interpret a mathematical-physical theory? [68]

There is, however, a final question that arises vis-á-vis Penrose’s suggestion that macroscopic systems, “like a human being, cannot exist in more than one position because it has a significant gravitational field”.

This argument, which is not restricted to Penrose’s interpretation for differentiating between the micro- and macroscopic world vis-á-vis the effects of QM, is one that is highlighted by Marmet:

Van Zandt writes:

Thus we are led to suggest a critical size for separating the microscopic world of quantum mechanics and the macroscopic. [69]

This would mean that logic is different when applied to small things than it is when applied to big things. Yurke and Stoler show that the frontier between the macroscopic and the microscopic world does not exist because any macroscopic state can evolve from the superimposition of many microscopic states. Yurke and Stoler conclude:

Hence there is a possibility of bringing the strangeness of quantum mechanics into the macroscopic world. [70]

It is clear that the field of application of the Berkeley-Copenhagen interpretation cannot be limited to microscopic systems: logical reasoning cannot depend on the size of the systems considered. [71] (bold ours)

In light of this differentiation, if Sikhs hold that Waheguru is, if not a part of, then at least greater than his creation (macroscopic world), then it would seem fallacious for them to use CI, and the existence of contradictions in the microscopic world, as an argument for Waheguru existing contradictorily precisely because CI fails to affect the macroscopic world.

As Marmet has queried: what logical reason is there to make what seems to be another ad hoc condition for maintaining CI?

Smolin gives a plausible reason why:

Quantum mechanics, at least in the form it was first proposed, did not fit easily with realism. This is because the theory presupposed a division of nature into two parts. On one side of the division is the system to be observed. We, the observers, are on the other side. …

One difficulty is where you draw the dividing line, which depends on who is doing the observing. When you measure an atom, you and your instruments are on one side and the atom is on the other side. …

This whole issue goes under the name the foundational problems of quantum mechanics. It is the second great problem of contemporary physics. [72] (bold ours)

Smolin takes the rational and smart choice of siding with the realists – Einstein, et al.

THE COPENHAGEN CAN OF WORMS

Sikhs who make recourse to WPD do so by asserting that existential reality exhibits contradictions; that is to say, since LnC is violated by the presence of corporeal things existing contradictorily, God, who is the creator of this paradoxical phenomenon, must also be able to exist contradictorily.

After so much information to digest, it will help if we provide a summary of the problems these Sikhs must tackle and solve before desperately grasping a hold of CI for their defence:

a) Do these Sikhs, who have conveniently hitched a ride on Heisenberg’s, Bohr’s and Pauli’s CI bandwagon, agree with them and their predecessors, Descartes, Cardinal Ballarmino, Bishop Berkeley, Hume, et alia, that existence is nothing more than perception (esse est percipi)?

b) If so, then since “Naam and God have been described synonymously”, where Naam is “permeating and informing all things, beings, space and interspace”, will they conclude that if matter does not exist until it is observed or perceived, then Waheguru will not be manifest until matter is perceived?

c) According to CI, since matter can only exist as WPD prior to the wavefunction collapse, i.e. before being perceived by a conscious (information processing) observer, how can WPD exist contradictorily, and thus be used in defence of the Nirgun-Sargun contradiction, when a cosmic consciousness is eternally observing all of matter?

d) Out of the many interpretations of WPD, which one will these Sikhs invoke, and what legitimate scientific justification will they provide for accepting one to the exclusion of all others?

e) If Sikhs hold that Waheguru is, if not a part of, then at least greater than his creation (macroscopic world), how will they be able to use CI, and the existence of contradictions in the microscopic world, as an argument for Waheguru existing contradictorily, when CI cannot affect the macroscopic world?

f) If these Sikhs opt for the many worlds interpretation, how will they reconcile between the seemingly endless number of parallel universes and their theology? Would they have to affirm the existence of an equal number of Wahegurus and/ or 10 Gurus also having existed in each respective universe?

CONCLUSION

The cardinal sin that these Sikhs have committed, by hastily and ignorantly jumping on the CI bandwagon, is failing to recognise the inherent danger of attempting to validate religious theology through the exclusive use of science.

Prothero stated:

Most people think that science is about finding the final truth about the world and are surprised to find that science never proves something finally true. But that’s the way the scientific method works, as philosophers of science have long ago demonstrated about the logic of the scientific method. Science is not about final truth or “facts”; it is only about continually testing and trying to falsify our hypotheses, until they are extremely well supported. At that point, the hypothesis becomes a theory (as scientists use the term), which is a well-corroborated set of hypotheses that explain a larger part of the observations about the world. [73]

Project Naad et al. have failed to realise that scientific hypotheses and theories could be open to being falsified.

Carl Popper, as cited by Marmet, said of the original CI proponents:

The Copenhagen interpretation – or, more precisely, the view of the status of quantum mechanics which Bohr and Heisenberg defended – was, quite simply, that quantum mechanics was the last, the final, the never-to-be-surpassed revolution in physics. […] These were claimed to show that physics has reached the end of the road.

Popper concluded:

[T]his epistemological claim I regarded, and still regard, as outrageous. [74]

By putting all of their eggs into such a scientific basket, Project Naad et al. risk an all or nothing outcome, which in relation to religious truth will always be a risky approach.

The ignorance of Project Naad et. al. and the hole which they have dug themselves into becomes even more pronounced and unscalable when one reads the historical research of Prof. Mara Beller, “a distinguished historian of the emergence of quantum physics”, [75] in her excellent work Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution. She wrote:

[C]ontrary to the usual historical account that the heated controversy between Bohr and Heisenberg eventually ended in complete agreement due to Pauli’s skillful intervention, a genuine unanimity of opinion between the two men never occurred. Heisenberg stated clearly in an interview with Kuhn that he never accepted Bohr’s dualistic approach. This is the reason the papers of Jordan and Wigner (1928) on second quantization made him very happy-they demonstrated not that one needs both waves and particles but that one can do it “either way.” “We have,” Heisenberg emphasized, “one mathematical scheme that allows many transformations, but… just one mathematical scheme—-The fact that we can use two kinds of words … is just an indication of the inadequacy of words.” And when Kuhn asked about the γ-ray thought experiment, in which Bohr-contrary to Heisenberg’s first, mistaken account-used both particle and wave features of radiation, Heisenberg insisted: “For explaining the γ-ray experiment, it was useful to play between both pictures- But it was not absolutely essential. You could actually use both languages independently” (interview with Heisenberg, 25 February 1963, AHQP). [76] (bold ours)

What is more, Beller, who according to Smolin “has studied his [Bohr’s] work in detail”, points out that in spite of the fact that Bohr “laid the foundations of the quantum theory of an atom and inspired and supervised the erection of the new quantum theory”, he was yet remarkably “unable, with his heavy administrative duties and limited mathematical knowledge, to participate actively in further developments when the field became too mathematical (chapter 12)”. She reveals:

While Bohr presented himself as a dilettante who had to approach “every new question from a starting point of total ignorance,” Pais graciously remarks that “Bohr’s strength lay in his formidable intuition and insight rather than in erudition” (1991,7).

Bohr’s “formidable intuition” and “subtle reasoning” were often used by the orthodox to certify the Copenhagen interpretation as final and to disarm those who sought an alternative. The legend that Bohr had some sort of access to nature’s secrets, qualitatively different from that of other mortals, directly discouraged critical dialogue. This legend is supported by another, peculiar claim-unlike other theoretical physicists, Bohr did not need to calculate in order to obtain “the truth.” Blaedel’s is a typical statement: “Perhaps his intuition allowed him to grasp things when others needed calculations” (1988, 11). Bohr’s personal limitation is thus uncritically transformed into a strength. [77] (bold, underline ours)

Such an approach would be equivalent to a person with no knowledge of Gurmukhi, the language of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, attempting to make an internal critique and an exegetical study of the Sikh’s holy book from the point of view of its language! No Sikh would stand for that.

In light of all the above, it is clearly apparent that jumping on the CI bandwagon has, rather than support Project Naad et al., exposed their ignorance and further compounded their situation vis-á-vis their defence of the falsehood that is Nirgun-Sargun.

They essentially have three options:

  1. Provide a comprehensive response to the questions we have raised so as to defend their adopted position.
  2. Abandon this seemingly hopeless stance and forward something more robust.
  3. Or be sincere and honest enough to recognise the Truth of what we have been saying all along: The Nirgun-Sargun theology-proper is contradictory; thus, Sikhism is false, precisely because of the fact that the a priori LnC is inviolable.

In the end, it would have been better if Project Naad et al. had been more critically minded and adopted the astute position delineated by well-known writer, G.S. Sidhu, who wisely said in his work Sikh Religion and Science

Scientific theories keep changing for years and years until one particular theory is accepted in the hope that no one at any time will be able to disprove it. For example, Newton first advanced ‘The corpuscular theory’ of light, proving that light is a stream of particles thrown out by a luminous source and always travels in a straight line. Later, this was disproved when reflection, refraction and diffraction of light were brought into play. ‘The corpuscular Theory’ gave way to ‘the wave theory’ but soon even this theory lost its appeal and “the quantum theory” of indivisible photons was advanced to replace it. At present, light is considered both as a wave and a particle at the same time (Theory of Waveparticle duality). Sometimes it behaves like a wave and at other times as a particle and this behaviour is un-predictable. Einstein also proved that light could bend. Future research may even question this stand. [78] (bold ours)

One of the great Muslim scholars of the late 20th century, Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, likewise warned against the inherent dangers of this approach vis-á-vis the Qur’an:

There are some risks involved in interpreting the Qur’an according to modern theories. That is because, if we interpret the Qur’an according to those theories, then other theories are produced which contradict them; this implies that the Qur’an will be incorrect in the view of the enemies of Islam. The Muslims would say that the error is in the understanding of the one who interpreted the Qur’an in that manner, but the enemies of Islam are always watching for an opportunity to attack Islam. Hence, we must exercise the utmost caution against rushing into interpreting the Qur’an according to these scientific matters. We must leave these alone and let matters take their course. If it is proven that some of these theories are correct, we do not need to say that the Qur’an has already proven it, the Qur’an was revealed for the purpose of worship and moral, and for people to ponder its meanings. Allaah says:

“(This is) a Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” (Qur’an Surah Saad 38:29)
It was not revealed concerning these matters which are subject to experimentation and which people study as part of their scientific quest. …

But for us to distort the meaning of the Qur’an and to try to make it fit this event, this is not correct and is not permitted. [79]

Subhanakallaahuma wa bi hamdika, ash-Shahaadu al-Laa ilaaha illa Ant, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka.

[1] Sikhism, Science and Quantum Physics, (Project Naad; accessed: 11 Oct 2007), p. 10.
[2] Ibid.
[3] M. Tegmark (1997), The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: Many Worlds or Many Words?, (Cornell University Library, 7 Oct. 2007).
[4] Paul Marmet (1932-2005) was professor of physics at Laval University, Quebec, for over 20 years, and author of over 100 papers in electron microscopy. He was president of the Canadian Association of Physicists and received the Order of Canada. For more on the author, one can visit his website.
[5] P. Marmet, Absurdities in Modern Physics: A Solution, (Newton Physics; accessed: 24 Sept 2010), Section 1-1.
[6] Ibid., Section 1-2: Fn.1.3: Kant cited by Popper, Karl R., Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics, Totowa (New Jersey), Rowman and Littlefield, 1982, p. 229.
[7] D.R. Prothero (2007), Evolution What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters, (Columbia University Press, New York), p. 4.
[8] Ibid., pp. 4-5.
[9] L. Smolin (2008), The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next, (Penguin Books, Clays Ltd, St Ives plc), p. xvi:
Fn. 7: Lisa Randall, “Designing Words,” in Intelligent Thought: Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement, ed. John Brockman (New York: Vintage, 2006).
[10] Ibid., p. 352.
[11] P. Marmet (2000), Frequently Asked Questions About Why Quantum Mechanics is Non-sense? Series #8, (accessed: 24 Sept. 2010).

God alludes to this a priori position in the Qur’an with a three-fold question that leads to the inevitable conclusion that nothing created comes into existence without a cause:

Or were they created from nothing? Or did they create themselves? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm belief. (Qur’an 52:35-6)

Ibn Kathir Ad-Damishqi (d.1372CE) commented:

Allah asks them, were they created without a maker or did they create themselves. Neither is true. Allah is the One Who created them and brought them into existence after they were nothing.
– Ibn Kathir (2000), Tafsir Ibn Kathir Abridged Vol. 9, (Darussalam Publishers & Distributors), p. 297.

[12] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 1-2.
[13] P. Marmet (2000), op. cit.
[14] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 1-2.
[15] Ibid., Fn. 1.5: Heisenberg, Werner, Physics and Philosophy, the Revolution in Modern Science, New York, Harper and Row, 1966, p. 88.
[16] Ibid., Fn. 1.6: Greenberger, Daniel, Discussion remarks at the Symposium on Fundamental Questions in Quantum Mechanics, Albany, SUNY, April 1984.
[17] Ibid., Fn. 1.7: Feynman, Richard P., The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1988, p. 10.
[18] L. Smolin, op. cit., pp. 353-4.
[19] P. Marmet, op. cit.
[20] Ibid., Section 1-4.
[21] M. Chown (2004), Quantum rebel wins over doubters, (New Scientist, Vol.183/2457, 24 July 2004), p. 30-5.
[22] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 1-4.
[23] Ibid.
[24] Ibid., Fn.1.17: Heisenberg, Werner, Physics and Philosophy, the Revolution in Modern Science, New York, Harper and Row, 1966, p. 40.
[25] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 1-6.
Fn. 1.21: 1.21 Heisenberg, Werner, Physics and Philosophy, the Revolution in Modern Science, New York, Harper and Row, 1966, p. 84.
[26] Also known as: collapse of the wavefunction state vector; collapse of the state vector; reduction of the wave packet.
[27] S. Harrison and P. Dunham (1998), Decoherence, Quantum Theory and Their Implications for the Philosophy of Geomorphology, (Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers); Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 23, No. 4), p. 505.
[28] D. Berlinski (2008), The Devil’s Delusion, (Crown Publishing Group, New York), pp. 93-4.
[29] Ibid., p. 99.
[30] B. Rosenblum, F. Kuttner (2008), Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness, (Oxford University Press US), p. 79.
[31] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 2-1.
Fn. 2.1: Cramer, John G., “The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics”, in Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 58, No. 3, 1986, p. 673.
[32] Ibid.
[33] R.P. Feynman (1990), QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, (Penguin Books, London), p. 9.
[34] B. Rosenblum, F. Kuttner, op. cit., p. 108.
[35] D. Home (1997), Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Physics: An Overview from Modern Perspectives, (Springer), p. 272.
[36] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 1-6.
Fn. 1.21: 1.21 Heisenberg, Werner, Physics and Philosophy, the Revolution in Modern Science, New York, Harper and Row, 1966, p.84.
[37] Ibid., Section 1-5. Fn.1.19: Berkeley, George, A New Theory of Vision, and Other Writings, New York, Everyman’s library, 1963, p. 114.
[38] Ibid., Fn. 1.20: Berkeley, George, A New Theory of Vision, and Other Writings, New York, Everyman’s library, 1963, p. 115-116.
[39] Ibid., Section 1-6.
[40] D. Singh, K Singh (1997), Sikhism – Its Philosophy and History, (Institute of Sikh Studies, New Delhi), p. 38.
[41] P. Singh (1985), Sikh Concept of the Divine, (Guru Nanak Dev University Press, Amritsar), p. 129.
[42] Ibid., p. 131.
[43] Ibid., p. 134.
[44] P. Singh (1985), Sikh Concept of the Divine, (Guru Nanak Dev University Press, Amritsar), p. 135.
[45] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 1-4.
[46] A. Jabs (1992), An Interpretation of the Formalism of Quantum Mechanics in Terms of Epistemological Realism, (Brit J Philos Sci 43: 405-421), pp. 405-6.
[47] P. Singh (1985), Sikh Concept of the Divine, (Guru Nanak Dev University Press, Amritsar), p. 147.
[48] W.L. Craig (1990), ‘What Place, Then, for a Creator?’: Hawking on God and Creation, (The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 41, No. 4), p. 482.
[49] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 1-1.
Fn. 1.2: Cramer, John G., “The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics”, in Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 58, No. 3, July 1986, p. 649.
[50] Ibid.
[51] M. Brooks (2010), Weirdest of the Weird, (New Scientist Magazine, 08-06-2010), p. 38.
[52] D. Home, J. Gribbin (1991), What is Light?, (New Scientist Magazine, 02-11- 1991), p. 30.
[53] D. Home (1997), Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Physics: An Overview from Modern Perspectives, (Springer), p. 275.
[54] M. Chown (2004), op. cit.
[55] M. Brooks (2010), Rise of the Quantum Machines, (New Scientist Magazine, 26-06-2010), p. 35.
[56] D. Home, J. Gribbin, op. cit.
[57] B. Rosenblum, F.Kuttner (2008), Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness, (Oxford University Press US), p. 156.
[58] J.S. Bell (1989), Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Physics, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge), p. 192.
[59] Ibid., p. 194.
[60] M. Brooks (2010), Weirdest of the Weird, (New Scientist Magazine, 08-06-2010), p. 42.
[61] B. Rosenblum, F.Kuttner (2008), Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness, (Oxford University Press US), pp. 159-61.
[62] M. McKee (2006), Introduction: Quantum World, (New Scientist Magazine, Sept).
[63] F.J. Tipler (1988), The Anthropic Principle: A Primer for Philosophers, (Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1988, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1988), pp. 27-48), p. 38.
[64] D Berlinski, op. cit., p. 100.
[65] M. Chown (2004), op. cit.
[66] Wikipedia (2010), Penrose Interpretation, (Ed. 11 Aug 2010).
[67] Fn. 4: “It sometimes seems as if there are as many different attempts to understand quantum mechanics as there are people who have seriously made the attempt” (Healey 1989, 2). In fact, it is difficult even to list all the exciting interpretive work being done nowadays as an alternative to the Copenhagen interpretation. The recent volume on Bohmian-de Broglie alternatives edited by Cushing, Fine, and Goldstein (1996) includes such notable examples as Durr, Goldstein, and Zanghi (1996) and Valentini (19%). For an overview of this interpretive work, see Redhead (1987) and Cushing (19%).
[68] M. Beller (2001), Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution, (University of Chicago Press), p. 106.
[69] P. Marmet, op. cit.
Fn. 2.3: Van Zandt, L. L., “Separation of the Microscopic and Macroscopic Domains”, in American Journal of Physics, Vol. 45, No. 1, 1977, p. 55.
[70] Ibid., Fn. 2.4: Yurke, B., Stoler, D., “The Dynamic Generation of Schrödinger Cats and Their Detection”, in Physica B, Vol. 151, 1988, p. 300.
[71] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 2-1.
[72] L. Smolin, op. cit., pp. 8-9.
[73] D.R. Prothero, op. cit., p. 5.
[74] P. Marmet, op. cit., Section 1-2.
[75] Review of Beller’s Quantum Dialogue (University of Chicago Press, 1999) by Jeremy Butterfield, philosopher of Physics at the University of Cambridge, who described the work as “a very impressive book” and said that “future work on the early history of quantum theory, and especially on the history of the Copenhagen interpretation, starts here”.
[76] M. Beller, op. cit., p. 226.
[77] Ibid., p. 271.
[78] G.S. Sidhu, Sikh Religion and Science, (e-book; accessed: 24 Sept 2010), pp. 21-22.
[79] M. ibn S. al-‘Uthaymeen, Fataawa ash-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, (Islam Question and Answer; accessed: 23 Sept 2010), pp. 150-152.

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