Quantum idealist apologetics has several unique features that provide a significant advantage when arguing with atheists. However some have also raised theological issues with it. While I think these issues are soluble, might it be possible to translate some of the advantages of associated with physics-based idealist apologetics into a dualist framework for those who prefer dualism for theological reasons? Recently, I have come up with just such an idea, and I think it can be given good theological support too.
This idea relates to the strongest edge idealist apologetics has, namely all of the experimental and theoretical physics. The philosophical issues with dualism still remain such as the interaction problem, the problem of explanatory continuity (the problem of explaining material effects and creations from immaterial causes and creators) and parsimony. However atheists are not prone to focusing on philosophy they consider dry and abstract anyway. Plus the hard-and-fast physics that forces people to face the immediate reality of it, is what really gives it the edge. So how can physics that appears to support idealism be useful for dualists to make apologetic arguments as well? First, it may be helpful to briefly review exactly what this physics is.
- Quantum Non-Realism: Recent astonishing experiments in quantum mechanics, such as the tests of the Leggett inequality or the Kochen-Specker theorem have continued to pile up falsifying what is known as realism in quantum mechanics, the idea that objects exist prior to us looking at them.
- Digital Physics and Emergent Spacetime: Quantum entanglement, the phenomenon where two particles can affect each other at vast distances provides evidence that space is not fundamental. Further research into quantum gravity explains this in terms of spacetime being a construct generated by quantum information. This research in turn reveals numerous uncanny parallels between the weirdnesses of modern physics and the information processing artifacts seen in computer games.
- Quantum Cognition: Cognitive science is now revealing that the so-called fuzzy logic that we use when we hesitate in decision making, or in making up our minds, bears a precise mathematical correlation to quantum superpositioning, the superpositioning of multiple possible states of a particle before it is measured and collapsed into a single distinct object with distinct properties. If this is to be taken literally and not just as an uncanny mathematical coincidence, when combined with emergent spacetime research this state exists beneath spacetime rather than inside it. Thus it would tell us that mentality exists beneath spacetime and that physical reality depends on it.
All of this seems to paint a very idealistic picture: Matter doesn’t exist before we look, physical reality behaves like a simulation, and that simulation is the product of a mind. However if we look at it closely, all of this same physics can be used to support a dualistic picture of reality as well, just so long as that dualism also happens to be theistic in nature. Let me explain.
According to theism, God not only exists and created the universe, but also currently upholds the universe as well. Hebrews 1:3 states that God “upholds all things by the word of His power.” Meaning God actively sustains the universe in existence as well. If God were to cease this activity the universe would suddenly cease to exist.
However when we realize what God is, this act of sustaining the universe suddenly takes on new meaning. God is a mind, and minds process information. Thus even if the universe is not a grand simulation in God’s mind, the universe is being upheld by thoughts in God’s mind even if said universe is material as dualism would posit rather than being mental. This is further corroborated by “the word of His power” being what God upholds the world with. Words are of course information, or if you will, a “program.” If there is some part of creation that does not correspond to these “words,” then that part will not exist since it is not being sustained by God. Thus there must be an exact 1-to-1 correspondence between all of the parts of creation and God’s “words” or “information.” Furthermore, this will remain true even if the parts of creation corresponding to God’s words are of a separate material substance.
This gives us a brand new way to look at the physics that could be used to support theism on dualism as well. The matter is being upheld in an exact 1-to-1 correspondence to the thoughts in God’s mind. Thus though it need not be an immaterial “program” itself, it perfect maps to such a program, and thus would necessarily behave as though it were a program, even if it is not. This would explain why digital physics and quantum gravity support the idea that the world looks like it is an information construct, even if it is material.
Furthermore, this would provide a nice explanation for non-realism. The moment some aspect of the world is not upheld by God’s mind, it suddenly disappears. Thus if God sustains the material world, it would behave as though it were an informational projection. Why? Because in a sense it still would be a “projection,” only God’s “projection” of matter rather than a matrix-like construct. The moment He stops projecting it, is the moment it would disappear.
When it comes to quantum cognition, wherein mental states exist within the wavefunction, this could also fit nicely within a dualistic framework so long as certain distinctions are made. The wavefunction is non-local and thus beneath space. However matter requires space to exist within. Matter without spatial extension is a contradiction in terms. Thus the wavefunction would necessarily be immaterial. So if ideas being processed in quantum cognition are identical with the quantum information in the wavefunction, the ideas, and thus any mind processing them, would be immaterial as well.
God’s mind would then be an immaterial mind existing outside spacetime and yet would uphold a separate material creation within spacetime, thereby creating a dualistic division between material and immaterial. Thus the same physics that could be used to argue for idealism could also be used to argue for God on a dualistic metaphysics wherein God upholds a material world with His words/thoughts.