sarvasya cähaà hådi sanniviñöo
Therefore the Lord appeared, and He made arrangements that His devotees appeared to re-establish that Supreme Science through the Parampara.
IBSA (ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Sadhana Asrama),
Govardhana, India 22 December 2003
by Suhotra swami
In the entry here for 10 December I asked:
Do you know that Darwin's theory of evolution is derived from the Newtonian worldview? Do you know that from the standpoint of the quantum physical worldview, Darwinian evolution stands upon no scientific foundation whatsoever?
I thought it might be interesting to consider why this is so.
In Evolution at a Crossroads, a book published in 1985, David J. Depew and Bruce H. Weber write on page 254, "Darwin's theory was an explicit extension of the Newtonian paradigm to the biosphere..." Leading quantum theoreticians like Werner Heisenberg were openly doubtful of Darwin's ploy of appealing to Newtonian physics to explain the origin of life.
One of the simplest presentations of the incompatibility of Newtonian Darwinism and quantum physics is offered by the eminent Cambridge physicist Fred Hoyle in Chapter Eight of his 1983 book, The Intelligent Universe. The crux of the problem is the boundary between what Hoyle calls the macroworld (the world of everyday experience) and the microworld (the world at the atomic scale). The macroworld, which to some extent is apparent to our senses, is thought by quantum physicists to be sustained by the energy constantly traded back and forth within the vast swarm of invisible subatomic particles that make up the universe.
Hoyle writes that the official line regarding the scientific relationship between macroworld and microworld is that
...quantum mechanics leads to essentially the same results as used to be calculated in the days before quantum mechanics, results of a predictable or deterministic kind in which one large-scale event was said to be the cause of another. On an atomic scale things were different, however, because the usual concept of cause and effect dissolved into indeterminancy.
To make this clearer: it is supposed that many quantum events average out in the macroworld as mechanical, and thus predictable, certainties. In the microworld, on the other hand, a singular event like the path an electron takes within a sealed container is decided by the consciousness of the observer.
If you're wondering how that works, well, even physicists don't agree; and their conclusion is that it can't really be explained. Anyway, what follows is my own attempt to draw a verbal picture of the role of consciousness in quantum mechanics.
The word "quantum" is employed by scientists to indicate a tiny unit of energy that cannot be directly observed. All matter is reduced by quantum theory down to such quantum units. An example of a quantum unit is a photon, which can be conceived of as a point-particle of light. (Let me interject here that many physicists are hesitant about declarations that a photon really is a point particle...however, it is OK to think that way for practicality's sake.) A photon travels though space and time riding a "probability wave." The word probability is used to indicate that a photon's movement can only be discussed in potential terms, not certain terms.
Imagine a tropical ocean wave rolling in to a lovely island beach. Riding the wave is a surfer who symbolizes the photon particle. The strange thing here is that quantum theory says that while he rides the wave, the surfer-photon occupies no certain place. He may be considered to be anywhere along the whole wavefront. Then--in the jargon of quantum physicists--"the wavefunction collapses" when the wave touches the beach. The surfer-photon pops into view at one unforeseeable point somewhere on the beach along what was the whole front of the wave. The surfer is a pinpoint but where he lands cannot be predicted with pinpoint accuracy. Therefore photons and all subatomic particles (electrons, protons, neutrons, etc.) are called wave-particles, since they are particles (or seem to be particles; as I said, some physicists aren't sure) that travel like waves. The beach is the consciousness of the observer. Before light is observed, the most that can be said about it is that it exists in a state of fuzzy uncertainty.
Unobserved light is not there, it is...well, somewhere. Only when we see it, is it there. Though "facts" such as visible light are supposed to emerge out of the uncertainty of the microworld, it is strange that moment by moment, the facts of the macroworld around us appear stable. Quantum physics says that the point-particles that make up the computer keyboard I am using to type these words are by chance dancing in patterns that somehow cause the form of the keyboard to arise in my consciousness as a solid object of steady reality.
And so it goes that phenomena in the microworld are not predictable with the kind of certainty that says, for example, "Paper will ignite if I touch a burning match to it." That sort of certainty--which is independent of my observation, in that paper touched by a burning match will ignite whether I see it or not--is limited to the macroworld. Such certainty is called deterministic. Microworld events depend upon conscious observation. They are therefore indeterministic.
If this difference between the macroworld and microworld was real, it might relieve the tension between the Darwinian and the quantum mechanical positions. Then quantum uncertainty would apply only to subatomic events, with evolution ticking on like clockwork, independent of consciousness, as a regular function of the macroworld. But Hoyle argues that scientists maintain this difference only by deception. Their purpose is to "try to avoid the involvement of consciousness."
He offers a thought-experiment to show how it might be impossible to distinguish a macroworld event from a microworld event:
It would easily be possible for an experimental physicist to arrange that the explosion of a huge bomb was triggered by just one quantum event--a single electron tripping a switch, for example. So enormous events in the macroworld could be dependent on the outcome of an individual quantum event. How then was one to decide the outcome of such a link between the microworld and the macroworld? Unless one were to ignore quantum mechanics, the outcome of even enormous events like a bomb destroying a whole city could not be decided by calculation. The decision about whether the explosion happened or not would have to come from the actual act of observation, through one's consciousness. It could therefore be that events of overwhelming practical importance were actually quite unpredictable, outside the usual chain of cause and effect.
Perhaps you find it difficult to follow Hoyle's explanation. It boils down to this question: How much does the macroworld--the world in which the Darwinists say evolution occurs as a mechanical series of natural events--actually depend on conscious supervision? Keep in mind that the orthodox Darwinian position is that the events of nature give rise to consciousness. Hence consciousness depends upon nature, not vice versa. But quantum mechanics, when understood free of the deception tagged by Hoyle, may point to the opposite conclusion: the events of nature are completely dependent upon consciousness. Indeed, this is the Vedic conclusion.
A close look at the arguments of the evolutionists reveals that they confuse the issue of whether natural events direct consciousness or consciousness directs natural events. This confusion is evident in the arguments for natural selection. According to Charles Darwin, natural selection is the process by which nature organizes and improves life forms. Note the language Darwin himself used to explain it:
Natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing throughout the world, the slightest variations, rejecting those that are bad, preserving and adding up all that are good, silently and insensibly working...
On the one hand, Darwin wrote that natural selection is "scrutinizing." The act of scrutinizing requires consciousness. On the other hand, he used the word "insensibly" to depict the way natural selection works. The dictionary lists "unconscious" as a synonym for the word insensible.
As Hoyle explains in Chapter Ten of The Intelligent Universe, the term "natural selection" was coined in 1831 by Patrick Matthew to distinguish it from "artificial selection" directed by the intelligence of man. If natural selection is indeed an unintelligent function of blind Newtonian physics, there is no sense in describing it as an act of scrutiny. But Darwinists seem unable to shake themselves free of the language of consciousness. That is because their theory is meant to explain the appearance of sentient life forms, which are by definition conscious and intelligent. Logic (the law of thought and speech) works against the notion of something unconscious and unintelligent giving rise to something that is conscious and intelligent.
And so the arguments of the evolutionists are pervaded by a profound contradiction. This is abundantly evident in a 1997 essay entitled "Can Science Reassure?" by Dr. Geoff Watts, a science reporter for a British television channel. Here he tells of a computer program devised by two Swedish scientists, Nilsson and Pelger, that simulates the evolution of the eye. Excerpts:
As would happen naturally in successive generations of a real organism, Nilsson and Pelger allowed their model to deform itself at random, but within fixed limits. Playing the part of Nature red in tooth and claw, they programmed the computer to select only those of the random changes that improved the "fitness" of the system...
Step by step-unscripted, unrehearsed, and with no pre-ordained goal-the patch of light-sensitive cells modelled within the computer will turn itself into a perfectly "designed" eye.
Dr. Watts is playing a game in which he reserves for himself the right to move the goalposts whenever he likes. He maintains the difference between "natural" and "artificial" selection only by a transparent trick of word-jugglery. Casting two human scientists in the role of nature, he tells us they programmed a computer (clearly an act of consciousness and intelligence) to duplicate natural selection. Then he breezily reports how their computer will run without a script, rehearsal or goal to model an eye. Regrettably, Dr. Watts on computer technology needs a Sherlock to set him straight. A computer program is most definitely a script...a script that is debugged in the course of many rehearsals...a script that is devised by intelligent programmers to reach a particular goal they have in mind from the start.
Darwin's Theory Gone Ape........
Randomness by Design - Origins
Divine "WAtchmaker" - Design must have had a Designer - William Paley