Certainty and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

In the Kalam Cosmological argument for the existence of God is as follows:

1. What begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore the universe is caused.

Atheists are fond of making fun of this by asking “what caused God?” but they seem to not grasp that (1) only deals with things that begin to exist, and God does not begin to exist.”Category mistake” does not seem to be a term they grasp very well.

Another popular way of trying to dismiss the Kalam argument is appealing to sub-atomic theoretical physics, by claiming that atomic particles come into existence without a cause. Part of the explanation involves the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and quantum physics.

Theoretical sub-atomic physics is quite complex, and I do not claim to be authoritative in the field. However, upon researching a few popular sources on the subject, hardly anyone else seems to be either. At least, lack of authoritative knowledge of the subject does not appear to stop very many people from using quantum mechanics as as an alleged disproof of the Kalam argument. In response, I submit the following.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, according to the definitions I have found, claims that an atomic particle cannot have its present location and future momentum measured at the same time. This is due to a limitation of physics and the fact that our measurement disrupts the particles that we are trying to observe. Atheists then take this principle and, through a series of steps, maintain that particles come into and out of existence routinely, from “nothing” and with no cause.

While I do not claim to speak authoritatively on quantum physics, I do know a thing or two about human nature, and when people try hard enough, they can make some large leaps of logic and make the explanation sound quite convincing. Forgive me if I do not put much faith in an atheist who takes a theory about the unknowability of the location a particle and uses it to prove that particles come into existence from nothing and without a cause.

It also strikes me as unsound to appeal to the world of sub-atomic quantum worlds, which are not fully understood, to try to disprove a concept which is quite well understood, namely that no thing can arise without a cause.

The whole thing also reeks of pushing the question of the cause of the universe back one more step, which is no explanation at all. So far I have found no explanations for the causes of “quantum fluctuations” which are the alleged source of all the particles in the universe. It appears we do not need an explanation for what the turtle is standing on because it is standing on another turtle.

As for me, I will remain more than a bit skeptical, not of the quantum world, but of the human explanations of the way the quantum world works, and I’ll stick with what takes much less faith. The quantum explanations strike me as needing much grander faith than a mustard seed.

(by the way, one list of the many different interpretations of quantum mechanics can be found here)

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About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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One Response to Certainty and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

  1. Pingback: Nothing, Quantum Fluctuations, and the Cheshire Cat | Thomistic Bent

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