Reader Omer Abid points us to Serkan Zorba’s article “God is Random: A New Perspective on Evolution and Creationism”, which has concepts of interest to all of us (Abid asked me to look into this not quite two years ago, so you can see I’m a tad behind in my emails).
Regular readers know, and I prove in Uncertainty, that random means unknown. Random is an epistemological concept and not an ontological one: there is no “random force” as there is, say, a gravitational force.
With that, here is Zorba (jumping in about half way down).
Thus I will propound that generation and “understanding” of absolute randomness requires infinite intelligence. I will dare to speculate that true randomness observed in nature is a strong indication, if not the “proof,” of the existence of an infinitely intelligent entity (God). Absolute randomness is a telltale sign of God.
One way of seeing this is as follows. Perfect randomness is when the result of an event is independent of the past and future influences. That means the event is not determined by any physical cause although it transpires in our physical universe, but rather by what I will call a ‘transcause,’ a cause originating beyond our phenomenal level.
When a “wave function” “collapses”, if that is what really happens, it collapses to a specific value. The (conditional) probability, a function of the wave (the conditions), can be calculated that this specific value will result. Now this value before it results it is only a potential. Some thing actual must actualize this potential and so make the final state an actuality. If Bell is right, we cannot know what this actualizer is; but that it must exist is a truism. It cannot be that nothing actualized the potential, because nothing is not-a-thing, and nothing has no powers. It must be that some thing actual with power to actualize did the actualizing. Zorba will call this a “transcause”, which is as good a name as any, and maybe a better name than most.
Incidentally, Heisenberg spoke in exactly this Aristotelian language when he philosophized about quantum mechanics. Uncertainty has details on this.
I differ from Zorba in calling quantum events “independent.” I deprecate this word in statistics, too, and use instead relevancy. Prior knowledge of some proposition (event) is either relevant or irrelevant to some new proposition. To use “independent” is to say two events are not causally related, and in the case of transcauses (to use his fine word), since we have no idea of the reasoning behind the cause of the first event, we necessarily do not have it of the second. Two events may very well be, in the perspective of the transcause, dependent.
Furthermore, the independence of such random behavior of the past and future influences—a sort of memorylessness—is, I assert, indistinguishable from having a timeless omniscience, as the knowledge of the past and the future must really be known to truly render a correlationless behavior. Thus the introduced ‘transcausality’, by virtue of its having infinite computational wherewithal, implies the existence and intervention of a metaphysical and categorically-different intelligence, which I will name ‘transintelligence’.
‘Transcausality’ necessarily implies non-locality, which is a fundamental feature of quantum mechanics. Furthermore, the discontinuous and seemingly non-algorithmic character of wavefunction collapse also dovetails well with the idea of ‘transcausality.’
Well, we cannot claim “memorylessness”, especially if we’re going to, as Zorba does, equate transcausality with God. And we have to be careful about correlation, too. If we use it in the sense of relevancy, we’re on solid epistemological ground; but as lacking-causal-connection, we are not. (Besides, statisticians have the bad habit of speaking of correlation as if it only involves straight line undefined—perhaps causal, perhaps not—“links”.)
Non-locality, of course, applies to our material world. Since God is at the base of all existence, the First and Sustaining Cause of all (see the beginning of this series), Zorba’s suggestion makes sense. God is not here now, and there later. In a crude analogy, if you think of the universe right now emanating from a single point, a singularity, all points and all times are present to this singularity at once, which puts this singularity in the perfect time-place to be a (the) transcause.
I’ll skip over the bits about how our intellects work, which brings up many subjects, such as induction (such as also discussed in Uncertainty).
I thus posit that the information-laden perfect randomness observed in nature at the microscopic level entails the existence of an “oracle,” a transintelligence, namely, an omniscient being. To further identify this Being with God–who is conceptually defined as omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect–is not facilely accomplished, albeit such identification is not uncommon.
The transintelligent being inferred in this article must be omniscient and omnipotent due to the proposed ontological (creation/selection of quantum events) and epistemological (information-theoretic nature of the irreducible randomness of the quantum world) connection. Linking omniscience/omnipotence to moral perfection, as assumed or done in various forms of ontological argument (e.g., in Plantinga’s modal argument), is beyond the scope of this article.
(About Plantinga’s version of an onotological argument, click here; and don’t miss the comment by Paul Brandon Rimmer.)
Zorba’s kicker is this: “If God is, by definition, infinite, absolute and singular, then, generally speaking, in what other pattern will a finite being—such as a human being—perceive Him other than randomness?”
This is far from a proof, though I agree with Zorba’s aim. God is “mysterious” in the sense that we do not know why this wave “collapsed” to this point. Of course, this hinges on the absolute correctness of quantum mechanics as it is now known. If, say, next week string theorists finally convince the world they know of what they speak, then would Zorba’s argument be weakened? Probably not, because (as far as I understand it) string theorists have no answer to what is actualizing the potentials of strings, either.