Last month we explored the recent experiments which appear to have succeeded in the "teleportation" of subatomic particles, suggestive of the "Beam-me-up-Scotty" episodes from the popular Star Trek TV series. These phenomena shatter our traditional conceptions of the material universe and what we perceive as reality.
Dual Nature of Particles
In 1906, J. J. Thomson received the Nobel Prize for proving that electrons are particles. In 1937 he saw his son awarded the Nobel Prize for proving that electrons were waves. Both father and son were correct. From then on, the evidence for the wave/particle duality has become overwhelming. This chameleon-like ability is common to all subatomic particles - called quanta, they can manifest themselves either as particles or waves. What makes them even more astonishing is that there is compelling evidence that the only time quanta ever manifest as particles are when we are looking at them .
The Danish physicist Niels Bohr pointed out that if subatomic particles only come into existence in the presence of an observer, then it is meaningless to speak of a particle's properties and characteristics as existing before they are observed. But if the act of observation actually helped create such properties, what did that imply about the future of science?
Anyone who isn't shocked by quantum physics has not understood it.
It gets worse. Some subatomic processes result in the creation of a pair of particles with identical or closely related properties. Quantum physics predicts that attempts to measure complementary characteristics of the pair - even when traveling in opposite directions - would always be frustrated. Such strange behavior would imply that they would have to be interconnected in some way so as to be instantaneously in communication with each other.
One physicist who was deeply troubled by Bohr's assertions was Albert Einstein. Despite the role Einstein had played in the founding of quantum theory, he was not pleased with the course the fledgling science had taken. In 1935 Einstein and his colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen published their now-famous paper, "Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?"1
The problem, according to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, is that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. The instantaneous communication implied by the view of quantum physics would be tantamount to breaking the time barrier and would open the door to all kinds of unacceptable paradoxes. Einstein and his colleagues were convinced that no "reasonable definition" of reality would permit such faster-than-light interconnections to exist and therefore Bohr had to be wrong. Their argument is now known as the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox, or EPR paradox for short.
Bohr remained unperturbed by Einstein's argument. Rather than believing that some kind of faster-than-light communication was taking place, he offered another explanation. If subatomic particles do not exist until they are observed, then one could no longer think of them as independent "things." Thus Einstein was basing his argument on an error when he viewed twin particles as separate. They were part of an indivisible system, and it was meaningless to think of them otherwise. In time, most physicists sided with Bohr and became content that his interpretation was correct.
One factor that contributed to Bohr's following was that quantum physics had proved so spectacularly successful in predicting phenomena, few physicists were willing to even consider the possibility that it might be faulty in some way. The entire industries of lasers, microelectronics, and computers have emerged on the reliability of the predictions of quantum physics. The popular CalTech physicist Richard Feynman has summed it up well:
I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics... In fact, it is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. Some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it, in fact, is that it is unquestionably correct.
The Cosmos as a Hyper-Hologram?
There seems to be evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it are only ghostly images, projections from a level of reality so beyond our own that the real reality is literally beyond both space and time. The main architect of this astonishing idea includes one of the world's most eminent thinkers: University of London physicist David Bohm, a protg of Einstein's and one of the world's most respected quantum physicists.
Bohm's work in plasma physics in the 1950s is considered a landmark. Earlier, at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, he noticed that in plasmas (gases composed of high-density electrons and positive ions) the particles stopped behaving like individuals and started behaving as if they were part of a larger and interconnected whole. Moving to Princeton University in 1947, there too he continued his work in the behavior of oceans of particles, noting their highly organized overall effects and their behavior, as if they knew what each of the untold trillions of individual particles was doing.
One of the implications of Bohm's view has to do with the nature of location. Bohm's interpretation of quantum physics indicated that at the subquantum level location ceased to exist . All points in space become equal to all other points in space, and it was meaningless to speak of anything as being separate from anything else. Physicists call this property "nonlocality."
The web of subatomic particles that compose our physical universe - the very fabric of "reality" itself - possesses what appears to be an undeniable "holographic" property. Paul Davis of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, observed that since all particles are continually interacting and separating, "the nonlocal aspects of quantum systems is therefore a general property of nature."2
The Nature of Reality
One of Bohm's most startling suggestions is that the tangible reality of our everyday lives is really a kind of illusion, like a holographic image. Underlying it is a deeper order of existence, a vast and more primary level of reality that gives birth to all the objects and appearances of our physical world in much the same way that a piece of holographic film gives birth to a hologram. Bohm calls this deeper level of reality the implicate ("enfolded") order and he refers to our level of existence the explicate (unfolded) order.3
This view is not inconsistent with the Biblical presentation of the physical ("explicate") world as being subordinate to the spiritual ("implicate") world as the superior reality. 4
The holographic paradigm is still a developing concept and riddled with controversies. For decades, science has chosen to ignore evidences that do not fit the standard theories. However, the volume of evidence has now reached the point that denial is no longer a viable option.
The Bible is, of course, unique in that it has always presented a universe of more than three dimensions,5 and revealed a Creator that is transcendent over His creation. 6 It is the only "holy book" that demonstrates these contemporary insights.
Paul Davis has summarized it provocatively: "It is as if the entire universe was nothing more than a thought in the mind of God."
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This article was excerpted from Chuck's book, Cosmic Codes - Hidden Messages From the Edge of Eternity, Chapter 23.