Modern Physics and Culture
We know that photons move at a maximum possible velocity, the so-calleddilatation of time being for them infinitely large and the length contraction infi-nitely small. If an observer on the Earth detects that photon flew toward us fromdistant galaxy e.g., five billion years, the observer located directly on it
—whichis of course only a thought experiment—would state that between its emissionfrom galaxy and the arrival on the Earth there did not elapse a split second. J.Gribbin, the well-known propagator of physics, considers this idea as a basis for better understanding of several mysteries of modern physics. It is described in
more detail elsewhere.
Many conclusions following from the theory of relativ-ity are interesting for both cosmology and theology. The reader can learn moreabout it in the well-founded and competent contributions published in a volumi-nous collection titled
Physics, Philosophy and Theology
as well as in a series of other popularization publications.
Also the paradigm of quantum physicsstrongly influenced the human thought. It was not only shown that it could con-tribute significantly to the better understanding of the functioning of the brain
but it also provided us with incontrovertible proofs of the existence of a certainholistic interdependence in the whole micro-world (perturbation of the so-called
and famous Aspect’s measurements
), and literally burdenedthe human knowledge with a sort of indeterminism (expressed by the well-
known Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle) conditioned by the mysterious cha-otic dynamics, the genesis of which is unknown to us. As we shall see later, thishas far-reaching consequences for philosophy and theology because it is allied
e.g., with the problems of understanding God’s omnipotence and omniscience.
The message of quantum physics to the general chaos that has bearing on the processes of the micro-world was actually the extension of our knowledge of chaos, namely the chaos present in systems caused by a large number of the so-called degrees of freedomof the system. Gases as well as e.g., electrons in met-als and semi-conductors can serve as example. This kind of chaos is registered
in everyday life and its synonym is the word “disorder”. It seemed that thechaos (its technical name being “stochastic” chaos), together with the men-
, London: Weindfeld and Nicolson, 1995.
Physics, Philosophy and Theology,
ed. by R. J. Russell, W. R. Stoeger and G. V. Coyne,Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory, 1988.
The New Physics,
ed. by P. C. W. Davies. Cambridge University Press 1989; J.Polkinghorn,
The Faith of a Physicist
. Princeton University Press, 1994; J. Gribbin
. In Search of Schroedinger Cat
. New York: Bantam; London: Black Swan, 1984.
See e.g., R. Penrose.
The Large, the Small and the Human Mind
. University of CambridgePress, 1997; H. P.Stap.
Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics
. Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1993; R.Penrose,
The Emperor’s New Mind.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
J. S. Bell.
1 (1964): 195.
A. Aspect, P. Grangier and G. Roger.
Phys. Rev. Lett
. 48 (1982): 91.
See e.g., J. Polkinghorn,
Belief in God in an Age of Science
. New York: York UniversityPress, 1998; A. R. Peacocke, D. Edwards, papers published in
Physics, Philosophy and Theology
,ed. by R. J. Russell, W. R. Stoeger and G. V. Coyne, Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory,1988.