Quantum Immortality


This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Quantum Theory and God

 

The other night (January 2011) – when I think I was awake but trying to fall asleep – I had this idea that I needed to write about finding God in parallel universes, time traveling, and some of the other science related things I’ve written about.

Obviously, that means I have to find something new to get it started – alternate realities and quantum immortality.

The whole concept of alternate realities is about different possibilities of the way life is – like maybe there’s a really good me in some universe and a really bad me in some other universe – and for that matter an infinite number of me’s ranging from the worst of the worst to the best possible human (not so perfect as to be God) in an infinite number of universes.

OK – that’s great for me. But what about you – the reader? And your family and friends? Why should they be stuck in one of my universes?

That means each of you – and your friends and families – all need their own infinite set of universes. And that’s not adding them together – like all of mine plus all of yours – it’s all of mine multiplied by all of yours. After all – for each of my alternate realities – you could have an infinite number of possibilities as to what happens to you. Same thing for your friends and families.

The numbers are totally mind boggling – even though we’re just talking about people we actually know.

Now – think about every other person living on the earth today.

Multiply that by all the infinite number of alternate realities for everyone who has ever lived!

Oh – and don’t forget about the unknown number of people who haven’t even been born yet. They all need their infinite number of alternate realities as well!

Welcome to the wonderful world of quantum mechanics!

Sounds new, doesn’t it? It’s actually been around since 1957 – originally called “relative state”. It got added to in the 1960’s and ’70’s – coming to be known as “many-worlds” at that time.

It’s now coming to be known as “multi-verse” and is becoming more and more mainstream.

From the article in wikipedia –

In many-worlds, the subjective appearance of wavefunction collapse is explained by the mechanism of quantum decoherence. By decoherence, many-worlds claims to resolve all of the correlation paradoxes of quantum theory, such as the EPR paradoxnd Schrödinger’s cat, since every possible outcome of every event defines or exists in its own “history” or “world”. In layman’s terms, there is a very large—perhaps infinite—number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but didn’t, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes.

The decoherence approach to interpreting quantum theory has been further explored and developed becoming quite popular, taken as a class overall. MWI is one of many Multiverse hypotheses in physics and philosophy. It is currently considered a mainstream interpretation along with the other decoherence interpretations and the Copenhagen interpretation.

OK – so what?
Well – that original guy back in 1957 – Hugh Everett – got something started when he proposed his relative state theory. From the same wikipedia article – Everett believed that “his many worlds theory guaranteed him immortality”.

The article goes on to say –

“Many-worlds”-like interpretations are now considered fairly mainstream within the quantum physics community. For example, a poll of 72 leading physicists conducted by the American researcher David Raub in 1995 and published in the French periodical Sciences et Avenir in January 1998 recorded that nearly 60% thought that the many-worlds interpretation was “true”. Max Tegmark also reports the result of a poll taken at a 1997 quantum mechanics workshop. According to Tegmark, “The many worlds interpretation (MWI) scored second, comfortably ahead of the consistent histories and Bohm interpretations.” Other such polls have been taken at other conferences: see for instance Michael Nielsen’s blog report on one such poll. Nielsen remarks that it appeared most of the conference attendees “thought the poll was a waste of time”. MWI skeptics (for instance Asher Peres) argue that polls regarding the acceptance of a particular interpretation within the scientific community, such as those mentioned above, cannot be used as evidence supporting a specific interpretation’s validity.

It’s nice to know that there are at least some who believe that polls related to acceptance of a theory don’t actually make the theory a scientific fact.

To be completely fair – I also want to add something from an MIT professor named Max Tegmark. In a section titled Quantum suicide and immortality – you can find the following from Tegmark –

In response to questions about “subjective immortality,” Max Tegmark made some brief comments: He acknowledged the argument that “everyone will be immortal” should follow if a survivor outcome is possible for all life-threatening events. The flaw in that argument, he suggests, is that dying is rarely a binary event; it is a progressive process. The quantum suicide thought experiment attempts to isolate all possible outcomes for the duration of the thought experiment. That isolation delays decoherence in such a way that the subjective experience of the superposition is illustrated. It’s only within the confines of such an abstract quantum scenario that an observer finds they defy all odds.

Another breath of fresh air – someone who will look at the facts – not an interpretation that they’d like to be able to see.

On to the real issue here – why write about this?

If I’m going to conclude with what Max Tegmark says – I’d be done.
But then – where’s God?

That’s where this gets truly interesting! Of course.

This morning we went to a conference at our church. One of the speakers was talking about a book called There is a Season by Joan Chittister.

A couple of the quotes actually go quite well with this topic –

Being where we are – immersed in it, aware of it, alert to it – may well be the secret to living well, to living fully.

In too many instances, we are really more likely to be on our way to somewhere else than present to the moment.

Too often, while we wait for life, it passes us by, leaves it up to our hearts in dissatisfaction and over our heads in wanting.

We live overcome by losses and dissolved in spiritual ruin or wasted by a death of spirit, by a diminishment of enthusiasm, by the dissipation of hope. Yet all the while the present moment lies truly dormant within us.

What she says is all too true for many of us.
For others – it’s the past that we’re stuck in.
But – in either case – whether it be the past or the present – if we’re in one of them, it’s for sure we are most definitely not in the present.

Back in October of last year – I did another article on Parallel Universes and Extra Dimensions. That discussed the possibility that God actually told us in Genesis that He indeed did create parallel universes – In the beginning.

A little more background – then on to the subject.
There was another quote that stuck out –

Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery
Today is a gift.

No author was attributed to it – so after looking it up and finding many results, it appears that the earliest recorded information on this is –

Meaning

No one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time.

Origin

The origin is uncertain, although it’s clear that the phrase is ancient and that it predates modern English. The earliest known record is from St. Marher, 1225:

“And te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet.”

A version in modern English – “the tide abides for, tarrieth for no man, stays no man, tide nor time tarrieth no man” evolved into the present day version.

the link I had to this reference has since been deleted.

So – what do we have now?

  • an infinite number of an infinite number of universes, allowing each of us to have our own set of infinite experiences intermingled with everyone else’s infinite experience choices. (How’s that for a really big number?)
  • Although we tend to live in either the past or the future – the place to have the best experience is when we live in the present.
  • Today is a gift.
  • No one can stop the march of time. (At least no human can)

And that leaves us where?
Hopefully – in the present.

Jesus talks about worry in Matthew 6:25-34 –

Do Not Worry

Mt 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?

Mt 6:28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Jesus is telling us that The Father will take care of us – yes.
But He’s also telling us to not worry about tomorrow – live each day.

There’s plenty of references for Jesus talking about the forgiveness of sins, but just to have one – here’s Matthew 9:1-8 —

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

Mt 9:1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

Mt 9:3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”

Mt 9:4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

And so – living in the past is unnecessary. When our sins are forgiven – it’s not necessary to wallow in them by reliving every moment and feeling bad about it. We do need to learn from them – don’t repeat them – but don’t stay in the past.

So we have the gift of forgiveness – given “in the present” – when we are forgiven.

Jesus meets us in that present moment – forgives our past – and tells us in John 8:1-11 –

Jn 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

Jn 8:9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

Jn 8:11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

“Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Go now – in this moment – and be different in the future – because your past is forgiven.
But – Jesus also says don’t worry about the future.
Be with Him – in the present.

So why all this emphasis on the present?
What happens with the whole concept of alternate universes – metaverses – whatever they get called next?

I believe it gets down to the difference between

  • God predetermining what we will do – and therefore “knowing” everything ahead of time because He’s going to make it happen that way
  • and being truly all knowing – because He is capable of being in all of those alternate / meta- verses – all of the time. He knows all of those outcomes – because He “is” time. Only the Creator of everything can actually experience everything.

Think about this – one of the arguments against the “many-worlds” theory is that the universe is supposedly decaying into what scientist call a new vacuum state. Things are more or less going away.

In terms of the number of alternate universes – although there are still an infinite number of them out there – they are going away – there’s less of them all the time.

You can check out a previous article on time travel that touches on some of the issues with parallel universes – people – and God. It gets into a little more detail about infinity and the like as well.

Anyway – In the beginning – there were the largest number of possible alternate realities.  This may seem counter-intuitive – but in the very beginning – there was nothing. No plants – no animals – no people – not even a planet. Truly infinite possibilities.  Although still “infinite” – a relatively smaller number of infinite possibilities exists every time something happens – someone is born – someone dies – someone even crosses the street or buys something. Everything we do – means that we can’t possibly do anything else at that same exact moment – in the universe in which we exist!
So while mathematicians and scientists love to talk about all infinities being equally infinite – as a practical matter – for us mere mortals – it makes no sense. The number of possible future alternate universes must be getting smaller.

At the end of time – there’s only one left.

BTW – the Bible also tells us what that one will be like – when all of the possible alternate universes are finished – when God will get into the mode of what has been pre-determined.

I have to add a note here – I am not a Calvinist – I do not believe God has pre-determined every single little thing that happens.  I  do  believe that God gave us free will – because it’s tho only way we can choose Him – the only way we can love Him.  I believe that if there’s no choice then there can be no love.  I out this in because when this was originally published  – on January 29, 2011 –  someone wrote in a comment that I should just admit I’m a Calvinist.  To repeat – and to clarify – I am not,

This starts at Revelation 4:1 –

Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

This is where our free will starts to go away – where God takes over – where He wins.

Up until that time – anything is possible – as the alternative universe theory says.
Up until that time – the number of options left is always decreasing, because our choices limit what we have left to decide in whatever time we have left. In this sense – the universe is decaying – as quantum science says.

Up until that time – Jesus will meet us – in the present.
The past alternative universes don’t matter – they’re decided on. We can’t go back and change things. We can’t go back and decide to meet Jesus – for instance – last year.
The future ones – they haven’t happened yet – for us. God knows what they all could be – and even which we will choose – but He won’t choose for us. We can’t decide to meet Jesus next year – we don’t even know if we’ll still be here on earth next year.
The present – that’s the only place we can meet Jesus.
That’s why the present is a gift – from God.
That’s why we need not worry about the past.
That’s why we need not worry about the future.
That’s why the secret to living well and fully is to live in the present moment. It’s the only one of the infinite number of alternative realities that we actually exist in. And it’s the only one we can meet Jesus in. The others – they are either past – or with the exception of one, will never actually exist.

How can I say this?
Why can’t the others be possible as well?
Why can’t immortality be achieved in alternative universes?
If they could exist – then we could be good in some – evil in others. Most likely – the case would be – no kidding – an infinite number of good and evil instances of each of us.
What then would God do with us?
When we die – and we all will die, as even Max Tegmark points out – what will God do with us?
Will we all go to Heaven – because there are good instances of us – instances that accepted God’s gift of salvation through Jesus?
Will we all go to Hell – because there are evil instances of us – instances that totally rejected God – The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit?
Neither of those outcomes would be fair to us.
To accept either of those options would be to say that God isn’t good and loving and just.
What if each instance of us went to the place it deserved to go – half of the infinite number of our occurrences going to Heaven – and the other half going to Hell?
What would be the point of that?
Worse than just unfair – that would be a mean and cruel God.

No – the only thing that makes any sense at all –

  • there are infinite possibilities before us
  • there are closed possibilities behind us
  • at any given moment – present moment – we can choose to accept Jesus
  • in that moment when we accept Jesus – we’ve just wiped out half of the future options for our possible alternative universes – because the ones that would have sent us to Hell are now gone
  • in that moment when we accept Jesus – we’ve also just wiped out the entire past alternate universe options, chosen by us or not, because whatever we did in them is forgiven.

Science can teach us a lot.

What we do with it – that’s up to us.

In the world of Hugh Everrett’s relative state theory – he may like to think he can be immortal. The only problem – it’s a theory. In God’s world – and it is His – that theory doesn’t hold water. In fact – it’s downright hopeless.

But – if we take what we learn from science – and what we have from God Himself in the Bible – there’s all sorts of knowledge – and hope.

Which God do you worship?

If it’s not The Father who gave us His Son – there’s no time like this present moment to talk with Him.


As I’m updating this a bit and moving it to a new site, I was struck by the verses below –

God’s Wrath Against Mankind

Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

In “simpler” times, we had “simpler” indications of God.  Just looking at the world around us should have been enough to show God’s presence.

To be sure – I think it’s possible to see that today as well.  But we need to look harder in many parts of the world to get past Satan’s increasingly obvious presence in the world.  Having said that though = if we really know / believe what the Bible says – this is to be expected – so even that should point to God.

The thing is though – as we get “more sophisticated” / “more intelligent” – at least we think we are those things – God gives is more details about Himself – so that we’re still without excuse.

God promised this as well –

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

1Co 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
1Co 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
1Co 1:26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Look at the first part again –

1Co 1:19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

God destroyed the wisdom of the “wise” 2,000 years ago.  
And He continues to do it to this day.
Every time someone really “smart and intelligent” comes along with “proof” that God doesn’t exist –
God provides us with a new breakthrough to prove the old “proof” invalid –
God provides us so much more detail to prove that there must be intelligence in the design of the universe –
God provides more than enough information for us to know that He must exist.  Unless we are unwilling to admit the obvious.

So – again –

Which God do you worship?

If it’s not The Father who gave us His Son – there’s no time like this present moment to talk with Him.

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