John Klotz offers us a wonderful posting, IN WHOSE IMAGE? Quantum Mechanics and Shroud Science on his blog, The Quantum Christ. It is a part of one chapter from his forthcoming book. John, as most of you know, is a frequent and informative, levelheaded commenter on this blog.
Here is how it begins:
Some have referred to the Shroud as the “Fifth Gospel.”[i] It may be that, but it also something more, a new Revelation brought to us not by a scribe writing on an isolated island, but by science itself. Shroud science was born with Secondo Pia’s 1898 Shroud photographs but in1900 a scientific revolution in science erupted with the formulation of Max Planck’s theory of light as “quanta,” tiny entities that were both particle and wave. His theory gave birth to “quantum mechanics,” a study of the nature of existence at the atomic and sub-atomic levels.
Before the advent of quantum mechanics, the world of science was dominated by the view of the universe and all material existence promulgated by Isaac Newton. Newton’s universe was steady, never ending with no beginning and no end. His theories were the end result of the scientific revolution begun by Copernicus and Galileo. Along the way, he invented a new mathematical system of analysis called calculus. Across the Channel in Germany, Gottfried Leibniz was also developing a calculus. Who is the real father of calculus is a debate of interest and importance to mathematicians but not to most of humanity. What was important to humanity is that calculus systems were developed and they worked.
Philosophically, Newton’s universe led to the principle of “determinism.” Ultimately the universe and everything in it was subject to immutable rules. Everything was determined by those rules even the course of human conduct. There was no room for free will.
That changed with the advent of quantum mechanics because at the quantum level, matter did not behave in a determined manner but obeyed only the rules of probability. Indeed, until measured or observed, the most minute particles are ambiguous, behaving as both wave and particle.
A point John makes about Teilhard is right on, as I see it:
Teilhard wrote before the theory of quantum information was developed. Thus his theories about consciousness and humanity were uninformed by it. However, he divided the human phenomenon into the physical appearance as matter and consciousness as substance. Arguably he presaged the whole question of quantum information which would explain the “substance” of humanity as distinguished from its Newtonian physical existence. What results is a bridge between quantum mechanics and the appearance-substance dichotomy espoused by Thomas Aquinas which in turn was a medieval, Christian transliteration of concepts advanced by Plato.
John wants feedback. He will be watching here for your comments. Read the entire posting, IN WHOSE IMAGE? Quantum Mechanics and Shroud Science and make comments, here or in his blog.