Argument Against the Omnipotency of God

Quantum mechanics has shown us some wonderful, disturbing behaviors of sub-microscopic particles in nature. What is truly amazing about quantum mechanics is that it has been experimentally proved to be true to astounding levels of accuracy. It is not a ‘fly-by-night’ theory. It is used to predict behaviors in some of the most complex machines on Earth… like the computer I’m writing this on.

 

Every experiment, every proof, every bit of data, shows us that quantum mechanics is real.

 

With that said, let me remind you of one of the primary principles about quantum mechanics. That is the ‘wave function’. In quantum mechanics, it is impossible to know the position AND the velocity of a sub-microscopic particle to any accuracy. By measuring one attribute, you invariably change the other. We can know very well how fast and in what direction it is going, but the moment we measure it, we have lost it. We don’t know where it is anymore. Conversely, we can determine exactly where the particle is, but by doing so, we change it velocity to the point that we no longer have any clue about where it is going.

 

Schrödinger called this the wave function, or probability function, of a particle. Instead of knowing where it is and were it is going, it is more correct to say that it is probably here. We can give very good probabilities of where particles are. The wave function takes this into account. An electron might have 40% chance of being here, a 20% chance of being there, a 10% chance of being somewhere else, a 5% chance of being in a really odd place, a 1% chance of being totally out of our picture, a 0.01% chance of being in another city entirely, a 0.000001% chance of being on the moon…. Etc. You get the idea.

 

Don’t look at me like that. This has been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. Smarter people than either of us have been wrangling with this stuff for over 100 years and their work works.

 

So, how does God fit into all of this? Well, he knows everything right? He knows the hairs on our head. But he can’t know the probability states of every electron in the universe… and here’s why.

 

Consider, to know the position and velocity of every particle in the universe would require

  1. some way of viewing information that does not affect or alter the information (as current theory holds)
  2. some way of moving information from one side of the universe to the other with zero elapsed time
  3. some way of storing 2 variables about every particle in the universe (which is even more than those particles know)

It actually gets worse though. Not only does God have to know all that about every particle in the universe, he must get every bit of the same information about every POSSIBLE position of every particle in the universe AND every possible velocity of every particle in the universe.

If the wave theory (or Feynman‘s ‘sum-over-paths’) hold true, then God (to know the future perfectly) has to hold the potential state of every particle in the universe AND all the possible interactions of all possible particles all the time.

The first three statements require that God be the same size as the universe (to hold all the information). Future predictions require that God be infinitely larger than the known universe. If any part of quantum mechanics is true, then God must be infinitely to the infinite power larger than the known universe.

Consider. The most common element in the universe is hydrogen with one electron. I would submit that due to all the other elements, that the average number of electrons per atom in the entire universe is something approaching 1.1 (maybe 1.2).

Now, in one gram of hydrogen, there are 600,020,000,000,000,000,000,000 electrons (extra points for naming this number). Our sun fuses about 3.4×1038 (that’s 3,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) protons into helium every SECOND! So several million tons. Now with that, every particle would have, literally, an infinite area that it could POSSIBLY be. I didn’t say probably be, but it is possible. And God must consider every possibility.

I’m not sure what the total computational ability of the entire Earth is, but I suspect it is a tiny, tiny fraction of this number. The latest consumer hard drives are approaching 1 terabyte (1,000,000,000,000) or a thousand gigabytes. 3,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of those hard drives… IF we could register the location and velocity accurately with one byte of data (which we can’t). The we have to model ALL the POSSIBLE interactions of everyone one of those particles. That’s impossible, we’re talking literally, infinite possible positions and velocities for every one of those particles.

And that’s only what happens in our sun every second of the last 5 billion years and will continue, every second, for another 5 billion years.

 

I submit that any organism, idea, conceptual entity that can do this is so large that we would be less than the smallest bacteria is to us.

 

I’m sure that this argument isn’t original, but it really struck me today while reading some quantum mechanics. I thought I would share.

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~ by OgreMkV on October 11, 2007.

10 Responses to “Argument Against the Omnipotency of God”

  1. “But he can’t know the probability states of every electron in the universe…”

    What if every electron in the universe “pathways” pre-determined?

  2. Ah, but that leaves us with two problems.

    1) If the path of everything is predetermined, then there can be no free will at all. Everything from the paths of the galaxies to the decisions of humans are all fixed. The Judeo-Christian God doesn’t want robots, he wants people to choose him over other things. So we must have free will, the ability to choose.

    But, you say, he knows what decisions we’ll make. That’s the same thing as no free will. He knows who will be an ax murderer and a child molester and when that asteroid will hit the Earth. No choices.

    2) The state of an electron is a probability. A range if you will. It is not a discreet state. Remember, according to Heisenberg, you cannot know the location or velocity of a particle. ~So if `you kn`ow the path` (i.e. the velocity) then you lose precision of where it is.

    A path might be preordained, but then you lose where it actually is. So, again, we really have no idea what is going on. Can god?

    The argument is that God is capable of such powerful computing that he must be literally infinitely larger than the known universe and must be capable of communicating with all parts of himself at FTL speeds, and still be capable or reaching into our universe and effect changes that violate all known laws of physics.

    I don’t buy it.

  3. That’s the seventh ‘Robots’ (word) I’ve came across since yesterday (yup I hardly sleep) LOL.

    Law of Physics as per above, isn’t it somewhat encapsulate preordained? There is none absolute, freewill do exist but still confined to certain extent, no matter the design is.

  4. 😉 Now we’re discussing semantics. I believe that any constraints preclude free will. If you say that we can have free will within certain constraints, then we’re discussing two separate issues.

    Keep in mind, of course, that an electron (or other sub-atomic particle) doe not have ‘free-will’ as it has no mind. However, it does have a certain probability of being in certain locations. Those locations can literally be anywhere in the universe… hence the improbability of being able to predict all possible outcomes. If every electron as the ability to be in an effectively infinite number of places and there are, for all practical purposes, an infinite number of electrons in the universe, then the mind of god must be infinity-squared just to comprehend all current possible states. Every moment in the future requires another infinity squared amount of memory and processing power.

  5. Excerpt: “an electron (or other sub-atomic particle) doe not have ‘free-will’ as it has no mind”

    What do you mean by mind? Explain ‘mind’ please. Tq.

  6. A mind. A brain. The ability to think and consider actions.

  7. Consider action based on what?

  8. Where condition is Cyclic.

  9. Based on whatever criteria you use to determine what action you will take. You know, free will. The ability to decide for yourself.

    However, please remember that my argument is about the improbability of god being omnipotent. Free will is just a red herring. I would happily continue this discussion via e-mail, but please return to the topic at hand for posting here.

    Thanks

  10. I let my daughter play SIM first, I’ll get back to you later. Thanks for the patience.

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