Hidden Variables Quantum Theory and Divine Agency

Donavan Hall

The proposition that non-local hidden variables interpretations of quantum mechanics qualify as an appeal to supernatural agency is examined. Hidden variables theories postulate natural, but unobservable orders of reality whose processes give rise to observable phenomena. The unobservable order is inferred from the character of the observed universe. Various thinkers suggest that these unobservable orders might provide a means to describe divine interaction with the natural order, leading to a reconsideration of what is meant by supernatural agency. Does the use of unobserved or implied orders in a physical theory constitute an appeal to supernatural agency? Specifically, the ontological interpretation of quantum mechanics, as formulated by David Bohm and his colleagues, employs an unobserved order called the implicate order which unfolds into an explicate, observable order. All phenomena come into existence out of this implicate order. It can be argued that the implicate order, or a higher superimplicate order, is analogous to what we call God. Inquiry which follows this line of investigation is complemented by a reversal of the question of whether science can appeal to the supernatural. If unobservable orders can be introduced to account for natural phenomena, then what can be gained by asking whether the theological method excludes wholly naturalistic explanations of God, religious experience, miracles, etc.? The line between what is the natural and the supernatural is blurred by the presence of unobserved orders in scientific theory. What is meant by the term "supernatural" is some form of revelation or act of a supreme being who stands outside of our order. This specific use of the term can no longer be applied since, if non-local hidden variables theories hold, all natural events rest on the activity of a 'super'-natural order. From these considerations, an investigation of supernature will be presented with an aim to demonstrate that natural science and theology exist on a continuum, each inquiring into that part of nature and supernature which is proper to its method.

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