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"Rational Scientific Theories from Theism"


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Previous: 24.4 Selections: new physics? Up: 24. Discrete Degrees in Nature Next: 25. Mind-body Connections

24.5 Pre-geometry: new physics?

The overall plan of generative levels being developed here leaves a whole sub-degree 3.1 for some kind of new physics between the mental degrees 2.X and those physical sub-degrees 3.2 and 3.3 that are already familiar from modern physics. This possibility was foreseen in the earlier discussion on Subsection 5.3.3, where the topic was how physical space and time came to exist. That discussion was driven by the continual modern research and speculation concerning quantum gravity. It is a research field that seeks to unify the dynamical processes described by quantum mechanics with the dynamical space-time processes described by general relativity. There have been many recent speculations about such things as superstrings, spin networks and causal sets. The aim has been to find a way to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity in order to develop a quantum theory about how space and time are produced. We want to know, for example, how the space-time metric comes to depend on mass and energy in space-time according to laws of general relativity. That is the way that gravity is described according to Einstein.

Starting in Section 24.1, we begin to see how such processes could arise in theistic science. The new sub-degree 3.1 has two major functions within the overall plan of generative levels. First it has to receive influences from the spiritual and mental degrees, since those are dispositions which cause the effects that are the physical world. The manner of this reception is not known in modern physics, but in theistic science it is quite definite that such influences must be effective, so there is a clear new prediction being made here. The second role of the sub-degree 3.1 is to be responsible for the creation and maintenance of a universe-wide manifold of space-time, where we start by envisaging a manifold conceived of as according approximately to general relativity.

In order to understand the details of operation of the new sub-degree 3.1, we begin by envisaging its three sub-sub-degrees 3.11, 3.12 and 3.13 and thinking about what they might do. If we are short of ideas here, we can (and should) consider them as simplified analogies or correspondences of the similarly-placed sub-sub-degrees 2.11, 2.12 and 2.13 with the top sub-degree of the mental degree outlined in Chapter 22. Those three sub-sub-degrees were concerned, respectively, with the reception into the mind of love, of wisdom, and of obedient action from the spiritual degree. According to our principles of correspondence, we should expect that the three uppermost physical sub-sub-degrees would be concerned respectively with the reception into the physical degree of intentions, of plans, and of determination to action from the prior mental degree. We can imagine how this might operate. There must be a first sub-sub-degree 3.11 that we imagine as ‘soft’, in that it is easily receptive of mental intentions for physical actions. There must be a second sub-sub-degree 3.12 that develops or propagates these intentions within some kind of projected space-time that is not itself physical space-time. There must be a third sub-sub-degree 3.13 of determination to actions that (I speculate) act to confirm or ‘pin down’ this projected space-time from all sources of influence, to make a fixed space-time manifold with the global metric that we know from physics. This would be the reason we have a shared space in everyday physical appearances. These last actions of ‘confirmation’ must be imagined as ‘hard’, or as having fixed effects, in that they produce a space-time that is no longer amenable to mental influences. The existence of space-time will itself constrain what future mental processes may occur, according with the principle in multi-level ontologies that actions at lower levels act to constrain or select what may happen in the future in prior levels.

Within this new multi-level structure of sub-degrees and sub-sub-degrees, we will ask how gravity may come about and how then general relativity may be an approximation to the behavior of our new physical structure. If we take gravity according to general relativity, it is the influence of spatial distributions of mass and energy on the metric of space-time. In our final Table 24.3, there are distributions of propensity for massive particles in sub-sub-degree 3.32, so it must be these distributions which constrain the metric-forming process in sub-sub-degree 3.12. This would make general relativity an example of how a ‘lower’ level (of propensity for particles 3.32) acts to constrain or select a similarly-placed ‘higher’ level (where space-time metrics are being formed in 3.12).

The role of the new sub-degree 3.1 is to generate physical space-time. It does not, however, generate it from a realm that has no space or time. It generates it from spiritual and mental realms that still have their own (non-physical) spatial structures and their own successions of state that give at least the appearance of time as we know it. Wheeler (1974) started physicists on a more difficult problem than this. He asked how to produce physical space-time from a set of processes that had no space or time at all. Without anything like space or like time, we cannot have juxtaposition of distinct entities, and we cannot even have changes of state of those entities. Meschini (2008), for example, calls into question the whole idea of pre-geometry as trying to derive geometrical concepts from a realm which has absolutely none. That problem is too difficult. An easier problem is how multiple mental spaces (in which there are successions of states) may be received and combined by new processes in the sub-degree 3.1 in order to produce a unified global manifold of spaces and times that we know from physics.

The predictions of theistic science concerning physics are that we have very good reasons for the existence of a new sub-degree (3.1) and that the processes in this sub-degree will solve two long-standing problems: how mental intentions influence the physical world (in particular, our brains) and how space-time is generated as the global manifold known from general relativity. This will happen in a more general theory that also describes the processes of quantum field theory (3.2), and of ordinary quantum mechanics (3.3). Note that this is the very beginning of theistic science. We do not yet specify theories mathematically. Much work remains to be done. The present theistic science thus provides a general framework in which specific physical (or, better, generalized physical) theories may fit together with theories of mind. Theistic science does not at present determine the precise content of the theories of psychology and physics, but, as we have seen, it does constrain that content. Two previous chapters in this Part have described the extent to which I see psychology and physics being constrained by what theistic science we already can deduce.

Previous: 24.4 Selections: new physics? Up: 24. Discrete Degrees in Nature Next: 25. Mind-body Connections

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