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7. Physics and Evolution

Summary points for Week 7: Chapters 24 and 26

 

Chapter 24: Discrete Degrees in Nature (#3)

      The natural degree is the processing of actions, after spiritual loves acting by means of mental thoughts.

      This is the physical degree. It operations are not conscious or mental, but material.

      It produces the final permanent effects, fixed in history.

      Physics should be able to investigate and discover about this final degree.
It probably already has discovered many aspects of this degree and its parts.

 

Sub-degrees

Like the others, it contains three sub-degrees (3.1, 3.2, 3.3), even sub-sub-degrees.

They all have specific functions:

3.1       First sub-degree: receive loves from spiritual & mental above it.

3.2       Second sub-degree: maintain more-or-less stable physical laws and forces

3.3       Third sub-degree: produce the final actual effects as the ‘ultimate bottom line’.

 

Physics identification of these

3.1       Pregeometric processes: making space-time

3.2       Virtual processes: quantum field theory. Bosons (e.g. Higg’s boson) that make the  masses and forces between particles.

3.3       Actual processes:  ‘ordinary’ quantum mechanics

 

In present-day physics,

1.     the pregeometric 3.1 sub-degree is much speculated upon. Nothing widely accepted.

2.     the virtual 3.2 sub-degree is well determined: the Standard Model of elementary particles with Higg’s boson. Its many fixed parameters are well known.

3.     the actual 3.3  sub-degree is mostly determined.
The puzzle is still the ‘measurement problem’ in quantum mechanics.

 

The sub-sub-degrees of the ‘actual 3.3’ are clear. (see Section 5.3.1 for more details)

3.3.1    Hamiltonian operator: total energy is made of mass and potentials,
both given by the previous (3.2) virtual processes (see Section 5.3.2). It generates:

3.3.2    Schrodinger wave function: the ‘probability wave’ describing fields of propensity.
It generates:

3.3.3    Actual selections:  the final, fixed and ultimate actions.
Measurements must be an example of these.

 

“Energy”, strictly, is only in the ‘actual processes'. It includes kinetic energy, potential energy and mass-energy. In spiritual and mental degrees, love & desires are analogous to energy.
Chapter 26: Evolution

 

1.     God cannot create self-sustaining organisms immediately: nothing else is life itself.

 

2.     God cannot create robust theistically-sustained organisms immediately:

 

      God cannot create permanent beings that are fully formed, except insofar as there are prior physical events that form the foundation and outer framework for the dispositions of the new being. What God can immediately create are physical events themselves. Everything else takes longer.  There are no instant adults. (p. 161)

      To create permanent and robust individuals, they must be developed so that, at every stage of their life, they have a substantial history of physical actions in the past and mental and spiritual lives built on that.

      Since not even God can create history afterwards, this means that a longer and slower process of creation is needed if a race of people is to be developed who have fully-developed and long-lasting characters to be loved and to love God in return.

      Hence some process of ‘descent by modification’.

 

When spiritual or mental ideas are produced immediately, they do not ‘have a life of their own’. Rather, they disappear again when the attention goes elsewhere, unless some physical effect has been produced.  (Our memory must involve such effects.)

 

Theistically-filtered evolution:

      The very fact of discrete degrees means that plants and animals must receive specific cognitive and affective dispositions, according to their biological form.

      Even if God took no active involvement in the history of our earth’s species (as Darwin wanted), beings will still be favored if their forms well receive mental life.

      This gives a tendency of evolution to make beings approach full mental reception.

      We hope that this is a tendency toward the human form. I think so.

 

Theistically-driven evolution:

      If God took active involvement in biological history, then he could specifically change the genetic structure of species, so that new species were born. And do this widely, to make a new population. This is driving the production of new species.

 

So three competing theories:

A.              neo-Darwinian theory: random mutations, genetic drift and recombination, natural selection (no influence from God, except perhaps through physical laws),

 

B.              theistically-filtered evolution: random mutations, drift and re-combination, so there is both natural and theistic selection (God gives influx by laws of discrete degrees)

 

C.              theistically-driven evolution: preselected and random mutations, genetic drift and recombination, along with both natural and theistic selection.

 

To be decided between by comparing the observed evidence with the various predictions of the several theories.


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