Sunday, June 18, 2017

Culberson's God

Here's what I believe.

"Schrödinger's Cat" is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935, illustrating what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead, a state known as a quantum superposition, as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. The thought experiment is also often featured in theoretical discussions of the interpretations of quantum mechanics. Schrödinger coined the term "Verschränkung" (entanglement) in the course of developing the thought experiment.

"Schrödinger's Cat" paradox consists of a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (for example, a Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (that is, a single atom decaying), then the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.

This complicated and detailed thought experiment is usually described in lay terms as that the cat inside the box is either alive or dead and that the act of opening the box and observing it either kills it or doesn't kill it, which itself is just a more complicated and detailed example of the 1882 short story, "The Lady or the Tiger," by Frank Stockton: A non-royal subject is accused of the crime of loving the king’s daughter, who also loves him. The accused youth stands before two closed doors, one of which hides a ferocious tiger that will emerge and kill whoever opens the door, and the other conceals a beautiful lady that the princess knows and hates, because she has observed her lover and the lady together and suspects that they, too, might be secret lovers, and if the youth opens her door, a priest will immediately marry the two of them together.

The princess discovers which door contains which, and she signals her lover to open a door with her right hand. However, the story ends before the youth opens the door, and the audience is left suspended and has to decide for themselves whether the beautiful damsel or the ferocious tiger is behind the door he opens.

I propose to use the Schrodinger's Cat example to prove whether or not God exists in a humblebrag thought experiment I call "Culberson's God." Religious believers always challenge atheists to prove that God does not exist, which is a logical impossibility, because it is logically impossible to prove a negative hypothesis, unless certain conditions are added.

I cannot prove that God does not exist, but if we agree on the definition of God, I can prove that God does not exist inside a box. If I open the box and God is not there, then I have proven that God does not exist inside that box.

However, someone who is religious believes that God exists, but either refuses to prove or cannot prove that God exists. Now, that person has the same opportunity to prove that God exists and is inside the box by opening the box.

However, a religious believer might insist that God is invisible to human eyes and actually is inside the box, but we cannot perceive God's existence. If that is the case, then I insist that Schrodinger's Cat is also invisible, and when we open the box, we cannot tell if the cat is either alive or dead.

As far as I know, a cat cannot choose to be visible or invisible, but an all-powerful, all-knowing God should have the ability to choose in order to prove existence. If there is a God, then why does God choose to avoid proof of existence, when doing so would settle the question once and forever and also recruit billions of new believers?

I will stake my life, my reputation, and everything I hold dear that God does not visibly exist inside that box, and I will prove it by opening the box and observing that God is not inside. Would a religious person do the same to prove that God exists and is inside the box?

I offer to go first.


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