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As a scientist, I've been very drawn to quantum mechanics. One of the things I like to do is, much like newtonian physics has allowed distinct philosophical directions to be explored, to allow QM to also provide philosophical directions.

For me, one of the most (not the only to be sure) important philosophical contributions of QM to philosophy is Schrodinger's Cat.

I would like to give an example as it applies to my views as an agnostic.

To me, the theist view of "God Exists" can relate to "The Cat is alive".
That Atheist view of "God does not Exist" to "The Cat is alive"
But the agnostic view of "I don't know if god exists" to "The cat is both dead AND alive".

The reason this analogy works so well, IMO, is because critical to Scrhodingers Cat paradox is that until we "open the box" we don't know what state the Cat is in. Likewise, as an agnostic, until we "close the box" of being alive, we won't know whether god does or does not exist. Of course, no analogy is perfect: after all if there is no afterlife, then there is no knowledge after death. But I think there is an important lesson in the fact that Schrodingers Cat is true in reality, it's a "real" phenomena, and thus there are are more options than simply "God does OR does not exist" such as "God does AND does not exist".

I look forward to any thoughts y'all might have on my application of Schrodinger's Cat to the topics of religion or otherwise.

TheMiddleWay 8 Dec 18

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I do think this works. Appling Schrodinger's Cat to whether god exists or not does work for me. Years a go I read "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" enjoyed it and just found it in a box fo keeps sakes I pulled out of storage.

Very good book; I also read it. "The Tao of Physics" by Capra is another good one and so is "The Undivided Universe" by Bohm.

And its perhaps not surprising that this works best with people in tune with eastern philosophies. As all these books point to, the western "atomistic, reductionist" view of truth and reality has taken us far but we may need to meld it with the eastern "holistic, expansionist" view of truth and reality to get us even further.


That almost reminds me of The Wager- Pascal. He would simply go around the cat and would say to us to seek God, to live this life believing in the existance of God because if, at death, we are correct and there Is no god, we have lost but a mere span of time, a few pleasures and sins we averted in exchange for a godly life. However, if god Does exist, we stand to gain far more than one measly human lifetime could ever be worth. It was his ace in the hole. I suppose he figured all those pesky years in between, the ones in which we are lied to, or misled, or blindfolded to... the life you give up, the small box you live within the parameters of... if he seemed to think those years, the ones in the Entirety of your life are worth Nothing, then good for him, live that way. I, however, have lived Both ways, and even Buddhist as well. I have seen Many different ways, different eyes of faith and... I would Muuch rather live as I do today that return back to that box I once resided within. Stepping away from god, although terrifying for me for the first initial years, once i was fully liberated, it was like... stepping out into The Universe. I felt free. Now i require proof. I will not waste my life or credit some... big guy in the sky for my achievements. I will not credit a ghost for the life I live. I am a good person for the sake of being a Good person. I have my own set of mores, laws and rules. I am a good person without the bribing of life eternal. What I do that is good, it is done of My Will, my Own accord. If you live your life within the confines of a box, you have wasted your entire existence.

Sadoi Level 7 Jan 1, 2018

So, what you are saying is, you've left your box for a bigger box....good for you!,,,hehe

@JohnnyThorazine hahah! Well, in a sense, I suppose that is good a gander as any!! lol! I left the pond to move to a larger sea. Someday I hope to leave the sea for the Marianas Trench. After that... launch me into space? Its still a box. However, a box so large the chances of me ever finding the edge is near impossible, hence, I will never know a limitation. With religion, the box was sooo painfully small that I tended to hit the edge every few seconds. 😉

@Sadoi The fun is always searching for that wall and breaking through...and knowing that there are more walls to shatter!

@JohnnyThorazine I absolutely agree with you! And i feel like a champ afterwards like... i just passed a new level on Dr Mario or Tetris! hahaha!


My first thought about the Quantum Mechanics is the theory that a particle can exist in two different places at the same time. So, the Cat being alive and dead at the same time would be similar. Of course as with everything, Schrodinger's cat was based on perception. The fact that the cat could exist in both states is due to a lack of knowledge, not as physical evidence. Quantum Mechanics also gives particles two perceptions: as a wave and as a particle. Now I would agree that a good "pun" would be the Uncertainty Principle. 😉 which states the momentum and position of a particle cannot both be precisely determined at the same time.

"The fact that the cat could exist in both states is due to a lack of knowledge, not as physical evidence. "

Not at all. Many experiments have confirmed that it is not a lack of knowledge but the actual nature of the quantum realm.

If you read up on "quantum superposition" you will see that, for example, an electron needs to be in a superposition of spin up (alive) and spin down (dead) in order for the quantum mechanics to work.

In other words, Schrodinger's Cat is VERY real in the quantum regime, just not in ours. 😉


Very! 😀


Very good post on this subject. I would come back with... Alive and Death is a term used in this plane of existence. We have no concept or idea what is in the afterlife. Therefore, the box doesn't exist where God (per our construct) exist.

I don't know much or anything about Quantum Physics.

I encourage you to read up on Schrodingers and QM. This is the realm where teleportation is a common occurance and two objects can occupy the same space and time.

Even if you don't apply it to this scenario, it will open your mind in terms realizing, as said in Hamlet that "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy"


@TheMiddleWay - Like Heisenberg, I'm uncertain. I am sure of this, though, the idea of god(s) is immaterial. Of this, Planck would approve to the max. In the meantime, I'll sit back and observe.

@AMGT - Yes, somewhat. Definition is the poison (killer) in that box with the god. Define the god and the god is dead. Leave the box closed and avoid the definition and it can be alive if you wish it to be so. That is how theists save themselves and preserve their beliefs. Name all the fairy tale attributes you want, just don't ... for god's sake ... define the damned thing.

@AMGT Things exist whether we define the thing or not. Was there a quark before we called it or could conceive of it? Or are we the gods and they only come into being when we discover and define them.....OOOO....OOOO...OOOO....I'm going for the second one...


In fact quarks did not exist before we defined them and it may come to pass that they will cease to exist. That is because while we label the current interactions and understanding of what happens in the nucleus as "quarks", that is just a label for phenomenology and that label may change as our knowledge of that realm change.

Take "red" for example. Define it for me as an artist. That is the way that it would have been for millenia. Now, science comes along and you can define it as a wavelength. Is the wavelength description the same as the artistic one? Is it better? No, in fact it's complementary and, in science, red has "ceased to exist" in deference to a (or a set of) wavelenghts, say 700 nm. But for the artist, what wavelength isn't read. For some artists 701 nm is read; for others 699 nm. For other yet, they have no knowledge or use for wavelengths and red is, well, red!

So we have to be careful about assigning definitions too much ontological reality for, as Wittgenstein warned us "The limits of my language means the limits of my world."

@JohnnyThorazine -- Here's the thing about the word 'exist'. Exist needs a place somewhere on the space-time continuum or it does not exist. God(s) by definition are beyond space and time so they can't, by our definition of space and time, exist. Now, here's the thing about that pesky little word 'define'. To define something it must have some sort of parameters that are observable/measurable/testable or it doesn't exist. Thus, the moment one defines god, said god is no longer supernatural and hence is not a god -- by definition. It is in a place and a time and is subject to the nature of the universe and not vice verse. You can place attributes, invisible, unknowable, omnipotent, omniscient, omniwhatever, because all that does not represent measurable, observable, or testable things. They are ideas brought into play by sleight of mind and maintained by smooth doublespeak.

I'm typing this after waking up 2 minutes ago, so here it goes: names are a human problem. It's a relational thing. Ask those rare rare rare people who can read binary code. But a description of something is just the fleshing out of something so it can be shared information. I see a cult in the future (The Cult of Boob...She Who Weans From the Center, The Cyclopean I'm getting there...).

@evidentialist Space and Time, two things that are being constantly redefined. Theories of Multiverses, multiple dimensions, etc. Within your parameters god can be defined within acceptable values: the universe, being a functional system could be defined as God, creating planets, life etc. So the question isn't whether god, or the universe, exists, it is whether god, or the universe, is sentient. So god exists, but it's awareness is the only question. Now, you realize you are claiming you are completely aware of the natures of existence. How things exist is constantly changing. And you also confuse people's speculation on the existence of god as the reality of god. I can speculate you are an albino Samoan, as all I have is very small picture that you have supplied to define your existence and a lot of typing. I have to assume you are not a bot....but it is only an assumption. So your nature is truly unknown to me, there for, Is that you Evidentialist? it's me Johnny Thorazine. Now I am gonna go get coffee....

@TheMiddleWay HAHAHA! Yep! Good choice in picking 'red'. I don't see shades of 'red' so when people tell me that I am wearing a pink shirt, I can only relate to that in the way that people relate to me about it and take their word for it that 'pink' exists. The mutability of existence. I started calling it non-platform science decades ago. The thing you are standing on as 'fact' is only as solid as you think it is, not as it really is or could be. Now for coffee...I'm gonna get that coffee, damn it.

That's why the wittgenstein quote is so powerful: if we don't have a word for it, we can't say that it exists. But even if we have a word for it, words change and thus "existence" changes.

"Exist needs a place somewhere on the space-time continuum or it does not exist"

As a physicist, it behooves me to add that being somewhere in space and time is necessary but not sufficient for existence; measurement needs to be added. In other words, if something takes up space and travels through time, we still need to measure it it in order to confirm existence

@TheMiddleWay -- Aye, lad, true enough. Would ye be forgivin' me lil lapse o' thought there?

However, I think your assessment is just a tad off -- not that it's wrong or anything like that, but wouldn't it be more like this? Because it occupies space-time it is measurable and therefor exists whether or not it has actually been measured. Case in point: When was the last time we measured dark matter other than by inference?

All is forgiven before you first cuppa. 😀

But your new line of investigation opens up a whole other can of worms (or rather chickens and eggs):

Is the particle occupying space-time because we can measure it... or can we measure it because it occupies space-time?

This is why this QM is so much fun to think about!

Consider, when a particle is in superposition, we have, in effect TWO particles that occupy space-time... but when we do the measurement, we can only get out ONE particle. And the two particle superposition picture is not a convenient abstraction... the theory contends there really are two particles in the same space and the same time... there are experiments that prove there have to be two... but we can only directly measure one.

So what really exists: two particles that the theory requires or one particle that the theory measures?

@TheMiddleWay -- I return to a neutral corner in the circular room to catch my breath.

Yes, sir, QM is ... at least ... entertaining.


I like this theory even though I am an atheist. I plant my flag in the extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and I have yet to see anything that comes even halfway to that, let alone close.

I'm a big fan of Hitchens razor: " a theory that is presented with no evidence can be dismissed with no evidence".

Now, as I understand it, while he used it to disprove god, razors are doubled edge for as there is no evidence to admit gods there is also no evidence to dismiss gods. Thus both atheist and theist present no evidence and both atheism and theism can be dismissed with no evidence, is one way I practice my agnosticism.

Absolutely the razor cuts both ways. But just because it is unprovable, doesn't make it likely or necessary. If there was sound evidence in a creator, I would be the first to acknowledge that. But lacking that evidence, I see the concept of a creator unlikely enough to be an atheist.

I see it like this: I don't pray to god that my physics equations work or that my measurements come out as I want them. I don't rely on nor require divine intercession for me to work out my theories. That would paint me as an atheist, no doubt.

BUT, I'm always open to the fact that my equations, my measurements, and my theory "could" lead me to the divine or to god. Keyword: lead me to. If I atheistically apply my science to something and the only answer is diving, the only answer is appealing to some concept of god... if I can't find a single rational explanation for it without the science that I know or can imagine or anyone else can imagine... I am open to the possibility that the divine or god really is the answer. This way I'm agnostic. If I were truly atheist in my search for "truth", I would instantly dismiss that probability (low though anyone may think) and never be truth to the truth of the world.

Does that make sense, how my agnosticism always me to be open to future possibilities without having it actively interfere with my current scientific reality?

I see what you are saying, but I am an atheist still. If I were to come across a finding or and indication that there was a divine, I would pursue it. I still don't think it is likely though.

I want to make it clear that my purpose is not to convert but to inform.
If you find my position worth thinking about, that is all I ask; adopting of my position is never necessary. 😀

It is interesting. I think you are one of the first hardcore agnostics I have ever met. I used to hold similar convictions. But alas, I think the ominimax is silly (omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnibenevolence) and is a human construct. What would your divine power look like? It seems intellectually lazy to me to just leave it as a cat in a box. In your 50% worldview, we know what a world looks like without the divine, it looks like this one. What would the other 50% look like?

I'm going to make a post on this eventually but one of the things that is troubling to me is how much the atheistic position relies on taking EVERYTHING said about the divine and then showing how that is not true and thus how the entire "god hypothesis" falls apart. By this I mean, why DOES god have be omni anything? Why do we have to believe ancient scriptures that assigned this "higher power" absolute this that and the other thing? What if god is only ominpresent by not omipotent: he is everywhere but can't really affect everywhere? What if he is only omnibelevolent but not omnipotent: he is pure love but lacks the power to effect that pure love?

But the thing with the cat in the box is that unless you can perform a measurement, the cat MUST remain in the box. A quantum state in superposition, say and electron that is spin up AND spin down, will remain in that state forever unless it is measured. Thus a central tenet of this idea is that unless we can open the box, we have to admit we really don't know what's "in" the box much less what state it's in.


A man after my own heart....yep! And then the whether it exists or not, really is only your problem if you can affect 'god'. If you don't believe in god, and it does or doesn't exist, it doesn't change the nature of god. If you look at belief as a gravitational force surrounding a core idea, then we are all effected by god, whether we believe in it or not. I am free form typing here....and being attacked by a cat (no kidding, my cat is attacking my hand while I am trying to type). Coincidence? I think not....though, I probably totally do....hehe

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