The goal of materialists is to reduce mind to biology, biology to chemistry, chemistry to physics, and physics to mathematics; they have obviously made considerable progress. At the very bottom of this chain, however, lies quite a surprise–the Schrodinger equation of quantum mechanics. A mathematics text I am reading states that the Schrodinger partial differential equation explains, in theory, all of chemistry, but must be viewed as “an axiom…rather than as an equation that can be derived from simpler principles.”

In an n-particle system, whose potential energy (due to the electromagnetic, gravitational, and strong and weak nuclear forces between these particles) is given by V(x1,y1,z1,…,xn,yn,zn), the probability (per unit volume) of finding particle 1, of mass m_1, at (x1,y1,z1) and particle 2 at (x2,y2,z2), etc., is given by |U|^2, where U is the complex-valued function which satisfies the Schrodinger equation:

-2ihU_t = h^2/m_1(U_{x1,x1} + U_{y1,y1} + U_{z1,z1}) + …

+ h^2/m_n(U_{xn,xn} + U_{yn,yn} + U_{zn,zn}) + 2*V*U

Now when we hear the word “probability”, we think of something like a coin toss, where as a practical matter we cannot do more than state the probabilities, but we assume that in theory we could predict the exact outcome if we only knew more about the initial conditions, wind velocity, and so forth. This is **not** what is meant by probability here–knowing more will not help! If we send an electron beam with many electrons through a barrier with two slits, the Schrodinger equation does a very good job of predicting the overall distribution when they hit a plate on the other side, but it simply cannot be used to predict where a particular electron will hit. And if quantum mechanical theory is correct, it will **never** be possible; the laws of physics now give us “probabilities” and nothing more! British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington said that quantum mechanics “leaves us with no clear distinction between the natural and the supernatual.”

At the macroscopic level, quantum mechanics reduces to classical (Newtonian) mechanics, and when we throw a baseball, the odds are astronomically high that it will obey these classical laws accurately. But if it suddenly stops in mid-air just before Alex Rodriguez swings, it would not really be violating any now-accepted laws of physics, just doing something extremely improbable. If one Red Sox fan says “what incredibly good luck”, and another says “God wanted Alex to strike out”, science simply cannot say which theory is correct. However, if there really is no wind or other force which could explain the sudden stop in terms of classical physics, the “good luck” theory would not impress me, despite obvious problems with the “divine intervention” theory.

Similarly, if a soup of organic chemicals suddenly organizes itself into the first living thing, or if a reptile produces a mammalian offspring, we do not need to conclude that any laws of science have been violated, only that something has happened which these laws tell us is extremely improbable. Science leaves us free to draw the obvious philosophical conclusions from such improbable events, as I have done here .

Thus as the materialists attempt to reduce everything to matter in motion, they discover to their dismay that at the very bottom, controlling the motion of matter, is a remarkable equation which pratically screams, “science is a useful and entertaining tool, but it does not have all the answers.”

By the way, in a previous (Sept 30) post I addressed another interesting and related question, with implications for ID: why on Earth should particles obey an elegant, complex-valued(!!), mathematical wave equation?