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No Exceptions to the Natural Order

There do not seem to be any exceptions to this natural order, any miracles. I have the impression that these days most theologians are embarrassed by talk of miracles, but the great monotheistic faiths are founded on miracle stories - the burning bush, the empty tomb, an angel dictating the Koran to Mohammed - and some of these faiths teach that miracles continue at the present day. The evidence for all these miracles seems to me to be considerably weaker than the evidence for cold fusion, and I don't believe in cold fusion. Above all, today we understand that even human beings are the result of natural selection acting over millions of years of breedings and eatings.

I'd guess that if we were to see the hand of the designer anywhere, it would be in the fundamental principles, the final laws of nature, the book of rules that govern all natural phenomena. We don't know the final laws yet, but as far as we have been able to see, they are utterly impersonal, and quite without any special role for life. Henri Bergson and Obi-Wan Kenobi are wrong: there is no life force. As Richard Feynman has said, when you look at the universe and understand its laws, “the theory that it is all arranged as a stage for God to watch man's struggle for good and evil seems inadequate.”

True, when quantum mechanics was new, some physicists thought that it put humans back into the picture, because the principles of quantum mechanics describe what observers would find under various conditions. But, starting with the work of Hugh Everett 40 years ago, there has been a reinterpretation of quantum mechanics as the objective (and deterministic) unfolding of a wave function that describes the observer as well as the system being observed. This work is not completed, so I can't say that we have a satisfactory completely objective formulation of quantum mechanics, but I think we will have.

Contributed by: Dr. Steven Weinberg

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No Exceptions to the Natural Order

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Steven Weinberg

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