Larry Wall’s Quantum Proof that God is Good

Larry WallThanks to Tyson for posting an interesting article (originally from 2002) by Larry Wall, the inventor of the Perl programming language, on how his scientific mind led him to belief in God. In the article he is responding to an atheistic or possibly deistic questioner who seems to hold that Christian belief is incompatible with science.

Here’s a taster, showing how Wall bases his response in quantum mechanics:

A lot of folks get hung up at point B [“God is good to people who really look for him”] for various reasons, some logical and some moral, but mostly because of Shroedinger again. People are almost afraid to observe the B qubit because they don’t want the wave function to collapse either to a 0 or a 1, since both choices are deemed unpalatable. A lot of people who claim to be agnostics don’t take the position so much because they don’t know, but because they don’t want to know, sometimes desperately so.

Because if it turns out to be a 0, then we really are the slaves of our selfish genes, and there’s no basis for morality other than various forms of tribalism.

And because if it turns out to be a 1, then you have swallow a whole bunch of flim-flam that goes with it. Or do you?

I don’t claim to understand all of this, but it is interesting!

9 thoughts on “Larry Wall’s Quantum Proof that God is Good

  1. LOL, Gordon.

    Let me explain a bit of what I think this means, at least the part I quoted: People are afraid to come to a definite position on whether God is good or not, as they would then have to accept either the whole of Christianity or the moral bankruptcy of atheism. So they stay in an uncertain position, analogous to Schroedinger’s cat, which is supposedly neither fully dead nor fully alive until it is observed.

  2. ROFL

    By the way, thanks for your explanation (of Wall’s quantum proof that is). I am still confused, only now on a much higher level.

  3. Thanks for re-posting, Peter. I think Larry’s invoking quantum mechanics as a wry analogy, not so much as a proof. And I believe your interpretation given above is correct.

    I looked on his personal webpage and he’s currently serving in a non-denominational church in California, and still overseeing the continued development of Perl. Sounds like a cool guy! 🙂

  4. Gordon, I’m confused too, not sure now how my level of confusion compares with yours!

    Tyson, I wasn’t intending the word “proof” to be taken too literally. But if atheists can claim that their pseudo-scientific arguments prove that there is no God, then Wall’s “proof” should be more than sufficient to answer them.

  5. Het absolute Godsbewijs of het bewijs voor het Absolute :
    De eeuwige wetten van de logica, de wiskunde e.a. zijn het enige, dat absoluut en transcendent kan genoemd worden ;
    bijgevolg moet al het overige, dat is, daaruit geëvolueerd zijn . Dus God is niets anders dan die absolute’ logos’ ; de absolute bewustzijn of idee, waaruit alles voortkomt ; en verder door ons niet te kennen is .

  6. Valère, thank you for your comment. Here is Google’s translation:

    The absolute proof of God or the evidence for the Absolute:
    The eternal laws of logic, mathematics and others are the only thing that can be called absolute and transcendent;
    therefore, all the rest, that is, there are evolved. So God is nothing else than absolute ‘logos’, the absolute consciousness or idea, from which all proceeds, and further us not be known.

    Very true!

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