I just got done reading Flashforward, the book upon which the TV show was based. And it was awesome, the first truly unputdownable book I’ve had my hands on in weeks. I swore I’d bug everyone I know to read it, but settled with putting that here on my blog so that I don’t make myself even MORE tiresome to others.
But I found myself laughing at several points in the book. I don’t want to spoil the read for anyone, but I think I can safely say without giving away plot details that much of the novel focuses on the various theories within Quantum Physics which deal with the science of time. There’s much talk of bosons and neutrinos and particles and thinking men with largely unpronouncable names. And of course there’s that most annoyingly overexposed pussy–Schroedinger’s Cat. Nearly every television show I watch has trotted out Puss In Box as a shorthand explanation for everything from quantum physics to romance. Maybe I watch nerdly shows, but I suspect someone somewhere brought it up at a Hollywood cocktail party.
And I know that it’s supposed to be nothing more than a handy analogy to neatly explain some theory of Quantum Mechanics, but I always find myself very irritated that anyone would propose to murder a cat even in theory. It’s grisly.
Sorry…back to my main thesis. Which is that as I read more of Flashforward and more of the Great Scientific Minds debating the nature of time with absolute certainty about their scientific principles it occured to me yet again that Quantum Physics differs very little from modern Christianity. I know there are science people who would just vomit to hear that, and I’m sorry. But I can’t tell you how many debates I’ve been in about Calvinism, predestination, the Rapture, Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones–pretty much anything in the Christian Bible, really–that hasn’t sounded exactly like Quantum Physics without the mess of advanced mathematics.
The book mocks philosophers in a couple of places, which gripes me. Because Quantum Physics is a child of philosophy, perhaps more like its parent than any other branch of the hard sciences. As a religious person I get kind of peeved at physics for refusing to acknowledge the basic intelligence of faith. Because it seems that we have the same discussions, merely altering the foundational assumptions to suit the particular gathering.
Is the cat alive or dead inside that box? Until you open the box it’s supposed to be both. I think that God may sit outside the box with us cats in it, alongside the poison of our own mortality and know for certain–without opening the box–that we are both right and both wrong in our way. I can’t help but think God is amused.