According to quantum physics, particles live in a state of probability. The wave function (or state vector) represents the probability density of a physical state, that is, it is a mathematical function that defines the probability that a particle is in a defined space (wave packet) rather than in another . In the moment in which the measurement by the observer takes place, the wave function collapses, that is, we pass from the state of probability to a determined state, from a superposition, in which the particle is simultaneously both here and there, at a definite position. There is an essential relationship between nature and the observer, a relationship that is expressed in the famous uncertainty principle, formulated by Werner Heisenberg, according to which it is impossible to predict the future state of a particle. The higher the measurement accuracy of the particle’s position, the lower the measurement accuracy of its velocity and vice versa. The observer is not a mere spectator but is together actor and spectator, as Heisenberg himself wrote, since “what we observe is not nature itself but nature exposed to our methods of investigation”.[i]
CONSCIOUSNESS AND FREE WILL
Consciousness and free will are, therefore, the fundamental axioms on which the entire edifice of science rests, and in particular of quantum physics, which is strongly characterized by the existence of an observer capable of becoming aware in the first place of itself and, then, of the results of the experiments. In the opinion of physicist Anton Zeilinger,
The assumption of the existence of the elements of reality independent of observation is in contradiction with quantum mechanics. […] Quantum physics is both an information science and a science of what exists, precisely because of the impossibility of separating epistemology and ontology.[ii]
From this scientific principle, another arises: a Universe without a pre-existing consciousness would remain in an indefinite state. According to Lanza and Berman, in fact,
Without the presence of a conscious observer, particles at most exist in an indeterminate state of probability waves. Without consciousness, “matter” dwells in an indeterminate state of probability. Any universe that may have preceded consciousness exists only in a state of probability.[iii]
Quantum physics therefore states that if there were no consciousness, everything would remain in an indeterminate state of probability. A universe that was before consciousness would be in a potential state, in one superposition, and it would not fully be what it should be. If the universe is what it is, we can assume that one “super coscience” preceded it and, above all, know it fully, so that it can manifest itself as it is.
THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE
The relationship between observer and universe has also had strong repercussions on the way of studying the universe itself. In 1986 John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, in their book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, reinterpreted the statements of Brandon Carter’s anthropic principle, defining the anthropic principle in the weak, strong and final version.
Weak anthropic principle (WAP): the observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable, but assume values limited by the condition that there are places where carbon-based life can evolve and the condition that the Universe is old enough for it to have already done so.
Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP): the Universe must possess those properties that allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history.[iv]
From Strong Anthropic Principle, three interpretations arise:
A) There is a possible Universe programmed with the aim of generating and maintaining observers.
B) Observers are needed to bring the Universe into being.
C) A set of other different universes is necessary for our Universe to exist.[v]
From the first reading we can deduce the teleological principle, according to which the Universe has an end. The second principle, which the US physicist John Archibald Wheeler defined Participatory Anthropic Principle (PAP), inserts into the SAP the laws of quantum physics, for which the pre-existence of an observer is necessary for our Universe to exist. Finally, the third interpretation tells us that our Universe derives from a “class of other real worlds”, through a process of optimization. Finally, again from the SAP, the Final Anthropic Principle:
Final Anthropic Principle (FAP): Intelligent information processing must come into existence in the Universe and, once it comes into existence, it will never become extinct.[vi]
The Final Anthropic Principle it tells us, that the information processed by intelligent life will never fail, but also that intelligent life will never fail, [vii] since observers are necessary for the life of the Universe itself.
The anthropic cosmological principle therefore affirms that the Universe as it is cannot be the result of chance, but the realization of a well-defined project. In this regard, Oxford mathematical physicist Roger Penrose writes:
The probability of finding ourselves in such a unique universe, if it arose by chance, would be equal to a very small, totally absurd value, of about 1/1010^124 regardless of inflation. This is the kind of figure that needs a completely different kind of theoretical explanation.[viii]
The Universe, therefore, would develop according to one precise adjustment (fine tuning), which implies a programming intelligence, since the probability that, spontaneously, by chance, we arrive at the subtle balances that allow life and the universe as it is, turns out to be infinitely small, if not nothing.
In order to have stable carbon molecules, it is necessary that the Universe has those properties that allow life to develop. This necessary condition – on which the entire Universe and the existence of the human observer rests – goes beyond the field of contingency and, therefore, of probability. In other words, the Universe would be predisposed to welcome intelligent life capable of understanding it.
Here the first articles:
[i] Heisenberg, W., Physics and philosophy. How contemporary science has changed the thinking of man, Net, Milano, 2003, pp. 73-74.
[ii] Zeilinger, A. (2010). Quantum Phisics: Ontology or Epistemology? In Polkinghorne, J., The Trinity and an Entangled World. Relationality in Physical Science and Theology, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Cambridge, pp. 35, 40.
[iii] Lanza, R., Berman, R., Biocentrism. How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, Benbella Books, Dallas, 2009, pp. 159-160.
[iv] Barrow, J. D., Tipler, F. J., The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Clarendon Press-Oxford, Oxford University Press-New York, 1986, pp. 16, 21.
[v] Ibid, p. 22.
[vi] Ibid, p. 23.
[vii] Ibid, p. 607.
[viii] Penrose, R., Cycles of Time. An Extraordinary New View of the Universe, The Bodley Head, London, 2010, p. 127.