Intimations of “an ultimate reality?”

Bernard d’Espagnat, who last week won the Templeton Prize, was brought up a Roman Catholic, but told Reuters he does not practice any religion and considers himself a spiritualist.

Tom Heneghan reports:

Some baffling discoveries of quantum physics led him to believe all creation has a wholeness and interrelatedness that many scientists miss by trying to break problems down into their component parts rather than understand them in larger contexts.

One of these is entanglement, the way that paired subatomic particles remain linked even if they move far apart, so that experimenting with one automatically effects the other without any apparent communication between them. [Regular Cafe readers, on hearing the phrase entangled states, may now expereince a sense of deja vu.]

This view clashes with the materialist outlook widespread among scientists.

“Materialists consider that we are explained entirely by combinations of small uninteresting things like atoms or quarks,” said d’Espagnat, whose latest book in English — “On Physics and Philosophy” — was published in 2006.

“I believe we ultimately come from a superior entity to which awe and respect is due and which we shouldn’t try to approach by trying to conceptualize too much,” he said. “It’s more a question of feeling.”

Ruth Gledhill’s column is also worth a look.

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