Fate, teleology, and retrocausality

The Greeks believed in destiny.  Most human cultures have a feeling that the world moves the way it does because it is tending toward how it was meant to be.  We have intuitions about what is a fitting end.

If you write in a biology journal about evolution tending toward a higher state of fitness, your paper will be redlined with an accusation of teleology.  “Don’t you know that evolution is blind to the future, and can only select from random variations on the past state?  It’s basic physics, Stupid.”

But you can write in a physics journal about retrocausality as a necessary feature of quantum mechanics, to be avoided only by accepting pictures of reality that disagree yet more wildly with our intuitions–for example, the idea that there is no objective physical reality, or that experimenters do not have free choice in designing their experiments.

In their philosophizing, neither physicists nor biologists are inclined to consider real experimental evidence for retrocausality.  Maybe in 3 billion years of evolution, cells have learned to use quantum mechanics in ways that scientists in 100 years haven’t yet discovered.


Post a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s