God or chance?

Einstein is often quoted as saying that “God wouldn’t play dice with the universe.” This is interpreted as belief in God by the greatest scientist that ever lived. But, there is a lot more behind this quote than usually realized.
Having just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s definitive biography of Einstein, I learnt that although Einstein was the first person to prove that light is emitted in quanta, discrete units of light energy rather than as a continuous emission, a discovery for which he received the Nobel Prize, for most of his later life he tried to disprove the quantum theory. This was because quantum theory depends on probability rather than a classical view of the universe. Ironically Einstein, who overturned the classical Newtonian view of gravity, had the rather quaint belief, or bias, that all physical laws should be simple and easily expressed in mathematical terms. Probability, such as the distribution of electrons in space, as envisaged by Niels Bohr in his view of the atom, disturbed his preconceptions, and so he tried to disprove this theory. He was uncomfortable with the uncertainty principle formulated by Walther Heisenberg, a former student of Niels Bohr, who was a Nazi and the head of the German nuclear project during WWII. However, as time went on the evidence for quantum theory increased and Einstein was proved wrong. So that in fact the universe is based on probability, and so Einstein’s statement is incorrect, if God existed he would indeed play dice with the universe.
Let me give some examples, it is often said that a person’s heart will beat a certain predetermined number of times and then they will die. This is nonsense, probability or chance play a vital role. For example, take my case, I had tachycardia, a common condition in which the heart races. There was no way to predict when or how these palpitations would start or stop, it was based on chance. Also, I had a medical ablation to burn the nerve node in the heart that caused these palpitations. This would not have been possible several years ago, but is now routine. Once the procedure has been done successfully, the heart no longer races. Does any rational person believe that these incidents of tachycardia and its elimination were based on anything but chance, certainly not on the intervention of God.
Another example, Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the island of Corsica. Several years before he was born the island was transferred from Italy to France. Therefore, Napoleon grew up speaking French and when he was a young man he moved to Paris. If the island had not been taken over by France, he would have spoken Italian and have gone to Rome, and history as we know it would have been quite different.
So the fact is that chance does play a huge role in the workings of the universe, from the level of the atom to the human sphere. We meet someone and pair off, but who knows if that person is the “bashert,” or we happen to walk down a street where two rival gangs are firing at each other and get hit by a stray bullet, or an engine falls off a plane because a mechanic failed to tighten a screw and it hits your house. Chance or God? I leave it to you to make your own choice.


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