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Introduction: The causal closure of the physics is assumed everywhere in physics but has little empirical support. For the spiritual to have effects in nature, and make a difference there, the physical laws of nature must be modified or extended. Many thinkers in centuries past have proposed physics extensions to allow minds to operate, but to keep energy conservation at the same time. For example, actions of mind could be limited to biased probabilities in quantum mechanics (Beck, 2008), or to varying times of the chance events (Stapp, 2006). But quantum chances affect very little in organisms. Others suggest that minds could move energy from one location to a nearby place but that does not conserve energy locally. Non-local entanglement could be used, though it cannot be used for signals.
Approach: I propose that the fine-tuned parameters of quantum field theory (masses and charges) can be varied locally in order to achieve ends in nature. This is not adding extra forces to nature but rescaling the forces which already exist. The unit of electric charge ee is built into the fine-structure constant α=e2/ℏc ~????=e2/ℏc ~ 1/137. Some physicists (Webb et al, 2001, 2011) have already proposed varying α???? slowly over the age of the universe. Some kind of variation, therefore, is conceivable in physics. Now we propose to vary it over micro-seconds, and within living organisms.
Bekenstein (1982, 2002) showed that very similar effects to charge variations can be obtained by varying instead the permittivity ε ???? at the position of either charge (ε1????1 or ε2????2) while keeping charges constant. In our new application ε???? is varied not just in dielectrics, but varies even in a vacuum. The magnetic permeability μ???? is varied inversely so the speed of light c=1/εμ−−√c=1/???????? remains constant. By Noether’s theorem, energy and momentum are not now locally conserved, so the effects should be observable if measured in the needed scale of times and distances for molecular processes in cells. We can still do physics calculations by using forces between objects ii and jj varying by ε(r,t)????r,t in Fij=18π(1ε(ri,t)+1ε(rj,t))qiqj|ri−rj|2Fij=18????1????ri,t+1????rj,tqiqj|ri−rj|2
Implementing Mental Targets: First we separate metric time in 4 dimensions from process time as the order of actualization of potentialities. I have shown in (Thompson, 2019, 2020) how iterative forward and reverse steps in metric time can be used to influence intermediate variations in the vacuum permittivities to move charged bodies to achieve specific targets at a later time. This is analogous to processes of mental planning.
Discussion: This a start of a theory for how mental or spiritual influx could have effects in nature. Furthermore, these effects on permittivity should be measurable in biophysics experiments. With this proposal, we see after some centuries how ‘final causes’ could once again be seen active in nature. This is by bringing the physical future into line with a target and doing so without time travel and without altering the historical past. Thus we can imagine how the physical universe is no longer ‘causally closed’, and that a much greater range of scientific explanations should be possible. A wide range of phenomena could be amenable to (generalized) causal explanations.
Beck F. (2008). Synaptic quantum tunnelling in brain activity. NeuroQuantology, 6 (2).
Bekenstein, J.D. (1982). Fine Structure Constant: Is It Really a Constant? Phys Rev, D25, 1527.
Bekenstein, J.D. (2002) Fine-structure constant variability, equivalence principle, and cosmology. Phys Rev D, 66, 884.
Stapp, H.P. (2006). Quantum Interactive Dualism: An Alternative to Materialism. Zygon, 41 (3) pp. 599-616.
Thompson, I.J. (2019). A hypothesis for How Influx into the Natural Shows Itself in Physics, Talk at Bryn Athyn College, Oct 12, 2019. Slides with videos online at http://www.theisticscience.com/talks.htm#ian2
Thompson, I.J. (2020). A hypothesis for How Influx into the Natural Shows Itself in Physics, New Philosophy, 119. 284-294
Webb, J.K., Murphyn M T, Flambaum V V, Dzuba V A, Barrow J D, Churchill C W, Prochaska J X, & Wolfe A M (2001). Further Evidence for Cosmological Evolution of the Fine Structure Constant, Phys. Rev. Lett., 87, 205
Webb, J. K., King, J. A., Murphy, M. T. & Flambaum, V. V. and Carswell, R. F. and Bainbridge, M. B. (2011). Indications of a Spatial Variation of the Fine Structure Constant, Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 191101.