Is our universe following a plan? If it is following a pre-set route to a pre-defined end-state then we are pointless cogs in a big machine, powerless to change the divine plan. Conversely, that there is no plan and all it is just accident leads to the nihilism that nothing really matters at all, which denies the accountability that societies need to work, so society would collapse and we wouldn’t be here (Whitworth & Ahmad, 2014). Yet plan vs. no-plan aren’t the only options.
An air-conditioning system with a thermostat has no plan to turn on or off at certain times, just a temperature setting it is programmed to maintain and it follows that “law” and acts accordingly, given an electrical power source. It is not random but equally its acts aren’t planned in advance. A computer simulation is more complex but again there is no plan for what it does moment-to-moment as what evolves may surprise even its designer, but it also follows built-in laws and again needs an ongoing source, in this case a computer processor. It isn’t planned but neither is it acting by accident.
Even more complex is a baby, where again one cannot say it has a plan but nor is what it does just accident. Psychology tells us that the brain is pre-set to learn a language, identify faces and form relationships but it can be any language, any face or any relationship. In all these cases, a system driven by some source of its activity is predisposed a certain way but has no preconceived plan of action nor is anything external directing it to follow a plan.
If evolution was built-in to our universe at the beginning, it was predisposed to evolve, subject to pre-set limits or laws, and supported by the power of ongoing quantum activity. This evolution was a trial-and-error process with no master plan nor any blueprints of what will happen, just as science says, but to call the evolution itself an accident is a step too far. If we do not even know how our universe began, how can we seriously conclude that it was an accident? That a universe structured to evolve doesn’t have a central director to tell it what to do doesn’t make it accidental. Evolution works by accidental means but evolution itself is not accidental because it tries every option to eventually find what works.
Our universe wasn’t built as a watchmaker builds a watch to a pre-set design but was borne, like a baby not knowing where it is going or why but containing the essence of its parentage. Hence it was predisposed to evolve just as a baby is predisposed to learn. The birth of a particular baby may be accidental but that babies are borne isn’t an accident because that is how species survive. Nor can the baby itself be considered an accident because its nature directly derives from its ancestry.
In quantum realism, the “parent” of physical reality is a quantum reality that is “alive” in the sense that it acts from its own nature rather than having to be “pushed”. Instead of fundamental particles that always existed following fixed laws set by some distant deity or accident, quantum realism sees a fecund universe where quantum reality continually “gives birth” to physical reality. In this view, the physical world is constantly being created by something beyond itself.
The next chapter extends quantum realism to include the fields of gravity, charge and magnetism.