Not long ago I read the book "Quantum Enigma" at the behest of a college friend of mine from the University of Maryland School of Physics. Our group at U of M spent many school days speculating on field theories for electro-magnetism, gravitation and quantum chromodynamics. Although I was also a student of medieval and early Christian history at the time I never considered an analogy between quantum mechanics and Saint Thomas of Aquinas's treatise on Christian theology, the two concepts seemed too distinct. Wolfgang Smith has however written a book on the subject and with some success. To the uninitiated this approach to interpreting quantum theory could seem arbitrary however after reading the book I see a method to it. Although many post modern quantum theorists such as, Richard Feynmann, would find the attempt to interpret the "absurdity" of QM theory foolish; I can hear the echos, human beings just do not think like that or scientists use QM simply because it works. Many of the contemporary species of theorists of course do not have time to speculate the philosophy of QM either as these theorist have a repertoire of consistency issues for justifying hundreds or infinite, most likely countably infinite, numbers of universes that really cannot be proved or disproved until we get the math right. I suppose that fundamentals of QM theory have become too mundane.
As I maintain, I do see justification for Dr. Smith's approach to understanding QM. In fact Wolfgang Smith's thesis is analogous to that of Saint Thomas of Aquinas and his predecessor Saint Augustine. These Christian writers admired Greek philosophy to an extent that insisted relevance in theology. So why not extend the unified Socratic forms of Saint Thomas toward a present interpretation of QM. Unification was of course a confounding and incendiary issue for early and medieval Christians, whosoever interpreted the trinity could hazard the wrath of heresy. Only the boldest intellect would consider attempting such theological interpretations just as Wolfgang Smith to a lesser extent would attempt to interpret QM in the current era. Saint Augustine in fact unified the substance of the Socratic forms to be the essence of the holy spirit which proceeds from the father and the son, Filioque (the Eastern Church interprets that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the father through the son, this lead to the schism of 1054 and the sack of the holy eastern city Constantinople by Western Catholics in the 4th crusade). Saint Thomas took the interpretation of the trinity further however by conflating the hylomorphic interpretation of Aristotelian metaphysics with the essence of the holy spirit. Hence the low hanging fruit, a metaphysical interpretation, form or essence manifests as matter in the corporeal world that human beings exist within. Similarly QM deals with an ethereal essence, i.e. a Hilbert mathematical "phase" space, a physical substance, which manifests into observable, or corporeal, world forms. i.e. particles, due to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Alternately, I would posit another time that matter is primarily the result of quantum spin.
Another area I also align with Dr. Smith is his call against the modern and current obsession with atomism. Physicists continue to successfully squeezed matter down to minute regions of space and time wherein a combinatorial set of properties and behaviors are demonstrated to verify the existence of particles predicted by the standard model and quantum chromo-dynamics. We have however erred by extrapolating these unique models to characterize the familiar macroscopic matter around us to the point that possibly hundreds or countably infinite fantasmical M theories (including string theories) have been fabricated to attempt an unverifiable unification of forces and an inexplicable misunderstanding of recent discoveries in dark matter and dark energy. I ventilate below on how my interpretation of this error differs from that of Dr. Smith below. Verily, Dr. Smith further describes interpretations of decoherence to describe how matter communicates causal changes in state to observers in an interpretation similar to Heisenburg and Shroedinger, I build on this understanding later.
As did Saint Augustine and Thomas, Wolfgang Smith continues to differentiate an essence that manifests the universe as an arrow of time orthogonal to the will of humanity. To simplify the concept Smith envisions creation of the universe as a point with concentric circles propagating various temporal states of the spatial universe, that is the spatial dimensions have been collapsed to a circle, this occurs on a horizontal plan. Smith further posits that the souls of humanity can alter each circle of the universe with free will, or agency, in the direction vertical to the plane. These free will acts have a causative effect of future actions. Wolfgang Smith's postulates resonate with other contemporary scholars as well. In particular the conjecture of Stuart Kauffman and Lee Smolin elucidate an alternative to Smith's position using complexity and emergent behavior as a postulate for the arrow of time and the structure of life and the universe. Kauffman in particular believes that a guiding force must exist to define an order in the universe. To prove by contradiction, Kauffman considers the overwhelming combinatorics of carbon based chains and the minimum time interval for random mutations of DNA within the finite age of the universe to prove that random evolution cannot possibly be that basis of life on earth. Kauffman's analysis insists that there must be an as yet unforeseen directive on nature that caused a more selective evolution of the cosmos and life on earth. At this point there is yet no reason, if in fact reason is reliable tool, to rule out the divine guidance of God.
I do take differences with Wolfgang Smith in several aspects of his thesis however. First I do not agree with his absolute dichotomy of the corporeal from the physical. To this extent Smith has merely abstracted the same duality error that he criticized of Descartes. From my understanding of Smith's thesis, the corporeal is observable, id est "Cave of Images" in an Platonic sense whereas the physical world is the idealized objective, timeless, shapeless substance, a "quantum substance", that exists in the universe beyond the observable corporeal boundaries, such as the Holy Spirit in the sense conveyed by Saint Thomas. This model is somewhat flawed since we are able to observe the dance of quantum mechanical phenomenon that is not decohered. A Fermi pressure of occupied quantum states upholds the structures in the universe which to the greatest part coherently intertwine with nary an observation to human senses or instruments other than an efferent glow of a boundary due to decoherence at the boundary of these forms. Fermi pressure is fundamental to the pervasive pressure of a dark matter in galactic regions and dark energy hitherto in the regions between intergalactic clusters. Again the assumption of an efferent classical "decohered" world of our senses is what is observed as an outline of the the extents of the vastly greater coherent universe. Hence humanity can observer the temporal and spatial extents, somewhat of a thinly veiled glow, of the a coherent quantum substance. Unfortunately our understanding of the structure of the universe has been confined to the contrivance of using high energy accelerators to partition and squeeze this substance into into regions with regularly behaving decoherence behaviors we characterize as fundamental "particles".
Another difference with my understanding is Dr. Smith's resignation of mathematics to be a quantitative tool rather than a tool for qualitative categorization. Quantitatively mathematics has an arithmetical limit in describing nature, qualitative categorization however provides a consistent tool for amplifying a human understanding of nature when used within understood limits or constraints. Certainly the study of the work of Bertrand Russell, Kurt Godel and later computer language theorists would argue against the completeness of quantitative arithmetic, computational and functional mapping. Kurt Godel in particular proved by contradiction that consistency of axioms and completeness, provability of all statements, in a logical arithmentic cannot coexist. Other than logic such dual paradoxes of contradiction exist in the mapping of functional categories, Brouwer's Fixed Point Theorem, and Turing's algorithm Halting problem.