The Article: Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God?
The Source: Big Questions Online
The Author: Stephen M. Barr, a professor of physics at the University of Delaware who specializes in theoretical particle physics.
The Gist: Quantum physics provides an argument against the philosophy called materialism (or "physicalism")---the primary intellectual opponent of belief in God in the modern world.
Materialism is an atheistic philosophy that says that all of reality is reducible to matter and its interactions. It has gained ground because many people think that it's supported by science. They think that physics has shown the material world to be a closed system of cause and effect, sealed off from the influence of any non-physical realities --- if any there be. Since our minds and thoughts obviously do affect the physical world, it would follow that they are themselves merely physical phenomena. No room for a spiritual soul or free will: for materialists we are just "machines made of meat."
Quantum mechanics, however, throws a monkey wrench into this simple mechanical view of things. No less a figure than Eugene Wigner, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, claimed that materialism --- at least with regard to the human mind --- is not "logically consistent with present quantum mechanics." And on the basis of quantum mechanics, Sir Rudolf Peierls, another great 20th-century physicist, said, "the premise that you can describe in terms of physics the whole function of a human being ... including [his] knowledge, and [his] consciousness, is untenable. There is still something missing."
The Bottom Line: As Barr explains, the probabilities in quantum mechanics refer to definite events that definitively do or do not happen. The probability of the event, therefore, must shift either to 0% (e.g., the event did not happen) or 100% (e.g., the event did happen). However, the mathematics that describe physical processes shows that there is no shift to either 0% or 100%. The probabilities stay somewhere in between, they never resolve into definite outcomes. But an observer can know the outcome (e.g., "The event did happen.") so, as Barr says, "something must be involved when knowledge changes besides physical processes."
There is, however, one way to salvage materialism: the Many Worlds Interpretation" (MWI) of quantum mechanics. In this view, every event creates branches corresponding to every possible outcome of all physical situations. If the probability of an event was 70%, then in 70% of the worlds you get one result and 30% you get the other. If this sounds crazy and far-fetched, it's because it is---as even its proponents admit. But atheists also recognize that if something exist outside material reality, then it becomes harder to deny the reality of the supernatural.