Reversing the Copernican Principle

October 20, 2013 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, New Spirituality, Scientific Revolution

In his book, Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics has Betrayed the Search of Scientific Truth, Jim Baggott sets out six principles that he believes should serve as criteria to judge a credible scientific theory.  One of these is the Copernican Principle, which he describes as follows: ” The universe is not organized for our benefit and we are not uniquely privileged observers.  Science strives to remove “us” from the centre of the picture  making our  existence a natural consequence of reality rather than the reason for it. ”

In my interview with Jim Baggott on October 21, 2013 (Conversations Beyond Science and Religion) we talked a little bit about the validity of this principle and I want here to expand on a few points I did not have time to make during the show.

As an initial matter, Copernicus did not invent the Copernican Principle.  Rather, he is credited for finding that the Earth revolved around the Sun, rather than the Sun around the Earth.  Metaphorically, Copernicus’s finding has led a long line of thinkers to conclude that what he really showed was that man is not the “crown of creation;” that we are not special in any way, but simply collections of organic molecules roaming around on a random planet circling the sun, which in turn is part of a galaxy that itself circles other star formations out among the vast, impersonal universe.   Where once we were the center of the universe, now we are leftover stardust.

Modern physics has taken this finding and turned it into a working principle of science.  Since Copernicus showed that humans are not the center of the cosmos, the thinking is that science must also be practiced with this principle firmly established. We are to treat the problem of existence as a puzzle that can only be solved if we assume that what we call “reality” is separate from “us,” and only answers using this framework will be considered scientific.

But this approach imposes a handicap upon our thinking that we don’t need and cannot justify.

It may be considered humble to take the position that we are a natural consequence of a reality “out there,” but it also leads to a lack of responsibility if this very same reality instead comes from “in here.”  It also leads to the foolhardy belief where we  imagine the world  – and our bodies — are machines operating beyond our control, when exactly the opposite is true.

The progress of science is steadily showing that the Eastern mystics were right: the world is a product of our internal states, or as Sir James Jeans said 100 years ago, the universe is looking more like a great thought than a great machine.  Quantum theory shows a connection between consciousness and the physical world.  Atoms are not things and have no existence outside of the mind.  To be is to be perceived.  Parapsychology studies show the power of the mind over the body and the external world,  The obvious fine-tuning of the universe and the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” strongly suggest that a mind sits behind creation.  In dreams and hallucinations we witness the mind conjuring up an outside physical world mistaken for the world at large.

As we take a broader view of the evidence, the reality we thought was out-there draws closer to us — and then we realize it is us.

The Copernican principle is not science, but part of the holding pattern we sit in until we have time to study the reality we thought was out there.  We then realize, as shown by the evolving “new thought” movement, that the world is a product of the “in-here.”  The world is a reflection, a dream, of internal states.  It is time we recognize this unavoidable truth and finally accept responsibility for the world.  Copernicus was right about the Earth and the Sun, but wrong about the role of humans in the cosmos.  It will turn that we are the spiritual center — and hence the crown of creation — after all.

 

 

And So We Patiently Wait for Science to Discard the Real World Out There

October 9, 2013 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism

            ‘We all agree that your theory is crazy.  The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.”

Niels Bohr

Modern physics is at a crossroads. Since the time of Einstein, it has pursued a quest to unify the laws of physics using a naïve realist or materialist approach.  This viewpoint holds that there is a real world independent of the scientific theorist, that ultimate reality is a material thing (matter) rather than a mind, and that the mind has no influence on the world.  Most theorists likely assume that discarding the realist perspective is too crazy. And that’s the problem: modern science will not be able to unify the laws of science working within the box of materialism.  Instead, as might be expected, it will need to go outside the box to arrive at a unified theory

Front-page announcements such as the finding of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider, the search for dark matter, and musings over string theory and the multiverse, have masked the basic truth that today’s scientific worldview has reached a dead-end in attempting to assemble an all-encompassing world outlook while operating under the heavy burden of naïve realism.

Lee Smolin, in his book, The Trouble with Physics, in recognizing the conundrums facing modern physics, identifies five problems that any unified theory of physics must solve.

These are:

  1. Combine general relativity and quantum theory into a single theory that can claim to be the complete theory of nature.  This is known as the problem of quantum gravity.
  2. Resolve the problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics, either by making sense of the theory as it stands or by inventing a new theory that does make sense.
  3. Determine whether or not the various particles and forces can be unified in a theory that explains them all as manifestations of a single, fundamental entity.
  4. Explain how the values of the free constants in the standard model of particle physics are chosen in nature.
  5. Explain dark matter and dark energy.  Or, if they don’t exist, determine how and why gravity is modified on large scales.  More generally, explain why he constants of the standard model of cosmology, including the dark energy , have the values they do.

Dr. Smolin should be credited with articulating in a concise and direct manner the five great problems standing in the way of a unified theory of physics.  But in pondering how future scientists may come to solve these mysteries of science, Smolin also reveals the prejudice of the modern scientific theorist: he acknowledges that “physicists have traditionally expected that science should give an account of reality as it would be in or absence. “  Belief in a “real world out there,” he writes, “motivates us to do the hard work needed to become scientists and contribute to the understanding of nature.”  In other words, Smolin defines “science” as practice that can only occur if the practitioner assumes a “real world” independent of the observer. Having accepted on faith the very obstacle preventing progress in the first place, it is no wonder that modern scientific theory remains mired in the same old intellectual quicksand.  Like a hot-air balloonist wondering why he cannot reach the stars while tethered to a fence post, modern science can make no further progress toward a unified theory until it lets go of the “real world out there.”

In this article, I will do something crazy.  I will provide answers to each of these problems and show that a unified theory becomes readily apparent if Mr. Smolin and his university colleagues simply let go of their treasured assumption that there is a real world independent of us.

In considering this assumption, we might first ask, why should the universe obey the commands of the scientific theorist in the first place? Isn’t it true that the world existed before the theorist came on the scene? The job of science is to understand the world as it is, not as scientists assume or wish it should be.

It should not be considered as simply a coincidence that, as shown below, when we eliminate the independent-world assumption, we come upon the outline of a theory that solves Smolin’s five problems

So let us start with the first problem:

Problem 1:    Combine general relativity and quantum theory into a single theory that can claim to be the complete theory of nature.  This is known as the problem of quantum gravity.

The two fundamental theories of the physical world, general relativity (gravity) and quantum theory, are in fact incompatible.  At small scales, the herky-jerky quantum effects conflict with the smooth continuous force of gravity.

This problem, however, is a consequence of the independent-world assumption.  This view assumes that there is a world outside of the theorist that must be pounded into a form understandable by the scientific mind.  The theorizing mind looks at the assumed physical world and believes that it can understand how it operates.  Large masses follow the law of gravity; small masses, at sub-atomic levels, follow the contradictory ways of quantum theory. But suppose there are neither large nor small masses independent of human experience; suppose masses of any size, and in fact, the entire physical world, is a projection of the mind.

Now, for those who believe the mind is incapable of conjuring up a three-dimensional appearance of a world from nothing, consider the simple example of hallucinations.  In an hallucination, the mind of one person is able to create a three-dimensional image of a person or object that blends into the natural world.  How is this possible?  As Oliver Sacks notes in his book, Hallucinations, one remarkable feature of hallucinations is that they appear “compellingly three-dimensional.”

So if the world is a projection of the mind, we would expect this thing called matter – the supposed substance to the physical world –  to dissolve into nothing when we tunnel into it.  And, interestingly, this is exactly what quantum physics shows: at the root of reality are not things, but energy bundles, wave equations or, in different words, the stuff of which dreams are made.  This alternate viewpoint I call the “real dream worldview.”

Turning to gravity, we would expect the physical world, this creation of an infinite mind, to be in the form of a three-dimensional work of art, a grand animation, or computer simulation, where stellar bodies are placed throughout the cosmos to provide a beautiful backdrop to life.  (As we will see below, this approach explains the dark matter problem, assuming it is a problem.)

This picture of the cosmos, as the stunning background scenery to life on Earth, does not fit within the mechanical model of modern, materialistic science.  Modern science would prefer these stellar bodies to follow the dictates of impersonal, objective laws of nature, though when we consider these laws in detail, we find they must have an internal source. This was also the conclusion reached by two of the greatest thinkers in history, David Hume and Immanuel Kant.  David Hume believed the ultimate source to the regularities of nature is our need and belief for those laws.  Kant believed the laws of nature are part of the structure of the mind.

Again, if we want to solve the problem of physics we will need to reinvent the box, not work within the same outdated box.  This is precisely what Einstein meant when he famously said that we cannot solve the problems of science using the same level of consciousness that created them.  The core problem here is that scientists continue to ignore his advice.  They continue to use materialism to hammer the physical world into a shape they can understand, not realizing that it is their attitude toward the problem that is standing in the way of a solution.

Problem 2.   Resolve the problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics, either by making sense of the theory as it stands or by inventing a new theory that does make sense

This problem is also easily solved through the real-dream worldview.  A fundamental dilemma with quantum theory is that at the root of reality we find a phenomenon that does not fit into the naïve realist framework; specifically, we do not find a thing, or a little ball-bearing, but rather, a wave-thing; a substance that changes from a particle to a wave depending on the experiment run.  Worse, the identity of this entity seems to depend upon what the conscious observer is looking for:  if he tries to find a wave-like feature he finds a wave; if he searches for a particle he finds a particle.

This result demonstrates, to many scientists, that this phenomenon we call a “thing” does not have an identity independent of the observer, because if it did, its character would not depend upon the choice of the conscious observer. The shape of the moon, as Einstein once said, does not depend on how one observes it: we want a real world out there that does not depend upon an observer.

Einstein’s quest to locate an objective world remains the quest of many leading scientists, including Lee Smolin.  To them, quantum theory gives an incomplete picture of the physical reality these theorists hope exists out there.

But these theorists miss the point.  We know there is an external world because life would not be possible without one.  We also know that there is an unbreakable connection between mind and the world, as shown not only by the findings of quantum theory, but also by the placebo effect, psychic phenomena, dreams, and hallucinations. Why should there be a world independent of the observer and who ever said we needed one?  Rather, it should be fairly obvious that the dreaming mind strongly desires an external world – since that is point of dreaming – and the fact that the mind has delivered to us the external world desired should be a cause for celebration, not to embark on a mad rush to find another exotic particle.

So quantum theory is a puzzle to the modern scientific theorist because they have considered it from the wrong perspective.  It is impossible to have a theory that will describe the “real world” as it would be in our absence because there is no such world.  Therefore, quantum theory can only be considered incomplete if theorists apply it to their independent world.  Quantum theory tells us there is no independent world, but theorists are not accepting this conclusion.  When we eliminate the independent world assumption, however, we find that quantum theory is in fact the true physical science to a dream world.

Problem 3: Determine whether or not the various particles and forces can be unified in a theory that explains them all as manifestations of a single, fundamental entity.

Problem 4: Explain how the values of the free constants in the standard model of particle physics are chosen in nature.

I have combined these two problems because they are essentially the same problem.  Smolin’s Problem 3 seeks a unified theory that would combine the four fundamental forces and the 24-0dd particles of the Standard Model into one overarching theory.  This seems like a necessary result because it is hard to imagine that the world began as anything but a unity; it just seems too odd that at the very beginning of time there happened to be four  separate forces (gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear, strong force) and 24 different particles that would later combine to form a picture-perfect universe.

So if the world did begin as a unity, then it must still be a unity and there must be one theory to explain it. On this point we have to remember that one of the chief criticisms of creationism is that it seems ludicrous to suppose that God, or any force, created the existing universe in one fell swoop; some sort of growth or evolution appears essential.  But this is the same problem that science confronts when it seeks to explain the universe as resulting from the big bang.  Any such explosion, as cosmologists acknowledge, must have had very special initial conditions to have grown into the universe standing before us.  So instead of supposing that the God created the entire universe in one miraculous act, cosmologists suppose that some unidentified force created the initial conditions of the big bang in one miraculous act. It’s the same problem in a different form.

Problem 4 asks a similar question: Despite the wide disparity in the strength of the four forces and the masses of the elementary particles of the Standard Model, there must be a natural way to explain them.  As Smolin notes, the “constants specify the properties of the particles.  Some tell us the masses of the quarks and the leptons, while others tell us the strengths of the forces.  We have no idea why these numbers have the values they do; we simply determine them by experiments and then plug in the numbers.”

This problem is actually not a difficult one to solve.  All we have to do is to change our perspective and look at the world as coming from us instead of at us. Remember, materialists assume the physical world exists outside of our internal states and then try to imagine how it created itself and human life.

The hierarchy problem of physics asks why is it that the masses of the elementary particles span 13 orders of magnitude? The answer is that scientists look at the world as if it were built from the small to the large, or from the inside to the outside: from a collection of small particles that somehow snowballed in a three-dimensional world.

The opposite perspective explains more and is in fact true: the three-dimensional image came first and the inner parts align because they look up to the whole; another way to express this point is that the melody came to the mind first and the notes follow the melody; in the materialistic worldview, scientists scratch their heads wondering how these synchronized notes  the particles of the Standard Model of physics all line up to form the matter in the universe.  But they are looking at the problem from the wrong perspective: the three-dimensional image of the world came first and the parts align because they look up to the whole.  So these two problems are easily solved as well.

Problem 5:     Explain dark matter and dark energy.  Or, if they don’t exist, determine how and why gravity is modified on large scales.  More generally, explain why the constants of the standard model of cosmology, including the dark energy, have the values they do.

Dark matter is the missing mass that cosmologists believe is holding the universe together.  It turns out when they apply the law of gravity to the physical appearance of galaxies and other cosmic structures cosmologists reach the conclusion that there should be a lot more mass than meets the eye – in fact dark matter is supposed to make up over 75% of the total mass in the universe.

Dark energy is the repulsive force that is imagined to be accelerating the expansion of the universe.  This unknown force was named because cosmologists have been unable to explain why the expansion of the universe seems to be accelerating: to them there must be some hidden background force that is giving the expansion a turbo-boost.  Ironically, dark energy is such a significant force that it is thought to comprise almost 75% of the total mass and energy in the cosmos.

But modern scientists know neither the nature nor source of either dark matter or dark energy, thus creating one of Smolin’s five mysteries.

But again both dark matter and dark energy are easily explained through the Real-Dream worldview. Under this view, neither dark matter nor dark energy exist.  In the final analysis the three-dimensional picture of the cosmos is exactly that: a three-dimensional, artistic rendition of a cosmos. It is not a world created outside of us by gravity and the other forces. The cosmos follows the laws of the mind before it follows the laws of nature.

The other component of Smolin’s question is explaining why the dark energy has the value it has.   This particular question is also known as the cosmological constant problem.  Under quantum theory, even empty space has energy, since there is always a quantum uncertainty over the energy value of a vacuum.  But if scientists add up the energy value of the vacuum energy in the cosmos they come up with a value that is 10120 greater than the value of dark energy.  This is the problem: why is the actual value of dark energy so low?

From what we have covered to this point, the answer should be apparent: dark energy does not exist and modern cosmologists are simply looking at the picture of the cosmos from the wrong perspective.  Again, we are looking at an artist’s rendition of the cosmos.  The artist is God and we are actors in the drama of God’s quest to understand itself.  Physical forces and particles have their values because they are part of a unified, harmonic whole: they align because the grand picture was sculpted first, and the parts trail behind, like the tail of a comet.

So in the end, if the objective is to explain the world as opposed to perpetuating a false assumption, then giving up the “real world out there” is the right thing to do scientifically.  But leading scientists are not ready to take this step, believing that it is somehow unscientific to discard a real world out-there, but “scientific” to hold blindly to an unwarranted assumption.  Would it not make sense to first adopt the correct metaphysical standpoint and then engage in the practice of science?

And so we patiently wait for the scientific community to discard the “real world out there” and finally set us free to find a true theory of everything.

 

Tags: real world out there, smolin, theory of everything

News Flash: The World is Not Made Out of Particles

July 25, 2013 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, Particle Physics, Quantum Theory

In a  recent article, What is Real?, published in Scientific American, Meinard Kuhlmann, Professor of Philosophy at Bielefeld University in Germany, breaks the news: the world is not made out of particles after all.

This conclusion may come as a shock to the vast field of particle physics and the thousands of physicists working at the $6 billion Large Hadron Collider in Europe.  As Professor Kuhlman writes, “one must conclude that ‘particle physics’ is a misnomer: despite the fact that physicists keep talking about particles, there is no such thing.”

Quantum theory, in fact, spelled doom for particles almost 100 years ago, but modern physics has not quite absorbed this point into its worldview.  Quantum theory, as Professor Kuhlman writes, is based upon on the fundamental precept that no such thing as a particle can be localized in a particular place or time; Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle forever dispelled the notion that we can know the exact location and momentum of a thing.  As Heisenberg himself said, atoms are not things. Rather, the closer physicists look, the more Shakespeare appears to have been on the right track: the world is made out of dream-stuff.

Yet, remarkably, science has constructed the giant edifice of particle physics, symbolized by the Large Hadron Collider, in defiance of the findings of quantum theory.  Professor Kuhlman writes that particles are inferences from experiments but are not real in the sense that they actually exist in the manner we believe they do.  He has a point and is on the right track.  Particles are what they have always been: concepts; things we want to exist and find at the root of reality.  But they do not exist without the mind desiring them.

It is this point we will need to ponder for a little longer.

Tags: quantum theory

The Mystery of the God Particle – The Unpublished Newsweek Letter

July 23, 2012 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, Higgs Boson, Multiverse

Here is a letter to the editor of Newsweek, commenting upon Lawrence Krauss’s article, The Godless Particle, published in the July 16, 2012 issue of Newsweek.

 

The Higgs finding illustrates a serious problem with modern physics and cosmology: scientists want to bedazzle the public with the latest discovery of “the secret to the universe” and the consequent vanquishing of God, but remain tight-lipped about the assumptions embedded in their theories and the mysteries remaining. While Lawrence Krauss and others triumphantly proclaim that the Higgs particle (assuming it has been found in fleeting collisions of elementary particles) solves the mystery of mass, they remain silent about how the Higgs field itself arose. As the more forthright Nobel prize-winning physicist Martinus J.G. Veltman notes, with the Higgs particle “ignorance about the origin of mass is replaced by the ignorance about the particle-Higgs couplings, and no real knowledge is gained.” In other words, the Higgs field is supposed to bestow mass upon particles but no knows why such a field happens to have the peculiar properties to perform this feat. This leads to the further mystery of why these particles and forces are precisely adjusted to allow for a stable universe and life itself to exist. This fine-tuning problem then leads to the choice currently confronting modern cosmology: either our universe happens to be the only perfectly adjusted one out of a vast landscape of multiple universes, or else cosmology’s theoretical framework is out-of-kilter, and there is an intelligence lurking behind the scenes after all. Scientists like Professor Krauss, who overstate the progress of modern science in understanding our world and fail to disclose their assumptions, do a disservice by leading the public to believe the mystery of the universe has been solved even though, when the full picture is drawn, the mystery only grows deeper.

Tags: God particle, Higgs, Krauss, Newsweek

A Mind is Always Present: Another Fatal Flaw of Materialism

June 10, 2012 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Darwin, Failure of Scientific Materialism

 Materialism, the doctrine that the entire cosmos and all living things can ultimately be reduced to mindless stuff, has many fundamental flaws.  Here is one of them: 

            Even in the mindless, God-less, designer-less worldview of materialism, a mind is still present.  Where is this mind?  In the head of a scientific theorist who imagines that the intelligence and organizational ability of matter is much more creative than it could ever be on its own.   

            Let me provide a bit more detail.  

            At bottom, material scientists believe they can explain the entire universe using only matter and the laws of nature.  The laws of nature are necessary to give order and regularity to the dust that would otherwise scatter in the wind.   For example, the laws of gravity, chemistry, quantum theory, and nuclear fission are considered among those responsible for sculpting the large-scale structure of the cosmos, such as galaxies, stars, and planetary systems. 

.           The laws of nature possess at least two noteworthy features: (1) they are

engrained “rules to the game” of the universe and considered integral to the physical world; and (2) if these rules were changed even slightly, life would not be possible.  This last point is the source of the anthropic principle, the notion that life constrains, or perhaps even dictates, the physical laws that make life possible.  

            All scientific theorists assume the laws of nature as given, as if this dead and dumb matter came off the assembly line nicely programmed with operating instructions, like marching robots.  Material scientists appear more comfortable assuming the laws of nature than invoking some mysterious spirit or intelligence as because it sounds more scientific, which is to say less supernatural.

            But if we remove the “laws of nature” from the equation we have only mindless stuff, and under any story of creation this mindless stuff will never form into an ordered universe, or stay in place once it got there.

            So we have this formula:

            Matter – Laws of Nature = Chaos

            So scientists, unable to place mind out in the world due to their materialistic prejudices, resort to the only resource available to them: their own minds.  Faced with a chaotic world of mindless matter, scientists use the creativity of the scientific imagination to create matter, organize it, and give it life.

            Here are three examples of how the scientific mind resorts to the creative imagination when trying to explain how dead and dumb matter formed the world standing in front us.

            Example 1:  Creation from nothing theories.

            The quantum creation story goes something like this: Under quantum theory, we are unable to attribute an exact energy state to a vacuum.  Therefore, there is a chance the vacuum may contain a probability cloud or virtual particles.  Theorists then say that this quivering, uncertain energy state somehow morphed into a real world, with a 100 billion galaxies, each with 100 billion stars.  (See Lawrence Krauss, A Universe from Nothing). 

            Notice something here that is indisputable:  this quantum creation theory originated in the mind.  Consciousness, it turns out, is an integral part of quantum theory and most physicists acknowledge that what we call the “real” world is in some way bundled up with the mind.  Therefore, for these quantum-creation theorists to imagine creation without consciousness contradicts the basis of quantum theory.  See, e.g., B. Rosenblum & F. Kuttner, Quantum Enigma.

            Without the creativity of the scientific theorist there would be only a nothing trying to become something.   So the modern theorist implants his theory upon the dark void and imagines that nothing became something, without an observer or consciousness.  

            We already know one way the mind can create an external world without bothering with the quantum theory: the power of the dream.  This is something we can test everyday, for at night our mind naturally conjures up a real-seeming world from nothing but itself.  And, unlike the quantum creation approach, with the dream perspective we do not separate ourselves from creation, but find it linked to the soul.

            Example 2: The origin of life 

            Despite the numerous books written about how life rose from the dead, scientists have no credible, testable theory to explain the origin of life.  But they have a lot of theories, and one thing again is for sure:  all the theories are a product of the ingenuity of the theorizing mind.

            Look at the dirt on the ground.  Does it look alive?  Does it look like it can someday become alive?  I thought so.  To imagine how dirt and slime became alive requires a leap of the imagination, something minds are very good at.  But not dirt.

            So what’s the alternative explanation?  Well, if the dreaming power projects a world, one might think it someday would want to experience its creation.  So life becomes the mind’s best idea of how to lose itself in the dream – and to forget it is nothing after all.

            Example 3: The blind watch-making capabilities of Natural Selection

            Then there is natural selection, the all-purpose life-sculpting power responsible for turning bacteria into Marilyn Monroe and Rock Hudson.   Here again we find a big disconnect between the actual working parts of natural selection and the artwork attributed to it.  Natural selection is the term used to describe the theory that creatures better adapted to the environment are more likely to survive and pass on their genes to offspring.  Random mutations at the level of DNA provide the raw material for changes in organisms.  As these copying errors mutate an organism, once in a while a mutation will prove beneficial and allow an organism to outlast its competitors; the mutant organism will then pass on the favorable traits to its offspring and so on.  Through this process, biologists believe a primitive organism mutated its way to the human form. 

            But looking strictly at the working parts to this theory – random mutations and the survival instinct – it is not easy to understand what caused exactly the necessary mutations to march out of DNA randomly– but wind up at the human figure. 

            Doesn’t it seem a bit odd that the human figure is also the best form our minds can imagine?  Isn’t Marilyn Monroe a dream image of a woman?  (Woman can imagine their own male dream image; I have a feeling it’s not the Alien, Tyrannosaurus Rex, or a hippopotamus.)   

            So scientists take the mind out of the physical world and then use their own minds to imagine a way for the cosmos to have evolved into a place of apparent order.

            They drain mind from the physical world and absorb the creativity as part of their own theorizing.  

            And we can make this point into a principle:

            To the degree scientists take mind out of the physical world they must use greater theorizing power to imagine how this mindless stuff assembled itself into world of perfect order.

            But a mind is always present, either out in the world organizing the dream, or in the mind of the theorist imagining how mindless stuff evolved into a world.  With the dream perspective, we do not have to take wild speculative leaps imagining how an infinitely condensed seed of matter sprang from the void; how life rose from the dead; or how bacteria evolved into a perfect human form.  We finally admit, in other words, that a scientist is both theorist and creator in our world.   And if you think about it, that’s not so bad.

 

Tags: darwin, quantum, science, theory

Response to Lawrence Krauss and His Materialistic Vision

April 28, 2012 | 4 Comments

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, Multiverse, New Consciousness, Scientific Revolution

In a recent article on Scientific American’s website, entitled Consolation of Philosophy, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-consolation-of-philos&page=2, Professor Lawrence Krauss expounds on some of the themes in his book, A Universe from Nothing, and concludes that philosophy has nothing of importance to tell us about the real world, and that only physics can lead us to truth.

Professor Krauss, in rejecting philosophy, fails to acknowledge that he is promoting his own brand of philosophy known as scientific materialism.  So what he really seems to be saying is that scientific materialism is the final truth, and we should not bother considering any other alternative.

But scientific materialism – the view that a real world of matter exists independently of consciousness – has a number of fatal flaws.  Two of them are (1) several great thinkers, such as Bishop George Berkeley, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant, showed that we can never prove that such a real world of matter actually exists outside of the mind; rather, as Hume said, this is a belief humankind takes on faith; and (2) in the scientific realm, quantum theory shows that consciousness plays an unmistakable role in forming the world of experience.  (F. Kuttner & B. Rosenblum, The Quantum Enigma (http://quantumenigma.com/).   Quantum theory teaches that an objective world of particles does not exist.  (D. Lindley, The End of Physics .http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Of-Physics-Unified/dp/0465019765)  The fact that quantum theory gives a role to consciousness in experience may be taken as a sign of a developing convergence between science and other fields of thought, and as evidence that the philosophical idealists were on the right track after all.

It is time for the scientific thought leaders to open their minds to the real possibility that there may very well be a fundamental synergy between mind and the physical world, and that this fact will not destroy science but perpetually energize it.  Science deals only with models, and the evidence, from quantum theory to the placebo effect to the unavoidable fine-tuning of the universe, shows we are due for a change-over  in model lines.

With science unable to bring themselves to accept mind or intelligence in the make-up of the physical world, it is forced to fall back to the multiverse and string theory to explain such things as the physical constants and the conflict between gravity and quantum theory.  But neither of these two theories can be proven or falsified, so their role as “scientific” theories is doubtful.  (See George Ellis,  Does the Multiverse Really Exist?, Scientific American (Aug. 2011)http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=does-the-multiverse-really-exist ; L. Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, http://www.thetroublewithphysics.com/.)  So why is all of this important?  Because if consciousness in fact plays a role in the formation of the world, then it is time we take more responsibility for the world we live in, rather than pass off the task to some external force, and fanciful notions of multiple universes and hidden dimensions.

Materialism’s Straw Man — and a New Opponent Rising

April 5, 2012 | 1 Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, New Consciousness, Scientific Revolution

In books such as The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), Knocking on Heaven’s Door (Lisa Randall), and The Grand Design (Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow), our modern science writers set up an easy straw man when promoting materialistic orthodoxy.  Modern scientists believe that their only opponent to control the debate over the origin and evolution of the cosmos is organized religion.  They are wrong.  Another opponent is rising, and they will soon have to deal with it.

Materialism is the view that the entire physical universe can be reduced to mindless particles in motion.  It holds to the belief that there is an objective world, independent of perception and independent of mind.

The great mystery of materialism is how this material world sprang from the void and evolved itself into a picture-perfect universe.

Material scientists have the mathematical laws of nature, the scientific method, and a lock on all of the professorships in the leading universities to argue their case.

But their argument is made much easier because they believe they have only one opponent in the debate to control the discourse on the origin and evolution of the cosmos: organized religion.  In the standard religious worldview, God replaces the laws of nature as the source for the universe.  But the physical universe of religion is the same as the universe of modern science: it is a world of dead matter independent of the human mind.  Therefore, materialists ask the obvious question: what is the source of God and through what mechanism does it influence and create the world?

By a wave of the hand?  His daily whims? His great mind?  So religion cites to “God” as the ultimate explanation for the universe, order, and life, but what is the explanation for God?

Most western religions are themselves materialistic in that they accept part of the scientific story – such as the Big Bang, dark matter, and dark energy – but fall back upon God as the original and final cause.

Orthodox religion uses faith to make the final step in the explanation, but this sort of faith has no currency in science.

So modern scientists, propping up organized religion as the “usual suspect,” proceed to treat the religious worldview as a rag doll, beating its head upon the anvil of almighty Science.  Religion, scientists argue, relies ultimately upon childish myths and superstition: creation in 7 days; a 6000-year universe; a bearded father in the sky; a savior walking on water and healing the sick; and great religious texts channeled from God to wandering peasants.

Almighty methodical science vs. a child’s storybook; an MIT PhD vs. a matchbook GED; a Formula One car vs. a horse and buggy; Richard Dawkins vs. Jerry Falwell.

But there is another opponent rising to take up the challenge of materialism and of organized religion.  This opponent is of a different kind and is not so easily dismissed.

This new approach is based upon a radical re-orientation of how we look out at the world.  It treats the external world not as a foreign object created by happenstance in the Big Bang, but as a dream powered by the united unconscious mind; the one mind of what Indian philosophy calls Brahman, what new age thinkers call the Source, and others call God.

We see the same sky not because there is one sky resting independently of ourselves but because we are one mind and are participating in the same dream.  With this viewpoint, we find an explanation for how nothing came from something; the order in the universe; the fine-tuning of the fundamental constants and laws.  We see how reports and studies of the paranormal – how minds talk to each other, foretell the future, and see vast distances without a telescope – become part of our worldview.  We see why, when scientists peer into the core of the physical world, they find not tiny things, but the quivering wave function of quantum theory.

And we also find why, despite the overwhelming intellectual power of science, the mind of man will not easily give up its hold on this great being called God; the reason, in the end, will be because man cannot give up on himself, and the unlimited power we know rests inside. Another opponent is rising to accept the challenge of materialism, and this one will be around until the debate is finally over.

Is God in the Particle, the Heavens, or Both?

March 4, 2012 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, New Consciousness, Scientific Revolution

            At the same time cosmologists are looking for God in a particle, quantum theory concludes the ultimate substance of the universe is not a particle, but a wave equation.  As Heisenberg famously said, “atoms are not things.” Stephen Hawking, in The Grand Design, questions whether an objective world of particles even exists independently of theory.  Rather, he says that our view of reality depends upon the governing model.  Today that governing model is materialism, the view that at the core of existence is not spirit or God but tiny things and the elusive God particle.  But what we need is not a new particle (there are already 26-odd fundamental particles in the Standard Model of particle physics), but a new model of reality.  I would guess that when science finally brings consciousness fully into the next worldview, they will no longer be looking for God in a particle, but will instead find him at the same place He has always been: deep inside, and far out among the starry heavens.

Not a War But a Revolution: Materialism is Wrong

December 6, 2011 | 2 Comments

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, Scientific Method, Scientific Revolution

            In War of the Worldviews, Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow (perhaps best known for co-authoring The Grand Design with Stephen Hawking) debate, through dueling essays, the question of whether a spiritual consciousness should play a part in our current scientific worldview.  Mr. Mlodinow adopts the staunch materialistic standpoint, constantly arguing that only what can tested, weighed and measured is real.   According to him, this invisible spiritual element, advanced by Mr. Chopra, is simply an illusion; a nice thought without scientific credibility.  Taking out his ruler and compass, Mr. Mlodinow finds he cannot measure “consciousness” and therefore concludes it does not exist. 

            One of Mr. Mlodinow’s often repeated attacks in his essays is that metaphysics and philosophy are worthless, too malleable, and of no use for science.  What is real is what we see, and what we see is a world independent of our brains.  Who needs metaphysics?

             He writes that “For while metaphysics is fixed and guided by personal belief and wish fulfillment, science progresses and is inspired by the excitement of discovery.  The scientist’s dream is to make new discoveries, especially when they mean that established theories must be revised.”

             But here’s the problem: materialism itself is a metaphysics.  And, indeed, this metaphysics is fixed for most modern scientists who are guided by their personal belief and wish fulfillment in adopting materialism as their guiding principle.  Scientists do not practice their craft in a rarefied place where no-one engages in metaphysics; instead modern scientists almost uniformly adopt the metaphysics of materialism, and proceed as if no other way of looking at the world, — or being rationale — has any credibility. 

            So let’s first define a few terms.  Metaphysics “is the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value.”  http://www.thefreedictionary.com/metaphysics.           

            “Materialism” is the “theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.” http://www.thefreedictionary.com/materialism So the metaphysics of materialism holds that matter wins, mind loses; if mind exists it will some day be found to be an emergent property of matter.  Materialism follows from “naïve realism,” or as its proponents prefer, “realism.”  “Realism” is the position that what appears to exist really does exist in the same manner as its appearance, external to the mind.  Mr. Mlodinow writes that “scientists deal only with phenomena we can see, hear, smell, detect with instruments, or measure with numbers.”  Nobel prize-winning physicists Steven Weinberg speaks directly to this point in his book, Dreams of a Final Theory.  He writes that “Physicists do of course carry around with them a working philosophy.  For most of us, it is rough-and-ready realism, a belief in the objective reality of the ingredients of our scientific theories.”  (p. 167).           

            And the problem is two-fold: First, scientists, as typified by Leonard Mlodinow and Steven Weinberg, do in fact follow a metaphysics known as materialism or naive realism.  Second, this metaphysics is called naive realism for a reason. 

             The reason naive realism is naive is because, as thinkers have shown for several centuries, not only do our senses sometimes deceive, but we all have experiences, such as dreams and hallucinations, where we do not need our physical senses to experience an outside world: our mind itself is capable of conjuring a real-seeming world as if from nothing.  These experiences put into question not only whether some of the physical world is mind-created, but whether it all is.      

            Naïve realism ignores an entire series of important findings by philosophers in the 17th and 18th century.  In short order, it goes like this: John Locke (1632-1704)  concluded that some qualities of an external object, such as color, taste, and sound, or secondary qualities, are subjective and added to experience by the mind.   If this were not true, then everyone would like the taste of beer and enjoy the same music, and there would be no such thing a color-blindness.   But other qualities of object, such as number and shape, or primary qualities, Locke believed really did exist outside in the world apart from the mind.   This is similar to the view currently held, at least in theory, by modern science, which holds that certain physical qualities in external objects create the experience of reality in our brains. 

             George Berkeley (1685-1753) then took the next logical step.  He reasoned that since color, taste, and sound are inseparable from a physical object (such as an apple), it makes no logical sense to say that some parts of the object are in the mind and rest are actually outside of the mind.  This led Berkeley to conclude that all physical reality resides in the mind of an eternal spirit. 

             David Hume (1711-1776) adopted Berkeley standpoint in concluding that we have no logical or empirical reason to believe that a world existed independently of the mind; rather, he said, most people, including the “vulgar” and the philosopher, simply take a mind-independent world for granted.  He writes that even though an objective, studied inquiry into the subject shows that nothing is ever present to the mind but its own perceptions and ideas, the belief in a world outside of the mind “has taken such a deep root in the imagination, that ’tis impossible to ever eradicate it, nor will any strain’d metaphysical conviction of the dependence of our perceptions be sufficient for that purpose.” (Treatise of Human Nature, Bk. I, Pt. IV, Sec. II). 

             So why is this little detour into the thoughts of great philosophers important?  Because it shows that the existence of a mind-independent world is an assumption based neither on reason nor empiricism.  In other words, science, using the methods of empiricism, cannot prove a mind-independent world exists; rather this is an assumption that scientists take for granted in developing their theories.

             So what is wrong with this?  A few things. Modern scientists convey an air of invincibility when discussing their theories, as if no other approach to understanding the world will ever have credibility.  But when we look deeper, we find that scientists have based the scientific enterprise upon a metaphysical framework — materialism —that not only can never be proven true but, as scientists themselves know, does not accurately describe the physical world.  (See quantum theory.)   Thus, scientists practice the highest form of intellectual investigation within the most naive of frameworks. 

             Metaphysics is as important to science as a foundation is to a skyscraper.  And yes, our modern scientists do follow a metaphysics, as they have build the scientific enterprise upon the foundation of materialism. 

             It is this foundation that is in doubt, not the scientific method.

 

           

             

Tags: Chopra, consciousness, Deepak, materialism, metaphysics, Mlodinow, philosophy, revolution, spirituality, worldviews

Scientific American Article Puts the Multiverse in its Place

July 27, 2011 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, Multiverse

The multiverse — the notion that our universe is simply one among trillions— is currently in vogue in modern cosmology.   The multiverse is the subject of the best-selling books, The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, and The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene, as well as others by popular science writers, John Barrow and John Gribbin.  It is the topic of numerous articles in the leading scientific magazines, and has even caught the attention of  The Wall Street Journal, which has published an excerpt from The Grand Design, interviewed Brian Greene on the topic, and published John Gribbin’s review of The Hidden Reality.
 
As is so often the case, the difficulty is in determining whether this latest cosmological theory warrants our attention.  The answer is yes.

To begin with, the multiverse is important because it is the product of today’s scientific thought leaders, which is to say the people that write the textbooks, present the lectures, and give the interviews that tell us about our place in the universe.  So if you care about where science placed us in the grand cosmos you might want to spend a little time grappling with the multiverse.

The multiverse is science’s latest approach for explaining the undeniable order in the universe without having resort to God. Specifically, if a near-infinity of other universes exist, then the odds increase that one of these universes would have turned out to have the unique conditions necessary to support life, much like if you deal enough poker hands, one will come up to be a royal flush.  

A further reason we should care about the multiverse is that it reflects the scientific belief that the creation of the universe was a random event without cosmological meaning or purpose.  As Stephen Hawking writes in the Wall Street Journal Article, universes are just things that now and then spontaneously appear from nothing.  This is an important position because if the universe is just one of those things that now and then pops out of the vacuum, we are more likely to treat it lightly, and without the reverence due a miracle.

So in the face of all the hype over the multiverse, the article by George Ellis brings a needed dose of sense and reason to the concept. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=multiverse-the-case-for-parallel-universe  Professor Ellis notes that the currently observable universe is 42 billion light years, what he calls the cosmic visual horizon. The multiverse is imagined to exist outside this cosmic horizon, with each variant universe possessing a different set of physical laws.

But how can one ever empirically prove the workings of an imagined universe that by definition lies beyond experience? He writes, “All the parallel universes lie outside of our horizon and remain beyond our capacity to see, now or ever, no matter how technology evolves.  In fact, they are too far away to have had any influence on our universe whatsoever.  That is why none of the claims made by multiverse enthusiasts can be directly substantiated.”  Nor can anyone prove the multiverse wrong since it lies beyond our ability to prove anything.

Brian Greene, in his Wall Street Journal interview, makes the argument that “if a theory offers the most accurate and complete predictions about our own universe and also requires the existence of other universes, then confirmation of its predictions gives us confidence that other universes are out there.”

The problem with this argument, as Ellis points out, is the bedrock principle known as Occam’s razor. This principle holds that a theory should be as simple as possible and that the fewer assumptions the better the theory.  Clearly, relying on an infinity of unknowable universes to explain features of our one known universe must be considered to be a flagrant violation of Occam’s razor.  A theory that explains our current universe without imagining a multiverse would be superior to one that does.  In the end, the multiverse may give materialistic scientists cover for a time, but the concept is so highly speculative and cumbersome that it is destined to gradually fade away.  All it will take is a theory that does not assume an infinity of other universes to explain this one.