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.

Looks Like Heaven will Need to be on Earth After All

February 27, 2012 | 4 Comments

Categories: New Consciousness, New Spirituality, Spirituality

Many religions speak of a better place far off in another spiritual dimension where humankind will find peace and tranquility; where the mind rises to enlightenment, and the soul reaches Nirvana.  Others look to the Second Coming when a messiah will appear on Earth and establish the Kingdom of God.   In this kingdom, presumably, humankind will finally be united as one, brotherhood will reign, and there will be peace throughout the land.

            In each one of these utopian worlds, people will necessarily be the actors in the story.  And the only way for this story to be worthy of a place called heaven is if the actors treat each other with the respect due as if the moral law is as true as the laws of science.

Transporting ourselves to another world, in and of itself, will not make us better people, for we wind up being the same people wherever we go.  Nor will a messiah – even if one appears — wave a magic wand and instantly make everyone a better person, and heal the chasms between the faiths.  No, we will have to earn our place in this better world.

If heaven is to be real, it must involve real people.  So when we pray for a better world, a place “up in the clouds,” aren’t we really praying for a higher state of being, of awareness in this world?  Aren’t we really praying for someone – other than ourselves – to make us better people?

There is one way we know of where people undertake a greater appreciation for the world and other people – this is when we reach higher states of awareness, a global or universal attitude, rather than one fixed on ourselves, our family or religious symbols.

So the goal is the same as it always has been: we must rise to a greater sense of our true identity; perhaps this is the Hindu union of the self with God; the Christian blending with the body of Christ; or the Buddhist release from the wheel of rebirth. But whatever religious doctrine inspires us, we know that the path is up the same mountain: this is the climb toward a higher state of consciousness, of oneness with the root of being that is the source of the world.

Heaven is the climb inside of ourselves, the shining star that draws us upward to be a better person than we were the day before.  There is no way up other than by a life of virtue, open-mindedness, and courage.  When we finally get there it may seem like another place, but it will be a world that was there all along, hidden deep but waiting to shine.

Tags: consciousness, God, heaven