It’s not so much that consciousness in plants is being demonstrated as that what it means to be conscious is changing so as to include plants.
What, exactly, does “consciousness” or “feel and think” mean when applied to a bee? This usage is no remote outpost. Renowned USC neuroscientist Antonio Damasio tells us that viruses are “intelligent.” Similarly, University of Chicago biochemist James Shapiro tells us in a scholarly paper that all living cells are “cognitive.” But what do they mean?
If the Hard AI people are right, animism — the belief that inanimate objects (whether the Sun or a computer) can have minds — has been unjustly dismissed.
James Lovelock is very confident that the workings of evolution underpin his thesis but it is hard to see how. Lovelock is hard to classify. He has boundless faith in both Gaia and AI — in almost anything, it would seem, except humans.
When even alternative views that science writer Thomas Lewton profiles seem like panpsychism, physics is clearly learning to live with the mind’s reality.
Just look what the hopeful researchers have to say in order to claim that. They are not able to get away from the need for design. Their actual claims sound panpsychist, which would be fine if it were admitted. Then we could at least discuss things honestly.
Panpsychism eliminates the crudities of Darwinism. For example, if consciousness is assumed to be a natural development in the most complex life forms, human consciousness would have happened, whether it improved survival or not. Darwinian controversies on the topic become pointless or anyway, much less significant. Perhaps that’s why a classical Darwinian, who needs to see human consciousness as a simple but controversial accident, views panpsychism with hostility.
Materialist atheism is — you read it here first — slowly being destroyed by panpsychism. Panpsychism (everything is conscious) makes more sense. Recall Egnor’s Principle: If your hypothesis is that even electrons are conscious, your hypothesis is likely wrong. But if your hypothesis is that the human mind is an illusion, then… you don’t have a hypothesis. That’s slowly killing “scientific” atheism.
The differences between panpsychism and naturalism are subtle but critical. As panpsychism’s popularity grows, insight will be better than rage and ridicule.
This is just a note for record on what monism is (as opposed to dualism, Creation by a Supreme and maximally great and good being, etc). A useful point of departure is a diagram from Wikipedia on dualism (and they give only one type) vs monism: Wikipedia notes, next to this: Different types of monism Read More…
Part of the problem is that everyone is dealing from the same deck. No one has “super” consciousness. That must make a difference in understanding.
Neuroscientist Christof Koch was troubled as a child by the Catholic tradition that dogs like his beloved Purzel did not go to heaven. Ironically, human exceptionalism, which Koch decries, holds out the possibility that some beloved animals may indeed share immortality with humans.
The shift toward emergentism will probably begin to affect debates over evolution. Evolution theories based on physicalism will likely face challenges from unexpected quarters.
Physicist Vitaly Vanchurin explains. The main thing to see is that panpsychism is slowly replacing naturalism as the default position of science. Odd as it sounds, that might be an improvement: Wrong but sane