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Astrophysicist Adam Frank: Materialism is on shaky ground

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He thinks it is significant that materialism completely fails to explain consciousness:

Some consciousness researchers see the hard problem as real but inherently unsolvable; others posit a range of options for its account. Those solutions include possibilities that overly project mind into matter. Consciousness might, for example, be an example of the emergence of a new entity in the Universe not contained in the laws of particles. There is also the more radical possibility that some rudimentary form of consciousness must be added to the list of things, such as mass or electric charge, that the world is built of. Regardless of the direction ‘more’ might take, the unresolved democracy of quantum interpretations means that our current understanding of matter alone is unlikely to explain the nature of mind. It seems just as likely that the opposite will be the case.

The closer you look, the more the materialist position in physics appears to rest on shaky metaphysical ground.

Adam Frank, “Minding matter” at Aeon

Frank is an expert on the final stages of the evolution of stars like the sun. His computational research group has developed advanced supercomputer tools in order to study how stars form and die. So he would incline to a materialist view, surely? But no, he says, quantum physics blew all that away. And some neuroscientists just haven’t caught up.

He’s right but materialism dies hard. University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank is the author of Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth (2017).

See also: Four researchers whose work sheds light on the reality of the mind The brain can be cut in half, but the intellect and will cannot, says Michael Egnor. The intellect and will are metaphysically simple

40 Replies to “Astrophysicist Adam Frank: Materialism is on shaky ground

  1. 1
    Bob O'H says:

    Frank is an expert on the final stages of the evolution of stars like the sun.

    So not neuroscience or any other study of the mind and the brain, then.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    You do NOT have to be in “neuroscience or any other study of the mind and the brain” to know that materialism cannot explain consciousness. Materialism can’t even account for the existence of living organisms. It can’t account for stars.

    Materialism is a non-starter.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    ‘You do NOT have to be an expert in any field, full-stop,’ ET.

    In fact, the very title of the thread, ‘Replies to “Astrophysicist Adam Frank: Materialism is on shaky ground” sounds as if it belongs to a knock-about satire – in no way relating to any field of learning. The title of a Monty .Python sketch, for instance.

    ‘Shaky ground ‘? What ‘ground’ ?

  4. 4
    EricMH says:

    Quantum physics is a materialistic theory as far as I can tell. Unless by materialism we mean only ‘matter’ and not energy and information. In which case, materialism was disproven long ago once we introduced energy into our physical equations.

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    Ground is not as shaky as immaterialism.

  6. 6
    Fasteddious says:

    I too wondered why an astrophysicist was commenting about consciousness. But then he wrote, “There is also the more radical possibility that some rudimentary form of consciousness must be added to the list of things, such as mass or electric charge, that the world is built of. ” Positing the expansion of physics to include some aspect of mind is indeed radical, but at least lets a physicist take a kick at the can. I doubt if anyone takes his remarks as authoritative. If Biologists and computer experts can speculate about consciousness, why not astrophysicists?

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    EricMH claims,

    Quantum physics is a materialistic theory as far as I can tell. Unless by materialism we mean only ‘matter’ and not energy and information.

    Interesting claim. Aside from consciousness itself being integral to properly understanding quantum theory, exactly how do you so easily bridge the gargantuan divide between that which is immaterial information and that which is thought to be material. i.e. How much does a bit weigh? How many millimeters long is the meaning of this sentence? Is the number 4 closer to Nebraska or to Texas? How fast does the alphabet go? Is the charge of punctuation positive or negative?

    “Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter… These two domains will never be brought together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term ‘reductionism.’… Information doesn’t have mass or charge or length in millimeters. Likewise, matter doesn’t have bytes… This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in their own terms.”
    George Williams – Evolutionary Biologist – “A Package of Information”

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Ground is not as shaky as immaterialism.

    “Information is information. It is neither matter nor energy.” Norbert Weiner

  9. 9
    ET says:

    EricMH:

    Quantum physics is a materialistic theory as far as I can tell.

    Max Planck, father of quantum theory, once said:

    “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this minute solar system of the atom together . . . . We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind.”

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Again to EricMH’s claim:

    Quantum physics is a materialistic theory as far as I can tell.

    Let’s see if we can help EricMH tell a little better?

    “The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct ‘actuality’ of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation, however, is impossible…Atoms are not things.”
    – Werner Heisenberg (1962). “Physics and philosophy: the revolution in modern science”, Harpercollins College Div.)

    “[while a number of philosophical ideas] may be logically consistent with present quantum mechanics, …materialism is not.”
    Eugene Wigner
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL1mr9ZTZb3TViAqtowpvZy5PZpn-MoSK_&v=4C5pq7W5yRM

    The Death of Materialism – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM0IKLv7KrE

    “If you go back and look at the premises which underlie materialism, They are all presumptions that were made back in the 17th and 18th century. Those (presumptions) are: reality, locality, causality, continuity, and determinism. All of those concepts were assumed to be self evident. And all of them have been disproved by quantum theory. The last one to fall was locality. (John Bell’s theory of non-locality disproved locality, which has now been proven I think 11 times in 11 different experiments throughout the world.),,, Anyone who says, “Well, I want to believe materialism and I don’t want to believe quantum physics.” Okay then, get rid of your cell phone, along with anything you have with a transistor in it. Get rid of your MRIs, get rid of all those things. Because quantum electro-dynamics is the theory which allows those things. It is the most proven theory in all of science.”
    Dr. Alan Hugenot – Hugenot holds a doctorate of science in mechanical engineering, and has had a successful career in marine engineering, serving on committees that write the ship-building standards for the United States. He studied physics and mechanical engineering at the Oregon Institute of Technology.

    As to the falsification of realism, i.e. the belief that a material reality exists independent of our observation of it:

    Realism
    “Realism is the view that a “reality” of material objects, and possibly of abstract concepts, exists in an external world independently of our minds and perceptions.”
    http://www.informationphilosop.....alism.html

    In the following article entitled “Quantum physics says goodbye to reality” it is stated that “Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues,,, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality.,,,” “Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it.” And that in order to have a more complete description of quantum mechanics, “You would,, have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell’s inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell’s inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.
    Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
    They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

    And in the following extension of the Wheeler’s delayed choice experiment, an experiment that was done with atoms instead of with photons, one of the lead researchers stated, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.
    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.
    The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler’s original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.
    “Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,” said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-q.....dness.html

    As leading experimentalist Anton Zeiliger states in the following video, and, “Every object has to be in a definite place is not true anymore.,,, The thought that a particle can be at two places at the same time is (also) not good language.
    The good language it that there are situations where it is completely undefined where the particle is. (and it is not just us (we ourselves) that don’t know where the particle is, the particle itself does not know where it is). This “nonexistence” is an objective feature of reality.,,, ”

    Anton Zeilinger interviewed about Quantum Mechanics – video – 2018
    (The essence of Quantum Physics for a general audience)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z82XCvgnpmA
    40 sec: Every object has to be in a definite place is not true anymore.,,,
    The thought that a particle can be at two places at the same time is (also) not good language.
    The good language it that there are situations where it is completely undefined where the particle is. (and it is not just us (we ourselves) that don’t know where the particle is, the particle itself does not know where it is). This “nonexistence” is an objective feature of reality.,,,
    5:10 min:,,, superposition is not limited to small systems,,,

    And the following video also shows, in greater detail, that fundamental defining attributes of consciousness, i.e. free will and ‘the experience of the now’, are extremely tightly correlated with the experimental results that we are now getting from quantum mechanics

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://youtu.be/4f0hL3Nrdas

    To quote Heisenberg again,

    “The conception of objective reality of the elementary particles has thus evaporated not into the cloud of some obscure new reality concept but into the transparent clarity of a mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of particles but rather our knowledge of this behavior”
    – Werner Heinsenberg – The Representation of Nature in Contemporary Physics – pg. 100

    And as Zeilinger stated in the following video, “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in a certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

  11. 11
    EricMH says:

    These sorts of claims seem to be mixing concepts. What does it mean to say that information is a fundamental part of reality? That seems to be what quantum physicists claim, ‘it from bit’, but what exactly does that mean? Susskind claims there is a ‘quantum information’ that can neither be created nor destroyed, and he seems to think the universe is perfectly reversible.

    But, this notion of information, while it is not the same thing as a material rock, still seems to be a sort of materialism.

    Really, what I think we mean when we say materialism is actually monism, that there is a single kind of ‘stuff’ that all of our reality is made of.

    Originally this ‘stuff’ was just billiard balls bumping into each other, such as the original atomists’ theories.

    Then we added a second kind of ‘stuff’ and called it energy.

    Now we have a third kind of ‘stuff’ we call information.

    But, all three still seem to be a sort of ‘materialism’ inasmuch as I could create a computer program that simulates these three concepts and how they interact. There is still a single underlying thing that can produce all the results, i.e. the program code. Maybe we call this code the information and say it generates everything in reality. If so, I don’t consider the code to be a significant leg up on the billiard ball atomist view, but most likely I do not understand what is being said.

    So, ignoring the quote mining and condescension, it is unclear to me how quantum physics has eliminated materialism.

    I also don’t get the idea that reality doesn’t exist unless it is observed. If the observer is part of reality, then the observer cannot exist without being observed. Thus, for every observer we need yet another observer, resulting in an infinite regress. Plus, if I close my eyes, I still bonk my head when I try walking through the wall. So, some part of reality seems to stick around if I don’t observe it.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    paraphrase “Golly gee whiz, distinctions are useless, its just all some sort of material stuff no matter what you call it.,,, Oh yeah, infinite regress of observers.,,, look I bonk my head and it hurts, so the experimental falsification of realism must be false.”

    Face palm! I’m embarrassed for you.

  13. 13
    EricMH says:

    @BA77 what do you hope to accomplish with your response?

    You have made some interesting claims, and I do not understand them, so I am outlining my misunderstanding as well as I can in the hope that you can help me understand.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    EricMH, you are trying to defend materialism and undermine theism with a hodge podge of murky self-refuting ‘misunderstandings’ of your own making. For instance you stated,

    all three, (billiard ball atoms, energy, and information), still seem to be a sort of ‘materialism’ inasmuch as I could create a computer program that simulates these three concepts and how they interact. There is still a single underlying thing that can produce all the results, i.e. the program code. Maybe we call this code the information and say it generates everything in reality. If so, I don’t consider the code to be a significant leg up on the billiard ball atomist view, but most likely I do not understand what is being said.

    And yet, all ‘immaterial’ program codes that we know of come from immaterial mind. There is not one counter example that you can point to. And yet materialism explicitly denies the reality of immaterial mind, especially denying the reality of the Mind of God. Thus your very own analogy of ‘the program code,,, generates everything in reality’ refutes itself and specifically refutes your claim that the ontology that most properly defines reality “still seem to be a sort of ‘materialism’.”

    As George Ellis stated in the following article, “The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.”

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: Causation: The nature of causation is highly contested territory, and I will take a pragmatic view:
    Definition 1: Causal Effect If making a change in a quantity X results in a reliable demonstrable change in a quantity Y in a given context, then X has a causal effect on Y.
    Example: I press the key labelled “A” on my computer keyboard; the letter “A” appears on my computer screen.,,,
    Definition 2: Existence If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).
    This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,,
    Excerpt: page 5: A:
    Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics, for example state vector preparation, where top-down constraints allow non-unitary behaviour at the lower levels. It may well play a key role in the quantum measurement problem (the dual of state vector preparation) [5]. One can bear in mind here that wherever equivalence classes of entities play a key role, such as in Crutchfield’s computational mechanics [29], this is an indication that top-down causation is at play.,,,
    Life and the brain: living systems are highly structured modular hierarchical systems, and there are many similarities to the digital computer case, even though they are not digital computers. The lower level interactions are constrained by network connections, thereby creating possibilities of truly complex behaviour. Top-down causation is prevalent at all levels in the brain: for example it is crucial to vision [24,25] as well as the relation of the individual brain to society [2]. The hardware (the brain) can do nothing without the excitations that animate it: indeed this is the difference between life and death. The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    http://fqxi.org/data/essay-con.....s_2012.pdf

    Of further note, here is a refutation of your claim that reality is ‘just’ a computer simulation:

    Digital Physics Argument
    Premise 1: Simulations can only exist in a computer or a mind.
    Premise 2: The universe is a simulation.
    Premise 3: A simulation on a computer still must be simulated in a mind.
    Premise 4: Therefore, the universe is a simulation in a mind (2,3).
    Premise 5: This mind is what we call God.
    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
    Digital Physics Argument for God’s Existence – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Xsp4FRgas

  15. 15
    john_a_designer says:

    Here is a simple argument which decisively refutes a naturalistic/materialistic world view:

    Simply believing in something does not make it true.

    Believing in naturalism/materialism* does not make it true.

    Therefore, if all you have is a belief in naturalism/materialism you have failed to establish it is true.

    In other words, naturalism/materialism fails because it nothing more than a belief system.

    That’s rather ironic because its proponents claim that it’s a world view based on reason, logic and evidence… It fails on all three.

    It’s irrational then to even try to explain, or explain away, things like freewill, the reason (purpose and meaning) for our existence, the existence of mind or consciousness etc. by invoking naturalism/materialism.

    [*Not all “naturalists” believe they are “materialists,” however, all materialists concede they are naturalists, since they believe that natural causes alone are sufficient to explain our existence. Of course this is all really just a matter of semantics.]

  16. 16
    DerekDiMarco says:

    Eric, could you please email me at DerekDiMarco@outlook.com?

  17. 17
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77@ 7

    EricMH claims,

    Quantum physics is a materialistic theory as far as I can tell. Unless by materialism we mean only ‘matter’ and not energy and information.

    Interesting claim. Aside from consciousness itself being integral to properly understanding quantum theory, exactly how do you so easily bridge the gargantuan divide between that which is immaterial information and that which is thought to be material. i.e. How much does a bit weigh? How many millimeters long is the meaning of this sentence? Is the number 4 closer to Nebraska or to Texas? How fast does the alphabet go? Is the charge of punctuation positive or negative

    I have to agree with EricMH, quantum physics is a materialist – or physicalist if you prefer – theory in that it describes the nature of the physical world at the vary smallest scales

    As for immaterial information, show me information of any sort which is not instantiated in some sort of physical substrate and you may have a point. Otherwise it is more like a conceptual error similar to assuming that beauty is a property of the object so described when it is actually a response to and an evaluation of that object by the observer.

  18. 18
    Seversky says:

    John_a_designer@ 15

    Simply believing in something does not make it true.

    Agreed.

    Believing in naturalism/materialism* does not make it true

    Agreed.

    Therefore, if all you have is a belief in naturalism/materialism you have failed to establish it is true.

    Agreed.

    But, if the products of a naturalistic/materialistic model are successful theories in science and successful technologies which we all employ and even enjoy, then that is evidence for the truth of the nat/mat model.

    It’s irrational then to even try to explain, or explain away, things like freewill, the reason (purpose and meaning) for our existence, the existence of mind or consciousness etc. by invoking naturalism/materialism.

    Would very limited knowledge of a computer enable you to explain exactly how that video game runs on your screen? But we know that, without the hardware, there is no video game. You could write the exact code down on sheets of paper but that knowledge would not allow you to play the game.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    As for immaterial information, show me information of any sort which is not instantiated in some sort of physical substrate and you may have a point.

    You’re confused, as usual. Show me the information in the ink of a dictionary. Show me the information in the material- show me material that doesn’t require information to exist.

    Is the information the radio waves? No.

  20. 20
    DerekDiMarco says:

    @Seversky: QFT (of which QM is a special case*) is the most accurate theory we have, and as Hugh Everett realized seven decades ago, if you take the Schrodinger equation literally, it basically insists the Many Worlds hypothesis is true. Because the observer (more accurately called the decohering interference) is also a quantum system. Many Worlds is right there in the Psi function.

    (*QM is a special case of QFT in almost the exact same way that Newton’s equations of motion are special cases of the SR equations, which is to say, when v<<c)

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Oh goody, the long time atheistic troll of UD, Seversky, tries to come to Eric’s defense and states that,

    I have to agree with EricMH, quantum physics is a materialist – or physicalist if you prefer – theory

    First off, there are no purely materialistic and/or physical scientific theories. Period! Every scientific theory that is rigid enough to be formulated in the language of mathematics and tested for accuracy necessarily presupposes that miracles are possible. Both Wigner and Einstein are on record in regards to holding it to be a miracle that the universe can be accurately described with mathematics:

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
    Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
    -Albert Einstein
    http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine

    Moreover, Wigner and Einstein hold the applicability of mathematics to the universe to be ‘miraculous’ for very good reason. Although the Naturalistic and/or Materialistic worldview holds that “only matter is real, that the world is just physical and that there is no supernatural (or metaphysical) existence, or that if there is, it has no impact on our physical world.,,,”

    What is the difference between naturalism and materialism?
    Excerpt: Naturalism is the view that the world can be explained entirely by physical, natural phenomena/laws. Naturalists either assert that there is no supernatural (or metaphysical) existence, or that if there is, it has no impact on our physical world.,,,
    Materialism is the related view that all existence is matter, that only matter is real, and so that the world is just physical. It simply describes a view on the nature of the universe, while the different branches of Naturalism focus on applications of effectively the same view.
    Thus, the difference between the two is the purpose of the definition – materialism makes an argument about the ontology of the universe, while naturalism takes a premise (effectively that of materialism) to make an argument on how science/philosophy should function.
    https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/2406/what-is-the-difference-between-naturalism-and-materialism

    ,,, Mathematics (and logic) itself, which provides the backbone for all of science, engineering and technology in the first place, exists in a transcendent, beyond space and time realm. A beyond space and time realm which simply is not reducible to any possible materialistic explanation.

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”?,,, What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    – per evolution news

    This transcendent mathematical (and logical) realm that accurately describes the physical universe has, since the ancient Greeks, been referred to as a Platonic mathematical world.

    Platonic mathematical world – image
    http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/i.....ysical.gif

    Plato was a Theist.

    Were the Greatest Philosophers Theists or Atheists?
    Excerpt: 1. Plato (c. 429-347 BC)
    2. Aristotle (384-322 BC)
    3. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274)
    4. René Descartes (1596-1650)
    5. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
    6. Socrates (c. 470-399 BC)
    7. Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677)
    …..
    The first seven philosophers on my list are great philosophers, the rest are important but not great.,,,
    The greatest philosophers on my list are Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Socrates, and Spinoza. All of these are theists of one sort or another. But even if Spinoza is excluded, that leaves six out of seven. And if you argue that Aristotle’s Prime Mover is not God in any serious sense, then I’ve still got five out of seven.
    If you say I rigged my list so that theists come out on top, I will deny the charge and argue that I used independent criteria (listed above). But if you disagree my assessment, I will consider it par for the course.
    http://maverickphilosopher.typ.....eists.html

    And Plato was a Theist for very good reason. As David Berlinski states in the following article, “There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics.”

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

    Thus once again, there are no purely materialistic and/or physical scientific theories. Period! Every scientific theory that is rigid enough to be formulated in the language of mathematics and tested for accuracy necessarily presupposes that miracles are possible.

    On top of all that, the claim that quantum mechanics in particular is a purely materialistic scientific theory is even more absurd than atheists trying to claim that some other theory of science can be reduced to purely materialistic explanation. Quantum non-locality, which is one of the most verified aspects of quantum theory, simply refuses to be reduced to any possible materialistic explanation. As the following article states. “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    Einstein vs quantum mechanics, and why he’d be a convert today – June 13, 2014
    Excerpt: In a nutshell, experimentalists John Clauser, Alain Aspect, Anton Zeilinger, Paul Kwiat and colleagues have performed the Bell proposal for a test of Einstein’s hidden variable theories. All results so far support quantum mechanics. It seems that when two particles undergo entanglement, whatever happens to one of the particles can instantly affect the other, even if the particles are separated!
    – per physorg

    And as the following article states, “We must explain space and time as somehow emerging from fundamentally spaceless and timeless physics.”

    LIVING IN A QUANTUM WORLD – Vlatko Vedral – 2011
    Excerpt: Thus, the fact that quantum mechanics applies on all scales forces us to confront the theory’s deepest mysteries. We cannot simply write them off as mere details that matter only on the very smallest scales. For instance, space and time are two of the most fundamental classical concepts, but according to quantum mechanics they are secondary. The entanglements are primary. They interconnect quantum systems without reference to space and time. If there were a dividing line between the quantum and the classical worlds, we could use the space and time of the classical world to provide a framework for describing quantum processes. But without such a dividing line—and, indeed, with­out a truly classical world—we lose this framework. We must explain space and time (4D space-time) as somehow emerging from fundamentally spaceless and timeless physics.
    http://phy.ntnu.edu.tw/~chchan.....611038.pdf

    Atheists simply have no cause that they can appeal to in order to explain, beyond space and time, quantum non-locality. Whereas, on the other hand, Christians readily do have a beyond space and time cause that they can appeal to in order to explain the non-locality of quantum correlations:

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

  22. 22
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 14 – do you realise that Eric is actually on your side, and is a theist?

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    ^^^^
    LOL, regardless of whatever he personally thinks himself to be, I can only address the arguments that he presented. His argument that quantum mechanics is materialistic is refuted.

    Moreover, contrary to what many people have been falsely led to believe about Intelligent Design being a pseudo-science, the fact of the matter is that all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism (as atheists try to a-priorily falsely presuppose).

    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is rational and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can dare understand that rationality),

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    ,,, to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves,,, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results themselves, from top to bottom, science itself is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analyzed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial logic and immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.

    Dr. Ed Feser – The Immateriality of the Intellect – video
    Excerpt:
    1: Formal thought processes can have an exact or unambiguous conceptual content.
    However,
    2: Nothing material can have an exact or unambiguous conceptual content.
    So,
    3: Formal thought processes are not material.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNi0j19ZSpo

    Again, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    In fact, it would be hard to fathom a worldview that turns out to be more antagonistic towards modern science, indeed more antagonistic towards reality itself, than the presumption of methodological naturalism has turned out to be.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must hold beauty itself to be illusory.
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Darwinian Materialism and/or Methodological Naturalism vs. Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaksmYceRXM

    Bottom line, without God nothing turns out to be truly real in the atheist’s worldview. Not even the atheist himself turns out to be truly real in his materialistic worldview. Much less are beauty, meaning, and purposes for his life to be considered real in his naturalistic worldview.

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Verse:

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Needless to say, a worldview that is devoid of any real meaning, beauty, or purpose for life is a severely impoverished, even severely depressing, worldview for anyone to have to hold.

    I personally can’t see how atheists tolerate such rancid garbage as their basic belief system.

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    do you realise that Eric is actually on your side, and is a theist?

    So what? That doesn’t mean he cannot post bad arguments.

    Do all atheists agree on everything? Doubtful. I know that evos have disagreements even though they all hold to the same basic concept.

  25. 25
    EricMH says:

    I think the problem is equivocation about what ‘materialistic theory’ is referring to. BA77 seems to think ‘materialism’ refers to the origin of the theory, so since a mathematically orderly universe can only come from an immaterial mind, then all of science is therefore not materialistic. I agree with BA77 on this point.

    What I am calling materialistic is the causal forces a theory deals with. And quantum physics seems to only mathematically describe forces that are computable, hence ‘materialistic’ in my computational definition of the term.

    However, in both of our discussions this sort of finer distinction gets lost, so it may not be worth continuing.

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    “And quantum physics seems to only mathematically describe forces that are computable, hence ‘materialistic’ in my computational definition of the term.”

    Really??? And what exactly is the ‘materialistic’ force that is computable that is behind, i.e. the cause of, instantaneous wave collapse?

    Quantum experiment verifies Einstein’s ‘spooky action at a distance’ – March 24, 2015
    Excerpt: An experiment,, has for the first time demonstrated Albert Einstein’s original conception of “spooky action at a distance” using a single particle.
    ,,Professor Howard Wiseman and his experimental collaborators,, report their use of homodyne measurements to show what Einstein did not believe to be real, namely the non-local collapse of a (single) particle’s wave function.,,
    According to quantum mechanics, a single particle can be described by a wave function that spreads over arbitrarily large distances,,,
    ,, by splitting a single photon between two laboratories, scientists have used homodyne detectors—which measure wave-like properties—to show the collapse of the wave function is a real effect,,
    This phenomenon is explained in quantum theory,, the instantaneous non-local, (beyond space and time), collapse of the wave function to wherever the particle is detected.,,,
    “Einstein never accepted orthodox quantum mechanics and the original basis of his contention was this single-particle argument. This is why it is important to demonstrate non-local wave function collapse with a single particle,” says Professor Wiseman.
    “Einstein’s view was that the detection of the particle only ever at one point could be much better explained by the hypothesis that the particle is only ever at one point, without invoking the instantaneous collapse of the wave function to nothing at all other points.
    “However, rather than simply detecting the presence or absence of the particle, we used homodyne measurements enabling one party to make different measurements and the other, using quantum tomography, to test the effect of those choices.”
    “Through these different measurements, you see the wave function collapse in different ways, thus proving its existence and showing that Einstein was wrong.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-q.....tance.html

    Wave function
    Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....ctor_space

    Here is an interesting quote about the infinite dimensional Hilbert Spaces in quantum mechanics:

    The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem – Mark Steiner – (page 44)
    Excerpt: Let us now recapitulate: beginning with the concept of a Hilbert space, a certain kind of (usually infinite-dimensional) vector space, and the formal requirement that a unit vector on the space represents all possible information can be gleaned. First, the space cannot be a real vector space; the usual formalism is, therefore, based on a complex Hilbert space. With this formalism the Heisenberg uncertainty principle follows directly. So does the quantization of angular momentum, including the so called “space quantization”. So does the prediction that “electron spin” cannot be due to spatial rotation. And so do the selection rules for the spectrum of hydrogen, based on the “nonphysical” concept of parity.
    The role of Hilbert spaces in quantum mechanics, then, is much more profound than the descriptive role of a single concept. An entire formalism-the Hilbert space formalism-is matched with nature. Information about nature is being “read off” the details of the formalism. (Imagine reading off details about elementary particles from the rules of chess-castling. en passant-a la Lewis Carro;; in Through the Looking Glass.) No physicist today understands why this is possible..
    https://books.google.com/books?id=GKBwKCma1HsC&pg=PA44

    Moreover, we find that the infinite dimensional Hilbert space takes an infinite amount of information to describe properly.

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (quantum) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1)
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the superposition of the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    The history of the square root of negative one is particularly interesting to look at. Descartes had rejected complex roots and coined the derogatory term “imaginary” to describe the square root of negative one. Whereas, Gauss, who was the mathematician who finally clearly explained the higher dimensional nature behind the square root of negative one, suggested that complex magnitudes be called “lateral” instead of “imaginary” magnitudes since they represent a dimensional extension of the continuum. Gauss also proposed that complex magnitudes be awarded “full civil rights.”
    The author further comments, in the language of Plato’s allegory of the cave, complex numbers represent “forms” from a higher dimension casting “shadows” on the real number line.

    Complex Magnitudes
    Excerpt: Descartes had rejected complex roots and coined the derogatory term “imaginary” to describe the square root of negative one, , but Leibniz thought that “The divine spirit found a sublime outlet in that wonder of analysis, that portent of the ideal world, that amphibian between being and non-being, which we call the imaginary root of negative unity.”
    Gauss invented the “complex plane” (shown below) to represent these quantities. He suggested that complex magnitudes be called “lateral” instead of “imaginary” magnitudes since they represent a dimensional extension of the continuum.
    Gauss also proposed that complex magnitudes be awarded “full civil rights.”
    In the language of Plato’s allegory of the cave, complex numbers represent “forms” from a higher dimension casting “shadows” on the real number line.
    http://www.keplersdiscovery.com/ComplexNum.html

    And in quantum mechanics, we find that the square root of negative one is necessary for describing the wave packet prior to measurement.

    Why do you need imaginary numbers (the square root of negative one) to describe Quantum Mechanics?
    “Quantum theory needs existence of an x such that x^2= -1. The reason for this is that orthogonal function spaces, of dimension greater than 2, cannot exist otherwise. In fact the only place where i (the square root of negative one) is needed is in the wave packet prior to measurement. Even the Canonical Commutation Relation doesn’t need it. And nor do the eigenvalue equations. In those, any general scalar will do. But in the wave packet, you need an i.”
    – Steve Faulkner – Philosophy of Science, Logic, Epistemology
    https://www.researchgate.net/post/Why_do_you_need_imaginary_numbers_to_describe_Quantum_Mechanics2

    As should be needless to say, the preceding findings are very comforting to overall Christian concerns and are completely inexplicable to the concerns of Atheistic materialists.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    a few more notes on the non-materialistic nature of quantum theory:

    “quantum theory entails and irreducible subjective element in its conceptual basis. In contrast, the theory of relativity when fully exploited, is based on a totally objective view.”
    Sachs – On The Comparison Of Quantum and Relativity Theories – 1986

    “The conception of objective reality of the elementary particles has thus evaporated not into the cloud of some obscure new reality concept but into the transparent clarity of a mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of particles but rather our knowledge of this behavior”
    – Werner Heinsenberg – The Representation of Nature in Contemporary Physics – pg. 100

    Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God? Stephen M. Barr – July 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Couldn’t an inanimate physical device (say, a Geiger counter) carry out a “measurement” (minus the ‘observer’ in quantum mechanics)? That would run into the very problem pointed out by von Neumann: If the “observer” were just a purely physical entity, such as a Geiger counter, one could in principle write down a bigger wavefunction that described not only the thing being measured but also the observer. And, when calculated with the Schrödinger equation, that bigger wave function would not jump! Again: as long as only purely physical entities are involved, they are governed by an equation that says that the probabilities don’t jump.
    That’s why, when Peierls was asked whether a machine could be an “observer,” he said no, explaining that “the quantum mechanical description is in terms of knowledge, and knowledge requires somebody who knows.” Not a purely physical thing, but a mind.
    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/does-quantum-physics-make-it-easier-believe-god

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11,,,
    In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    “It begins to look as we ourselves, by our last minute decision, have an influence on what a photon will do when it has already accomplished most of its doing… we have to say that we ourselves have an undeniable part in what we have always called the past. The past is not really the past until is has been registered. Or to put it another way, the past has no meaning or existence unless it exists as a record in the present.”
    – John Wheeler
    – The Ghost In The Atom – Page 66-68 – P. C. W. Davies, Julian R. Brown – Cambridge University Press, Jul 30, 1993

    “If we attempt to attribute an objective meaning to the quantum state of a single system, curious paradoxes appear: quantum effects mimic not only instantaneous action-at-a-distance but also, as seen here, influence of future actions on past events, even after these events have been irrevocably recorded.”
    Asher Peres, Delayed choice for entanglement swapping. J. Mod. Opt. 47, 139-143 (2000).

    “Thus one decides the photon shall have come by one route or by both routes after it has already done its travel”
    John A. Wheeler

    “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    Contextuality is ‘magic ingredient’ for quantum computing – June 11, 2012
    Excerpt: In the quantum world, the property that you discover through measurement is not the property that the system actually had prior to the measurement process. What you observe necessarily depends on how you carried out the observation.
    http://phys.org/news/2014-06-w.....antum.html

    More Than One Reality Exists (in Quantum Physics) By Mindy Weisberger – March 20, 2019
    Excerpt: “measurement results,, must be understood relative to the observer who performed the measurement”.
    https://www.livescience.com/65029-dueling-reality-photons.html

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: This experiment pushes back to at least ? 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

  28. 28
    Bob O'H says:

    ET @ 24 –

    So what? That doesn’t mean he cannot post bad arguments.

    True. But it does mean that he’s probably not “trying to defend materialism and undermine theism” as ba77 suggested in comment 14.

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Eric, the fact that you have the atheistic trolls Seversky and Bob O’H, who make notoriously bad arguments themselves, defending your present argument ought to, number 1, send a chill down your spine, number 2, give you considerable pause to reevaluate your argument.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    But it does mean that he’s probably not “trying to defend materialism and undermine theism” as ba77 suggested in comment 14.

    He, EricMH, definitely does NOT appear to know what materialism entails.

  31. 31
    EricMH says:

    @BA77, while Bob and Seversky do make plenty of bad arguments, some of their arguments are not bad. Alternatively, while I agree with many if not most of the conclusions you argue for, I do not always agree with the argument you use to get there. A correct conclusion does not a good argument make. And if Bob or Seversky successfully defeat a bad argument, that does not mean they’ve defeated the conclusion. In fact, they’ve rendered us a service by sharpening our reasoning.

    At the end of the day, ID may well be wrong, and if we are using bad arguments to get there, then we are just fooling ourselves and others. If we think ID is true, then we need to make the best arguments we can to reach the conclusion. Which also means we need to be even better at making arguments against ID than our opponents.

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    Eric, for crying out loud, instead of arguing generally that their/your materialistic arguments may be bad or good, it might greatly help you if you get far more specific than your gross generalizations and state, with specific examples, exactly what their/your exact materialistic argument for quantum theory is suppose to be.

    You have not even touched the myriad of references that I have laid out that have, in no uncertain terms, directly undermined your claim that quantum theory is materialistic in its formulation.

    I could care less what your personal opinion is as to what you think quantum theory is in a general philosophical sense, and only care what you can prove by reference to empirical evidence. Thus far, you have cited NONE!

    For instance, in further undermining your claim that quantum theory is materialistic in its formulation, I can also reference advances in quantum information theory that show, in no uncertain terms, that quantum theory is completely antithetical to your, Bob’s and Sev’s, materialistic presuppositions. As the following article states, “James Clerk Maxwell (said), “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”,,,
    quantum information theory,,, describes the spread of information through quantum systems.,,,
    Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,

    The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution – May 2017
    Excerpt: the 19th-century physicist James Clerk Maxwell put it, “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”
    In recent years, a revolutionary understanding of thermodynamics has emerged that explains this subjectivity using quantum information theory — “a toddler among physical theories,” as del Rio and co-authors put it, that describes the spread of information through quantum systems. Just as thermodynamics initially grew out of trying to improve steam engines, today’s thermodynamicists are mulling over the workings of quantum machines. Shrinking technology — a single-ion engine and three-atom fridge were both experimentally realized for the first time within the past year — is forcing them to extend thermodynamics to the quantum realm, where notions like temperature and work lose their usual meanings, and the classical laws don’t necessarily apply.
    They’ve found new, quantum versions of the laws that scale up to the originals. Rewriting the theory from the bottom up has led experts to recast its basic concepts in terms of its subjective nature, and to unravel the deep and often surprising relationship between energy and information — the abstract 1s and 0s by which physical states are distinguished and knowledge is measured.,,,
    Renato Renner, a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, described this as a radical shift in perspective. Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-thermodynamics-revolution/

    Again to repeat that last sentence,“Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,

    That statement about entropy being a property of an observer who describes the system, for anyone involved in the ID vs. Darwinism debate, ought to send chills down their scientific spine.

    Simply put, these developments go to the very heart of the ID vs. Evolution debate and directly falsify, number one, Darwinian claims that immaterial information is merely ’emergent’ from some material basis. And number two, these experimental realizations of the Maxwell’s demon thought experiment go even further and also directly validate a primary claim from ID proponents that an Intelligent Designer who imparts information into a biological system is necessary in order to circumvent the second law. As William Dembski himself stated in 1999, “It is CSI (Complex Specified Information) that enables Maxwell’s demon to outsmart a thermodynamic system tending toward thermal equilibrium”

    “It is CSI (Complex Specified Information) that enables Maxwell’s demon to outsmart a thermodynamic system tending toward thermal equilibrium”
    William Dembki – Intelligent Design, pg. 159

    And as David Abel stated, ““A kinetic energy potential cannot be generated by Maxwell’s Demon from an ideal gas equilibrium without purposeful choices of when to open and close the partition’s trap door.” And he even uses that as a benchmark for a null hypothesis.

    MOVING ‘FAR FROM EQUILIBRIUM’ IN A PREBIOTIC ENVIRONMENT: The role of Maxwell’s Demon in life origin – DAVID L. ABEL
    Abstract: Can we falsify the following null hypothesis?
    “A kinetic energy potential cannot be generated by Maxwell’s Demon from an ideal gas equilibrium without purposeful choices of when to open and close the partition’s trap door.”
    If we can falsify this null hypothesis with an observable naturalistic mechanism, we have moved a long way towards modeling the spontaneous molecular evolution of life. Falsification is essential to discount teleology. But life requires a particular version of “far from equilibrium” that explains formal organization, not just physicodynamic self-ordering as seen in Prigogine’s dissipative structures. Life is controlled and regulated, not just constrained. Life follows arbitrary rules of behavior, not just invariant physical laws. To explain life’s origin and regulation naturalistically, we must first explain the more fundamental question, “How can hotter, faster moving, ideal gas molecules be dichotomized from cooler, slower moving, ideal gas molecules without the Demon’s choice contingency operating the trap door?”
    https://www.academia.edu/9963341/MOVING_FAR_FROM_EQUILIBRIUM_IN_A_PREBIOTIC_ENVIRONMENT_The_role_of_Maxwell_s_Demon_in_life_origin

    And again, ‘purposeful choices’ are built into the foundation of quantum theory:

    “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11,,,
    In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    Eric, if you want to claim that free will in quantum theory is materialistic in its formulation, it is useless talking to you.

    Supplemental note:

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg

  33. 33
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 – read Eric’s post at 11. He provides a specific argument. And I can think of a couple of ways he could be right and yet materialism still be false. So I think it’s worth engaging with what he wrote, as it helps delineate where materialism might end.

  34. 34
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob, and I refuted his absurd claim in 11 that information is basically just materialism:

    at 14,

    yet, all ‘immaterial’ program codes that we know of come from immaterial mind. There is not one counter example that you can point to. And yet materialism explicitly denies the reality of immaterial mind, especially denying the reality of the Mind of God. Thus your very own analogy of ‘the program code,,, generates everything in reality’ refutes itself and specifically refutes your claim that the ontology that most properly defines reality “still seem to be a sort of ‘materialism’.”

    As George Ellis stated in the following article, “The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.”

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: Causation: The nature of causation is highly contested territory, and I will take a pragmatic view:
    Definition 1: Causal Effect If making a change in a quantity X results in a reliable demonstrable change in a quantity Y in a given context, then X has a causal effect on Y.
    Example: I press the key labelled “A” on my computer keyboard; the letter “A” appears on my computer screen.,,,
    Definition 2: Existence If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).
    This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,,
    Excerpt: page 5: A:
    Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    Excerpt page 7: The assumption that causation is bottom up only is wrong in biology, in computers, and even in many cases in physics, for example state vector preparation, where top-down constraints allow non-unitary behaviour at the lower levels. It may well play a key role in the quantum measurement problem (the dual of state vector preparation) [5]. One can bear in mind here that wherever equivalence classes of entities play a key role, such as in Crutchfield’s computational mechanics [29], this is an indication that top-down causation is at play.,,,
    Life and the brain: living systems are highly structured modular hierarchical systems, and there are many similarities to the digital computer case, even though they are not digital computers. The lower level interactions are constrained by network connections, thereby creating possibilities of truly complex behaviour. Top-down causation is prevalent at all levels in the brain: for example it is crucial to vision [24,25] as well as the relation of the individual brain to society [2]. The hardware (the brain) can do nothing without the excitations that animate it: indeed this is the difference between life and death. The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.

    at 7

    How much does a bit weigh? How many millimeters long is the meaning of this sentence? Is the number 4 closer to Nebraska or to Texas? How fast does the alphabet go? Is the charge of punctuation positive or negative?

    “Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter… These two domains will never be brought together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term ‘reductionism.’… Information doesn’t have mass or charge or length in millimeters. Likewise, matter doesn’t have bytes… This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in their own terms.”
    George Williams – Evolutionary Biologist – “A Package of Information”

    Claiming information is ‘just’ materialism is absurd, and commits the scientific sin of overly gross generalization to the point of complete incoherence.

    You can state that immaterial mind and immaterial information have causal effects in the real world, but the one thing you cannot retain in your ‘scientific worldview’, as far as immaterial information itself is concerned, is a materialistic ontology wherein cause and effect are always ‘bottom up’

  35. 35
    EricMH says:

    @BA77 I agree code comes from mind. But, the operation of code is not intelligent. Same with quantum physics. The operations the equations describe is not intelligent. Maybe wave collapse requires an immaterial mind, which seems to be what your quotes are claiming. At that point I could maybe agree quantum physics implies an immaterial reality, but quote mining isn’t sufficient for me. I’ll have to see the specific theoretical reason why they think a mind is necessary. But even then, the equations themselves do not describe intelligent activity, since I can write a computer program that simulates the behavior of quantum physics, and computer programs are not intelligent.

    A science that mathematically describes intelligent activity is what I would consider truly non materialistic, because it is describing the very operation of the universe with causal forces that cannot be reduced to a computer program. Currently, the only such science is Dembski’s ID work, and right now it is in the negative stage of showing chance and necessity cannot account for information, but not a positive stage of describing what can actually create the information.

  36. 36
    DerekDiMarco says:

    @eric sorry for the delay in responding to you, Outlook is having some cloud issues. Hopefully it will be fixed soon. 🙂

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob, again you are being far too general,

    “I agree code comes from mind. But, the operation of code is not intelligent.”

    That is a general and blanket claim that simply does not hold up.

    In so far as the immaterial code is, in top down fashion, purposely directing the actions of a system towards a end-directed goal, it is operating in a teleological fashion. i.e. It can be said to be intelligently directed towards a goal.

    Teleology simply does not fit within the materialistic philosophy. In fact, teleology is denied within materialism. You may say that the code is deterministic and even say that it lacks free will, and I would agree with you in that regards that it is not intelligent, but you are going much further than that and are claiming that the immaterial program itself falls under the umbrella of materialism. That claim is false.

    as to:

    “Same with quantum physics. The operations the equations describe is not intelligent.,,, I can write a computer program that simulates the behavior of quantum physics, and computer programs are not intelligent.”

    That claim is also false, You cannot write a computer program with free will. If you think you can write a computer program with free will, submit your proposal to the Noble committee.

    And free will, especially with the recent closing of the free will loop-hole by Zeilinger and company, is now shown to be integral to quantum theory.

    Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God? Stephen M. Barr – July 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Couldn’t an inanimate physical device (say, a Geiger counter) carry out a “measurement” (minus the ‘observer’ in quantum mechanics)? That would run into the very problem pointed out by von Neumann: If the “observer” were just a purely physical entity, such as a Geiger counter, one could in principle write down a bigger wavefunction that described not only the thing being measured but also the observer. And, when calculated with the Schrödinger equation, that bigger wave function would not jump! Again: as long as only purely physical entities are involved, they are governed by an equation that says that the probabilities don’t jump.
    That’s why, when Peierls was asked whether a machine could be an “observer,” he said no, explaining that “the quantum mechanical description is in terms of knowledge, and knowledge requires somebody who knows.” Not a purely physical thing, but a mind.
    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/does-quantum-physics-make-it-easier-believe-god

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11,,,
    In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract: This experiment pushes back to at least ? 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    as to

    “A science that mathematically describes intelligent activity is what I would consider truly non materialistic, because it is describing the very operation of the universe with causal forces that cannot be reduced to a computer program”

    LOL, again you let me and the Noble committee know when you write a computer program with genuine free will.

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
    Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    Of note “new information’, i.e. new ‘positional information’, is coming into developing embryos:

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg

  38. 38
    EricMH says:

    @BA77, that’s my point, programs cannot have free will. Free will is essentially what distinguishes the spiritual and intelligent from the material. So, as long as I can write a program that simulates whatever scientific theory under consideration, it remains a materialistic theory.

  39. 39
    bornagain77 says:

    EricMH and what part of free will being integral to quantum theory do you not understand?

    Moreover, you completely ignored the fact that materialism denies teleology and yet the program itself is teleological.

    In fact, a rather interesting falsification of Darwin’s materialistic theory arises from the teleological language that Darwinian materialists are forced to use:

    The biologist J. B. S. Haldane observed that, “Teleology is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he’s unwilling to be seen with her in public.”

    In the following article, Stephen Talbott challenges Darwinists to “pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness.”

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: a common line of thought (among molecular biologists) runs this way: “Yes, there is an appearance of mindfulness in all organisms, but this is a mere appearance, or an illusion. And the explanation for the illusion is natural selection”. The idea is that variation plus selection results in adaptation, and adapted behavior possesses a functional effectiveness that looks as if it were mindfully guided.
    Not all those who say such things would be willing to describe their own minds and intentions as illusions. But, in any case, we are left to wonder how an organism’s apparently purposeful activity is explained by similar activity in previous generations. Selection, after all, requires organisms that grow, develop, compete, prepare an inheritance, produce offspring, and otherwise pursue their seemingly intentional and well-directed lives, judiciously improvising all the way. These are the very activities that raise the question of mindfulness. So how does weaving the lives of many such organisms into the infinitely complex narratives of natural selection explain this mindfulness?
    Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.,,,
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    And as Denis Noble notes “it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language”.

    “the most striking thing about living things, in comparison with non-living systems, is their teleological organization—meaning the way in which all of the local physical and chemical interactions cohere in such a way as to maintain the overall system in existence.
    Moreover, it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.”
    – Denis Noble – Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics of the Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford.
    http://www.thebestschools.org/.....interview/

    This working biologist agrees with Talbott and Noble’s’s assessment, “in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.”

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on. – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

    You simply, because of the teleology involved, cannot redefine a computer program as being under the rubic of materialism.

  40. 40
    bornagain77 says:

    of related note:

    The free will theorem of John H. Conway and Simon B. Kochen,,,
    Since the free will theorem applies to any arbitrary physical theory consistent with the axioms, it would not even be possible to place the information into the universe’s past in an ad hoc way. The argument proceeds from the Kochen-Specker theorem, which shows that the result of any individual measurement of spin was not fixed (pre-determined) independently of the choice of measurements.
    http://www.informationphilosop.....eorem.html

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