Intelligent Design Origin Of Life

At Big Think: The mystery of life cannot be solved by science

Spread the love

A thoughtful piece from a generally thoughtful science writer:

Reductionism is a successful way to explain the universe, but it cannot replace experience. This is part of the mystery of life.

If the question is, “Can science explain life?” then the answer I think someday will be “mostly yes,” if what we are aiming for are the processes at work in life. Science has already successfully deployed the technique of reduction to see the building blocks of life. Reduction means looking for explanations or successful predictive descriptions of a system by focusing on its smaller-scale constitutive elements. If you are interested in a human body, then reductions lead down from organs to cells to DNA to genes to biomolecules and so on. That approach has obviously been spectacularly successful.

It has not, however, been enough. The frontier now seems to be understanding life as a complex adaptive system, meaning one in which organization and cause occur on many levels. It is not just the atomic building blocks that matter; influences propagate up and down the scale, with multiple connected networks from genes to the environment and back. As I have written before, information may play an essential role here in ways that do not occur in non-living systems.

But the deeper question remains: will this ongoing process of explanatory refinement exhaust the weirdness of being alive or the mystery of life that I described in the opening? I think not.

Adam Frank, “The mystery of life cannot be solved by science” at Big Think

Couple of thoughts: We many never discover how life actually began because — in the absence of many planets whose life forms we can study — we cannot derive universal laws. Thus, the origin of life must be treated as a historical event. Many historical events cannot be definitively understood because key facts are lost to followup.

It’s not a question of what science can do, as one complacent textbook put it. The information still available to science may not enable us to draw a firm conclusion.

In any event, as Frank says, life turns out to be a complex, adaptive system, among other things, which resists the kind of “explanation” that many researchers used to seek.

What is the “explanation” for Tokyo or New York City? Of course there are many explanations on many levels but no single explanation exhausts everything or lays the question to rest. Or ever could. And that’s part of the nature of life.

15 Replies to “At Big Think: The mystery of life cannot be solved by science

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    “What is explanation for?”

    It’s a question I’ve never heard before, and deserves a lot more attention. Frank doesn’t really answer it, but he performs a huge service by asking it.

  2. 2
    jerry says:

    Stephen Blume addresses this and hypothesized that there is some sort of control mechanism somewhere in the cell and not in anyway connected to DNA and the process of protein making.

    Something is controlling the millions of processes going on in the cell. DNA to protein is just one small part of it.

  3. 3
    Querius says:

    Brilliant article! I’ve never read about “Mary’s Room” that Blume references, but it makes sense.

    Reductionism is another way of describing the oversimplifications we use in our world of details and abstractions. In Mary’s Room, the color red, might be a different, experiential dimension accessed only through the sense of sight. Similarly, we can’t taste “red” nor can our emotions be classified as “red” either.

    There’s also a spiritual dimension as well as logical, sensual, emotional, and others.

    -Q

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Reductionism is a successful way to explain the universe, but it cannot replace experience. This is part of the mystery of life.

    It is not one or the other. No, reductionism cannot replace experience but neither can experience provide the insights that reductionism can. Reductionism is used because experience has shown that it is a useful tool for investigating how things are put together and how they work.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    And reduction has shown that life is not reducible to physics and chemistry, ie matter, energy and what emerges from differential accumulations of their interactions. So it’s time to move on.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    Back in 1995, Richard Dawkins had a brief exchange of letters with Michael Poole, who trained as physicist and is also a committed Christian who has written extensively on science and religion.

    I want to quote from one of Poole’s letters where he discusses the nature of explanation and also reductionism

    Explanation

    […]

    The concept of explanation is more multifaceted than Dawkins appears to recognise. To explain something is to make it plain and there are various ways of doing this. The literature on the nature of explanation is vast, but Brown and Atkins have set out a simple analysis of the concept:

    Our typology consists of three main types of explanation. These may be labelled the Interpretive, the Descriptive and the Reason-Giving. They approximate to the questions, What?, How?, and Why? Interpretive explanations interpret or clarify an issue or specify the central meaning of a term or statement … Descriptive explanations describe processes structure and procedures … Reason-giving explanations involve giving reasons based on principles or generalisations, motives, obligations values.

    So, typically, an object such as a thermostat might have a number of compatible explanations:

    An interpretive explanation A thermostat is a device for maintaining a constant temperature.

    A descriptive explanation A (particular) thermostat consists of a bimetallic strip in close proximity to an electrical contact.

    A reason-giving (scientific) explanation Constant temperature is maintained because, when the temperature falls, the bimetal strip bends so making electrical contact. It switches on a heater which operates until at a predetermined temperature, the bimetal strip bends away from the contact, thereby breaking the circuit.

    A reason-giving (motives) explanation An agent wished to be able to maintain enclosures at constant temperatures to enable people to work comfortably, ovens to cook evenly, and chickens to hatch successfully.

    It is with the reason-giving explanations that our concerns lie. For it needs to be understood that there is no logical conflict between reason-giving explanations which concern mechanisms, and reason-giving explanations which concern the plans and purposes of an agent, human or divine. This is a logical point, not a matter of whether one does or does not happen to believe in God oneself.For it is an invalid reason for rejecting the concept of a divine creator, that we understand how the world came into being. But this point is one which Dawkins consistently overlooks. He fails to acknowledge that there is no logical contradiction between the claim that living things are the outcome of evolution by natural selection and that they could also be the outcome of the plan and purposes of an agent God.

    […]

    Reductionism

    Reductionism also belongs under the canopy of explanation and it needs to be distinguished in its various forms. Using Ayala’s nomenclature, there is the theologically benign methodological reductionism which is simply one of the standard scientific procedures of reducing things to their component parts for study. Within this framework Dawkins’ methodological approach fits comfortably:

    For those who like ‘ism’ sorts of names, the aptest name for my approach to understanding how things work is probably ‘hierarchical reductionism’. If you read trendy intellectual magazines, you may have noticed that ‘reductionism’ is one of those things, like sin, that is only mentioned by people who are against it . . . . The nonexistent reductionist-the sort that everybody is against, but who exists only in their imaginations-tries to explain complicated things directly in terms of the smallest part, even, in some extremes of the myth, as the sum of the parts! The hierarchical reductionist, on the other hand, explains a complex entity at any particular level in the hierarchy of organization, in terms of entities only one level down the hierarchy; entities which, themselves, are likely to be complex enough to need further reducing to their own component parts; and so on. [BWM, p. 13]

    He illustrates his position by reference to the components of a car. However, from his naturalistic stance Dawkins also espouses reductionism in its second form of ontological reductionism [ontology: the study of existence, of being]. In denying God and the supernatural, Dawkins expresses his belief that the material is all that there is. Ontological reductionism, commonly abbreviated to reductionism and dubbed by MacKay as ‘nothing buttery’, ‘is taken to imply that religion is just psychology, psychology is basically biology, biology is the chemistry of large molecules, whose atoms obey the laws of physics, which will ultimately account for everything!’The difficulty about any attempt to justify a dogmatic assertion that the material is all that exists, is that it would require some privileged insight into the way things actually are, in order to know whether it is true or not.

  7. 7
    ET says:

    jerry:

    Something is controlling the millions of processes going on in the cell. DNA to protein is just one small part of it.

    Immaterial information. It permeates living cells. And each component is loaded with what it requires. And it passes along its information via physical contact, for example during DNA to mRNA transcription. mRNA and DNA are the physical medium for information storage and transport.

  8. 8
    Querius says:

    Seversky @6,

    I want to quote from one of Poole’s letters where he discusses the nature of explanation and also reductionism

    Fascinating letter–thanks for sharing it!

    Thus, the definition of reductionism seems a bit fluid.

    – Disassembly into component parts: “The average car is made up of about 1,800 separate parts.”

    – Removing non-critical elements: “A car is a moving platform on wheels.”

    – Abstraction hierarchy: “A car consists of a body frame, wheels, an engine, several interrelated systems (lubricant, energy, power transmission, and controls). For more detail, click on each link.”

    -Q

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    As to these claims:

    “Reductionism is a successful way to explain the universe, but it cannot replace experience. This is part of the mystery of life.
    If the question is, “Can science explain life?” then the answer I think someday will be “mostly yes,” if what we are aiming for are the processes at work in life. Science has already successfully deployed the technique of reduction to see the building blocks of life. Reduction means looking for explanations or successful predictive descriptions of a system by focusing on its smaller-scale constitutive elements.”

    Well first off, directly contrary to what he claimed, reductionism has not been a successful way to explain the universe. For a prime and shining example, the universal laws that govern our universe simply refuse to be reduced to materialistic explanations.

    Atheists, with their random, ‘bottom-up’, reductive materialistic explanations, simply have no realistic clue why there should even be universal laws that govern the universe in the first place.

    “There cannot be, in principle, a naturalistic bottom-up explanation for immutable physical laws — which are themselves an ‘expression’ of top-down causation. A bottom-up explanation, from the level of e.g. bosons, should be expected to give rise to innumerable different ever-changing laws. By analogy, particles give rise to innumerable different conglomerations.
    Moreover a bottom-up process from bosons to physical laws is in need of constraints (laws) in order to produce a limited set of universal laws.
    Paul Davies: “Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.”
    Saying that laws do not depend on physical processes, is another way of saying that laws cannot be explained by physical processes.”
    – Origenes – UD blogger

    The fact that there never will be a ‘bottom-up’ reductive materialistic explanation for the universal laws is not just an obvious common sense fact, but this fact has now been proven to be true via the extension of Godel’s incompleteness into quantum mechanics.

    As the following article states, “even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,” and they even go on to say that the findings “challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    Undecidability of the Spectral Gap – June 16, 2020
    Toby Cubitt, David Perez-Garcia, and Michael M. Wolf
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1502.04573.pdf

    As to Adam Frank’s claim that “Can science explain life?” then the answer I think someday will be “mostly yes,”.

    To call that claim unmitigated hubris is to be charitable.

    While we may very well have identified many of the various components of life, reductionism, (particularly the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution), have been a resounding failure at explaining how all those components might be put together in order to explain life.

    For instance, take a ‘simple cell’, the smallest thing which can be said to harbor life. James Tour offers this following thought experiment to illustrate just how grossly ignorant we are as to explaining how all the components of a ‘simple’ cell might be put together in order to explain life.

    (July 2019) “We have no idea how to put this structure (a simple cell) together.,, So, not only do we not know how to make the basic components, we do not know how to build the structure even if we were given the basic components. So the gedanken (thought) experiment is this. Even if I gave you all the components. Even if I gave you all the amino acids. All the protein structures from those amino acids that you wanted. All the lipids in the purity that you wanted. The DNA. The RNA. Even in the sequence you wanted. I’ve even given you the code. And all the nucleic acids. So now I say, “Can you now assemble a cell, not in a prebiotic cesspool but in your nice laboratory?”. And the answer is a resounding NO! And if anybody claims otherwise they do not know this area (of research).”
    – James Tour: The Origin of Life Has Not Been Explained – 4:20 minute mark (The more we know, the worse the problem gets for materialists)
    https://youtu.be/r4sP1E1Jd_Y?t=255

    Thus, contrary to what Adam Frank claimed, even to simplest non-conscious life, i.e. a ‘simple’ cell, will never be successfully explained in ‘bottom up’ reductionist terms.

    And since the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinists have been a resounding failure at explaining how even a ‘simple’ cell might be put together, then it should not be all that surprising to find out that Darwinists, with their reductive materialistic explanations, have no realistic clue how any organism might achieve its basic biological form.

    As the following article states, “At present, the problem of biological form remains unsolved.”

    On the problem of biological form – Marta Linde-Medina (2020)
    Excerpt: Embryonic development, which inspired the first theories of biological form, was eventually excluded from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis, (neo-Darwinism) as irrelevant.,,,
    At present, the problem of biological form remains unsolved.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-020-00317-3

    And, as should be needless to say, since the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution are at a complete loss to explain how any organism might achieve its basic biological form, then, obviously, any speculations from Darwinists as to how one type/form of organism might transform into another type/form of organism are based on pure fantasy and have no discernible experimental basis in reality.

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    Again, although we have identified many of the components that go into life, the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinists have been a resounding failure as to actually explaining life.

    Moreover, I firmly hold, (via George Ellis), that “the foundational assumption that all causation is bottom up is wrong” and that it is only by moving beyond ‘bottom-up’ reductive materialistic explanations, to the ‘top down’ mental explanations of mind, that we will finally make significant headway in actually understanding life.

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    1: The Theme
    A key assumption underlying most present day physical thought is the idea that causation is bottom
    up all the way: particle physics underlies nuclear physics, nuclear physics underlies atomic physics,
    atomic physics underlies chemistry, and so on. Thus all the higher level subjects are at least in
    principle reducible to particle physics, which is therefore the only fundamental science; as famously
    claimed by Dirac, chemistry is just an application of quantum physics [1].
    However there are many topics that one cannot understand by assuming this one-way flow of causation. The flourishing subject of social neuroscience makes clear how social influences act down on individual brain structure [2]; studies in physiology demonstrate that downward causation is necessary in understanding the heart, where this form of causation can be represented as the influences of initial and boundary conditions on the solutions of the differential equations used to represent the lower level processes [3]; epigenetic studies demonstrate that biological development is crucially shaped by the environment [4].
    What about physics? In this essay I will make the case that top-down causation is also prevalent
    in physics, even though this is not often recognised as such. This does not occur by violating physical
    laws; on the contrary, it occurs through the laws of physics, by setting constraints on lower level
    interactions. Thus my theme is that the foundational assumption that all causation is bottom up is
    wrong, even in the case of physics [5]. Some writers on this topic prefer to refer to “contextual effects” or “whole-part constraints”. These are perfectly acceptable terms, but I will make the case that the stronger term “top-down causation” is appropriate in many cases.,,
    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.
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1212.2275.pdf

    Moreover Adam Frank in his article, in concentrating on the irresolvable dilemma that ‘experience’ presents to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinists, is very much taking the same exact track that David Chalmers himself did when he first elucidated ‘the hard problem of consciousness’

    David Chalmers on Consciousness (Descartes, Philosophical Zombies and the Hard Problem of Consciousness) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    And although David Chalmers, (and Adam Frank), focused on qualia,,

    Qualia
    Excerpt: Examples of qualia include the perceived sensation of pain of a headache, the taste of wine, as well as the redness of an evening sky.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia

    And although David Chalmers, (and Adam Frank), focused on qualia as the defining attribute of the immaterial mind that will never be reduced to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinists, there are several other defining attributes of the immaterial mind that will also forever be beyond the scope of the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinists.

    Dr. Michael Egnor, who is a neurosurgeon as well as professor of neurosurgery at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, states six properties of immaterial mind that are irreconcilable to the view that the mind is just the material brain. Those six properties are, “Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,”

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Michael Egnor – 2008
    Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: –
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13961.html

    Likewise, J. Warner Wallace has a very similar list, (but not an exact match to Dr. Egnor’s list), of six properties of immaterial mind that are irreconcilable with reductive materialism.

    Six reasons why you should believe in non-physical minds – 01/30/2014
    1) First-person access to mental properties
    2) Our experience of consciousness implies that we are not our bodies
    3) Persistent self-identity through time
    4) Mental properties cannot be measured like physical objects
    5) Intentionality or About-ness
    6) Free will and personal responsibility
    http://winteryknight.com/2014/.....cal-minds/

    And while the specific mental attribute of qualia, as is made evident by ‘Mary’s Room’, is forever beyond the scope of any possible materialistic explanation and/or any possible physical examination.,,,

    11.2.1 Qualia – Perception (“The Hard Problem” )
    Philosopher of the mind Frank Jackson imagined a thought experiment —Mary’s Room— to explain qualia and why it is such an intractable problem for science. The problem identified is referred to as the knowledge argument. Here is the description of the thought experiment:
    “Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like ‘red’, ‘blue’, and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence ‘The sky is blue’. (…) What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not?”
    Jackson believed that Mary did learn something new: she learned what it was like to experience color.
    “It seems just obvious that she will learn something about the world and our visual experience of it. But then is it inescapable that her previous knowledge was incomplete. But she had all the physical information. Ergo there is more to have than that, and Physicalism [materialism] is false.”
    https://www.urantia.org/study/seminar-presentations/is-there-design-in-nature#Emergence

    And while the specific mental attribute of qualia is forever beyond the scope of any possible materialistic explanation and/or any possible physical examination, the other mental attributes that I listed from Dr. Egnor’s list of ‘Persistence of Self-Identity through time’ (which may also be termed ‘the experience of ‘the Now”), and of ‘free will’, although being irreconcilable with reductive materialism, nonetheless, both of those defining attributes of immaterial mind that Dr. Egnor listed, unlike qualia, do make their presence known to us in recent experimental evidence from quantum mechanics.

    As to defining the specific mental attribute of the ‘Persistence of Self-Identity through time’ (and/or ‘the experience of ‘the Now”) in particular, it is first important to note that we each have a unique perspective of being outside of time. In fact we each seemingly watch from some mysterious outside perspective of time as time seemingly passes us by. Simply put, we seem to be standing on an island of ‘now’ as the river of time continually flows past us.

    In further defining what the mental attribute of ‘the experience of the now’ actually is, in the following article Stanley Jaki states that “There can be no active mind without its sensing its existence in the moment called now.,,, ,,,There is no physical parallel to the mind’s ability to extend from its position in the momentary present to its past moments, or in its ability to imagine its future. The mind remains identical with itself while it lives through its momentary nows.”

    The Mind and Its Now – Stanley L. Jaki, May 2008
    Excerpts: There can be no active mind without its sensing its existence in the moment called now.,,,
    Three quarters of a century ago Charles Sherrington, the greatest modern student of the brain, spoke memorably on the mind’s baffling independence of the brain. The mind lives in a self-continued now or rather in the now continued in the self. This life involves the entire brain, some parts of which overlap, others do not.
    ,,,There is no physical parallel to the mind’s ability to extend from its position in the momentary present to its past moments, or in its ability to imagine its future. The mind remains identical with itself while it lives through its momentary nows.
    ,,, the now is immensely richer an experience than any marvelous set of numbers, even if science could give an account of the set of numbers, in terms of energy levels. The now is not a number. It is rather a word, the most decisive of all words. It is through experiencing that word that the mind comes alive and registers all existence around and well beyond.
    ,,, All our moments, all our nows, flow into a personal continuum, of which the supreme form is the NOW which is uncreated, because it simply IS.
    http://metanexus.net/essay/mind-and-its-now

    And ‘the experience of ‘the now” also happens to be exactly where Albert Einstein got into trouble with leading philosophers of his day and also happens to be exactly where Einstein eventually got into trouble with quantum mechanics itself.

    Around 1935, Einstein was directly asked by Rudolf Carnap (who was a fairly well respected philosopher):

    “Can physics demonstrate the existence of ‘the now’ in order to make the notion of ‘now’ into a scientifically valid term?”
    Rudolf Carnap – Philosopher

    Einstein’s answer was ‘categorical’, he said:

    “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”
    Einstein – (quoted via Stanley Jaki)

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    The specific statement that Einstein made to Carnap on the train, “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.” was a very interesting statement for Einstein to make to the philosopher since “The experience of ‘the now’ has, from many recent experiments in quantum mechanics, established itself as very much being a defining part of our physical measurements in quantum mechanics.

    For instance, the following delayed choice experiment with atoms demonstrated that, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: Some particles, such as photons or electrons, can behave both as particles and as waves. Here comes a question of what exactly makes a photon or an electron act either as a particle or a wave. This is what Wheeler’s experiment asks: at what point does an object ‘decide’?
    The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    Likewise, the following violation of Leggett’s inequality stressed the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it.

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: 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

    As to the ability of the mind to extend from its ‘experience of the now’ to past moments in time, in recent experiments in quantum mechanics, it is now found that “quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    And as the following 2017 article states, “a decision made in the present can influence something in the past.”

    Physicists provide support for retrocausal quantum theory, in which the future influences the past
    July 5, 2017 by Lisa Zyga
    Excerpt: retrocausality means that, when an experimenter chooses the measurement setting with which to measure a particle, that decision can influence the properties of that particle (or another particle) in the past, even before the experimenter made their choice. In other words, a decision made in the present can influence something in the past.
    https://phys.org/news/2017-07-physicists-retrocausal-quantum-theory-future.html

    And to drive this point further home, in the following 2018 article Professor Crull provocatively states “entanglement can occur across two quantum systems that never coexisted,,, it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.”

    You thought quantum mechanics was weird: check out entangled time – Feb. 2018
    Excerpt: Just when you thought quantum mechanics couldn’t get any weirder, a team of physicists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reported in 2013 that they had successfully entangled photons that never coexisted. Previous experiments involving a technique called ‘entanglement swapping’ had already showed quantum correlations across time, by delaying the measurement of one of the coexisting entangled particles; but Eli Megidish and his collaborators were the first to show entanglement between photons whose lifespans did not overlap at all.,,,
    Up to today, most experiments have tested entanglement over spatial gaps. The assumption is that the ‘nonlocal’ part of quantum nonlocality refers to the entanglement of properties across space. But what if entanglement also occurs across time? Is there such a thing as temporal nonlocality?,,,
    The data revealed the existence of quantum correlations between ‘temporally nonlocal’ photons 1 and 4. That is, entanglement can occur across two quantum systems that never coexisted.
    What on Earth can this mean? Prima facie, it seems as troubling as saying that the polarity of starlight in the far-distant past – say, greater than twice Earth’s lifetime – nevertheless influenced the polarity of starlight falling through your amateur telescope this winter. Even more bizarrely: maybe it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than 9 billion years old.
    https://aeon.co/ideas/you-thought-quantum-mechanics-was-weird-check-out-entangled-time

    As well, quantum mechanics also shows us that our present conscious choices that we make ‘now’ ultimately determine what type of future will be presented to us in our measurements of quantum systems.

    As leading experimentalist Anton Zeilinger states 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 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

    As well, with contextuality, (which is integral to quantum computation), we find that, “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”

    Contextuality is ‘magic ingredient’ for quantum computing – June 11, 2012
    Excerpt: Contextuality was first recognized as a feature of quantum theory almost 50 years ago. The theory showed that it was impossible to explain measurements on quantum systems in the same way as classical systems.
    In the classical world, measurements simply reveal properties that the system had, such as colour, prior to the measurement. 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.
    Imagine turning over a playing card. It will be either a red suit or a black suit – a two-outcome measurement. Now imagine nine playing cards laid out in a grid with three rows and three columns. Quantum mechanics predicts something that seems contradictory – there must be an even number of red cards in every row and an odd number of red cards in every column. Try to draw a grid that obeys these rules and you will find it impossible. It’s because quantum measurements cannot be interpreted as merely revealing a pre-existing property in the same way that flipping a card reveals a red or black suit.
    Measurement outcomes depend on all the other measurements that are performed – the full context of the experiment.
    Contextuality means that quantum measurements can not be thought of as simply revealing some pre-existing properties of the system under study. That’s part of the weirdness of quantum mechanics.
    http://phys.org/news/2014-06-w.....antum.html

    The Mind First and/or Theistic implications of quantum experiments such as the preceding, (which highlight ‘the experience of the now’), are fairly obvious. As Professor Scott Aaronson of MIT once quipped, “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists,,, But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”

    “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    – Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor quantum computation – Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, besides the mental attribute of the ‘experience of the now’ making its presence known in quantum mechanics, that mental attribute of free will also makes its presence known in quantum mechanics,

    As the late Steven Weinberg, who was an atheist, stated in the following article, “In the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,”

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    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
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. 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

    In fact Weinberg, again who was an atheist during his time here on earth, rejected the instrumentalist approach precisely because “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and because it undermined the Darwinian worldview from within. Yet, regardless of how he and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave.

    Although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have each been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence”, “freedom of choice”, and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole:

    Closing the ‘free will’ loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell’s theorem – February 20, 2014
    Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as “setting independence,” or more provocatively, “free will.” This loophole proposes that a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure — a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector’s setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics.
    “It sounds creepy, but people realized that’s a logical possibility that hasn’t been closed yet,” says MIT’s David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. “Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?”
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220112515.htm

    And now Anton Zeilinger and company have, as of 2018, pushed the ‘freedom of choice’ loophole back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that the experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract Excerpt: This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 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

    Thus regardless of how Steven Weinberg and other atheists may prefer the universe to behave, with the closing of the last remaining free will loophole in quantum mechanics, “humans are indeed brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level”, and thus these recent findings from quantum mechanics directly undermine, as Weinberg himself stated, the “vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.”

    Moreover allowing free will and/or Agent causality into the laws of physics at their most fundamental level has some fairly profound implications for us personally.

    First and foremost, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”.

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpn2Vu8–eE

    Moreover, the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity has now been overturned by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, our two most powerful theories in science:
    – August 2021
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/privileged-address-an-excerpt-from-neil-thomass-taking-leave-of-darwin/#comment-736493

    To give us a small glimpse of the power that was involved in Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the following article found that, ”it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.”

    Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
    Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
    ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.
    Comment
    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
    http://westvirginianews.blogsp.....in-is.html

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  13. 13
    Hanks says:

    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV

    Holy Shroud or Holy Fire are not evidences for people who hate religion. They will explain anything with just-so stories. They will explain that something immoral ,a trick or something happened while in the same time they will believe any insane story about “the miracle” of darwinian evolution . They will disbelieve any other miracle that would “force” them to live a sinless life.

    The Holy Fire, the miracle which occurs each Easter (celebrated by Christian Orthodox Churches) in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre the holiest place on earth, where Christ was entombed, and where He finally rose from the dead.( This happens for more than 13 centuries and the property of fire in first minutes is similar to low-temperature plasma . Is the “Holy Fire” Related to the Turin Shroud?

    The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1980 to 2000 was Patriarch Diodoros. Many times, he has received the Holy Fire on behalf of Christendom. His experience is as follows: “I enter the tomb and kneel in holy fear in front of the place where Christ lay after His death and where He rose again from the dead. I find my way through the darkness towards the inner chamber in which I fall on my knees. Here I say certain prayers that have been handed down to us through the centuries and, having said them, I wait. Sometimes I may wait a few minutes, but normally the miracle happens immediately after I have said the prayers. From the core of the very stone on which Jesus lay an indefinable light pours forth. It usually has a blue tint, but the color may change and take many different hues. It cannot be described in human terms. The light rises out of the stone as mist may rise out of a lake – it almost looks as if the stone is covered by a moist cloud, but it is light. This light each year behaves differently. Sometimes it covers just the stone, while other times it gives light to the whole Sepulchre, so that people who stand outside the tomb and look into it will see it filled with light. The light does not burn – I have never had my beard burnt in all the sixteen years I have been Patriarch in Jerusalem and have received the Holy Fire. The light is of a different consistency than normal fire that burns in an oil lamp . . . At a certain point the light rises and forms a column in which the fire is of a different nature, so that I am able to light my candles from it. When I thus have received the flame on my candles, I go out and give the fire first to the Armenian Patriarch and then to the Coptic. Hereafter I give the flame to all people present in the Church.”
    The Holy Fire is First a Holy Light – My interview with Patriarch Theophilos III

    http://www.holyfire.org/eng/index.htm

    PS: These miracles are for Christians to believe more and for atheists to hate more .

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky @6

    That excerpt offered a very good analysis of how explanations work, when and how we should use different approaches – and a strong argument against Dawkins’ use of reduction as a universal method for explaining reality.
    Reductionism has its proper place and role – within limits.
    As the OP points out, using reductionistic view for all of life and reality would yield a false understanding. Unfortunately – that’s what most of evolutionary-materialism does.

  15. 15
    Querius says:

    Bornagain77,

    Indeed, physics starts with the reductionism of “massless elephants sliding on frictionless ice,” but it gets more complicated after that.

    -Q

Leave a Reply