Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Conference: Beyond Materialism, Cambridge, November 12, 2016


To be held at Hughes Hall, Cambridge University.

Full details are here:

Book here. Note: It doesn’t cost a lot but tickets are limited.

Conference Description

Since Darwin, biology has been dominated by a bottom-up, materialistic framework in which living things are ultimately derived from undirected physical processes — at the origin of life itself — and then change via random variations sifted by natural selection (or drift) throughout three billion years of organismal evolution. Within the past three decades, however, the sufficiency of this materialist framework has been strongly challenged by unexpected evidence.

  • What if information, and not physical or material causes, provides the key to understanding biology?
  • What are the principles governing the origin and transmission of biological information?
  • Does materialism restrict our intellectual freedom to explore the full landscape of causal possibilities?
  • Do recent scientific discoveries provide evidence that human beings are more than mere animals?

Join us on Saturday, 12 November 2016 as scientists and scholars from the UK, the United States, and Europe explore these and other questions at the Beyond Materialismconference at Hughes Hall, a college in the University of Cambridge, as venue.

Confirmed Speakers

Dr Douglas Axe
Dr Geoff Barnard
Dr Günter Bechly
Rev. Dr Alistair Donald
Dr Ann Gauger
Dr Ola Hössjer
Dr Stephen Meyer
Dr Brian Miller
Dr Paul Nelson

The Royal Society Meanwhile, the Royal Society meeting on New trends in evolutionary biology: biological, philosophical and social science perspectives is Monday 7 – Wednesday 9 November 2016 at the Society’s headquarters in London.

Some of us are amazed that the Royal Society is even holding a genuine “new trends” meet. One remembers back to the days when a new trend meant nothing more than a new fix for papering over the cracks in Darwinism. More on that another time.

See also: How will rethinking Darwin affect the ID community?

Follow UD News at Twitter!

Forever quantum: physicists demonstrate everlasting quantum coherence - October 14, 2016 by Lisa Zyga Excerpt: Typically, quantum coherence lasts for only a fraction of a second before decoherence destroys the effect due to interactions between the quantum system and its surrounding environment.,,, "Quantum properties can be exploited for disruptive technologies but are typically very fragile," Adesso told Phys.org. "Here we report an experiment which shows for the first time that quantum coherence in a large ensemble of nuclear spins can be naturally preserved ('frozen') under exposure to strong dephasing noise at room temperature, without external control, and for timescales as long as a second and beyond.",,, In the new study, the researchers have experimentally observed this effect for the first time. The scientists demonstrated the mechanism in composite systems whose subsystems are all affected by decoherence, yet the overall composite system maintains its quantum coherence for as long as desired.,,, "The trick lies in the fact that local decoherence acts in a preferred direction, which is perpendicular to the one in which coherence is measured," Adesso explained. "Consequently, the resulting quantum states are overall degraded by such noise, but their observed coherence remains unaffected during the dynamics if the initial conditions are suitably chosen." http://phys.org/news/2016-10-quantum-physicists-everlasting-coherence.html
Off Topic: The best way to see life is intelligently designed is to just look at it up close. --
If you’ve ever wondered how a diving beetle swims through the water or manages to rest just on the surface, the answer is in part because its foot is infinitely more complicated than your own. As seen above, this microscopic image of a male Acilius sulcatus (diving beetle) by photographer Igor Siwanowicz reveals the extraordinary complexity of this aquatic insect’s tiny appendage. This is just one of many examples of Siwanowicz’s work http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/10/insect-microscopy-igor-siwanowicz/
As far as the reigning philosophy of materialism in biology is concerned, that antiquated materialistic philosophy is being directly challenged by the empirical evidence coming from the new field of Quantum Biology. Jim Al-Khalili, co-author of "The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology (2015)", puts the current situation in biology like this:
Jim Al-Khalili, at the 2:30 minute mark of the following video states, ",,and Physicists and Chemists have had a long time to try and get use to it (Quantum Mechanics). Biologists, on the other hand have got off lightly in my view. They are very happy with their balls and sticks models of molecules. The balls are the atoms. The sticks are the bonds between the atoms. And when they can't build them physically in the lab nowadays they have very powerful computers that will simulate a huge molecule.,, It doesn't really require much in the way of quantum mechanics in the way to explain it." At the 6:52 minute mark of the video, Jim Al-Khalili goes on to state: “To paraphrase, (Erwin Schrödinger in his book “What Is Life”), he says at the molecular level living organisms have a certain order. A structure to them that’s very different from the random thermodynamic jostling of atoms and molecules in inanimate matter of the same complexity. In fact, living matter seems to behave in its order and its structure just like inanimate cooled down to near absolute zero. Where quantum effects play a very important role. There is something special about the structure, about the order, inside a living cell. So Schrodinger speculated that maybe quantum mechanics plays a role in life”. Jim Al-Khalili – Quantum biology – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOzCkeTPR3Q
Just how far off base the materialistic philosophy is as to providing a correct understanding of the most foundational level of molecular biology, and many experiments demonstrating the foundational role that quantum mechanics plays in molecular biology, is touched upon in the following video:
Molecular Biology - 19th Century Materialism meets 21st Century Quantum Mechanics - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCs3WXHqOv8&index=3&list=PLtAP1KN7ahiYxgYCc-0xiUAhNWjT4q6LD
Finding Quantum Mechanics to be playing such a vital role at the very foundation of molecular biology simply is not compatible to the reductive materialistic framework that mainstream biology, particularly Darwinian evolution, currently rests upon:
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/highlight/121029_hidden_influences.php Quantum correlations do not imply instant causation – August 12, 2016 Excerpt: A research team led by a Heriot-Watt scientist has shown that the universe is even weirder than had previously been thought. In 2015 the universe was officially proven to be weird. After many decades of research, a series of experiments showed that distant, entangled objects can seemingly interact with each other through what Albert Einstein famously dismissed as “Spooky action at a distance”. A new experiment by an international team led by Heriot-Watt’s Dr Alessandro Fedrizzi has now found that the universe is even weirder than that: entangled objects do not cause each other to behave the way they do. http://phys.org/news/2016-08-quantum-imply-instant-causation.html Experimental test of nonlocal causality – August 10, 2016 DISCUSSION Previous work on causal explanations beyond local hidden-variable models focused on testing Leggett’s crypto-nonlocality (7, 42, 43), a class of models with a very specific choice of hidden variable that is unrelated to Bell’s local causality (44). In contrast, we make no assumptions on the form of the hidden variable and test all models ,,, Our results demonstrate that a causal influence from one measurement outcome to the other, which may be subluminal, superluminal, or even instantaneous, cannot explain the observed correlations.,,, http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/8/e1600162.full Physicists find extreme violation of local realism in quantum hypergraph states - Lisa Zyga - March 4, 2016 Excerpt: Many quantum technologies rely on quantum states that violate local realism, which means that they either violate locality (such as when entangled particles influence each other from far away) or realism (the assumption that quantum states have well-defined properties, independent of measurement), or possibly both. Violation of local realism is one of the many counterintuitive, yet experimentally supported, characteristics of the quantum world. Determining whether or not multiparticle quantum states violate local realism can be challenging. Now in a new paper, physicists have shown that a large family of multiparticle quantum states called hypergraph states violates local realism in many ways. The results suggest that these states may serve as useful resources for quantum technologies, such as quantum computers and detecting gravitational waves.,,, The physicists also showed that the greater the number of particles in a quantum hypergraph state, the more strongly it violates local realism, with the strength increasing exponentially with the number of particles. In addition, even if a quantum hypergraph state loses one of its particles, it continues to violate local realism. This robustness to particle loss is in stark contrast to other types of quantum states, which no longer violate local realism if they lose a particle. This property is particularly appealing for applications, since it might allow for more noise in experiments. http://phys.org/news/2016-03-physicists-extreme-violation-local-realism.html
Whereas finding quantum mechanics at the very foundation of biology is devastating to those who prefer the materialistic philosophy to be true, those who are of the Theistic persuasion are comforted by the fact that Quantum Biology provides direct evidence for the belief that we do indeed have a transcendent component to our being. Namely, Quantum Biology provides very suggestive evidence that we do indeed have a 'soul':
Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIyEjh6ef_8 “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it's possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.” - Stuart Hameroff - Quantum Entangled Consciousness - Life After Death - video (5:00 minute mark) https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=300
Mark 8:37 “Is anything worth more than your soul?”
Here is a fairly deep question that I wish researchers would take more seriously: ",,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?", i.e. Exactly what is it that makes the countless trillions of biological molecules in a human body cohere as a single unified whole for precisely a lifetime and not a moment longer?
The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings - Stephen L. Talbott - 2010 Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary. ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer? Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity. http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-unbearable-wholeness-of-beings
I think one of the best forms of materialism was the form that was developed by the ancient Greeks. Here is a brief descriptions from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A number of important theorists in ancient Greek natural philosophy held that the universe is composed of physical ‘atoms’… These philosophers developed a systematic and comprehensive natural philosophy accounting for the origins of everything from the interaction of indivisible bodies, as these atoms—which have only a few intrinsic properties like size and shape—strike against one another, rebound and interlock in an infinite void. This atomist natural philosophy eschewed teleological explanation and denied divine intervention or design, regarding every composite of atoms as produced purely by material interactions of bodies, and accounting for the perceived properties of macroscopic bodies as produced by these same atomic interactions. Atomists formulated views on ethics, theology, political philosophy and epistemology consistent with this physical system.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atomism-ancient/ Why do I think it was one of the best? Because it was very prescient and it hasn’t been improved on much since. However, just because I believe that it was one of the best doesn’t mean that it was any good. Indeed as a philosophical world view materialism (both the ancient and modern forms) creates more questions than it answers-- metaphysically, epistemologically and scientifically. Furthermore, to accept it you have to believe it by faith, the same kind of faith you would need to believe in theism, which has far more explanatory power and scope. john_a_designer
Axel @ 1: Very comical indeed. The good news is that such stupidity is now being openly challenged and debunked. Glad to be alive to see the slow collapse of the fraudulent pseudoscience known as Darwinian evolution. Truth Will Set You Free
'Since Darwin, biology has been dominated by a bottom-up, materialistic framework in which living things are ultimately derived from undirected physical processes — at the origin of life itself — […]' Seeing it described with such erudite and pithy precision makes it seem all the more comical ! Axel

Leave a Reply