Intelligent Design Naturalism Panpsychism

Hush. The universe is learning…

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Physicist Vitaly Vanchurin explains:

Physics is stagnating. We haven’t had any significant, new theoretical breakthroughs in decades. Do we need a radically new way of understanding the universe? If we treat the world as a neural network which is in the process of learning, then we can better understand quantum gravity, quantum computing and consciousness, writes Vitaly Vanchurin.

Vitaly Vanchurin, “The universe is learning” at iai News (paywall)

Note: This came up last year: The whole universe is a neural network (September 11, 2020). And it is learning?

The main thing to see is that panpsychism is slowly replacing naturalism as the default position of science.

It makes sense. Naturalism requires us to believe that our minds are an illusion. But, as neurosurgeon Michael Egnor says, if your hypothesis is that the mind is an illusion, then you don’t have a hypothesis.

Panpsychists are almost certainly wrong in believing that electrons are conscious or that the whole universe is. But they do start with the idea that something, somewhere is thinking — perhaps even them and us.

Odd as it sounds, that might be an improvement: Wrong but sane

See also: Why is science growing comfortable with panpsychism (“everything is conscious”)? At one time, the idea that “everything is conscious” was the stuff of jokes. Not any more, it seems.

and

From Scientific American: “we may all be alters—dissociated personalities— of universal consciousness.”

3 Replies to “Hush. The universe is learning…

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Physics is stagnating. We haven’t had any significant, new theoretical breakthroughs in decades

    Why should we expect to continue making breakthroughs at the rate we have previously? Perhaps we have just done the easy bits. The next steps may be harder and take a lot longer.

    Do we need a radically new way of understanding the universe? If we treat the world as a neural network which is in the process of learning, then we can better understand quantum gravity, quantum computing and consciousness

    How would treating the Universe as a neural network improve our understanding of its sub-atomic structure?

    The main thing to see is that panpsychism is slowly replacing naturalism as the default position of science.

    IANAP, but it seems to me that panpsychism is an intriguing speculation but it’s some way from replacing naturalism as the default position of science. Perhaps a physicist would care to give us their evaluation.

    It makes sense. Naturalism requires us to believe that our minds are an illusion.

    No, it doesn’t. Are the video games we play on our computers illusions? Are the 3D scenarios that play out in VR headsets illusions? Or are they simulations or models? They’re not the same things.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    We’ll never prove anything about consciousness, but a giant analog computer with memory and feedback is possible and testable.

  3. 3
    groovamos says:

    Panpsychists are almost certainly wrong in believing that electrons are conscious or that the whole universe is.

    if you wonder from from what special knowledge would a person be saying that, I suggest it is the special knowledge coming from the worldview of the person, in other words, it is a worldview that says: “I know what does not exist and that settles it.”

    I don’t normally percieve panpsychism. “Normally” meaning in every day consciousness. But I at one time experienced the consciousness of the sun in a very unusual state of mind which was brought on by a particular hard romantic breakup and the concurrent lack of sleep. To put it bluntly, at the time, I was really stuck in my s___.

    But — gentle visions of the benevolent being of the sun would come to me during sleepless periods at night, and the feeling was not spectacular per se, but was a tad overwhelming and was quite a salve to my being.

    Anyone well familiar with Stan Grof’s concept of holotropic states, and their relationship to issues of birth, sex, death, and transcendence, would understand how they can be brought on by mental and emotional distress. Such distress as I was immersed in is typically the activation of the perinatal realm in the unconscious. The experience I just related was a mild version of a holotropic state, compared to what I have experienced many times as full blown dramatic ones. I came through that emotional period with a full understanding of the tendency of cultures throughout history to revere the sun as a concious, benevolent entity.

    As one who had such a dramatic experience and the serendipity which seemed irrefutable regarding it, I would be disinclined to argue against any argument for panpsychism including the proposition of a category of consciousness in elementary particles. Let’s put it this way, some people know better than to know what doesn’t exist.

    Here is a discussion on the topic in SciAm
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-consciousness-pervade-the-universe/

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