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Late stage materialism?: Panpsychism (your coffee mug is conscious) sounds crazy but…

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A philosopher of consciousness says, it is probably true. Just so you know what you are up against:

No doubt the willingness of many to accept special relativity, natural selection and quantum mechanics, despite their strangeness from the point of view of pre-theoretical common sense, is a reflection of their respect for the scientific method. We are prepared to modify our view of the world if we take there to be good scientific reason to do so. But in the absence of hard experimental proof, people are reluctant to attribute consciousness to electrons…

In fact, the only thing we know about the intrinsic nature of matter is that some of it – the stuff in brains – involves experience. We now face a theoretical choice. We either suppose that the intrinsic nature of fundamental particles involves experience or we suppose that they have some entirely unknown intrinsic nature. On the former supposition, the nature of macroscopic things is continuous with the nature of microscopic things. The latter supposition leads us to complexity, discontinuity and mystery. The theoretical imperative to form as simple and unified a view as is consistent with the data leads us quite straightforwardly in the direction of panpsychism.


Philip Goff, “Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true” at Aeon

Right. If you believe that nature is all there is and you can’t otherwise explain the mind, the mind must be part of nature and therefore electrons are conscious. Unless you want to say that the mind is an illusion.

See also: Further reading on panpsychism, the Next Big Thing:

Why some scientists believe that the universe is conscious. They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around

No materialist theory of consciousness is plausible. All such theories either deny the very thing they are trying to explain, result in absurd scenarios, or end up requiring an immaterial intervention. (Eric Holloway)

Panpsychism: You are conscious but so is your coffee mug Materialists have a solution to the problem of consciousness, and it may startle you

and

How can consciousness be a material thing? Maybe it can’t. But materialist philosophers face starkly limited choices in how to view consciousness.

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6 Replies to “Late stage materialism?: Panpsychism (your coffee mug is conscious) sounds crazy but…

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    I’m half way through “The Privileged Planet” and each new chapter explains yet another feature of our galaxy or the entire universe that is useful for humans living on Earth to explore and understand the Cosmos. I finish a page and go “Ohhhhhh…”. Many recent discoveries only become important because of older discoveries. And as with a number of things in the Solar System, these discoveries could ONLY be made during a specific gap in universal development.
    One can only stand in awe at the fact that The Designer built this hugely complicated toy to keep humans on Earth entertained. Kinda like a kindergarten teacher showing the innocent young minds the alphabet and then showing them how the letters can be arranged to spell their names. “Come on! I know you can do it! It’s easy. Now try again…”

  2. 2
    ET says:

    vmahuna- It all makes sense in a universe designed for discovery

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this quote:

    “No doubt the willingness of many to accept special relativity, natural selection and quantum mechanics, despite their strangeness from the point of view of pre-theoretical common sense, is a reflection of their respect for the scientific method. We are prepared to modify our view of the world if we take there to be good scientific reason to do so. But in the absence of hard experimental proof, people are reluctant to attribute consciousness to electrons…”

    Besides the fact that for the author to invoke panpsychism is for him to reveal a profound misunderstanding about how consciousness and quantum mechanics actually correlate,

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas

    Besides that profound misunderstanding on his part, there is no good scientific reason to accept natural selection as being as scientific in the same way that we accept relativity and quantum mechanics as being scientific. As David Berlinski noted,

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    There simply is no empirical basis for considering Natural Selection to be ‘accepted science’:

    The Third Way
    Excerpt: “Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis.”
    – James Shapiro
    https://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com/

    In fact Natural Selection is now mathematically shown to be grossly inadequate as the supposed ‘designer substitute’ that Darwinists have falsely envisioned it to be:

    “Darwinism provided an explanation for the appearance of design, and argued that there is no Designer — or, if you will, the designer is natural selection. If that’s out of the way — if that (natural selection) just does not explain the evidence — then the flip side of that is, well, things appear designed because they are designed.”
    Richard Sternberg – Living Waters documentary
    Whale Evolution vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg and Paul Nelson – (excerpt from Living Waters video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0csd3M4bc0Q

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    Thus with no real ‘hard experimental proof’, nor mathematical basis, for Natural Selection, it is simply insulting to the hard sciences of quantum mechanics and relativity for the author to include Natural Selection alongside them as supposedly ‘settled science’.
    Natural Selection is nothing of the sort. If anything Natural Selection operates far more in the realm of unrestrained imagination than it does in the real world of empirical science. As Stephen Jay Gould himself honestly admitted (and caught flak for) in an article subtitled “The Art of Story Telling”, “When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.”

    Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
    Excerpt: “Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.”

    Moreover, Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, which, completely unlike Natural Selection, are both experimentally confirmed to almost absurd levels of precision,,

    The Most Precisely Tested Theory in the History of Science – May 5, 2011
    Excerpt: So, which of the two (general relativity or QED) is The Most Precisely Tested Theory in the History of Science?
    It’s a little tough to quantify a title like that, but I think relativity can claim to have tested the smallest effects. Things like the aluminum ion clock experiments showing shifts in the rate of a clock set moving at a few m/s, or raised by a foot, measure relativistic shifts of a few parts in 10^16. That is, if one clock ticks 10,000,000,000,000,000 times, the other ticks 9,999,999,999,999,999 times. That’s an impressively tiny effect, but the measured value is in good agreement with the predictions of relativity.
    In the end, though, I have to give the nod to QED, because while the absolute effects in relativity may be smaller, the precision of the measurements in QED is more impressive. Experimental tests of relativity measure tiny shifts, but to only a few decimal places. Experimental tests of QED measure small shifts, but to an absurd number of decimal places. The most impressive of these is the “anomalous magnetic moment of the electron,” expressed is terms of a number g whose best measured value is:
    g/2 = 1.001 159 652 180 73 (28)
    Depending on how you want to count it, that’s either 11 or 14 digits of precision (the value you would expect without QED is exactly 1, so in some sense, the shift really starts with the first non-zero decimal place), which is just incredible. And QED correctly predicts all those decimal places (at least to within the measurement uncertainty, given by the two digits in parentheses at the end of that).
    Per scienceblogs

    Experimental non-classicality of an indivisible quantum system – Zeilinger 2011
    Excerpt: Page 491: “This represents a violation of (Leggett’s) inequality (3) by more than 120 standard deviations, demonstrating that no joint probability distribution is capable of describing our results.” The violation also excludes any non-contextual hidden-variable model. The result does, however, agree well with quantum mechanical predictions, as we will show now.,,,
    https://vcq.quantum.at/fileadmin/Publications/Experimental%20non-classicality%20of%20an%20indivisible.pdf

    ,,, Moreover, Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics both support a Christian view of reality, not a materialistic or even a panpsychic view of reality as the author apparently presupposes.

    Whereas, atheists have no compelling evidence for all the various extra dimensions, parallel universe and/or multiverse scenarios that they have put forth to try to ‘explain away’ the origin, fine-tuning, and quantum wave collapse of the universe,,,

    Multiverse Mania vs Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQJV4fH6kMo

    ,,, And whereas, atheists have no compelling evidence for all the various extra dimensions, parallel universe and/or multiverse scenarios that they have put forth, on the other hand Christian Theists can appeal directly to the higher dimensional mathematics behind Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity and General Relativity to support their belief that God upholds this universe in its continual existence, as well as to support their belief in a heavenly dimension and in a hellish dimension.

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

    One final note: 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”.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/what-elements-of-fine-tuning-of-our-universe-vs-the-multiverse-would-pass-this-test-of-science-truth/#comment-680871

    Verse and video:

    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.

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Hologram
    https://youtu.be/F-TL4QOCiis

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    How about quantum panpsychism? That makes it far more sciencey.

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    Strange you should bring up this matter of panpsychism. After almost filling the petrol-tank of my car to the top/, I was reminded yet again of how starngely grateful my cars have always seemed when I did that. I only have the most rudimentary familiarity wth a car’s ‘inn’ards’, but surmise that maybe the greater volume exerts greater pressure and thus a greater and more smooth speed of its flow. But ‘quien sabe’ ?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    For Seversky to appeal to ‘quantum panpsychism’ as a possibility is for him to reveal a profound misunderstanding about how consciousness and quantum mechanics actually correlate,

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas

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