Intelligent Design Mind Physics

Physics: No one said finding truth is easy, but need it be impossible?

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We are told that many physicists have “gotten interested in consciousness”:

…drawn by the so-called hard problem of consciousness. The methods of science seem inherently incapable of describing subjective experience. Our inner mental life is hidden from external observation and does not seem reducible to mathematical description. It strikes many researchers as an unnecessary add-on with no place in the physical scheme of things. By this argument, some researchers say understanding the mind could demand some new principle of science or new way of thinking. Physicists are intrigued that their basic picture of the world could be missing something so important.

That is not the only reason that physicists have been giving thought to the mind. The multiverse is one example of how we may perceive a filtered version of reality, and once you start down this path of wondering how truth might be skewed, you might entertain possibilities that make the multiverse sound tame. Immanuel Kant argued that the structure of our minds conditions what we perceive. In that tradition, physicist Markus Müller of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna and cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman of the University of California, Irvine, among others, have argued that we perceive the world as divided into objects situated within space and time, not necessarily because it has this structure but because that is the only way we could perceive it…

If we find that our theories are clutching at vapors, that’s not a bad thing. It’s reminding us to be humble. Physicists can be full of themselves, but the most experienced and accomplished among them are usually circumspect. They tend to be the first people to point out the problems with their own ideas, if only to avoid the embarrassment of someone else doing it for them. No one ever said that finding the truth would be easy.

George Musser, “How close can physics bring us to a truly fundamental understanding of the world?” at Scientific American

It’s not clear how the Hard Problem of Consciousness would help much with physics. Consider the quagmire below:


SWhy some scientists believe the universe is conscious

Why some scientists think the universe is an illusion

Post-modern science: The illusion of consciousness sees through itself

and

Panpsychism: You are conscious but so is your coffee mug

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2 Replies to “Physics: No one said finding truth is easy, but need it be impossible?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    The most accomplished are usually circumspect? Might be true in a basic way, but being circumspect isn’t how you get tenure and citations and prizes. Being cautious and avoiding bias is an excellent way to get fired and doxxed and sued.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    “Our inner mental life is hidden from external observation and does not seem reducible to mathematical description. It strikes many researchers as an unnecessary add-on with no place in the physical scheme of things.”

    Too funny. Physics itself would be impossible without that supposedly ‘unnecessary add-on’. As Eugene Wigner put it,

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    And as William J Murray also once stated here on UD,

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    In other words we start with the fact that we are conscious and then we define everything else in the ‘external’ world in relation to our mind. In other words, EVERYTHING we describe in the ‘supposedly’ external world is necessarily an abstraction of our mind. Consciousness and/or mind is, an can be, THE ONLY primary prerequisite of all possible necessary prerequisites. As Planck and Schroedinger put it,

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    Thus for someone to claim that consciousness is an ‘unnecessary add on’ is, as Pauli might have responded, “not even wrong”.

    Moreover, the Atheistic Naturalist’s belief that there is an external physical world ‘out there somewhere’ apart from our conscious observation of it has been falsified by advances in quantum mechanics that have falsified ‘realism’. (‘Realism’ is the belief that there is an external physical world ‘out there somewhere’ apart from our conscious observation of it.)

    One falsification of ‘realism’ comes from the violation of Leggett’s inequality. Leggett’s Inequality is a mathematical proof developed by Nobelist Anthony Leggett to try to prove ‘realism’ within quantum mechanics. And, as is usual with challenging the predictions of Quantum Mechanics, his supposed proof of realism was violated by a stunning 80 orders of magnitude, thus once again, in over the top fashion, highlighting the central importance of the conscious observer to Quantum Experiments:

    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

    A team of physicists in Vienna has devised experiments that may answer one of the enduring riddles of science: Do we create the world just by looking at it? – 2008
    Excerpt: In mid-2007 Fedrizzi found that the new realism model was violated by 80 orders of magnitude; the group was even more assured that quantum mechanics was correct.
    Leggett agrees with Zeilinger that realism is wrong in quantum mechanics,,,
    http://seedmagazine.com/conten....._tests/P3/

    And the following delayed choice experiment, that was dome with atoms instead of photons, also falsified realism. As the researcher 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

    Thus the profound intellectual and philosophical naivete that allows someone to believe that consciousness is an “unnecessary add-on with no place in the physical scheme of things” is directly falsified by advances in quantum mechanics.

    One final note, often times I’ve heard atheists remark that ‘No one understands quantum mechanics’. But contrary to that oft repeated refrain from atheists, I’ve found that having a proper understanding of some of the defining attributes of consciousness greatly facilitates a person in understanding why some of the profound mysteries of quantum mechanics are, and must be, as they are:

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

    Verse:

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

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