Intelligent Design Mind

Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?

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Alternative medicine proponent Deepak Chopra was ridiculed at Forbes for saying “Consciousness may exist in photons, which seem to be the carrier of all information in the universe.” Yet great physicists have said similar things. Max Planck said “I regard matter as a derivative of consciousness.” And Koch, remember, thinks the Internet may be conscious. But are he or Max Tegmark (“perceptronium”) so easily ridiculed in the same places?

The standard is probably this: Koch and Tegmark are assumed to be naturalists and Chopra certainly doesn’t sound like one. Irrespective of the state of the evidence, actual or perceived naturalism distinguishes the genius from the fool. More.

8 Replies to “Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?

  1. 1
    Neil Rickert says:

    I think Chopra is wrong. But I wouldn’t ridicule him for that. He is not the first to suggest panpsychism. Perhaps he was ridiculed because it was Forbes, rather than a scientific publication.

    I also think Koch and Tegmark is wrong, but I don’t ridicule them, either.

    I take Planck to be saying (in your quote), that everything we know about matter, including its existence, we know only because of our consciousness. And if that’s what he meant, then I agree.

  2. 2
    nightlight says:

    The question is an oxymoron since “hard problem of consciousness” is the fact that natural science has no model of consciousness.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    What’s “natural science”?

  4. 4
    gpuccio says:


    “What’s “natural science”?”


    “Any scientific theory which refutes consciousness as a primary component of reality, and desperately tries to explain it, against all evidence, as an emerging property of some configuration of matter.”

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    The Planck quote in that context, makes no sense, being at best, a non sequitur.

    Planck was, at the every least, a ‘deeply religious’ deist, (alternatively designated a deist and a devout, Christian church sidesman all his life), and that quote would be the normal, because absolutely foundational, Christian belief. Matter shows design, design predicates intelligence, and in the Judaeo-Christian God, such intelligence is evidently wedded to the creative omnipotence of God.

    If he were simply a deist, it would be not one whit less true.

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    How putatively intelligent people can conjecture that matter could have given rise to mind, is as surreal as the other major planks of naturalism, evolution, etc, in the teeth of the ever-growing mathematical and empirical, scientific demolition of their world view.

  7. 7
    Axel says:

    Ironically, just at the very time when the mathematics underpinning quantum mechanics has consigned the requirement of ‘falsifiabilty’ an oddity of history, while confirming Galileo’s earlier designation of mathematics as the cornerstone of physics, the naturalists in both senses of the word, little emperors divested of their clothes, are reduced to the most a priori, farcical flights of fancy, posing as conjectures, nay, theories!

    At the deepest level, that of QM, proof has superseded evidence as the scientist’s ultimate, attainable goal of success. Which would surely have been why, when Murray Gell-Mann told Einstein some of their colleagues had found a flaw or flaws in one or other of his relativity theories, his response was simply, ‘It will go away.’ He had done the math.

  8. 8
    drc466 says:

    My favorite snippet from the linked article: “How do we detect consciousness?” Adding that to my anti-materialist arsenal.

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