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Jathink? Guy says materialism “not the most viable philosophy” and keeps job …

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Computational physicist Vlatko Vedral reviews Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen’s new collection of essays at physicsworld.com in “An inordinate fondness for bits” (Jan 11, 2011). In Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics (Cambridge University Press 2010), he says,

Each article explores the hypothesis that information is at the root of everything. And I mean everything – from atoms to, perhaps, a deity.

Well, that last’ll get attention.

Hmmm. Are the contributors trying to mock the intelligent design guys, but they lost the plot somewhere? Well,

The collection starts with historical essays by philosopher of science Ernan McMullin and philosopher-theologian Philip Clayton, who write about materialism (the worldview that states that the only thing that really exists is matter and that all other phenomena are just interactions between different pieces of matter) and its receding hold on philosophy. The stage being set, Davies and fellow physicist Seth Lloyd then present a physics perspective on information. Davies is without a doubt one of the best popular-science writers in the world, and his article demonstrates why. In it, he explains why, in light of modern physics discoveries, materialism is not the most viable philosophy. Lloyd then expands on this idea by introducing the notion that the universe is a giant information-processing device. This is a view that has emerged from my own field of research – quantum computation – and Lloyd is one of its most prominent advocates.

Hold that thought. Materialism is “not the most viable philosophy”?

Well, why did Baptist U Baylor shut down Dembski and Gordon’s Polanyi Center in 2002 for sponsoring a conference where lots of learned folk said substantially the same thing? Why was it big time heresy among … the Baptists when atheist Vedral is okay with it?

Alas, theo-weirdness soon kicks in:

The pinnacle of this “theological” section, however, is the proposal by Keith Ward that deity is a form of information-theoretic principle. Ward’s proposal is related to the observation that the universe walks a fine line between total disorder and compete order. Logically, it would seem that disorder is a more natural state of affairs if things were left to themselves, and so to get some order out we clearly need an extra guiding principle. And this extra principle, Ward suggests, is synonymous with God – albeit a very different sort of God than an all-powerful creator. Now, there is a definition of God with which I might almost agree!

Naturally, I wish the editors had dumped the “theological” dreck with which atheist Vedral “might almost agree.” It prompts the question, “Why isn’t Bill Gates God? Oh wait, he is. Or no wait again, let me check my notes on who’s God.

But seriously, if it has now become okay to say that materialism is not the most viable philosophy, what is the world coming to?

What I’d like to know is, how will materialists find a way to pervert that observation so that it doesn’t mean what it says?

And what “information-theoretic” yes men (former materialist yes men) will we be hearing from soon?

3 Replies to “Jathink? Guy says materialism “not the most viable philosophy” and keeps job …

  1. 1
    nullasalus says:

    But seriously, if it has now become okay to say that materialism is not the most viable philosophy, what is the world coming to?

    The only reason materialism/physicalism hasn’t receded even more strongly than these authors suggest it has, is owing to an increasing amount of funkiness with the very definitions of both. Ideas that used to be utterly distinct from them (Neutral monism, panpsychism, etc) are now identified with them explicitly.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Actually, it has been known since early last century that the foundation of reality is ‘non-materialistic’ in nature:

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-designer/

    As Professor Henry pointed out, it has been known since the discovery of quantum mechanics itself, early last century, that the universe is indeed ‘Mental’, as is illustrated by these quotes from Max Planck.

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944)(Of Note: Max Planck was a devout Christian, which is not surprising when you realize practically every, if not every, founder of each major branch of modern science also ‘just so happened’ to have a deep Christian connection.)
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Max_Planck

    I am amazed at the power that is revealed,,,

    How the Power of Intention Alters Matter – Dr. William A. Tiller
    Excerpt: Quantum mechanics and relativity theory are the two prime theoretical constructs of modern physics, and for quantum mechanics and relativity theory to be internally self-consistent, their calculations require that the vacuum must contain an energy density 10^94 grams per cubic centimeter. How much energy is that? To find out you simply use Einstein’s equation: E=MC2. Here’s how this comes out in practical terms. You could take the volume of, say, a single hydrogen atom (which is incredibly small, an infinitesimally small fraction of a cubic centimeter), and multiply that by the average mass density of the cosmos, a number which is known to astronomers. And what you find out is that within the amount of vacuum contained in this hydrogen atom there is, according to this calculation, “almost a trillion times as much energy as in all of the stars and all of the planets out to a radius of 20 billion light years!” If human consciousness can interact with that even a little bit, it can change things in matter. Because the ground state energies of all particles have that energy level due to their interaction with this stuff of the vacuum. So if you can shift that stuff of the vacuum, change its degree of order or coherence even a little bit, you can change the ground state energies of particles, atoms, molecules, and chemical equations.,,,, In conclusion Tiller states, “despite our attachment to it and our feeling of its solidity and persistence, what we think of as the physical universe is an almost incomprehensibly minuscule part of the immensity of All That Is.” “Matter as we know it,” Tiller concludes poetically, “is hardly a fragrance of a whisper.”
    http://www.spiritofmaat.com/ar.....tiller.htm

    God’s Creative and Sustaining Word – Dr. Don Johnson – video
    http://vimeo.com/12995464

  3. 3
    above says:

    Two things I’d like to note:

    1. In regards to what nullasalus said, I suppose that materialism is now in the business of rationalization and nothing else.

    2. The information theoretic principle can be equated as best with God’s creative power but under no circumstances can it be anything more than that. Synonymous with Him? LOL please…

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