Biocentrism Demystified: A Response to Deepak Chopra and Robert Lanza’s Notion of a Conscious Universe

Written by December 14, 2009 1:53 am 509 comments

Co-authored with Ajita Kamal

Editor’s Note: This article has been cited by P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula and Steven Novella at Neurologica, and has been reposted at RichardDawkins.net..

It is almost irresistible for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that human life is not just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents reaching back to the first three minutes, but that we were somehow built in from the beginning.”

-Steven Weinberg

You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are.”

-Eckhart Tolle

1. Introduction

The impulse to see human life as central to the existence of the universe is manifested in the mystical traditions of practically all cultures. It is so fundamental to the way pre-scientific people viewed reality that it may be, to a certain extent, ingrained in the way our psyche has evolved, like the need for meaning and the idea of a supernatural God. As science and reason dismantle the idea of the centrality of human life in the functioning of the objective universe, the emotional impulse has been to resort to finer and finer misinterpretations of the science involved. Mystical thinkers use these misrepresentations of science to paint over the gaps in our scientific understanding of the universe, belittling, in the process, science and its greatest heroes.

In their recent article in The Huffington Post, biologist Robert Lanza and mystic Deepak Chopra put forward their idea that the universe is itself a consciousnessproduct of our consciousness, and not the other way around as scientists have been telling us. In essence, these authors are re-inventing idealism, an ancient philosophical concept that fell out of favour with the advent of the scientific revolution. According to the idealists, the mind creates all of reality. Many ancient Eastern and Western philosophical schools subscribe to this idealistic notion of the nature of reality. In the modern context, idealism has been supplemented with a brand of quantum mysticism and relabeled as biocentrism. According to Chopra and Lanza, this idea makes Darwin’s theory of the biological evolution and diversification of life insignificant. Both these men, although they come from different backgrounds, have independently expressed these ideas before with some popular success. In the article under discussion their different styles converge to present a uniquely mystical and bizarre worldview, which we wish to debunk here.

2. Biocentrism Misinterprets Several Scientifically Testable Truths

The scientific background to the biocentrism idea is described in Robert Lanza’s book Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, in which Lanza proposes that biology and not physics is the key to understanding the universe. Vital to his proposal is the idea that the universe does not really exist unless it is being observed by a conscious observer. To support this idea, Lanza makes a series of claims:

(a) Lanza questions the conventional idea that space and time exist as objective properties of the universe. In doing this, he argues that space and time are products of human consciousness and do not exist outside of the observer. Indeed, Lanza concludes that everything we perceive is created by the act of perception.

The intent behind this argument is to help consolidate the view that subjective experience is all there is. However, if you dig into what Lanza says it becomes clear that he is positioning the relativistic nature of reality to make it seem incongruous with its objective existence. His reasoning relies on a subtle muddling of the concepts of subjectivity and objectivity. Take, for example, his argument here:

Consider the color and brightness of everything you see ‘out there.’ On its own, light doesn’t have any color or brightness at all. The unquestionable reality is that nothing remotely resembling what you see could be present without your consciousness. Consider the weather: We step outside and see a blue sky – but the cells in our brain could easily be changed so we ‘see’ red or green instead. We think it feels hot and humid, but to a tropical frog it would feel cold and dry. In any case, you get the point. This logic applies to virtually everything.

colorThere is only some partial truth to Lanza’s claims. Color is an experiential truth – that is, it is a descriptive phenomenon that lies outside of objective reality. No physicist will deny this. However, the physical properties of light that are responsible for color are characteristics of the natural universe. Therefore, the sensory experience of color is subjective, but the properties of light responsible for that sensory experience are objectively true. The mind does not create the natural phenomenon itself; it creates a subjective experience or a representation of the phenomenon.

Similarly, temperature perception may vary from species to species, since it is a subjective experience, but the property of matter that causes this subjective experience is objectively real; temperature is determined by the average kinetic energy of the molecules of matter, and there is nothing subjective about that. Give a thermometer to a human and to an ass: they would both record the same value for the temperature at a chosen spot of measurement.

The idea that ‘color’ is a fact of the natural universe has been described by G. E. Moore as a naturalistic fallacy. Also, the idea that color is created by an intelligent creator is a supernaturalistic fallacy. It can be said that the idea that color is created objectively in the universe by the subjective consciousness of the observer is an anthropic fallacy. The correct view is that ‘color’ is the subjective sensory perception by the observer of a certain property of the universe that the observer is a part of.

Time and space receive similar treatment as color and heat in Lanza’s biocentrism. Lanza reaches the conclusion that time does not exist outside the observer by conflating absolute time (which does not exist) with objective time (which does). In 2007 Lanza made his argument using an ancient mathematical riddle known as Zeno’s Arrow paradox. In essence, Zeno’s Arrow paradox involves motion in space-time. Lanza says:

“Even time itself is not exempted from biocentrism. Our sense of the forward motion of time is really the result of an infinite number of decisions that only seem to be a smooth continuous path. At each moment we are at the edge of a paradox known as The Arrow, first described 2,500 years ago by the philosopher Zeno of Elea. Starting logically with the premise that nothing can be in two places at once, he reasoned that an arrow is only in one place during any given instance of its flight. But if it is in only one place, it must be at rest. The arrow must then be at rest at every moment of its flight. Logically, motion is impossible. But is motion impossible? Or rather, is this analogy proof that the forward motion of time is not a feature of the external world but a projection of something within us? Time is not an absolute reality but an aspect of our consciousness.”

In a more recent article Lanza brings up the implications of special relativity on Zeno’s Arrow paradox. He writes:

“Consider a film of an archery tournament. An archer shoots an arrow and the camera follows its trajectory. Suddenly the projector stops on a single frame — you stare at the image of an arrow in mid-flight. The pause enables you to know the position of the arrow with great accuracy, but it’s going nowhere; its velocity is no longer known. This is the fuzziness described by in the uncertainty principle: sharpness in one parameter induces blurriness in the other. All of this makes perfect sense from a biocentric perspective. Everything we perceive is actively being reconstructed inside our heads. Time is simply the summation of the ‘frames’ occurring inside the mind. But change doesn’t mean there is an actual invisible matrix called “time” in which changes occur. That is just our own way of making sense of things.”

In the first case Lanza seems to state that motion is logically impossible (which is a pre-relativistic view of the paradox) and in the next case he mentions that uncertainty is present in the system (a post-relativistic model of motion). In both cases, however, Lanza’s conclusion is the same – biocentrism is true for time. No matter what the facts about the nature of time, Lanza concludes that time is not real. His model is unfalsifiable and therefore cannot be a part of science. What Lanza doesn’t let on is that Einstein’s special-relativity theory removes the possibility of absolute time, not of time itself. Zeno’s Arrow paradox is resolved by replacing the idea of absolute time with Einstein’s relativistic coupling of space and time. Space-time has an uncertainty in quantum mechanics, but it is not nonexistent. The idea of time as a series of sequential events that we perceive and put together in our heads is an experiential version of time. This is the way we have evolved to perceive time. This experiential version of time seems absolute, because we evolved to perceive it that way. However, in reality time is relative. This is a fundamental fact of modern physics. Time does exist outside of the observer, but allows us only a narrow perception of its true nature.

Space is the other property of the universe that Lanza attempts to describe as purely a product of consciousness. He says Wave your hand through the air. If you take everything away, what’s left? The answer is nothing. So why do we pretend space is a thing”. Again, Einstein’s theory of special relativity provides us with objective predictions that we can look for, such as the bending of space-time. Such events have been observed and verified multiple times. Space is a ‘thing’ as far as the objective universe is concerned.

Lanza says Space and time are simply the mind’s tools for putting everything together.” This is true , but there is a difference between being the spacetime‘mind’s tools’ and being created by the mind itself. In the first instance the conscious perception of space and time is an experiential trick that the mind uses to make sense of the objective universe, and in the other space and time are actual physical manifestations of the mind. The former is tested and true while the latter is an idealistic notion that is not supported by science. The experiential conception of space and time is different from objective space and time that comprise the universe. This difference is similar to how color is different from photon frequency. The former is subjective while the latter is objective.

Can Lanza deny all the evidence that, whereas we humans emerged on the scene very recently, our Earth and the solar system and the universe at large have been there all along? What about all the objective evidence that life forms have emerged and evolved to greater and greater complexity, resulting in the emergence of humans at a certain stage in the evolutionary history of the Earth? What about all the fossil evidence for how biological and other forms of complexity have been evolving? How can humans arrogate to themselves the power to create objective reality?

Much of Lanza’s idealism arises from a distrust/incomprehension of mathematics. He writes:

“In order to account for why space and time were relative to the observer, Einstein assigned tortuous mathematical properties to an invisible, intangible entity that cannot be seen or touched. This folly continues with the advent of quantum mechanics.”

Why should the laws of Nature ‘bother’ about whether you can touch something or not? The laws of Nature have been there long before Lanza appeared on the scene. Since he cannot visualize how the mathematics describes an objective universe outside of experience, Lanza announces that reality itself does not exist unless created by the act of observation. Some cheek!

(b) Lanza claims that without an external observer, objects remain in a quantum probabilistic state. He conflates this observer with consciousness (which he admits to being “subjective experience”). Therefore, he claims, without consciousness any possible universe will only exist as probabilities. The misunderstanding of quantum theory that Lanza is promoting is addressed further in the article in the section on quantum theory (Section 4.).

(c) The central argument from Lanza is a hard version of the anthropic principle. Lanza says:

“Why, for instance, are the laws of nature exactly balanced for life to exist? There are over 200 physical parameters within the solar system and universe so exact that it strains credulity to propose that they are random — even if that is exactly what contemporary physics baldly suggests. These fundamental constants (like the strength of gravity) are not predicted by any theory — all seem to be carefully chosen, often with great precision, to allow for existence of life. Tweak any of them and you never existed. “

This reveals a total lack of understanding of what the anthropic principle really says. So let us take a good, detailed, look at this principle.

3. The Planetary Anthropic Principle

And the beauty of the anthropic principle is that it tells us, against all intuition, that a chemical model need only predict that life will arise on one planet in a billion billion to give us a good and entirely satisfying explanation for the presence of life here.

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2007)

The anthropic principle was first enunciated by the mathematician Brandon Carter in 1974. Further elaboration and consolidation came in 1986 in the form of a book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle by Barrow and Tipler. There are quite a few versions of the principle doing the rounds. The scientifically acceptable version, also called the ‘weak’ (or planetary) version, states that: The particular universe in which we find ourselves possesses the characteristics necessary for our planet to exist and for life, including human life, to flourish here.

In particle physics and cosmology, we humans have had to introduce ‘best fit’ parameters (fundamental constants) to explain the universe as we see it. Slightly different values for some of the critical parameters would have led to entirely different histories of the cosmos. Why do these parameters have the values they have? According to a differently worded form of the weak version of the anthropic principle stated above: the parameters and the laws of physics can be taken as fixed; it is simply that we humans have appeared in the universe to ask such questions at a time when the conditions were just right for our life.

This version suffices to explain quite a few ‘coincidences’ related to the fact that the conditions for our evolution and existence on the planet Earth happen to be ‘just right’ for that purpose. Life as we know it exists only on planet Earth. Here is a list of favourable necessary conditions for its existence, courtesy Dawkins (2007):

  • Availability of liquid water is one of the preconditions for our kind of life. Around a typical star like our Sun, there is an optimum zone (popularly called the ‘Goldilocks zone’), neither so hot that water would evaporate, nor so cold that water would freeze, such that planets orbiting in that zone can sustain liquid water. Our Earth is one such planet.
  • This optimum orbital zone should be circular or nearly circular. Once again, our Earth fulfils that requirement. A highly elliptical orbit would take the planet sometimes too close to the Sun, and sometimes too far, during its cycle. That would result in periods when water either evaporates or freezes. Life needs liquid water all the time.
  • The location of the planet Jupiter in our Solar system is such that it acts like a ‘massive gravitational vacuum cleaner,’ intercepting asteroids that would have been otherwise lethal to our survival.
  • Planet Earth has a single relatively large Moon, which serves to stabilize its axis of rotation.
  • Our Sun is not a binary star. Binary stars can have planets, but their orbits can get messed up in all sorts of ways, entailing unstable or varying conditions, inimical for life to evolve and survive.

Most of the planets of stars in our universe are not in the Goldilocks zones of their parent stars. This is understandable because, as the above list of favorable conditions shows, the probability for this to happen must be very low indeed. But howsoever low this probability is, it is not zero: The proof is that life does indeed exist on Earth.

What we have listed above are just some necessary conditions. They are by no means sufficient conditions as well. With all the above conditions available on Earth, another highly improbable set of phenomena occurred, namely the actual origin of life. This origin was a set of highly improbable (but not impossible) set of chemical events, leading to the emergence of a mechanism for heredity. This mechanism came in the form of emergence of some kind of genetic molecules like RNA. This was a highly improbable thing to happen, but our existence implies that such an event, or a sequence of events, did indeed take place. Once life had originated, Darwinian evolution of complexity through natural selection (which is not a highly improbable set of events) did the rest and here we are, discussing such questions.

Like the origin of life, another extremely improbable event (or a set of events) was the emergence of the sophisticated eukaryotic cell (on which the life of we humans is based). We invoke the anthropic principle again to say that, no matter how improbable such an event was statistically, it did indeed happen; otherwise we humans would not be here. The occurrence of all such one-off highly improbable events can be explained by the anthropic principle.

Before we discuss the cosmological or ‘strong’ version of the anthropic principle, it is helpful to recapitulate the basics of quantum theory.

4. Quantum Theory

In conventional quantum mechanics we use wave functions, ψ, to represent quantum states. The wave function plays a role somewhat similar to that of trajectories in classical mechanics. The Schrödinger equation describes how the wave function of a quantum system evolves with time. This equation predicts a smooth and deterministic time-evolution of the wave function, with no discontinuities or randomness. Just as trajectories in classical mechanics describe the evolution of a system in phase space from one time step to the next, the Schrödinger equation transforms the wave function at time t0 (corresponding to a specific point in phase space) to its value ψ(t) at another time t. The physical interpretation of the wave function is that |ψ|2is the probability of occurrence of the state of the system at a given point in phase space.

An elementary particle can exist as a superposition of two or more alternative quantum states. Suppose its energy can take two values, E1 and E2.decoherence Let u1 and u2 denote the corresponding wave functions. The quantum interpretation is that the system exists in both the states, with u12and u22 as the respective probabilities. Thus we move from a pure state to a mixture or ensemble of states. What is more, something striking happens when we humans observe such a system, say an electron, with an instrument. At the moment of observation, the wave function appears to collapse into only one of the possible alternative states, the superposition of which was described by the wave function before the event of measurement. That is, a quantum state becomes decoherent when measured or monitored by the environment. This amounts to the introduction of a discontinuity in the smooth evolution of the wave function with time.

This apparent collapse of the wave function does not follow from the mathematics of the Schrödinger equation, and was, in the early stages of the history of quantum mechanics, introduced ‘by hand’ as an additional postulate. That is, one chose to introduce the interpretation that there is a collapse of the wave function to the state actually detected by the measurement in the ‘real’ world, to the exclusion of other states represented in the original wave function. This (unsatisfactory) dualistic interpretation of quantum mechanics for dealing with the measurement problem was suggested by Bohr and Heisenberg at a conference in Copenhagen in 1927, and is known as the Copenhagen interpretation.

Another basic notion in standard quantum mechanics is that of time asymmetry. In classical mechanics we make the reasonable-looking assumption that, once we have formulated the Newtonian (or equivalent) equations of motion for a system, the future states are determined by the initial conditions. In fact, we can not only calculate the future conditions from the initial conditions, we can even calculate the initial conditions if the future conditions or states are known. This is time symmetry. In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle destroys the time symmetry. There can be now a one-to-many relationship between initial and final conditions. Two identical particles, in identical initial conditions, need not be observed to be in the same final conditions at a later time.

Multiple universes

Hugh Everett, during the mid-1950s, expressed total dissatisfaction with the Copenhagen interpretation: ‘The Copenhagen Interpretation is hopelessly incomplete because of its a priori reliance on classical physics … as well as a philosophic monstrosity with a “reality” concept for the macroscopic world and denial of the same for the microcosm.’ The Copenhagen interpretation implied that equations of quantum mechanics apply only to the microscopic world, and cease to be relevant in the macroscopic or ‘real’ world.

Everett offered a new interpretation, which presaged the modern ideas of quantum decoherence. Everett’s ‘many worlds’ interpretation of quantum mechanics is now taken more seriously, although not entirely in its original form. He simply let the mathematics of the quantum theory show the way for understanding logically the interface between the microscopic world and the macroscopic world. He made the observer an integral part of the system being observed, and introduced a universal wave function that applies comprehensively to the totality of the system being observed and the observer. This means that even macroscopic objects exist as quantum superpositions of all allowed quantum states. There is thus no need for the discontinuity of a wave-function collapse when a measurement is made on the microscopic quantum system in a macroscopic world.

Many worlds

Wave function bifurcation

Everett examined the question: What would things be like if no contributing quantum states to a superposition of states are banished artificially after seeing the results of an observation? He proved that the wave function of the observer would then bifurcate at each interaction of the observer with the system being observed. Suppose an electron can have two possible quantum states A and B, and its wave function is a linear superposition of these two. The evolution of the composite or universal wave function describing the electron and the observer would then contain two branches corresponding to each of the states A and B. Each branch has a copy of the observer, one which sees state A as a result of the measurement, and the other which sees state B. In accordance with the all-important principle of linear superposition in quantum mechanics, the branches do not influence each other, and each embarks on a different future (or a different ‘universe’), independent of the other. The copy of the observer in each universe is oblivious to the existence of other copies of itself and other universes, although the ‘full reality’ is that each possibility has actually happened. This reasoning can be made more abstract and general by removing the distinction between the observer and the observed, and stating that, at each interaction among the components of the composite system, the total or universal wave function would bifurcate as described above, giving rise to multiple universes or many worlds.

A modern and somewhat different version of this interpretation of quantum mechanics introduces the term quantum decoherence to rationalise how the branches become independent, and how each turns out to represent our classical or macroscopic reality. Quantum computing is now a reality, and it is based on such understanding of quantum mechanics.

Parallel histories

Richard Feynman formulated a different version of the many-worlds idea, and spoke in terms of multiple or parallel histories of the universe (rather than multiple worlds or universes). This work, done after World War II, fetched him the Nobel Prize in 1965. Feynman, whose path integrals are well known in quantum mechanics, suggested that, when a particle goes from a point P to a point Q in phase space, it does not have just a single unique trajectory or history. [It should be noted that, although we normally associate the word 'history' only with past events, history in the present context can refer to both the past and the future. A history is merely a narrative of a time sequence of event - past, present, or future.] Feynman proposed that every possible path or trajectory from P to Q in space-time is a candidate history, with an associated probability. The wave function for every such trajectory has an amplitude and a phase. The path integral for going from P to Q is obtained as the weighted vector sum, or integration over all such individual paths or histories. Feynman’s rules for assigning the amplitudes and phases for computing the sum over histories happen to be such that the effects of all except the one actually measured for a macroscopic object get cancelled out. For sub-microscopic particles, of course, the cancellation is far from complete, and there are indeed competing histories or parallel universes.

Quantum Darwinism

A different resolution to the problem of interfacing the microscopic quantum description of reality with macroscopic classical reality is offered by what has been called ‘quantum Darwinism.’ This formalism does not require the existence of an observer as a witness of what occurs in the universe. Instead, the environment is the witness. A selective witness at that, rather like natural selection in Darwin’s theory of evolution. The environment determines which quantum properties are the fittest to survive (and be observed, for example, by humans). Many copies of the fitter quantum property get created in the entire environment (‘redundancy’). When humans make a measurement, there is a much greater chance that they would all observe and measure the fittest solution of the Schrödinger equation, to the exclusion (or near exclusion) of other possible outcomes of the measurement experiment.

In a computer experiment, Blume-Kohout and Zurek (2007) demonstrated quantum Darwinism (http://www.arxiv.org/abs/0704.3615) in zero-temperature quantum Brownian motion (QBM). A harmonic oscillator system (S) is made to evolve in contact with a bath (ε) of harmonic oscillators. The question asked is: How much information about S can an observer extract from the bath ε? ε consists of subenvironments εi; i = 1, 2, 3, … Each observer has exclusive access to a fragment F consisting of m subenvironments. The so-called ‘mutual information entropy’ is calculated from the quantum mutual information between S and F.

An important result of this approach is that substantial redundancy appears in the QBM model; i.e., multiple redundant records get made in the environment. As the authors state, this redundancy accounts for the objectivity and the classicality; the environment is a witness, holding many copies of the evidence. When humans make a measurement, it is most likely that they would all interact with one of the stable recorded copies, rather than directly with the actual quantum system, and thus observe and measure the classical value, to the exclusion of other possible outcomes of the measurement experiments.

Gell-Mann’s coarse-graining interpretation of quantum mechanics

For this interpretation, let us first understand the difference between fine-grained and coarse-grained histories of the universe. Completely

Murray Gel-Mann

Murray Gel-Mann

fine-grained histories of the universe are histories that give as complete a description as possible of the entire universe at every moment of time. Consider a simplified universe in which elementary particles have no attributes other than positions and momenta, and in which the indistinguishability among particles of a given type is ignored. Then, one kind of fine-grained history of the simplified universe would be one in which the positions of all the particles are known at all times. Unlike classical mechanics which is deterministic, quantum mechanics is probabilistic. One might think that we can write down the probability for each possible fine-grained history. But this is not so. It turns out that the ‘interference’ terms between fine-grained histories do not usually cancel out, and we cannot assign probabilities to the fine-grained histories. One has to resort to coarse-graining to be able to assign probabilities to the histories. Murray Gell-Mann and coworkers applied this approach to a description of the quantum-mechanical histories of the universe. It was shown that the interference terms get cancelled out on coarse-graining. Thus we can work directly with wave functions, rather than having to work with wave-function amplitudes, and then there is no problem interfacing the microscopic description with the macroscopic world of measurements etc.

Gell-Mann also emphasized the point that the term ‘many worlds or universes’ should be substituted by ‘many alternative histories of the universe’, with the further proviso that the many histories are not ‘equally real'; rather they have different probabilities of occurrence.

5. The Cosmological Anthropic Principle

Some quantum cosmologists like to talk about a so-called anthropic principle that requires conditions in the universe to be compatible with the existence of human beings. A weak form of the principle states merely that the particular branch history on which we find ourselves possesses the characteristics necessary for our planet to exist and for life, including human life, to flourish here. In that form, the anthropic principle is obvious. In its strongest form, however, such a principle will supposedly apply to the dynamics of the elementary particles and the initial conditions of the universe, somehow shaping those fundamental laws so as to produce human beings. That idea seems to me so ridiculous as to merit no further discussion.

Murray Gell-Mann, The Quark and the Jaguar

Much confusion and uncalled-for debate has been engendered by the (scientifically unsound) ‘strong’ or cosmological version of the anthropic principle, which is sometimes stated as follows: Since the universe is compatible with the existence of human beings, the dynamics of the elementary particles and the initial conditions of the universe must have been such that they shaped the fundamental laws so as to produce human beings. This is clearly untenable. There are no grounds for the existence of a ‘principle’ like this. A scientifically untenable principle is no principle at all. No wonder, the Nobel laureate Gell-Mann, as quoted above, described it as ‘so ridiculous as to merit no further discussion.’

The chemical elements needed for life were forged in stars, and then flung far into space through supernova explosions. This required a certain amount of time. Therefore the universe cannot be younger than the lifetime of stars. The universe cannot be too old either, because then all the stars would be ‘dead’. Thus, life can exist only when the universe has just the age that we humans measure it to be, and has just the physical constants that we measure them to be.

It has been calculated that if the laws and fundamental constants of our universe had been even slightly different from what they are, life as we know it would not have been possible. Rees (1999), in the book Just Six Numbers, listed six fundamental constants which together determine the universe as we see it. Their fine-tuned mutual values are such that even a slightly different set of these six numbers would have been inimical to our emergence and existence. Consideration of just one of these constants, namely the strength of the strong interaction (which determines the binding energies of nuclei), is enough to make the point. It is defined as that fraction of the mass of an atom of hydrogen which is released as energy when hydrogen atoms fuse to form an atom of helium. Its value is 0.007, which is just right (give or take a small acceptable range) for any known chemistry to exist, and no chemistry means no life. Our chemistry is based on reactions among the 90-odd elements. Hydrogen is the simplest among them, and the first to occur in the periodic table. All the other elements in our universe got synthesised by fusion of hydrogen atoms. This nuclear fusion depends on the strength of the strong or nuclear interaction, and also on the ability of a system to overcome the intense Coulomb repulsion between the fusing nuclei. The creation of intense temperatures is one way of overcoming the Coulomb repulsion. A small star like our Sun has a temperature high enough for the production of only helium from hydrogen. The other elements in the periodic table must have been made in the much hotter interiors of stars larger than our Sun. These big stars may explode as supernovas, sending their contents as stellar dust clouds, which eventually condense, creating new stars and planets, including our own Earth. That is how our Earth came to have the 90-odd elements so crucial to the chemistry of our life. The value 0.007 for the strong interaction determined the upper limit on the mass number of the elements we have here on Earth and elsewhere in our universe. A value of, say, 0.006, would mean that the universe would contain nothing but hydrogen, making impossible any chemistry whatsoever. And if it were too large, say 0.008, all the hydrogen would have disappeared by fusing into heavier elements. No hydrogen would mean no life as we know it; in particular there would be no water without hydrogen.

Similarly for the other finely-tuned fundamental constants of our universe. Existence of humans has become possible because the values of the fundamental constants are what they are; had they been different, we would not exist; that is how the anthropic principle (planetary or cosmological, weak or strong) should be stated. The weak version is the only valid version of the principle.

But why does the universe have these values for the fundamental constants, and not some other set of values? Different physicists and cosmologists have tried to answer this question in different ways, and the investigations go on. One possibility is that there are multiple universes, and we are in one just right for our existence. Another idea is based on string theory.

6. String Theory and the Anthropic Principle

A ‘string’ is a fundamental 1-dimensional object, postulated to replace the concept of structureless elementary particles. Different vibrational modes of a string give rise to the various elementary particles (including the graviton). String theory aims to unite quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity, and is thus expected to be a unified ‘theory of everything.’ When this theory makes sufficient headway, the six fundamental constants identified by Rees will turn out to be inter-related, and not free to have any arbitrary values. But this still begs the question asked above: Why this particular set of fundamental constants, and not another? Hawking (1988) asked an even deeper question: ‘Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?’

Our universe is believed to have started at the big bang, shown by Hawking and Penrose in the 1970s to be a singularity point is space-time (some physicists disagree with the singularity idea). The evidence for this seems to be that the universe has been expanding (‘inflating’) ever since then. It so happens that we have no knowledge of the set of initial boundary conditions at the moment of the big bang. Moreover, as Hawking and Hertog said in 2006, things could be a little simpler ‘if one knew that the universe was set going in a particular way in either the finite or infinite past.’ Therefore Hawking and coworkers argued that it is not possible to adopt the bottom up approach to cosmology wherein one starts at the beginning of time, applies the laws of physics, calculates how the universe would evolve with time, and then just hopes that it would turn out to be something like the universe we live in. Consequently a top down approach has been advocated by them (remember, this is just a model), wherein we start with the present and work our way backwards into the past. According to Hawking and Hertog (2006), there are many possible histories (corresponding to successive unpredictable bifurcations in phase space), and the universe has lived them all. Not only that, there is also an anthropic angle to this scenario:

As mentioned above, Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose had proved that the moment of the big bang was a singularity, i.e. a point where gravity must have been so strong as to curve space and time in an unimaginably strong way. Under such extreme conditions our present formulation of general relativity would be inadequate. A proper quantum theory of gravity is still an elusive proposition. But, as suggested by Hawking and Hertog in 2006, because of the small size of the universe at and just after the big bang, quantum effects must have been very important. The origin of the universe must have been a quantum event. This statement has several weird-looking consequences. The basic idea is to incorporate the consequences of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle when considering the evolution of the (very small) early universe, and combine it with Feynman’s sum-over-histories approach. This means that, starting from configuration A, the early universe could go not only to B, but also to other configurations B’, B”, etc. (as permitted by the quantum-mechanical uncertainty principle), and one has to do a sum-over-histories for each of the possibilities AB, AB’, AB”, … And each such branch corresponds to a different evolution of the universe (with different cosmological and other fundamental constants), only one or a few of them corresponding to a universe in which we humans could evolve and survive. This provides a satisfactory answer to the question: ‘why does the universe have these values for the fundamental constants, and not some other set of values?’.

The statement ‘humans exist in a universe in which their existence is possible’ is practically a tautology. How can humans exist in a universe which has values of fundamental constants which are not compatible with their existence?! Stop joking, Dr. Lanza.

The other possible universes (or histories) also exist, each with a specific probability. Our observations of the world are determining the history that we see. The fact that we are there and making observations assigns to ourselves a particular history.

Let A denote the beginning of time (if there is any), and B denote now. The state of the universe at point B can be broadly specified by recognizing the important aspects of the world around us: There are three large dimensions in space, the geometry of space is almost flat, the universe is expanding, etc. The problem is that we have no way of specifying point A. So how do we perform the various sums over histories? An interesting point of the quantum mechanical sums-over-histories theory is that the answers come out right when we work with imaginary (or complex) time, rather than real time. The work of Hawking and Hertog (2006) has shown that the imaginary-time approach is crucial for understanding the origin of the universe. When the histories of the universe are added up in imaginary time, time gets transformed into space. It follows from this work that when the universe was very small, it had four spatial dimensions, and none for time. In terms of the history of the universe, it means that there is no point A, and that the universe has no definable starting point or initial boundary conditions. In this no-boundary scheme of things, we can only start from point B and work our way backwards (the top-down approach).

This approach also solves the fine-tuning problem of cosmology. Why has the universe a particular inflation history? Why does the cosmological constant (which determines the rate of inflation) have the value it has? Why did the early universe have a particular ‘fine-tuned’ initial configuration and a specific (fast) initial rate of inflation? In the no-boundary scenario there is no need to define an initial state. And there is no need for any fine tuning. What is more, the very fact of inflation, as against no inflation, follows from the theory as the most probable scenario.

Artistic Rendition of the Multiverse. Source: Nature

Artistic Rendition of the Multiverse. Source: Nature

String theory defines a near-infinity of multiple universes. This goes well with the anthropic-principle idea that, out of the multiple choices for the fundamental constants (including the cosmological constant) for each such universe, we live in the universe that makes our existence possible. In the language of string theory, there are multiple ‘pocket’ universes that branch off from one another, each branch having a different set of fundamental constants. Naturally, we are living in one with just the right fundamental constants for our existence.

While many physicists feel uncomfortable with this unconfirmed world view, Hawking and Hertog (2006) have pointed out that the picture of a never-ending proliferation of pocket universes is meaningful only from the point of view of an observer outside a universe, and that situation (observer outside a universe) is impossible. This means that parallel pocket universes can have no effect on an actual observer inside a particular pocket.

Hawking’s work has several other implications as well. For example, in his scheme of things the string theory ‘landscape’ is populated by the set of all possible histories. All possible versions of a universe exist in a state of quantum superposition. When we humans choose to make a measurement, a subset of histories that share the specific property measured gets selected. Our version of the history of the universe is determined by that subset of histories. No wonder the cosmological anthropic principle holds. How can any rational person use the anthropic principle to justify biocentrism?

Hawking and Hertog’s theory can be tested by experiment, although that is not going to be easy. Its invocation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle during the early moments of the universe, and the consequent quantum fluctuations, leads to a prediction of specific fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, and in the early spectrum of gravitational waves. These predicted fluctuations arise because there is an uncertainty in the exact shape of the early universe, which is influenced, among other things, by other histories with similar geometries. Unprecedented precision will be required for testing these predictions. In any case, gravitation waves have not even been detected yet.

In any case, good scientists are having a serious debate about the correct interpretation of the data available about life and the universe. While this goes on, non-scientists and charlatans cannot be permitted to twist facts to satisfy the hunger of humans for the feel-good or feel-important factor. The scientific method is such that scientists feel good when they are doing good science.

7. Wolfram’s Universe

Stephen Wolfram has emphasized the role of computational irreducibility when it comes to trying to understand our universe. The notion of probability (as opposed to certainty) is inherent in our worldview if quantum theory is a valid theory. Wolfram argues that this may not be a correct worldview. He does not rule out the possibility that there really is just a single, definite, rule for our universe which, in a sense, deterministically specifies how everything in our universe happens. Things only look probabilistic because of the high degree of complexity involved, particularly regarding the very structure and connectivity of space and time. It is computational irreducibility that sometimes makes certain things look incomprehensible or probabilistic, rather than deterministic. Since we are restricted to doing the computational work within the universe, we cannot expect to ‘outrun’ the universe, and derive knowledge any faster than just by watching what the universe actually does.

Wolfram points out that there is relief from this tyranny of computational irreducibility only in the patches or islands of computational reducibility. It is in those patches that essentially all of our current physics lies. In natural science we usually have to be content with making models that are approximations. Of course, we have to try to make sure that we have managed to capture all the features that are essential for some particular purpose. But when it comes to finding an ultimate model for the universe, we must find a precise and exact representation of the universe, with no approximations. This would amount to reducing all physics to mathematics. But even if we could do that and know the ultimate rule, we are still going to be confronted with the problem of computational irreducibility. So, at some level, to know what will happen, we just have to watch and see history unfold.

8. The Nature of Consciousness

One criticism of biocentrism comes from the philosopher Daniel Dennett, who says “It looks like an opposite of a theory, because he doesn’t explain how consciousness happens at all. He’s stopping where the fun begins.”

The logic behind this criticism is obvious. Without a descriptive explanation for consciousness and how it ‘creates’ the universe, biocentrism is not useful. In essence, Lanza calls for the abandonment of modern theoretical physics and its replacement with a magical solution. Here are a few questions that one might ask of the idea:

  1. What is this consciousness?
  2. Why does this consciousness exist?
  3. What is the nature of the interaction between this consciousness and the universe?
  4. Is the problem of infinite regression applicable to consciousness itself?
  5. Even if Lanza’s interpretation of the anthropic principle is a valid argument against modern theoretical physics, does the biocentric model of consciousness create a bigger ontological problem than the one it attempts to solve?

Consider this statement by Lanza:

Consciousness cannot exist without a living, biological creature to embody its perceptive powers of creation.

How can consciousness create the universe if it doesn’t exist? How can the “living, biological creature” exist if the universe has not been created yet? It becomes apparent that Lanza is muddling the meaning of the word ‘consciousness.’ In one sense he equates it to subjective experience that is tied to a physical brain. In another, he assigns to consciousness a spatio-temporal logic that exists outside of physical manifestation. In this case, the above questions become: 1. What is this spatio-temporal logic?; 2. Why does this spatio-temporal logic exist? and so on…

Daniel Dennett’s criticism of biocentrism centres on Lanza’s non-explanation of the nature of consciousness. In fact, even from a biological

The Cartesian Theater

The Cartesian Theater

perspective Lanza’s conception of consciousness is unclear. For example, he consistently equates consciousness with subjective experience while stressing its independence from the objective universe (see Lanza’s quote below). This is an appeal to the widespread but erroneous intuition towards Cartesian Dualism. In this view, consciousness (subjective experience) belongs to a different plane of reality than the one on which the material universe is constructed. Lanza requires this general definition of consciousness to construct his theory of biocentrism. He uses it in the same way that Descartes used it – as a semantic tool to deconstruct reality. In fact, Lanza’s theory of biocentrism is a sophisticated non-explanation for the ‘brain in a vat’ problem that plagued philosophers for centuries. However, instead of subscribing to Cartesian Dualism, he attempts a Cartesian Monism by invoking quantum mechanics. To be exact, his view is Monistic Idealism - the idea that consciousness is everything- but the Cartesian bias is an essential element in his arguments.

In a dualistic or idealistic context, Lanza’s definition of consciousness as subjective experience may be acceptable. However, Lanza’s definition is incomplete from a scientific perspective. The truth is that there are difficulties in analysing consciousness empirically. In scientific terms, consciousness is a ‘hard problem’, meaning that its complete subjective nature places it beyond direct objective study. Lanza exploits this difficulty to deny science any understanding of consciousness.

Lanza trivializes the current debate in the scientific community about the nature of consciousness when he says:

“Neuroscientists have developed theories that might help to explain how separate pieces of information are integrated in the brain and thus succeed in elucidating how different attributes of a single perceived object-such as the shape, colour, and smell of a flower-are merged into a coherent whole. These theories reflect some of the important work that is occurring in the fields of neuroscience and psychology, but they are theories of structure and function. They tell us nothing about how the performance of these functions is accompanied by a conscious experience; and yet the difficulty in understanding consciousness lies precisely here, in this gap in our understanding of how a subjective experience emerges from a physical process.”

This criticism of the lack of a scientific consensus on the nature of consciousness is empty, considering that Lanza himself proposes no actual mechanism for consciousness, but still places it at the centre of his theory of the universe.

There is no need to view consciousness as such a mystery. There are some contemporary models of consciousness that are quite explanatory, presenting promising avenues for studying how the brain works. Daniel Dennett’s Multiple Drafts Model is one. According to Dennett, there is nothing mystical about consciousness. It is an illusion created by tricks in the brain. The biological machinery behind the tricks that create the illusion of consciousness is the product of successive evolutionary processes, beginning with the development of primitive physiological reactions to external stimuli. In the context of modern humans, consciousness consists of a highly dynamic process of information exchange in the brain. Multiple sets of sensory information, memories and emotional cues are competing with each other at all times in the brain, but at any one instant only one set of these factors dominates the brain. At the next instant, another set of slightly different factors are dominant. At all instants, multiple sets of information are competing with each other for dominance. This creates the illusion of a continuous stream of thoughts and experiences, leading to the intuition that consciousness comprises the entirety of the voluntary mental function of the individual. There are other materialist models, such as Marvin Minsky’s view of the brain as an emotional machine, that provide us with ways of approaching the problem from a scientific perspective without resorting to mysticism.

Consciousness is not something that requires a restructuring of objective reality. It is a subjective illusion on one level, and the mechanistic outcome of evolutionary processes on another.

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.”

Albert Einstein

9. Deepak Chopra Finds an Ally for Hijacking and Distorting Scientific Truths

Deepak Chopra, Lanza’s coauthor in the article, is known for making bold claims about the nature of the universe. He peddles a form of new-age Hinduism. Chopra’s ideas about a conscious universe are derived from an interpretation of Vedic teachings. He supplements this new-age Hinduism with ideas from a minority view among physicists that the Copenhagen Interpretation implies a conscious universe. This view is expounded by Amit Goswamiin his book The Self-Aware Universe. In turn, Goswami and his peers were influenced by Fritjof Capra’s book The Tao of Physics in which the author attempts to reconcile reductionist science with Eastern mystical philosophies. Much of modern quantum mysticism in the popular culture can be traced back to Capra. Chopra’s philosophy is essentially a distillation of Capra’s work combined with a popular marketing strategy to sell all kinds of pseudoscientific garbage.

Considering Chopra’s reputation in the scientific community for making absurd quack claims about every subject under the sun, one must wonder about the strange pairing between the two writers. With Lanza’s experience in biomedical research, he could not possibly be in agreement with Chopra’s brand of holistic healing and quantum mysticism. Rather, it seems likely that this is an arrangement of convenience. If you look at what drives the two men, a mutually reinforced disenchantment with Darwin’s ideas emerges as a strong motive behind the pairing. Both Chopra and Lanza are disillusioned with a certain perceived implication of Darwinian evolution on human existence – that the meaning of life is inconsequential to the universe. Evolutionary biology upholds the materialist view of modern science that consciousness is a product of purely inanimate matter assembling in highly complex states. Such a view is disillusioning to anyone who craves a more central role for the human ego in determining one’s reality. The view that human life is central to existence is found in most philosophical and religious traditions. This view is so fundamental to our nature that we can say it is an intuitive reaction to the very condition of being conscious. It has traditionally been the powerful driving force behind philosophers, poets, priests, mystics and scholars of history. Darwin dismantled the idea in one clean stroke. Therefore, Darwin became the enemy. The entire theory of biocentrism is an attempt to ingrain the idea of human destiny into popular science.

The title of Chopra and Lanza’s article is “Evolution Reigns, but Darwin Outmoded”. This may mislead you to think that the article is about new discoveries in biological evolution. On reading the article, however, it becomes apparent that the authors are not talking about biological evolution at all. It is relevant to note that not once in their article do they say how Darwin has been outmoded.

Towards the end of their article, Chopra and Lanza say:

“Darwin’s theory of evolution is an enormous over-simplification. It’s helpful if you want to connect the dots and understand the interrelatedness of life on the planet — and it’s simple enough to teach to children between recess and lunch. But it fails to capture the driving force and what’s really going on.”

There is irony in dismissing the most brilliant and explanatory scientific theory in all of biology as an ‘over-simplification’, by over-simplifying it as a way to “connect the dots and understand the interrelatedness of life on the planet”. Contrast this with what Richard Dawkins said: “In 1859, Charles Darwin announced one of the greatest ideas ever to occur to a human mind: cumulative evolution by natural selection.” The irony of Chopra and Lanza’s statement is compounded by the fact that biocentrism does not address biological evolution at all! The authors are simply interested in belittling the uncomfortable implications of evolutionary theory, while not actually saying anything about the theory itself! We can safely assume that Lanza and Chopra are more concerned with the implications of Darwinian evolution on the nature of the human ego, and not on the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Interestingly, Chopra has demonstrated his dislike and ignorance of biological evolution multiple times. Here are some prize quotations from the woo-master himself (skip these if you feel an aneurysm coming):

“To say the DNA happened randomly is like saying that a hurricane could blow through a junk yard and produce a jet plane. “

“How does nature take creative leaps? In the fossil record there are repeated gaps that no “missing link” can fill. The most glaring is the leap by which inorganic molecules turned into DNA. For billions of years after the Big Bang, no other molecule replicated itself. No other molecule was remotely as complicated. No other molecule has the capacity to string billions of pieces of information that remain self-sustaining despite countless transformations into all the life forms that DNA has produced. “

“If mutations are random, why does the fossil record demonstrate so many positive mutations–those that lead to new species–and so few negative ones? Random chance should produce useless mutations thousands of times more often than positive ones. “

“Evolutionary biology is stuck with regard to simultaneous mutations. One kind of primordial skin cell, for example, mutated into scales, fur, and feathers. These are hugely different adaptations, and each is tremendously complex. How could one kind of cell take three different routs purely at random? “

“If design doesn’t imply intelligence, why are we so intelligent? The human body is composed of cells that evolved from one-celled blue-green algae, yet that algae is still around. Why did DNA pursue the path of greater and greater intelligence when it could have perfectly survived in one-celled plants and animals, as in fact it did? “

“Why do forms replicate themselves without apparent need? The helix or spiral shape found in the shell of the chambered nautilus, the centre of sunflowers, spiral galaxies, and DNA itself seems to be such a replication. It is mathematically elegant and appears to be a design that was suited for hundreds of totally unrelated functions in nature. “

“What happens when simple molecules come into contact with life? Oxygen is a simple molecule in the atmosphere, but once it enters our lungs, it becomes part of the cellular machinery, and far from wandering about randomly, it precisely joins itself with other simple molecules, and together they perform cellular tasks, such as protein-building, whose precision is millions of times greater than anything else seen in nature. If the oxygen doesn’t change physically–and it doesn’t–what invisible change causes it to acquire intelligence the instant it contacts life? “

“How can whole systems appear all at once? The leap from reptile to bird is proven by the fossil record. Yet this apparent step in evolution has many simultaneous parts. It would seem that Nature, to our embarrassment, simply struck upon a good idea, not a simple mutation. If you look at how a bird is constructed, with hollow bones, toes elongated into wing bones, feet adapted to clutching branches instead of running, etc., none of the mutations by themselves give an advantage to survival, but taken altogether, they are a brilliant creative leap. Nature takes such leaps all the time, and our attempt to reduce them to bits of a jigsaw puzzle that just happened to fall into place to form a beautifully designed picture seems faulty on the face of it. Why do we insist that we are allowed to have brilliant ideas while Nature isn’t? “

“Darwin’s iron law was that evolution is linked to survival, but it was long ago pointed out that “survival of the fittest” is a tautology. Some mutations survive, and therefore we call them fittest. Yet there is no obvious reason why the dodo, kiwi, and other flightless birds are more fit; they just survived for a while. DNA itself isn’t fit at all; unlike a molecule of iron or hydrogen, DNA will blow away into dust if left outside on a sunny day or if attacked by pathogens, x-rays, solar radiation, and mutations like cancer. The key to survival is more than fighting to see which organism is fittest. “

“Competition itself is suspect, for we see just as many examples in Nature of cooperation. Bees cooperate, obviously, to the point that when a honey bee stings an enemy, it acts to save the whole hive. At the moment of stinging, a honeybee dies. In what way is this a survival mechanism, given that the bee doesn’t survive at all? For that matter, since a mutation can only survive by breeding–“survival” is basically a simplified term for passing along gene mutations from one generation to the next-how did bees develop drones in the hive, that is, bees who cannot and never do have sex? “

“How did symbiotic cooperation develop? Certain flowers, for example, require exactly one kind of insect to pollinate them. A flower might have a very deep calyx, or throat, for example than only an insect with a tremendously long tongue can reach. Both these adaptations are very complex, and they serve no outside use. Nature was getting along very well without this symbiosis, as evident in the thousands of flowers and insects that persist without it. So how did numerous generations pass this symbiosis along if it is so specialized? “

“Finally, why are life forms beautiful? Beauty is everywhere in Nature, yet it serves no obvious purpose. Once a bird of paradise has evolved its incredibly gorgeous plumage, we can say that it is useful to attract mates. But doesn’t it also attract predators, for we simultaneously say that camouflaged creatures like the chameleon survive by not being conspicuous. In other words, exact opposites are rationalized by the same logic. This is no logic at all. Non-beautiful creatures have survived for millions of years, so have gorgeous ones. The notion that this is random seems weak on the face of it. “

Now comes the kicker. All these quotes that demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of biology, let alone the theory of evolution by natural selection, are from one single article as compiled by P. Z. Myers in his blog post in 2005. Since then, Chopra has continued to spout his ignorance of evolution over and over.

Chopra’s brand of mysticism gets its claimed legitimacy from science and its virulence from discrediting science’s core principles. He continues this practice through his association with Robert Lanza. Both Chopra and Lanza seem to be disillusioned by the perceived emptiness of a non-directional evolutionary reality. Chopra has invested much time and effort in promoting the idea that consciousness in a property of the universe itself. He finds in Lanza a keen mind with an inclination towards a similar dislike for a perceived lack of anthropocentric meaning in the nature of biological life as described by Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.

10. Conclusions

Let us recapitulate the main points:

(a) Space and time exist, even though they are relative and not absolute.

(b) Modern quantum theory, long after the now-discredited Copenhagen interpretation, is consistent with the idea of an objective universe that exists without a conscious observer.

(c) Lanza and Chopra misunderstand and misuse the anthropic principle.

(d) The biocentrism approach does not provide any new information about the nature of consciousness, and relies on ignoring recent advances in understanding consciousness from a scientific perspective.

(e) Both authors show thinly-veiled disdain for Darwin, while not actually addressing his science in the article. Chopra has demonstrated his utter ignorance of evolution multiple times.

Modern physics is a vast and multi-layered web that stretches over the entire deck of cards. All other natural sciences – all truths that exist in the material world- are interrelated, held together by the mathematical reality of physics. Fundamental theories in physics are supported by multiple lines of evidence from many different scientific disciplines, developed and tested over decades. Clearly, those who propose new theories that purport to redefine fundamental assumptions or paradigms in physics have their work cut out for them. Our contention is that the theory of biocentrism, if analysed properly, does not hold up to scrutiny. It is not the paradigm change that it claims to be. It is also our view that one can find much meaning, beauty and purpose in a naturalistic view of the universe, without having to resort to mystical notions of reality.

Dr. Vinod Kumar Wadhawanis a Raja Ramanna Fellow at theBhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai and an Associate Editor of the journalPHASE TRANSITIONS.

This post was written by:

- who has written 36 posts on Nirmukta.

Dr. Vinod Wadhawan is a scientist, rationalist, author, and blogger. He has written books on ferroic materials, smart structures, complexity science, and symmetry. More information about him is available at his website. Since October 2011 he has been writing at The Vinod Wadhawan Blog, which celebrates the spirit of science and the scientific method.

509 Comments

  • You do realise that by subscribing to this particular brand of methaysical direct, though representational, realism, you fall pry to exactly the same issues your critising.

  • science must be befuddled by the fact of consciousnes, which is totally apart from energy, and therefore matter itself. conscious must have come first, as energy and matter, by scientific definition, cannot be eternal.

    • Science as a methodology has to have the ability to build upon existing knowledge by adding new and better information and reassigning values. If it can’t be adjusted, it’s not science. Scientists may for a while be befuddled, as opposed to “science” itself, but that’s the exciting part of asking the question “why” opposite to assigning an assumption through ignorance.
      You say consciousness is totally apart from energy. All you need to do now is have a definition of consciousness that everyone can agree upon (which hasn’t happened yet), define what YOU mean by energy, what the source of the energy is, and why it doesn’t have matter.

      “by scientific definition, cannot be eternal”

      It seems you abuse many words’ meaning.

      • “All you need to do now is have a definition of consciousness that everyone can agree upon (which hasn’t happened yet)”

        This is a fallacy. We don’t have to have a definition of breathing that everyone can agree upon to be able to approach it scientifically. Do plants breathe? does breathing happen to an animal, or to their lungs, or cells, or molecules? Linguistic formalism is not an argument against a physical phenomenon.

        ” that’s the exciting part of asking the question “why” opposite to assigning an assumption through ignorance”

        Ignorance can also take the form of discarding an ordinary fact because it seems to disagree with successful theories. The simple reality of participating directly in one’s own life consciously, in feeling something simple like pain or pleasure, is incomprehensible to physics, which tries to disqualify the fact with extraordinary prejudice. What is meant be ‘force’, or ‘charge’ – surely what these words are no less exotic, vague, and metaphysicsl than ‘consciousness’.

        • “This is a fallacy. We don’t have to have a definition of breathing that everyone can agree upon to be able to approach it scientifically.”

          It’s not fallacious because the writer had already offered a subjective judgement that consciousness is apart from energy. I was asking in the writer to justify their statement in context to the writers own standard by offering an empirical qualifier other than “because I say it is”. The writer was not, as you suggested, approaching it with the purpose of finding an answer with a methodology. The writer was offering a conclusion. I was challenging the writer to show how they came to it.

          Force and Charge are not exotic, vague nor mystical. They can be completely qualified in context with math.

          • I’m not disagreeing with your asking the writer to justify their statement, I’m disagreeing that this justification requires the writer to come up with a “definition of consciousness that everyone can agree upon”. The two things are unrelated.

            “The writer was not, as you suggested, approaching it with the purpose of finding an answer with a methodology”

            I didn’t suggest anything about the writer at all. I’m suggesting that linguistic formalism is irrelevant to understanding nature scientifically.

            “Force and Charge are not exotic, vague nor mystical. They can be completely qualified in context with math.”

            But math is not qualified in any other context except its own. To assert ‘charge’ is no less mystical than to assert ‘spirit’. Where did charge come from? What is it made out of? How does it regulate itself? To me, the idea that disembodied ‘forces’ and ‘charges’ haunt the emptiness of an unconscious universe is profoundly mysterious and makes no sense other than as a mathematical abstraction.

          • multisenserealism

            “The two things are unrelated” I agree. One is science and one isn’t.

            “But math is not qualified in any other context except its own”

            Not sure about that. I’ll have to ponder what you’ve said. But it certainly can be appreciated in trying to find a unified theory of everything. Spiritualists try to use a subjective, unqualified, argument from ignorance to explain something, that for now, they wouldn’t even be arguing about except for the math.

  • I find none of the recent post here even so much as comprehensible so lets get down to basics, like, for instance how come the moon has not crashed on to the earth and the earth together with the other planets etc. not crashed on to the Sun, when gravity is all about the force of attraction that is as a result of the curvature of space so then what is the force of repulsion other than the so called centripetal force that was once believed to be what countered the force of gravity but now never ever mentioned as as gravity is due to the curvature of space it is presumably also a repulsive force for other wise all heavenly bodies would be crashing on to themselves and each other.

    • Captain Mandrake

      Tokh,

      I find none of the recent post here even so much as comprehensible so lets get down to basics, like, for instance how come the moon has not crashed on to the earth and the earth together with the other planets etc. not crashed on to the Sun

      Unfortunately that is the only part of your post that is comprehensible. The rest of the post is difficult to follow. I understand that you talk about gravity, centripetal force and curvature of space, but what is not clear is the specific issue you are raising in your post.

      Anyway if you are wondering why is that moon does not crash into the earth or why doesn’t earth crashed into the sun then you can find the answer in high school text books (probably around 9 or 10 grade level). Thanks to the internet you can also find it here on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYiS9ObD3u4 ).

      Now if your question is about the way earth’a motion is explained then yes there are two ways to explain it.

      1) Motion of earth around the sun can be explained by centripetal force (gravity in this case) keeping the earth in a orbit around the sun. This is similar to the centripetal force supplied by you on a ball that you are spinning with a thread attached to it.

      2) Motion of earth can also be explained in a different way. The mass of the sun curves the spacetime. And earth travel in a straight line in that curved spacetime. This write-up (http://einstein.stanford.edu/content/education/lithos/litho-spacetime.pdf ) explains how and why this explanation came about.

      Now what really is your question? Can you be more specific? Also please explain why are you raising this question in the comment thread in an article debunking the notion of a conscious universe?

      • Captain Oh My Captain,
        you’re much more patient than I in this instance.
        Great response.

        • Silly footnote,
          “how come the moon has not crashed on to the earth”
          Because it’s moving away.
          Gravitational coupling between the Moon and the tidal bulge nearest the Moon acts as a torque on the Earth’s rotation, draining angular momentum and rotational kinetic energy from the Earth’s spin. In turn, angular momentum is added to the Moon’s orbit, accelerating it, which lifts the Moon into a higher orbit with a longer period. As a result, the distance between the Earth and Moon is increasing, and the Earth’s spin slowing down.
          In fewer words: it is the tides.

          Edit: I am copying from a comment:

          To show the right sign, one must show that the orbital angular momentum of the Moon actually increases with the radius – despite the decreasing velocity as the function of the radius For a 1/r potential, mv2∝m/r says v∝1/r√, so the angular momentum L=rp=mrv=mr/r√∝r√ which increases with r. – Luboš Motl
          In addition I found this better link by googling.

        • Captain Mandrake

          Thanks Joe. These science doubters and pseudoscience peddlers give one an opportunity to brush up on simple scientific concepts. I should thank them as well.

          I enjoy your posts as well.

      • Capt mandrake and Joe, together you seem to gang up to become the sole apostles of science .
        But, scientific minds are supposed to be open and not dogmatic in their blind faith , not even that faith is in the completeness of material science itself . What others here are telling is to open up minds to the existence of energies that transcends matter that have significant influence on matter and in shaping the defining characteristics of material entities . Like the Goedel’s incompleteness theorem , you cannot explain everything happening to matter or of every event within material horizons by resorting to materialism only or by remaining within the region of matter only or , rather without transcending into regions that lie beyond matter. These energies might not be quantifiable and measurable or even observable by human instruments , devices but only fall into the abstract region of their ” awareness ” and it’s really a blissful experience to ” feel ” the power of it . These energies in cosmos ( different from individual universes nd collective multiverses ) is what’s termed as
        ” Cosmic Consciousness “. Our “awareness”. is a subset of this postulated “Cosmic Consciousness ” and it’s because of that, that we become aware of such transcendental energies . Materialists who remain closed in like nuns in their cloisters will never get that feeling of transcendental bliss . Material Science is valid within matter- related transactions like a correction to two decimals are valid for a banker , but here we are talking of Consciousness which is not an emergent phenomena as materialists want to believe it. Materialists have so far not been able to create a single live cell from raw matter ( or raw inorganic chemicals ) . Today Quantum science points into directions that transcends pure matter . The higher material science climbs up the more loose- ends they are finding many of them they couldn’t tie up without approximations (a’la bankers ) . Feynman’s Diagrams have quiggly lines which cannot be straightened up . The logic of Biology or life sciences still remain outside physics and chemistry or mathematics, despite the best efforts of physicists who try to explain by quantizing continuities but continuities remain as continuities and operates without getting descretized . It’s time for human- kind to step out of the paradigmns of physical sciences and seek out new ways of thinking to get into grips with the continuities of Conscioisness that refuses to be confined
        to desecrate matter . Perhaps physics is finding it hard to consider Cosmic Consciousness as the fundamental entity out of which desecrate matter coagulates or emerges .

        • Captain Mandrake

          Dadster,

          There is no conspiracy against your pet claim about cosmic consciousness. All you have to do is provide verifiable evidence to back up your claim. Your blissful experience or your word salad definitions do not count as verifiable evidence. If and when you have something more than that the scientific community might take you seriously. Till then people like you should just be publicly mocked and shamed.

          • “Your blissful experience or your word salad definitions do not count as verifiable evidence”

            Can you prove that any kind of experience can ever count as verifiable evidence? Verifying evidence is nothing more than corroborating a particular experience with other experiences, it does not necessarily apply to the experiential capacity itself. You are not considering the phenomenon of consciousness objectively or scientifically – you have an expectation of what constitutes evidence which is rooted in the inspection of material forms and functions. That expectation is actually misguided since consciousness is the aesthetic appreciation of forms and the participation in functions.

            “Till then people like you should just be publicly mocked and shamed.”

            Is your vision of mocking and shaming as a part of scientific discourse limited to mere verbal lashings or will it be necessary, do you think, to escalate this tradition to a homoerotic-fraternal kind of hazing? Maybe if we can humiliate enough people who disagree with us, then nobody else will speak up and we can be ‘right’ forever!

          • Captain Mandrake

            Verifying evidence is nothing more than corroborating a particular experience with other experiences, it does not necessarily apply to the experiential capacity itself.

            Not sure what you mean by “it does not necessarily apply to the experiential capacity itself.” Please explain.

            For the record, no one is questioning whether Dadster has the capacity to experience. He is a sentient being with a brain. So yes he has the capacity to experience.

            To make thing clear let me restate what scientific community expects from you if you are to be taken seriously. If you are proposing that a cosmic consciousness exists then you will have to provide verifiable evidence for its existence.

            consciousness is the aesthetic appreciation of forms and the participation in functions.

            Such word salad definitions does nothing to convince us of the existence of this cosmic consciousness.

            Is your vision of mocking and shaming as a part of scientific discourse limited to mere verbal lashings or will it be necessary, do you think, to escalate this tradition to a homoerotic-fraternal kind of hazing?

            It is funny how you insist on making evidence-free propositions and still think that you are taking part in a scientific discourse. You are no different from creationists and intelligent design clowns. You should expect to be mocked.

          • “Not sure what you mean by “it does not necessarily apply to the experiential capacity itself.” Please explain”

            I mean that “evidence” is about satisfying an expectation within consciousness – that some mental proposition should be made evident to the senses; to be brought into awareness in some publicly accessible sensory context. There is no other evidence beyond that. This means that insisting that consciousness as a whole be treated as if it were a phenomenon within consciousness is a failed premise. It’s like trying to put North into a compass.

            “Such word salad definitions does nothing to convince us of the existence of this cosmic consciousness.”

            The point is that if you understand what consciousness is, then you will understand that it is not a form or a function. The existence of awareness on a cosmic scale is only something that we have to deduce for ourselves, not because it’s mysterious or profound but because consciousness is ontologically defined by direct participation. It’s the reason that you can’t simply explain what blue looks like to someone who is blind.

            Once you understand these details about consciousness, it makes no more sense that awareness could emerge from some particular function or at some special level of complexity. It also makes sense, once you stop taking consciousness for granted, that nothing can actually ‘exist’ in any way without some experience of detection – again, if it could, then everything would, and we could not have this conversation.

            “You are no different from creationists and intelligent design clowns. You should expect to be mocked.”

            I would love to see a neuroscientist try to pick out your fMRI from a group of fMRIs intelligent design clowns and creationist fundamentalists. Care to place any bets?

          • Captain Mandrake

            No one doubts consciousness exists or that it is mysterious. Consciousness is something that your brain does. The discussion was about cosmic consciousness.

            The existence of awareness on a cosmic scale is only something that we have to deduce for ourselves, not because it’s mysterious or profound but because consciousness is ontologically defined by direct participation

            After all that BS you now admit you do not have any evidence for this cosmic consciousness. All I see is an attempt at more word salads to define it into existence. Sorry, not acceptable.

          • Captain Mandrake

            No one doubts consciousness exists or that it is mysterious.

            Meant to say there is nothing mysterious about consciousness. Apologize for the confusion.

          • “No one doubts consciousness exists or that it is mysterious. Consciousness is something that your brain does. The discussion was about cosmic consciousness.”

            If consciousness was something that your brain does then we would not be having this conversation. Your brain does a lot of things, produce and metabolize neurotransmitters, generate electric current – all functional behaviors of forms on various scales. None of these, nor all of these put together are consciousness. In the same way, what we see of the cosmos from our scale and perspective when we look outside of our bodies is not consciousness. Cosmic consciousness is simply the existence of sense in the first place – the capacity for anything to feel like something, to be somewhere, to identify any phenomenon and to imitate it or respond to it sensibly. The evidence for this is everywhere. The only place that it is not is to your cognitive sense when you configure your knowledge in a particular way which makes it appear that the universe could be senseless. That is a powerful perspective, and has done a lot of good for civilization, but it fails spectacularly when applied to consciousness/sense/awareness/cosmos itself.

            “After all that BS you now admit you do not have any evidence for this cosmic consciousness. All I see is an attempt at more word salads to define it into existence. Sorry, not acceptable.”

            That’s not what I said. I DO have evidence for an Absolute inertial frame of awareness – it is evident to me. I cannot export my understanding to you however because you are projecting powerfully hostile biases against it. This doesn’t work. It doesn’t bother me, I understand completely. I would have reacted the same way only a few years ago had I heard someone yammering on about absolute inertial frames of self-nesting sensory-motor relativity. All that I said is that if you want to progress to this understanding, you will have to change your mind first, because it is only within your mind, your personal awareness, that any kind of understanding of consciousness, local or universal, is possible. Again – not because its maaagic, but because privacy is actually the root of publicity. You’ve got it switched around the wrong way (as does all of Western science). It’s like one of those ambiguous images. All I can do is to explain to you that the vase in the middle is not the only image that’s there, there are also two faces in profile flanking the vase, but you have to stop looking at the vase to see them. Many people like yourself, who are very knowledgeable and talented in left brain STEM disciplines and steeped in Western conditioning are not neurologically capable of doing this. It’s not your fault. You might be able to see the other side if you experimented with meditation, psychedelics, or have a brain trauma, etc. Your lens is so clear that you won’t know its there until it cracks. It’s up to you. Remain in your cognitive Kansas and harvest the wheat of the status quo, or invite the cyclone and have a look at Oz.

          • My dear Captain, This sixteenth century tactics ( ie, threatening with public ridicule or worse for want of countering with rational reasons ), was exactly what happened to Galileo Galilei, who was made to recant truth and still was placed under house arrest .
            Dogmatists like you people with closed mindset who masquerade as scientists still walk among us in 21 st century too and have not learnt from experiences over ages.
            You ask your heroes, the physical scientists to create life , or even a single live cell , from raw inorganic chemicals in their labs and tell me when that happens and, then you people might be taken a little more seriously .

            Till then at least learn to keep your mind open and watch how consciousness and even basic ‘Life” is explained in ways other than it being emergent from matter .

            Many hard core real physical scientists have come across phenomena such as”Quantum Entanglement ” which cannot be explained in any physical way.And they , being real scientific minded people , have not closed their minds to understanding what “life energy” is all about . A type of energy which was once called “elan vital” hypothesized by French philosopher Henri Bergson in his 1907 giving an explanation for evolution and development of organisms, which Bergson linked closely with consciousness.
            Since material science had not developed to its present stage when it has, by encountering quantum field , met with strange phenomena that transcends normal material universe such as messages being transmitted instantaneously ( speedier than light speed ) , therefore Bergson’s ” philosophy had powerful detractors at that time .
            Since then lots of research papers have come out on Consciousness .which if you are a scientist of any denomination might like to go though , if not done already .One that immediately comes to my mind is,
            Doug Renselle’s Research Review
            of
            David Bohm’s 1980 Paper
            The Enfolding-Unfolding Universe and Consciousness
            in
            Chapter 3
            of
            Lee Nichol’s
            The Essential David Bohm

            http://www.quantonics.com/Bohm_EUUaC_Research_Review.html

            If you have the time ,convenience, patience ,and have a scientific mind, your reading this and other David B ohm’s books might help you to open up your clogged mind .

            And, it will help you further to read research papers , indicated by the Austrian born American Physicist , Fritjof Capra in his book “The Tao of Physics “.
            A time has arrived that in whichever way material science turns now it meets with “mysticism” , through mathematical formalism : I quote a few quotes from Capra.
            “If physics leads us today to a world view which is essentially mystical, it returns, in a way, to its beginning, 2,500 years ago. … This time, however, it is not only based on intuition, but also on experiments of great precision and sophistication, and on a rigorous and consistent mathematical formalism.”
            ― Fritjof Capra

            “Subatomic particles do not exist but rather show ‘tendencies to exist’, and atomic events do not occur with certainty at definite times and in definite ways, but rather show ‘tendencies to occur’.”
            ― Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

            Science stands at cross roads today . “Scientists, therefore, are responsible for their research, not only intellectually but also morally. This responsibility has become an important issue in many of today’s sciences, but especially so in physics, in which the results of quantum mechanics and relativity theory have opened up two very different paths for physicists to pursue. They may lead us – to put it in extreme terms – to the Buddha or to the Bomb, and it is up to each of us to decide which path to take. ”
            ― Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point: Science, Society, And The Rising Culture

            So dear Captain , learn to keep your mind open to the exciting possibilities that’s coming up and read up more on post Newtonian and post Einstenian science of matter without getting stuck with whatever you had been learning.

            By the way, its not the role of science to find answers ( that’s for religion which has answers to everything ). Its the bounden duty and aim of science to ask questions and never to be satisfied with what might appear as answers that get thrown up occasionally . Even the questions are questioned in science .

            Personally, I am past that age to do active science in labs , but the next lot of scientists are doing it and coming up with phenomena not explainable by material relationships alone ,they are becoming “aware’ of “awareness ” or consciousness itself and attempting to explain Consciousness not with matter but by consciousness itself as a fundamental entity .

            But whats the use , if you mulishly stick with certainties , discreteness and with the outdated principle of causation refusing to look beyond , “out of the box”, to strive , to seek and to find ?

            There are plenty of authentic resources available on the net, if you are willing to learn about the exciting events happening in the field of science ( NOT NECESSARILY IN THE FIELD OF MATERIAL SCIENCE ALONE , BUT OUT THERE IN BIO-SCIENCE AND IN LIFE SCIENCES ALSO ), in which consciousness as a fundamental entity is actively and vigorously researched .

            Renowned theoretical physicist Lee Smolin’s 190 pages book , “Trouble With Physics” ( copy righted 2006 ), throws valuable insight into the fundamental nature of Consciousness’ . He boldly confesses up front in his preface itself , i quote, ” the story I will tell could be read by some as a tragedy . To put it bluntly–and to give away the punch line — we have failed .”
            After going through the development of material science from the past to the present he concludes his preface with the words “The truth lies in a direction that requires a radical rethinking of our basic ideas about space, time and the quantum field” Unquote.

            I will stop for now by this quote from Dr.Stuart Hameroff MD, in his “Overview: Could Life And Consciousness Be Related To The Fundamental Quantum Nature Of The Universe?”
            “Many view the idea of quantum consciousness as unlikely. But I view it as a “speck on the horizon”, a paradigm that will eventually dominate our view of brain, mind and reality. It is the only approach which seems capable of tying everything together”.

            Try to update yourself on Science , captain, and then come back .

            dadster.

          • Author: Captain Mandrake
            > Comment:
            > No one doubts consciousness exists or that it is mysterious. Consciousness is something that your brain does. The discussion was about cosmic consciousness.

            Response from dadster.
            ————————
            Captain, We are indeed discussing about Cosmic Consciousness only . What our psychologists like Freud deal with is the mind with reference to individual minds . The consciousness corresponding to that concept is consciousness in a lower dimension .

            CC, Cosmic Consciousness ( the word “consciousness” seems to cause the mix up ) , that we are talking of is dimensionally different from just human mind.CC is the universal mind encompassing a different concept impelling the very sentience of all animals,plants, microbes and of all sentient living beings in their infinite variety . The other consciousness of the psychologists is the anthropomorphise variance of CC. Perhaps, the term , “Cosmic awareness ” might be a better term to indicate what we discuss .

            Till now hard core material scientists were basing their reasoning on Newtonian causality principles viz, a one-to-one relationship between cause and effect ; meaning , for one particular cause there could be only one and only one particular effect and vice verse .But with the advent of Quantum Electrodynamics , this was one of the beliefs that has been conclusively upset. For a particular effect there could be a utterly different causes and, for a particular cause there could be umpteen number of different effects . In other words this one-to-one correspondence between cause and effect ceases to exist.
            To make that point clear by an easy example from economics : it’s like the causes and reasons how a rich man became rich . Another person in the same circumstances might have become rich by the same amount, through acting exactly the opposite manner than that the other one or by an entirely different way. Verily there are infinite routes from point A to point B making superimposition possible in information transmissions.

            A second belief to fall is that there has to be a cause or a reason for an event to occur. This condition is neither mandated nor obtained in quantum field.Events can occur spontaneously without cause or reason unexpectedly , unpredictably or effects could be placed on hold or in limbo, till observation- time comes. Or, events could be made to happen by constant, consistent and continuous observation ; or, in other words the very act of observation can make events to occur . These postulations are supported by the mathematics of indeterminate chaos theories too besides through observations themselves and, to boot, to a high degree of accuracy. Quantum science is the most successful theory that science has produced so far.

            A third sacred theory to fall was that information cannot be transmitted at super luminal speeds and that the speed of light is the upper ceiling limit of message-passing speeds . In experimental observations of quantum science this principle of the constancy of the speed of light has often been violated that constancy of speed of light has been modified to fit in this observed fact. In the phenomena of “quantum entanglement” ( which is put into practical applications in the design of quantum computers) , we come across situations where we have to stipulate “advance information waves” that travel instantaneously carrying information much faster than the stipulated constant velocity of light . The practical effect on the ground of this phenomena is that the future can influence the present and , by extension, can even change the past resulting in the occurrence of multiple universes !

            Another sacred principle of classic physics which had to be overthrown in quantum science is the principle of conservation of energy . In quantum events energy can be created and destroyed . The sacrosanct principle of entropy of thermodynamics does not hold good . Events / entities can self- organise and remain organised for ever like an electron for example which has no decay . Even proton decay is doubtful.Besides the big bang that created our universe was a quantum event which occurred spontaneously spurting out energy out of quantum vacuum .

            Yes, that is yet another strange but proven concept, ie the existence of vacuum energy . Cosmos is seething with dynamic ever vibrating energy. Quantum fluctuations in vacuum can create energies and can get immediately destroyed too . But occasionally spontaneously, unpredictably the energy burped out can create universes like that of ours for no rhyme or reason , absolutely randomly.

            And , so on and on .

            Where does Cosmic Consciousness come in
            —————————————-

            into all this ?
            —————-
            A good question.
            Firstly the finding that even human intentions can create events and even matter ( which is an event ) ; and, the fact that “intention” involves information, will , awareness it would mean that “matter”( which is a type of event ) , is after all a derivative of ” awareness ” ( consciousness ), created out of “awareness”at cosmic dimensions.

            And , this ” awareness ” though it might be a chaotic random type of awareness to begin with , resident in the energy of quantum vacuum when combined with all other events , interacting with other informations creates ” relationships ” that brings forth macro-phenomena such as ” life ” ( or the unquantifiable quality of ” life ” or liveliness ) and, ,quantifiable discrete form of information called “matter” , antimatter, along with it electromagnetic and nuclear energies and , space-time continuum which is our postulations to make ” measurements ” possible.

            Matter needs mind to behave like matter , just as life needs matter to manifest in our dimensions. They both have the same source of origin but they are not the same . For one thing , life is a continuous non- measurable, NON- DISCRETISABLE non- quantifiable quality of cosmos whereas ” lumpen matter ” ( ie, matter without the quality of life ) is discontinuous, discrete , quantifiable and measurable .
            >
            Unless you had looked up the books by the scientist authors , I had suggested in my earlier communication , I don’t think you will be able to follow what I say , which they too have said in a better way , perhaps.

          • Captain Mandrake

            Dadster,

            Oh, please stop comparing yourself to Gallilio. He produced evidence for his claims. You have not. So yes you deserve the same ridicule the scientific community heaps on creationists and intelligent design clowns.

          • Captain Mandrake

            **Remain in your cognitive Kansas and harvest the wheat of the status quo, or invite the cyclone and have a look at Oz.**

            However dreary and dry Kansas may be it is still the reality. However comfortable the magical land of Oz might be it is still a fantasy. Unfortunately it is this comfort seeking magical thinking that allows for cosmic consciousness and intelligent design.

          • “However dreary and dry Kansas may be it is still the reality. However comfortable the magical land of Oz might be it is still a fantasy. Unfortunately it is this comfort seeking magical thinking that allows for cosmic consciousness and intelligent design.”

            That’s the problem is that you think that you assume that the universe is ‘reality’ and that consciousness emerges from that. I would go along with that, but it doesn’t ultimately make sense. Reality cannot make consciousness, but consciousness can (and does) make reality, as you can see when you dream.

            Intelligent design is naive because it assumes that the sense of the universe is a human sense, with cognitive quality attention and humanlike intents. That’s just because by default we vastly underestimate the range of experiences which make up the universe and how narrow our personal experience really is. Cosmic consciousness too can go off the rails into oversigifying the subjective-ideal kinds of experience. I don’t make that mistake. I’m not promoting an ideology feel-good wishful thinking. My view is an impartial comparison of models through a super-model of perceptual relativity. I have no agenda in developing this other than my own curiosity and desire to share what I have found with others.

            My view finds fault with both Western mechanemorphism and Eastern anthropomorphism. I understand exactly why they are so seductive and why each camp fails to integrate the other, and, most importantly, why that illustrates the relation of consciousness to matter perfectly…not as metaphor, but as ontology. The universe is an experience, and only part of that experience is ‘reality’. Private experience without public realism is fantasy, but public realism without experience is…nothing whatsoever.

        • “scientific minds are supposed to be open and not dogmatic in their blind faith”

          Oh that that were so. But “scientists” are subject to the same prejudices and presuppositions all of our species is subject too. One of the better qualities of the scientific method and the competitive nature of science itself is others are continuing to either prove a posit true or incomplete.

          “Today Quantum science points into directions that transcends pure matter . ”

          That is simply NOT TRUE especially in your context of Cosmic Consciousness. Your analogies are jumping back and forth between species.

          • “But “scientists” are subject to the same prejudices and presuppositions all of our species is subject too.”

            Scientists might beat their children too, but that doesn’t mean that such behavior is supposed to be part of science. I think the point being made is that while critical thinking and open curiosity are both vital to science, the pursuit of unbiased factual truth is more important than any defense of any particular truth. If that defense becomes dogmatic and prejudices, it is the duty of scientists to break those presuppositions when they can. That is the most important difference between science and religion. Otherwise science is simply a belief in disbelief – a lazy and cynical faith in the denial of the authenticity of significance.

          • multisenserealism

            “If consciousness was something that your brain does then we would not be having this conversation.”

            I knew you were going to say that because you denied that in a previous life time and now you have reach a high plain. You are , how so ever, arrogant. How do I know that? I could try to explain it to you but I can see that you are filled with negative vibrations closing you off to the truth that I know something that you must accept because I say so.

            Look, after practicing Buddhism for 40+ years, there is much to said for self reflection. Looking to the connection between the sentient and insentient, such as the inherent capacity for the enlightenment of rocks and trees, may give one comfort. Much the same as a supernatural belief in non-caused god creature who creates a causal cosmos in order to not only give you life, but make it eternal as long as you behave within the parameters someone says this creature says you should. But there is no proof other than anecdotal.

            “I DO have evidence for an Absolute inertial frame of awareness – it is evident to me.” is not science. It’s personal.

          • Multi-
            “I think the point being made is that while critical thinking and open curiosity are both vital to science, the pursuit of unbiased factual truth is more important than any defense of any particular truth.”

            LOL, it’s like you’re agreeing with me but missing the whole point.

          • “Looking to the connection between the sentient and insentient, such as the inherent capacity for the enlightenment of rocks and trees, may give one comfort. ”

            For some. For others it is the denial of the inherent capacity of all phenomena to make sense or be sensed which gives them comfort.

            My views are not about comfort at all. For me it is a hypothesis deduced from the information that we have. Sentience makes no sense in an insentient universe. No matter which way you slice it, there is no plausible grounds for inclusion of something like ‘awareness’ in a universe of forms which function perfectly well without them. It’s not some sentimental longing that I have for consciousness to be important, I could care less whether I am a machine or whether machines are like me from a distant perspective, but the former cannot be true and the latter can easily be true. Physics can reduce an experience to the characteristics of a machine, but it cannot add experiential characteristics to an unconscious mechanism. Once you understand that, you can outgrow the idea of ‘complexity’ as mechina ex anima and see the promissory materialism that hardliners turn to for the hand waving rationalization that it is.

          • Multi-
            “For me it is a hypothesis deduced from the information that we have.”
            Thank you for calling it a hypothesis at least, lol!

            I think I understand what you’re trying to say. That being said, have you ever thought that the big joke might be that we use our reasoning capacities to rationalize a meaning to an irrational world instead of being reasonable? I can appreciate the irony too!

            “I named my dog Stay. I drive him crazy: Come Stay! Come Stay!”
            Steven Wright

          • Captain Mandrake

            **Sentience makes no sense in an insentient universe. No matter which way you slice it, there is no plausible grounds for inclusion of something like ‘awareness’ in a universe of forms which function perfectly well without them.**

            Interesting framing. But this is just one big argument from ignorance. You do not know how sentient beings came about in an insentient universe, so cosmic consciousness must exist. And you do not want to be put in the same category as intelligent design clowns. Hilarious!

          • Captain Mandrake

            **I DO have evidence for an Absolute inertial frame of awareness – it is evident to me**

            How do we know you are not lying to us? This is why we ask you to share your evidence for verification. You do that and scientific community will take you seriously.

          • Captain Mandrake: “You do not know how sentient beings came about in an insentient universe,”

            No, I am asserting positively that there is no possibility that sentient beings came about in an insentient universe. I assert that because if you look at the universe that physics gives us, there is no room for any kind of awareness and no justification for it. It’s not that we haven’t figured out how it works yet, its that we have figured out that anything which does what consciousness does would be completely superfluous to any physical function.

            Besides, the brain is panpsychic already…

            http://multisenserealism.com/6-panpsychism/

          • Captain Mandrake

            **Sentience makes no sense in an insentient universe**

            Well, we can take the same line of argument for other BS like the following.

            Digestion makes no sense in an universe that does not digest.

            Respiration makes no sense in an universe that does not respire.

            So following multisenserealism’s line of reasoning (if you can call that) we should now believe in cosmic digestion and cosmic respiration.

          • How do we know you are not lying to us? This is why we ask you to share your evidence for verification. You do that and scientific community will take you seriously.

            Captain, even in a solipsistic framework, what he says wouldn’t fly. His “Absolute inertial frame of awareness” isn’t something that he can observe and know to be true, it’s something that has to be deduced, and he simply hasn’t done it. So it’s not a question of whether he’s lying or not– he has to prove it to himself first!

          • Captain Mandrake

            Multisenserealism,

            **No, I am asserting positively that there is no possibility that sentient beings came about in an insentient universe. I assert that because if you look at the universe that physics gives us, there is no room for any kind of awareness and no justification for it.**

            However emphatically you assert that you have not proved anything of that sort. You are no different from ID clowns who also emphatically assert that science can not possibly explain this that and other biological phenomena that looks designed.

            Even if (can not be too careful with dishonest pseudoscience peddlers like you.) what you (and ID clowns) assert is true (which has not been demonstrated by you or the ID clowns) you have not proved that this Cosmic Consciousness (Intelligent designer in the case of ID clowns) in fact explains the awareness/consciousness (apparent design in biological systems).

            In short this is just one big argument from ignorance.

            Remember you were talking about something called a fMRI machine. I do not know what this machine does. But if it can spot an argument from ignorance then it will raise the same red flag on you and the ID clowns as is examines your brains.

          • Captain,

            I frankly don’t know what multisenserealism is trying to say– I’m not sure if he knows either.

            If you go to his blog, it reads like a technobabble generator .

        • Dadster, take a look at my hypothesis sometime http://multisenserealism.com.

          I think that I may have made some significant breakthroughs, at least conceptually, in defining the nature of awareness and matter. Even the implications of QM do not really meet us halfway. What is required is a model of physics which fully commits to sensory-motor participation as the ground of being and source of all Laws/forces.

          • Dear Multisenserealism,

            I can strongly empathize with your zeal for understanding how the universe works and appreciating the beauty of modern physics on a conceptual level.

            That being said, your blog seems to fall into the folly of postmodern jargon as evidenced by Alan Sokal.

            If you are truly interested, I encourage you to go and get a degree in theoretical physics and do some research– people with a zeal for understanding the universe, I feel, should be encouraged to go this route. But I’m afraid you aren’t making many meaningful hypotheses on your webpage.

          • “That being said, your blog seems to fall into the folly of postmodern jargon as evidenced by Alan Sokal.”

            Dear Ashwin,

            The ‘postmodern jargon’ meme is a popular talking point in the cult of mechanism. It’s a red herring. Although neologisms can certainly be annoying, and I think even more so to those who are more comfortable thinking in mathematical terms than linguistic, there is no justification to claim hat ideas are not meaningful simply because you find their manner of expression distasteful.

            There are a lot of these kinds of memes designed to protect people from having to consider any new viewpoints. Lists of excuses to disqualify and rationalize prejudice. Buzzwords to label certain scientists, philosophers, and entire categories of inquiry as heresy. It’s not surprising though, this is exactly what my hypothesis suggests. The psychological momentum on both ends of the spectrum – the spiritual fundamentalists and scientific fundamentalists, is toward pathologies of fear and aggression. It makes sense – extreme focus and specialization comes at the cost of extreme intolerance.

      • Hi Mandrake,
        Excuse the delay and the error that i intentionally did not correct. I need not add that it’s known that errors usually do catch one’s attention.
        Well I’m still not too sure of what made me do that post that you graciously responded to. Was not aware that this was as you mention, a thread debunking the notion of a conscious universe.
        That said, I am quite stunned by the spurt of posts that appear to have been triggered from what i happened to have posted underlining my poor understanding of gravity.
        But now it dawns on me after reading a lot on what all has been said about consciousness here specifically, what if I for the sake of hypothesis and from the belief that gravity of an object is directly proportional to its mass, state that gravity is actually the mass of the object. Lets keep in mind also that scientist have still not found out what gives the sub atomic particles, the building blocks of all matter, their mass. Adding on to my hypothesis so far let me now say that gravity is not just mass, gravity is actually consciousness itself if not the basis or the raw material of all consciousness.
        Besides I’m aware of the quest and failure to come up with a so called Grand Unified Theory that would then lead to the theory of everything which by definition according to me would need to include the reality of life and consciousness too and for that we would need to find how consciousness relates with matter.
        I must say that in no way do i qualify to be a scientist and neither do i wish to.

        • Captain Mandrake

          Johh,

          I would like to respond to your post. But before that can please clarify something for me.

          **gravity is actually consciousness itself**

          Why did you use the term consciousness in that hypothesis of yours. Why didn’t you say **gravity is actually respiration itself** or **gravity is actually digestion itself**.

          You see consciousness is just what your brain does much like respiration is what your lung does and digestion is what your stomach does. I don’t think science has fully explained any of these phenomena. Just because there are gaps in our understanding of these phenomena we should not corrupt our current understanding of physics by saying *gravity is consciousness*, *strong nuclear force is respiration*, and *weak nuclear force is digestion* and so on. Hope this helps.

    • It’s actually quite interesting, Tokh. Centripital force doesn’t counter gravity– in the situation in which you’re describing, the centripetal force IS gravity.

      Think about it like this: the Moon is moving tangential to the Earth at it’s own velocity. Suddenly, the gravity of the earth pulls the moon inward, which changes the direction of the velocity. At each instant at which gravity pulls inward, the velocity changes direction and you thus get circular motion. Read about Uniform Circular Motion on Wikipedia.

      This is a simplification, of course. You can have elliptical orbits which work similarly.

      You also talk about the “curvature of space.” This is a little off– it is space-time which is curved, and that is Einstein’s model of gravity, which is more precise. I don’t understand it, though, so I can’t explain that model to you. Einstein improves on the earlier model in that he accounts for the fact that force does not act instantaneously– nothing can, the upper limit for information transfer is the speed of light.

  • Multisenserealism,

    we have figured out that anything which does what consciousness does would be completely superfluous to any physical function.

    We have? Why do say that? Evolution has selected for consciousness because it does increase chances of reproduction.

    • “We have? Why do say that? Evolution has selected for consciousness because it does increase chances of reproduction.”

      I say that because we have not found any function in nature which would work better as a conscious experience than an unconscious process. If it is not necessary for our immune system to develop consciousness to perform the survival-critical function of identifying and neutralizing billions of pathogens, then it doesn’t make sense that the modest wanderings of an unremarkable hominid would demand the construction of a hallucinatory inner universe.

      Human consciousness is a human quality of experience. Evolution has certainly shaped those qualities but experience itself is not something that relates to evolution at all. If you look at the efficiency of the unconscious processes which are assumed to run everything else in the universe, including those processes which generate human consciousness itself, it should be obvious that no important task would be improved by this kind of imaginary aesthetic presentation which consciousness is (wrongly) assumed to be.

      • The ability to sense when a predator is coming after you, the ability to get yourself towards a mate to pass on your genes, the ability to communicate– these are all derivatives of consciousness.

        When you say that consciousness is not useful for humans to “function” in nature, you have to define what usefulness means. In evolution, a trait is considered “useful” if it helped previous generations of your species find mates.

        • Captain Mandrake

          Ashwin,

          I was not thinking about evolution of consciousness at all. All I saw was similarity in the arguments proposed by cosmic consciousness proponents and ID proponents. With your explanation it is becoming more and more clear to me that these two theories (if we call that) are almost identical. This CC seems to be a subset of ID.

          • My dear Captain ,

            To hold fast to the fallacy that universe is NOT sentient is hubris. Are you familiar with the theory of Gaia ? or the theory of cellular mathematics ?

            The degree and quality of sentience might differ , But that does not mean their sentience is of lesser quality than that of humans.

            What do you think gives characteristic properties like valency, and affinity for chemical reactions to chemicals .You might say its the electromagnetic properties of their atomic structure to behave in a particular way depending on temperature-pressure conditions etc .

            But how did some become structured like that, like DNA folding for example and attained stability and others did not ?

            I am not indicating any purpose that nature has .Its all random happenings for no purpose in the view of those chemicals or from their frame of reference .

            Purpose enters from the mind of life-forms including of humans and when humans quantify and measure it . Microbial actions are purposeful and NOT random.
            The purpose being survival . The fundamental characteristic quality of all life forms is that they are endowed with the instinct of survival ( survival of self and of their respective species also ) ,which instinct no lumpen matter-forms have.

            If you had read what I had written earlier you would have by now known the various differences between life- energy and matter-energies . But since you obviously had not , i would suggest you read it or find out in some other way ,yourself .

            Life energies as distinct from electromagnetic and nuclear energies energize matter to make it come “alive”.

            Matter not endowed with life in it ( like a dead body for example) ,still possesses the same quantity of Electromagnetic energy and nuclear energy and are subject to gravitational energies too as before life left that body .

            Or , in other words ,everything that has Electromagnetic , nuclear and gravitational energies are not possessed with life-energy although life -energy manifests in our dimensions through matter as its physical structure or scaffolding only.

            If you think that life comes out of matter spontaneously then why is it that material scientists are not able to breath life into matter and make one single living cell so far despite many brave attempts to achieve that. ?

            Why is it that life is not automatically coming into the mix of chemicals or raw chemical inorganic materials under any artificially created temperature pressure or environmental conditions ? Even Craig Venter has not been able to do it despite trying hard for it and we were all waiting for it to happen .

            So its time now that we change our route of inquiry , question the questions we were asking , effect some paradigm shift as
            Thomas Kuhn: the man who changed the way the world looked at science
            suggested in his seminal book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

            Biology and life -sciences were following the paradigms of physical material sciences till now. It has not reached with it anywhere near understanding life-energy.
            Hence its time that Life-scientists strike out on their own freeing themselves from the yokes of physical material scientists and seek new paths and approaches in understanding life-energy directly from life itself instead of going through the physical structure through which life manifests in our dimensions.

            Hence this discussion on BIO-CENTRISM .

            But its all overhead transmission for you and its better you safely stay out of it till you become more updated in your physical sciences before entering the much more complex bio-sciences and life-sciences

          • dadster
            “To hold fast to the fallacy that universe is NOT sentient is hubris.”
            Now that’s what I call the pot calling the kettle black!
            CM
            “With your explanation it is becoming more and more clear to me that these two theories (if we call that) are almost identical.”

            They cannot be called theories within the parameters of science. They are conjectures and at best unverifiable hypothesis. A theory needs to be able to be falsified; make a prediction based upon observable evidence or mathematical proofs. Calling evolution a theory is a compliment. Calling ID a theory is pseudo science.

          • Captain Mandrake

            Joe,

            Thanks for pointing out the error in my liberal use of the term “theory”. One can never be too careful.

          • Captain Mandrake

            Dadster,

            **To hold fast to the fallacy that universe is NOT sentient is hubris.**

            HAHA! What was that? A clumsy attempt at shifting the burden of proof?

            Let us not forget how this started. You claimed that cosmic consciousness exists. You were asked to provide verifiable evidence to back up that claim. So far we have not heard anything approximating an evidence.

            Until you provide verifiable evidence to back up your claim all you deserve is a nice Hitchslap.

            Christopher Hitchens – “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

        • “The ability to sense when a predator is coming after you, the ability to get yourself towards a mate to pass on your genes, the ability to communicate– these are all derivatives of consciousness.”

          These kinds of ad hoc just-so stories are exactly why your position has no credibility.

          Shark *embryos* sense when a predator is coming after them: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/09/shark-embryo-use-electric-sense-to-avoid-danger-by-freezing/

          Any sexually reproducing organism knows how to get towards a mate to reproduce.

          Bacteria and plants communicate.

          http://1.usa.gov/17Q284f

          http://www.thingsgoneright.com/2012/06/18/scientists-confirm-that-plants-talk-and-listen-to-each-other-communication-crucial-for-survival/

          If your justification of consciousness is that it allows these rudimentary biological functions, then you have to explain how it is that humans are so impaired that they require a solipsistic phantasm projection where every other organism requires only functioning genes. More importantly, why does a solipsistic phantasm improve the effectiveness of ordinary Bayesian computations and other quantitative modeling and compression schemas? From your answer I can see that you have not given this issue much thought. You take consciousness for granted, and then reverse engineer it to some appearance of utility which matches our human experience of its utility, but you don’t see the circularity of the logic. Sure, in the real world, real humans benefit from consciousness, but that is only because consciousness does what matter cannot do. Consciousness is what matter cannot create – not because it’s magic, but because it is perception itself, and its ancestors as more primitive forms of sensory-motive participation, are the true progenitors of matter.

          • “Consciousness allows us to do these things better.”

            No, it doesn’t. It only seems that way because we are conscious. If our immune system could argue, it would say that unconsciousness is certainly superior to consciousness in every way.

            Once you have conflated your own sense of human consciousness with the principle of awareness in general, it is very hard to separate the success of the human species from that misguided equivalence. Humans have a high quality of consciousness, so we have an advantage in more cases than disadvantages. That is not to say that an unconscious creature could not behave in exactly the same ways as we do, simply by making computations and without having some kind of presentation of those computations.

            It doesn’t even have to be about consciousness. Let’s make it easy. A computer can drive a car without installing a TV screen inside the CPU to project images on. The computer need not render its detections of the outside world graphically. It certainly would not invent graphics or geometry to do such a thing, and we know that computers don’t do that already. If they did we wouldn’t need video monitors, we could just tap right into the computations themselves and look at them, or taste them, or listen to them. But it isn’t like that. Information processing is anesthetic and abstract. It has *no possible* means or motives to actualize itself aesthetically or concretely.

            So yes, richer, deeper aesthetic qualities correlate to deeper quantitative nestings, but while you can derive quantites as a base level quality, no degree of computational complexity, in and of itself, will ever have need of a single quality. Computation is one dimensional – binary. Survival only benefits by more sophisticated programming, not by any kind of qualitative experience. Why feel pain when you can simply have a physical mechanism which enforces the behavioral logic which we associate with pain? In the end, the idea that pain can cause behavior change is circular. Why do we change our behavior because something hurts? Well, because if it hurts that means it is threatening our health. How do we know that that sensation of hurting means anything at all? Well, it’s hardwired into our brain. So why does our brain need to tell itself what the message means directly instead of converting it to an unexplained “hurt” and then converting it back into a receiver of hurt who changes the behavior which could have been changed in the first place directly by the brain? Pain hurts because hurt is painful. There’s no getting under it. There’s no reason why some signal should be felt as anything at all – it’s simply information to be classified with a high priority in the processing queue, nothing more. To suggest that consciousness offers more than unconsciousness demands that we see unconsciousness from this other vantage point. From a more neutral, scientific view however, it is clear that consciousness is functionally inert and redundant.

      • Or survive long enough to pass on their genes.

      • 5 cents:

        Please let me know if we don’t agree on the below:

        Consciousness : In consciousness, we perceive, comprehend, react, sense, relate to our environment. With me? A simple analogy, you’re walking by the river bank and see a tree log. Apparently, you’re “conscious” and hence know about the log, the riverbed, the time of the day..yada yada. Cool?The log apparently knows none of this. Which leads to the below point:

        Unconsciousness: It’s when perception, reaction, locational knowledge, time flow sense are apparently suspended. Are you with me? Essentially, we recognize unconsciousness with the lack of the above sensibilties.Rito?

        Now I will list down some common variables which exist in daily living, and give it a thought whether they are in our consciousness. I mean to say, let’s evaluate whether we catch up with the plethora of live variables in our world in terms of our perceptive capability defined as consciousness above. Few examples:

        1.The rotation and revolution of the planet
        2.Virus outbreak
        3.Natural calamities
        4.The automatic breathing and blood pumping mechanism that doesn’t need your effort
        5.The goings on of a termite colony
        6.The millions of electrons who actually don’t “know” that with a given voltage and resistance, a certain no of them have to reach form point A to point B given we have a closed circuit. They don’t go on strike, argue on the internet or try to save the world. They simply do what is to be done. How often do we see that kind of efficiency in our “conscious” species members?
        7.So many logic gates go “on” and “off” with each data storage and create this website, the internet,all your security records, financial records. I mean,how do they not make any error in correct data storage? No “A” ever becomes a “K”. What you store is what you get back. In contrast, most humans won’t be able to breathe without making on or the other amazingly stupid error. Hats off to our “consciousness”

        All these things could be measured via some mathematical model. Agreed. But please understand, the virus, the tornado, the lightning..they don’t “model” any attack on you..they strike.So I have all due respect for theoritical constructs because
        they help me ANALYZE what HAPPENED.It’s useful surely for designing a more efficient world. But when the virus enters you, do you notice? Can you smell it? Can you feel it? It’s this INSTANT reaction that the virus seemingly has…that it found a host. But you’re reading theories on viral diseases anaware that they got ya already! And, amazingly, the virus is supposedly half dead.

        So, while we humans do have intellectual ability, but our real time understanding of and harmony with our environment is so minimal, while the same “unconscious” environment is operating with much much higher alacrity, diversity, balance, accuracy,law adherence :-) than us improvised chimps.

        With view to the initial point, if we call ourselves “conscious”, then we’d have to say that the environment has to be much more than that.

        Chill and be conscious of your chillness :-)

        • Ashmat,
          The easy problem of consciousness is what we can observe from it. Without it, we become zombie like. With it we make what appears to be choices as to what we pay attention to, and even that may be on a subliminal level do to evolution. Maybe a better way to put it, what we prioritize to ignore giving more import to something else. If we paid attention to everything we again would become zombie like, paralyzation through analyzation.
          The hard problem is more of the language we use. Someone may say that there is a consciousness, the word used, that exists after the brain dies (again no way to make a prediction or observe a result so it cannot be in any way construed as a theory) which is the same term as someone else who also uses consciousness with regards to the Cosmos having a consciousness and thus us (talk about hubris), or someone who refers to consciousness as a filter, all using the same term, is a problem because the term gets assigned different qualities.

          • That’s a very confused read of the hard and easy problem of consciousness.

            “The easy problem of consciousness is what we can observe from it”

            We observe everything from consciousness. There is nothing that we don’t observe from consciousness. I assume you are talking about those aspects of consciousness which we infer from the behavior of others.

            “Without it, we become zombie like. ”

            Now you jump to the interior view, since zombie-like has no meaning in the context of behavior. A conscious person can act like a zombie if they want. There isn’t much of a connection between either of those views and the Easy problem. The Easy problem of consciousness is simply the challenge of understanding the functions of the brain which relate to being awake, feeling, thinking, etc. It’s facetious of course because it is anything but Easy to understand the complexity of the brain’s function, but Chalmers point was to express that at least this kind of engineering problem has a definite end which is solvable by degree. We have only to keep plugging away for long enough and we will someday be able to engineer something which imitates the function of a brain.

            The Hard problem is to explain why there is any difference between a sophisticated zombie and a person at all. Why would the function of the brain, its processing of information, give rise to anything like an experience? The Easy problem can be solved completely and the Hard problem will still remain untouched.

            The questions of Cosmic Consciousness and life after death need not be related to either the Easy or the Hard problem. It is perfectly ok to hypothesize that the universe is panpsychic without assuming a universal entity or a personal afterlife. I think that those questions are more of a distraction. The first thing that must be done is to understand awareness itself, as a phenomenon.

            This is a short essay that I posted this morning which may shed more light on the issues of this thread:

            http://multisenserealism.com/2013/07/02/consciousness-in-black-and-white/

          • Multi-
            “That’s a very confused read of the hard and easy problem of consciousness.”

            Can’t argue that. And that’s one of the problems of arguing the properties of consciousness.

            As far as a conscious person “choosing” to act zombie like, I agree that is perhaps a bad analogy because we need to define what a zombie would act like. But let’s say, for arguments sake, a zombie has no choice as to what to pay attention to being a strictly reactive entity. A conscious person cannot turn off their autonomic system and will react to stimuli. The closet thing I guess to that and still be alive would perhaps be a coma; brain dead/ artificially kept alive.

            My daughter sent me a short video taken by a helicopter of the Thanksgiving Xmas sales at Wall Mart with people rushing through the parking lot with the caption “Zombie Apocalypse”.

          • “But let’s say, for arguments sake, a zombie has no choice as to what to pay attention to being a strictly reactive entity. A conscious person cannot turn off their autonomic system and will react to stimuli.”

            I think you are hitting on one of the key weaknesses of the Western model. If we go full Libet on it (“never go full Libet”) then choice is an illusion anyhow. A conscious person cannot turn off their autonomic system, but that just means that the zombie has certain programmed reactions which another kind of imaginary zombie would not have. The difference between the horror zombie and the philosophical zombie is only a matter of degree. The p-zombie is only a more sophisticated imposter. If this imposter is sophisticated enough, then it will not require anything to process autonomic signals into personal feelings, it will simply produce the behaviors which are required to fulfill the evolutionary imperatives. It will be a fully functional automaton. Indeed, if we were not here ourselves and not able to voluntarily take our own word our own sense of free will and aesthetic appreciation of our subjective experience, the concept of subjectivity or experience would seem impossible and absurd.

            Zizek had some cool things to say about zombies. Not to spam links to my own stuff but my comments on his comments are here if anyone is interested: http://s33light.org/post/46454957924

          • Multi-
            “never go full Libet”
            Never been a consensus on interpretation of results. Close as anyone ever got was Susan Blackmore arm wrestling Christopher Hitchens over drinks. Susan won but it cost her a fortune cause she had to buy and Hitch drank the bar dry.

          • “Susan won but it cost her a fortune cause she had to buy and Hitch drank the bar dry.”

            Haha, that deserves to be Shel Silverstein song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVfE_-ZJAxc

            (Beware of bein’ the roller…when there’s nothin’ left to roll.)

          • We’re missing one basic point here that our existence is very much part of the entire picture.The very act of reasoning,proving and formulating is not something that we have acquired on our own, independent of the universe.

            Any evidence about anything requires someone to interpret and test the evidence.This also requires a pre defined mathematical/physical framework under which the evidence can be verified.The very individual and the framework are parts of the whole here. So the very fact that we are discussing this here presuppose that we are conscious, which is not something that we developed independently of the universe.Even Cristopher Hitchens would have no evidence of independent thinking, if he were to keep aside his brain(a product of evolution),birth (we didn’t independently decide to be born as humans did we? Do we have any proof if yes?), education(scientific or otherwise, which comprises of the collective body of knowledge till date about the universe that keeps moving on)or discoveries( we have never truly produced anything, only used the behaviour of the universe to put together tools with predictable behaviour using enquiry and knowledge that we never produced either). What we call US is a collage of these sensibilities across time. Where are we apart from this?

            One question is whether we can produce any evidence at all.The universe is full of many radiations probably more complex than our brain waves. But it may not make any sense to us because of the limitations of our models, not that of the universe. Please let me know what would be “evidence” for us. Gamma rays? Supernovas? Dark matter? It’s that our understanding of consciousness is limited by our human form and hence involves communication,self identity, memory and recognition, while much much more significant happenings in the universe don’t take up such a form.Demanding the goings on of the universe to take human understandable formats is like religious traditions where Gods invariably have human form for our convenience of belief.In reality, the universe is not bound by our limitations.

            So much simply, the very fact that you and I are posting here is clear evidence of a conscious universe. Consciousness is not a personal asset.If we keep aside the body, the nervous system, our education, upbringing and culture, do we still have some conscious self left, independent of all?If that be the case, then we can be sure that we are separate from the universe. Otherwise,our very consciousness of ourselves is nothing but inherited universal consciousness and sufficient proof.

            Some people had valid points related to the term consciousness itself.We need to understand that if we want a universe talking to us, visiting Nirmukta, going to the grocery store for us to believe it to be a sentinent thing, then that’s not a notch better than searching Santa Claus. Another thing was WRT CC and ID.Intelligent design would require intelligence and design as separate parts of the creation process. This is nothing but a projection of our way of working onto the universe.The universe is one solid undivided thing where intelligence,design,creation,destruction are all one single process.

            The universe simply IS.To put it in our context is a futile exercise because in reality it is US who are in its context in our life, awareness, death and recycling.

        • Ashmant,
          I wouldn’t even bother answering dadster below because he’s begging the question in every way possible. Like “What is YOUR concept of evolution, ” or why certain energies he assigns qualities to are not “interested in evolving”. Seriously, it’s the same tactic Chopra uses; engage me in a pseudo science dialogue giving it credence where non belong.

    • “… Evolution has selected for consciousness because it does increase chances of reproduction.” Ashwin’s response .

      And Ashwin, respecting your views , may I ask you ,

      1. what is your concept of evolution?
      2. why only matter infused with life ( a type of fundamental energy ), is interested in evolving and why matter infused with electromagnetic and nuclear energies only (ie, matter without life in it ) , is not interested in evolving ?
      3. Or, according to you, is lumpen matter ( ie matter without bio-life energy in it ) also
      interested in evolution and in reproduction?
      and, if so how do they do it ?And, if they do,then it would mean that lumpen matter also has selected to be “conscious” ( self-aware?) .Was that what you wanted to say ? Or, you want to say that lumpen matter don’t evolve as it has not selected self- awareness ( consciousness ) ?
      4. And, lastly,why is anything in nature or in Cosmos interested at all in “evolving in time” ?
      in all fairness to you I should warn you that If you find any reason for it then you will be falling into the abysmal pit of “Creationists and the Intelligent designers” which makes things more complex , because nature / cosmos which operates spontaneously and randomly ( as per the well established and well respected Quantum theory ) will then betray a “purpose” ,an anthropomorphism , which becomes self-contradictory then , one mode that science and maths don’t want to fall into.

      Lets keep this discussion at a mutually courteous level to make it interesting and meaningful without being proselytizing about it.

      Instead of categorically responding to these 4 queries , if you respond in a general manner , brushing away the questions sweepingly, i would be highly disappointed with you, which i expect you wont make me.

      • 1) Evolution is the gradual change in allele frequencies from generation to generation. Those alleles which increase the chances of survival or reproduction are passed on.

        2) This question presupposes some things which must be acknowledged. There is no such thing as “life-energy.” This used to be a widely held belief, well into the 19th century I belief– it was called vitalism. Wohler’s synthesis of urea showed that there is no such thing. Most matter does not evolve because it does not reproduce. Reproduction is the key here.

        3) No. See above.

        4) We shouldn’t anthropomorphize things. Thus, I won’t say that organisms are “interested in evolving.” It simply happens. In a hypothetical population of giraffes, those with the longest necks will get more nourishment due to the nature of the fauna in the area, and thus will survive and pass on their long-necked traits to their offspring. Thus, allele frequencies have been changed– the definition of evolution.

        • Captain Mandrake

          Just for the sake of argument let us say Ashwin was not able to answer these (dishonestly badly framed) questions. What would that say about cosmic consciousness? Absolutely nothing. Cosmic consciousness proponents still have to provide verifiable evidence for its existence which they refuse to do.

          Christopher Hitchens – “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

        • “4) We shouldn’t anthropomorphize things.”

          I agree. We shouldn’t mechanemorphize ourselves either.

        • What does that mean? “Mechanamorphize?” I could probably guess, but I’d rather hear from you:

          1) What is means.

          2) Why we shouldn’t “mechanamorphize” ourselves.

          • Anthropomorphize = To attribute human form or personality to things not human

            Mechanemorphize = to attribute machine form or impersonality to things not mechanical.

            We shouldn’t mechanemorphize ourselves because only the public facing aspects of {the total phenomenon that we are] are mechanistic. My understanding is that it makes more sense to consider that consciousness uses mechanism for differentiation and extension, but that machines do not use consciousness (why would they?).

            If you examine the nature of mechanism carefully, you should see that the essence of mechanism is unconsciousness. What is an automaton? What does it mean to automate a process? It means that we squeeze out all requirements for our participation. It happens without us.

            Why is that important? Because a machine will serve whatever master that it is constructed to serve. It will do the same thing over and over until it breaks, because it can’t tell the difference and it can’t care. The machine itself {the totality of the phenomenon that is the machine} has no presence as a whole which is independent of our expectations of it. Outside of our uses of it, it is only an assembly of unrelated parts.

            Natural phenomena are not assembled unconsciously, they are spun off and broken out from larger wholes. They are conceived through fusion and fission of their own sense and motive. As a result, the awareness of something like a human being, which is self-elaborated to an almost perverse degree, has a footprint in many different levels of awareness and interaction. While the public effect of what we are seems mechanistic to us, the private affect of who we are does not seem that way. If we were to recreate the universe and we wanted to recreate it faithfully, we would have to include this non-mechanistic experience, as it is the primary experience of the universe for all participants in the universe.

            To say that someone is ‘robotic’, or ‘acting like a machine’ is to say that they are impersonal, cold, relentless, unfeeling. These meanings are not there by accident, they are universal intuitions.

          • Let me ask you a few questions.

            1. Do you understand now what is meant by mechanemorphism?

            2. Do you understand why is an unscientific bias in absolute terms?

            3. Do you have an argument which would persuade a neutral party why mechanemorphism deserves more consideration than anthropomorphism as a default ontological assumption?

  • With a lot of difficulty I was trying to go thru the comments of one who goes by name of ‘Multisense Realism’ (MR). But I still could not figure out what he or she is trying to say and whether that commenter is in favor of or against Bio-centrism.

    While I appreciate and applaud the valor and persistence of Joe, Ashwin and Capt. Mandrake in responding to the babble of MR, I somehow feel that they are up against a clone or ‘alter ego’ of the woo-woo master Deepak Chopra. We might as well re-christen this character as Cheepak Dopra, the long lost twin of DC in a Kumbh Mela!!!.

    I tried to glimpse through MR’s blog. it is extremely heavy and dense and hard to make any sense out of it. Looks like that will put DC to shame.

    Some people just won’t agree however much you try to argue and reason with them and all these exchanges end up giving too much of credence to the post-modernist type nonsense of MR.

    • A lot of people think that if they use dismissive language like ‘babbling’ and ‘nonsense’ that it is a substitute for actual criticism. Anyone can ridicule, but it takes a special kind of person to admit that they are incapable of understanding what they are ridiculing.

      As far as bio-centrism is concerned, I don’t assume that awareness is limited to biological organisms. In the proper context, any phenomenon can be be understood as representing an experience of some kind. To understand what consciousness is, we should first consider what consciouslessness would be. What scientific law really allows us to expect that any particle can exist without some capacity for particles to be defined or detected. What function can we expect can exist without any sense of memory which collects each instant into a coherent sequence?

      I think that Occam’s Razor demands that when it comes to cosmology, we take *nothing* for granted, including “nothingness”. We should not take the easy way out and arbitrarily decide that the universe without consciousness happens to be just like it appears to us humans, especially when we know that appearances can be deceiving. Instead we should insist that everything that exists, every material form, every sensation and feeling be accounted for and reconciled seamlessly. I think that my view does just that.

      • How about this– can you, in one paragraph, summarize your position for us? Don’t take more than a paragraph, but take less if you will. Thanks.

        • Position on bio-centrism?

          Bio-centrism is a step in the right direction but ultimately falls short. To understand the nature of consciousness and life, we have to go beyond the particular experience that we have as human beings and model the nature of experience in general scientifically. That model must interface seamlessly with physics. My model does those things, so I am excited to share it with those who are interested.

          • Why does physics not model the universe scientifically?

          • Captain Mandrake

            That model must interface seamlessly with physics. My model does those things, so I am excited to share it with those who are interested.

            So what? God of the Gaps is also a model that seamlessly interfaces the body of knowledge with the body of unknowledge (I too know to make up words) but explains nothing. Much like your bullshit model.

          • “Why does physics not model the universe scientifically?”

            Physics models the universe that we experience, but it does not model experience itself. Theories which explain public interactions do so at the expense of private significance. This is part of how perceptual relativity works. What we pay attention to changes the significance of what we don’t pay attention to. Contemporary physics has not discovered the correlation between relativity-perception and entropy-significance yet, so its model is only half-scientific when it comes to modeling experience. It tries to treat feeling and being as if it were doing and knowing, which is a category error.

            The result is kicking the problem down a level, from the person to the brain, to the neuron, to ion channels, etc, not realizing that each level requires the same capacities to receive and respond to environmental conditions that they are adapted to that a person has. Whatever we point to to explain consciousness must also have some kind of awareness in order to bridge the gap between mechanical behavior and semantic appreciation.

          • “So what? God of the Gaps is also a model that seamlessly interfaces the body of knowledge with the body of unknowledge ”

            God of the Gaps is another tired and dorky talking point of the cult of pseudoskepticism. I am *not* saying that the failure of material and information science to locate consciousness is proof of multisense realism. I offer what I think is a comprehensive integration of consciousness and physics, which so happens to require that we reverse our most fundamental assumptions about physics.

            It’s a conjecture, of course, but I think that it is a superior conjecture to fumbling around in the darkness of absolute vacuums filled with energy, particles which are waves, spacetime which curves, superstrings in 26 compactified dimensions… these concepts are bogus. Brilliant, and useful for some purposes, but they make my simple assertions that physics is a category of sensory-motor participation seem rock solid by comparison.

            You couldn’t make up a more Emperor’s New Clothes seeming model if you tried. Quantum behavior doesn’t make sense? Let’s just call the universe a multiverse instead, so that every time a dust mite takes a dump there is a near-infinity of new universes for each possible permutation of the event. It’s Occam would never stop vomiting.

          • Multi-isms
            “Physics models the universe that we experience, but it does not model experience itself. Theories which explain public interactions do so at the expense of private significance.”

            I told myself to stay out of the hyperbole but this is absolute gibberish as what it’s explanation is probably going to be also. Worthy of the Random Chopra Generator http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/

          • “I told myself to stay out of the hyperbole but this is absolute gibberish as what it’s explanation is probably going to be also. ”

            I need to make a glossary of these dorky buzzwords. It’s always ‘gibberish’ this and ‘nonsensical’ that. Either you are interested in understanding what I mean or you aren’t. I am quite happy to explain anything that people find unclear, and I understand perfectly why it should seem unclear to them. New ideas are provocative. Get used to it.

          • ” Either you are interested in understanding what I mean or you aren’t.”

            “The cosmos is rooted in descriptions of photons”
            “The Higgs boson is beyond self-righteous neural networks”
            “Your desire is the continuity of the expansion of brightness”
            “The mind gives rise to unbridled destiny”
            “Quantum physics requires an abundance of creativity”
            “Death comprehends subjective self-knowledge”

        • Physics models the universe that we experience, but it does not model experience itself.

          Okay, so you appear to have a problem with the objectivity that science calls for. You think that physics is incomplete because it does not solve the hard problem of consciousness. Fine.

          Yes, it is true that we have no idea what consciousness is. Most physicists and a handful of philosophers assume that physical laws will someday explain it. Others philosophers say that it’s an inappropriate question. Others say that there is something metaphysical about consciousness that physics cannot hope to touch.

          The truth is, any of these options could be correct. We don’t know. But to say that any of them are correct, we require proof. To paraphrase a well-known scientist– the beauty of science is that it doesn’t claim to have all the answers. It doesn’t seek to describe or explain– it builds models with predictive value, and the only justification for using these models is that they work. So let’s get back to you:

          1) Can you prove to me that your position is correct?

          2) If you can’t do that, can you at least show me that your assertions are scientific hypotheses? That is, are they falsifiable? How could I prove you wrong?

          3) What predictive power does your model have? Why should I care? What empirical realities does it explain? And I don’t mean “it explains consciousness.” That’s not how science works. Does it explain, for example, why membrane voltage is dependent as it is on BK channel conductance in specific neurons? Which physical observables can be measured by your model?

          Finally, you say this:

          Contemporary physics has not discovered the correlation between relativity-perception and entropy-significance yet

          What is entropy-significance? It appears to be jargon. Entropy can be used in two ways– one in information theory, and the other in thermal physics. What the heck is entropy-significance?

          • “The truth is, any of these options could be correct. We don’t know. ”

            You don’t know, but I think that I have a pretty good idea, at least one which I have not found reason to doubt yet.

            “1) Can you prove to me that your position is correct? ”

            It depends what you mean by prove. Can you prove that a square cannot be a circle? Can you prove that an equation cannot solve to be the color blue? What I have done is found a position which seems more correct than any other which can be conceived at this time.

            “2) If you can’t do that, can you at least show me that your assertions are scientific hypotheses? That is, are they falsifiable? How could I prove you wrong? ”

            Prove me wrong by explaining what use matter would have for experience. Prove me wrong by showing that energy exists independently of a detector made of matter. Prove me wrong by locating a place in the brain where electrical activity is transduced into flavors and memories. I would not say that what I have is a hypothesis, it is a conjecture, and it is a broad one. That is its strength though. The whole point is to explain the entirety of existence in the simplest way that makes sense and doesn’t leave anything out. I’m not offering an answer, I’m offering a treasure map and a compass.

            “3) What predictive power does your model have? ”

            It predicts everything that physics does not. Order, life, qualia, meaning, wholeness, etc.

            “What empirical realities does it explain? And I don’t mean “it explains consciousness.””

            It explains the relation between experience, information, and physics.

            “Does it explain, for example, why membrane voltage is dependent as it is on BK channel conductance in specific neurons? Which physical observables can be measured by your model?”

            In the right hands I would think that a lot of physical observables can be interpreted in a more meaningful way with MSR which could yield medical advances and social improvements. MSR doesn’t change public physics, it gives a framework to integrate the public with the private ranges of physics.

            http://multisenserealism.com/the-competition/

            “What the heck is entropy-significance?”

            Entropy-significance, like space-time, is a term that I’m using to show the unity of the phenomenon. Entropy is signal degradation, a loss of discernment. Discernment is the capacity to signify, it is sense. You cannot have one without the other, as you cannot have up except as a contrast to down. Entropy presumes a pre-existing condition of sensory composition, an expectation of perceptual coherence.

          • Can you prove that a square cannot be a circle? Can you prove that an equation cannot solve to be the color blue?

            Here’s the first proof: a circle, by definition, is the set of all points equidistant from a given center. The set of all points of a square, however, are not equidistant from any given point. For a square of side-length l, some points are l/2 away from the center, but others are l/(sqrt(2)) from the center.

            Therefore, a square cannot be a circle, QED.

            This is what I mean by a proof.

            The second claim to be proven or disproven doesn’t make much sense. I could certainly solve an equation in which one of the variables is wavelength, and the wavelength corresponds to blue.

          • Prove me wrong by explaining what use matter would have for experience.

            What is “use?” This is deliberately vague. Matter doesn’t need qualia to exist, that would be Idealism.

            Prove me wrong by showing that energy exists independently of a detector made of matter.

            This claim itself is unprovable and unfalsibiable. By saying your claim can be falsified by an unfalsifiable claim, you’re only passing the buck to this claim.

            Prove me wrong by locating a place in the brain where electrical activity is transduced into flavors and memories.

            This is an argument from ignorance. I just said I can’t solve the mind-body problem. You’re saying that “Oh well, if you can’t solve it, then I must be right.”

          • “Here’s the first proof: a circle, by definition, is the set of all points equidistant from a given center.”

            That’s a quantitative definition of a circle. A circle is also a visual presence which contains no points at all and the center would only be inferred. The geometric definition that you are using assumes the concept of centers, distance, equality, and sets, which are all no less tautologically defined than the circle itself. These concepts are all mutually interdependent and rely ultimately on intuition and perceptual experience. The irreconcilability of your two definitions only reiterate the irreconcilability of circles and squares that we visualize. That reiteration doesn’t prove anything, other than that the precision of mathematics agrees with itself.

            “The second claim to be proven or disproven doesn’t make much sense. I could certainly solve an equation in which one of the variables is wavelength, and the wavelength corresponds to blue.”

            The wavelength only corresponds to blue if you can see the wavelength as blue. There is nothing blue about any wavelength, nor can there be anything blue about an equation. You say it doesn’t make sense because you have no answer for it. The fact that quantity can never translate into a feeling or sensation is so abundantly clear that it would be shameful if you tried to deny it. The only option is the to pull the “doesn’t make much sense” card. That’s the point, it can’t make sense. There is no bridge from numbers to colors, but there is a bridge from colors to numbers (count them, measure them with instruments). Good luck turning those measurements into color.

            “What is “use?” This is deliberately vague. Matter doesn’t need qualia to exist, that would be Idealism.”

            Exactly. Matter doesn’t need qualia to exist. So why is there qualia and how does matter produce it? Hint: Not possible. Qualia can make itself seem like matter (obviously, because we can dream of materially realistic worlds) but matter has no plausible to connection with qualia – unless you are proposing one.

            “This claim itself is unprovable and unfalsibiable. By saying your claim can be falsified by an unfalsifiable claim, you’re only passing the buck to this claim.”

            It doesn’t have to be unprovable. We could live in a universe where people transfer from material states to energy states, and we coexist with disembodied energy beings. My conjecture is a better way of explaining the peculiar nature of energy than science currently employs. Physics claims of the existence of ‘charge’, ‘force’, and ‘law’ are no less falsifiable.

            “This is an argument from ignorance. I just said I can’t solve the mind-body problem. You’re saying that “Oh well, if you can’t solve it, then I must be right.””

            You’re saying “I admit that I can’t solve it, so you must be wrong.”

            I’m not right because you can’t solve it, I’m right because I can explain exactly why it is unsolvable. There may be other reasons why it is unsolvable, but if nobody in the history of the world knows them then there’s not much point in considering them.

          • Well, it looks like Ranganath was right.

            A circle is not a “visual presence.” It is a geometric object. If I continue talking to you, I’m going to forget all the math and science I learned. Better stop.

            Ranganath and Captain Mandrake caught on quite early. I was late to the game. Enjoy your postmodern fantasies and technobabble.

          • I’m arguing with a guy who thinks that a square is a circle. It’s impossible to argue with someone who’s thrown logic itself out the window.

            When it comes to debating the far Right and debating the far Left, at least the far Right hasn’t thrown logic away. But when someone is trying to tell me that a square is a circle, there’s nothing that I can do.

          • “A circle is not a “visual presence.” It is a geometric object. If I continue talking to you, I’m going to forget all the math and science I learned. Better stop.”

            A geometric object, eh? And what sort of a thing is that? A two year old can say that she sees a circle. Geometric objects are a specialized fiction. See the difference? The former = concretely real phenomenal experience in the universe. The latter = representational abstraction developed through an academic tradition.

            “I’m arguing with a guy who thinks that a square is a circle. It’s impossible to argue with someone who’s thrown logic itself out the window.”

            No, you are arguing with a guy who understands that the foundations of geometry are no less unfalsifiable and tautological than what I propose. I asserted that the mutual exclusivity of squares and circles could not be proved, because I was pointing out that truth is not contingent on proof, but rather sense. You are grasping at straws so you give me the straw man that my position is that squares are circles. If that makes you feel like your perspective makes sense, then good for you. You gotta do what you gotta do not to admit you’re wrong.

          • By definition a square is not a circle. There’s no point proving or disproving definitions, they are axiomatic.

            From Book I of Euclid:

            A circle is a plane figure contained by one line such that all the straight lines falling upon it from one point among those lying within the figure equal one another.

            Of quadrilateral figures, a square is that which is both equilateral and right-angled.

            Want another reason why a square isn’t a circle? A circle isn’t a quadrilateral. It has infinite sides. Or how about another reason? There are no right angles in a circle. Sheesh.

          • I’m surprised you haven’t cited Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems yet to tell us why my inference is wrong because it assumes a particular type of logic!

          • “By definition a square is not a circle. There’s no point proving or disproving definitions, they are axiomatic.”

            Exactly, but it is intellectual sense which is providing those definitions and axioms, which are abstracted from visual and tactile sense. Visual and tactile sense presents a circle as a direct experience. Logical sense defines a circle indirectly, through axioms and ideas which relate circularity to other spatial observables. Circularity cannot be represented as an odor or sound (except metaphorically through time as a rhythm or cycle of repeating sensations).

            “Want another reason why a square isn’t a circle? A circle isn’t a quadrilateral. It has infinite sides. Or how about another reason? There are no right angles in a circle. Sheesh.”

            Again, quadrilateral and angles are a posteriori descriptions of a sensory phenomenon which a synthetic a prori. Reducing circularity and rectilinearity to numbers of sides and degree of angularity only defines the same phenomenon in more generic terms. It still doesn’t explain what makes one thing seem inarguably ‘different’ from the other. If anything, the quantified description obscures the more starkly apparent aesthetic difference between curves and angles by making hypothetical numbers of sides of a circle more relevant than the simple sense of absolute radial symmetry which it embodies.

            “I’m surprised you haven’t cited Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems yet to tell us why my inference is wrong because it assumes a particular type of logic!”

            Godel is just the beginning. I would place Godel at the gateway to the Postmodern/Existential stage of worldviews. I see your view as being one stage more primitive than that, and mine as being three stages more advanced than yours.

            [Developmental Stage: transcendental voyeur (localizing motive) - what is observed/transcended]

            Archaic/shamanic: Natural spirits (magic) – alienates objectivity with direct animism
            Classical/polytheistic: Named supernatural deities (prayer) – alienates physicality with empathetic identification
            Post-Classical/monotheistic: Absolute supernatural deity (religious devotion) – alienates morality with indirect identification
            Enlightenment/dualistic: Impersonal deity (reason) – alienates animism with mechanistic observation
            Modern/scientific: Impersonal forces and laws* (engineering) – alienates subjectivity with abstract formulation
            Post-modern/existential: Pure probability** (computation) – alienates subjective-objective dualism with quantum reconciliation
            Integral/holistic: Re-enchanted information (signifying pattern) – alienates impersonal perspectives with quantized qualia.
            Multisense/Ouroboran: Sensory perception (motive participation) – alienates alienation with qualia-quanta reconciliation.

            *evacuated sense and motive
            **evacuated physics

            Each stage involves a stepping out of the previous system. The Integral/holistic stage steps out of all systems by considering them information. The Multisense/Ouroboran stage steps out of {the system of stepping out of systems} by considering system-making and system-breaking as the final and absolute reconciliation of private unity (time) and public multiplicity (space).

      • So you are ‘pleading’ to be respectably criticized and also have the cheek to claim that you are a special kind of person capable of understanding the respectable theories that you are ridiculing, but the rest are not special enough to understand the ridiculous theories that you are not even proposing.

        You have already lost Ashwin’s challenge of paraphrasing your position on bio-centrism. Even a paraphrase needs to make sense which obviously yours does not.

        The exercises of actual criticism have already done by the moderators and other skeptics of Nirmukta. But it seems to have no effect on you.

        The use of dismissive language is unavoidable since some like me cannot be as gracious and indulgent towards incoherent rants (however copious and verbose they may be) as Ashwin has been been.

        You asked for the uncomplimentary comparison with Deepak Chopra. It is the ultimate badge any bogus philosopher can be honored with.

        • “The use of dismissive language is unavoidable”

          “I have no choice but to bully you and be a jerk and then blame you for it.” – Every bully, jerk, narcissist.

          When we reduce science to a sport, everybody loses. You may think that name calling is good for science, that it keeps out the riff raff, but have you actually researched that? Do you know what the effect is on people when they are dismissed and ridiculed? Do you know the effect that it has on your own intelligence to be smothered in aggression and resentment? You are shrinking your brain to match what you are doing to your mind.

          • Dear mr

            This ‘aggrieved’ response is another species of the ‘Special Pleading’ fallacies.

            Far from being ridiculed you want to be acknowledged as an ‘Einstein of the future’ and fear that our ‘dismissive’ language will nip in the bud someone waiting on the cusp of genius!!

            Jargon cannot to get you to Einstein or any scientific recognition or even mention. You can compete with Deepak Chopra and make him go blue or red in the face. We will galdly nominate you for that grand faux trophy.

            If your putative genius withers under the onslaught of skeptical newbies like us, we stand ever ready to shed pails of crocodile tears!!!

          • “This ‘aggrieved’ response is another species of the ‘Special Pleading’ fallacies.”

            No. Special pleading is about ignoring counterevidence in a debate, not about welcoming ad hominem attacks.

            “Far from being ridiculed you want to be acknowledged as an ‘Einstein of the future’ and fear that our ‘dismissive’ language will nip in the bud someone waiting on the cusp of genius!!”

            Do you honestly think that I care about what some random doofus on the interent cares about me? The only reason the I object to ridicule is because it distracts from the actual issue – which is what I care about. I do not care to make science into a wrestling match. Why should it be?

            Otherwise, I am completely fine to start a thread somewhere we insult each other personally. I enjoy being beating up on bullies who think they are intelligent. I’m being polite not because you deserve it, but because it’s a more scientific way to approach debate. Keeps the blood flowing to more evolved parts of the brain and away from the Limbic system. If you can’t consider theories and conjectures without reaching for the succor of your reptilian brain, then all I can say is that I am not surprised.

            “If your putative genius withers under the onslaught of skeptical newbies like us, we stand ever ready to shed pails of crocodile tears!!!”

            Ideally, I want to strive to treat people that I debate with as friends of friends, or distant family members. We should not be afraid to question each other, to expect clarification and persuasion, but there is no advantage to being rude. When we dismiss, insult, and belittle others personally, it demonstrates that you are expressing aggression and egotistical judgments rather than explaining and expanding your perspective or entertaining those of another fellow human being.

            Sometimes you have a cousin or an uncle who is just a bloated asshat, and no matter how reasonable you try to be, they will try to shout you down and put their fingers in their ears. They will justify their own actions at the expense of others, of reason, of decency – because they are programmed to do so. They aren’t able to curb their own rage and resentment and their left brain dominance will always turn the story upside down whenever required to preserve the model. It’s compulsive. The challenge is to find tolerance, even in the face of such empty hostility. That is the way forward. The Inquisition Era formulations of discourse are obsolete.

        • Lets all keep open minds when we deal with science scientifically. We are NOT proselytizers trying conversions.Are we? Forwarding “FOR” and “AGAINST” views or presenting entirely different views and entering into discussions upon it,is more to clarify (NOT converting), own ideas as well as for considering any worth-while views that might pop up through discussion of the relevent topic without making it personal .To bully or comments like “you don’t know anything , so keep quiet ” or words to that effect only shows lack of points for arguing one’s own points of view. Bio-centrism is an interesting topic for discussion because of the interesting sides and views it has,even for ordinary science hobbyists like us . None of us are Nobel laureates in science or as far as i could make out , professional scientists even. But all of us are very much interested in scientific methods and logic even to the extend of being aware of the limitations of science. Those who believe in the completeness of science should get open to its limitations and those of us who are aware of the narrowness of the logic and mathematics of science “reasoning” are further exploring the fields of human minds that lie even outside the field of conventional and orthodox scientific reasoning.Those who believe that scientific reasoning is inviolate need not feel raped if another doubts such inviolateness and react emotionally and provocatively and start to call names . By the way, regarding Euclid, his geometrical theorems are valid only to planar fields (ie, on plane surfaces only),but does not extend to stellar vastnesses.Our topic here, like BIO-CENTRIC CONSCIOUSNESS ,is much deeper than both and lies outside the purview of the geometry of space-time. But without even going to that extened, talking of circle and square they are of the same class viz,a figure with one hole. homotopoligcally ( ie, in Homotopy, a branch of mathematics ). For example, the square and the circle have many properties in common: they are both one dimensional objects (from a topological point of view) and both separate the plane into two parts, the part inside and the part outside.
          The very beauty of science and scientific thinking is that the answers in science have all very limited validity . Its the questions which are more important including the question whether science as we know it today can explain all the factors that really influence human survival. Macrocosm stands on the foundations of microcosm. The science of macrocosm might not be applicable to the foundations on which it stands. We, the material scientists, have so far been focusing our attentions on the child once its conceived.The child is very different from the twinkle in the eye of the father when he looked upon the mother. BIO-Centrism is perhaps point into analyzing that twinkle and those characteristic features of that twinkle that changes the very nature of the child and its behavior . Till now that field was let out to psychologists , sociologists and meta-scientists but now science with inquiring minds are bravely stepping into the field of qualitative from quantitative . The needed maths is getting developed . Now we have various types of mathematics like , Relational databases,Wolfram’s “cellular mathematics” ( iterative methods as distinct from differentiation), maths of chaos ( to express areas of stability out of chaotic instabilities) , Fractals ( expressing characteristics of fractional dimensions at all scales ), “Category theory” which formalizes and coordinates concepts of other high-level abstractions such as set theory, field theory, and group theory;.

    • Captain Mandrake

      Ranganath,

      This MR is just a pseudoscience peddler that escaped from the Intelligent design factory.

      Trained in repeatedly making the tired old argument from ignorance as demonstrated by comments below.

      No, I am asserting positively that there is no possibility that sentient beings came about in an insentient universe. I assert that because if you look at the universe that physics gives us, there is no room for any kind of awareness and no justification for it.

      Also trained in shifting the burden of proof by flipping Occam’s razor on its head as demonstrated below.

      I think that Occam’s Razor demands that when it comes to cosmology, we take *nothing* for granted, including “nothingness”. We should not take the easy way out and arbitrarily decide that the universe without consciousness happens to be just like it appears to us humans, especially when we know that appearances can be deceiving. Instead we should insist that everything that exists, every material form, every sensation and feeling be accounted for and reconciled seamlessly.

      A framing that sounds very scientific (the guy used the term Occam’s razor, he must be scientific, right) but when you strip it down what he says is that we should start by assigning all possible properties to the Universe with out any evidence. Then we should go seek evidence for the non-existence of Cosmic properties. If we fail to do so then we should assume those Cosmic properties should hold notwithstanding the lack of evidence.

      And this clown expects not to be mocked.

      • “but when you strip it down what he says is that we should start by assigning all possible properties to the Universe with out any evidence”

        Huh? No. I am saying just the opposite. We must start with no possibilities at all and add only those that are indispensable. The first thing that must be is being itself. A capacity for presence. What is presence? It is a feeling, a sense, an expectation. It is a concrete and participatory orientation. Presence is “here” and “now” – a point of view. If that does not exist (or insist, really) then there can be no universe, no particle, no positions or relations.

    • Captain Mandrake

      Ranganath,

      Since you brought up Deepak Chopra here is something I found on the web. A communication (http://www.michaelshermer.com/2012/07/aunt-millies-mind/#more-3047 ) between Michael Shermer and Deepak Chopra goes this way.

      “The idea that subjective experience is a result of electrochemical activity remains a hypothesis,” Chopra elaborated in an e-mail. “It is as much of a speculation as the idea that consciousness is fundamental and that it causes brain activity and creates the properties and objects of the material world.” “Where is Aunt Millie’s mind when her brain dies of Alzheimer’s?” I countered to Chopra. “Aunt Millie was an impermanent pattern of behavior of the universe and returned to the potential she emerged from,” Chopra rejoined.

      The comic factor is too much.

    • Ranganath,

      The problem is that even though the blog is filled with jargon, the author is not familiar with science. There are small clues to this throughout– he thinks that volts are a measure of energy, whereas volts is actually proportional to the rate of change of an electric field with respect to distance.

      He then takes E = mc^2 and obfuscates it! What E = mc^2 means is that in an atomic nucleus, some of the total nuclear mass is converted into nuclear binding energy. MR feels he has something to add to the discussion and says this:

      … I don’t think that there is actually any bright glowing haze to begin with. If we use a sense-based model instead, with energy as nothing more or less than the experience-behavior of things (particles, objects, cells, bodies), so that empty space cannot in any way contain energy …Instead, energy condenses as matter not through space but through time.

      Really?! Empty space cannot contain energy? He simply makes assertions , some of which are inherently meaningless and some of which are unproven, or worse, have proof against.

      Science is not an armchair subject. That is metaphysics It is clear that MR does not know science. I would encourage him/her to learn it, however, since he/she seems interested in it.

      • Sorry I mixed up the definition of voltage I caught myself right after I posted… word to the wise don’t post before you go to sleep :)

        E = -dV/dr, where E is the electric field, I switched the variables. A volt itself is a Joule/Coulomb, so not energy.

        • Captain Mandrake

          Ashwin,

          A volt itself is a Joule/Coulomb, so not energy.

          I believe this is a better definition.

          (Source wikipedia) Voltage is equal to the work done per unit charge against a static electric field to move the charge between two points.

      • An electric field is not energy?

        If you had to pick one, do volts relate to

        1. Matter
        2. Energy
        3. Time
        4. Space

        Which one would be the most accurate?

        I am not writing a course on electricity, I am showing how the basic concepts of energy, matter, time, space, entropy, and significance are united by what I call sense and motive.

        I stand by my conjecture that empty space cannot contain energy. You are free to disagree, but what science or even logic do you have that backs it up?

        • Captain Mandrake

          I am showing how the basic concepts of energy, matter, time, space, entropy, and significance are united by what I call sense and motive.

          Makes as much sense as “I am showing how the basic concepts of energy, matter, time, space, entropy, and significance are united by what I call hamburger and fries.”

          • Captain Mandrake

            Let me elaborate.

            Energy (heat to cook), Matter (meat, potato, flour), Space (kitchen counter area), Time (duration to cook), Entropy (the mess in the kitchen) emerges out of Hamburger and Fries is obvious. Less obvious is how Significance emerges. You just have to use logic a little more. The Hamburger and Fries creates the human who then enjoys the Significance of that which (“that which” is a construction one has to use to explain such concepts) created him/her. So now we see how Hamburger and Fries seamlessly unites basic concepts of energy, matter, time, space, entropy, and significance.

          • “Makes as much sense as [...] hamburger and fries.”

            Energy is the motive of matter through the sense of time.

            Matter is the sense of energy across the sense of space.

            Energy is not a hamburger. Space is not fries. So no, your statement does not make as much sense.

          • Captain Mandrake

            Well, hamburger and fries actually does a better job than your motive and sense. It not only united matter, space, time, and energy but also united entropy and significance as shown in the post above.

          • “So now we see how Hamburger and Fries seamlessly unites basic concepts of energy, matter, time, space, entropy, and significance.”

            Ok. I’ll play along with your sarcasm. How does Hamburger relate energy to space?

          • Captain Mandrake

            Well the hamburger and fries creates the kitchen counter (space) and the oven heat (energy) in which hamburger and fries are cooked. It is the hamburger and fries by their very natures relates the space and energy. Ah the beauty of word salad definitions.

            Now please explain how entropy and significance are related by motive and sense?

            BTW, what do mean by motive? Whenever I see a pseudoscience peddler like you I have the desire (ie motive) to spit (only metaphorically for I am a peaceful guy) on them. Is that what you mean by motive? Or do you just have to massacre the language further to come up with someother meaning for this word?

          • “Well the hamburger and fries creates the kitchen counter (space) and the oven heat (energy) in which hamburger and fries are cooked.”

            Then how do you explain that people who don’t eat hamburgers have kitchen counters and ovens that work?

            ” It is the hamburger and fries by their very natures relates the space and energy.”

            What do you claim that their natures are?

            “Now please explain how entropy and significance are related by motive and sense?”

            Significance is the container of entropy. Entropy is the attenuation of significance.

            This means that when our thermometer can no longer discern a difference, when we sense that its sensitivity to temperature differences(or thermal ‘affect’) is decreasing, then we say that there is an increase in thermodynamic entropy.

            Same thing with information entropy. In a Shannon entropy scenario, the letter e would have a higher information entropy than the letter q if you were trying to predict which letter comes next in a message. When the information entropy is high, there is not much compression that can be done, and the motive power or ‘effect’ of the compression schema is reduced toward zero.

            The big take away is that significance is an aesthetic resource which becomes increasing anesthetic as it transitions to entropy. Significance in a rich context like human experience is multiplied over millions of years of history. That history is embodied on different scales, our bodies, organs, cells, genes, molecules, but those embodiments are ultimately signifiers – tokens or pointers which allow consciousness to recover history as condensed/iconic representations.

            Loschmidt’s paradox might be helpful to you in understanding how entropy can only be derived as a lack of significance, and not the other way around. The universe from nothing view fails because nothing can come from nothing unless what you started with was not actually nothing, but included lots of smuggled in sensory-motor presumptions like fluctuation and probability logic, the possibility of order and memory, etc. The only cosmology that makes sense is the opposite – a universe from the diffraction of everythingness rather than an accumulation from nothingness.

          • Captain Mandrake

            **Then how do you explain that people who don’t eat hamburgers have kitchen counters and ovens that work?**

            Simple. Once you establish that kitchen counters and ovens emerges from hamburgers and fries it must be obvious how to explain the kitchen counters and ovens of people who do not eat hamburgers and fries. Cosmic hamburger and fries to the rescue of course. You see Occam’s razor demands that the Universe that creates hamburger and fries should also have those properties. That is a far simpler explanation than a Universe with out such properties and yet ends up producing hamburgers and fries. So now that we have established that Cosmic hamburger and fries must exist it should be easy to explain how ovens and kitchen counters become functional by participation as Cosmic hamburger and fries gets cooked.

            **What do you claim that their natures are?**

            Ofcourse that is derived from the Cosmic hamburger and fries. Uniting time, matter, energy, entropy, significance, insignificance and several other things explained and unexplained (it would be Hubris to think otherwise) are some of the parts of their nature and (of course) unnature.

            **“Now please explain how entropy and significance are related by motive and sense?”

            Significance is the container of entropy. Entropy is the attenuation of significance.**

            Where did the sense and motive go and where did the container and attenuation come from?

            **The big take away is that significance is an aesthetic resource which becomes increasing anesthetic as it transitions to entropy.**

            Allow me to add a few more to that piece of wisdom.

            “The Higgs boson regulates your own external reality”
            “Perception is the ground of humble brightness”
            “The invisible requires cosmic marvel”
            “The web of life is reborn in boundless excellence”
            “Culture influences irrational energy”
            “Experiential truth expresses ephemeral creativity”

          • “Once you establish that kitchen counters and ovens emerges from hamburgers and fries”

            Then get back to me when you establish that.

            “Ofcourse that is derived from the Cosmic hamburger and fries”

            Can you explain what that Cosmic hamburger and fries is?

            “Where did the sense and motive go and where did the container and attenuation come from?”

            The container and attenuation are descriptions of the relation between significance and entropy. An analogy would be that the container of temperature is heat, and the attenuation of heat is cold.

            “Allow me to add a few more to that piece of wisdom.”

            I know you think that you’re being witty, but I have had this same conversations with dozens of others who think and respond exactly the same way that you do. I can’t tell you apart, to be honest. One long droning bore of smug mediocrity. What’s your theory of consciousness? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

          • Captain Mandrake

            **Then get back to me when you establish that.**

            Which was already established in the first post where I united matter, energy, time, space, entropy and significance with the hamburger and fries.

            **Can you explain what that Cosmic hamburger and fries is?**

            Again its nature and unnature has been explained in the previous post.

            **The container and attenuation are descriptions of the relation between significance and entropy. An analogy would be that the container of temperature is heat, and the attenuation of heat is cold.**

            What happened to the sense and motive which was what was uniting the time, matter, space, energy, entropy and significance, right?

            **I know you think that you’re being witty, but I have had this same conversations with dozens of others who think and respond exactly the same way that you do. I can’t tell you apart, to be honest. One long droning bore of smug mediocrity.**

            And you think you are the first pseudoscience peddler I have encountered? All using the same of set of tactics… argument from ignorance, shifting the burden of proof, begging the question and word salad definitions.

            **What’s your theory of consciousness? Yeah, that’s what I thought.**

            Consciousness is what your brain does much like respiration is what your lung does and like digestion is what your stomach does. The body of knowledge that has been built through the meticulous process called science has to varying extents explained such phenomena. Of course there are gaps. Not sure if these gaps will be completely filled. But if these gaps are to be filled we still have to rely on the same meticulous process called science. Your bullshit synthesizer of a blog has no place in the scientific enterprise. It might do a world of good to you if you familiarize yourself with it. So here is the link again.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

          • “Which was already established in the first post”

            No, it wasn’t.

            “Again its nature and unnature has been explained in the previous post.”

            No, it wasn’t.

            “What happened to the sense and motive which was what was uniting the time, matter, space, energy, entropy and significance, right?”

            Significance is the product of sense, motive, and time. Entropy is the erosion of sense and motive across space.

            It’s all there in my thesis (http://multisenserealism.com/thesis/):
            *ॐ* ⊇ { ((ℵ↔Ω) ↑ ºt) ⊥ (ωª ↓ (H←d) ) }

            Totality/Singularity is the superset or equal to ((the high and low aesthetic range of private sense-motive presentations) escalating logarithmically in significance through time) is orthomodular/perpendicular to (public mass-energy representations) reducing deterministically by (the relation of entropy, distance, and thermodynamic irreversibility and gravity).

            I just put that in in case anyone is interested. I don’t expect you to take it seriously.

            “And you think you are the first pseudoscience peddler I have encountered?”

            Haha. I like how I’m a ‘peddler’. Am I selling something? I have a solution for the Hard Problem of Consciousness. I share it for people who are interested. That’s pretty much it. Don’t flatter yourself to think that I would care whether you believe me or not. I don’t need anyone to ‘buy my wares’.

            “All using the same of set of tactics… argument from ignorance, shifting the burden of proof, begging the question and word salad definitions.”

            Cool, all the most popular pseudoscience buzzwords in the same sentence. These are all rhetorical constraints which will have to be reframed for any serious solution to the hard problem. Logical arguments are a tiny subset of consciousness. Consciousness is beyond all proof, and no proof is necessary.

            “Consciousness is what your brain does much like respiration is what your lung does and like digestion is what your stomach does.”

            So why don’t lungs and digestion have subjective experiences? How would such a phenomenon as what you see before you now assist the brain in directing the behavior of the body? Why would the function of the body in its environment be materially different than the function of a T-cell body in its environment?

            “The body of knowledge that has been built through the meticulous process called science has to varying extents explained such phenomena. Of course there are gaps.”

            Haha. It’s all gaps. Science has found no evidence of consciousness at all. All we have is some intuitive correlations to our own unproven, unfalsifiable experiences.

            “Not sure if these gaps will be completely filled.”

            Science won’t fill them if it does not extend its considerations beyond traditional ranges.

            “But if these gaps are to be filled we still have to rely on the same meticulous process called science.”

            Nobody is arguing against that, but hypothesis is not meticulous. Somebody has to come up with a hypothesis first before the next round of methodical research can begin.

            “Your bullshit synthesizer of a blog has no place in the scientific enterprise.”

            You have no place speaking for the scientific enterprise. I am more of a scientist than any dozen of blokes like you will ever be…and I’m not even trying.

          • Captain Mandrake

            **Consciousness is beyond all proof, and no proof is necessary.**

            And you claim to be scientist.

            **Science won’t fill them if it does not extend its considerations beyond traditional ranges.**

            By beyond traditional ranges you mean that scientific method has to relax its requirement for things like proof and falsifiable hypothesis.

            **Nobody is arguing against that, but hypothesis is not meticulous. Somebody has to come up with a hypothesis first before the next round of methodical research can begin.**

            Yes, and your non-falsifiable hypothesis are useless. This is the problem with your God of the gaps arguments like the following.

            **It predicts everything that physics does not.**

            When asked how it predicts you will just back up your claim with a series of word salad definitions after saying that your claim is beyond proof. No knowledge is build up on account of your BS hypothesis.

            **Significance is the product of sense, motive, and time. Entropy is the erosion of sense and motive across space.**

            More word salads.

            **So why don’t lungs and digestion have subjective experiences? **

            That is why I said “Consciousness is what your brain does much like respiration is what your lung does and like digestion is what your stomach does.” I did not say “Consciousness”=”Respiration”=”Digestion”.

            If I were to say “Running is what you leg does much like writing is what you hand does” I do not mean that “Running”=”Writing”.

            **I am more of a scientist than any dozen of blokes like you will ever be…and I’m not even trying.**

            Exactly. When you claim that your hypothesis is beyond proof it is easy and you do not have to try. The blokes you debate with are constrained by the scientific method.

          • “And you claim to be scientist.”

            I claim to understand consciousness scientifically.

            “By beyond traditional ranges you mean that scientific method has to relax its requirement for things like proof and falsifiable hypothesis.”

            No, by beyond traditional ranges I mean that the scientific method has to tighten its requirements for itself. Science should examine public phenomena more subjectively, and subjective phenomena more objectively, and it should examine itself more philosophically.

            “When asked how it predicts you will just back up your claim with a series of word salad definitions after saying that your claim is beyond proof. No knowledge is build up on account of your BS hypothesis.”

            My claim is not beyond proof, the phenomena which my claim relates to is beyond proof. Big difference. I’m not asking anyone to take my word for it. I am asking that you think for yourself. Examine the propositions and see if you can see any reason why it doesn’t work other than your own prejudices against it, and against all unfamiliar ideas from outside of institutional channels.

            **Significance is the product of sense, motive, and time. Entropy is the erosion of sense and motive across space.**

            “More word salads.”

            Not at all. It’s hard to relate to someone who projects his own lack of understanding onto others. You don’t understand what I’m saying so the only possibility is that I don’t understand what I’m saying. I can’t help you with that. I’m afraid that is a personality issue.

            “That is why I said “Consciousness is what your brain does much like respiration is what your lung does and like digestion is what your stomach does.” I did not say “Consciousness”=”Respiration”=”Digestion”.

            But consciousness is nothing like what any organ does. All an organ can do is metabolize substances into other substances, contract and relax, etc. There is no process in the brain which warrants that a dimension of subjective experience be attached to it. That’s what all the fuss is about for the last few thousand years. Dualism exists for a reason. The hard problem, the explanatory gap, the symbol grounding problem, and the binding problem are all considered unsolvable by people who understand them.

            “If I were to say “Running is what you leg does much like writing is what you hand does” I do not mean that “Running”=”Writing”.”

            Obviously, but again, we can see what respiration is and what digestion is, but what we see in the brain is not consciousness. What we see is generic regionalized patterns of meaningless physiological activity.

            “Exactly. When you claim that your hypothesis is beyond proof”

            False accusation. See above.

            “it is easy and you do not have to try. The blokes you debate with are constrained by the scientific method.”

            I don’t constrain anyone to any method. My intention is to debate with free thinking people who can consider ideas on their own merits without consulting rule books and dictionaries.

  • Capt Mandrake, 

    Can you Produce verifiable evidence for string theory, super string theory ( of course you can say that you did not make it ). 
    Both of those theories are constructs of the mind ( you might say , mathematical constructs ), but not a thing to show on the ground. 

    The postulations of ” quarks ” is another such one  , a construct of the mind .

    Can you produce a shred of evidence to prove  that mind is an emergent phenomena?   

    If you cannot , then keep your mind open to the potential possibility  that  perhaps after all , mind might be a fundamental entity , and, NOT an emergent phenomena. 

    Scientists having reached a cul-de-sac with matter for explaining cosmic phenomena is now giving afresh look at Life and Intelligence , mind and awareness from a larger perspective directly   than studying mind through the scaffolding of matter, studying Bio- sciences and life sciences NOT through the eyes and paradigms of physics ( bio- physics ) and Chemistry ( bio- chemistry ) . 

    Bio- centrism is one such attempt,  a fledgling science full of rich potential and therefore very exciting .

    Yet another option available is to take a re-look into Bergson’s 19the century postulation of élan vital . 19th century detractors of  that theory whose time had not come then could succeed in  putting  that theory on the back burner,back then  .  

    Finding nuggets of wisdom from previously discarded theories  and revitalising   them and finding new meaning and applications  is common in science ( examples , Newton’s corpuscular theory of light  , Huygens’ wave theory of light, cosmological constant of Einstein,  to name a few ). For every theory there is a time for it to pick up. Perhaps, now that hardcore scientists are seeking fresh ground to stand on,  “mind”or,”Cosmological Consciousness” is an option the  time has come for élan vital to bloom and flourish .

    There is much work to do , mathematical as well as experimental , with mind as the central piece of interest independent of matter. We have to discretise,  quantify  and assign a proper “unit of measurement” to measure Consciousness in the first place.

    Cosmos, to us bio- intelligence, is a bundle of  “relationships”  between various energies, mind and matter being  just two among them. There are various unknown and unknowable ones too spread and scattered over dimensions that are transcendental to us bio- intelligence.     

    If all evidences and proofs are ready to prove Bio- centrism ( or mind- centrism , as distinct from material- centrism ),  then what’s the point in discussing about this new find ? What’s the fun ?  

    If everything is so clear then  what is there  to discuss about  with you or with others about Bio- centrism , Captain . No need to also.

    We are just toying with new ideas about how to make better  sense out of cosmos in it’s infinite glory and variety . The fun is in the chase not in the catch . We are partaking in the process of creation  of science . And , Internet communication is making it possible for non- scientists and amateurs  to interact with other non- professional and, if lucky , with some professional minds too , a facility not available in olden times. 

    Let’s rejoice at the opportunity we get and take it all in the right spirit.    

    Besides. For science , all answers are just stepping stones to more questions .
    That’s the great glory of science.

    Dadster.                          

  • “When Newton worked out the force of gravity,he helped to set into motion the Industrial Revolution. When Faraday worked out Electricity and Magnetism , he set into motion the Electric Age.When Einstein wrote down e  = mc^2, he unleashed the nuclear age. Now we are on the verge of a theory ” …. of  “Cosmological  Consciousness ” in Cosmic multi dimensions,  the projection of which is “Life energy ” in our dimensions,  which may one day determine the fate of the human species. ( a’la Michio Kakku ) .

  • “Lets all keep open minds when we deal with science scientifically. We are NOT proselytizers trying conversions.Are we?”

    Actually, let’s not forget that this blog is a scientific rebuttal to a spiritualized promulgation of pseudo scientific.

    Biocentrism Demystified-A Response to Deepak Chopra and Robert Lanzas Notion of a Conscious Universe

    • “Actually, let’s not forget that this blog is a scientific rebuttal to a spiritualized promulgation of pseudo scientific. ”

      If that’s true, then all the more reason to keep open minds…unless the blog’s true purpose is to indulge a confirmation bias of pseudoskepticism. If the rebuttal is scientific, then it should seek to disprove itself before announcing conclusions on what it is rebutting.

      • MR-CW
        Awareness of awareness. So you think that a materialistic world view can’t understand what you are trying to convey making you appear to be a pseudo scientific when they are in fact pseudo skeptical.

        “anthropomorphism and mechanemorphism are a clue as to the template of the underlying nature of nature – that it is in fact an aesthetic agenda from which human subjectivity is directly descended.”

        “I have heard it referred to as an illusion, an emergent property, epiphenomena, or even a spandrel (evolutionary side effect which plays no role in further developments).”

        It seems that in your effort to unify you dilute the methodology and conflate the mechanisms of philosophy and science. But you are entitled to believe. I just don’t happen to find what you think of as significant proof compelling.

        Jose Drost-Lopez asked and posited very good questions in your interview.

  • Ajita Kamal

    “How can you condone discrediting a large number of practising scientists by implying they are not ‘true scientists’, simply because they do not agree with your interpretation of the universe?”

    Dr. Wadhawan did not use the phase “true scientists”. You are the one using it. The reason why those scientists are wrong is not “simply because they do not agree with your interpretation of the universe” as you falsely claim, but because of the various reasons that we have listed in the article. Please address the arguments put forth instead of making silly generalizations.

  • Captain Mandrake,

    To find the answer, you will need to quieten your own mind and see if you have an existence apart from your mind and intellect. Try it and see, you will know how difficult it is to do it, especially for people like us who have been taught to analyse objects and never ourselves – which is how our modern education system is. But if you can do it like a true scientist, then there wont be much of a need to turn to equations and theories – for you will know for yourself. I did cut paste the article, what you present as your ‘own’ ideas are only what you understood of the scientist’s theories and experiments, isnt it? Its not your own. Unless you start enquiring into your own self, nothing , no knowledge will be first hand – that is ultimately what the Upanishads and Vedas ask one too. Until the day you turn to look at yourself, all this will look like having arosen from indigestion :).

    All the best

  • SThoreau,
    You seem to be someone familiar with the scientific and the metaphysical side of things. What made you to move towards the metaphysical side from the scientific side of things? Is it to do with the scientific process being iterative and takes many many years to bring closure to matters of the physical world tnat are observable with our five senses. Some years ago, I saw a program on TV, which showed how other living creatures in this world perceive colours and objects.