Mod+ 250. DR. JEFFREY SCHWARTZ, SCIENCE’S INABILITY TO EXPLAIN PERSONHOOD

Well, I'll share an idea I had. I don't know if it makes sense, it's late and I'm sleepy. Here goes. I believe that wave-functions really do exist. When a photon or other particle goes by, it's as if that wave-function is energized. The wave-function acts like a conduit for particles and waves. There are neural pathways that are not energized until a thought energizes that pathway as well. I am seeing a similarity between neural pathways in the brain, and wave-functions in the quantum vacuum. They both become energized when used. Does that make sense?
I think that when trying to mix physics and non-material matters it is essential to use a fair bit of care.

For starters, if you end up with what looks like a physical description of something conscious or something ψ, that seems to be an argument for materialism - which is OK if you want to argue that way, but not otherwise!

From a purely physics point of view, I can't see what it would mean to say the wave function exists (or presumably does not exist). It is a mathematical prescription, and the only relevant question would be whether there is a deeper reality that explains why that mathematical prescription works.

David
 
Thanks David.
I think that when trying to mix physics and non-material matters it is essential to use a fair bit of care.

For starters, if you end up with what looks like a physical description of something conscious or something ψ, that seems to be an argument for materialism - which is OK if you want to argue that way, but not otherwise!
Yup! That has been kicking me in the butt for years. It has made it very difficult to defend psi because so much of it can almost be explained by materialism. So, I had to take another approach using wave-functions.
From a purely physics point of view, I can't see what it would mean to say the wave function exists (or presumably does not exist). It is a mathematical prescription, and the only relevant question would be whether there is a deeper reality that explains why that mathematical prescription works. David
I believe that wave-functions are describing something that really exists. I know this sounds crazy, but I believe that there are what can only be described as "ghost waves" that are not made of anything physical. They behave like something that can be energized and has energy and momentum states. The Michelson-Morley experiment disproved the existence of a particulate aether, made of particles; but then science made an error and assumed that any kind of aether was impossible. About 40 years later, wave-functions were born with quantum mechanics. Nobody ever considered that an aether could be made out of wave-functions or any kind of ghost wave. I use the idea of a "ghost wave" to mean that something is actually there, but we can't detect it directly. Such ghost waves would fill all of space and would make permitivity, permeability and the speed of light exist.
 
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Ghost waves could exist without creating any kind of paradoxes or violating physics laws. They are the energy states available for electromagnetism, and are responsible for the physics constants c, permitivity of free space and permeability of free space. Wave-functions, as quantum mechanics solutions, are actually describing these "ghost waves".

Anyway, if these ghost waves can exist, as a kind of aether, than there could be other kinds of phenomena that is observed as ghosts, spirits, etc...
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Ghost waves could exist without creating any kind of paradoxes or violating physics laws. They are the energy states available for electromagnetism, and are responsible for the physics constants c, permitivity of free space and permeability of free space. Wave-functions, as quantum mechanics solutions, are actually describing these "ghost waves".

Anyway, if these ghost waves can exist, as a kind of aether, than there could be other kinds of phenomena that is observed as ghosts, spirits, etc...
Hmmmm...I don't know if this would all add up. That said, it seems the astronomer Antony Hewish might've somewhat agreed with you:

"The ghostly presence of virtual particles defies rational common sense and is non-intuitive for those unacquainted with physics. Religious belief in God, and Christian belief ... may seem strange to common-sense thinking. But when the most elementary physical things behave in this way, we should be prepared to accept that the deepest aspects of our existence go beyond our common-sense understanding."
 
I sent a e-mail to Loyd Auerbach, and he agreed to give an interview for the Skeptiko! Alex, I started a personal conversation with you and posted Auerbach's contact information there, so you may start making the arrangements of the upcoming interview. :)
I'm looking forward to it.
 
Hmmmm...I don't know if this would all add up. That said, it seems the astronomer Antony Hewish might've somewhat agreed with you:
"The ghostly presence of virtual particles defies rational common sense and is non-intuitive for those unacquainted with physics. Religious belief in God, and Christian belief ... may seem strange to common-sense thinking. But when the most elementary physical things behave in this way, we should be prepared to accept that the deepest aspects of our existence go beyond our common-sense understanding."
My gut feeling is that a lot of exotic physics may collapse for a variety of reasons once psychic phenomena and/or consciousness get better explanations:

1) Physics doesn't incorporate consciousness. Basic QM did try to do so, but mainstream physics hasn't developed that theme. That single fact suggests that there is something fundamental about ordinary room temperature physics that isn't understood!

2) Physics has extrapolated far too far beyond reliable experimental data. A good example is the idea that we can explore things that happened 10^(-30) sec after the big bang! Theory that is based on such extrapolation may just turn out to be wrong, and if other theories have been built on top, those are going to crash and burn too!

3) To be honest, I think that a lot of science has lost contact with reality.

The most reliable parts of science are those that directly result in technology. Physicists have clearly learned a huge amount of relaiable information about the solid state, otherwise our computers wouldn't work, but other areas don't get that reality check.

David
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

My gut feeling is that a lot of exotic physics may collapse for a variety of reasons once psychic phenomena and/or consciousness get better explanations:

1) Physics doesn't incorporate consciousness. Basic QM did try to do so, but mainstream physics hasn't developed that theme. That single fact suggests that there is something fundamental about ordinary room temperature physics that isn't understood!

2) Physics has extrapolated far too far beyond reliable experimental data. A good example is the idea that we can explore things that happened 10^(-30) sec after the big bang! Theory that is based on such extrapolation may just turn out to be wrong, and if other theories have been built on top, those are going to crash and burn too!

3) To be honest, I think that a lot of science has lost contact with reality.

The most reliable parts of science are those that directly result in technology. Physicists have clearly learned a huge amount of relaiable information about the solid state, otherwise our computers wouldn't work, but other areas don't get that reality check.

David
Interesting post. I agree with you regarding the multiverse and the incorporation of consciousness. Two recently posted links might be of interest:

1) An article about four thinkers critical of immutable natural laws. (thread here) Disappointed to not see Sheldrake mentioned, given he pushed for this kind of thinking before it was cool...

2) Radicalpolitik posted a lecture from Chalmers on Consciousness and the Collapse of the Wave Function (thread here):

 

Alex

Administrator
I sent a e-mail to Loyd Auerbach, and he agreed to give an interview for the Skeptiko! Alex, I started a personal conversation with you and posted Auerbach's contact information there, so you may start making the arrangements of the upcoming interview. :)
thx. done. he's got a very interesting book on the history of USA v USSR psychic spying... very much looking forward to this interview.
 
If you study the history of pseudo-skepticism you will find that the "problem" is that the soul is a religious idea and certain influential scientists believed the purpose of science was to eradicate religion. So, the anti-religious motivation is primary and science is secondary, just a tool to be used to achieve the primary goal, and that is why science gets perverted by pseudo-skeptics.
I posted some supporting evidence in another thread :

I thought this video was excellent. It makes the case that the evidence most often said to demonstrate Darwinian evolution does no such thing, but these misleading examples are repeated because there really isn't any good evidence for evolution. It also goes on to show that the reason for this is that evolutionary biology as taught in schools is really teaching atheism. Neither physics nor chemistry text books make statements about God or religion, those books just talk about the evidence and the science. It is only in evolutionary biology that statements about how science makes belief in god and religion unnecessary, and they rely on misleading statements about the evidence to do it.
...
 
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The Cosmic Adventure: Science, Religion and the Quest for Purpose by John F. Haught

'Scientific materialism itself denies that there are any arbitrary breaks in nature. Everything is on a continuum with everything else. Everything that exists is explicable in terms of the mass-energy plenum. Our mental processes are also in principle fully explicable in terms of matter and energy. Seemingly, therefore, materialists are monists, since for them reality is reducible to the one realm of the physical. They apparently reject any dualism that would give to mind a separate ontological status. However, although they are monists metaphysically speaking, in that they reduce reality to only one kind of stuff, they remain dualists in their epistemology, that is, in their view of knowledge. They demand that we be objective in our understanding of nature, and this objectivity requires that we keep our subjectivity detached from the object, nature. The scientist’s own mind must remain at a distance from the object being investigated in order that an "objective" perspective become possible. This divorce of the scientific subject’s mind from the object being examined amounts to an epistemological dualism.

The attempt by materialists to hold together a metaphysical monism of matter with an epistemological dualism of mind over against matter seems to be incoherent. For on the one hand the materialist philosophy asserts that beings with minds evolved out of the cosmic process and, therefore, are continuous with nature. But on the other hand the same philosophy maintains that the minds of these beings are separate from the natural world during any valid act of knowing. It is very difficult to piece these contradictories together from the point of view of logic. Furthermore, materialism’s epistemological dualism leaves open the door for the "existential" alienation of the subject from its cosmic context. It establishes a way of thinking that eventuates in the sense, expressed earlier by Klemke that I am a stranger in an indifferent and hostile universe. The epistemological dualism implicit in scientific materialism inevitably leads to the feeling that nature is without purpose and that my own conscious life lacks any grounding in the universe.

The consensus of much recent thought, however, a great deal of it coming from physicists themselves, is that mind is intrinsic rather than extrinsic to nature. The universe is permeated not only with process but also with mentality. As in the ancient mythic visions, our own minds actually belong in the context of the cosmos.7

Physicist David Bohm, who dares to speculate on what he considers to be the philosophical implications of modern physics, asks whether thought itself might not be part of reality as a whole. He challenges us to ask: "...how are we to think coherently of a single, unbroken, flowing actuality of existence as a whole, containing both thought (consciousness) and external reality as we experience it?"8


...to meet the challenge before us our notions of cosmology and of the general nature of reality must have room in them to permit a consistent account of consciousness. Vice versa, our notions of consciousness must have room in them to understand what it means for its content to be ‘reality as a whole.’ The two sets of notions together should then be such as to allow for an understanding of how reality and consciousness are related.
9

Relativity theory and quantum physics in the present century have given rise to a great deal of speculation like that of Bohm’s...'
 
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