The Next Big Bang: Human Consciousness & the Universe (The limitations of science)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 14:52 (113 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: but if we strip the panpsychist theory down to its essentials, we have nothing more than consciousness. Let’s stick to that for the moment.

QUOTE3: “[Wheeler] called his theory the “participatory anthropic principle,” which posits that a human observer is key to the process. […] In his view, much like the Buddhist one, nothing exists unless there is a consciousness to apprehend it.

While acknowledging the mysteries of the quantum world, I find this so contrary to everyday experience, history and common sense that I reject it totally. I do not believe the universe, dinosaurs and the Grand Canyon do not/did not exist until or unless we observe(d) them. My usual response to this is to invite the believer to step in front of a bus, and then kid himself it did not exist until he got hit.

Wheeler has to be understood from delayed choice experiments. Our conscious choices determine the result.


dhw: QUOTE: "Neuroscientist Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, is another supporter of panpsychism. Koch says that the only theory we have to date about consciousness is, it’s a level of awareness about one’s self and the world. Biological organisms are conscious because when they approach a new situation, they can change their behavior in order to navigate it, in this view.

This is crucial to my own “cellular intelligence” hypothesis concerning evolution, except that I would restrict “awareness about one’s self” to humans and perhaps some of our fellow animals. Organisms know what they are doing, but it seems unlikely that they know that they know what they are doing.

I would go further. None of our fellow animals are self-aware except in a physical sense. And they do not know why they are doing what they are doing.


dhw: QUOTE: "Unlike their hotter sisters, cooler stars may move faster due to “the emission of a uni-directional jet.” Such stars emit a jet early on in their creation. Matloff suggests that this could be an instance of the star consciously manipulating itself, in order to gain speed.

This is the level at which my own scepticism begins to set in. It raises the question of a borderline between consciousness and non-consciousness which none of us can draw. Does inorganic matter “know” what it’s doing (without knowing that it knows)?

I agree.


dhw: QUOTE: “So, for the sake of argument, if consciousness is a property that arises on the subatomic level with a confluence of particles, how do these tiny little bits of consciousness coalesce?

I don’t have a problem if the “particles” are organic – i.e. cells communicating and cooperating – but that is a giant step away from inorganic particles combining to form living cells.

The article and other opinions wonder about quantum consciousness in the brain. Think of Penrose.


dhw: I simply can’t latch onto Giulio Tononi’s theory of a physical body that radiates different levels of non-physical awareness into physical bodies from a physical location. Dr Tononi wants to measure consciousness according to “how much control a being can enact over itself or objects around it. The theory separates intelligence from consciousness…." He therefore confines consciousness to living beings. It would perhaps be interesting to know how he separates consciousness from intelligence and from sheer physical limitations during his observations of how much control, say, bacteria have over themselves and the objects around them.

Bacteria do not control objects around them.


dhw: DAVID’s comment: And I believe in panentheism, God within and without the universe.

The expression is far too glib for me. I would like to know what you mean by “without” (presumably = outside).

The definition of panentheism I've found is that God is both inside and outside the universe He created. Pantheism means He is just inside. I am a panentheist because the universe has a beginning and God is eternal.


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