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Materialism itself creates the mystery around consciousness

letter in Physics Today offers,

Surely, not only the question of the origin of life, which Keith Schofield raised in his letter ( Physics Today, August 2012, page 12), but questions of consciousness and of free will may be beyond the bounds of science. For instance, what measuring devices, other than human beings themselves, can we use to detect human consciousness? Clearly, purely physical data cannot penetrate the mystery that is the human mind.

That’s not to say that consciousness evades study. Quite the opposite; it can be studied on its own terms. Recently, researchers offered an assessment that “Self-talk takes up one quarter of conscious experience.”

Whether that number proves useful or not, the researchers would seem to be on the right track. That is, they are beginning by studying what consciousness is, rather than trying to club it into submission, to force it to be something else.

Clubbers want to study consciousness the way they are used to studying things of a different nature. Then they complain because they are not getting anywhere and demand acceptance of substandard ideas that—under the circumstances—could only ever have been substandard.

By comparison, an attempt to look at the relationship between human language (self-talk) and human consciousness can seem like light in a dark tunnel.

In short, materialism itself creates the mystery around consciousness, by insisting on ways of studying it that mainly guarantee clumsy news words, not new insights (cf perceptronium).

In somewhat the same way, the prophet Darwin really messed with our understanding of forest ecosystems. His religion demands that organisms that share data be advance their selfish genes’ survival, whereas the organisms themselves had never heard of any such requirement.

If just about everything materialism has contributed to science in the last century were thrown out, the science would be way better.

A forest ecosystem is primarily about converting as much inanimate matter as possible into animate matter or materials suited to the use thereof. Individual survivals are sought within that context because there is no survival outside it.

– O’Leary for News

Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

Materialism itself creates the mystery around consciousness

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5 Responses to Materialism itself creates the mystery around consciousness

  1. Thank you for this post, and for many others.
    The ones you have given us on the multiverse are especially good.

    If I may pontificate….its disappointing that theologians and philosophers seem indifferent to They publish endless unread and unreadable papers on minutia or post modern silliness, leaving the advocates of Scientism holding the field unopposed.

    I suppose their reason is “I didnt take math cause it was too hard.”
    Okay, but is willful ignorance an excuse?

  2. If just about everything materialism has contributed to science in the last century were thrown out, the science would be way better.

    You’re suggesting we throw out at all science in the last century, then? You appear to be mixed up on the difference between methodological materialism and ontological materialism.

  3. Semi related to this

    “what measuring devices, other than human beings themselves, can we use to detect human consciousness? Clearly, purely physical data cannot penetrate the mystery that is the human mind.”

    is this recent video IP loaded up on his youtube channel on why materialism is inconsistent with QM and why the past is determined by “final causes” in the mind:

    Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Experiment Explained
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6HLjpj4Nt4

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” -
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961 – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’

  4. Thanks for your support, chris haynes. What some of us find most troubling is the claim that unless we all get with the program, we’ll be left behind. The problem is, when we look at the nonsense going forward, we can only wish that the circus would leave town without us. Tough luck, it’s just going round and round the town square in a steadily widening circle, as more wagons are added, the clown car of methodological naturalism in the lead.

    Remember, any show that can get past the MN clown car can join the circus, no matter how good or bad a show it actually is.

    Given that it is going in a circle, the one thing it can’t do is leave town.

  5. ‘If just about everything materialism has contributed to science in the last century were thrown out, the science would be way better.’

    Hilariously incisive, Denyse. It would be nice to think that it was a jokey, throw-away line, but alas, taking away the potential for the ironic humour it might suggest, we would still be left with a grievously simple and profound truth, wouldn’t we?

    You and William J Murray should team up to write that book of apothegms I’ve been urging him to write.

    ‘Apothegms’. (… lovely word, even if you have to guess or look up how pronounce it ….

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