Home » Intelligent Design, Mind, Neuroscience, News » Re Jerry Coyne and buddy vs. Deepak Chopra: If rocks can be conscious, why can’t photons be?

Re Jerry Coyne and buddy vs. Deepak Chopra: If rocks can be conscious, why can’t photons be?

Readers may recall that recently Deepak Chopra took Darwin’s man Jerry Coyne to task after Coyne boasted that allies of his had gone after Chopra’s and Rupert Sheldrake’s Wikipedia sites.

Why anyone bothers about what is said on Wikipedia sites, some of us will never know. Wikipedia is the Titanic of encyclopedias, a disaster by its own standards. Happy are those who starve trolls by not having a listing.

That said, it appears that Coyne has a supporter at Forbes, one Steven Salzberg, who tells us,

Deepak Chopra is upset.

Why? Well, it all goes back to statements like this one, from Chopra himself:

“Consciousness may exist in photons, which seem to be the carrier of all information in the universe.”

Chopra is upset that evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne pointed out how absurd this statement is. More specifically, Coyne wrote that:

“[Chopra's] lucrative brand of woo is finally exposed as a lot of scientifically-sounding psychobabble.”

Interesting. Why pick on Chopra? Quite apart from the fact that great physicists have had some similarly forbidden thoughts about consciousness, where were Coyne and Salzberg when the latest new theory of consciousness whistled into town, announcing that humans, worms, and the Internet are all conscious? The next-to-last one we heard was that rocks have minds too.

And so why not photons? Actually, the study of human consciousness has gone nowhere for decades, apart from demands for more time. Methodological naturalism guarantees that the researchers will get nowhere, so they can have all the time in the world. They may as well interview rocks and photons.

More recently, some seek a compromise between materialist and non-materialist neuroscience theories.

Now, those people might indeed get somewhere, but they will have to do it without Coyne’s and Salzberg’s permission.

That, at least, is a good beginning.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

10 Responses to Re Jerry Coyne and buddy vs. Deepak Chopra: If rocks can be conscious, why can’t photons be?

  1. Chopra is a fool. But ‘can photons have consciousness?’ sounds like panpsychism, which – to be dead honest – is vastly more reasonable than the inanities Coyne spews out on a regular basis.

  2. Dr.Chopra has the right to say what scientists have been saying all along.Of course photons and rocks can’t have consciousness but why should a evolution biologist object to a statement which is bandied around as truth by his own tribe?

  3. OT: Twenty Intelligent Design Resources: A Christmas Shopping List – Janine Dixon – November 27, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....79631.html

  4. Chopra is a fool.</blockquote

    With a net worth of around 80 million dollars, he's a very rich fool.

  5. Oops ‘xcuse HTML error! How foolish of me ;)

  6. There are many interesting properties about photons/light that I have been made aware of, but consciousness is NOT one of them. Here are some of those intriguing properties that I have been made aware of (of which I am certain there are many more enigmatic properties that could be elucidated that I am not aware of). First, I was amazed to learn that an ‘uncollapsed’ photon, in its quantum wave state, is mathematically defined as ‘infinite’ information:

    Wave function
    Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....ctor_space

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1)
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    Thus every time we see (observe) a single photon of ‘material’ reality we are actually seeing just a single bit of information that was originally created from a very specific set of infinite information that was known by the infinite Mind of omniscient God!

    Job 38:19-20
    “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings?”

    Some materialists have tried to say that the ‘infinite dimensional’ quantum wave state of a photon, that takes an infinite amount of information to describe, was merely an abstract description, (of which I would have at one time been inclined to agree with them), but the following experiment actually encoded information while it was in its infinite dimensional superposition state thus undermining that materialistic belief that the photon is merely a point-like particle:

    Single photons to soak up data:
    Excerpt: the orbital angular momentum of a photon can take on an infinite number of values. Since a photon can also exist in a superposition of these states, it could – in principle – be encoded with an infinite amount of information.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/7201

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.,,, As a wave, it passed through all parts of the stencil at once,,,
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    “By its conventional definition, a photon is one unit of excitation of a mode of the electromagnetic field. The modes of the electromagnetic field constitute a countably infinite set of basis functions, and in this sense the amount of information that can be impressed onto an individual photon is unlimited.”
    Robert W. Boyd – lead researcher in preceding experiment – 2010

    In fact the double slit experiment itself, which was somewhat integral to the preceding experiment, reveals some fascinating things about the photon: In the following video Anton Zeilinger, whose group is arguably the best group of experimentalists in quantum physics today, ‘tries’ to explain the double slit experiment to Morgan Freeman:

    Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit Experiment. Is anything real? (Prof. Anton Zeilinger) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvbKafw2g0

    Prof. Zeilinger makes this rather startling statement towards the end of the preceding video:

    “The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality. We are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say the photon passes through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.”
    Anton Zeilinger

    I was struck with how well the preceding statement by Professor Zeilinger agreed with the ancient ‘first mover’ argument by Aquinas:

    Aquinas’ First Way – (The First Mover – Unmoved Mover) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmpw0_w27As

    Aquinas’ First Way
    1) Change in nature is elevation of potency to act.
    2) Potency cannot actualize itself, because it does not exist actually.
    3) Potency must be actualized by another, which is itself in act.
    4) Essentially ordered series of causes (elevations of potency to act) exist in nature.
    5) An essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act cannot be in infinite regress, because the series must be actualized by something that is itself in act without the need for elevation from potency.
    6) The ground of an essentially ordered series of elevations from potency to act must be pure act with respect to the casual series.
    7) This Pure Act– Prime Mover– is what we call God.
    http://egnorance.blogspot.com/.....t-way.html

    Or to put the ‘First Mover’ argument much more simply:

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

  7. Moreover another very interesting property of light is that time, as we understand it temporally, would come to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

    Science vs God: Bryan Enderle at TEDxUCDavis – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn7YQOzNuSc

    Virtual Particles & Special Relativity of Photons – Michael Strauss PhD particle physics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4554674/

    And this ‘eternal’ time framework for light has much empirical support:

    Time Dilation – experimental confirmation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....nfirmation

    This following experimental confirmation of time dilation for light is my favorite since they have actually caught the physical effects of time dilation on film (of note: light travels approx. 1 foot in a nanosecond (billionth of a second) whilst the camera used in the experiment takes a trillion pictures a second):

    Amazing — light filmed at 1,000,000,000,000 Frames/Second! – video (so fast that at 9:00 Minute mark of video the time dilation effect of relativity is caught on film)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_9vd4HWlVA

    Moreover it is found that visible light is incredibly fine-tuned for life to exist. Though visible light is only a tiny fraction of the total electromagnetic spectrum coming from the sun, it happens to be the “most permitted” portion of the sun’s spectrum allowed to filter through the our atmosphere. All the other bands of electromagnetic radiation, directly surrounding visible light, happen to be harmful to organic molecules, and are almost completely absorbed by the atmosphere. The tiny amount of harmful UV radiation, which is not visible light, allowed to filter through the atmosphere is needed to keep various populations of single cell bacteria from overpopulating the world (Ross; reasons.org). The size of light’s wavelengths and the constraints on the size allowable for the protein molecules of organic life, also seem to be tailor-made for each other. This “tailor-made fit” allows photosynthesis, the miracle of sight, and many other things that are necessary for human life. These specific frequencies of light (that enable plants to manufacture food and astronomers to observe the cosmos) represent less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth (10^-24) of the universe’s entire range of electromagnetic emissions. Like water, visible light also appears to be of optimal biological utility (M.Denton; W.Bradley; G.Gonzalez; J.Richards).

    Extreme (1 in 10^24) Fine Tuning of Light for Life and Scientific Discovery – Richards, Gonzalez – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/7715887

    Further fine tuning of light for biological life is discussed in the following video:

    Fine Tuning Of Universal Constants, Particularly Light – Walter Bradley – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4491552

    Fine Tuning Of Light to the Atmosphere, to Biological Life, and to Water – graphs
    https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYmaSrBPNEmGZGM4ejY3d3pfMTljaGh4MmdnOQ

  8. As well, there are many remarkable ‘coincidences’ found in/for photosynthesis that allow biological life to be possible. The following is a fascinating talk on the topic by Dr. Michael Denton:

    Michael Denton: Remarkable Coincidences in Photosynthesis – podcast
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201....._coin.html

    Moreover, photosynthesis itself requires a non-local, beyond space and time, cause to be appealed to in order to explain its’ ‘quantum coherence’. At the 21:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr Suarez explains why photosynthesis needs a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain its effect:

    Nonlocality of Photosynthesis – Antoine Suarez – video – 2012
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=1268s

    Uncovering Quantum Secret in Photosynthesis – June 20, 2013
    Excerpt: Photosynthetic organisms, such as plants and some bacteria, have mastered this process: In less than a couple of trillionths of a second, 95 percent of the sunlight they absorb is whisked away to drive the metabolic reactions that provide them with energy. The efficiency of photovoltaic cells currently on the market is around 20 percent.,,,
    Van Hulst and his group have evaluated the energy transport pathways of separate individual but chemically identical, antenna proteins, and have shown that each protein uses a distinct pathway. The most surprising discovery was that the transport paths within single proteins can vary over time due to changes in the environmental conditions, apparently adapting for optimal efficiency. “These results show that coherence, a genuine quantum effect of superposition of states, is responsible for maintaining high levels of transport efficiency in biological systems, even while they adapt their energy transport pathways due to environmental influences” says van Hulst.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142932.htm

    As to pantheists, such as Chopra, who maintain that the photon itself is conscious (or even a rock), I find that consciousness precedes all of material reality and is not reducible, or co-terminus, to any particular material states within this universe. There are many lines of experimental evidence backing this conclusion up (i.e. Legget’s, Quantum Symmetries, Delayed Choice, Quantum Zeno effect).

    Supplemental note: It is found that ‘the Light’ in Near Death Experiences is of a different (higher quality?) of light than we are normally use to:

    Ask the Experts: What Is a Near-Death Experience (NDE)? – article with video
    Excerpt: “Very often as they’re moving through the tunnel, there’s a very bright mystical light … not like the light we’re used to in our earthly lives. People call this mystical light, brilliant like a million times a million suns…”
    - Jeffrey Long M.D. – has studied NDE’s extensively
    http://abcnews.go.com/Nightlin....._gydvW8jbI

    Verses and Music:

    John 1:1-5
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    1 John 1:5
    This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

    Jeremy Camp – The Way (Official Music Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q6o4sbndVE

  9. Perhaps the most important verse on light/photons for a Theist is this one:

    Genesis 1:2-3
    And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
    And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

    of note;

    Photons and Phonons
    Excerpt: You see, the primary Planck-Law (E=hf) is metaphysical and independent on the inertia distribution of the solid states.,,,
    Both, photon and phonon carry massequivalent energy m=E/c2=hf/c2.
    The matter-light interaction so is rendered electromagnetically noninertial for the photon and becomes acoustically inertial for the phonons; both however subject to Bose-Einstein stochastic wave mechanics incorporative the Planck-Law.,,
    Where, how and why does E=hf correctly and experimentally verifiably describe the quantum mechanics of energy propagation?,,,
    http://www.tonyb.freeyellow.com/id135.html

    Phonon
    Excerpt: In physics, a phonon,, represents an excited state in the quantum mechanical quantization of the modes of vibrations,,
    The name phonon,, translates as sound or voice because long-wavelength phonons give rise to sound.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonon

    The Deep Connection Between Sound & Reality – Evan Grant – Allosphere – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4672092

  10. Could someone kindly tell me what they heard a rock dreaming? (Including the chips of doped silicon in our PCs.)KF

Leave a Reply