Response to Lawrence Krauss and His Materialistic Vision
In a recent article on Scientific American’s website, entitled Consolation of Philosophy, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-consolation-of-philos&page=2, Professor Lawrence Krauss expounds on some of the themes in his book, A Universe from Nothing, and concludes that philosophy has nothing of importance to tell us about the real world, and that only physics can lead us to truth.
Professor Krauss, in rejecting philosophy, fails to acknowledge that he is promoting his own brand of philosophy known as scientific materialism. So what he really seems to be saying is that scientific materialism is the final truth, and we should not bother considering any other alternative.
But scientific materialism – the view that a real world of matter exists independently of consciousness – has a number of fatal flaws. Two of them are (1) several great thinkers, such as Bishop George Berkeley, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant, showed that we can never prove that such a real world of matter actually exists outside of the mind; rather, as Hume said, this is a belief humankind takes on faith; and (2) in the scientific realm, quantum theory shows that consciousness plays an unmistakable role in forming the world of experience. (F. Kuttner & B. Rosenblum, The Quantum Enigma (http://quantumenigma.com/). Quantum theory teaches that an objective world of particles does not exist. (D. Lindley, The End of Physics .http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Of-Physics-Unified/dp/0465019765) The fact that quantum theory gives a role to consciousness in experience may be taken as a sign of a developing convergence between science and other fields of thought, and as evidence that the philosophical idealists were on the right track after all.
It is time for the scientific thought leaders to open their minds to the real possibility that there may very well be a fundamental synergy between mind and the physical world, and that this fact will not destroy science but perpetually energize it. Science deals only with models, and the evidence, from quantum theory to the placebo effect to the unavoidable fine-tuning of the universe, shows we are due for a change-over in model lines.
With science unable to bring themselves to accept mind or intelligence in the make-up of the physical world, it is forced to fall back to the multiverse and string theory to explain such things as the physical constants and the conflict between gravity and quantum theory. But neither of these two theories can be proven or falsified, so their role as “scientific” theories is doubtful. (See George Ellis, Does the Multiverse Really Exist?, Scientific American (Aug. 2011)http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=does-the-multiverse-really-exist ; L. Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, http://www.thetroublewithphysics.com/.) So why is all of this important? Because if consciousness in fact plays a role in the formation of the world, then it is time we take more responsibility for the world we live in, rather than pass off the task to some external force, and fanciful notions of multiple universes and hidden dimensions.