Science is Not the Quest to Prove Materialism True

Modern scientists seem to have forgotten that quest of science is not to prove materialism true, but to explain the world with a coherent theory.  These are two separate things.  Materialism is at a bottom a metaphysical position that assumes that ultimate reality consists of lifeless particles and forces with no connection to a mind or intelligence.  The world of the materialist is one without direction, purpose or meaning.  These mindless particles whiz by, combining, repelling, interacting and disappearing.  Somehow, in the early furnace of the Big Bang, the particles decided, against all odds, to form together and rocket toward a world of perfect order, the place we live in now.

But in their quest to prove materialism true, there is no assumption too large, no particle too exotic, and no mental gymnastics too great for them to string together a materialistic world picture.

Scientists become trapped by the error when they ignore the results of the double-slit experiment.  Instead of acknowledging the results of the experiment ,– that independent particles do not exist – they instead imagine that in fact the universe consists of the same independent particles the experiment says do not exist. As one of the founders of quantum theory said, “the smallest units of matter are, in fact, not physical objects in the ordinary sense of the word; they are forms, structures or – in Plato’s sense – Ideas, which can be unambiguously spoken of only in the language of mathematics.”[1]  On this point, Heisenberg aligns with the conclusions of the idealist philosophers such as Arthur Schopenhauer, who held the “world is my idea,” and Bishop George Berkeley, [p. 129, Principles of Human Knowledge) who found that this thing we call “matter” is simply an idea in the mind.

No doubt exists that to call the physical world an “idea” raises the power of this term to a completely different level.  “Ideas” are known as the wispy thoughts forming in our minds: the idea of a cheeseburger for lunch; a perfect mate; a new way to organize your to-do list.

A granite rock, on the other hand, is something far greater than an idea, and it should not be surprising that the vast majority of people, including scientists, assume the rock is real.  Or, in other words, they assume the rock and all of its tiny atomic pieces, exist on their own outside of human consciousness.  But it is this observation that the double-slit experiment disproved.  At the core of the physical world are not things, but ideas of things.  That simple truth is something today’s scientists seem to have ignored.  It is also the truth that helps unfold the final theory.

Therefore, using the scientific method, we are obligated to devise a theory for how the world can look so real yet be made of nothing.

This is practicing science, it is not engaging in some sort of new-age spiritual flight of fancy. Rather, it is material scientists who are engaged in something other than science, since they are the ones who ignore not only the results of the double-slit experiment, but untold number of other signs all pointing to the overwhelming order and design of our world.




[1]  W. Heisenberg, The Debate Between Plato and Democritus, in K. Wilber, Quantum Questions, at 51 (


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