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.
I hope the multiverse isn’t true, because it makes reality seem absurd, rather than beautifully well done. I especially hate to think there could be countless versions of myself. It seems too machine-like, and maddening to be true. I don’t know whats worse, that or just the old supposition that our one universe is just a fluke.
I’ll place my bet on the “real dream.” I’m just a dummy compared to these scientists, but that doesn’t mean they are right and I am wrong. In any case, you demonstrate very well in your arguments how their theories may be deeply flawed.
If a theory is true, I think it should be understandable by everyone because it would be true for everyone. I suggest tracking down the August 2011 issue of Scientific American and reading George Ellis’s article on the multiverse. He writes, “Nothing is wrong with scientifically based philosophical speculation, which is what multiverse proposals are. But we should name it for what it is.” In other words, the multiverse is speculation by scientists who cannot explain the undeniable order in our one universe and so therefore, must imagine an infinite number of other ones. It is unclear to me how someone could be convinced by this approach.
I’m sure you have seen the counterarguments in Scientific American to the George Ellis article. Whatever material evidence may or may not emerge in favor of the multiverse does not (to me), kill the real dream. But who can say, at this point, what the abandonment of the Self might result in? It might even be as absurd as what the scientists describe. This cosmic guessing game can fool everybody for a very long time, and is apparently meant to do so. Behold the trickster god in all its glory.
In addition, I just want to say, that just as you’ve spent most of your life writing your book I feel like I will spend the rest of my life reading it. I do not yet understand everything you refer to, and there are some things on the paranormal that cannot ring true to me personally, and my interpretation of the real dream may differ.
But I have always wanted to do the equivalent of what you have accomplished. So I live vicariously through you, (at this point), and I thank you for your work.