The closer you look, the more the materialist position in physics appears to rest on shaky metaphysical ground
Adam Frank is professor of astronomy at the University of Rochester in New York and the co-founder of NPR’s blog 13.7: Cosmos & Culture where he is also a regular contributor. He is the author of several books, the latest being About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang (2011).
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Materialism holds the high ground these days in debates over that most ultimate of scientific questions: the nature of consciousness. When tackling the problem of mind and brain, many prominent researchers advocate for a universe fully reducible to matter. ‘Of course you are nothing but the activity of your neurons,’ they proclaim. That position seems reasonable and sober in light of neuroscience’s advances, with brilliant images of brains lighting up like Christmas trees while test subjects eat apples, watch movies or dream. And aren’t all the underlying physical laws already known?
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Classifying consciousness as a material problem is tantamount to saying that consciousness, too, remains fundamentally unexplained.
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For all the great wonders we enjoy in our daily lives, “we” really know very little fundamentally.
Yet, we are able “to live our lives of quiet desperation” quite “happily” ignorant of “the Truths” that govern our world.
I’m just a retired fat old white guy E-LECT-TRICK-CAL injineer, so I’m not qualified to do or say much on this topic. Hell, I don’t even know what I don’t know. It’s the so called fourth cell of the JoHari window (1). What we both don’t know.
Heinlein used the word “grok”. When I read it, I understood the concept that he was exposing. I knew then, and still know now, that there are very few, if any, things I grok.
This article, for as much of it as I understand, cements that lack of understanding I have.
Dona Nobis Pacem
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(1) Johari window http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window
(2) Grok https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok
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