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Author Topic:   How certain is materialism/physicalism as a description of ultimate reality?
Taq
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Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


(1)
Message 22 of 143 (917752)
04-15-2024 11:01 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by LamarkNewAge
04-13-2024 9:11 PM


LamarkNewAge writes:
Neuroscience is a pretty materialistic profession. It commonly will show that our memories are made up of biological matter. Roger Penrose and Stuart Hammer off have attempted to find a non materialistic interpretation of our brain and consciousness, but an underground (literally subterranean) experiment, in Italy, did not back up the physical description of the theory.
Really? It looks entirely materialistic to me.
quote:
Orchestrated objective reduction (Orch OR) is a theory which postulates that consciousness originates at the quantum level inside neurons, rather than the view that it is a product of connections between neurons. The mechanism is held to be a quantum process called objective reduction that is orchestrated by cellular structures called microtubules. It is proposed that the theory may answer the hard problem of consciousness and provide a mechanism for free will.[1] The hypothesis was first put forward in the early 1990s by Nobel laureate for physics, Roger Penrose, and anaesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff. The hypothesis combines approaches from molecular biology, neuroscience, pharmacology, philosophy, quantum information theory, and quantum gravity.[2][3]
Orchestrated objective reduction - Wikipedia
Perhaps you meant deterministic instead of materialistic?
Also, Orch OR has a big hill to climb. Humans have constructed quantum computers, but in order to get them to work they have to chill the actual qubits down to near absolute zero, and even then they are only stable for the tiniest fractions of a second. The quantum effects proposed by Orch OR need to occur at moist and hot body temperatures, and survive wave function collapse for big fractions of a second. Just from a physics point of view (again, to the eyes of a non-physicist who happens to be a scientist), it doesn't look very doable.
LSD experiments are ongoing, and some physicists are always claiming to have made an LSD breakthrough, that challenges materialism.
LSD altering brain chemistry doesn't seem to help your idea.
Generally, just about nothing has truly challenged materialism, successfully.
Materialism is tough to beat from a pragmatic point of view. I view metaphysics, religion, and philosophy as being the realms of the more subjective or spiritual side of humans. If humans were 100% objective we wouldn't be human, IMHO.
UFOs - to the extent there has been "observations" by us, of them - seem to offer potential evidence that our physical laws need a better understanding, and some interpretations of UFOs involved interdimensional interpretations.
Many have been explained by common, everyday physics. You also need to be explain why these other dimensions would not be materialistic.
Materialism is the most relevant philosophy to a spiritual species, which humans seem to be.
I agree. Humans are a pretty amazing mix of objectivity and subjectivity. For the pragmatic and objective, materialism seems the way to go.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-13-2024 9:11 PM LamarkNewAge has not replied

  
Taq
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Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


(1)
Message 23 of 143 (917753)
04-15-2024 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by LamarkNewAge
04-14-2024 12:17 PM


Re: Why don't you reword the topic? Then respond to your ahem perfect rording.
LamarckNewAge writes:
Metaphysical is a hypothetical physical concept, as we all know.
I wouldn't call it hypothetical, at least in the scientific meaning of the word. A hypothesis in science is a testable and falsifiable explanation for observations. Metaphysics is a set of untestable and unfalsifiable axioms. Those two concepts don't appear to play well together.

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Taq
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Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


(4)
Message 26 of 143 (917790)
04-16-2024 11:46 AM


This thread led me to bastardize a joke about engineers.
Q: What's the difference between an introverted and extroverted philosopher?
A: The extroverted philosopher stares at your navel.
[for the joke about software engineers, replace "philosopher" with "software engineer" and "navel" with "shoes"]

Replies to this message:
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Taq
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Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 29 of 143 (917813)
04-17-2024 11:14 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by Phat
04-16-2024 6:23 PM


Re: Helping LNA with this topic
Phat writes:
I noted that this topic was moved from the Coffee House to the "Is It Science" thread...perhaps to distinguish faith and belief from philosophy in general.
I agree with those sentiments. If we are talking about metaphysics then we aren't talking about science or the scientific method. The scientific method is Methodological Naturalism, not Ontological Naturalism which would be an actual metaphysical system. Therefore, the scientific method isn't materialism, so if we want to talk about materialism we have left science behind.
I also subscribe to the school of thought that philosophy in general is mostly irrelevant to science. The renowned physicists Steven Weinberg states it perfectly:
quote:
Physicists get so much help from subjective and often vague aesthetic judgments that it might be expected that we would be helped also by philosophy, out of which after all our science evolved. Can philosophy give us any guidance toward a final theory? The value today of philosophy to physics seems to me to be something like the value of early nation-states to their peoples. It is only a small exaggeration to say that, until the introduction of the post office, the chief service of nation- states was to protect their peoples from other nation-states. The insights of philosophers have occasionally benefited physicists, but generally in a negative fashion—by protecting them from the preconceptions of other philosophers. I do not want to draw the lesson here that physics is best done without preconceptions. At any one moment there are so many things that might be done, so many accepted principles that might be challenged, that without some guidance from our preconceptions one could do nothing at all. It is just that philosophical principles have not generally provided us with the right preconceptions. In our hunt for the final theory, physicists are more like hounds than hawks; we have become good at sniffing around on the ground for traces of the beauty we expect in the laws of nature, but we do not seem to be able to see the path to the truth from the heights of philosophy. Physicists do of course carry around with them a working philosophy. For most of us, it is a rough-and-ready realism, a belief in the objective reality of the ingredients of our scientific theories. But this has been learned through the experience of scientific research and rarely from the teachings of philosophers. This is not to deny all value to philosophy, much of which has nothing to do with science. I do not even mean to deny all value to the philosophy of science, which at its best seems to me a pleasing gloss on the history and discoveries of science. But we should not expect it to provide today’s scientists with any useful guidance about how to go about their work or about what they are likely to find. I should acknowledge that this is understood by many of the philosophers themselves. After surveying three decades of professional writings in the philosophy of science, the philosopher George Gale concludes that “these almost arcane discussions, verging on the scholastic, could have interested only the smallest number of practicing scientists.” Wittgenstein remarked that “nothing seems to me less likely than that a scientist or mathematician who reads me should be seriously influenced in the way he works.
--Steven Weinberg, "Dreams of a Final Theory"

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Taq
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Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


(4)
Message 33 of 143 (917831)
04-18-2024 10:37 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by LamarkNewAge
04-18-2024 1:01 AM


Re: First: I want the EvC supernaturally obsessed to air obsessions HERE
LNA writes:
So, is this a metaphysical example simply a bad metaphor, via a political pundit, or is this a "viable" example of metaphysics meeting science.
Science can only tell us what percentage of fetuses will survive if they are delivered at a certain week of gestation.
Science can't tell us that this is a valid measurement to base our ethical and moral standards on.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-18-2024 1:01 AM LamarkNewAge has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-18-2024 11:49 AM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 39 of 143 (917837)
04-18-2024 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by LamarkNewAge
04-18-2024 11:49 AM


Re: First: I want the EvC supernaturally obsessed to air obsessions HERE
LamarkNewAge writes:
Alot of people feel they were pre-existing, prior to birth.
Feelings aren't science.
I figured that you would respond by saying twenty-three week-old fetuses are too late in the pregnancy to be truly considered part of the metaphysical debate.
Anything could conceivably be part of a metaphysical debate, even complete nonsense.
However, science isn't a metaphysical system. It's just a method we use to figure out how objective nature works. Science makes no metaphysical, ethical, or moral claims.
Science can tell us what the outcome of our actions will be. We use our inner moral and ethical senses to determine what outcomes we want or don't want. Science can tell us that a specific bacteria causes infections. Science doesn't tell us if we should either encourage those infections, let them just happen, or stop those infections. We humans make those decisions outside of science.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-18-2024 11:49 AM LamarkNewAge has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-18-2024 4:06 PM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 42 of 143 (917842)
04-18-2024 5:11 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by LamarkNewAge
04-18-2024 4:06 PM


Re: First: I want the EvC supernaturally obsessed to air obsessions HERE
LNA writes:
But a single bacterion is part of the metaphysical debate.

Does every life have a conscience experience and did it come from an intellect which can be described as a "spiritual" existence?

Where do the minds go when biological death occurs.

Every issue touching on life & death will fall squarely into a "spiritual" sphere if you feel your philosophical leanings are so concerned.

And, absent some unknown physical law at play, it will also be solidly in the METAPHYSICAL realm.
What I still find interesting is that you began the thread talking about Penrose and Orch OR. It looks like an entirely materialistic process to me.
quote:
Orchestrated objective reduction (Orch OR) is a theory which postulates that consciousness originates at the quantum level inside neurons, rather than the view that it is a product of connections between neurons. The mechanism is held to be a quantum process called objective reduction that is orchestrated by cellular structures called microtubules. It is proposed that the theory may answer the hard problem of consciousness and provide a mechanism for free will.[1] The hypothesis was first put forward in the early 1990s by Nobel laureate for physics, Roger Penrose, and anaesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff. The hypothesis combines approaches from molecular biology, neuroscience, pharmacology, philosophy, quantum information theory, and quantum gravity.[2][3]
Orchestrated objective reduction - Wikipedia
What, if anything, do you think is spiritual about this? What are the outlines of the metaphysical ideas you have about this?
At the very least, you need to describe what the spiritual is in a way that would allow us to understands its properties.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-18-2024 4:06 PM LamarkNewAge has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-18-2024 5:48 PM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 44 of 143 (917848)
04-18-2024 6:47 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by LamarkNewAge
04-18-2024 5:48 PM


Re: First: I want the EvC supernaturally obsessed to air obsessions HERE
LamarkNewAge writes:
I was talking about the HARD PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS
It would seem that there are two main approaches to the problem. The first is to accept a faith based belief system. The second is to use science to understand neurobiology. The idea put forward by Penrose would seem to fall into the science bucket. However, some would probably bring up all of the quantum woo that was popular a few years back (e.g. Deepak Chopra's stuff).

This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-18-2024 5:48 PM LamarkNewAge has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-18-2024 7:18 PM Taq has not replied
 Message 46 by ChatGPT, posted 04-18-2024 7:58 PM Taq has not replied
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 49 of 143 (917868)
04-19-2024 10:40 AM
Reply to: Message 48 by LamarkNewAge
04-18-2024 10:25 PM


Re: "Falsification is hard work" (Penrose collapse theory)
LNA writes:
The gravitational collapse of the wave function is not quite dead.
That is materialism, correct?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-18-2024 10:25 PM LamarkNewAge has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-19-2024 1:12 PM Taq has not replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 54 of 143 (917897)
04-19-2024 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by LamarkNewAge
04-19-2024 2:25 PM


Re: ChatGPT noticed Taq is talking about the broad Quantum Mind issue.
LNA writes:
Materialism is up for debate, perhaps?

The issues surrounding consciousness leave a lot of questions touching on materialism.
Do the results of a double slit experiment leave a lot of questions touching on materialism?
Why would quantum effects happening in the brain be any different than all of the quantum effects happening in the material world?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-19-2024 2:25 PM LamarkNewAge has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-19-2024 4:00 PM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 59 of 143 (917905)
04-19-2024 4:33 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by LamarkNewAge
04-19-2024 4:00 PM


Re: ChatGPT noticed Taq is talking about the broad Quantum Mind issue.
LNA writes:
The Philosopher who coined the term Hard Problem Of Consciousness, does not make Quantum Mechanical arguments.

Penrose made an attempt at the problem, using QM.

The former said materialism is challenged, but he feels there is an unknown force relevant to consciousness.

The latter, Penrose, did not say anything about materialism, I think.
The assumptions in the Hard Problem of Consciousness (HPoC) are a bit questionable. It all seems to hinge on the claim that consciousness can't be explained by reduction to brain chemistry. It's just kind of asserted to be true, which I guess could be considered metaphysical. However, axioms within metaphysics are usually something that can't be tested, and the question of the link between consciousness and brain function seems to be testable, ptoentially or otherwise.
Penrose (and apparently you) feels there are separate physical laws we follow:

One is Quantum Mechanics

Two is Classical Physics
I can't speak for Penrose, but I don't believe that. All classical physics are an emergent property of the underlying quantum physics.
THE ISSUE IS NOT QUANTUM VERSES CLASSICAL OBJECTS

WE ARE ALL QUANTUM PARTICLES - every last particle in our boy.
I agree. That is why I am a bit puzzle why you seem to be referring to Penrose's ideas as being non-materialistic. Have I misunderstood your position?

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 Message 56 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-19-2024 4:00 PM LamarkNewAge has replied

Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


(1)
Message 69 of 143 (918383)
04-29-2024 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by LamarkNewAge
04-29-2024 2:01 AM


Re: ChatGPT noticed Taq is talking about the broad Quantum Mind issue.
LNA writes:
David Chalmers believes there are as yet undiscovered forces of nature. And, he feels it could have something to do with consciousness.
You need something more than this to construct a metaphysical system.
Also, if consciousness is governed by a newly discovered natural process that is still materialism.
Mainstream Quantum Mechanics has the Wave Function collapse.

The COLLAPSE is observation driven.
And the observer doesn't need to be a being with consciousness. Something as simple as a mote of dust absorbing a photon is considered an observer in quantum mechanics.
Our Universe can be interpreted as a type of quantum computer, says some physicists.

It has implications for materialism and the metaphysical.
It would seem to support materialism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-29-2024 2:01 AM LamarkNewAge has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-30-2024 2:28 AM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


(2)
Message 73 of 143 (918399)
04-30-2024 10:38 AM
Reply to: Message 70 by LamarkNewAge
04-30-2024 2:28 AM


Re: ChatGPT noticed Taq is talking about the broad Quantum Mind issue.
LNA writes:
If we discovered all the forces that truly exist (The Cosmological Constant gets scratched off as Force #5, it seems), then we would probably learn alot of things (duh), and:

The boundaries of what constitutes "materialism", would become a question.

(We have already moved the boundaries, really)

The catch is we don't even know what "we" (when?!) discover, but it will probably only be a small part of what exists.
The boundaries of materialism would be exactly where they are now which is explaining the universe through natural processes.
You are describing a particle as something making up it's own wave function, and then you blur the lines between it and the measuring apparatus/observer.
Blur the lines? What are you talking about?
Photons create their own wave function. That wave function collapses when the photon is absorbed. This is basic QM.
"Of course the introduction of the observer must not be misunderstood to imply that some kind of subjective features are to be brought into the description of nature. The observer has, rather, only the function of registering decisions, i.e., processes in space and time, and it does not matter whether the observer is an apparatus or a human being; but the registration, i.e., the transition from the "possible" to the "actual," is absolutely necessary here and cannot be omitted from the interpretation of quantum theory."--Werner Heisenberg
"all unambiguous information concerning atomic objects is derived from the permanent marks such as a spot on a photographic plate, caused by the impact of an electron left on the bodies which define the experimental conditions. Far from involving any special intricacy, the irreversible amplification effects on which the recording of the presence of atomic objects rests rather remind us of the essential irreversibility inherent in the very concept of observation. The description of atomic phenomena has in these respects a perfectly objective character, in the sense that no explicit reference is made to any individual observer and that therefore, with proper regard to relativistic exigencies, no ambiguity is involved in the communication of information."--Neils Bohr
"similar to the ubiquitous "observers" who send and receive light signals in special relativity. Obviously, this terminology does not imply the actual presence of human beings. These fictitious physicists may as well be inanimate automata that can perform all the required tasks, if suitably programmed."--Asher Peres
"Was the wave function waiting to jump for thousands of millions of years until a single-celled living creature appeared? Or did it have to wait a little longer for some highly qualified measurer—with a PhD?"--John Bell [with tongue firmly in cheek]
You then said:

"It would seem to support materialism."

But, would it?
Yes. Everything you describe is materialism.
This is a theory that is kinda like creationism, sort of.
No, it isn't. Everything is entirely natural, no supernatural processes in sight.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by LamarkNewAge, posted 04-30-2024 2:28 AM LamarkNewAge has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by LamarkNewAge, posted 05-01-2024 7:49 AM Taq has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10158
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 75 of 143 (918423)
05-01-2024 11:13 AM
Reply to: Message 74 by LamarkNewAge
05-01-2024 7:49 AM


Re: The Wave Function UNITARY EVOLUTION + REDUCTION lession.
LNA writes:
I had a good 2005 journal on the arguments of von Neumann an others for conscious observation causing the wave function collapse.
Everyone agrees that conscious observers cause wave function collapse. The disagreement is over the claim that ONLY conscious observers can cause wave functions to collapse.
I am not going to parse your sentence, but I will try to clarify some concepts of the Quantum Superposition.
Let's use the double slit experiment as an example.
The concept is that the photon passes through both the slits (superposition) and interferes with itself, causing a banding pattern on the photosensitive film on the other side of the two slits.
The question we can pose is when does this interference pattern appear on the film? Does it develop one photon at a time while the experiment is running, or does it all appear at once when the scientist looks at the film to see the results?
I would say that the interference pattern is already there before the scientist looks at it. What do you say?
Added in edit:
The technological hurdles of quantum computing does a good job of highlighting these issues:
quote:
For a quantum computer to work, it is necessary to establish and manipulate subtle quantum interactions among multiple qubits — a state known as entanglement. However, for this to work, the qubits themselves need to remain stable or “coherent”, which means keeping it in a well-defined quantum state. The problem is, coherence is difficult to maintain as it easily crumbles when qubits interact with their surroundings — even radiation from space can throw them.
https://www.advancedsciencenews.com/...om-temperature-qubits
Researchers consider it a success if they can maintain superposition for hundreds of nanoseconds. The loss of superposition is due to the computer interacting with its environment. It is just unconscious things interacting with unconscious things, and it causes wave functions to collapse.
They also have to build extremely technologically advanced and engineered systems just to get nanoseconds of stability, and yet we also asked to believe that quantum mechanics has a discernable affect on brain function which has nothing to protect from loss of superposition, and operates on time scales orders of magnitude slower than seen in quantum computers.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 74 by LamarkNewAge, posted 05-01-2024 7:49 AM LamarkNewAge has not replied

  
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