Watching research scientists continue to express their certainty about materialism when they have to know the dogma is wrong would be amusing if it were not so pathetic. They realize their profession is floundering. But it is their profession, after all, and they have families to feed and retirements to fund! So they continue to try to drive a train that is hopelessly off the rails, while at the same time they are beginning to acknowledge that there is a lot that their abbreviated version of science never will explain.
The result is a truly weird period in the annals of scientific investigation. To take a prime example, let’s look at what scientists call “the hard problem,” which is the whole enigma of how to explain consciousness and individual awareness. At one time it was confidently believed that figuring out how the brain works was going to solve the hard problem as a kind of fallout result; but the more brain research has been done, the clearer it has become that the hard problem won’t be giving up so easily.
To graze among recent articles on consciousness in the popular press is an exercise in wincing frustration. We see researchers beginning to get closer to theories that we know might be productive – we kind of lean forward in our chairs and pull for them – but then their need to reason outward from materialism always does them in. An article about the fact that consciousness can be demonstrated to be present after physical death is one such promising foray with some sense to it, but also much that is nonsense. The authors have so little interest in researching useful aspects of the literature that they refer to out-of-body experiences as “outer-body experiences.” They report at least one verified account of someone who was later able to report what had been going on around him while he was clinically dead, which fact should have been front-page news; but it was barely a footnote. So ignorance marches on!
Now let’s look at a different article that bears a highly promising title: Neuroscience’s New Consciousness Theory is Spiritual. The title is great, but that “S-word” – “spiritual” – is seen by the authors to be so near science’s imagined border with religion that before anything substantive can be discussed, they first must demonstrate that they are not advocating for a theory even remotely religious. To do that, they make the absurd assertion that science has things pretty much figured out. They assure us that “(M)odern science has achieved impeccable performance when it comes to explaining phenomena previously thought to be unexplainable. In this day and age, we have complete scientific descriptions of virtually everything.” Please read that twice, to better savor in print what even the authors must know is nonsense!
Their article then goes on to describe something called Integrated Information Theory (“IIT”), which attempts to describe what is happening when we have a conscious experience… but it does not even speculate about why it might be happening. As one of IIT’s proponents says, “Consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe. Wherever there is integrated information, there is experience. The theory takes its existence as a given and therefore doesn’t have to explain the mechanism behind it.” Good grief. If we can beg all our questions to this extent, then who even needs to practice science at all? Proponents of IIT go on to say that “The entire cosmos is suffused with sentience. We are surrounded and immersed in consciousness; it is in the air we breathe, the soil we tread on, the bacteria that colonize our intestines, and the brain that enables us to think.” Even a stopped clock being right on occasion, these sentences have a kind of rightness to them. But they arise from nonsense, and “garbage in means garbage out” is the most basic scientific premise of them all!
One arresting article suggests that consciousness might be a quantum phenomenon. So near, and yet so far! Even with this insight, all the speculation in this article is reasoned outward from materialism, with the expected confusing results. A former head of the ironically named Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, Germany, here posits that “just as a particle ‘writes’ all of its information on its wave function, the brain is the tangible ‘floppy disk’ on which we save our data, and this data is then ‘uploaded’ into the spiritual quantum field… it is actually just the material level that is comprehensible. The beyond is an infinite reality that is much bigger. Which this world is rooted in. In this way, our lives in this plane of existence are encompassed, surrounded, by the afterworld already… The body dies but the spiritual quantum field continues. In this way, I am immortal.” What on earth are we to make of this, beyond acknowledging that from a scientific perspective it is nonsense? To simply assume consciousness without explaining that it is incompatible with materialism and without even attempting to understand it seems to have become the scientific mode du jour, but until that materialist dogma is abolished no research scientist ever can tell us much about what actually is going on.
The genuine Max Planck felt free enough to ignore materialism and start from consciousness. He said three-quarters of a century ago that “I regard consciousness as fundamental.” He said, “There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.” He was exactly right! But then materialism came in, and the scientific lights went out.
Blinkered as he is by materialism, even “the world’s smartest physicist” has become convinced that scientists never will figure out consciousness. And indeed they never will, for so long as the scientific gatekeepers insist on hamstringing scientific researchers with a nonsensical dogma like materialism.
Dr. Planck was right all those years ago. He still will be right all those many years hence, when some young physicist at last will identify consciousness as the source of everything so he can begin an unrestricted investigation of what consciousness actually is. The simple solution to the hard problem has been hiding in plain sight all along!