Monday, September 4, 2017

Mind over Matter

A few days ago, I was in an office at the doctor’s getting a referral appointment set up, when our conversation turned to a common phenomenon. The appointment secretary said it often happens to her. She’ll think about someone she hasn’t thought about for a while, and right then that person calls. We agreed that it’s uncanny and science can’t explain it. Her gift appears in more striking ways. She thinks of some event happening, and then it does.

“I bet you don’t talk about this to just anyone,” I said.

“Some people don’t like to hear about it,” she said, “but I think it’s pretty neat.”
I think her gift points to many phenomena that cannot be explained by the physical sciences. It makes scientists who deny the existence of non-physical reality so uncomfortable that they dismiss the phenomena or come up with wildly-improbable explanations in pursuit of anything to avoid admitting that spiritual reality exists.

But they cannot dismiss evidence from their own experiments.

It is hard to give an accurate sense of just how shocked physicists are by the implications of quantum mechanics, say physicists Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner in Quantum Enigma. They write,
For many physicists, this mystery, the quantum enigma, is best not talked about. It displays physics’ encounter with consciousness. It’s the skeleton in our closet.
When I first learned of the observer’s role in wave/particle experiments, I was flabbergasted too. Immediately I saw the spiritual implication, which apparently disturbs physicists. A colleague of Rosenblum and Kuttner objected to their teaching of the enigma.
[P]resenting this material to nonscientists is the intellectual equivalent of allowing children to play with loaded guns.
I probably am the kind of person that scientist worried about because I find evidence for non-physical or spiritual reality in this enigma that Einstein called “spooky.”

Unlike experimentation on other scientific theories, quantum experiments always—in 100% of cases—yield the same result. Stated in nonscientific terms, whether a thing is a wave or a particle depends on the decision of the experimenter. The material result—whether wave or particle—is produced by the scientist’s choice. The scientist's thought process, his or her consciousness, causes the outcome.

Scientists who are scientific materialists hate this because it apparently says that non-physical reality determines physical reality. They insist there is no non-physical or spiritual reality. I don’t see how they can skirt this conclusion: Spiritual reality not only exists, it is paramount.

Many physicists try to avoid the issue and just ignore the “Spooky Interactions” by pursuing practical applications of quantum mechanics in technology. Rosenblum and Kuttner write,
One-third of our economy involves products based on quantum mechanics.
But physics’ encounter with consciousness demands the attention of theoretical physicists, and the quantum enigma, say Rosenblum and Kuttner, “depends crucially on free will.” They quote this materialist position:
"You," your joys and sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.
Why should cells and molecules give rise to our sense of identity and free will? The authors of Quantum Enigma ask this and add,
. . . no mere account of physical process will tell us why experience arises.
They quote J.A Hobson:
Those of us with common sense are amazed at the resistance put up by psychologists, physiologists, and philosophers to the obvious reality of free will.
What follows from accepting our spiritual consciousness may be even spookier, but I have become comfortable with it. I have come to believe we create our own reality. The way this plays out is complicated. 

It’s not as easy as doing right instead of wrong, because each of us is part of the collective consciousness, which contains many, many layers of thought from multitudes who created the reality we were born into. And each of us has hidden beliefs, attitudes, expectations, and so on in our consciousness that influence our decisions. Understanding ourselves takes work.
 If you are fascinated by the debate between scientific materialists and people who accept the reality of the Inner Realm, you can get more of it by clicking on posts under Scientific Materialism” in my blog index. And this article by an esteemed scientist may intrigue you.  

1 comment:

Chris said...

Hi Jeanette,

As you know, I am certainly not a metaphysical naturalist. But, I'm curious, are you familiar with the debate between Sam Harris and Deepak Chopra? Harris pretty much makes handy work of Chopra's defense of idealism.