Physics Encounters Consciousness

Posted by  $  Herb7734 2 months, 1 week ago to Science
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I remember the first time I encountered Nathaniel Branden. One of the questions I asked him was about quantum theory's impact on Objectivism. He slid right into another topic so cleverly that I never did get an answer. However, I was in the midst of hero worship so I didn't mind. What I'm going to try to present is a quantum enigma and its impact on philosophy, Objectivism philosophy in particular.

All philosophies are based on a universe filled with laws and put down by Newton and his inheritors. Even approaches to quantum physics are done, by and large, via a Newtonian universe. Our limited senses are adequate to keep us alive and reproducing, but they are totally inadequate when it comes to the sub atomic world. Therefore, the definition of truth get all squirrelly when confronted by quantum theory. "Truth is that which pertains to reality" is one of the common definitions of truth. But, what is reality? Quantum has brought us a new reality and it is nothing like what we are used to.
"Anyone who claims to understand the quantum theory is either lying or crazy." -- Richard Feynman, winner of 1965 Nobel Prize for Physics.

Without going into all the proofs and equations I will attempt to describe the universe via quantum physics. Keep in mind quantum theory is a work in progress and it is very likely that less than 1% has been completed. Theoretical and practical successes of quantum theory exposes classical physics as a primitive tool. For the purpose of studying consciousness it is like using a muzzle loading rifle in place of a particle accelerator. We remain mired in the 17th century wearing Newton like a strait jacket. Thus, it damages our ability to examine and discuss the nature of existence and free will.

Quantum physics invalidates classical physics like this: Classical physics holds that any action must be caused by current, local, and totally mechanical circumstances. Classical physics also holds that there is matter and there is energy, sometimes equal but always separate. Quantum entanglement and superposition destroys the first proposition and the second is destroyed because matter and energy are manifestations of the same thing. neither exists as a simple either - or.

The universe continues to get weirder. NASA has proved that everything we know about matter and energy only comprises 4% of the universe. The rest is dark matter 23% and dark energy 73%. We know virtually nothing about these two mysterious manifestations. How does the missing 96% of the universe affect our consciousness? I think that once we discover what that 96% is versus the universe as we perceive it and hold dear, it will invalidate much of what we consider to be the truth. So - how does this affect the nature of reality as it pertains to philosophy? How can we discern the truth? Does quantum theory now allow us to posit any reality we want in order to get it to give us the kind of results we want? That is the quantum enigma.


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