Popular media is under the impression that physicists are becoming more open-minded about the mysteries of the universe and the dominance of the “scientific materialism” – most dogmatic form of materialism – is waning. My observation is quite the opposite. The hard-core materialism called “scientific materialism” is gaining more supporters among the physicists. The school of physicalism which can be considered as a branch of scientific materialism is very popular among the current physicists.
John Horgan wrote about scientific materialism: Is scientific materialism “Almost certainly false.” Please read the part about the late physicist John Wheeler and the philosopher David Chalmers. Two quotes from Horgan’s essay:
“Philosopher David Chalmers, Nagel’s colleague at New York University, conjectures that ‘information,’ which emerges from certain physical configurations and processes and entails consciousness, is a fundamental component of reality, as much so as time, space, matter and energy.”
“I never took Chalmer’s hypothesis seriously—in part because it implies that toaster ovens might be conscious—but I would have appreciated Nagel’s take on it. (For a critique of the ideas of Wheeler and Chalmers, see my column Why information can’t be the basis of reality.)
I side with David Chalmers, of course! I don’t agree with John Horgan on his position regarding information/consciousness. You know my position: Cosmic Consciousness is at the core of each entity in its entirety. My position in all these matters is explained in my summary.
We should all understand that “scientific materialism” is not a scientific position. The so-called “scientific materialism” is a metaphysical position. The essential statement of physicalism “everything supervenes on, or is necessitated by, the physical” is pure metaphysics.
I am NOT against metaphysics. I have metaphysical positions myself. My statement ‘Cosmic Consciousness is at the core of each entity in its entirety’ is metaphysics too but I am against scientists presenting their metaphysical positions as science.
Public should know that science cannot progress without healthy speculation which involves hypothesis building. Metaphysics is an essential part of the scientific process because hypothesis building phase is metaphysics by definition. Once the hypothesis is accepted after many observations and demonstrations then the hypothesis is no longer metaphysics, it becomes science. The physicalist hypothesis “everything supervenes on, or is necessitated by, the physical” has not been demonstrated yet. I don’t think it will ever be demonstrated. Materialists cheat sometimes! They use an old trick and change the definition of ‘physical.” I wrote about it: It is not just semantics.
No matter what definition we use for ‘physical’ the mystery will always remain. Horgan calls this “narcissistic mysticism that science is supposed to help us overcome.” I don’t understand the relevance of narcissism in this context but mystery is an essential characteristic of Consciousness which is another word for the indescribable Absolute Being or Godhead.
You think science will exhaust the infinity of existence? If materialists are thinking that way they are completely delusional. Science is good! Metaphysics is good! Spiritual Philosophy is great! They keep us busy! But, let’s not forget about the limitations of the intellectual approach.
At the risk of being called a “narcissistic mystic” let me claim this. Science will provide multiple perspectives on the nature of Reality. There will never be a single “Theory of Everything.” The coverage of the these scientific perspectives will increase. The coverage of science may include the entire Cosmos (totality of physical, mental, spiritual realms) someday. There will be millions of scientific perspectives in the far future. That’s alright, let’s call the totality of these perspectives science. Even then mystery will remain.