MD Claims Quantum Physics Proves Consciousness Lives After Death

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There are a number of new agey articles floating around the facebooks and internets promoting a very old concept called, "biocentrism", that existence is all subjective and the product of our own minds.

A seemingly-respectable medical doctor has recently published a book and is now on a big press-push, hyping this notion that consciousness lives on after death of the physical body. Let's take a look at how "sciencey" this "doctor" actually is...

Articles claim:
Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death

A book titled “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the Nature of the Universe“ has stirred up the Internet, because it contained a notion that life does not end when the body dies, and it can last forever. The author of this publication, scientist Dr. Robert Lanza who was voted the 3rd most important scientist alive by the NY Times, has no doubts that this is possible.

Beyond time and space

Lanza is an expert in regenerative medicine and scientific director of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he has been known for his extensive research which dealt with stem cells, he was also famous for several successful experiments on cloning endangered animal species.

But not so long ago, the scientist became involved with physics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics. This explosive mixture has given birth to the new theory of biocentrism, which the professor has been preaching ever since. Biocentrism teaches that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe. It is consciousness that creates the material universe, not the other way around.

It is always cringeworthy when a so-called "expert" in one field of science decides he's now an expert in another, wholly-unrelated field of science and decides to undermine a hundred years of established principals in lieu of his egocentric, unproven, woo. But that's the case with Robert Lanza, M.D.

The impulse to see human life as central to the existence of the universe is manifested in the mystical traditions of practically all cultures. It is so fundamental to the way pre-scientific people viewed reality that it may be, to a certain extent, ingrained in the way our psyche has evolved, like the need for meaning and the idea of a supernatural God. As science and reason dismantle the idea of the centrality of human life in the functioning of the objective universe, the emotional impulse has been to resort to finer and finer misinterpretations of the science involved. Mystical thinkers use these misrepresentations of science to paint over the gaps in our scientific understanding of the universe, belittling, in the process, science and its greatest heroes.

In their recent article in The Huffington Post, biologist Robert Lanza and mystic Deepak Chopra put forward their idea that the universe is itself a consciousnessproduct of our consciousness, and not the other way around as scientists have been telling us. In essence, these authors are re-inventing idealism, an ancient philosophical concept that fell out of favour with the advent of the scientific revolution. According to the idealists, the mind creates all of reality. Many ancient Eastern and Western philosophical schools subscribe to this idealistic notion of the nature of reality. In the modern context, idealism has been supplemented with a brand of quantum mysticism and relabeled as biocentrism. According to Chopra and Lanza, this idea makes Darwin’s theory of the biological evolution and diversification of life insignificant. Both these men, although they come from different backgrounds, have independently expressed these ideas before with some popular success. In the article under discussion their different styles converge to present a uniquely mystical and bizarre worldview, which we wish to debunk here.

Biocentrism Misinterprets Several Scientifically Testable Truths

The scientific background to the biocentrism idea is described in Robert Lanza’s book Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, in which Lanza proposes that biology and not physics is the key to understanding the universe. Vital to his proposal is the idea that the universe does not really exist unless it is being observed by a conscious observer. To support this idea, Lanza makes a series of claims:

* Lanza questions the conventional idea that space and time exist as objective properties of the universe. In doing this, he argues that space and time are products of human consciousness and do not exist outside of the observer. Indeed, Lanza concludes that everything we perceive is created by the act of perception.

The intent behind this argument is to help consolidate the view that subjective experience is all there is. However, if you dig into what Lanza says it becomes clear that he is positioning the relativistic nature of reality to make it seem incongruous with its objective existence. His reasoning relies on a subtle muddling of the concepts of subjectivity and objectivity. Take, for example, his argument here:

“Consider the color and brightness of everything you see ‘out there.’ On its own, light doesn’t have any color or brightness at all. The unquestionable reality is that nothing remotely resembling what you see could be present without your consciousness. Consider the weather: We step outside and see a blue sky – but the cells in our brain could easily be changed so we ‘see’ red or green instead. We think it feels hot and humid, but to a tropical frog it would feel cold and dry. In any case, you get the point. This logic applies to virtually everything.“

There is only some partial truth to Lanza’s claims. Color is an experiential truth – that is, it is a descriptive phenomenon that lies outside of objective reality. No physicist will deny this. However, the physical properties of light that are responsible for color are characteristics of the natural universe. Therefore, the sensory experience of color is subjective, but the properties of light responsible for that sensory experience are objectively true. The mind does not create the natural phenomenon itself; it creates a subjective experience or a representation of the phenomenon.

Similarly, temperature perception may vary from species to species, since it is a subjective experience, but the property of matter that causes this subjective experience is objectively real; temperature is determined by the average kinetic energy of the molecules of matter, and there is nothing subjective about that. Give a thermometer to a human and to an ass: they would both record the same value for the temperature at a chosen spot of measurement.

The idea that ‘color’ is a fact of the natural universe has been described by G. E. Moore as a naturalistic fallacy. Also, the idea that color is created by an intelligent creator is a supernaturalistic fallacy. It can be said that the idea that color is created objectively in the universe by the subjective consciousness of the observer is an anthropic fallacy. The correct view is that ‘color’ is the subjective sensory perception by the observer of a certain property of the universe that the observer is a part of.



Posted by goocy on 2014-01-09 12:31:04
This is a flawed idea because of two major reasons.

Consciousness isn't based on quantum physics. There is no indicator that anything in the body can meaningfully interact with the information from entangled particles. Every information-processing device is far too big, and the body is far too warm for any useful entanglement to occur.

Consciousness isn't an entity. It's the result of our cognitive filtering process, and allows us to focus on the most important task at hand. You can literally get unconscious (for example, during deep sleep, under anesthesia or in a coma), and yet it "magically" reappears afterwards. That's because consciousness isn't an entity that goes somewhere, but the obvious surface of a bunch of processes that can be started and stopped.

Stating "Consciousness goes into other universes after death because of quantum physics" violates these two basic issues. And it assumes that there are multiple universes, which is a hotly debated topic in theoretical physics. This theory it doesn't explain how the quantum physics behind it work (physics utterly relies on formulas), so it's a mystical explanation with a naïve view of consciousness.

Since the author doesn't have a background in cognitive science, and saying "quantum physics" without formulas is as useful as saying "magic", this is very obvious bullshit that doesn't need a lot of debunking.


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