Biocentrism - how life and consciousness are the keys to understanding the nature of the universe.

http://www.robertlanza.com/biocentrism-how-life-and-consciousness-a...

 

This appears to be WOO(caps are intentional) on first look, but the author does make some fairly sound arguments, at least in his synopsys.  I guess I'll have to read the book with my woo meter fully charged.  If his assertion is that the universe is recreated by human consciousness every moment, then he falls into a black hole of solipsism that I don't think he can escape.  I have given a lot of thought on how perception may determine reality and how the observer is a variable of the quantum mechanics of reality.  Stephen Hawking's thought has some convergence with this postulations lately.

 

Hawking is quoted in the July/August 2009 issue of Discover magazine as follows ("Return of the Invisible Man," pp. 50-51):

 

"Hawking's most recent work explores the implications of the notion that the universe is a giant quantum phenomenon. The problem with conventional attempts to understand the cosmos, he now believes, is that researchers have failed to appreciate the full, bizarre implications of quantum physics. These efforts to create a unique theory that would explain all the properties of the universe are therefore doomed to fail. Hawking refers to such attempts as `bottom-up' theories because they assume the universe had a unique beginning and that its subsequent history was the only possible one.

"Hawking is now pushing a different strategy, which he calls top-down cosmology. It is not the case, he says, that the past uniquely determines the present. Because the universe has many possible histories and just as many possible beginnings, the present state of the universe selects the past. `This means that the histories of the Universe depend on what is being measured,' Hawking wrote in a recent paper, `contrary to the usual idea that the Universe has an objective, observer-independent history.'"

Dr. Lanza insists that future theories of the universe will be biocentric in nature. That Dr. Hawking might agree, in a complete reversal from his past writing about this, certainly raises the most intriguing of possibilities, does it not?

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Life is that thing that animates and allows growth and change of biologically based systems.
Isn't that the old idea of Vitalism?
I don't think there is a “life force” in the universe that imparts the quality of life on inanimate matter. Life is an emergent quality that emerges from a highly complex system, a quality in which no agent or group of agents within the system can account for. But, the lost or dysfunction of any one agent can cause the system (and the emergent property) to collapse.
I do, however, think it possible that all life in the universe has the common quality of the DNA/RNA molecule. There is no other molecule known to have the property of self replication and assuming a relative even distribution of chemistry with the same chemical energetics throughout the universe it's not an unreasonable possibility.

There are a number of problems with Biocentrism.

It is not exactly a new idea, solipsism and phenomenology has touched base on the concepts.

It has some major critics, like PZ Myer, Richard Dawkins and Dan Dennett.

See this analysis of Biocentrism here:

 

http://nirmukta.com/2009/12/14/biocentrism-demystified-a-response-t...

 

 

Hi there!

What I understand from the original post and other comments is that there is this popular myth about quantum mechanics and how the observers change the world. It's true, though a little too complicated to be summarized in one sentence (equations work better), but the observers don't have anything to do with consciousness, life "force" or anything like that. When physicists say that observing a particle changes its behavior, they don't mean that a human, or another living being has to do the observing. Many things are observers in the quantum world, not just by humans. In fact, the way this was demonstrated was by using sensitive devices to observe the behavior of particles. This seems to be related to the information about quantum particles which affects the world.

But what I think is the most important thing is that no one understands it. Physicists know all about how quantum mechanics works, but not why it works like that. There are many interpretations, like the Copenhagen interpretation, or the many-worlds interpretation, but no one really knows. However, what we do know is that biocentrism is false. We are physically no more special than other physical structures, although our particular arrangement of particles seems to be rare enough. Funny things could be happening in the quantum world in relations to time and space (and they seem to happen alright) and I've heard about the past being just a variant determined by the present, but if it is that way, it's not because of humans. Anyway, as a physicist once said, if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics. It makes perfect sense mathematically, but it's not really comprehensible by our common-sense, or any sense for that matter.

 

Another thing I want to address is the "life force" thing. Well, what should I say about that? Oh, I know: what on Earth is that? First of all, force has a strict physical meaning and I don't think its description could fit in your definition of life force. What I think you meant was what makes life special, as you mentioned life's drive to continue, and adapt, and so on. But that's all pretty simple really: it's evolution - and here comes the important bit - by means of natural selection. People tend to forget about that pretty often. In fact, a better name for it would be adaptation to the environment, not evolution per se. And it's not only natural selection that plays a role in this adaptation, but it is pretty important. Natural selection, however, isn't a drive, a force that makes life push forward and do all kinds of crazy and marvelous things, as it does. Natural selection is basically elementary statistics and that pretty much excludes any possibility of something that "motivates" life to adapt.

But what makes me think that you don't really care about the science behind the natural world is your mentioning of "that 7 grams that goes away on most human deaths". I believe that you would have easily found out that those 7 grams are nothing but BS. I've heard about this thing before, but it's just another popular myth. But you know where it's not quite so popular? It's in the scientific community where no such thing exists. The only thing that happens with us when we die is that this biological machine that we call body stops working after years and decades of wear and tear. But the mass of the body remains the same, the local gravitational acceleration pretty much stays the same, therefore the weight doesn't change.

 

To sum up, biocentrism and life force are woo-woo and they will remain so, at least for those who understand quite elementary science.

I think what you're referring to about quantum mechanics is "quantum decoherence" and the observational remark is merely about trying to quantify the activities~ not because its "us" but because they are by natural non deterministic.  

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