Why this Discussion?
When a handful of science enthusiasts get together to share their thoughts on the "big" questions, the conversation often turns to the mysterious world of quantum physics. Indeed, in a cursory survey of the interests of members of the Science Tavern meetup, the subject ranks near the top of the list of stated science interests.
We are drawn to quantum physics for many reasons, but primarily because it tells us a fascinating and unexpected story, that the world as we experience it is an illusion, and that a deeper reality exists, full of marvels and wonders, accessible to those with the determination to look beyond mere appearance.
|The Cave: An Adaption of
Plato's ;Allegory in Clay
|"What the Bleep" movie
Our purpose is to probe the origins of this controversy and to try to come to a common understanding about the physics that is at its core.
Two Questions in One
I should note in closing this introduction that the question of quantum physics and consciousness - I will refrain from using the somewhat parochial qualification "human" consciousness from here on - divides itself, not so neatly, into two.
The first has to do with metaphysics - in the strict sense of that word. Does a comprehensive theory of physics require consciousness as a fundamental feature? This is the quandary at the center of the What the Bleep dispute.
The second question has to do with the origin of consciousness and the role that quantum physics plays in the emergence of it as a physical phenomenon. In this case the question, on its face, is not so controversial; brains, at least from a materialistic perspective, are physical entities describable, ultimately, in quantum mechanical terms. There is, though, much active discussion and disagreement about the variety of schemes that have been proposed as possible answers.
The two questions are not entirely independent, but for the time being, I will focus on the first as this series continues.
Quantum Physics and Consciousness - Why this Discussion? by Marc Merlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at thoughtsarise.blogspot.com.