Does quantum mechanics beckon the end of naturalism?

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Does quantum mechanics beckon the end of naturalism?

Bruce L. Gordon, PhD

Quote:Naturalism, the idea that there are no gods, is the leading theory of our time. However, in this instalment of our The Return of Idealism series, in partnership with the Institute of Art and Ideas (IAI), Bruce Gordon argues that quantum mechanics not only beckons the end of naturalism, but also points towards the existence of a transcendent mind. Essentia Foundation’s position is, nonetheless, that idealism is entirely compatible with naturalism. This essay was first published by the IAI on 8 March 2024.

Quote:Given its scientific pretensions, it’s appropriate that the doctrine that the natural world is self-contained, self-explanatory, and exceptionless is at least falsifiable. All we need is one counterexample to the idea that nature is a closed system of causes and effects, or one clear example of nature’s non-self-sufficiency, to be justified in rejecting naturalism, yet contrary evidence and considerations abound. Rather than trying to cover the gamut of cosmological fine-tuning, the origin of biological information, the origin and nature of consciousness, and the evidentiary value of near-death experiences, let’s focus on the implications of quantum physics as a less familiar aspect of naturalism’s failure.

Quote:Let’s be perfectly clear. If we affirm brute chance by saying that some things can happen for no reason at all, we have deprived ourselves of any basis for deciding which things these are, and they could well include all of the perceptions and beliefs we currently take ourselves to have. This means we don’t even know whether we’re in touch with reality. We’re stuck with an irremediable skepticism that deprives our experience of any credibility, not only destroying any basis for doing science, but eliminating the very possibility of our knowing anything at all! Embracing brute chance by denying that every contingent event must have an explanation is the pathway to epistemic nihilism. An explanation must exist.

But what could the explanation be...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2024-03-10, 05:24 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Does quantum mechanics beckon the end of naturalism?

Bruce L. Gordon, PhD

I don't understand the argument. The gist of it seems to be

Quote:The laws of nature, specifically those of quantum physics, won’t suffice. They’re neither logically nor metaphysically necessary. The reality they describe did not need to exist and they certainly didn’t cause its existence—in short, they are in need of explanation themselves. Clearly, naturalism is inadequate: it cannot meet the ineluctable explanatory demand. A proper ultimate explanation must terminate upon something that transcends contingent reality and has self-contained existence as its very essence.

The required conclusion is obvious: since every contingent state of affairs requires an explanation, there must exist a transcendent, independent, necessarily existent being the existence of which is explained by its intrinsic necessity. This being is unique, not just because two or more necessary beings is overkill, but because their mutual dependence would create unexplainable contingency. Furthermore, since spacetime and mass-energy are contingent phenomena, this transcendent being must be incorporeal.

It seems like a classic god argument to me. I'm surprised Essentia Foundation has accepted this contribution.
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Even classical physics is stuck as evidence shows the universe must have started in a low entropy state and physicists don't understand how

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(2024-03-11, 12:51 PM)Brian Wrote: Even classical physics is stuck as evidence shows the universe must have started in a low entropy state and physicists don't understand how


Physics and in particular cosmology are not self-coherent sciences. But god of the gaps arguments are not what I'm looking for in my personal journey.
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(2024-03-11, 01:29 PM)sbu Wrote: Physics and in particular cosmology are not self-coherent sciences. But god of the gaps arguments are not what I'm looking for in my personal journey.

When physics comes to a full stop, maybe we should start thinking from non-physical angles.  I know they don't prove anything but they might come up with interesting ideas.  Better than "physics-of-the-gaps" rabbit holes anyway!
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(2024-03-11, 02:15 PM)Brian Wrote: When physics comes to a full stop, maybe we should start thinking from non-physical angles.  I know they don't prove anything but they might come up with interesting ideas.  Better than "physics-of-the-gaps" rabbit holes anyway!

I like the term “physics-of-the-gaps” when it comes to standard cosmology and big bang. But it does not rule out other undiscovered naturalistic causes. This will always be used as defence by the proponents of this belief system.
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(2024-03-11, 12:42 PM)sbu Wrote: I don't understand the argument. The gist of it seems to be


It seems like a classic god argument to me. I'm surprised Essentia Foundation has accepted this contribution.

But what is wrong with the classic god argument in your eyes?

And by "classic god" do you mean the arguments of Classical Theism?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2024-03-11, 02:50 PM)sbu Wrote: I like the term “physics-of-the-gaps” when it comes to standard cosmology and big bang. But it does not rule out other undiscovered naturalistic causes. This will always be used as defense by the proponents of this belief system.
UNDISCOVERED CAUSES!!!!!!   How about totally ignored causation of primary natural events.

How about the action of understanding anything?  How does understanding work?  I am a firm believer that QM is natural and it doesn't rule out anything spiritual.  And that QM can frame how to scientifically explore answers to this - not a gap - but a blackhole of Physicalism.

I saw something about "intuition" in another thread.  How does that work?  Are understanding and intuition similar processes with similar root causes leading to measurable gains in knowledge of relationships and future action?
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-11, 06:28 PM by stephenw. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2024-03-11, 04:32 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: But what is wrong with the classic god argument in your eyes?

And by "classic god" do you mean the arguments of Classical Theism?

I’m not sure how a (any) god is defined, but “unique transcendent incorporeal being” hits several check marks with me. So to me he talks about Classical Theism as I understand it. I definitely don’t mind Classical Theism but it’s controversial with some people. I just had an understanding that Essentia Foundation would refrain but going into this debate. Their goal is to advocate for idealism after all.

I have read some classical god arguments years ago. I don’t remember them in details as I wasn’t convinced. Maybe I didn’t understand them deeply enough. I probably haven’t understood the reasoning by Bruce L. Gordon deeply enough either.
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(2024-03-11, 08:53 PM)sbu Wrote: I’m not sure how a (any) god is defined, but “unique transcendent incorporeal being” hits several check marks with me. So to me he talks about Classical Theism as I understand it. I definitely don’t mind Classical Theism but it’s controversial with some people. I just had an understanding that Essentia Foundation would refrain but going into this debate. Their goal is to advocate for idealism after all.

I have read some classical god arguments years ago. I don’t remember them in details as I wasn’t convinced. Maybe I didn’t understand them deeply enough. I probably haven’t understood the reasoning by Bruce L. Gordon deeply enough either.

Oh my point isn't that Gordon is correct, there are a variety of potential QM interpretations of experimental data after all.

Just wasn't sure if you were pointing to a particular Classical Theist argument you disliked.

Essentia Foundation posts essays from Eliminative Materialists to Theists and other camps too. I do like this because I think Kastrup's Absolute Idealism is both wrong and really a sort of Physicalism with some mental dressing, as much as I do respect him and his efforts.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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