Interpretations of
Quantum Mechanics
Implications of
Quantum Mechanics

28. No Support for Scientific Materialism in Physics.

To make sense, scientific materialism, the belief that only ‘the’ physical world exists, requires that there be only one version of matter. But there are many versions of matter in quantum mechanics.

Scientific materialism is the idea that nothing exists besides matter. This view is subscribed to by many scientists, particularly it seems to me, neuroscientists. In his book, Consciousness; Creeping up on the Hard Problem, the neuroscientist Jeffrey Gray says, “Worse, this line of thought risks leading back to a dualism [physical brain plus a non-physical origin for consciousness] whose rejection is widely seen as a major conquest in contemporary discussions of consciousness.” (The explanatory note in square brackets was added for clarity.) So the question is: Does the current state of physics support the idea of scientific materialism? The answer is that it does not.

The reasoning is relatively simple. There is currently no evidence for particles, hidden variables, or collapse in physics. This means there is no support for the idea of a single-version, objective physical reality. As far as we currently know, it could well be—in fact it is considerably more likely than not in my opinion—that there are many simultaneously existing versions of physical reality. And in that case, it is not possible to rule out the idea that something non-physical, something outside the laws of quantum mechanics, perceives just one of the many potential versions of reality. This idea will be pursued in The Mind-MIND Interpretation. But whether or not it is ‘correct,’ the point here is that such a dualism is not ruled out by what is currently known in physics.

In addition, I would say that in spite of what we know of the neural correlate of consciousness in the brain, there is also no evidence in neuroscience that precludes dualism. Thus science offers no evidence in support of scientific materialism; it is, at this point, an article of faith (or if you like, a working hypothesis).

understanding quantum mechanics
understanding quantum mechanics by casey blood