Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


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Does Time Exist? That’s Not As Clear As We Might Think

We picture a clock when we think of time but, physicists note, that’s not how we experience it as living beings
The COVID lockdowns often introduced people to a different approach to time from what they were used to, with mixed results. Read More ›
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Interstellar Space Travel: But Why Not Dream?

What would we need to trim the daunting energy requirement for space travel down to size? It's a challenge
Viewing the heavens beyond our reach causes us to look up and stretch our imaginations to envision a realm vastly greater than our own. Read More ›
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Interstellar Travel: Fantasy or Destiny?

The energy required to power a spaceship to a nearby star, given current tech, is 4,800 times the total energy consumption of the United States in the year 2022
I think it’s fair to say that interstellar space travel isn’t even remotely possible with our current understanding of physics and technology. Read More ›
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What Drives the Belief That We Live in a Computer Sim Universe?

The lack of evidence for the sim is admitted — but then we are challenged to prove that it ISN’T true…
If we grasp the psychological role that the belief that we live in a sim universe plays, it’s easier to see why it persists in the absence of evidence. Read More ›
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Astrophysicist: Electricity Can Account For Human Consciousness

Ethan Siegel set out to show that there is no design in the universe and that included reducing consciousness to electricity, with the details still to be ironed out
It’s useful to know that this sort of fact-free performance is acceptable, given the state of a materialist interpretation of consciousness today. Read More ›
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Science Team Argues, Consciousness Came Before Life

Can the authors take issue with Darwinian evolution claims while maintaining a materialist stance?
Apart from demoting evolution, “consciousness first” is yet another attempt to naturalize consciousness by making it a basic origin of life process. Read More ›
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Consciousness Observes Different Laws From Physics

At Closer to Truth, British philosopher and pastor Keith Ward provides an example to host Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Only in the intellectual world are concepts like correct vs. incorrect (or right vs. wrong) meaningful. It’s a different world from the one created by physics. Read More ›
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A Physicist Tries to Avoid the Fact of Design in Our Universe…

Physicist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University argues, against apparent fine-tuning, that our universe’s cosmological constant should have a special value like zero, but doesn’t

In his discussion with Robert Lawrence Kuhn at Closer to Truth, Tufts physicist and cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin addresses the question, “Is the Universe Fine-Tuned for Life and Mind?”: If the deep laws of the universe had been ever so slightly different human beings wouldn’t, and couldn’t, exist. All explanations of this exquisite fine-tuning, obvious and not-so-obvious, have problems or complexities. Natural or supernatural, that is the question. Vilenkin — who is also a professor of evolutionary science — concedes the main point: Alexander Vilenkin: [0:40] Well yeah that’s right. It appears that the Universe is fine-tuned in the sense that there are about 30 constants of nature which take some specific value: if you look at these numbers, they look Read More ›

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How Quantum Theory Relates To Consciousness

Experimental physicist Rob Sheldon explains the background to Hameroff and Penrose’s contested quantum consciousness theory, which is beginning to be tested
“Penrose consciousness,” in Sheldon’s view, escapes the paradoxes of non-computable problems that plague the trendy Universal Turing Machine model of the brain. Read More ›
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The Theory That Consciousness Is a Quantum System Gains Support

Hameroff and Penrose’s Orch Or Theory sees consciousness as the outcome of a quantum collapse of a wave function
How a quantum theory of consciousness will work out is anyone’s guess but here’s a prediction: It won’t help the cause of materialism much. Read More ›
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Will the Driving Force for Space Exploration Be a Religious Cult?

Olson makes large assumptions as he develops his argument. But the literary licence granted to science fiction is not available to real-universe physics. Read More ›
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A Biochemist Begins To Sense the Limits of Materialism

William Reville seems both confident and uncertain at the same time that science can crack the problem of consciousness
Materialist science has got about as far as it can go and progress will only be made if we are willing to contemplate non-materialist approaches. Read More ›
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If Science Were Just Bookkeeping, Fine-Tuning Wouldn’t Matter

Astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser wishes we would just quit asking questions about why the universe is fine-tuned — as if we could…
Calling assertions about fine-tuning — whether from theists or panpsychists — “astrotheology” will not help resolve any issues. Read More ›
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The Multiverse: Better in Fiction Than in Real Life?

The multiverse may be “unscientific nonsense” or a “religious” belief, as some physicists assert but the rules of storytelling are not the laws of nature
If the multiverse plot device eliminates the finality of events or choices (“it happened only in X universe”), we won’t care so much about the characters. Read More ›
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Why are eccentric theories of consciousness tolerated?

Even prominent theorists have held eccentric theories of consciousness. It stems from the apparent impossibility of deriving human consciousness from the material substances of the brain
If the scientific study of consciousness ever becomes more ideologically rigid — like evolutionary biology — it will also be less honest and less interesting. Read More ›
Charting Consciousness.

Can Roger Penrose Explain Consciousness Through Physics?

The Nobel Laureate physicist makes clear that he only wants a theory of human consciousness if the explanation comes down to physics
Perhaps the reason no theory of consciousness works is simply that the mind does not arise from molecules so theories of how that happens can’t work. Read More ›
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Does the Evidence for Our Universe’s Fine-Tuning Mean Anything?

Why is a divine Mind not “scientific” if the evidence points in that direction?
Philosopher Antony Flew believed that evidence matters; that is why fine-tuning turned him from atheism to deism. Can science do without an evidence base? Read More ›
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The Universe and its Mathematical Structure

Do humans project mathematics upon nature or vice versa?

This past June, we published an article featuring a conversation between physicist Lawrence Krauss and novelist Cormac McCarthy, where they discussed whether mathematics was “discovered or invented.” Robert J. Marks went on to write his own thoughts on the question shortly thereafter. If you’re further interested in mathematics and whether there is an actual correspondence between math and the natural world, consider watching new podcast episode featuring Dr. Melissa Cain Travis. Do humans project mathematical order onto nature? Or was it there all along? On a new episode of ID the Future, I conclude a three-part conversation with Dr. Melissa Cain Travis about her recent book Thinking God’s Thoughts: Johannes Kepler and the Miracle of Cosmic Comprehensibility.  In Part 3, we look Read More ›

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The Big Bang: Last Summer, Doubt Suddenly Exploded. Why?

Why did a story that cast doubt on the Big Bang quickly go viral about a year ago? An experimental physicist offers some thoughts
Science is more likely to be a decade-long fuss over the ninth decimal place of the muon than about Contact! or Boldly Go. But real learning is like that. Read More ›
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Law of Universal Gravitation education funny concept. Isaac Newton under an apple tree

Blinded by a Defunct Theory

The "interaction problem" is everywhere we look in physics, but the dogma of materialism remains

Materialism. What a weird word. It sounds like a ghost, materializing in front of me. And it is sort of like a ghost, one that has mysteriously taken over the minds of many intelligent people. Because they believe in materialism, these smart people don’t believe in ghosts. Especially the ghost in the machine. The problem is there is no way for the ghost to interact with the machine. This is known as the “mind-body interaction problem”.  The great thing about materialism is at least that theory doesn’t have an interaction problem. Any material thing can interact with any other material thing. Yet there is a deep irony. Let’s explore the idea of materialism to see why. Materialism is the idea that reality only consists of matter. Read More ›