The chief characteristic which distinguishes the scientific method from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself.
Through the consistent, systematic, observation, testing, measurement, experimentation, formulation and modification of hypotheses we get to conclude physical truth.
As a seeker, conclusions gained through the scientific method have benefited my thinking enormously. Science has given us many things and as a species we are far the greater for having the ability to harness its powers of discovery, so I wish to categorically state here and now, that I am definitely Pro-Science.
However (there was always going to be a ‘However’ wasn’t there);
I do have one issue, and the issue is not with Science per se, but with the majority of its proponents and their steadfast belief that they already understand the nature of reality in principle, leaving only the details to be filled in.
They have a faith in the Scientific, yet will not acknowledge it as a faith.
As part of its establishment, Science contains high–profile academics that purport science is the only answer for all humanity; Nature is machine-like and acts under mechanical principles (as are we humans) and for anyone to believe in anything different – is deluded.
According to Science, matter is unconscious. The world and the universe are made up of unconscious matter, nothing is therefore conscious – not even us. Science is currently trying to explain the philosophy of mind in a way that attempts to undermine consciousness, the attempt is to persuade us that we’re not really conscious at all, that it is somehow an illusion – it is this element of Science that concerns me, for when such blinkered thinking persists, little if any research is done to test other possibilities of reality – i.e. could there be a consciousness field? and if so, how could it be tested.
Science is objective, Consciousness is subjective, therefore science suddenly becomes reluctance to explore it any further. Consciousness is not part of the physical world, so to Science, it either doesn’t exist at all (it’s an illusion) or if it does exist, it is non-physical in nature, therefore part of something else (a non-scientific phenomenon), either way, it’s not a quest for science so must therefore be a falsity.
So far, Science has told us very little if anything at all about Consciousness.
Science as a Process
Famous physicist Richard Feynman analogized the progress of scientific discovery, much like a game of chess being played by gods. Humans don’t know the rules of this chess game in which the gods are playing, but every now and then, we get to sneak a peek at a small piece of the board.
From observing the different pieces of the game, we humans gradually get to learn the rules of chess.
The pieces move and we gradually learn this game of chess in which the God’s are playing. For example, we may learn that a Bishop can only move in diagonals and always maintains its colour. Pawns can only move directly ahead by one space, but then one day we learn that they can move diagonally in certain circumstances and sideways when taking out an opponent, after a certain amount of time the rules become apparent and we get comfortable with them. Then all of a sudden a strange phenomenon will occur. A different coloured bishop has appeared from nowhere; a pawn has made its way to the other side of the board and turned into a queen and the king and castle swap positions in one move. What the hell…?
This is much like the history of scientific research and the laws of nature. The laws seem certain, they keep on working until one day, a discrepancy occurs that requires further investigation which gradually develops into a new theory that explains things more deeply, and so on and so forth. We likely have many more thousands of years of these chess rules to learn.
“Science is involved in a perceptual enterprise, not primarily in gaining knowledge, although knowledge appears. By understanding something and calling it reality relies on the coherence of knowledge, which is only correct through the coherence to that which is already known. The job of science therefore, is to distinguish between correct appearances and incorrect appearances.”
Renowned Quantum Physicist ~ David Bohm.
For the majority, science has assumed consciousness to be illusionary.
Science is an on-going process and like everything else in this world, it evolves. Future theories and experimentation prove old scientific theories incomplete, or completely wrong. During the last century and as recently as the 1980’s we’ve been given scientific evidence that suggests that science needs to consider unpopular notions with regards to some kind of consciousness field at work, yet the Newtonian way of thinking about things seems too entrenched for the old club to adapt and start exploring further into this realm.
Nature herself will likely produce a freak human who will come along and break the old ways of thinking and test new hypotheses that were previously out of reach in order to further develop our understanding. I suspect a new maverick thinker to be not-too-far away in the offing, someone who will hopefully shake things up in this regard.
As a collective species we are seeking to build larger and more intricate machines in which to measure and understand the workings of the universe. These machines are getting bigger and more expensive to build and it is a testament to human endeavour that they get built at all.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) runs for 27km and cost approximately $8 billion to build.
With this massive super expensive machine, scientists are searching for the tiniest of particles. I can’t think of a better use for collaborating countries to spend their money. I hope one day I live to see this as a common occurrence, governments investing together in science projects rather that in wars and weapons.
Science – A forever incomplete story
Science is attempting to construct theories about the ultimate perceptions of reality and continue to develop all manner of equations and technologies in which to do so. This continued pursuit will give us an ever clearer view of reality, leaving generations in its wake. Each generation dies out before ever knowing ultimate reality.
Humans have been around for circa 200,000 years.
Science (philosophy and mathematics as it was back then) and religion is thought to have been around for 5,000 years.
Let’s say we as a species managed to live on for another 5,000 years…
Looking back at what we know now, how we would marvel and reminisce at how unaware we were of the secrets of the Universe that the future we possessed.
It would also be of interest to imagine what questions were still awaiting answers.
If you put your faith in science as a basis for all truth, you are putting your faith in a story without an ending. You’re putting your faith into waiting for the next piece of the puzzle. And you will die before knowing how the story ends. Does this mean that Science is a pointless pursuit? No, of course not, but if you hold Science as your only faith for ultimate truth; it is incomplete.
It is very unlikely for humanity to ever reach a point whereby our species knows all there is to know about the universe and has no more questions to ask. If we ever get to that point, then we’ve probably found a way to go beyond form altogether.
Physics looks to be the only Science with the potential for gaining further truth as to the essence of Consciousness. Other sciences such as Chemistry and Biology seem to be out of the range of consciousness so it is therefore the job of Physicists to come up with the answers for the true nature of reality.
The bridge between science and consciousness
NASA Physicist Tom Campbell proposes; Physics cannot begin to answer the nature of reality unless it encompasses a big theory of everything (a big toe). He argues that physics is currently only working on a little theory of everything (a little toe). This little toe is trying to unify the two big theories – Einstein’s theory of relativity with Quantum theory.
Tom Campbell argues that the over-arching Theory of Everything needs to take place outside physical reality. He believes in consciousness as a field that is constantly evolving. As it evolves it re-creates its own process.
Consciousness and evolution builds on itself through a fractal process. Consciousness is the medium and evolution is the process.
When giving a lecture on the double slit experiment, Richard Feynman said:
‘A philosopher once said; it is necessary for the very existence of Science that the same conditions always produce the same results… Well, they don’t!
Science is a process whereby a thought is logically theorized, the consequences of a theory are then computed and then the theory is proved through experimentation.
It is in the interest of Science and scientists to proclaim it has all the answers as working on the answers takes funding and if we all believe Science is the answer, then, as a species that is where we will end up concentrating our resources. If we are to believe some Scientists, given enough time, Science will reveal everything to us. However, most scientists don’t believe this and even if we were to put 100% of our faith in Science, how do we work the gaps? Do you even care that we don’t know how the Universe came to be? For some this question is relevant for others it isn’t. For me, the answers are much further out than my lifetime will allow for, so, although I put 90% of my faith in Science I cannot put all my faith in science. I’ll leave a little for the quiet knowing inside me and perhaps all around us – consciousness itself.