The following link I have sent you is to a discussion I found online about some interesting theories on consciousness and free will.  The article in question notes that it is quite possible that matter and even the universe itself may actually be conscious, as some scientists now believe. It is claimed that consciousness is linked to quantum mechanics and these new discoveries about quantum mechanics and consciousness are having huge implications as to how consciousness and free will are being understood. The research presented claims to show that matter and the universe itself may actually be conscious. The research also claims that this new information may confirm or refute free will for humans.

Religion and origins issues were not addressed directly in the article, so I can’t quite tell if religion is under attack here.

Here is the link:


This sort of thing has been around for a while.  This is nothing new. Nearly 50 years ago Robert Pirsig published Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence, in which he made essentially the same point.  Although it is written by a scientist, Amazon accurately describes the book as “philosophical fiction.”  Basically, what this article does and what Pirsig did is channel Buddhism through quantum mechanics.  What these people are doing is making philosophical and religious speculation and trying to create the impression that science somehow supports what is in effect pure religious and philosophical speculation.

Consciousness cannot be measured or quantified.  Science deals with things which can be measured and quantified.  Science can make discoveries that are on the very periphery relevant to discussions about philosophy and religion, but the idea that quantum mechanics can be used to “prove” that the universe has consciousness is ludicrous.  How can an experiment prove that atoms have consciousness?  What would one measure?  If consciousness is linked to quantum mechanics, what would that even mean?  Are people using quantum mechanics in this discussion largely because the vast majority of people do not even know what quantum mechanics is, never mind understanding it? This article is pantheism given a thin veneer of science.  I went to the web site you mention.  The author says that “some scientists have posited.”  What he does not do is give the names of these scientists, and he certainly does not mention any articles published in reputable scientific journals.  This is not an accident.  There are no such articles.  The idea that the universe has “consciousness” comes from Hinduism or Buddhism, not from science.  Let me say this again.  There are no scientific articles, published in scientific journals on this subject because this claim is not scientific.

Now, it is possible that the author is right.? Maybe there is a sort of universal consciousness or soul.  The author would not be the first to propose that.  In fact, there are more than a billion pantheists in the world today, all of whom agree that there is a universal consciousness.  Greek philosophers such as Pythagorus made similar proposals.  The question is whether this proposal is true.  Here is what I can say.  Science will not be able to be the deciding factor in either proving or disproving this proposal.  This is not a serious article in my opinion, and it should not be taken seriously.

OK.  Next question.  Is pantheism true?  Never mind the fact that this author is making a bogus attempt to somehow make pantheism “scientific” by misusing quantum mechanics.  Let’s forget that for a moment.  Is pantheism true?  Is it true that the universe itself has soul?  My answer is a solid no on that account.  Here is why.  Every pantheist I have ever known who takes his or her philosophy/religion seriously has understood that pantheistic philosophy requires an eternal universe.  A being cannot create itself.  If the universe has soul, then the universe itself must be eternal.  Here is the problem with this.  Unless scientists have it way wrong, the universe is not eternal.  The universe was created.  I am not sure that the very short argument absolutely disproves the idea that matter has consciousness, but it is the basis, at the very least, for questioning this conclusion.  You can decide for yourself.  Do you believe that humans beings have consciousness?  I am guessing you do.  Do you believe that you, as an individual person, have freedom of will?  I am guessing that you do.  What, then, is the source of this free will, and what is the source of your individual consciousness?  Are they produced from an amorphous universal will?  Does this make sense?  I suggest you think about this.

In your final statement you say that “religion and origins issues were not addressed directly in the article.  That is true.  However, the article, in its essence is religious, not scientific, and the article proposes pantheism, which also raises issues around the origin of the universe.  You were wise to notice that, although the article does not address religion and origin specifically, it certainly has implications in this area.  This article proposes pantheism, whereas Christianity proposes theism–that the Creator created the universe and is not part of the universe.  I am attaching an article on world view that addresses this issue in more detail.  ApologeticsChristianWorldViewEntire

John Oakes

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