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TOPIC: Biocentrism (the inside job)

Biocentrism (the inside job) 18 Apr 2016 12:09 #1

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Apologies for posting someone with an annoying tone of voice.

It's quite 'out there' stuff for such a mainstream kind of scientist.

The information is here if you want to read about it

Who is Robert Lanza

Robert Lanza, M. D. is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He has hundreds of publications and inventions, and over 30 scientific books: among them, “Principles of Tissue Engineering,” which is recognized as the definitive reference in the field. Others include One World: The Health & Survival of the Human Species in the 21st Century (Foreword by former President and Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter), and the “Handbook of Stem Cells” and “Essentials of Stem Cell Biology,” which are considered the definitive references in stem cell research.

Dr. Lanza received his BA and MD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was both a University Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar. He was also a Fulbright Scholar, and was part of the team that cloned the world’s first human embryo, as well as the first to successfully generate stem cells from adults using somatic-cell nuclear transfer (therapeutic cloning). Dr. Lanza’s work has been crucial to our understanding nuclear transfer and stem cell biology. In 2001 he was also the first to clone an endangered species (a Gaur), and in 2003, he cloned an endangered wild ox (a Banteng) from the frozen skin cells of an animal that had died at the San Diego Zoo nearly a quarter-of-a-century earlier.
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Biocentrism (the inside job) 18 Apr 2016 12:12 #2

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The World Is Inside Your Brain

By Harun Yahya
Secret Beyond Matter

When you look out of the window, you think that you see an image with your eyes, as this is the way that you have been taught to think. However, in reality this is not how it works, because you do not see the world with your eyes. You see the image created in your brains. This is not a prediction, nor a philosophical speculation, but the scientific truth.

This concept can be better understood when we realize how the visual system operates. The eye is responsible for transforming light into an electric signal by means of the cells in the retina. This electrical signal reaches the sight center in the brain. The signals create the vision you see when you look out of the window. In other words, the sights you see are created in your brain.

You see the image in your brain, not the view outside the window. For example, in the picture shown on the right hand side, the light reaches the eyes of the person from outside. This light passes to the small sight center located at the back of the brain after the cells in the eyes transform it into electrical signals. It is these electrical signals which form the picture in the brain. In reality when we open the brain, we wouldn't be able to see any image. However, some kind of consciousness in the mind receives electrical signals in the form of an image. The brain perceives electrical signals in the form of an image, yet it has no eye, eye cells, or retina. So, to whom does the consciousness in the brain belong?

The same question can be asked about the book you are reading now. The light coming to your eyes is converted into electrical signals and reaches your brain, where the view of the book is created. In other words, the book you are reading right now is not outside you, it is actually inside you, in the sight center in the back of your brain. Since you feel the hardness of the book with your hands, you might think that the book is outside you. However, this feeling of hardness also originates in the brain. The nerves on your fingertips transmit electrical information to the touch center in your brain. And when you touch the book, you feel the hardness and intensity of it, the slipperiness of the pages, the texture of the cover and the sharpness of the edge of the pages, all within your brain.

In reality however, you can never touch the real nature of the book. Even though you think that you're touching the book, it is your brain that perceives the tactile sensations. In addition, you do not even know if this book exists as a material thing outside of your brain. You merely interpret the image of the book within your brain. However, you should not be tricked by the fact that a writer wrote this book, the pages were designed by a computer and printed by a publisher. The things that will be explained in due course will show you that the people, computers and the publishers in every stages of the production of this book are only visions that appear in your brain, and you will never know whether or not they exist outside of your brain.

We can therefore conclude that everything we see, touch and hear merely exists in our brains. This is a scientific truth, proven with scientific evidence. The significant point is the answer to the question asked above, which this scientific truth has led us to ask;

Who is it that has no eye, but watches sights through a window in our brains and enjoys or becomes anxious from these sights? This will be explained in the following sites.

We acknowledge that all the individual features of the world are experienced through our sense organs. The information that reaches us through those organs is converted into electrical signals, and the individual parts of our brain analyze and process these signals. After this interpreting process takes place inside our brain, we will, for example, see a book, taste a strawberry, smell a flower, feel the texture of a silk fabric or hear leaves shaking in the wind.

We have been taught that we are touching the cloth outside of our body, reading a book that is 30 cm (1 ft) away from us, smelling the trees that are far away from us, or hearing the shaking of the leaves that are far above us. However, this is all in our imagination. All of these things are happening within our brains.

At this point we encounter another surprising fact; that there are, in fact, no colors, voices or visions within our brain. All that can be found in our brains are electrical signals. This is not a philosophical speculation. This is simply a scientific description of the functions of our perceptions. In her book Mapping The Mind, Rita Carter explains the way we perceive the world as follows:

Each one [of the sense organs] is intricately adapted to deal with its own type of stimulus: molecules, waves or vibrations. But the answer does not lie here, because despite their wonderful variety, each organ does essentially the same job: it translates its particular type of stimulus into electrical pulses. A pulse is a pulse is a pulse. It is not the colour red, or the first notes of Beethoven's Fifth-it is a bit of electrical energy. Indeed, rather than discriminating one type of sensory input from another, the sense organs actually make them more alike.

All sensory stimuli, then enter the brain in more or less undifferentiated form as a stream of electrical pulses created by neurons firing, domino-fashion, along a certain route. This is all that happens. There is no reverse transformer that at some stage turns this electrical activity back into light waves or molecules. What makes one stream into vision and another into smell depends, rather, on which neurons are stimulated.1

In other words, all of our feelings and perceptions about the world (smells, visions, tastes etc.) are comprised of the same material, that is, electrical signals. Moreover, our brain is what makes these signals meaningful for us, and interprets these signals as senses of smell, taste, vision, sound or touch. It is a stunning fact that the brain, which is made of wet meat, can know which electrical signal should be interpreted as smell and which one as vision, and can convert the same material into different senses and feelings.

Let us now consider our sense organs, and how each one perceives the world.

It's Not Our Eyes That See, It Is Our Brain

Because of the indoctrination that we receive throughout our lives, we imagine that we see the whole world with our eyes. Eventually, we usually conclude that our eyes are the windows that open up to the world. However, science shows us that we do not see through our eyes. The millions of nerve cells inside the eyes are responsible for sending a message to the brain, as if down a cable, in order to make "seeing" happen. If we analyze the information we learned in high school, it becomes easier for us to understand the reality of vision.

The light reflecting off an object passes through the lens of the eye and causes an upside-down image on the retina at the back of the eyeball. After some chemical operations carried out by retinal rods and cones, this vision becomes an electrical impulse. This impulse is then sent through connections in the nervous system to the back of the brain. The brain converts this flow into a meaningful, three-dimensional vision.

For example, when you watch children playing in a park, you are not seeing the children and the park with your eyes, because the image of this view forms not before your eyes, but at the back of your brain.

Even though we have given a simple explanation, in reality the physiology of vision is an extraordinary operation. Without fail, light is converted into electrical signals, and, subsequently, these electrical signals reveal a colorful, shining, three-dimensional world.
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Biocentrism (the inside job) 18 Apr 2016 12:16 #3

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Biocentrism (the inside job) 21 Apr 2016 11:43 #4

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Biocentrism (the inside job) 21 Apr 2016 11:47 #5

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Biocentrism (the inside job) 21 Apr 2016 13:04 #6

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Taylor’s Central Argument

The biocentric outlook is acceptable (includes idea that humans are not superior).
Given the biocentric outlook, respect is the only appropriate attitude toward nature.
To respect a thing is to consider it as having inherent worth.
So We are justified in considering all living things as having inherent worth.

Comment: That the biocentric view is acceptable does not imply that it is uniquely acceptable. There may be many acceptable theories. (See final comment below.) Hence this argument, even if it has no other flaws, does not establish that we are justified in considering all living things as having inherent worth to the exclusion of other ways of valuing. The conclusion that Taylor can legitimately draw, even granting his premises, is, in other words, very weak. It is, moreover, not at all clear that the biocentric outlook is acceptable—since it includes the contentious claim that humans are not superior to other creatures (see outline below). Finally, Taylor merely asserts but doesn’t really show that given the biocentric outlook respect is the only appropriate attitude toward nature. Maybe he thinks this respect should be obvious, once we grant that humans are not superior. But it isn’t really obvious. Hence both premises are doubtful.

Sketch of the Biocentric Outlook
(1) Humans are members of the Earth's community of life in the
same sense and on the same terms as other living things.
(a) All organisms share biological and physical requirements for survival and well-being. If we want to survive and flourish, these requirements must become normative guides.
(b) All organisms have a good of their own whose realization depends on contingencies not always under the organism's control.
(c) Though concepts of free will, autonomy and social or political freedom apply only to humans, there is a fourth type of freedom which is of great importance to any organism's realization of its good. This sense of freedom is absence of constraint. Constraints may be positive or negative, internal or external. An organism is free iff it has the ability and opportunity to promote or protect its good according to the laws of its nature.
(d) We share a common origin with all living things, we are a late arrival in evolutionary time, and since much was here before us, we are neither a special creation nor the final goal of evolution.
(e) We cannot do without the biosphere, though it can do better without us.
(2) The survival and well-being of organisms is depends on their relations to other organisms (interdependence)
(3) Each organism is a teleogical center of life with a good of its own
(4) Humans are not inherently superior to other living things

Comment: Taylor calls this a world view, but it is factual, except for item (4), which seems to be a moral claim. (4) seems to mean that humans have no greater intrinsic worth than any other living thing. Also (4) apparently conflicts with the idea that persons are worthy of a special kind of respect. Since (4) is so crucial, I give Taylor’s case for it below:

Taylor’s Argument Against Human Superiority
(supports (4) above)

(1) Claim of human superiority is groundless.

The three grounds for the claim in the western philosophical tradition are:
(a) Greek essentialism: reason is a source of inherent worth unique and essential to humans. But reason is of value only to humans; other organisms have little use for it.
(b) Great Chain of Being: every living being has its place in a hierarchy of inherent worth at whose apex is God; nonhuman organisms all fall below humans in this hierarchy. Taylor sees this as implausible. It also would, he thinks, demonstrate injustice in God.
(c) Cartesian dualism: runs afoul of interaction problem and is in conflict with ethology and evolutionary theory.

A contemporary defense of human superiority is:
(d) Lombardi's argument:
Humans have a greater range of capacities than
do other organisms.
The greater an organism's range of capacities,
the greater its inherent worth.
So Humans have more inherent worth than do
other organisms.
We can't deny the first premise, but the second is wrong. Capacities by themselves do not provide inherent worth; they are good only insofar as they promote the organism's good. At most capacities may be valued by someone and hence provide inherent value (see distinction between inherent worth and inherent value in ch. 2.). But inherent worth resides (by definition) in the organism's having a good of its own, and this all organisms have. Lombardi also argues as follows:
Humans have rights; other organisms don't.
Since rights have supreme priority in the moral
system, those with rights are inherently
superior to those who lack them.
So Humans are inherently superior to other
But Taylor argues that rights operate only in the human sphere and so are irrelevant to environmental ethics; nothing follows from rights considerations about human relations to other organisms.
Thus these four reasons all fail and there aren't any better ones, so the claim of inherent human superiority is groundless.

(2) There are good reasons for rejecting the doctrine of inherent human superiority:
(a) Humans are members of the earth's community of life
(b) Nature is an interdependent system of which we and all organisms are parts
(c) Other organisms are teleological centers of life

So (3) Any rational and informed person must reject the claim to
human superiority. (1,2)

Comment: A bad argument. Both premises are weakly supported. With regard to Lombardi’s point, it’s not clear that the possession of rights does not entail moral superiority; we cannot so neatly separate human and environmental ethics, since they must inevitably clash. I see no strong evidence for premise (2) among the three reasons Taylor offers to support it.

Argument for the Biocentric Outlook as a Whole
1 These are the criteria for acceptability of a philosophical world view:
(a) Comprehensiveness and completeness
(b) Systematic order, coherence, and internal consistency
(c) Freedom from obscurity, conceptual confusion and semantic vacuity
(d) Consistency with all known empirical truths.
2 The biocentric outlook satisfies these criteria:
(a) It is comprehensive and complete with respect to its intended scope: life on earth.
(b) It is systematic and coherent
(c) It is free from obscurity, etc.
(d) It is consistent with known empirical truths.
3 The criteria in 1 are the tests that ideally competent moral agents would use in deciding whether to adopt a given world view. Ideal competence includes:
(a) rationality of thought and judgment, i.e.:
belief-rationality (proportioning belief to evidence)
conceptual clarity
critical reflection
independence of judgment
(b) factual enlightenment
(c) a developed capacity of reality-awareness (taking the organism's point of view)
So 4 The biocentric outlook would be judged acceptable by ideally competent (1,2,3)
So 5 "The biocentric outlook … "is, from the philosophical point of view, an acceptable world view in its domain.

Comment: That the biocentric outlook is acceptable does not show that it is uniquely acceptable. Many other theories—including various forms of animal ethics and a host of anthropocentric theories—also meet Taylor’s criteria.
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Biocentrism (the inside job) 28 Apr 2016 10:44 #7

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What is the biocentric universe theory?

The biocentric universe theory is a radical change in the way we view the world and our place in it. It proposes that the physical universe evolves in tandem with the evolution of Earthly life. The universe exists specifically in relation to us — similar to how the position and appearance of a rainbow is dependent upon the position of the person seeing it, and is not a fixed, absolute object. According to biocentricity, the universe is incredibly complex not because it just is, but rather, because the biological organisms observing it have become incredibly complex. Today the universe appears in a highly defined, information-rich form to us humans, a species that has not only achieved an advanced form of consciousness, but has also developed the technology to probe the universe to extremely far distances as well as to high degrees of precision.

Most of us have been taught that the universe is a collection of particles "out there" — atoms and molecules that have been around far longer than the Earth — and that billions of years ago, some of them came together to create the first life forms. Biocentricity considers these ideas to be unfounded assumptions, not supported by any empirical evidence. It explains how the universe could have an extremely simple beginning, while today appearing to be astonishingly complex as well as precisely "fine-tuned" for the existence of matter (and life). Currently popular theories require huge numbers of unobservable multiple universes, alien or supernatural intelligent designers, or at least incredibly good fortune to explain why we find ourselves in a universe fit for life. These untestable inventions of the human imagination are completely unnecessary in a biocentric universe.

The hypothesis that "life creates the universe, rather than the other way around" was proposed by the pioneering stem-cell biologist Robert Lanza in 2007, based on ideas by the great 20th century physicist John Archibald Wheeler. At, we wanted to see where this hypothesis could lead theoretically. Over several years, we crafted a coherent program that explains how life may have produced the complexity of the universe. The biocentricity program employs rigorous language and draws on an established theoretical foundation known as relational quantum mechanics.

Why does this theory even exist?

For centuries, science has done well assuming that the universe is exactly what it seems to be — an independent, predefined world that we humans passively observe, like visitors to a museum. But as experiments have gotten more refined, it has become increasingly difficult to explain certain discoveries under this conventional, absolute view of matter, space, and time. This is particularly evident in the realm of quantum mechanics, where the act of measurement appears to change what is being measured, sometimes in bizarre ways. For example, in the "delayed choice experiment," a decision that an experimenter makes can seem to change the way a particle behaved earlier in time. These phenomena are difficult to explain if you assume that our observations are passive measurements of some absolute course of events "out there in the world" that would occur exactly the same whether we observers were around to watch or not. Biocentricity offers an alternative, one that is completely consistent with everything we truly know in science. It solves other mysteries inuitively as well, such as why there is no hint of alien life anywhere we look in the Cosmos (the so-called Fermi paradox). The answer is that the observable universe is unique to our particular lineage of biology. An unrelated alien lineage would dwell in a separate universe, one which has evolved in tandem with that lineage of life and therefore could have very different properties. Astrobiologists are currently developing technology to probe distant planets for signatures of life; biocentricity predicts that the entire universe outside of the Solar System will be found to be effectively sterile.

Isn't this theory much more complicated than standard theories?

No. It is simpler. Biocentricity boils down to only two postulates: (1) Raw, uninterpreted information from observations is all that can be known for certain; and (2) every observation is consistent with every other observation. Aspects of the universe ultimately may be considered to be consequences of these two (apparently true) facts. For example, our subjective notion of space is a result of the observations themselves, as well as the consistent, logical relationships we infer among them. Meanwhile, the sequence of observations, and the changes that we notice between them, is what creates the perception of time.

The theory only seems complicated, because we've lived our whole lives within the assumption of an entirely independent world of matter "out there." On top of that, our brains have been evolving for millions of years to create a comprehensible, unified perception of absolute objects in space and a steady flow of time. It is therefore a challenge to intellectually step out of this comfort zone and imagine the world, perhaps, as it really is. What truly is complicated is trying to reconcile the many discoveries of 20th- and 21st-century physics with an absolute, independently existing world. Doing so often requires invoking extraordinary and untestable propositions, such as constantly splitting "real" parallel universes (the many-worlds interpretation), "pilot waves" (Bohmian mechanics), or "advanced" and "retarded" waves that move in opposite directions in time (the transactional interpretation). Considering the great lengths to which physics must go in order to explain experimental findings in the context of an absolute world, some physicists are asking whether instead we ought to re-examine the deepest assumptions that have led us to this point.

Is this even science? Or a new-age misuse of quantum physics like The Secret?

In the last few decades, ideas related to biocentricity have been introduced by prominent physicists. John Wheeler was the first, with his participatory anthropic principle; physicist Amit Goswami expanded upon a related philosophical position known as monistic idealism. Stephen Hawking has introduced a "top-down cosmology," in which the universe began with a great number of different configurations at once, only one of which is now observable. This explains the long-sought-after "initial conditions" of the Big Bang: The present selects a unique beginning out of many possible beginnings, rather than the universe beginning in one specific way that was "fine-tuned" all along. Overall, the idea that conscious observation can have an active, participatory role in the physical world is not as mystical as it may seem — consider the serious proposition that our observations from Earth may be hastening the demise of the universe. In 2012 you might be surprised by how many reputable alternate thinkers there are in physics; on the website of the Foundational Questions Institute, for example, you will find leading theorists writing about ideas that veer away from the orthodox canon, such as questioning the independent existence of time and even of space. (These ideas have become mainstream enough to inspire the PBS Nova miniseries Fabric of the Cosmos.) It is healthy for a segment of the scientific community to pursue radical, new-paradigm concepts, given the distinct possibility that some of the major assumptions and inferences that have been made along the way are incorrect.

Is this theory motivated by religion, creationism, or intelligent design?

Biocentricity is about simple beginnings — simpler than conventional Big Bang cosmology, in fact. Intelligent, directed creation necessarily calls for complex beginnings. No complex creator or designer is necessary in a biocentric universe.

Isn't this a philosophical idea rather than a scientific one?

That's a common reaction, as people notice similarities to the age-old question, "If a tree falls in the forest...." Indeed, the philosophical school of idealism proposed that the fundamental nature of reality was more mental or perception-based than "hard-wired" and material. Also, the idea of solipsism suggested that the world was but a figment of your (or my) imagination. The biocentric theory owes a historical debt to those ideas, but it is more than a mere rehashing of idealism or solipsism, because it makes testable predictions.

The idea of an absolute, hard-wired universe — in which the act of observation is merely a passive readout of pre-existing properties — is most definitely a metaphysical position that a person takes. It's just that in Western scientific tradition, we are immersed in the metaphysics of the absolute, in common descriptions of physical reality. This is why some physicists have worked so hard to square quantum experimental findings with this absolute paradigm. But it isn't working, any more than it was working in Copernicus' time to explain planetary motion using an Earth-centered astronomical model. Amazingly, pre-Copernican astronomers refined their system with enough kludgy fixes to where they could predict eclipses based on the Sun's and planets' supposed motion around the Earth. But astronomical theory became much simpler, more elegant, and more powerful when we abandoned the assumption that the Earth was the center of astronomical motions. The biocentric universe asks for a similar shift: It proposes that a much simpler, more elegant, and more powerful model of the universe emerges when we are willing to try a new perspective, consider scientific evidence from that perspective, and do new experiments that could turn the perspective into physical reality.

Does the theory conflict with established, mainstream science?

There is no conflict regarding the empirical findings of physics. The only conflict with mainstream science involves the interpretation of these facts. Biocentricity does not seek to throw out established science; it is more of a "wrapper" theory that solves persistent problems by providing an explanation of what the universe fundamentally is.

Biocentricity treats the universe a bit like the number π. When the Bible was written, π was considered to be about 3 — good enough for the times — and it has been calculated to greater and greater accuracy over the centuries. But imagine what it might be like if we had never figured out what the number π means, or why it takes the value that it does. We had never thought to measure a circle's circumference and compare it to the diameter; instead, we calculated π based on its role in other formulas. The value of π might then be something of a mystery. Perhaps mathematicians would speculate that there are other universes where π is different, such as 3.24 or 4.0. In the real world, however, we know that π expresses the simple relation between circumference and diameter. In a similar manner, the biocentric universe is the physical relation between our biological lineage and the world (or all possible worlds). This relationship is what determines the principles and laws upon which the universe operates, just as the relationship expressed by π determines why the number takes that exact value. Today we can calculate π to enough decimal places to fill a hard drive, and with the laws of physics we can drill down with greater mathematical calculations and experiments at higher and higher energies, and propose things like string theory, with its ten-plus dimensions and 10500 landscape configurations, probably without end. But that kind of inquiry misses the fundamental issue: that at the top-most level, the universe, like π, can be understood most elegantly as a relation.

Is this the "theory of everything"?

No, but it tries to come close. Traditionally in physics, the long-sought-after "theory of everything" was expected to be one equation from which the standard model of particle physics, the universe's initial conditions, and all physical laws could be derived. Biocentricity is not that theory, and there may be no such theory. However, it is a "theory of everything" in the sense that it reframes and unifies three foundational areas of science that have the deepest and most puzzling mysteries: cosmology, quantum mechanics, and the origin of life. It certainly isn't an "end of physics," as some claim that a TOE might be. As in the calculation of ever more precise values of π, we will continue to study how the world works, only with a better understanding of how the pieces fit together in the big picture.

How could life create the universe, when life is made of matter?

This is probably the most common immediate objection to the theory. However, several things to keep in mind: First, let's not be sloppy with our language. Life, in fact, isn't made of matter; life is a quality that matter may or may not be seen to possess — similar to other qualities that matter may display, such as nuclear instability, incandescence, or mass. (The distinction between living matter and life is like the difference between a massive object and mass itself.) Just as we wouldn't say that mass or charge or velocity is made of matter, neither should we say the same about life. Second, parallel "chicken-and-egg" questions can be asked of the conventional cosmology as well, such as: Where was mass before the Big Bang? What was matter doing before space gave it somewhere to exist? What was the cosmic singularity made of, if not energy or matter or space or time? But these sound silly to us, because we accept that they don't really have answers.

The difficulty or paradox in the original question arises when we assume that the first organism had to be in one particular, fully defined molecular state, like cells we look at under a microscope today, with all of the atoms and complex interacting systems of our modern, human-observed world. Biocentricity rejects this assumption. As explained in part 2 of our video series, if we could exactly replay the appearance of the first organism in a modern laboratory, we would see molecules coming together in a very specific manner. But that picture doesn't necessarily represent what went on in the world of that first organism, when both itself and its universe may have been in an extremely fuzzy, almost undefined state.

Where did the first living organism come from?

In the same way that Big Bang cosmology does not take a position on the origin of the cosmic singularity (if any), neither does biocentricity take a position on this question. The two cosmologies can be considered mirror images of one another: For example, it is thought that neither time nor space existed "before" the Big Bang, while in biocentricity, neither time nor space existed "before" the appearance of the first organism, whatever that first organism might have been. One view proposes that the abstract property of life arose spontaneously to begin the universe; the other proposes that it was inflation. The primary difference between the two views is that conventional cosmology assumes that shortly after the Big Bang, the universe contained the same (roughly) 1080 defined particles that are in the current observable universe. While conventional theory proposes a universe beginning with an extremely large amount of simplicity, biocentricity proposes that the universe began in the simplest possible form.

Biocentricity aims to resolve a thermodynamic issue called the Boltzmann brain problem. This is the assertion that a single conscious brain in empty space is much more likely to appear spontaneously than an entire high-energy universe from a singularity. In biocentricity there is no such problem; the first organism is far simpler than a single neuron from a Boltzmann brain.

What is so special about life, to the point that life is at the "center" of this theory?

There are a number of ways in which living matter profoundly distinguishes itself from nonliving matter. Life is a quality that allows information to be actively sought out, absorbed, and assimilated. This isn't seen in any other natural process — an energetic event where matter dynamically self-restructures based on environmental conditions, in a way that decreases internal entropy (disorder) at the expense of increased external entropy. Life is also the only known quality that allows a natural system of matter to self-replicate, which is significant because reproduction not only enables evolution but also causes the accelerated accumulation of information over time. Despite all of the advances in science and technology, biologists have utterly failed at a task that seems relatively easy: imparting the property of life into ordinary matter, creating a simple living thing out of off-the-shelf chemicals. This suggests that the property cannot be simply manufactured, the way electric current in a circuit can. Furthermore, living organisms respond to their environment in complex, often unpredictable ways; even a bacterium exhibits a form of free will, which has physical consequences for the non-living objects around it. (In both physics and philosophy, free will presents a persistent conundrum, which this theory finally resolves.) And ultimately, life is the only known property that allows for the emergence of consciousness, which makes it possible for the universe to be contemplated and rigorously explored in the first place. These unique characteristics are vastly unlike anything seen in the natural, non-living world. Life's possible role as a fundamental agent in the configuration of the observed universe, therefore, ought to be seriously considered.

How can we see galaxies that formed billions of years before our Solar System?

We see those galaxies today; we do not see them five or ten billion years ago. We say they are billions of years old, or more accurately we are seeing them now as they were billions of years ago. But that assessment reflects how these objects appear to us, as human observers, now. And distant galaxies are exactly what should be expected to be seen in a physically consistent universe with gravity and nuclear forces and everything else we've discovered. But, there is no empirical way to know for certain that these galaxies were, absolutely, in those specific places and shapes those many billions of years ago.

It helps to think of the distant universe as something like the probability cloud of electrons around an atom, only turned inside out: When we look at the sky, we see specific galaxies with specific, logically consistent properties and histories. Thus the galaxies are analogous to individual electron positions being observed when we look for them within the electron cloud.

Isn't the cosmic microwave background evidence that the Big Bang happened?

Biocentricity puts the CMB in the perspective of the modern world in which it is observed. (See part 2 of our series.) Through our observations, we living organisms have learned about various physical laws that govern our universe. We have also observed that the universe is expanding. Taking these observations together, we arrive at a mathematical prediction that the cosmic microwave background ought to be found — and when we look for it, we find it. The CMB is therefore consistent with our previous observations. If we can say anything in physics, it's that the universe appears to be 100% internally consistent; whenever we seem to find inconsistencies, we eventually realize that they only reveal flaws in our interpretation of the observations, not flaws in the universe itself. So, the CMB is an observable phenomenon that can be interpreted as evidence for a real Big Bang 13.7 billion years in the past — but only if you assume that matter and energy are absolute and independent of observation, and therefore pre-existed in the same form prior to the emergence of life. If however you consider the universe in relation to biological life, events that "happened" prior to biological life cannot be said to have occurred in any defined or "classical" manner at all. Whenever we humans find evidence for a pre-biological event, it is evidence not necessarily of what actually happened classically at the time, but rather what humans would have witnessed, had we been around that many years ago to observe the event with the aid of our modern technology.

There is one tantalizing fact about the CMB, however: When the CMB data (rigorously interpreted and corrected) is transformed into a large-scale map of the whole sky, the fluctuations in the temperature of that background radiation — originating over 13 billion light-years away — eerily line up on opposite sides of the ecliptic, the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. Although such distributions were predicted to be purely random across the sky, statistical studies show that the pattern is not a result of chance (to within 99.9% confidence). Even stranger, there is no such correlation of the CMB with the plane of our galaxy, or any other astronomical plane. While the mapping of the CMB in general was a huge success for cosmology, this particular unexplained fact verges on embarrassing, and has been dismissed by some as an error. But the data is robust, with dozens of researchers over the past seven years searching for an overlooked factor and coming up empty. There may be a biocentric explanation: The first biologically observed astronomical motion almost certainly involved what we now call the Sun, moving across (what we now define as) the same plane of the sky. Our modern observations of the deepest reaches of space may be constrained to be consistent with all previous observations, including the earliest observations in the universe's history. Perhaps this manifests to us in the form of this bizarre anomaly. If so, what an amazing clue it is!

How do inanimate measuring devices factor into the observation process?

As quantum experiments show, any measuring apparatus is capable of "observing," similar to the way a human observes. If we set up a double-slit experiment, and we install a particle detector on one of the slits, the interference pattern will diminish — even if the data is not recorded and no human learns the "which path" information. This fact cannot be accounted for by the mystical "consciousness causes collapse" theories that put human perception at the forefront of quantum mechanics. Biocentricity, however, can account for inanimate objects functioning as "observers": Particle detectors, digital cameras, and the like are information-seeking tools that are designed and built by biological beings. They are in a sense modeled on living organisms, in that they seek and respond to information, at the expense of energy and increased external entropy — what Neils Bohr called "an act of irreversible amplification." Here in the 21st century, humans have all kinds of these active tools, everything from telescope satellites to heat-seeking missiles. These effectively extend the reach of human observers, the way a chainsaw extends the physical capabilities of a lumberjack, and are therefore at least as capable of observing and resolving the universe's features as a human observer is. But they would never exist if life had not appeared to begin with.

Was the Earth flat 1,000 years ago, since that's how it was perceived back then?

No. The raw observations that people (and other organisms, and artificial measuring devices) make of the world are accurate. The interpretation of those observations, however, is subject to human error. Plenty of ancient observations suggested a round Earth — for example, the shape of the shadow in a lunar eclipse, or the fact that a ship's mast was the first thing to appear above the horizon as it approached land. Yet, many people simply assumed that the Earth's surface did not curve. This assumption, of course, had no bearing on the actual (round) shape of the Earth, which — even if it wasn't yet considered by most people — was nevertheless perfectly consistent with every human observation that had been made thus far. (It was the flat-Earth view that was actually inconsistent with the observations, as would be realized centuries later.)

To paraphrase Einstein, is the Moon there when we aren't looking at it?

This is more a question of language and semantics — depending on how we define "there" — than a question of physics. In biocentricity, the objective reality of something like the Moon (or your kitchen table when you're asleep) is a function of our previous observations of the object, combined with the degree of certainty that when we look again, it will be where it's expected to be. Strictly speaking, if no biological organism or technological tool were observing the Moon over a given duration, the Moon's probability state would evolve. It would "smear out" very slowly, because there is an extremely high probability that it will be precisely where it is expected tomorrow. But this probability would diminish with each passing day, as there is no guarantee that the Moon, or the Earth, won't be knocked out of its orbit by an asteroid in the mean time. Undiscovered asteroids, meanwhile, persist as extremely weak probability states, broadly "smeared out" — anywhere, at any time, one may unexpectedly appear on a course toward us, like a beta particle or cosmic ray whose detection can only be described as a probability until it actually happens. As observers, we have no control over when or where such potentials, large or small, become realized.

There are multiple observers in the world, but they all observe the same world. Doesn't this point to a world that is external and independent of observers?

Yes, it does! Which is why, for thousands of years, an external, observer-independent world has been assumed. But Einstein's relativity, followed by the discovery of quantum phenomena and its bizarre experimental findings, have given us reason to question this assumption. It is certainly true that everyone experiences the same course of events in the world. In the biocentric view, this makes perfect sense because all biological observers are directly linked, genetically as well as through a continuous chain of reproductive physical interactions between parent and offspring, and thereby constitute a kind of common observer — a superorganism that is correlated to one and only one course of universal events. (This is explained in Part 4 of our video series.) Just as the universe is 100% consistent for one individual, so must it be 100% consistent for all observers from the same biological lineage. However, individual observers within this superorganism can receive different quantities of information about the world. One way to think of it is to imagine the human body experiencing a sensation: Individual neurons in the person's brain are transmitting various aspects of that sensation, and they are playing different roles in the building of that sensation — even though for the person, the sensation manifests as a unified whole.
Jews LARPing as Nazis
Last Edit: 28 Apr 2016 10:49 by Frothy.
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