This is exceedingly strange, so it’s good weekend material. We found an article about a book that doesn’t belong in our collection of Self-Published Geniuses, because it appears to have a genuine publisher. The book is Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death (Amazon listing), by Robert Lanza (Wikipedia write-up).
Before discussing the book, we need to know that Lanza wrote an earlier book that Wikipedia describes in Biocentric universe. They say, with our bold font:
[Biocentrism] is a concept proposed in 2007 by American doctor of medicine Robert Lanza, a scientist in the fields of regenerative medicine and biology, which sees biology as the central driving science in the universe, and an understanding of the other sciences as reliant on a deeper understanding of biology. Biocentrism states that life and biology are central to being, reality, and the cosmos — consciousness creates the universe rather than the other way around. It asserts that current theories of the physical world do not work, and can never be made to work, until they fully account for life and consciousness. While physics is considered fundamental to the study of the universe, and chemistry fundamental to the study of life, biocentrism claims that scientists will need to place biology before the other sciences to produce a theory of everything.
Wikipedia also discusses criticism of the idea, such as:
[S]ome physicists have commented that biocentrism currently does not make testable predictions. Arizona State University physicist Lawrence Krauss stated, “It may represent interesting philosophy, but it doesn’t look, at first glance, as if it will change anything about science.” Daniel Dennett said that he did not believe that the idea meets the criteria of a theory in philosophy. In USA Today Online, theoretical physicist and science writer David Lindley asserted that Lanza’s concept was a “vague, inarticulate metaphor” and stated that “I certainly don’t see how thinking his way would lead you into any new sort of scientific or philosophical insight. That’s all very nice, I would say to Lanza, but now what? I [also] take issue with his views about physics.” … New Age guru Deepak Chopra stated that “Lanza’s insights into the nature of consciousness [are] original and exciting” and that “his theory of biocentrism is consistent with the most ancient wisdom traditions of the world which says that consciousness conceives, governs, and becomes a physical world. It is the ground of our Being in which both subjective and objective reality come into existence.”
We learned about Lanza’s new book in Voices of Faith: Does death even exist?, which appears in the Times Union of Albany, New York. They have a comments section, but there aren’t any yet. The article was written by Bob Berman, Lanza’s co-author, described at the end as “the astronomy editor of the Old Farmers Almanac and an editor of Astronomy magazine.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Does death even exist? Science actually says — no.
Here’s why. First, experiments since the 1920s reveal that space and time have no independent existence. They can’t be examined like cucumbers. That’s because they arise within ourselves as observers, as the mind’s algorithms organize the brain’s ongoing electrical signals. In other words, we carry around space and time like turtles with shells. This may be science’s most under-publicized revelation.
This is news to us, so we had to keep reading. We’re told:
Second, and equally central to appreciation of the cosmos or reality, is that “external” phenomena depend on whether anyone’s watching. Much quantum evidence like the famous double slit experiment shows that consciousness and perception are not trivial byproducts of the cosmos, but central to it. Turns out, awareness is something deep rather than idiosyncratic. It is basic and permanent, not transient and dispensable. One happy consequence of properly demoting time and space while acknowledging the role of consciousness and life is clarifying the nature of death. Obviously, if time is unreal, the idea of experience grinding to a permanent halt is seen to be one more illusion.
Death is an illusion? [*Sigh*] Quantum mechanics can have a strange effect on some people. Get this:
Since neither space nor time is real except as tools of the mind, anything that seems to occupy space (like the brain or body) or endures in time (again, the brain and body) has no absolute reality, but only an apparent one created by the mind. So there is no “after death” except the death of your physical body in someone else’s now. In reality, everything is just nows. Because there’s no absolute self-existing space-time matrix for your energy to dissipate, it’s impossible to “go” anywhere. You — the real you, which is awareness — will always be alive and continuous.
Skipping a bit, the last line tells us:
You who exist as awareness, will never cease to be.
We don’t know what to make of this. It appears to be an extreme version of Subjectivism. It’s a rejection of the existence of objective reality, which we always thought was a fundamental premise of science. If you have any opinions, dear reader, we’d like to hear them.
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