Why materialism (also called physicalism) is now a form of obscurantism in physics

This page is in 4 parts:
  1. Review of pseudo-arguments for physicalism found in "scientific" articles (sic) against the idea of a link between quantum physics and consciousness
  2. My criticism of naturalism, which I wrote when reviewing essays in the FQXI essay contest
  3. References

Review of arguments for physicalism

Problem : can there exist anyone with a feeling of having arguments against the idea of a link between quantum physics and consciousness, without being dumb ?

All what I could find (if you know anything more rational, please tell !!):

Critique of "Quantum Enigma:Physic encounters Consciousness" (Michael Nauenberg, May 2007)
"The central claim that understanding quantum mechanics requires a conscious observer, which is made made by B. Rosenblum and F. Kuttner in their book "Quantum Enigma: Physics encounters consciousnes", is shown to be based on various misunderstandings and distortions of the foundations of quantum mechanics."
...
The question can be asked as to where a particle is located in between observations, but this question is metaphysical, and lies outside the realm of scientific inquiry. The claim that it requires consciousness to make the location of an object an “actuality,” which is repeated like a mantra throughtout QE, is not supported by any evidence, and it is demonstrably false.
Problem : if "metaphysical" questions should be dismissed as illegitimate objects of scientific inquiry, then why is there any physicist working on any issue of interpretation of quantum physics, and getting paid for such works ? If there was no problem in considering things without consciousness, then why is it that no single other interpretation could be found as satisfying for everybody, to such a point that people defending one or another interpretation are often well aware that they cannot do it positively as really satisfying interpretations, but only as what seems relatively not too bad compared to other interpretations ? If the need of consciousness was "demonstrably false", why is he not giving the reference of a genuine refutation instead of just repeating his belief that it would be demonstrably false, like a mantra ?
"The “facts” that have been demonstrated are correlations"
This remark is out of subject to what it claims to reply, that is, the idea of instantaneous effect of an observation on a distant one. If you have any objection to this idea of instantaneous action at distance by observation, then you are excluding Bohmian mechanics as well. Go try arguing with the proponents of Bohmian mechanics that they are wrong for this reason, and see if you can convince them.
"A particle can be localized by an appropriate recording device, a Geiger counter, a photographic plate, etc., independent of any particular hu man observer."
Where is the proof that the Many-Worlds interpretation is false ? Isn't he mistaking collapse with decoherence ?

So I read the article to this point and found it completely empty and incoherent: his objections actually result in rejecting both the many-worlds and Bohmian mechanics as well, so what option is there left ? Spontaneous collapse, or an angry shut-up-and-calculate ? Just a vain irrational way of repeating mantras of disagreement, as if there were well-known evidences for his beliefs, but never mentioning any of such, simply because there is none, but only widespread prejudice and lack of understanding. There is no kind of rational argument or evidence to reject the mind makes collapse interpretation. Now arrived at this point it looks clear that the expressed opposition is pure emotional nonsense without a beginning of a sense of what is a rational argument and what is the state of the debate on the topic. I don't think it is worth my time reading and replying any further.

Quantum mechanics and free will: counter-arguments (M. Lopez-Corredoira, 2002)
"the different interpretations of quantum mechanics, those that are based on the collapse of the wave function by the mind when this participates in a measurement give rise in some cases to a defense of freedom of will. This idea was proposed by Compton (1935, 1981), von Neumann (1932) and Wigner (1961, 1967) and other authors such as H. P. Stapp (1991, 1993, 1995), L. Bass (1975), W. Heitler (1963), P. J. Marcer (1992), R. Penrose (1994).

"Indeterminism is not an absence of causation but the presence of non−deterministic causal processes (...)we
can understand "causality" in a more general sense: causality as "explanation" or "reason"

"contemporary physics has not succeeded in approximating further to acknowledge of an autonomous consciousness that freely governs the body.
We have a baby without mind, it is just a piece of matter. One second later, we have a baby with a mind that can produce the collapse of the wave function in the systems which he observes. Absurd!
The most difficult question to solve is the paradox of the Universe before the existence of any mind.
Further ridiculous ideas were proposed to explain this paradox (e.g., Kafatos & Nadeau 1990) by arguing that some Universal Mind (God?) was present before the existence of life on the earth to collapse the wave functions, but this pantheist solution does not explain why human mind is now responsible of the collapse instead of God ́s Mind. Did He take a holiday after our appearance? Absurd !
"
So, purely emotional reaction to ideas which this person decided to reject by principle, but no beginning of a rational argument here. Of course the fundamental role of consciousness to collapse the wavefunction is logically incompatible with the materialistic assumption that consciousness was the product of the brain function and could not exist outside it, so that it would indeed be ridiculous to keep them both. What is ridiculous here is to keep that materialistic assumption as if it was unquestionable, to pretend that the problem must be coming from the other side of the contradiction.

Quantum mechanics needs no consciousness (and the other way around) (Shan Yu, Danko Nikolić, Sep 2010)
This article is obvious bullshit (straw man fallacy): the authors insist on telling their own story of experimental pseudo-test of a "no collapse without conscious perception" hypothesis, according to their own ridiculous misinterpretation of the interpretation (which idiot ever seriously formulated that kind of experimental prediction from "no collapse without conscious perception", believing in it ?), then claims that the experimental results refute the hypothesis (thus "proves collapse without consciousness"), before finally admitting that it does not mean anything at all because the observed result is anyway predicted by quantum mechanics independently of the hypothesis (in whatever the interpretation) - but then why have wasted that time to explain this pseudo-test that had no chance to lead anywhere ? Indeed if you could experimentally prove that a collapse happened in some circumstance without conscious perception then it would be a great news as it would refute the Many-worlds interpretation as well ! Go learn the difference between collapse and decoherence, stupid !
" Therefore, we argue that the kind of experiment proposed and discussed in the present paper, for which the results are completely predictable by the known properties of quantum mechanics, is the only kind of experiment that can be in principle proposed. "
Well, no, first because only dumb people could propose this particular experiment as if it had anything to do with the subject at hand, while any reasonable physicist would dismiss it as irrelevant since its expectable results are clear predictions of quantum theory regardless of interpretation ; second, because very different kinds of experiments with different expectable outcomes are possible and even already well-known, so that the ridiculous experiment here might merely be "the only" stupid kind that some stupid pseudoskeptics can figure out as they are too dumb to imagine anything else. Namely, their proud declaration of impossibility to figure out anything else may just correctly qualify their own impossibility in principle to figure out the need to go inform themselves about other kinds of experiments that have already been done, such as those made in parapsychology, which seemed to actually prove the influence of consciousness to collapse the wavefunction.

Skepticism about the implications of near death experiences. I respect the author who writes intelligent criticism of religion, however I think she has not so wise views here (sorry I did not take the time to check it in details).

Argument found in a facebook group

Oct 2, 2016, in group Theism vs Atheism : Only the Best Arguments

"An evidential case for naturalism and against theism V_4" My reply
By ‘naturalism’ I mean the hypothesis that a physical reality exists and that any mental reality is ultimately explained by this physical reality. If naturalism is true, then there are no purely mental beings which can exist apart from a physical body and so there is no God or any person or being much like God. By ‘supernaturalism’ I mean the hypothesis that a mental reality exists and that any physical reality is ultimately explained by this mental reality. If supernaturalism is true, then there is no purely physical matter which can exist without some sort of ultimate mental creator. By ‘theism’ I mean the hypothesis that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly moral person who created the universe for a purpose and is worthy of our worship. I’m using the term ‘hypothesis’ to refer to a proposition for which we do not know for certain whether it is true or false via rational intuition alone.

THE MASTER ARGUMENT

1) Naturalism is an intrinsically more probable hypothesis than theism.
2) With respect to the total evidence, naturalism is a more accurate explanatory hypothesis than theism.
3) With respect to the total evidence, any overall advantage in accuracy that theism has over naturalism is relatively small.
4) Any other epistemic advantage that theism has over naturalism is relatively small.
5) Therefore theism is very probably false all things considered.

IN DEFENSE OF THE FIRST PREMISE OF THE MASTER ARGUMENT:

The intrinsic probability of a hypothesis is its probability prior to examining any evidence and is determined by modesty, coherence, and nothing else. Naturalism and supernaturalism have equal intrinsic probabilities as they are symmetrical claims, so prior to examining any evidence, both hypotheses are equally likely to be true. Theism entails supernaturalism and makes additional claims:
By "prior to examining any evidence" do you consider to even ignore any logical (purely conceptual) argument or not ?
Because I do see major purely conceptual arguments in favor of supernaturalism, namely that it is nonsensical to expect mind to emerge from matter while there is a coherent way for matter to emerge from mind, namely : as a part of the mathematical world which is distinguished by the event of being consciously perceived.
1) The non-physical mental reality that explains the universe is personal.
2) That person created the universe for a purpose.
3) That person is all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly moral, and worthy of worship.

Christian theism entails supernaturalism and theism, and also makes additional claims:

4) That person has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
5) Belief in that person is necessary for salvation.
6) Mankind is in a state of rebellion towards that person.

All else being equal, the hypothesis which asserts more is more likely to be asserting something false. Consequently, naturalism is intrinsically more probable than theism, because naturalism is a more modest hypothesis than theism.

IN DEFENSE OF THE SECOND PREMISE OF THE MASTER ARGUMENT:

The following evidences are antecedently more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than on the assumption that theism is true:

1) NATURALISM IS THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR PHYSICAL MATTER

1) Physical matter is known to exist.
2) Naturalism entails physical matter, but theism does not entail physical matter.
3) Theism is not more intrinsically probable than naturalism.
4) Therefore the existence of physical matter is prima facie evidence confirming naturalism and disconfirming theism.

Premise 1: The Evidence to Be Explained
Physical matter exists in our universe, is extended in spacetime, and can causally interact.

Premise 2: The Antecedent Reasoning
Naturalism entails the existence of physical matter, because that’s just part of what naturalism means.

By contrast,
Theism does not entail physical matter. If God exists, He could have created physical matter, as part of a plan to create a universe for human beings, but He could have also chosen to create other minds without physical bodies e.g. angels, or He could have chosen to create nothing at all.
"Physical matter is known to exist" : wrong. A physical universe exists following some laws, but objects inside it are only conceptual approximations of the effects of its laws, not things known to absolutely exist in themselves. On the contrary it is known that the laws of physics are in conflict with the assumption of intrinsic reality of objects.
"Naturalism entails physical matter" that is too vague a claim. Naturalism entails a material universe with laws like those of classical physics, but has big troubles allowing quantum physics.
Supernaturalism, on the contrary, is neutral towards the existence of a material universe, but in case there is one, it entails that these laws may very well look like quantum physics but would have big troubles of compatibility with laws like classical physics (it would require to play with diverging butterfly effects to allow for free will without physical determinations).
"Physical matter exists in our universe, is extended in spacetime, and can causally interact." wrong. Particles are known to have no definite location in spacetime.
Measured effects obey probabilistic laws, so that when different possibilities have nonzero probability, the actual result has no physically understandable cause, and there is a known phenomenon of "spooky action at a distance" which is not well understandable in terms of naturalistic causal interactions.
"He could have also chosen to create other minds without physical bodies e.g. angels, or He could have chosen to create nothing at all." that is not a problem: the different possibilities are not mutually exclusive.
God can have both created some purely mental universes for developing some experiences, and also some material universes for developing other experiences, because eternity is a long time in which God might get bored unless he develops a diversity of experiences.
See http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/eddington.2008.essay.pdf (though a few details there are objectionable)
2) NATURALISM IS THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR THE SUCCESS OF SCIENCE

1) The success of science is known to be true.
2) The success of science is more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than if theism is true.
...
Premise 1: The Evidence to Be Explained.
Our universe seems intelligible to human persons. In our quest to understand the universe, the physical sciences (i.e. physics, chemistry, geology, and biology) have been extremely successful without making any reference to supernatural causes. In other words, physical science is extremely successful without taking God’s actions into account. There are libraries full of scientific knowledge that never appeal to supernatural explanations, and the history of science contains numerous examples of naturalistic explanations replacing supernatural ones and no examples of supernatural explanations replacing naturalistic ones.

Premise 2: The Antecedent Reasoning.
Naturalism entails that the universe is causally closed and that any true explanations must be naturalistic rather than supernatural. Consequently, we would expect scientific accounts to never have to appeal to supernatural causes. The success of science without invoking the supernatural does not seem surprising if naturalism is true.

By contrast,
If theism is true, then God plays an active role in the universe, so we have an antecedent reason to think He would have to act as a causal agent in the history of the universe. Consequently, we would expect scientific accounts of that history to have to take God’s actions into account. In other words, if theism is true, then it should be the case that successful scientific explanations are supernatural explanations. The success of science without invoking the supernatural does seem surprising if theism is true.
You have it wrong for your 2) which is the central point of this argument. Refutations:
https://en.wikipedia.org/.../The_Unreasonable...
http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2353
For details on the amazingly mathematical nature of physical laws see also
http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2454
http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2366
3) NATURALISM IS THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION

1) Biological evolution is known to be true.
2) Biological evolution is much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than if theism is true.
...

Premise 1: The Evidence to Be Explained.

Complex, conscious life exists on this planet. There is strong scientific evidence for the hypothesis that complex life, including conscious life, is the gradually modified descendants of relatively simple life. All evolutionary change in populations of complex organisms either is or is the result of trans-generational genetic change. Here are 3 lines of evidence that confirm biological evolution and disconfirm special creation:

1. The Fossil Record

The fossil record confirms biological evolution, because we only find simple living things in the lowest layers of the fossil record, and it’s only as we move forward through history that we find fish, then amphibians, then reptiles, and then birds and mammals. The fossil record disconfirms special creationism, because it shows that living things were not simultaneously created. Additionally, the fossil record also contains transitional forms. For example, we now have fossils documenting the evolution of the whale. We know that the ancestors of modern whales had hind legs that could function on the land like seals’ legs. We’ve found whale skeletons with hind legs which were structurally complete but too small to function.

2. Biogeography

Biological Evolution best explains the relationship between geographical barriers and living things. For example, although land mammals can survive in Hawaii they are not native to Hawaii, because they evolved on a continent and couldn’t cross the pacific. Consider the continents of Australia and South America, although apes can survive on either continent, apes evolved after the continents of Australia and South America broke away from earlier land masses. This is why we do not find fossils of early apes in either Australia or South America.

3. Molecular Biology

Evolution explains the genetic similarities and differences between different species. For example, the genes of present day humans and chimps are 98% identical. Human beings and chimps even share something called pseudo-genes i.e. genes that are not functional today but apparently served a purpose in the past. The most plausible explanation of these genetic similarities and differences is that all living things share a common ancestor.

Taken together, these 3 lines of evidence are much more probable on biological evolution (which says that complex life evolved from simple life through trans-generational genetic change) than it is on special creationism (which says that God created all life virtually simultaneously).

Premise 2: The Antecedent Reasoning.

If naturalism is true, and complex life exists, then we would expect all living things to be the product of evolution by natural selection. Biological evolution does not seem surprising if naturalism is true. In fact, if naturalism is true, then biological evolution pretty much has to be true.

By contrast,

Theism gives us no antecedent reason to expect that God would use the process of biological evolution as a means to create complex life. God had an array of more efficient and less cruel means available to Him that would be physically impossible if naturalism were true. Special creation being one such means. Additionally, if theism is true, then the physical world was created by a mind. This is an antecedent reason that would lead us to expect that minds are fundamentally non-physical entities and that conscious life is fundamentally different from nonconscious life. Consequently, this would lead us to expect that conscious life was created independently of nonconscious life i.e. that biological evolution is false and special creation is true. Biological evolution seems surprising if theism is true.
 Indeed you have a point here. I only have a couple of nuances to bring.
One is that naturalism does not oblige the universe to have such laws of physics with values of physical constants that it would contain habitable planets, and one might even argue that such conditions may be unlikely unless we have many universes with different values of physical constants, but the concept of such a multiverse still needs to be naturalistically accounted for.
As for supernaturalism, incarnation is one form of mind-matter interaction but special creation is another.
If God created the universe having in plans to let individual minds play with evolving organisms through their incarnations there, this does not directly oblige the presence of both another channel of mind-matter interaction in the form of an ability of special creation (genetic writing), and a spiritual activity of direct theoretical design of biological systems bypassing any trial-error experimentation procedure, though indeed these would have been expectable and desirable.
However both of these desirable additional features were only lacking in the past. Now both gaps are about to become filled for the future millions of years on Earth by the presence of humans
4) NATURALISM IS THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR THE PHYSICAL DEPENDENCY OF MINDS.

1) Minds are known to be physically dependent.
2) The physical dependency of minds is much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than if theism is true.
...

Premise 1: The Evidence to Be Explained.

Human persons exist on this planet, and all healthy persons have minds with rich, conscious experiences and personalities. Neuroscientific evidences strongly imply that conscious states and personality are highly dependent on physical processes in the brain. In this context, we know of nothing mental happening without something physical happening. Here are 5 lines of evidence in support of this claim.

1. When an individual's brain is directly stimulated and put into a certain physical state, this causes the person to have a corresponding experience.
2. Certain injuries to the brain make it impossible for a person to have any mental states at all.
3. Other injuries to the brain destroy various mental capacities. Which capacity is destroyed is tied directly to the particular region of the brain that was damaged.
4. When we examine the mental capacities of animals, they become more complex as their brains become more complex.
5. Within any given species, the development of mental capacities is correlated with the development of neurons in the brain.

Premise 2: The Antecedent Reasoning.

All known mental activity having a physical basis in embodied brains strongly implies that minds cannot exist independent of physical arrangements of matter. Consequently disembodied minds probably do not exist. Naturalism entails that minds are physically dependent and that disembodied minds do not exist, because the physical ultimately explains the mental. The physical dependence of minds does not seem surprising if naturalism is true.

By contrast,

Theism does not entail that minds would be physically dependent. In fact, theism predicts that we would have immaterial souls, because Theism entails the existence of at least one disembodied mind, namely, God. God’s mind is not in any way dependent on physical arrangements of matter, and we are (presumably) made in God’s image. The physical dependency of minds is surprising if theism is true.
There is no argument here. Supernaturalism entails the existence of disembodied souls that cannot be seen, but the physical universe was created to provide the possibility of embodied life, so that when restricting (by the force of current necessities) our consideration to the behavior of the physically embodied individuals, of course they logically have to be physically dependent.
On the other hand, some NDE and related studies bring strong indication that disembodied mind also exist, something which naturalism cannot account for. Moreover, there are aspects of consciousness which naturalism cannot explain in material terms.
One example is our strong feeling that we really experienced what we remember to have experienced. From a naturalistic viewpoint, past experiences are dead and no longer exist; we may only have a record of them in memories, but these memories are fallible and it is possible in principle for high-tech experimenters to rewrite them arbitrarily.
You may argue that we could have been programmed by natural evolution to trust our memories as faithful and attribute a reality to its content because such a trust, with the concern we feel for our memory of past pleasures or pains, is useful for our survival.
But seriously, consider the way you really feel your conviction to the reality of your remembered past experiences : do you really consider that explanation sufficient ?
And if on the other hand, it happened for any reason that some specific kinds of false memories writing was selectively useful, such as the memory of the taste of a food which turned out to make you sick, do you think it could indeed result in false convictions as impressive as what you normally feel about some of your clearest memories ?
5) NATURALISM IS THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR THE BIOLOGICAL ROLE OF PAIN AND PLEASURE.

1) The biological role of pain and pleasure is known to be true.
2) The biological role of pain and pleasure is very much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than if theism is true.
...
Premise 1: The Evidence to Be Explained.

Complex conscious beings exists. Our experiences of pain and pleasure are systematically connected to the biological goals of survival and reproduction. Consequently, the process of biological evolution is an extremely inefficient and inevitably cruel means for producing complex life. From a moral point of view, the distribution of pain and pleasure in the universe appears random and without a morally fruitful function.

Premise 2: The Antecedent Reasoning.

If naturalism is true, then there would seem to be no way for complex life to have evolved so that it only felt pain and pleasure when it would aid survival, reproduction, or some morally fruitful function, because naturalism entails that neither the nature nor the condition of complex life on earth is the result of benevolent or malevolent actions performed by disembodied persons. If naturalism is true, then there is not a divine intentionality to guide or fine-tune the process of biological evolution. The biological role of pain and pleasure does not seem surprising if naturalism is true.

By contrast,

The properties we ascribe to God have implications, and these place constraints on what the world could be like if there were a being with those properties. Theism posits a morally perfect creator and thus implicitly attributes certain prima facie preferences and motives to that creator. If theism is true, then there is antecedent reason to think that God has both the means and the motives to prevent gratuitous suffering. God’s infinite power and moral perfection are antecedent reasons to expect our experiences of pain and pleasure to be “fine-tuned” to only experience them when it served either a biologically useful or morally fruitful function. The biological role of pain and pleasure seems very surprising if theism is true.
This one is redundant with the problem of the absence of special creation, and the reliance on natural selection for evolution. Biological organisms "need" to force their embedded soul to feel concerned and strive for their survival, otherwise they would be wiped out by natural selection.
This includes some dose of selfishness among members of the same species in order for natural selection to work inside the specie and thus let this specie thrive as a whole.
Moreover you cannot speak for "the distribution of pain and pleasure in the universe", only for the part of it which appears on Earth, and nothing says how significant it is in the whole picture of creation.
7) NATURALISM IS THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR KNOWN FACTS ABOUT TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY.

1) There are known facts concerning triumph and tragedy.
2) The facts concerning triumph and tragedy are very much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than if theism is true.
...

Premise 1: The Evidence to Be Explained.

Conscious, self-aware beings exist. Our world contains much horrific tragedy and relatively little glorious triumph. Our universe is one where the deepest and the best aspirations of human persons are routinely frustrated by a variety of circumstances beyond their control. In other words, triumph is the exception and tragedy the rule. Additionally, our planet is infused with horrific tragedy i.e. suffering so intense that the victim or perpetrator believes that their life is no longer worth living. Consequently, horrific tragedies often destroy a person (at least psychologically, spiritually, and/or intellectually) making it impossible for them to participate in meaningful, conscious relationships. Examples include both moral evils like genocide, torture, and rape as well as natural evils like death, disease, and disability. Moreover, many people report never feeling God’s comforting presence during tragedies making it difficult (if not impossible) for those people to return God’s love.

Premise 2: The Antecedent Reasoning.

If naturalism is true, then there is no God, and the universe is indifferent to human triumph and tragedy... Facts concerning triumph and tragedy do not seem surprising if naturalism is true.

By contrast,

....Theism posits an all-powerful and morally perfect creator and thus implicitly attributes certain prima facie preferences, motives, and abilities to that creator. If theism is true, then there is antecedent reason to think that God has both the means and the motives to minimize horrific tragedy and to cultivate glorious triumph. God’s perfect goodness and moral perfection are antecedent reasons to expect that God would be responsive to the positive value of triumph and negative value of tragedy. Additionally, if theism is true, then it is surprising that victims of horrific tragedy often report never feeling God’s comforting presence, because God’s unsurpassable love gives us antecedent reason to think He would seek to comfort those that He loved- especially if they were suffering horrendously. Facts concerning triumph and tragedy seem very surprising if theism is true.

8) NATURALISM IS THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR NEUROLOGICAL BASIS OF EMPATHY AND MORAL HANDICAPS.

1) Facts concerning the neurological basis of empathy and moral handicaps are known to be true.
2) The neurological basis of empathy and moral handicaps is very much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than if theism is true....

Premise 1: The Evidence to Be Explained.

Moral agents exist. Our ability to choose to do morally good actions depends upon our having the properly functioning emotional capacity to identify what someone else is thinking or feeling and to respond to their thoughts and feelings with an appropriate emotion. We know this capacity as empathy. We know that certain brain abnormalities cause people to experience less or even no empathy. There is a consensus in neuroscience that at least ten interconnected brain regions are involved in empathy. Consequently, violent psychopaths may know in some abstract sense that their behavior is morally wrong, but utterly lack the capacity for empathy. Such a moral handicap makes it more likely that such people will harm others. Additionally, such moral handicaps that are not the result of the freely chosen actions of any human person.

This has to be relativized. While it indeed happens for some lives to be so tragic that they are not worth living, this isn't a majority case, as otherwise it would mean that a majority of people would be better off committing suicide, which isn't what we observe. Anyway in most cases, suicide remains an available option to end lives really not worth living.
9) NATURALISM IS THE BEST EXPLANATION FOR NONRESISTANT NONBELIEVERS

1) Nonresistant nonbelievers exist.
2) The existence of nonresistant nonbelievers is very much more probable on the assumption that naturalism is true than if theism is true.
3) Theism is not more intrinsically probable than naturalism.
4) Other evidence held equal, nonresistant nonbelievers are prima facie evidence confirming naturalism and disconfirming theism.

Premise 1: The Evidence to Be Explained.

Human persons exist on this planet, and a belief that God exists is a necessary condition for human persons to have a meaningful and conscious relationship with Him. However, there are persons who do not believe that there is a God, and, in at least some of these people, the absence of theistic belief is not in any way the result of their own emotional or behavioral opposition towards God, relationship with God, or any of the apparent implications of such a relationship[1]. Let’s call these people nonresistant nonbelievers. Nonresistant nonbelievers are open to having a relationship with God (in fact, they may even desire it), but they are unable to have such a relationship, because they do not believe that God exists. For example, former believers were already on the right religious path, in a relationship with God, and a loss of belief has terminated that relationship. Additionally, lifelong seekers try to find out where they belong and are open to finding (and being found by) a divine parent without ever achieving that goal. And finally, isolated nontheists such as Amazonian tribesmen have never been in a position to resist belief, because they’ve never even had the idea of God. Consequently, isolated nontheists unavoidably live their entire lives within the influence of a fundamentally misleading system of religious meaning.

Premise 2: The Antecedent Reasoning.

...The existence of nonresistant nonbelievers does not seem surprising if naturalism true.

By contrast,
The properties theism ascribes to God have implications, and these place constraints on what the world could be like if there were a being with those properties. Theism posits an all-powerful and perfectly loving divine parent and thus implicitly attributes certain prima facie preferences, motives, and abilities to that divine parent. If theism is true, then there are antecedent reasons to think that God has both the means and the motives to prevent nonresistant nonbelief. God’s perfect goodness and perfect love are antecedent reasons to expect that God would ensure that a meaningful relationship was always available to human persons open to one. Additionally, God’s unsurpassable power gives us antecedent reason to think that God is capable of giving every human person a clear and unmistakable inner awareness of His existence. The existence of nonresistant nonbelievers is very surprising if theism is true.
This is only a problem for religious theism, not for supernaturalism in general. If on the other hand we remove the assumption that religious belief produces any genuine relationship with God nor generally has any special value in God's eyes, replaced by the assumption that our present life has its own value independently of any care for the supernatural realities we left behind for a moment, then there is no difficulty with the presence of nonresistant nonbelievers.

I will examine later these top found references from some google search : The Case for Naturalism by Sean Carroll ; naturalism vs. theism; God or blind nature ; some more arguments.

My conversation with Luke Mastin

Me :
(...)
In your physics site, one detail looks unclear : the meaning of decoherence. You let it seem as if it destroys the superposition. In fact it is only the phenomenon of destruction of the practical measurability of the superposition, and this destruction is progressive (making it harder and harder to reverse until it becomes practically impossible ; and/or progressively reducing the difference of probabilities of measurement results between the cases of superposition and non-superposition). It only reduces the quantum state into a classically probabilistic superposition. It does not actually provide the transition from the coexistence of possibilities to the selection of only one result. (...)

Now reading http://www.argumentsforatheism.com/arguments_atheism_naturalism.html
As you can see in my site I do not really agree there. More precisely, the main error I see in your page is in the implicit assumption in this phrase : "...the sort of universe we would expect to observe under current scientific knowledge of the natural laws" The error I see here is in assuming that the known laws of physics are compatible with naturalism. On the contrary, by the arguments I developed about the diverse interpretations of quantum physics, I found quantum physics to be strongly in conflict with naturalism (maybe except if following the many-worlds interpretation). I just wrote a page about this debate:
settheory.net/quantum-idealism
And in a more sarcastic mode : http://settheory.net/materialism
(...)
His reply:
Hi Sylvain,
I am probably meddling in things I don't really understand here (as I hope I make clear in my websites, I am not an expert, just an interested bystander). My understanding of decoherence, from all that I have read, is that it is indeed the destruction of the superposition, and not the "destruction of the practical measurability of the superposition". I think if I try to describe it that way in an entry level website like mine, I am just going to confuse other entry level people (as well as myself). I have deliberately tried not to be too pedantic and not to get too far into semantics. I also don't understand what "classically probabilistic superposition" means - that is a contradiction in terms as I understand it - either it is classical or it is probabilistic (i.e. quantum). And finally, I still don't see how the known laws of physics can be incompatible with naturalism, but then I didn't really understand your article either). So, basically I think you are probably operating at a higher level than I am, and I don't understand your objections well enough to make any changes to my own works. Sorry,

Luke
My reply:
You have been misinformed by similarly careless sources, so that you are spreading a false rumor here. Telling things as I said would make it look a slight bit harder to read, with the difference that it would be a correct information instead of a false one. The feeling of clarity which you are now providing by hiding the truth, is a lie. Please inform yourself more carefully and you will see. I'm just now having a look at the wikipedia article about it, and it makes things directly clear in its introduction in the way I told you, thus directly refuting what you claim to understand from "all that (you) have read".

" I have deliberately tried not to be too pedantic and not to get too far into semantics."

It is not a matter of semantics. It is a matter of not spreading false rumors and incorrect information, which concretely results, as I noticed, in proudly declaring scientifically wrong information in guise of arguments for atheism. This is no more any good approximation.

"I also don't understand what "classically probabilistic superposition" means"
(...)

Classically probabilistic superposition, is what the Many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics is describing at a macroscopic level : that different possible measurement results keep coexisting in parallel universes, with respective weights.
So you are spreading lies by your inability or refusal to learn about what you are talking about and still refusing to shut up. I have a long experience that religious people, when preaching the Gospel, are continuously doing just that, since they refuse to understand my testimony of what I found wrong with religion, and to stop preaching their harmful Gospel as a result. So I see you are not really different from them.

Other references to be commented later

Inspiringphilosophy and contingency
Refuting "scientific" arguments for free will, Ander Smith

Stenger:
http://www.neuroquantology.com/index.php/journal/article/view/272
http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/35476/if-quantum-mechanics-is-ultimately-deterministic-would-shors-factorization-alg

Tom Hartsfield has no clear idea:
http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2014/07/does_the_mind_affect_quantum_mechanics.html

My criticism of naturalism, I wrote during the FQXI essay contest

Excerpt of my comment to Lee Smolin's essay

(ifever he has any proper understanding of theoretical physics, he hides it well in his essay which displays an explicitly pro-crackpot ideology full of distortions with respect to the current state of physics ! Would it be a form of social intelligence, given the sociological facts here explained ?):

I actually never found a formulation of naturalism that seemed coherent, as it seems to me logically impossible, somehow already in principle, and then even more with quantum physics. So I am very curious when I see such a proposition announced ! For now most of the essays I reviewed here in support of such a view seemed to be amateur-level. I was full of hope for discussions to become at last serious and challenging, at the first sight of an essay with this purpose by a reputed physicist coming to the list.

One thing I was puzzled with when reading some naturalist views, is how they dismiss any idea of considering consciousness as fundamental, by calling this an "explanation by a mystery" and thus no explanation at all. Indeed it may look like this, in the sense that consciousness escapes all mathematical description. So if your condition to call something "non-mysterious" is to have a mathematical, deterministic description of it then indeed consciousness is "mysterious" in this sense. Which does not mean that noting can be said about it (as I did express some important features of consciousness for its connection with physics). However, on their side they claim to explain everything as "Nature". But what the heck do they mean by "nature", and, in lack of a clear definition for this kind of stuff and its working principles, how is an "explanation" of the world by an undefined "nature" assumed to be primary, any less mysterious than the view taking consciousness as primary ?

I once saw an "argument" that if a miracle is real then by definition it must be part of nature because nature is "all what exists" so that nothing can be meaningfully called "supernatural". Then well, if "all what exists" is the definition of "nature" then it makes naturalism tautological, but no more informative. To be informative we need to specify what kind of stuff is "nature" supposed to be. It seems supposed to mean "physical stuff". Well if we were in the 19th century, and still with General Relativity, it could indeed look like there was such a thing as "physical stuff" that the universe could be made of. However, quantum physics broke that.

Namely, an important question I would have, is whether "nature" is supposed to be finitely or infinitely complex, or maybe just locally finitely complex, in case it could be considered locally (which you seem to reject as you seem to favor non-locality in interpretations of quantum physics). So for example if it is locally finitely complex but not locally causal then, finally, it is infinitely complex if the universe is infinite (in hope that the dependence of local stuff on the rest of the universe converges). Quantum physics makes the physical world locally finitely complex indeed. I consider consciousness infinitely complex. But if "nature" was physical and infinitely complex, how could it have definite causalities that depend on infinitely complex stuff ? Bohmian mechanics describes things as infinitely complex, but I suspect its laws to diverge when considered in their globality.

Except of my comment to Mathematics is Physics by Matthew Saul Leifer

I have yet to see a coherent formulation of naturalism. The Stanford encyclopedia article you refer to on this point, admits it directly : "The term ‘naturalism’ has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy." It is remarkable to see that still after quite a long time that a majority of physicists and philosophers who care about metaphysics are trying to defend and develop naturalism, no clear formulation of its actual meaning could even reach a status of notability without being also loaded with big troubles (such as those of Bohmian mechanics); while I would explain the lack of well-known coherent formulation of idealism by the lack of serious tries by competent physicists and philosophers, a gap I care to fill by my essay.
Mind/mathematics dualism is a rather clearly defined position, because : we naturally have an intuition about the nature of mind, as we are conscious beings; we can also study mathematics and analyze the nature of the mathematical universe. So it makes rather clear sense to specify that consciousness is not mathematical, and to claim that reality is a combination of both. Especially as I precisely described what kind of combination is this, and how it makes quantum physics natural.
Now if some people don't feel this clear enough in their taste, then what the heck do they expect and/or propose instead ?

Materialists claim that the fundamental reality is "nature" as if it obviously meant something, forgetting that they have no coherent concept of what this might mean. They call themselves "rationalists" and have a strong faith that their view is the only scientific one, confusing all other views as "mysticism" and "irrational"; they fail to notice how irrational and unscientific they are themselves. They are usually going nuts at the idea of a connection between quantum physics and consciousness, believing that such a view must be crazy, but the fact is that they are the ones getting crazy when entering the topic, as I reviewed some examples [in the present page].
A scientific materialism was indeed conceivable before the discovery of quantum physics, but its discrepancy with scientific evidence makes it less and less scientifically defensible. Einstein and Bell are among the last materialist scientists. Some physicists still try to persevere in this tradition in spite of its hopelessness. They may develop interpretations of quantum physics by hidden variables and spontaneous collapse theories, which progressively drift away from science towards nonsense. They might still try to do their best to keep scientific standards in this work, but they have to admit its lack of success. This is a psychological problem like the problem of admitting being cuckold. They have a strong faith in material reality, so they do everything to discover it. And just like Jhuger having this conversation with God :

"I asked if I was speaking with God. I got the answer "Yes".(...) I asked if He existed. He said "No." "

Similarly, physicists did everything they could to discover the Physical Reality.
By force of theory and experiment, they finally had an encounter with Physical Reality, presented in the form of Quantum Physics.
So they asked this Quantum Physics : "Are you the Physical Reality?"
By its countless experimental verifications, Quantum Physics said "Yes".
So they examined it theoretically, for the question "Do you exist (as a physical reality) ?", and the answer was No.

However, even if the answer is clear and the evidence is there, it is still a hard answer to swallow. It can happen for a physicist to change his mind in face of the evidence, but many have just too strong metaphysical prejudices to be able to accept this rational evidence that the material things have no nature other than as mathematical structures. So they have to venture into irrational ways to deny the facts.
We can understand them: it is psychologically hard to admit being cuckold, as noticed in the above linked page on irrationality. They love "physical reality", so even if this physical reality, when revealing itself in all the amazing light of its mathematical wonders, happens to contradict their belief in her reality, they won't believe her. When they ask her "Do you exist ?" the only answer they can understand and accept is "Yes". As long as they get a "No" answer, they will keep searching for ways to imagine that the answer was not clear yet, and they will keep faithfully prophesying that it is just a matter of insistence to keep studying the equations hard enough so that a "Yes" answer will ultimately be found hiding behind the current "No".
This is the whole project of the research field called "Quantum Foundations": the project of trying to twist the interpretation of the "No" answer of Nature to the question of the fundamental reality of matter, so as to understand it as a "Yes".
And what makes this research field wonderful, is precisely the fact it is hopeless. The fact that it cannot be resolved. That candidate solutions will never be satisfactory, so that there will always be more to say and research about it, by developing more and more complicated equations (while the correct understanding I provided is much simpler and does not require any more equation than those we already have, up to the concept of decoherence).
And what makes this hopelessness a great thing, is what a great job plan it becomes. Seriously. So many grants and prizes are given for it by FQXI, and more can be found elsewhere. It looks like, a number of physicists are starting to work like philosophers, heading into the most hopeless, senseless and fruitless ideas just because that is their only remaining way to still have a job for their large numbers, by lack of any more real problem to work on (since genuine physics became victim of its victories). They have to multiply the extravagant ideas, up to inventing nonsense out of nowhere (not inspired by any experimental indication of any deviation from quantum physics, since they are not looking at the right place to find the deviations where they really are).

Interesting news: quantum mysticism is orthodoxy

Materialists have to take refuge in "heterodoxy". That is what can be found in the pinned message of this fb group with 6589 members on 15 sept, 2016 : "This is a group to discuss all things "quantum" and related---ideas, theories, empirical data...---of a HETERODOX nature. This is not a group that will impose orthodox (junk) quantum mysticism, but we will explore the full heterodox (heretical) realm of quantum science, or anything related thereto."; for this, the group description says "We do not embrace the concept of "Mainstream" but the advancement of Independent Researchers". Enjoy !

References against materialism and "skeptics"

My own other pages on the topic:

A philosophical article against physicalism
Logical but absurd consequences of naturalism by someone actually believing them : My God, It's Full of Clones: Living in a Mathematical Universe by Marc Séguin
Marcello Truzzi's article introducing the term "Pseudo-Skepticism" (1987)
True Skepticism versus Pseudo-Skepticism (a forum message)
Debunking the Pseudoskeptics of Near-Death Experiences with some links
Myths of Skepticism
Skeptical About Skeptics
Debunking PseudoSkeptical Arguments of Paranormal Debunkers - many links
Victor Zammit's $1 Million Challenge
CSICOP and the Skeptics: An Overview
The Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) has some free resources (I would not support all things there, I think it pitifully mixes good and bad works, but...) - one article : The Pathology of Organized Skepticism

As another example, here is an interview with Cardiologist and NDE Researcher Dr. Pim van Lommel.
(discussed here). Other interesting interviews can be found in the Skeptiko site.
Unlike antiscientific ideas such as creationism, intelligent design or other irrationalities, and to the surprise of many skeptics, belief in the paranormal does not decrease with education. (contrary to other antiscientific views such as creationism).

Differences in paranormal beliefs across fields of study

Former skeptic

Back to : Set theory and foundations of mathematics homepage