Via Skeptiko, a fascinating interview with neuroscientist Dr. Mario Beauregard, who argues that, like the transition from classical to quantum physics, a revolution is coming in the way science will no longer perceive humans as being merely “biological robots”:
What we call the “modern scientific worldview”… is based on classical physics and this view is based on a number of fundamental assumptions like materialism, determinism, reductionism. So applied to mind and brain it means that, for instance, everything in the universe is only matter and energy that form the brain as a physical object, too, and the mind can be reduced strictly to electrical and chemical processes in the brain.
It means also that everything is determined from a material or physical point of view, so we don’t have any freedom. We’re like biological robots, totally determined by our neurons and our genes and so on. And so we’re reduced to material objects and we are determined by material processes. For a number of materialist thinkers and scientists the mind is totally powerless. It cannot exert any power on what’s going on at the brain level and also in the body.
At a certain point, when the co-called “anomalous” data accumulates there comes a point where the old paradigm cannot exist anymore. I believe that now we are in that sort of transition period toward a new paradigm. The next scientific revolution should be about mind and consciousness in my view.
For instance, there’s a special issue of a mainstream journal in neuroscience called, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, and next year there will be a special issue about the possibility of non-local mind. Only 10 years ago or 15 or 20 years ago, this would not have been possible at all.
There’s a progress regarding this evolution in our field. I think that there eventually will be another big revolution in science and this will be about mind and consciousness. The same kind of revolution that they’ve had about 100 years ago in physics from classical physics to quantum physics.
At the same time in parallel, like you said at the beginning of the interview, if you talk to laypeople, most people do not believe that they are strictly biological robots and don’t have any influence over their brain activity or what’s happening in their body. So, if there’s the start of really a transition within science, it will go quickly because the rest of the world is very sympathetic regarding a non-materialist view of consciousness and of human life and the universe.
Read the rest at Skeptiko