Daily Archives: June 17th, 2009

The Biocentric Universe

My pal Geez ought to appreciate this one:

Biomedical researcher Robert Lanza has been on the frontier of cloning and stem cell studies for more than a decade, so he’s well-acclimated to controversy. But his book “Biocentrism” is generating controversy on a different plane by arguing that our consciousness plays a central role in creating the cosmos.

“By treating space and time as physical things, science picks a completely wrong starting point for understanding the world,” Lanza declares.

Any claim that space and time aren’t cold, hard, physical things has to raise an eyebrow. Some of the reactions to Lanza’s ideas, first set forth two years ago in an essay for The American Scholar, brand them as “pseudo-scientific philosophical claptrap” or “no better than any religion.”

Lanza admits that the reviews haven’t all been glowing, particularly among some physicists. “Their response has been much how you’d expect priests to respond to stem cell research,” he told me Monday.

Other physicists, however, point out that Lanza’s view is fully in line with the perspective from quantum mechanics that the observer plays a huge role in how reality is observed.

“So what Lanza says in this book is not new,” Richard Conn Henry, a physics and astronomy professor at Johns Hopkins University, said in a book review. “Then why does Robert have to say it at all? It is because we, the physicists, do not say it – or if we do say it, we only whisper it, and in private – furiously blushing as we mouth the words. True, yes; politically correct, hell no!”

True, what Lanza says is certainly not new, the Hindus and Zen Buddhists have been teaching this for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

It just took the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to verify it, supposedly.

When you read the ‘Biocentrism’ article, it does make sense, Lanza doesn’t deluge you with high-sounding technical or philosopical terms that belittles the reader.

I can see why physicists claim Lanza is speaking from the Land of Woo though, it’s hard to imagine a Universe that just wouldn’t exist if there weren’t ‘observers’ making it exist. It goes against certain variations of Copernicanism that claim that humans aren’t privileged observers of the Universe (mediocrity principle).

Is Lanza claiming we are creating reality as we go along and it would cease to exist if humans suddenly became extinct?

Or if there were no humans to observe the Universe, the Wheel would continue to turn?

The universe in your head


Hat tip