How Do We Perceive Words?

If the meaning behind them medium is immaterial, then how do we perceive it?

If the meaning behind the media is immaterial, then how do we comprehend it? If you cannot see, hear, feel, taste, or smell the meaning carried by these black symbols that you’re staring at, then why can you comprehend them? How can we comprehend the simplest of words? For example, how could the brain possibly perceive the meaning behind the word three in a way that an abacus or book or a smartphone or a laptop cannot? Or how do we perceive the meaning of the word red in a way that a camera cannot perceive it? How do we perceive the meaning of information? We’ve seen that its immaterial nature is an objective, testable, falsifiable, scientific fact. And yet we don’t know how it is possible for us to perceive the meaning behind the media of our trigonometry textbooks and music videos and fuel gauges? Even if biologists can theorize about how the brain evolved, that is totally and completely irrelevant to the fact that we are able to use our brains to process nonphysical meaning.

We will listen to two primary explanations for how we comprehend meaning: that of monism and that of dualism. Monism, the theory held by Naturalists, holds that our mind are matter-in-motion and that nothing nonphysical exists. Dualism, on the other hand, holds that we have physical bodies and nonphysical minds.

We’ll look at monism first. After showing how zealously they presuppose materialism, I will summarize three methods they use for explaining how our minds emerge from our brains.

Monism

The scientific establishment today presupposes that we are our brains and that we will eventually discover, as a recent Scientific American article title put it, “How Matter Becomes Mind”.[i] As Vernon B. Mountcastle (1918-2015), former Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, put it in 1998:

Few neuroscientists now take a non-naturalist position, and still fewer hold to a principled agnosticism on the mind-brain question. The vast majority believe in physical realism and in the general idea that no nonphysical agent in the universe controls or is controlled by brains. Things mental, indeed minds, are emergent properties of brains.[ii]

Now it is not just neuroscientists who take this position. A hundred years ago physicists became obsessively interested in consciousness and the curious appearance of its possible connection with physical events. But after various theories were put forward, the establishment again rested on the presupposition of a materialistic view of the mind. As Brian Greene, professor of physics at Columbia University:

Somewhere between the first prokaryotic cells four billion years ago and the human brain’s ninety billion neurons entangled in a network of one hundred trillion synaptic connections, the ability emerged to think and feel, to love and hate, to fear and yearn, to sacrifice and revere, to imagine and create—newfound capacities that would ignite spectacular achievement as well as untold destruction.[iii]

Although many protested this view for a while, today it is no longer debated at all. Here is Tufts University Professor Daniel Dennett claiming that this presupposition is bland:

How come there are minds? And how is it possible for minds to ask and answer this question? The short answer is that minds evolved and created thinking tools that eventually enabled minds to know how minds evolved, and even to know how these tools enabled them to know what minds are…There is a winding path leading through a jungle of science and philosophy, from the initial bland assumption that we people are physical objects, obeying the laws of physics, to an understanding of our conscious minds.[iv]

“Bland assumption”? To the contrary, this is an extremely consequential and profound assumption. It declares that every bit of intuition or feeling or inspiration or motivation or wisdom you have—that those are all, literally, physical phenomena. You plus your personality plus your aspirations equal a 3-pound organ that’s in charge of a body. This debate between materialism and spirituality has everything to do with what we teach our high school students about the meaning of truth, humanity, morality, sexuality, etc. Any scientist who claims to be oblivious to such authority sounds about as convincing as a teenage boy who says he only wants to study the Victoria’s Secret catalog in order to examine the photographers’ use of light and shadow.

Indeed, Dr. Richard Lewontin, Evolutionary Biology Professor at Harvard University, makes it very clear that they are using this presupposition to try to usurp God’s authority:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.[v]

Keep in mind that many people who believe in evolution also believe in God and in spirituality. Nevertheless, Naturalists insist it is necessary to presuppose the absence of anything but the material world. They arbitrarily declare this to be a more rational, scientific, objective stance. So then, “armed” with this presupposition, Lewontin can declare that it is “trivially true” that that consciousness and rationality are physiological phenomena:

It is trivially true that human cognition has evolved. The human species has evolved from nonhuman ancestors and, if we go back in time far enough, from one-celled organisms swimming in water. Those one-celled organisms certainly did not have human cognition, if they had cognition at all. They did not have a language, they did not decide to create a government, they did not engage in religious worship. Thus it must be that human cognition, like every other characteristic of the human species, has arisen during the continuous course of human evolution.[vi]

Trivially true? Well, it is true that the scientific establishment has fully embraced this position. In 2013 the National Institutes for Health launched a public-private research alliance called the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) for the purpose of developing treatment for mental disorders, brain diseases and brain injuries. Of course that is a wonderful goal and no doubt much wonderful medicine will come from it. Yet the scientists also included in their charter the entirely unnecessary presupposition that the mind emerges from patterns in neural circuitry: “By exploring these patterns of activity, both spatially and temporally, and utilizing simpler systems to learn how circuits function, we can generate a more comprehensive understanding of how the brain produces complex thoughts and behaviors.”[vii]

No one better represents this establishment position than Kenneth R. Miller, professor of biology at Brown University and coauthor of a major high school biology textbook. He has served as an expert witness in a couple of high profile court cases about whether Intelligent Design can be taught as an alternative to Darwinism in public schools, so he is very familiar with the debates. He considers materialism and monism to be easy presuppositions on which to base his work. In his book The Human Instinct (which is different from his high school biology textbook) Miller begins his explanation of consciousness this way:

Let’s assume the obvious, which is that human consciousness is a product of the workings of our nervous system as it interacts with the rest of the body and with the outside world. In other words, that consciousness is a physiological function in the broadest possible sense. What that means, of course, is that consciousness, like every other human characteristic, is a product of evolution.[viii]

First Dennett said it was “bland”. Then Lewontin says it is “trivially true”. And now Miller says it is “obvious”? We are obviously nothing more than our brains? No, there is nothing remotely obvious about that. To the contrary, there might be a good, non-delusional reason that 95% of the planet believes in classical spirituality. No, the only thing that is obvious is that these naturalists are making assumptions. What is not so obvious is how the 3-pound organs in our skulls can create governments and rocket ships and artificial cheeseburgers.

Now although Miller is a monist he is also a devout Catholic. That may sound curious, but such stances are not at all uncommon. Many people will fully embrace both religion and materialism at the same time. To take an example from the Bible which nuances Miller’s religious beliefs, it says that many of the religious elite who opposed Jesus of Nazareth were devout Jewish teachers, called Sadducees, who passionately argued that there was no afterlife, nor any such things as spirits or angels.[ix] For them, religion was about politics and culture and the need for a moral authority. Any talk of spirituality simply referred to emotional experiences or perhaps ethical convictions.

Regardless, back to the topic of what constitutes “us”, Professor Miller teaches that we can assume materialism to be obviously true: “Consciousness is a process generated by the hugely complex interactions of highly active cells within the brain and associated nervous tissue.”[x]

Now these Naturalists are all acutely aware that the alternative to presupposing materialism is nothing less that spirituality. As linguist Noam Chomsky put it:

Assuming that we’re organic creatures, and not angels, we have certain fixed capacities which yield the range of abilities that we have—but they impose limits as well…[Thought] is an aspect of matter, just as electrical properties are an aspect of matter.[xi]

Well, given this foundation of assumptions, how does the scientific establishment theorize about our ability to perceive meaning? They face quite a dilemma. On the one hand, they are passionately determined to explain how the mind “emerged” from the brain over millions of years of evolution. However, since they are so passionately committed to materialism, they cannot acknowledge that the thing which our minds comprehend—information, the meaning behind the medium—is immaterial. So instead of acknowledging that it is immaterial they give it all kinds of philosophical names and pass the question to philosophy, which then branches into various competing “schools of thought” about both knowledge (epistemology) and reality (ontology). By doing this they invariably skip the question “What are we perceiving?” and instead go goes straight to trying to explain how we perceive it.

Nevertheless, the question remains: how to we perceive it and use it. Regardless of what we call information, how does the three-pound organ in your skull perceive and use words in the way that dictionaries and supercomputers cannot? Why do we comprehend chemistry and biology and mathematics and art? Why can we see things that movie cameras cannot see, and hear things smart phones cannot hear, and comprehend words that telecommunication satellites cannot comprehend? They call this the hard problem of consciousness. So what methods do the Naturalists use to address this problem?

METHOD #1: ARGUE THAT WE MAY NOT HAVE THE COGNITIVE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND OUR OWN COGNITIVE ABILITIES

When Lewontin first wrote the above assertion that it was “trivially true” that our minds are physical things, his editors asked him for a bit more explanation in order to defend against creationists. He replied that that such an explanation was both futile and unnecessary:

I must say that the best lesson our readers can learn is to give up the childish notion that everything that is interesting about nature can be understood. History, and evolution is a form of history, simply does not leave sufficient traces, especially when it is the forces that are at issue. Form and even behavior may leave fossil remains, but forces like natural selection do not. It might be interesting to know how cognition (whatever that is) arose and spread and changed, but we cannot know. Tough luck.[xii]

So first he said that they needed to keep God’s foot out of the door by presupposing materialism “no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.” Then he said that if we can’t understand the origins of consciousness, the reason might be that we can’t understand the origins of consciousness. Sixteen years after he gave this response to his editors, he joined Chomsky and six other scientists to acknowledge that their bland, trivial, obvious presupposition cannot even begin to provide a foundation for understanding how humans developed the ability to comprehend words and sentences and paragraphs:

Based on the current state of evidence, we submit that the most fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of our linguistic capacity remain as mysterious as ever, with considerable uncertainty about the discovery of either relevant or conclusive evidence that can adjudicate among the many open hypotheses.[xiii]

Now in saying that the answers may remain mired in mystery, they were still talking about how our linguistic abilities evolved, not about how the brain actually produces them. However, it did not take long for scientists to extend the argument to cover the later. In 2016, two years after the above quote, Chomsky said that we may simply not have the cognitive ability to understand cognition, especially in regard to our ability to use language creatively—i.e. to author new plans and ideas:

There is interesting work on precepts for language use under particular conditions—notably intent to be informative, as in neo-Gricean pragmatics—but it is not at all clear how far this extends to the normal use of language, and in any event, it does not approach the Cartesian questions of creative use, which remains as much of a mystery now as it did centuries ago, and may turn out to be one of those ultimate secrets that ever will remain in obscurity, impenetrable to human intelligence.[xiv]

Now I have no idea what “neo-Gricean pragmatics are”, but do not let that distract you from what he is saying. “Cartesian questions of creative use” refers to the questions that René Descartes (famous for saying, “I think, therefore I am”) asked about our minds’ ability to be creative and to exercise free will. Chomsky is saying we may not ever be able to understand it. He compares the revolutionary notion of physiological consciousness to the Isaac Newton’s revolutionary theories of gravity. Just as Newton’s discoveries pointed to deep mysteries that scientists could not understand at the time (not that materialists can even begin to explain the verbal laws of gravity now), so also we should be patient with things we cannot understand.

In writing the forward to Chomsky’s book, Akeel Bilgrami, professor of philosophy at Columbia University, emphasized the importance of this conclusion. “It is a very important part of this methodological picture that we should learn to relax with the fact of our cognitive limits and the ‘mysteries’ that they inevitably force us to acknowledge.”[xv] In other words, even though we are faced with a profound, inexplicable mystery, we should relax and trust in our presuppositions anyway. “Thus limits on our cognition are inevitable for a variety of reasons,” Bilgrami writes, “chief among which is the taking seriously of the sheer fact that we are biological creatures.”[xvi]

Just let that argument sink in for a moment. Our presuppositions lead to something inexplicable, but we should relax: that inexplicability inevitably rests on the fact that the presuppositions are true.

That is a textbook example of blind faith—insisting that something is true because it is true. Given such a stubborn mindset, would you be surprised if Naturalists encourage everyone else to celebrate their own presuppositions. Listen to Michael Shermer, executive director of the Skeptics Society and a former columnist for Scientific American, explain how to handle the debate between Creationism and Naturalism:

Evolutionary theory cannot replace faith and religion, and science has no interest in pretending that it can. The theory of evolution is a scientific theory, not a religious doctrine. It stands or falls on evidence alone. Religious faith, by definition, depends on belief when evidence is absent or unimportant. They fill different niches in the human psyche.

To fear the theory of evolution is an indication of a shortcoming in one’s faith, as is looking to scientific proof for justification of one’s religious beliefs. If creationists have truth faith in their religion, it should not matter what scientists think or say and scientific proof of God or biblical stories should be of no interest.[xvii]

Shermer is saying that if you want to believe in God, you should more or less do it by blind faith—that is to say, with presuppositions. Religion, as he defines it, should not need any reason or evidence. In fact, he strongly implies that if your religious faith is not blind, then it is weak. So religious believers should start (like the Naturalists do) with assumptions, and they should not be interested in finding any evidence for them—especially scientific evidence. Instead, they should just embrace them as truth. Don’t worry about how counter-intuitive they might be, or how mystifying they might sound to the uninitiated. (For that matter, you can still be, like Brown University’s Professor Miller, a materialist.)

Of course, they won’t call their stance blind faith. So what do they call it? The Naturalists say that we are operating on instinct.

METHOD #2: ARGUE THAT COGNITION IS INSTINCTIVE/INNATE/INTRINSIC

In 1848 Charles Darwin wrote to his friend, John Henslow, a Brittish priest, botanist, and geologist, saying that: “I believe there exists, and I feel within me, an instinct for the truth, or knowledge or discovery, of something of the same nature as the instinct of virtue, and that our having such an instinct is reason enough for scientific researches without any practical results ever ensuing from them.”[xviii] Now when he calls the pursuit of truth and virtue “instinctive”, he seems to be speaking figuratively and not necessarily proposing a scientific theory. His modern-day disciples, however, have concluded that our rational, linguistic, and mathematical abilities are all instinctive. Just consider the titles of some of the more robust books on the subject:

  • The Language Instinct by psychologist Stephen Pinker
  • The Number Sense by neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene
  • The Math Instinct by mathematician Keith Devlin
  • The Human Instinct by biologist Kenneth Miller
  • The Consciousness Instinct by cognitive psychologist Michael Gazzaniga

They all make more or less the same argument, so I will only quote the first one here and summarize some of the others later. So here is Dr. Stephen Pinker in 1994:

Language is not a cultural artifact that we learn the way we learn to tell time or how the federal government works. Instead, it is a distinct piece of the biological makeup of our brains. Language is a complex, specialized skill, which develops in the child spontaneously, without conscious effort or formal instruction, is deployed without awareness of its underlying logic, is qualitatively the same in every individual, and is distinct from more general abilities to process information or behave intelligently. For these reasons some cognitive scientists have described language as a psychological faculty, a mental organ, a neural system, and a computational module. But I prefer the admittedly quaint term “instinct.” It conveys the idea that people know how to talk in more or less the sense that spiders know how to spin webs. Web-spinning was not invented by some unsung spider genius and does not depend on having had the right education or on having an aptitude for architecture or the construction trades. Rather, spiders spin spider webs because they have spider brains, which give them the urge to spin and the competence to succeed.[xix]

Pinker is a great writer, and the research that leads to this conclusion is fascinating. Our ability to do language comes as effortlessly as our ability to pull our hand away from fire or our ability to drink water when we are thirsty. “The crux of the argument is that complex language is universal because children actually reinvent it, generation after generation—not because they are taught, not because they are generally smart, not because it is useful to them, but because they just can’t help it.”[xx]

Again, it is wonderful to hear the scientific research that backs up that last statement. Regardless, for a materialist to call our linguistic ability instinctive is, at its best, not a scientific explanation: we can do language because we are programmed to do language?

But it’s not just a redundant statement. Indeed, it does not actually make any sense…at all. For an instinct is something we do automatically, without thinking, because it is programmed into us. Beavers build dams and spiders build webs for the same reason that antilock brakes kick in when you slam on them: that’s what they are programmed to do. But it goes way beyond begging the question to use that as an explanation for how the brain comprehends words and sentences and soliloquies. The fact is that you cannot communicate without thinking. You cannot, for example, comprehend this sentence if you’re on autopilot. (And when you are on auto-pilot, you’re most assuredly thinking about something else!) Nor can you comprehend the meaning of a sentence like “What’s the square root of nine million?” without concentrating your mind just a bit. Smart phones and supercomputers can simulate such calculations instantly because that is what they are programmed to do. But they don’t perceive the meaning of those calculations any more than my colon comprehends the meaning of the Krebs cycle. Our minds, however, can perceive the meaning.

Why? Why are we able to both perceive and use words in such creative and analytical ways? How do we do it? How do children do it? Pinker’s book is titled The Language Instinct, but saying that we communicate instinctively makes about as much sense as saying we can think without thinking.

Yet the argument has been fully embraced by Naturalists. It has become popular for them to compare our mind’s emergence from our brains to an ant colony’s emergence from a bunch of ants. So although I will summarize some of those other books’ arguments later, I want to bring another one into the discussion here in order to explore that analogy.

David Eagleman teaches as an adjunct professor in the department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and also serves as the director of the Center for Science and Law. And he is CEO of NeoSensory, a company that develops devices for sensory substitution. He acknowledges that we still don’t know how our brains perceive meaning as a result of emergence, but in his book The Brain he says that he confident that we will eventually figure it out.

We know a lot about the mechanics of neurons and networks and brain regions—but we don’t know why all those signals coursing around in there mean anything to us. How can the matter of our brains cause us to care about anything? The meaning problem is not yet solved. But here’s what I think we can say: the meaning of something to you is all about your webs of associations, based on the whole history of your life experiences.[xxi]

Eagleman explains better than anyone else how incredibly complex this web is in our brains. (The Society of Neuroscience named him science educator of the year in 2012, and he later created the PBS documentary series The Brain with David Eagleman.) He says that if we wanted to record a high-resolution architecture of a single human brain, we would need a zettabyte of capacity—the same size as all the digital content on planet earth right now. Because it’s not just the neurons that are at work, but also chemical processes and protein changes. “The alchemy of thought, of feeling, of awareness—this emerges from quadrillions of interactions between brain cells every second: the release of chemicals, the changes in the shapes of proteins, the traveling waves of electrical activity down the axons of neurons.”[xxii]

With such mind-numbing complexity, surely consciousness could emerge, right? Eagleman says emergence refers to how something completely new can arise out of different parts. It doesn’t exist in the individual parts, but it does exist in the whole, just as a thriving, competitive ant colony can emerge from thousands of ants even though the individual insects do not have a clue and are only reacting to their immediate surroundings.

What is key is the interaction between the ants. And so it goes with the brain. A neuron is simply a specialized cell, just like other cells in your body, but with some specializations that allow it to grow processes and propagate electrical signals. Like an ant, an individual brain cell just runs its local program its whole life, carrying electrical signals along its membrane, spitting out neurotransmitters when the time comes for it, and being spat upon by the neurotransmission of other cells. That’s it. It lives in darkness. Each neuron spends its life embedded in a network of other cells, simply responding to signals. It doesn’t know if it’s involved in moving your eyes to read Shakespeare, or moving your hands to play Beethoven. It doesn’t know about you. Although your goals, intentions, and abilities are completely dependent on the existence of these little neurons, they live on a smaller scale, with no awareness of the thing they have come together to build.[1]

Although that is an interesting analogy, it actually only address issues of biology and neuroscience, not necessarily consciousness. That is to say that it is operating on the assumption that if we can explain the brain then we can explain consciousness. Apart from that presupposition, the analogy actually works just as well in the opposite direction—for explaining why the brain does not need a central command of consciousness. Just as the individual ants are only doing what they are programmed to do, so also the colony as a whole is only doing what it is programmed to do—just as communication satellites and mars robots are only doing what they are programmed to do. None of these things are aware that they’ve been programmed, and yet the truly mysterious part of consciousness is that we are aware of it. We are aware that we are responding to our environment. After all his interesting analogies and explanations, Eagleman doesn’t even try to explain how we can perceive and integrate information.

Let’s be more precise: Eagleman’s explanation mistakes the medium of information with the meaning of information. Although it’s plausible to argue that we use our neurons to process information, that is no different, in principle, from how we might use an abacus to process information. No matter how many gazillion neurons we tie together, they are still just the mediums for information. So even if, for the sake of argument, we allowed for the Naturalists’ theory that the brain emerged in all its complexity, that still actually says precisely zero about consciousness. They still have to depend 100 percent on their arbitrary presuppositions.

Everywhere you look you can find systems with emergent properties. No single hunk of metal on an airplane has the property of flight, but when you arrange the pieces in the right way, flight emerges. Pieces and parts of a system can be individually quite simple. It’s all about their interaction. In many cases, the parts themselves are replaceable. What is required for consciousness? Although the theoretical details are not yet worked out, the mind seems to emerge from the interaction of the billions of pieces and parts of the brain. This leads to a fundamental question: can a mind emerge from anything with lots of interacting parts?[2]

This is another textbook example of blind faith, only now it is hiding behind a bunch of complex imagery. It still requires pure presupposition to argue that consciousness will somehow, some way, instinctively, intrinsically, innately emerge from such complexity.

Well, if we don’t have the cognitive ability to comprehend cognition, and we just explain it as being an instinct that emerges from billions of neurons after billions of years, the next thing to do is wax poetical and philosophical.

METHOD #3: WAX POETICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL

Dr. Alan Jasanoff is an associate investigator of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, where he is a professor of biological engineering with joint appointments in the departments of brain and cognitive sciences and of nuclear science and engineering.

In the age of neuroscience, we can doubt neither the life of our minds nor the central role of our brains in it. But at the same time, we cannot doubt that external forces extend their fingers into the remotest regions of our brains, feeding our thoughts with a continuous influx of sensory input from which it is impossible to hide. We also cannot deny that each of our acts is guided by the minute contours of our surroundings, from the shapes of the door handles we use to the social structures we participate in. Science teaches us that the nervous system is completely integrated into these surroundings, composed of the same substances and subject to the same laws of cause and effect that reign at large—and that our biology-based minds are the products of this synthesis. Our brains are not mysterious beacons, glowing with inner radiance against a dark void. Instead, they are organic prisms that refract the light of the universe back into itself.[xxiii]

That quote comes from Jasanoff’s book, The Biological Mind, the main point of which is that our brains are intimately connected with our bodies and our environment. Instead of saying that we are our brains, Jasanoff says that we are our bodies interacting with our environment. Regardless, when it comes to explaining what our minds are, although Jasanoff has done some wonderfully interesting research, the very best he can do is to say that they are “organic prisms that refract the light of the universe back into itself.”

As beautiful as such analogies are, they nothing more than a poetic way of stating naturalism’s presupposition: the mind is a “biology-based” thing. They have not offered one scintilla of scientific data with which to back up this presupposition, much less a coherent theory of how the brain comprehends information. Yes, the brain is complex, no one questions that. What we question is how the brain comprehends immaterial phenomena—how it could be said to comprehend anything at all.

Danielle S. Bassett, an associate professor in the department of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and Max Bertolero is a postdoctoral fellow in Bassett’s Complex Systems Group, recently wrote an article for Scientific American titled, “How Matter Becomes Mind”. They start with the presupposition: “In the most fundamental sense, what the brain is—and thus who we are as conscious beings—is, in fact, defined by a sprawling network of 100 billion neurons with at least 100 trillion connecting points, or synapses.”[xxiv]

Throughout their article, which is very interesting and well written, they repeatedly compare consciousness to music.

Put simply, your thoughts, feelings, quirks, flaws and mental strengths are all encoded by the specific organization of the brain as a unified integrated network. In sum, it is the music that your brain plays that makes you.[xxv]

That’s a nice analogy. But wait, what exactly is music? Although we are most familiar with music being translated as sound waves, it can just as easily be translated onto paper. For example, Beethoven first recorded his Ninth Symphony as black symbols on paper…when he was deaf! But very few people can appreciate it in any way simply by reading it. Instead, we need it translated from a pattern of black symbols into a pattern of sound waves. But then who has the time or the money to go to a concert and listen to a hundred musicians do that?! Most of us actually need it translated from that pattern of sound waves into either a pattern of dents on a DVD or into a pattern of electromagnetic waves that we can download wirelessly onto our smartphones. Then we can use our car’s computers to translate it back into sound waves. So what exactly is that “it” that is being translating? What do the stack of paper, the sound waves, the DVD, and the electromagnetic waves all have in common? They don’t have any physical qualities in common, so whatever they do have in common is intangible. That intangible nature of music is why a DVD player doesn’t comprehend the meaning of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony any more than a book comprehends the meaning of Shakespeare’s 9th Sonnet, right? In fact, whatever it is that does perceive music must likewise be nonphysical (i.e. you are a soul) and so you must be using your brain, in principle, the same way that you use pen and paper or a smart phone or a car.

How is that possible?

If we’re asking how it’s possible that Bassett and Bertolero made such a self-defeating analogy, it’s because, like so many others, they are mistaking the medium for information—in this case, music—for the meaning of information. And if we consider that music, like mathematics and language, is an immaterial phenomenon, then it again becomes clear that taking both information and our perception of information for granted is indistinguishable from taking spirituality for granted.

But if we’re asking how a nonphysical mind could use a physical brain, then we should now consider the dualistic explanation of the mind-over-matter mystery.

Dualism

Just consider the possibility that our minds are, like information, immaterial. According to this view we use our physical brains, in principle, the same way that we use our hands and our laptops and our cars. Although it’s called dualism we should actually recognize three distinct phenomena—physical media, nonphysical meaning, and the nonphysical minds that can perceive and author meaning. But for now we will simply stick with the term dualism to refer to the physical body and the nonphysical mind. Let’s go back to square one and see if this idea is plausible and coherent.

On the one hand, although the explanation comes from quantum mechanics, it is really quite simple. Instead of asking how the mind directs matter, we want to ask when. After all, we know—to the extent that we know anything at all—that we do in fact direct our bodies, and that we can use our bodies to direct everything from lawn mowers to Mars robots. So when exactly do our minds do the controlling?

Well physicists discovered that before any quantum particle (the smallest physical thing we know about) materializes from a wave—quite literally materializes—there is what is called the collapse of the wave function. The wave function is a complex mathematical equation that gives the probability of finding a quantum particle in any particular location. And the key to understanding this explanation—the party of the mystery that so baffled scientists from the day they first discovered until now—is the word probability. The outcome of the wave function collapse is unpredictable and so subject to the whims of the scientists doing the experimenting. Their conscious decisions affected the materialization of matter. As one of the 20th century’s leading physicists, Henry Stapp, put it:

Heisenberg’s discovery was that the process of observation—whereby an observer comes to consciously know the numerical value of a material property of an observed system—cannot be understood within the framework of materialist classical mechanics. A non-classical process is needed. This process does not construct mind out of matter, or reduce mind to matter. Instead, it explains, in mathematical terms, how a person’s immaterial conscious mind interacts with that person’s material brain.[xxvi]

Because the wave function equations are about probability and thus unpredictable, that means that prior to the materialization of an electron from a wave, the equation/sentence must be completed. When that sentence is finalized the wave collapses into a particle. So when scientists realized that their decisions can affect the outcome of such equations, those decisions themselves became paramount. Yet decisions, simply put, are not physical phenomena.

Stapp says that in the beginning, Heisenberg and his colleagues were completely baffled by these results, but it didn’t even occur to them to challenge the prevailing materialistic worldview. Instead, they simply identified a series of principles which would guide them in their experimentation. Only later did they realize that their conclusions demanded a paradigm shift in physics. The classical, materialistic view of the world was being replaced by something radically different.

Quantum mechanics accounts with fantastic accuracy for the empirical data both old and new. The core difference between the two theories is that in the earlier classical theory all causal effects in the world of matter are reducible to the action of matter upon matter, whereas in the new theory our conscious intentions and mental efforts play an essential and irreducible causal role in the determination of the evolving material properties of the physically described world. Thus the new theory elevates our acts of conscious observation from causally impotent witnesses of a flow of physical events determined by material processes alone to irreducible mental inputs into the determination of the future of an evolving psycho-physical universe.[xxvii]

Decisions can cause the materialization of matter? Yes. First, we should recognize that sentences precede everything. Just as you can’t have a pizza without a recipe or a building without a blueprint or a cat without a DNA “blueprint”, so also you can’t have a particle without a sentence. And with our decisions we can effectively author some of those sentences. That doesn’t mean that we have to be able to solve wave functions in order to use our brains any more than we have to be able to write computer code in order to use our computers. It means that just as scientists can make decisions in the laboratory that cause quantum particles to materialize, so also we can make decisions that can direct our brains.

It’s just that simple.

On the other hand, those wave functions are difficult to comprehend. Myself, I comprehend them about as well as I comprehend Egyptian hieroglyphics. And although I like to call them sentences whose main verb is equal, if you wrote one of them out in plain English—which I will not try to do—it would look more like a paragraph. You’ve got to study a whole lot of math before you can begin to understand them, similar to how you would have to study a whole lot of Spanish before you could understand a Mexican news show.

Stapp, now age 91, is one of the physicists who first learned to read and write them. He worked closely with such twentieth century giants Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, and John Wheeler. He has published many papers pertaining to quantum mechanics’ non-local aspects, which reveal that an object can be moved or affected without being physically touched. He says that no physicist can deny the overwhelming empirical evidence that scientists have found for such faster-than-light action-at-a-distance.

When he says that the classical theory had reduced the world to “the action of matter upon matter”, he means that prior to quantum mechanics physicists believed that everything that happened in the universe was, in principle, as predictable as billiard balls. If you are good at billiards, then you know exactly how to cause the balls hit each other so that you put one in a pocket. In similar fashion, they believed that if you were really good at physics then you could predict exactly what the billiards player himself will do. What quantum mechanics revealed was that the decision of the pool player was, in effect, quite literally unpredictable. He has free will.

Although many Naturalists want to believe in free will, none of them can even begin to articulate a theory as to how a materialistic free will is possible—unless, of course, they resort to a whole lot of esoteric philosophical jargon. By contrast, Stapp says quantum mechanics reveals exactly, measurably, how an immaterial mind can cause small-scale changes in the brain that can lead to large-scale changes in the world.

It is exactly this problem of the connection between physically described small-scale properties and directly experienced large-scale properties that orthodox quantum theory successfully resolves. To ignore this solution, and cling to the false precepts of classical mechanics that leave mind and consciousness completely out of the causal loop, seems to be totally irrational. What fascination with the weird and the incredible impels philosophers to adhere, on the one hand, to a known-to-be-false physical theory that implies that all of our experiences of our thoughts influencing our actions are illusions, and to reject, on the other hand, the offerings of its successor, which naturally produces an image of ourselves that is fully concordant with our normal intuitions, and can explain how bodily behavior can be influenced by felt evaluations that emerge from an aspect of reality that is not adequately conceptualized in terms of the mechanistic notion of bouncing billiard balls?[xxviii]

Thus quantum mechanics confirms what we intuitively know to be true: we have free will in choosing what to do with our bodies, whether that choice is as simple as raising your hand or as complex as designing and launching a rocket ship to mars. If we allow for the presence of a soul—with genuinely subjective experiences (as opposed to calling them illusions or hallucinations) and free will and intentionality, etc.—then all the scientific facts fit together beautifully. Stapp says there is nothing goofy or weird, not to mention unscientific, about figuring an immaterial mind into the equations—literally, part of the equations.

Quantum mechanics thereby provides a rational science-based escape from the philosophical, metaphysical, moral, and explanatory dead ends that are the rational consequences of the prevailing entrenched and stoutly defended in practice—although known to be basically false in principle—classical materialistic conception of the world and our place within it.[xxix]

Again, this was the original, most straightforward explanation of the facts. In one of the first quantum mechanics textbooks, written in 1932, the Hungarian mathematical physicist John von Neumann explained the already massively confirmed conclusion that wave function collapse happened through the intervention of an observer rather than through static physical laws. Furthermore, it was already clear that the observer (i.e. the scientist who was doing the experiment) was “a new entity relative to the physical environment”. In the 21st century we don’t hear scientists use this sort of language, but Neumann was simply explaining what the data revealed:

Let us now compare these circumstances with those which actually exist in nature or in its observation. First, it is inherently entirely correct that the measurement or the related process of the subjective perception is a new entity relative to the physical environment and is not reducible to the latter. Indeed, subjective perception leads us into the intellectual inner life of the individual, which is extra-observational by its very nature (since it must be taken for granted by any conceivable observation or experiment).[xxx]

This next point might sound odder still, but it is interesting to hear how these scientists were processing what they learned the laboratory. Neumann went on to explain that the boundary between the observer (“the new entity relative to the physical environment”—i.e. a soul) and the observed physical system was arbitrary, but that the observer was located within a scientist’s physical body.

It must be possible to describe the extra-physical process of the subjective perception…That is, we must always divide the world into two parts, the one being the observed system, the other the observer. In the former, we can follow up all physical processes (in principle at least) arbitrarily precisely. In the latter, this is meaningless. The boundary between the two is arbitrary to a very large extent…but this does not change the fact that in each method of description the boundary must be put somewhere, if the method is not to proceed vacuously, i.e., if a comparison with experiment is to be possible. Indeed experience only makes statements of this type: an observer has made a certain (subjective) observation; and never any like this: a physical quantity has a certain value.[xxxi]

Now the original, orthodox explanation is called the Copenhagen Interpretation because it was largely outlined by German physicist Werner Heisenberg and Danish physicist Niels Bohr at the Niels Bohr Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Copenhagen in the 1920s. Of course many other physicists, including Albert Einstein, Max Born, Erwin Shrödinger, and John von Neumann, contributed to the work. The Copenhagen Interpretation does not explicitly state, as von Neumann did in his textbook, that the process of subjective perception is “extra-physical”. Instead it simply says that the act of measurement—the act of a physicist deciding to ask a question or, literally, looking for a particle in a laboratory—causes a set of statistically probable answers to reduce (“collapse”) down to one answer. It states that physical systems do not have definite, measurable properties prior to being measured. But the implication that the observer/measurer is extra-physical—that implication is unavoidable regardless of whether it is articulated. And so the Copenhagen Interpretation has to be rejected by Naturalists. It is still often taught in universities, but just as Naturalists can avoid talking about the nonphysical nature of information, so also they can avoid talking about the nonphysical nature of the observer. Instead, they simply call this mystery “the measurement problem”.

Stapp emphasizes that Neumann and his colleagues were drawing conclusions without regard to any presuppositions or any “a priori adherence to material causes”. Let me repeat a quote from him that I gave when we explored the “Who?” question: “The strangle-hold of materialism was broken simply by the need to accommodate the empirical data of atomic physics, but the ontological ramifications went far deeper, into the issue of our own human nature and the power of our thoughts to influence our psycho-physical future.”[xxxii]

Why don’t students really hear about any of this today? It’s all so very interesting. Why not tell them about it? The answer to that question might be exemplified by Philip Ball, an editor for the journal Nature and a columnist for Chemistry World, who wrote a fantastic book on quantum physics titled Beyond Weird. In one part of the book he explains the Copenhagen Interpretation and then reviews several of the competing ways to deal with the measurement problem. But he only touches briefly on this first one—the one that Neumann and Stapp wrote about—which he calls “mind-induced collapse”. He just summarizes it and then dismisses it. Why?

In particular, mind-induced collapse seems to demand that we attribute to the mind some feature distinct from the rest of reality: to make mind a non-physical entity that does not obey the Schrödinger equation. How else could it do something to quantum processes that nothing else can?

Perhaps most problematically of all, if wavefunction collapse depends on the intervention of a conscious being, what happened before intelligent life evolved on our planet? Did it then develop in some concatenation of quantum superpositions?[xxxiii]

Ball dismissed this explanation because (1) it requires an immaterial mind and (2) it completely contradicts evolutionary theory by making the whole universe contingent upon the existence of (a) conscious mind(s). Being a good Naturalist, he cannot allow for either of those possibilities.

None of them can. (It makes no difference that, as Chomsky, Lewontin, and six other scientists concluded as late as 2014, “the most fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of our linguistic capacity remain as mysterious as ever.”) So what do they do instead? What do they teach students? Well, today there are a couple of dozen competing interpretations of quantum mechanics—competing theories about how to solve the measurement problem—including, theories about how it produces consciousness materialistically. So it is very easy to quickly get lost and overwhelmed. But we need to understand that the original, orthodox, “mind-induced collapse” that Neumann and Stapp wrote about is not a theory of how quantum events produce consciousness materialistically, but actually just the opposite—how conscious decisions can produce quantum events. Just to be clear, let me repeat that: materialists have offered several theories about how quantum mechanics might create consciousness, but the original orthodox theory explained how an immaterial/nonphysical mind can precede and influence quantum events. Decisions made by scientists in the laboratory literally caused the unpredictable collapse of the wave function, so that an electron materialized.

Although Naturalists cannot tolerate this explanation since it annihilates their presuppositions, there are many scientists who buck the establishment, arguing that mind-induced-collapse provides the most—if not the only—coherent explanation of the data. As Stephen M. Barr, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware explained, the original orthodox interpretation is still entirely plausible and realistic:

In the opinion of many physicistsincluding such great figures in twentieth-century physics as Eugene Wigner and Rudolf Peierls—the fundamental principles of quantum theory are inconsistent with the materialist view of the human mind. Quantum theory, in its traditional, or “standard,” or “orthodox” formulation, treats “observers” as being on a different plane from the physical systems that they observe. A careful analysis of the logical structure of quantum theory suggests that for quantum theory to make sense it has to posit the existence of observers who lie, at least in part, outside of the description provided by physics. This claim is controversial. There have been various attempts made to avoid this conclusion, either by radical reinterpretations of quantum theory (such as the so-called “many-worlds interpretation”) or by changing quantum theory in some way. But the argument against materialism based on quantum theory is a strong one, and has certainly not been refuted. The line of argument is rather subtle. It is also not well- known, even among most practicing physicists. But, if it is correct, it would be the most important philosophical implication to come from any scientific discovery.[xxxiv]

The work done by Eugene Wigner (1902-1995) that Barr refers to was more experimental evidence that made it clear that the scientists themselves were not simply measuring quantum events but somehow causing the events to materialize. Literally. As Wigner, a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963, put it, “It follows that the being with a consciousness must have a different role in quantum mechanics than the inanimate measuring device.”[xxxv]

Wigner is emphasizing that the experiments not only reveal the presence of an immaterial mind but, to be more precise, an immaterial free will. That is the only way to articulate the causal gap between the questions that the scientists asked in the laboratory and the answers which experiments produced. They found not only that future physical actions were truly unpredictable but that the scientists themselves were the cause of that unpredictability. As simple as this discovery might sound, it pointed to a radical paradigm shift into our view of the physical world: our decisions are entirely free, in the most profound sense of that word, and they have a permanent impact upon future events. As Nobel Prize-winning Dutch Physicist Gerard t’Hooft put it:

Indeed, when one attempts to construct models that visualize what might be going on in a quantum mechanical process, one finds that deterministic interpretations usually lead to predictions that would obey his inequalities, while it is well understood that quantum mechanical predictions violate them. In attempts to get into grips with this situation, and to derive its consequences for deterministic theories, the concept of “free will” was introduced. Basically, it assumes that any ‘observer’ has the freedom, at all times and all places, to choose, at will, what variables to observe and measure.[xxxvi]

So although wave functions collapse all the time, the point is that scientists discovered that they themselves can choose to cause the collapse simply by asking questions. Now some have tried to disprove the experimental evidence for this by arguing that machines or animals can make the decision to cause the collapse. But their line of reasoning would also conclude that calculators know trigonometry, that movie cameras can see, that cranes lift up heavy objects, that oxen plow fields and police dogs search for drugs, that spiders comprehend geometry and beavers comprehend engineering, that ants comprehend not only air-conditioning systems but also colonial government, etc., etc. Yet so far as we know, humans are not only the only ones who can comprehend information and use it creatively—which includes using animals and machines in our projects and experiments—but also the only ones who can ask the questions in the laboratory. And this is observable, testable, falsifiable evidence that we have free will.

This is all such excellent news. And yet the establishment simply cannot set their presuppositions aside. Stapp says the modern obsession with materialism shows a reckless, stubborn disregard for empirical evidence. But after what we have read, that should come as no surprise. If naturalists refuse to even acknowledge the immaterial nature of information, how much easier is it for them to ignore physicists’ more demanding discovery of a direct link between consciousness and our physical actions and behavior? Stapp is aghast:

Given this recognized major importance of the mind-brain problem, you might think that the most up-to-date, powerful, and appropriate scientific theories would be brought to bear upon it. But just the opposite is true! Most neuro-scientific studies of this problem are based on the precepts of nineteenth century classical physics, which are known to be fundamentally false. Most neuroscientists follow the recommendation of DNA co-discoverer Francis Crick, and steadfastly pursue what philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper called “Promissory Materialism”.[xxxvii]

Now remember that Ball, as a good representative the naturalistic view, had given two reasons for dismissing this original conclusion. The first was that it requires an immaterial mind. As the above quotes show, many scientists agree that an immaterial mind is indeed what the data reveal. Ball’s second reason for dismissing mind-induced collapse was that it contradicts evolutionary theory by making the whole universe contingent upon (a) conscious mind(s). That is to say that, as Eric Holloway, a fellow at the Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence, explains, the conclusions point directly to a Creator:

And herein lies the rub. If human observers are necessary for physical final causality to occur, how do humans come to have the capability in the first place? This question points to a yet even higher source of final causality that extends beyond the human realm, and is responsible for the final causality that humans exhibit.

Thus, these quantum physicists are showing that—far from final causality being a minor physical phenomena that can be explained away with an experiment—our entire universe is imbued with final causality within its very fabric and this final causality must come from some source beyond the universe.[xxxviii]

So if we simply examine the facts, they point to a conscious, immaterial, intelligent Author for the entire universe. Stapp says that is the very straightforward extension of the interpretation of the data that Heisenberg and his colleagues discovered.

This situation is concordant with the idea of a powerful God that creates the universe and its laws to get things started, but then bequeaths part of this power to beings created in his own image, at least with regard to their power to make physically efficacious decisions on the basis of reasons and evaluations. I see no way for contemporary science to disprove, or even render highly unlikely, this religious interpretation of quantum theory, or to provide strong evidence in support of an alternative picture of the nature of these ‘free choices’. These choices seem to be rooted in reasons that are rooted in feelings pertaining to value or worth. Thus it can be argued that quantum theory provides an opening for an idea of nature and of our role within it that is in general accord with certain religious concepts, but that, by contrast, is quite incompatible with the precepts of mechanistic deterministic classical physics. Thus the replacement of classical mechanics by quantum mechanics opens the door to religious possibilities that formerly were rationally excluded. This conception of nature, in which the consequences of our choices enter not only directly in our immediate neighborhood but also indirectly and immediately in far-flung places, alters the image of the human being relative to the one spawned by classical physics. It changes this image in a way that must tend to reduce a sense of powerlessness, separateness, and isolation, and to enhance the sense of responsibility and of belonging. Each person who understands him-or herself in this way, as a spark of the divine, with some small part of the divine power, integrally interwoven into the process of the creation of the psycho-physical universe, will be encouraged to participate in the process of plumbing the potentialities of, and shaping the form of, the unfolding quantum reality that it is his or her birthright to help create.[xxxix]

Now as to our place in the world, so far as we know it is confined to our bodies. So what would a disembodied mind/soul be able to do? Where would it exist? I am quite sure that I definitely will not try to speculate on such matters. We have these profoundly complex, amazingly powerful brains—organs which the materialists have done amazing work in studying and explaining—that we can use to put men on the moon and to compose symphonies and to compose chili. But after our bodies die?

That’s an excellent question.


[1] IBID, 213-214.

[2] IBID, 214-215.


[i] “How Matter Becomes Mind,” by Max Bertolero and Danielle Bassett. Scientific American, July 2019, Volume 320 Number 6. Pp. 26-33.

[ii] Vernon B. Mountcastle, “Brain Science at the Century’s Ebb”, Daedalus Vol. 127, No. 2, The Brain (Spring, 1998), pp. 1-36. (The MIT Press on behalf of American Academy of Arts & Sciences) 1. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/20027489)

[iii] Brian Greene, Until the End of Time (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2020), Kindle Edition, location 2004.

[iv] Daniel Dennett, From Bacteria to Bach and Back (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2018) Kindle Location 184-195.

[v] Richard Lewontin, “Billions and Billions of Demons,” a review of The Demon-Haunted World (by Carl Sagan, 1997), The New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, 31.

[vi] Richard Lewontin, “The Evolution of Cognition: Questions We Will Never Answer,” An Invitation to Cognitive Science, Volume 4, edited by Daniel N. Osherson, Don Scarborough, Saul Sternberg (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1998) 108.

[vii] https://braininitiative.nih.gov/strategic-planning/brain-2025-report

[viii] Kenneth R. Miller, The Human Instinct (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018), 150.

[ix] Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27; Acts 23:8

[x] IBID 168.

[xi] https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/noam-chomsky-galileo-challenge-origin-of-language/7284178

[xii] Richard Lewontin, “The Evolution of Cognition: Questions We Will Never Answer,” An Invitation to Cognitive Science, Volume 4, edited by Daniel N. Osherson, Don Scarborough, Saul Sternberg (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1998) 130.

[xiii] Marc D. Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert C. Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky, and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” 2014. (https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/12406903)

[xiv] Noam Chomsky, What Kind of Creatures Are We? (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016) 128.

[xv] Noam Chomsky, What Kind of Creatures Are We? (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016) Kindle Location 172.  

[xvi] Noam Chomsky, What Kind of Creatures Are We? (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016) Kindle Location 221

[xvii] Michael Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002), 135.

[xviii] Charles Darwin, The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Vol. 4. (1847-50), Frederick Burkhardt and Sydney Smith, editors (London: Cambridge University Press, 1989); https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-1167.xml

[xix] Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), 4-5.

[xx] IBID 20.

[xxi] David Eagleman, The Brain (New York: Pantheon Books, 2017), 35.

[xxii] IBID 201.

[xxiii] Alan Jasanoff, The Biological Mind (New York: Basic Books, 2018), 170.

[xxiv] Max Bertolero and Danielle Bassett, “How Matter Becomes Mind,” Scientific American, July 2019, Volume 320 Number 6. (pp. 28)

[xxv] IBID 32.

[xxvi] Henry Stapp, Quantum Theory and Free Will (Springer International Publishing, 2017), Kindle Locations 339-342.

[xxvii] Henry Stapp, Quantum Theory and Free Will (Springer International Publishing, Kindle Edition, 2017), Kindle Locations 47-52.

     Physicists talk about time evolution, which is when a wave collapses at a particular configuration of space (the most “fit” configuration) to form a particle.

[xxviii] Henry Stapp, “Minds and Values in the Quantum Universe,” in Information and the Nature of Reality, ed. by Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 108.

[xxix] Henry Stapp, Quantum Theory and Free Will (Springer International Publishing, 2017), Kindle Locations 1706-1708).

[xxx] John von Neumann, Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, published 1932, translated from the German edition by Robert T. Beyer in 1949 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983), 418.

[xxxi] IBID 419-420.

[xxxii] IBID 759-761.

[xxxiii] Philip Ball, Beyond Weird: Why everything you thought you knew about quantum physics is different (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2018), 118.

[xxxiv] Stephen M. Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003), 27-28.

[xxxv] Eugene Wigner, “Remarks on the Mind-Body Question”, Eugene Wigner, in John Wheeler and Wojciech Hubert Zurek, Quantum Theory and Measurement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), p. 180.

[xxxvi] Gerard t’Hooft, “On the Free-Will Postulate in Quantum Mechanics”, arXiv (January 15, 2007) https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0701097v1

[xxxvii] Henry Stapp, Quantum Theory and Free Will (Springer International Publishing, 2017), Kindle Locations 870-874.

[xxxviii] https://mindmatters.ai/2020/01/quantum-mechanics-shows-that-our-universe-has-purpose/

[xxxix] Henry Stapp, “Minds and Values in the Quantum Universe,” in Information and the Nature of Reality, ed. by Paul Davies and Niels Henrik Gregersen (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 117-118.

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