Biocentrism

Biocentrism

How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

Book - 2009
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"This book proposes a new perspective: that our current theories of the physical world don't work, and can never be made to work, until they account for life and consciousness. This book proposes that, rather than a belated and minor outcome after billions of years of lifeless physical processes, life and consciousness are absolutely fundamental to our understanding of the universe."--P. 2.
Publisher: Dallas, TX : BenBella Books, Inc. ; [Jackson, TN] : Distributed by Perseus Distribution, c2009.
ISBN: 9781933771694
1933771690
Branch Call Number: 576.83/LANZA
Characteristics: x, 213 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Berman, Bob

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c
callig
Oct 31, 2016

"At Skinner’s 80th birthday party, I sat next to one of the world’s leading experts on artificial intelligence.
..He asked, “You worked closely with Fred. Do you think that we’ll ever be able to duplicate the mind of one of your* pigeons?“
“The sensory-motor functions? Yes,” I replied. “But not consciousness. This is an impossibility.”
*Lanza probably meant "his (Skinner's) pigeons.
The books thesis is that consciousness is unitary with matter, primary even. But the above quote implies it separate- something that fl ows into the receptacles of matter, ghosts that temporarily occupy machine hotels [The Cartesian Group!].
Another quote from Robert Lanza's Biocentrism: "...more than 200 physical parameters within the universe so exact that it strains credulity to propose they are random, even if that is exactly what stand ard contemporary physics baldly suggests. These fundamental constants of the universe- constants that aren't predicted by any theory-all seem to be carefully chosen."
It may strain Dr. Lanza's credulity but is unsurprising to most people with even a minimal understanding of numbers. [If chance or God throws dice a bazillion times yes, a few flukes must happen. The inhabitants of such an anomalous life-friendly universe will find it " carefully chosen", and be prone to confidently proclaiming it to be chosen/created by God [The Sugar Daddy in the sky came thru for us so we're Special too.] And Hitler believed that his narrow escape from a WW1 bomb proved God wanted him to live.
And many disaster survivors are sure that since they got lucky God must want them alive, singled them out.
My third objection, based on browsing no farther than the first third of the book, is his belaboring of the subjectivity issue. Yes, we all agree that we don't perceive the universe directly- all our perceptions are constructs of our brains and 'the map is not the territory', but that is no proof of biocentrism. And even his deconstruction of 'objective reality' is amateurish. True, if a tree falls in a forest, there
is no sound, for sound has two meanings: energy waves propagating thru air, and the the second meaning, those waves entering ear drums, being converted into neural energy, becoming experience, etc.
He simply ignores the latter meaning, oversimplifies, and triumphantly announces that there is no sound [of either type]. But there *is* [physical] sound with nobody around to hear it, and wave functions do collapse without the sign-off of a wonderful biocentric human.
I suspect Dr. Lanza is righter than not, but i must say that he doesn't advance his case. At best he's vaguely and boringly right.
If you came to this book seeking some justification, at least a hint of proof for biological primacy, 'centrism', it ain't here. Move along folks- nothing to see here. No smoking guns, just emotional passages on the obviously deliberate, dare i say, intelligently designed [he doesn't, tho his position seems to be ID in disguise] nature of smoke.
Also: no footnotes, bibliography or index. If the material was solid, and/or he included references to research, that wouldn't be suspicious. But...
Finally, the only celebrity testimonial his publisher could find was by Deepak Chopra [enough said]. For medical doctors that write outside their field, Leonard Shalin is far better.
If i sound like a sourpuss skeptic, believe me i criticize reluctantly, as i also suspect reduction-ism overdoes things, and that physics has been stagnant for decades. But flabby writing like this convinces only the dim and leaves skeptics smirking, rightfully i must admit.

s
SusanMBotich
Jun 28, 2016

Robert Lanza does a brilliant job of explaining how all life is conscious and how consciousness is the essential nature of all life, as opposed to having evolved from out of a non-conscious universe.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for clarity on the nature of consciousness.

n
naturalist
Jul 08, 2014

criticism: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/a-physicist-decries-quantum-woo/

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