An interesting video popped up on my YouTube recommended list today. The physics YouTube star Sabine Hossenfelder has been producing physics videos for a while now. She is clearly clever and very knowledgeable. I very much enjoyed her video on problems in physics (I can’t find it now so there’s no link; sorry). She has also been candid in the past about problems in physics, such as the crisis in cosmology, that the Many Worlds Hypothesis is simply a belief, and other relevant topics. The video presented to me today was entitled, ‘You don’t have free will, but don’t worry’. Here it is:
Sabine’s video is a very useful demonstration of the current, orthodox scientific view, known as Scientific Materialism or Physicalism. I discuss it at length in my book Solving Reality. Sabine is clearly convinced that Scientific Materialism is correct. She understands that the idea – that only physical things exist – leads to a state of Hard Determinism, where every event, for the whole of history, can be known scientifically. As the famous mathematician, Pierre-Simon Laplace explained in his famous thought experiment, Laplace’s Demon, Hard Determinism would mean that we have no free will, since everything is already decided.
But there’s a problem with Hard Determinism; it ignores the key fact that our universe is highly ordered. What’s more, living things are extremely highly ordered. If our universe was purely physical, this order could not exist, due to the disorganising effects of entropy, a.k.a. the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a purely physical universe, everything would be a chaotic mass of fundamental particles. Her comment that quantum mechanics is random would also produce that same result but clearly, our universe isn’t a chaotic mess. Instead, we have life, which is incredibly highly ordered. Logically, something non-physical must be influencing and ordering physical reality, in order for all this order to appear and continue to exist in the face of entropy. This idea was the conclusion of great scientists such as Wolfgang Pauli, Arthur Eddington, Max Planck, John Von Neumann, Eugene Wigner and others. Unfortunately, their idea has been effectively buried by the scientific establishment. To put it simply, Scientific Materialism is impossible. If it were true, there’d be no life.
My primary reason for blogging about this video wasn’t the science. There is another, disturbing angle to Sabine’s message, and the general effort to make us all believe in Physicalism, or Scientific Materialism. I explained recently in my article, domestic violence, religion and civilisation, that the Roman religion seems to have used abuse-control tactics on its followers. By saying that Christ died for our sins and that we’re fundamentally sinful, the Roman Church has been making people feel flawed, inferior and guilty, when they haven’t actually done anything wrong. This is a classic abusive control tactic. It is carried out by an abuser to make their victim obey them. The abuser makes the victim feel inferior, powerless and tainted, so as to exert greater control. What’s disturbing is that Scientific Materialism is performing a similar role; we are made to feel that we have no free will and that we’re nothing but molecules. This makes us feel powerless and insignificant. Is this deliberate? It is interesting to note, historically, that soon after Science pushed Religion into the background, it adopted a Scientific Materialist dogma. In other words, after one abusive message lost its dominance, it was swiftly replaced with another.
I don’t think Sabine Hossenfelder is deliberately trying to abuse anyone. She is simply being an orthodox scientist, but her message is a form of psychological abuse and it’s not even scientifically sound. As a way to counter this problem, I should be making my book Solving Reality available soon. Hopefully, that will help.