Limitations of science; argument for dualism

In contemporary society science tends to be the only true heuristic method of how to explain reality. If certain claim cannot be falsified, the subject of such claim cannot be proved to exist.  According to this view there is only one reality existing, material one. Another explanation says that whatever we perceive can be finally reduced to matter.  Reality is reality only if that something can be finally reduced to matter.

Scientism in neuroscience

Finest example of such scientism can be seen in neuroscience. Human mind (consciousness) is explained as emergent property of matter in our skull. That matter, brains, consist of neurons, dendrites, synapses, electricity and chemical reactions to name just few of them. All such brain “elements” have been already previously examined, proved and explained by scientific method.

But despite all material facts of brains are known and explained, a link from explained to a mind is unexplained although it represent a hard question of neuroscience for decades. Mind evades to be linked to matter whatever thousands of neuroscientists and other scientists engaged in their endeavours.

Two alternative speculations about the link between matter and mind developed over years: one about neural correlates and another about emergent property. In essence both share the same problem: they “solve” the problem with en entity, that emerges, but they do not explain what kind of entity they are talking about. Since it (mind) emerges from matter, proponents of both speculations imply that this new entity is matter. They do not explicitly claim that it is matter, but they imply only. They are not explicit. Otherwise they would in fact claim, that we have matter (brains) on one side and something else (mind) on another that is of different kind. What different kind? Well: nonmaterial, would be the simplest answer. But they are all proponents of materialism, monistic materialism for which reality is matter only. So something nonmaterial should not exist in principle for them. Full stop.


Let me break this flow with a disclaimer. I am strong believer in emergent property. I could hardly deny this fact within blog. I do believe that complex systems produce emergent properties by definition. There are so many examples to be found around that one should be blind not to see it and understand it. But wait: I believe it! I do not scientifically prove it. Why? Because emergent property cannot be scientifically proved. Why? Because emergent property belongs to reality, that cannot be scientifically proved/falsified in principle.

Let me break this flow with another disclaimer. Neo-Darwinists like early Richard Dawkins had to fill memes in evolutionary chain in 1976. Human evolution cannot be explained but with memes. This was his revolutionary discovery for which he should be awarded by Nobel Prize. But then Nobel Prize should be dis-awarded from him for his total rejection of memes after year 2000. For the reason of emotional fight against religion he deliberately (but not explicitly) denied what he had discovered previously since memes opened an option to accept religion as memetic entity. He now lives in perfect cognitive dissonance for he did not refute his work from 20th century, while at the same time all recent work implicitly denies it.

In this second break lies a catch, I believe. Immediately when we say “religion” we enter a field where rational discussion ends for theists and atheists. Stay away thus, if you want to stay alive.

Memes as problem solvers

One can simply stay away from religion and at the same time perfectly adjust memes (that are of nonmaterial reality) with physical reality in a dualistic world where material and nonmaterial reality exist  and coexist.

Beware: I do not claim that ghosts exist in physical world. They cannot be falsified in physical world and thus we cannot seriously claim that they exist in any kind of matter, energy or any other stuff that science can address. But they definitely exist in memes. They not only exist in memes but are replicated in memes all the time. In this very moment they are being replicated with my words for instance.

Memes proved to be vehicles of evolution. Ghosts do not exist physically. But that does not mean they do not play this or that role in evolution. Witches cannot be falsified, but thousands of women have been killed and tortured as alleged witches. Witches did though change a course of evolution. Memetic catastrophes attached to witch hunting might have similar influence on changes in genetic structure as fear of snakes or contemporary fashion of tight trousers. God does not exist as falsifiable scientific phenomena, but that does not mean that god, as memetic phenomena, did not affect our evolution tremendously. It is proven thus that god memetic structure (memotype) had and has an effect on material status of our world therefore. That means that even science can prove the effects of god on matter even though god itself cannot be proved or rejected scientifically.

Does that mean that memetic existence can be falsified?

I would like to claim: YES. My thesis would be that memes affect matter in the same way as subatomic particles that we cannot see as such but only observe effects they have on visible matter. We will never wee some subatomic particles, since they are smaller than photons, but they are scientifically proven. We can see effects of memes on matter, so they should be scientifically proven even though they do not exist in reality that science can grasp.

Final remarks

Funny: I claimed that GUT (grand unifying theory) is impossible already years ago. A claim that was a bit vague in that time, becomes now much more solid. GUT is in theory possible for scientific world. Might be that GUT for memetic world is going to be devised. But it is in principle impossible to bring physical and memetic world on in one coherent system.

Readers that are familiar with NOMA theory of Stephen Jay Gould now say: but Andrej is only repeating what S.J. Gould said and wrote in 1999. Yes and no. Gould developed theory of non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) but he never accepted theory of memes. For that reason he had to establish NOMA theory on dichotomy between religion and science. And as I already explained, this is false dichotomy that leads nowhere.

But what is really more interesting is that one can find the most beautiful explanation of dichotomy in a completely unexpected domain: economy. Ludwig von Mises two cardinal books, Human Action and Theory & History are perfect explanations of dualism existing between physical world of causal relations and human world of actions that are not causal but teleological (based on purpose and interest). He knew nothing about memes, but he explained them better than Richard Dawkins.

Andrej Drapal