Against Popper; Beons and Mars Rovers


Scientists have a convenient way of dismissing ideas that do not fit within their current paradigm: they feel justified in refusing to consider any ideas that are not "scientific". They frequently punctuate their position by labeling the objectionable idea as "pseudoscience". That not only permits them to respectfully ignore the idea, but it also contaminates the idea with that awful label so that it discourages other scientists from considering it. As a result, we find that instead of aggressive attempts to investigate and explain some interesting and unexplained phenomena, usually classified as "paranormal", the investigators' attention is diverted to the project of combating the stigma of the "pseudoscience" label. This is unfortunate and counterproductive.

So I'm afraid that my musings will probably draw out the rubber stamp and quickly get labeled as "pseudoscience" by any credentialed scientist (except maybe Rupert Sheldrake) who happens to read it. They will use Popper's criterion in making that judgment.

But let's take a closer look at Popper's falsifiability criterion. It requires that in order for an idea to be "scientific" it must be falsifiable by experiment in principle. It's OK if technology does not yet support the required experiment as long as the experiment could be performed in principle, say when technology is sufficiently developed. But the experiment must be "scientific". That is it must consist of repeatable measurements of predicted physical phenomena.

Any qualifying experiment must use accessible (to us) apparatus, which means that they must be 3D structures operating in our 4D spacetime. In our case, the ideas we are considering suggest that the real explanations for some "paranormal" phenomena will involve structures and functions in higher dimensional space and as we have explained those are not accessible to 3D apparatuses that are confined to our manifold.

What needs to happen is to expand the scope of science beyond our manifold so that the definition of 'scientific' will include higher dimensional structures and functions. Current String Theories are already pushing on this boundary, so it is not a hopeless cause to expect this type of expansion. It will, however, probably require a Kuhnian Paradigm Shift, which will in turn require the demise of all current proponents of the current "scientific" paradigm. It will be an upstream swim but I think we can still make headway.

So where were we?

We have established that in addition to the physical world of science, there truly and manifestly exist two or three additional worlds which are "outside of" or not part of the scientific world. Those additional worlds are the Mental World, the Platonic World, and for complete consideration, the Spiritual World.

We have identified a place where those additional worlds exist and that is in higher dimensional space that is outside of the manifold which is the domain of science.

We can easily deduce mathematically that the additional dimensions allow for vastly greater complexity in structure and function than is possible in our 3D manifold. So it is likely that there exist counterparts to the most complex functions and structures to be found in our manifold. For example, chemical-like structures probably exist in higher-dimensional space (let's start calling it hyperspace for simplicity) that support a vastly richer possibility for structures and phases than we are familiar with. This could support vastly more complex and capable life forms than the plants and animals we find in our manifold. The consciousness we experience, as life forms near the peak of complexity here in our manifold, might pale in comparison with a far richer conscious experience by higher dimensional life forms. As I indicated earlier, I will use the term 'Beon' to refer to these conscious higher-dimensional life forms. (Actually, Beon refers to the consciousness itself, not the beings, but that is a detail we needn't dwell on here. It is the hyperspatial equivalent of our mind-body problem.)

By way of analogy, we living 3D people have constructed films and projectors which present animated 2D images of people on the screen who appear to be autonomous and conscious as the film is run. Of course we know that the 2D images are not conscious but that the 3D viewer consciously experiences the story told in the film.

So, to continue the analogy, the Beons existing in hyperspace could somehow be linked in to the putative conscious experiences we humans have.

Here, I think it is useful to consider my well-worn analogy of a Mars Rover. The dimensionality is not part of the analogy, but the role of consciousness is. The inaccessibility of the hyperspace outside of our manifold is analogous to the inaccessibility of the JPL environment to the Mars-bound rover. It is literally in a different world.

In this analogy, the rover appears (from a Martian perspective) to be autonomous and sentient, i.e. conscious. It deliberately moves around on Mars performing experiments and other seemingly willful actions. It behaves as if it were conscious. But in reality, all consciousness involved in the Mars rover system resides in JPL, on another world.

The autonomous behavior of the rover is explained by a two-way communication link between the rover and the JPL scientist. In one direction, perception information originating in the rover's sensory instruments is transmitted across this link to the JPL scientist who consciously understands the significance of the information. In the other direction commands for specific Rover actions are sent across the link from the JPL scientist. Those commands are the result of the JPL scientist consciously exercising the free will capability that he/she has.

In thinking through the possibilities, it is clear that this scenario could account for the much discussed "Intelligent Designer" of terrestrial life forms. With our limited 3D brain power we have already figured out much of how biology works at the molecular level. With the huge increase in brain power available to Beons, the design of the molecular machinery of life could certainly fall within their capability.

One note I want to quickly interject, now that I have introduced the notion of a possible Intelligent Designer, is that we have no reason to jump to the conclusion that the designer is perfect, or that the designs should be perfect. We have plenty of examples in our restricted 3D manifold of designers of devices and institutions to understand something of what is required to produce a design and then a designed artifact. And in all these familiar examples, in no case is either the design, nor the designer, nor the artifact perfect. We should then not expect perfection from Beons, their designs, or the resulting artifacts either.

So far, we have a higher-dimensional space populated by extremely complex structures, functions, and beings with our 3D physical world being an embedded manifold in that space. Nearly everything outside of our manifold is inaccessible to us and our instruments.

I say "nearly everything" because just as in the Mars Rover analogy, there may be a communication link between structures in our manifold and Beons in hyperspace. So how might that communication link work?

We want to know how beings in hyperspace might be able to interact with structures in our manifold. (It should not escape our notice that the specific communication link we have postulated immediately suggests a possible solution to the mind-body problem." apologies and thanks to Watson and Crick for this language.)

In order to think about how such a link might work, let's drop down a dimension and ask how we 3D creatures might establish a communication link with an embedded 2D manifold in our space, say a sheet of paper.

One way would be direct contact. For example we could use a 3D pencil to make a mark on the paper which would then be available for access by 2D flatlanders inhabiting the manifold. To them, it would appear as if some 2D material structure suddenly and inexplicably appeared from nothing. Since we don't experience anything like that in our 3D manifold, it is unlikely that direct contact could be the real mechanism for our link.

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