Consciousness as a Metaphysical Imposition

Assessment of the evolutionary link, but intellectual chasm, between civilized man and apes resulted in a metaphysical view: consciousness could not have evolved merely by natural selection from assemblages of molecules and cells. Something must have been added from outside of the closed system to account for an entity so different as human consciousness. This school was founded by Alfred R. Wallace, co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection with Charles Darwin. Wallace believed that some metaphysical force had directed evolution at three different points: the beginning of life, the beginning of consciousness, and the beginning of civilized culture. Because Wallace sought evidence for a metaphysical force among vitalists, spiritualists, and seances, he was discredited and Darwin became known as the discoverer of evolution.

Some so called vitalists and spiritualists attempted to apply particle/wave physics to what was then known about cell biology in their search for consciousness. Like Wallace, they were vilified because they had no proof and the scientific establishment felt that to explain consciousness by metaphysical imposition was outside the realm of science.

Modern bioelectromagnetic field theories pertaining to embryology and consciousness have been proposed by many authors but remain undocumented. Dynamic nanoscale activities within a cytoskeletal information system could provide such a field yet be beyond detection by current technologies. Future nanotechnology may permit detection of these fields, if they exist. The metaphysical imposition theory, its "vitalist" and particle/wave physics counterparts remain speculation, but the degree to which they irritate the scientific establishment is noteworthy. Perhaps it is because they blur the distinction between science, philosophy and religion. This may presage violent opposition to the future development of artificial consciousness.

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