After reading a comment by a die hard physicalist… my response:
I almost laughed out loud when you said “As a materialist my advice would be to answer that question sticking to physics.” The problem with such an outdated physicalist materialist perspective is that modern quantum physics is the most abstract and concrete of sciences: it’s use of diagrams, models, simulations to invent hypothetical entities based of pure theoretic mathemes (top-down), which are then used to test “possibles” (i.e., the hypothetical Higg’s boson was an abstract theoretic matheme until it was indirectly observed through interactions with observables, etc.). The point is that old school materialism of which physicalism was a mainstay no longer exists in any viable fashion except in the die hard mind’s of intentional philosophers. The sciences could care less whether what their dealing with is reduced to mental or physical, what they are concerned with is the discernment of truth using their heuristic equations which if proven support more and more a wild universe that is far beyond our puny human mind’s to comprehend or believe. And, yet, we can use this thing that has no name: these forces we indirectly engage to solve problems for which there is no known solution only more questions. It’s like the old chicken or egg problem: which comes first – Mind or Matter? Or is Mind and Matter the human reduction and masks for something we have as yet no knowledge, and like my friend R. Scott Bakker’s been saying repeatedly on his blog Three Pound Brain that we are enclosed in ‘medial or heuristic neglect” and surmise only our own echoes rather than the data that lies outside our brains filters? All our knowledge is but the fabrications of an earth-bound creature prone to error, illusion, and delusion whose cognitive biases and distortions lead us in a circle of ignorance, doubt, and inconclusive evidence both about ourselves and the natural and/or artificial environments within which we all live and have our being.
I think reality is far stranger than any of us would want to admit, and that we are impinging day by day on the unknown in indirect ways that our ancestors would’ve thought of as magic; and, yet, it’s only the magic of math and language, a black box within which we all presume to know and realize after all that what we know is but a minute crack in the wall of our shadowed cave. And as we dig deeper into that black hole at the bottom of quantum theory we begin to see and know indirectly the marvelous that changes us moment by moment, and determines every aspect of our being and becoming lives in this Multiverse. Even the sciences are based on a sense of wonder. We should remember that, too.