“In a certain sense, you might say that the universe has a purpose, but I’m not sure what the purpose is. I don’t believe in any religion I’ve seen. So in that sense, I am an atheist.” – Roger Penrose
That statement by the British mathematician, mathematical physicist, philosopher of science, and Nobel Laureate in physics Roger Penrose appeared in an interview in New Scientist magazine. Penrose has won many awards and honors for his brilliant achievements. One of his endeavors has been to explore the origin of consciousness. He believes that the known laws of physics cannot explain the phenomenon of consciousness. The first of his three books on the subject was The Emperor’s New Mind (1989). Since then, he has worked with an anesthesiologist to develop a view of consciousness that he calls “orchestrated objective reduction” (Orch OR).
In the New Scientist interview, Penrose said, “whatever consciousness is, it must be beyond computable physics.” Penrose doesn’t think that consciousness is accidental. He said, “I think the presence of consciousness, if I can put it like that, is not an accident.”
If consciousness is not an accident, then it must be intentional. How can something be intentional without a mind that intends for it to be? How can it have a purpose without a purpose giver? Penrose stated in the interview that “nobody knows where the fundamental constants of nature come from.” He suggests that if those fundamental constants didn’t have the specific values they have, then the chemistry of life could not exist, and we wouldn’t be here. If those constants have the precise values for life, how could that happen without a conscious Designer?
Roger Penrose is a man whom God has gifted with a brilliant mind that, even at age 91, is still pursuing an understanding of the universe and consciousness. He clearly states that he does not believe the universe and consciousness are accidents, but he is seeking to explain them by quantum mechanics. However, he admits, “I would say that there is something going on that might resonate with a religious perspective.”
We agree with Penrose that the universe has a purpose. Purpose in the universe and purpose in consciousness can best be explained by a conscious Mind outside of the universe and beyond the reach of scientific analysis. This is not a “god-of-the-gaps” concept but logically seeking the best explanation. Following through with that understanding means that you, like everyone else, also have a purpose.
— Roland Earnst © 2023
Reference: New Scientist magazine November 14, 2022