Thursday, July 07, 2011 - Robert Lanza on Theory of Biocentrism (Science and Nonduality)

I have never been a fan of Robert Lanza's Biocentrism model - much like B Alan Wallace's version of Buddhism, it posits human-centric consciousness as the foundation for the universe. This theoretical orientation is generally referred to as the anthropocentric model.

Lanza is the author of Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe.

Among integralists, I tend to be in the minority in rejecting this perspective. Ken Wilber's AQAL model posits consciousness - essentially human consciousness - as the ground of being. Even those who argue that it is not a human consciousness, but a consciousness in general that is larger than humanity, still conceive of it through an anthropocentric lens.

Via Wikipedia:

In physics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the universe has the age and the fundamental physical constants necessary to accommodate conscious life. As a result, they believe that the fact that the universe's fundamental constants are within the narrow range thought to allow life is not remarkable.

The strong anthropic principle as explained by Barrow and Tipler (see variants) states that this is all the case because conscious life, in some sense, needed to exist. On the other hand, in a sufficiently large universe, some worlds might evolve conscious life regardless of adverse conditions. Douglas Adams used the metaphor of a living puddle examining its own shape, since, to those living creatures, the universe may appear to fit them perfectly (while in fact, they simply fit the universe perfectly). Critics argue in favor of a weak anthropic principle similar to the one defined by Brandon Carter (see variants), which states that the universe's fine tuning is the result of selection bias, e.g. in the long term, only survivors can report their location in time and space.

I cannot claim to be correct - I just do not accept that perspective. I see consciousness as an emergent property of increasing complexity, not as the fundamental nature of the universe.

Anyway, this two-part video is from the Science and Nonduality conference recorded in October of 2010. Lanza explains his Biocentric Model in these clips.
Robert Lanza, MD is Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and a professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He has hundreds of publications and inventions, and over two dozen scientific books: among them, Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe. Others include One World: The Health & Survival of the Human Species in the 21st Century (Foreword by former President Jimmy Carter), and Principles of Tissue Engineering and Essentials of Stem Cell Biology, which are recognized as the definitive references in the field.

Dr. Lanza received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was both a University Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar. He was also a Fulbright Scholar, and has worked with some of the greatest thinkers of our time, including Nobel laureates Gerald Edelman and Rodney Porter, Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner (the "Father of modern behaviorism"), Jonas Salk (discoverer of the Polio vaccine), and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard.
Part One:

Part Two:

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