The so-called pure sciences aren’t so pure either. Prominent physicists persist in promoting glitzy but unconfirmable ideas like string theory, inflation, multiverse theories and the anthropic principle (which holds that the universe must be as we observe it to be because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to observe it). In mind-science, theorists advocate models–based on quantum mechanics and information theory–that make consciousness a fundamental component of reality. Like the anthropic principle, these mind-body theories reflect our narcissistic insistence that we are central to the cosmos.
As warnings about global warming become more dire, scientists retreat into escapist fantasies. They envision establishing colonies on Mars. They preach the imminence of the Singularity, in which we become superhuman cyborgs or download our psyches into cyberspace, where we can live forever. Some pundits propose that we are already living in cyberspace, a computer simulation constructed by God-like aliens. A few decades ago, these science fictions were fun. But now, as temperatures and sea levels climb, they strike me as, well, decadent. There is a whiff of end times in the air.