Well, it's of course always *possible* that what we see
cannot really be explained by current knowledge. Even
Galileo must have wondered if yet further laws were
really governing his falling objects, laws beyond
d = (1/2)t^2 and g = at.  (He would have been right to
wonder, of course, since in 1905 and 1915 we learned that
there was a bit more to it.)

But I would have had to side with a believer at the time:
"You've done it, Galileo! So far as we can tell, you have
nailed it, to the greatest extent that we can measure it!"
Yes, I too would have "wondered", but not for long: "Absence
of evidence is not evidence of absence", I'd say.

Precisely. You would have been a admirer of an amazingly powerful and predictive model that also happened to be incomplete. No shame there, but it illustrates my point that the solution to intractable problems that resisted the physics of past eras, often had to await a fresh fundamental approach before being cracked.You refer to SR and GR, I assume, but another good example I think is the many body problem tossing chaos into the orderly "universe" of Galileo's beneficiary, Newton. And the complexity of these systems are downright simple compared to the weather, markets and yes consciousness. Of course new approaches need not replace, but rather extend existing models.

Still nothing, though, that says quantum mechanics and GR
aren't perfect in their respective arenas? (Not, of course,
that the reconciliation isn't a big problem itself.)

Agreed. I just think QM is and will remain insufficient in the arena of explaining Consciousness and a host of other complex systems with testable, verifiable predictions.

I'm probably not following. Is it or isn't it the case that
in the laboratory we have phenomena which there is serious
reason to believe cannot be explained by QM? Can a skeptic
really point to any 3rd person phenomenon and say, "clearly
QM can't explain that!"?

Science is a method, not a doctrine. If QM can make testably verifiable predictions about emergent phenomena, then it succeeds; otherwise it fails.

If consciousness is the strongest card that can be played
to support the idea that we need new laws of physics, then
I'll join those who think that it's not much. It wouldn't
make sense on evolutionary grounds for typical mammals
such as ourselves to be unable to report internal
impressions, plans, feelings, and anticipations.

This it seems to me is a black box approach. Shades of Skinner's behaviorism? Not terribly useful or satisfying IMHO. One could take the same approach to any biological system or process: pronounce it adaptive (at least sufficiently till now) and leave that. "Next problem!". Fortunately for any of us who will unfortunately suffer from one disease process or another (not the least of which aging), medical research chooses instead to look further than that and strives to understand the mechanisms and thus intervene with these amazingly complex systems. Complexity (or plectics as Gellman has suggested) and network studies have already helped inform this process. It seems likely that if new principles "emerge" from such disciplines, they may well contribute even more to this goal. It might also be that the same principles that would make powerful, tested predictions about, say, the immune system might serve to shed strong light upon the nature of consciousness too.

Thus far, despite the best efforts of Hammerhoff, Penrose and the like, QM has failed to do so.

We shall see..


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