There are many strong arguments against the possibility of a future scientific explanation of consciousness and the psychical life.
In order to give a scientific explanation of consciousness, a new set of laws of physics would be necessary. However the laws of physics consist of a system of mathematical equations. Their mathematical structure exclude the possibility that these equations can be modified; in fact, even a slight change in a mathematical equation would generates radical changes in all its solutions. We have already found billions and billions of correct solutions from the laws of physics; if we changed them, we would suddenly cast away all these correct solutions. On the other hand, every day we find a systematic experimental confirmation of the laws of physics on ever new systems. To hypothesize that the laws of physics are wrong would be equivalent to say that all these billions and billions of systematic and quantitative experimental confirmations are only a lucky coincidence. In these last decades, we have done many more experiments than in all history, but the laws of quantum electrodynamics, discovered in the beginning of last century, have never been changed. On the basis of the number of experimental tests, we can say that quantum electrodynamics is the oldest scientific theory in history.
Since the laws of physics are the foundations of all modern science, I think that the hypothesis of a new set of laws of physics represents a jump out of science into the field of phylosophical speculations; the fact itself that those who want to deny the existence of the soul are forced to hypothesize a new set of laws of physics proves the incompatibility between science and materialism.
Advances in science has never dethroned and can never dethrone well established facts, supported by billions and billions of systematic and quantitative experimental data. It would be equivalent to hypothesize that one day science will discover that the earth does not orbit around the sun, but it is motionless at the center of the universe. The statement "maybe one day science will discover that..." is no longer a rational statement, because of the wide and systematic experimantal confirmation obtained by the laws of physics. The laws of physics establish some firm points, which must always be considered when we make a rational and scientific hypothesis.
Today we have billions of billions of data confirming that cerebral, biological, chemical and molecular processes are determined uniquely by Quantum Electrodynamic. Since no Quantum Electrodynamic processes generate consciousness, this is equivalent to say that we have billions and billions of data conferming that no cerebral processes generate consciousness.
Advances in physics allow us to discover new processes at higher and higher energies; this is the only possible advances in physics, but this kind of advances lead us farther and farther from consciousness, because no high energy processes occur in our brain. Consider that in modern particle accelerators, it is possible to reach energies a billion of times superior to the energies of chemical and biological processes. Nevertheless, in the hope to discover some new processes, scientists have to design new accelerators, able to reach even much greater energies.
There is another fundamemtal point; history shows that scientific progress has been possible only when scientists began to compare theoritical results with experimenal data. Since all our measurement instruments work and are designed on the basis of the laws of physics, and since consciousness transcends such laws, it is not possible to design any instruments able to measure consciousness. Without such measurement instruments, it will never be possible to reach any scientific progresses in the explanation of the existence of consciousness. It is useful to observe that, in spite of the great scientific progresses reached in the fields of the natural sciences, no steps have ever been done in history in such direction, as it is proved by the fact that science is not able to explain, neither in principle, the existence of consciousness, neither the existence of the most banal sensation.
Ph.D. in Solid State Physics