The complex science that explains consciousness: Faith
Which is probably the easiest way to view consciousness. But this easy to understand concept of consciousness masks a fundamental conundrum: matter is not conscious. If matter is all that exists, and thus people are no more than intricately structured matter, why are we conscious?
The problem is akin to the origin of life for such materialists. The origin of life problem, briefly stated, is how did non-living matter - an arrangement of molecules - become a living creature? The problem of consciousness is very similar: How does an arrangement of non-consciousness matter become conscious? For the record, materialists have no answer to either question.
Before looking further into the problem, we need to be clear on how insurmountable a problem consciousness is for those who believe there is nothing beyond the material world. Famed former atheist turned theist Anthony Flew highlighted the problem through the means of a thought experiment:
Which leads him to concur with physicist Gerald Schroeder that:
Consciousness of course in no way bears any resemblance to matter. And thus both Flew and Schroeder concur with my contention that the science behind the science of consciousness is faith. Faith that science (that would be materialistic, observational science) will one day be able to explain consciousness by reducing brain physiology and processes to a system within materialistic bounds that is completely and minutely understood. And of course, once one completely understands brain physiology and dynamics such that one can accurately recreate such a system in every detail, scientists like John Searle believe man will be able to create consciousness in non-living material objects. In other words, when it comes to consciousness, materialist scientists are guilty of the very thing they often accuse Christians of: believing with blind faith in an unproven concept in spite of the common place evidence to the contrary. That evidence is everywhere: non-living matter is not conscious. Once again we see that materialism and the evolutionary theories that spring from it are necessarily faith based positions. They cannot be proved by any science.
Philosophical Objections to a Materialist only view
Though the facts are against them, materialists will not be deterred. Objective realities like the facts that neither life nor consciousness have ever been observed springing from non-living, non-conscious matter does not phase them. They believe in their scientific theories and processes and are thus hopeful that one day, when the science of the mind is perfected - they'll arrive at an explanation. In the meantime they maintain faith and hope. Faith and hope - where have we heard that before?
John Searle, Prof Emeritus of the
Philosophy of Mind and Language
In addition to the fact that Searle's argument is invalid because he is begging the question  there's a growing chorus of brain researchers and philosophers who oppose the materialist position saying that our current materialist science is incomplete and insufficient to account for it. Something must be added at a fundamental level in order to explain consciousness. Some adding their voice to the chorus include:
Philosopher David Chalmers:
Biologist Christof Koch, when asked if science could reduce consciousness to the known laws of physics:
In other words there's something fundamental to the nature of reality that our current laws of physics cannot account for.
The Evidence from Quantum Mechanics
And then there's the evidence of quantum mechanics. It turns out in the quantum world, the mere act of becoming conscious of the position of a particle changes its behavior. This has become apparent in experiments like the double slit experiment discussed in the previous article on the multiverse. (See here for the setup.) When no one looks at particles as they go through the double slits - they appear to act like a wave going through both slits at the same time, creating the familiar diffraction pattern on the screen in back. But with the high tech equipment now available, scientists can elect to look at the particles after they've gone through the slit, but before they hit the back screen to form the pattern. At the moment you look at them, they look like particles instead of waves (as the pattern on the screen they make indicates) and seemingly were always particles. Physicist Alex Filippinko explains further:
This has led to a quantum view of consciousness where the human brain is viewed as a quantum computer, and the information state of quantum bits (qubits) stored in the brain is influenced by consciousness - or the soul. Clearly in that theory there exists something beyond the physical that is influencing the physical.
Thus there are both scientists and philosophers who in addition to evidence from quantum mechanics - are pointing to the inadequate nature of the materialist position that consciousness can be reduced to physical phenomenon.
The simple concept that explains consciousness: The Word
What should Christians believe about consciousness? We're told from early on (the days of Moses) that we are to:
Love the LORD your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
In the beginning was the Word, and
the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
In this revelation of God, before any physical thing existed, we learn there existed the Logos (Λογος), aptly translated as the "Word" of God. What is a "word" if not an expression of consciousness? Is there any word that can exist without it first existing in the consciousness of a mind? So in the revelation of Jesus as the Word of God, the perfect and exact representation of God (Heb 1.3) we see that before anything existed, before the beginning when "God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen 1.1), was the Logos; the perfect, exact expression of God who was with God and is in fact God. It is this Word, this perfect representation of God that expresses to us the consciousness of God. It is because we humans are made in the image of God (Gen 1.26-27) that we can understand and appreciate the revelation of God through the Word, Jesus.
What did the Logos, the expression of God who became flesh as Jesus (John 1.14) teach about the make up of man in terms of whether there is a non-physical component?
Do not be afraid of those who kill
the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who
can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus taught humans are composed of a
body and a soul. And the soul, the seat of consciousness, continues to
exist even after the body is destroyed. This truth - that consciousness exists apart from the body is a truth
science - in particular holders of the quantum theory of consciousness -
is just beginning to realize and understand.
Once again we see the truth of God - expressed years before science even
began to examine such concepts - just being discovered by science. Such
discoveries falsify the tenacious, but erroneous view that the physical
world is all there is; and exposes that what passes for science in some
scientific disciplines, is really faith in a faulty world view called
Duane Caldwell | posted 9/28/2016
1. "Materialist" evolutionists
should be the only type there is but unfortunately, some Christians and
theists have been deceived into believing God used evolution to create
humans ("Theistic Evolution"). Since they are ultimately theists - they
are not in view here. Those who believe that all that exists is matter
and energy ("Materialists") are in view here.
4. Other views offered in that same episode ("Confronting Consciousness"), of consciousness:
"Consciousness the thing that
flickers to life when you wake up in the morning...[it is]...successive
levels of abstraction of all that machinery running
underneath...Consciousness is like the CEO of a company."
"... consciousness is a term we use to
identify a sort of emergent conglomeration of all kinds of things that
are particularly apparent and useful at the moment, and engage us."
"Consciousness is the immediate awareness
of objects. And those objects could be physical objects. If you're looking
at things they could be thoughts. Thoughts are objects of consciousness.
And there is someone who is conscious of those objects - so you seem to have a
subject being aware of various different objects. And I don't
think you can get any simpler than that."
8. Searle seems unaware he is
the question - which is a form of the
Here is a valid form of an argument about
consciousness that demonstrates materialism alone cannot account for
In passing some might think the first
argument - disproving materialism - is itself invalid because it
cannot prove humans have a non-material component. But that is an
objection not with the argument itself (which is valid) but with one its
a-priori assumptions. The item in question is the belief that the Bible
is true, and correct in all it asserts. The Bible asserts humans have a
non-material component, so the premise is true given that a priori
assumption. So essentially those objecting to the first premise are
objecting to the source of truth - Biblical revelation.
9. David Chalmers (Professor of
Philosophy, Australian National University;
12. The "destruction" of the soul in view here is not a
destruction where the object in view ceases to exist. The earth was
"destroyed" when the flood was sent (Gen 6.13); yet the earth did not
cease to exist. Likewise those who suffer the wrath of God do not cease
to exist; rather they exist separated from the presence of God and in
conscious torment. (2 Thess 1.9; Rev 14.10-11)
13. Regarding the quantum theory of consciousness and
consciousness existing apart from the body, see:
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