The reason why I call my radio show and podcast Seek Reality is that everyone should be doing just that! Of what value are our attempts to make sense of things unless we conduct open-minded research and we don’t just look for evidence that might support our preconceived beliefs?
Amazingly, a full century after the university departments and the peer-reviewed journals first adopted materialism as what they then called “the fundamental scientific dogma,” scientists remain bound by materialism. And incredibly, the pointless battles over the nonsense beliefs of both science and Christianity that began more than a century ago still continue! Both disciplines are sure that their two sets of beliefs cover the range of all the possible ways that people might look at reality, and the battle between these two sets of beliefs – you might call them materialism and theism – would be laughable if it were not so ridiculous. Rather than battling over whether or not evolution happens, wouldn’t it be more productive for both scientists and religionists to share information and attempt to better understand reality together?
There is in fact a gigantic and readily available body of evidence of what actually is going on! We talk about pieces of that evidence here, and also on Seek Reality, and nearly all of it is both scientific and spiritual – indeed, matter is in fact spirit – so all this information is off-limits to science. And since it doesn’t fit the Christian dogmas, religionists won’t touch it either. But it really is possible for us to figure out what actually is going on! And many researchers already have figured it out, to the extent that we can make sense of things with the limited minds that we bring into these bodies. So many people do indeed know the truth, and that makes watching the battle that continues between two failed and clueless ideologies a spectator sport that has moved beyond sad toward becoming ever more ridiculous.
Let’s look in particular at what we experience as human consciousness, which is the core energy that continuously manifests this universe. Independent researchers have learned quite a lot about consciousness, and we would be happy to share! But scientific dogmas still preclude that. Scientists have spent the past century trying to figure out how the brain generates consciousness, which is the rough equivalent of a gaggle of primitives clustered around a radio trying to figure out how those tubes and wires generate the voice of Frank Sinatra. Consciousness used to be called “the hard problem,” and for a long time scientists seriously sought a source of consciousness in the brain, without success. So of late they are just winging it.
For example, two purported researchers have authored an article in the current issue of Scientific American entitled “Unlocking the ‘Mystery’ of Consciousness” that they claim will explain consciousness while requiring neither “supernatural intervention” nor “any new fundamental physics.” So they claim to have beaten the religionists – “Take that, Christianity!” – while at the same time they are respecting a physics that is grounded entirely in materialism.
I began to read this article with some enthusiasm! Could this be the long-awaited breakthrough? Alas, no. It is eighteen paragraphs of unsupported nonsense. After an introduction that uses big words but says nothing, the authors go on to claim that “consciousness and the creation of feelings are fundamentally grounded in general life functions. Just look at all the basic commonalities between life and feelings. For instance, both rely on complexly organized chemical and physiological processes, and both are embodied; that is, each living thing has a body with a boundary from the outer world. So just as life requires a bounded body for survival, consciousness requires such a body for the creation of a personal (first-person) point of view.” Even if this statement were supported by evidence, it still brings us no closer to understanding the origins of consciousness in the brain. Comparing the origin of consciousness with the origin of life is particularly useless when scientists don’t understand that, either!
The authors go on to say, “to these general features are added numerous and neurobiologically unique special neurobiological features of complex nervous systems, especially of complex brains, that all together create consciousness. The special neurobiological features that we identified include an explosion of senses (eyes, good hearing, keen smell), a multitude of new neural processing subsystems, more combining of information from the different senses, more levels of information processing at the top of the brain, more back-and-forth communications between brain levels, and more memory. From these neural features arise consciousness in a way comparable to how the complex property of life naturally arises from the interactions of its chemical and cellular components.” Since these authors show no interest in understanding how our sensory organs relate to conscious experience, and since scientists still have not figured out how life arises, all of this means precisely nothing. It is the equivalent of saying, “Whenever you have tubes and wires you are going to give rise to somebody’s voice, whether it’s Frank Sinatra’s or Kanye West’s. But we don’t know why!
And there is even more of this blather. The authors go on to say, “So the solution to the ontological aspect of the explanatory gap is that all feelings are both uniquely personal via their connection to life, and they have a unique neurobiology through the special features. And the two in combination create the unique feature of conscious feelings. Note this explanation requires no supernatural intervention nor any new ‘fundamental property’ or principle of physics.” It seems that for them the entire point is to figure out a way to support traditional physics while excluding “supernatural intervention”!
And without offering any support for their theories, the authors insist on making the point that how ever consciousness might arise in the brain, the ability for the brain to generate consciousness must have evolved. They say, “We support our natural solution to the ontological subjectivity of primary consciousness by showing that there is no gap in the evolutionary sequence that led from life to feelings.” “Take that, all you religionists who don’t believe in evolution!” They add, “However, while there was a seamless and natural evolution of consciousness, we also find that feelings and their neural substrates are extremely diverse and widespread. This is true within a brain: in mammals, for example, the brain areas for the many kinds of perceived images (cerebral cortex) largely differ from those for the many kinds of affects or emotions (subcortical areas).” Again, not a bit of scientific evidence or insight into how any of this is even relevant to our core inquiry about how the brain gives rise to consciousness. Or how a primordial goo gives rise to life.
These authors’ conclusion is perhaps their most amazing bit of nonsense. They simply say, “We conclude that the “mystery” of consciousness and Levine’s “explanatory gap” and the “hard problem” can be naturally and scientifically explained. Our theory hinges on the propositions that consciousness and subjective feelings can be ontologically subjective and neurobiologically unique yet scientifically explainable, and that this creates an unbridgeable yet scientifically unproblematic divide between first- and third-person knowledge of the brain. At the same time, it continues to explain how while subjective experience is unique in nature, there is no need to invoke unknown forces, either physical or nonphysical, to account for its creation.” To this day, scientists cannot even explain what consciousness is, nor can they come up with a workable theory of how it arises in the brain. But rather than allowing such baseline quibbles to trip them up, these authors have gone on to assume that consciousness must somehow arise in the brain and then constructed a whole set of nonsense theories that use multi-syllabic terms but are supported by no evidence and explain nothing. This is what passes for scientific rigor today!
Open-minded people have known for a century that consciousness is not generated by the brain, but rather it is the base energy which continuously manifests this universe. In a more enlightened future day, credit for this most important discovery of the twentieth century will go to Max Planck, who in 1918 won the Nobel Prize in physics as the father of quantum mechanics. Back in 1931, Planck said, ”I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
There were other twentieth-century physicists, too, who saw in the implications of quantum mechanics the fact that consciousness has to be primary! Physicist Euan Squires said, “Every interpretation of quantum mechanics involves consciousness.” Physicist Sir James Jeans said, “The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.” And the evidence for the primacy of what we experience as human consciousness is by now so incontrovertible and complete that it is hard to see how it might be disputed by anyone who has access to objective facts. If only scientism and religionism would at last declare a truce in these battles that neither of them can win, then perhaps we all might seek reality together and share the objective truth with all of humankind.
Meanwhile, these nonsensical battles between scientists and religionists go on! Next week we will consider their ongoing major bone of contention, which is the theory of evolution vs. the theory of creation. There is in fact an evidence-based way to make sense of how things happened, and brand-new evidence suggests that this third way may well be right….