We have talked here about the fact that materialist mainstream scientists still continue to look for a source of consciousness inside the brain. Not content to wait for proof-of-concept, scientists even are racing now to develop a level of artificial intelligence that they believe can give rise to consciousness: they are building machines that can “repair themselves” and even can “eat, grow, and evolve.” These researchers are generally careful to say that their machines are not conscious now, but over it all there is an unspoken hope that if machines become sufficiently competent then actual consciousness might arise. They think about how we are going to know that some machine is “conscious”; and since their fundamental premise is so flawed because consciousness is not generated by the brain, they keep stumbling across issues and barriers that simply do not exist in life. They study anger in dreams with the astonishing belief that “(t)he research may ultimately help experts understand the neural foundation of the emotional content involved in nightmares,” even though of course emotion is a property of consciousness rather than an artifact of brain activity so what they are studying is merely the effects of emotions on the brain. Nor can they even begin to fathom such questions as what the mind experiences during the death process, or a genuine explanation for the beautiful phenomenon called Acquired Savant Syndrome.
Bernardo Kastrup is a young Dutch scientist who grasps the primary role of consciousness, and reading his work does give me hope that the willfully self-enforced Luddite cluelessness of modern mainstream science may not be forever; but meanwhile, you and I are left to do the work of studying consciousness that rightly belongs to career research scientists.
And there is another scientific pursuit that is fully as hopeless as trying to find a source of consciousness inside the brain. A great deal of time and money is being devoted now to searching for the origin of life in some version of a primordial soup. The term given to the whole broad area of trying to understand how life arose on earth is called Origin of Life research, and it has become a kind of demented sister to the ongoing search for a source of consciousness in the brain. While consciousness researchers do the rough equivalent of taking a radio apart to search for the source of Frank Sinatra’s voice, Origin of Life researchers are back-engineering living organisms to try to discover how inert chemicals once were combined in such a magical way that life was sparked into being. This insanity has been going on for decades, and it is so well funded that even largely unrelated scientific pursuits can be made more viable if their missions include an Origin of Life component. Repeated supposed breakthroughs have been announced, countless conferences have been held, and many learned articles have been published, all of which have amounted to nothing.
The problem is that research scientists have set themselves an impossible task. Not only must life be sparked into being, but it requires a cellular and chemical infrastructure to sustain it; and this means that life’s basic structures would almost certainly have to predate whatever first caused life to spark. Then for life to progress beyond single cells would require the development of DNA and so many other essential details that the odds against chance for randomly emergent life to then randomly create you and me turn out to be unfathomably long.
Mainstream scientists are so wrong-headed and fundamentally clueless about all of this that they are easy targets for Christian scientists arguing for intelligent design; and while these Christian scientists have their own biases, their work can be helpful to those of us who simply want to know what is true. The current state of play in Origin of Life research was brilliantly set out by two scientists at the 2019 Dallas Science and Faith Conference held in January of this year. I am giving you two lectures from that conference; I hope you will watch at least the first one:
* James M. Tour is a synthetic organic chemist who is the T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He talked about The Mystery of the Origin of Life.
Yet again you and I are caught in the war between mainstream science and mainstream Christianity, learning what we can from each of them but always aware of the dogmas and biases that make them both fundamentally wrong. So we learn what we can from these Christian scientists, and we add it to our larger set of understandings. Now, if you and I were asked to hazard a guess at how life began on earth, what might we say?
So the Origin of Life is easy for you and me to explain in a way that fits our developing understanding of how reality works. Consciousness is the base creative force, and creation happens freshly in each micro-instant. Indeed, the fact that this is probably the only way that life could have arisen gives us further evidence that our theory about how creation happens is right.
Mainstream scientists never will be able to explain the origin of life until they abandon their certainty that consciousness is merely an artifact of the brain. Making life arise from some chemical soup, and cell structure and DNA and all the rest then somehow naturally arise as well, will seem to them to be possible because it exists that way in the fossil record. But their making it happen in the laboratory will forever be as elusive to them as will be the creation of intelligent robots that are able to develop consciousness.
Reality is all of a piece! If you insist on having one part of it your way, you guarantee that you never will understand the rest.
Mainstream science maintains its insistence that matter is primary and consciousness is generated by the brain as a bulwark against its ever finding the Christian God. Even in the twenty-first century, the organized scientific community still sees itself as courageous crusaders against old Christian superstitions; and oddly, the fact that materialist science and mainstream Christianity both are based in erroneous assumptions seems never to occur to anyone. But things are turning now, almost imperceptibly. Even the most zealous scientist would tell you that inevitably all dogmas fall away and the light of objective truth must dawn!