THE CASE FOR A CREATOR
from the book by the same name
The Evidence of Consciousness
The Enigma of the Mind
Cogito ergo sum-— "I think, therefore I am."
Why should a bunch of atoms have thinking ability'? Why should I, even as I write now, be able to reflect on what I am doing and why should you, even as you read now, be able to ponder my points, agreeing or disagreeing, with pleasure or pain, deciding to refute me or deciding that I am just not worth the effort? No one, certainly not the Darwinian as such, seems to have any answer to this.... The point is that there is no scientific answer.
Darwinist philosopher Michael Ruse 1
"The intelligence of machines will exceed human intelligence early in this century," predicted techno-prophet Ray Kurzweil, recipient of the prestigious National Medal of Technology and called "the ultimate thinking machine" by Forbes. "By intelligence, I include all of the diverse and subtle ways in which humans are intelligent—-including musical and artistic aptitude, creativity,. physically moving, and even responding to emotion."
"By 2019, a thousand-dollar, computer will match the processing power of the human brain. By 2050, a thousand dollars of computing will equal the processing power of all human brains on Earth. Will these future machines be capable of having spiritual experiences? They certainly will claim to. They will claim to be people, and to have the full range of emotional and spiritual experiences that people claim to have!" 2
In envisioning the future, Kurzweil's book The Age of Spiritual Machines raises the controversial question of whether computers will not only become smarter than people but might also achieve consciousness —and thus become virtually indistinguishable from their biologically based counterparts.
In a sense, Kurzweil's theories are a logical extension of Darwinian evolution. According to Darwinists, the physical world is all that there is. At some point, the human brain evolved, with its raw processing power increasing over the eons. When the brain reached a certain level of structure and complexity, people became "conscious"—-that is, they suddenly developed subjectivity, feelings, hopes, a point of view, self-awareness, introspection, that "hidden voice of our private selves."
As far back as 1871, Darwin advocate Thomas Huxley said: "Mind [or consciousness] is a function of matter, when that matter has attained a certain degree of organization." 3 Darwinists today agree that "conscious experience is a physical and not a supernatural phenomenon," as sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson said. 4
If consciousness really is the automatic byproduct of increasingly sophisticated brain power, then why couldn't super-smart robots become conscious when they achieve a bigger brain capacity than people? Once the basic Darwinian premise is accepted, then Kurzweil's futuristic scenario suddenly seems possible.
"If you can get a computer to take on any structure you like, and if consciousness is generated by structure, then by definition that kind of structure is going to eventually give you consciousness," said David Chalmers, codirector of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona. 5
Kurzweil's predictions, however, have been assailed by critics who say computer consciousness is absurd. "I cannot recall reading a book in which there is such a huge gulf between the spectacular claims advanced and the weakness of the arguments given in their support," scoffed John Searle, a professor of mind at the University of California at Berkeley. 6 "You can expand the power all you want, hooking up as many computers as you think you need, and they still won't be conscious, because all they'll ever do is shuffle symbols." 7
Said William Dembski of the Conceptual Foundations of Science at Baylor University: "Kurzweil is peddling science fiction and bad philosophy."8
As fascinating as this debate over futuristic computers has been, there still remains a much more important controversy over human consciousness. Amazingly, many scientists and philosophers are now concluding that the laws of physics and chemistry cannot explain the experience of consciousness in human beings. They are convinced that there is more than just the physical brain at work, but there also is a nonmaterial reality called the "soul," "mind," or "self that accounts for our sentience.
In fact, they cite its very existence as strong evidence against the purely naturalistic theory of Darwinian evolution and in favor of a Creator who imbued humankind with his image.
The Controversy over Consciousness
One scientist whose opinions were reversed on the issue is Wilder Penfield, the renowned father of modern neurosurgery. He started out suspecting that consciousness somehow emanated from the neural activities in the brain, where synapses can fire an astounding ten million billion times a second. "Through my own scientific career, I, like other scientists, have struggled to prove that the brain accounts for the mind," he said. 9
But through performing surgery on more than a thousand epileptic patients, he encountered concrete evidence that the brain and mind are actually distinct from each other, although they clearly interact. Explained one expert in the field:
Penfield would stimulate electrically the proper motor cortex of conscious patients and challenge them to keep one hand from moving when the current was applied. The patient would seize this hand with the other hand and struggle to hold it still. Thus one hand under the control of the electrical current and the other hand under the control of the patients mind fought against each other. Penfield risked the explanation that the patient had not only a physical brain that was stimulated to action but also a nonphysical reality that interacted with the brain.10
In other words, Penfield ended up agreeing with the Bible's assertion that human beings are both body and spirit. "To expect the highest brain mechanism or any set of reflexes, however complicated, to carry out what the mind does, and thus perform all the functions of the mind, is quite absurd,"11 he said. "What a thrill it is, then, to discover that the scientist, too, can legitimately believe in the existence of the spirit."12
Similarly, Oxford University professor of physiology Sir Charles Sherrington, a Nobel Prize winner described as "a genius who laid the foundations of our knowledge of the functioning of the brain and spinal cord,"13 declared five days before his death: "For me now, the only reality is the human soul."14
As for his one-time student John C. Eccles, himself an eminent neu-rophysiologist and Nobel laureate, his ultimate conclusion is the same. "I am constrained," he said, "to believe that there is what we might call a supernatural origin of my unique self-conscious mind or my unique selfhood or soul." 15
But is it really rational in the twenty-first century to believe in John Calvin's sixteenth-century claim that "the endowments we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves," but that they must have a divine source?16 Is the Bibles insistence that people consist of both body and spirit-—-a belief called "dualism"—-a defensible assertion?17 Or is the human brain simply, in the famous words of MIT's Marvin Minsky, "a computer made of meat," with conscious thought as its wholly mechanical output?
Consciousness, declared Searle, is "the single most important fact about our existence, except for life itself."18 It was clear to me that the answer to the mystery of our mind would either be a powerful confirmation of Darwinian naturalism or a persuasive affirmation of a far greater mind in whose likeness we were created.
Surpassing the Brain's Boundaries
It was a news dispatch from the front lines of the scientific investigation of human consciousness. Published by the journal Resuscitation and presented to scientists at the California Institute of Technology in 2001, the year-long British study provided evidence that consciousness continues after a persons brain has stopped functioning and he or she has been declared clinically dead.19 It was dramatic new evidence that the brain and mind are not the same, but they're distinct entities.
"The research," said Reuters journalist Sarah Tippit, "resurrects the debate over whether there is life after death and whether there is such a thing as the human soul."20
In their journal article, physician Sam Parma and Peter Fenwick, a neuropsychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, describe their study of sixty-three heart attack victims who were declared clinically dead but were later revived and interviewed. About ten percent reported having well-structured, lucid thought processes, with memory formation and reasoning, during the time that their brains were not functioning. The effects of oxygen starvation or drugs-—objections commonly offered by skeptics—-were ruled out as factors. Later, the researchers found numerous cases that were similar.21
"While large-scale studies are still needed, the once-skeptical Parnia said the scientific findings so far "would support the view that mind, 'consciousness, or the soul' is a separate entity from the brain."22
He speculated that the brain might serve as a mechanism to manifest the mind, much in the same way a television set manifests pictures and sounds from waves in the air. If an injury to the brain causes a person to lose some aspects of his mind or personality, this doesn't necessarily prove that the brain was the source of the mind. "All it shows is that the apparatus is damaged," he said.23
Active research is continuing in this area and into other aspects of human consciousness.24 Meanwhile, the scientists who are committed to finding a purely physical answer—appropriately called "physicalists" —are candid in admitting that they currently have no explanation for how the brain might spawn consciousness.
Conceded Searle: ""We don't have an adequate theory of how the brain causes conscious states, and we don't have an adequate theory of how consciousness fits into the universe."25
Still, Searle and many others find refuge in their unshakable faith that science will eventually discover a completely naturalistic explanation. Given Darwinism as a non-negotiable starting point, there's really no other choice.
"I am firmly in the confident camp—a substantial explanation for the mind's emergence from the brain will be produced and perhaps soon," predicted professor of neurology Antonio R. Damasio. "The giddy feeling, however, is tempered by the acknowledgment of some sobering difficulties."26
Eccles calls this kind of attitude "promissory materialism ... extravagant and unfulfillable."27 Instead, many researchers are following Eccles's example by pursuing the evidence of science and the logic of philosophy wherever they lead, even if they point toward dualism. Said anthropologist Marilyn Schlitz:
I would take the position of a radical empiricist, in that I am driven by data, not theory. And the data I see tell me that there are ways in which peoples experience refutes the physicalist position that the mind is the brain and nothing more. There are solid, concrete data that suggest that our consciousness, our mind, may surpass the boundaries of the brain.28
As for the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments consistendy teach that humans are "a hyphenate creature, a spirit/body dichotomy," said anthropologist Arthur C. Distance. Then, quite significantly, he added: "To this extent there is no quarrel between theology and the findings of recent research."29 Custance continued:
[The Bible] makes it very clear that when the soul or spirit leaves the body, the body is dead and that if the spirit is somehow returned to the body, the whole person comes back to life.30 This duality is repeated in hundreds of places in the Bible 31. Indeed the formation of Adam as the first human being is expressly stated as the result of the animation of a body by a spirit, constituting it as a living soul.32
Do Christianity and contemporary research really support each other, while at the same time contradicting the Darwinian claim that the brain is solely responsible for consciousness? As I went looking for answers, I didn't have to travel far from my home in Southern California. It was just a short drive to the house of a prominent professor trained in science, philosophy, and theology, who has pondered and written about these topics for years.
INTERVIEW #8: J. P. Moreland, PhD
When I pulled up to J. P. Morelands house on a cool and foggy morning, he was outside with a cup of coffee in his hand, having just walked home from a chat with some neighbors. His graying hair was close-cropped, his mustache neatly trimmed, and he was looking natty in a red tie, blue shirt, and dark slacks.
"Good to see you again," he said as we shook hands. "Come on in."
We walked into his living room, where he settled into a floral-patterned chair and I eased into an adjacent couch. The setting was familiar to me, since I had previously interviewed him on other challenging topics for The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith.33 Both times I found him to have an uncanny ability to discuss abstract issues and technical matters in understandable but accurate language. That's unusual for a scientist, uncommon for a theologian, and downright rare for a philosopher!
Morelands science training came at the University of Missouri, where he received a degree in chemistry. He was subsequently awarded the top fellowship for a doctorate in nuclear chemistry at the University of Colorado but declined the honor to pursue a different career path. He then earned a master's degree in theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Southern California. Moreland developed an early interest in issues relating to human consciousness, returning to that theme time after time in his various books. He has written, edited, or coauthored Christianity and the Nature of Science, Body and Soul, The Life and Death Debate, Beyond Death, Does God Exist?, Christian Perspectives on Being Human, The Creation Hypothesis, Scaling the Secular City, Love Your God with All Your Mind Naturalism: A Critical Analysis, and other books. Also, he has authored more than fifty technical articles for Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, American Philosophical Quarterly, Journal of Psychology and Theology, Metaphilosophy, and a host of other journals. Morelands memberships include national scientific, philosophical, and theological societies. Currently, he's a professor in the highly respected philosophy program at the Talbot School of Theology, where he teaches on numerous topics, including philosophy of mind.
As we began our interview, I thought it would be a good idea to get straight on some key definitions—something that's not always easy when discussing consciousness.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said it may be difficult to define pornography, "but I know it when I see it."34 Similarly, consciousness can be a challenging concept to describe, even though our own conscious thoughts are quite tangible to ourselves. As J. R. Smythies of the University of Edinburgh put it: "The consciousness of other people may be for me an abstraction, but my own consciousness is for me a reality."35
"What is consciousness?" Moreland said, echoing the opening question that I had just posed to him. "Well, a simple definition is that consciousness is what you're aware of when you introspect. When you pay attention to what's going on inside of you, that's consciousness."
He looked at me and apparently could see from my expression that I needed a fuller description. "Think of it like this," he continued. "Suppose you were having an operation on your leg, and suddenly you begin to be aware of people talking about you. Someone says, 'I think he's recovering.' You start to feel an ache in your knee. You say to yourself, 'Where am I? What's going on?' And you start to remember you were operated on. What you're doing is regaining consciousness. In short, consciousness consists of sensations, thoughts, emotions, desires, beliefs, and free choices that make us alive and aware."
"What if consciousness didn't exist in the world?" I asked.
"I'll give you an example," Moreland replied. "Apples would still be red, but there would be no awareness of red or any sensations of red."
"What about the soul?" I asked. "How would you define that?"
"The soul is the ego, the 'I,' or the self, and it contains our consciousness. It also animates our body. That's why when the soul leaves the body, the body becomes a corpse. The soul is immaterial and distinct from the body."
"At least," I observed, "that's what the Bible teaches."
"Yes, Christians have understood this for twenty centuries," he said. "For example, when Jesus was on the cross, he told the thief being crucified next to him that he would be with Jesus immediately after his death and before the final resurrection of his body.36 Jesus described the body and soul as being separate entities when he said, 'Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.'37 The apostle Paul says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."38
(THIS IS WHERE THIS SO-CALLED SCIENCE-THEOLOGIAN WITH ALL HIS " EDUCATED" DEGREES, DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE, AND THE BIBLE'S TEACHING ON BODY AND SPIRIT. HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE FELLOW ON THE CROSS NEXT TO JESUS, AND WHAT JESUS ACTUALLY SAID, BECAUSE OF THE COMMAR [PUNCTUATION WAS NOT IN THE GREEK MSS] IN THE WRONG PLACE. JESUS SAID TO HIM, "I SAY UNTO YOU TODAY, YOU SHALL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE." JESUS COULD SEE THAT HIS ATTITUDE WOULD PUT HIM IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD, WHEN HE WOULD COME UP IN THE SECOND RESURRECTION. SEE MY STUDY CALLED "THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT." BUT YES WE DO HAVE A "SPIRIT" THAT IS UNITED WITH THE BRAIN TO GIVE US THE UNIQUE CONSCIOUSNESS OF HUMANS AS OPPOSED TO ANIMALS - Keith Hunt)
I was curious about whether belief in the soul is a universal phenomenon. "What about beyond Christianity?" I asked. "Is this concept present in other cultures as well?"
"We know that dualism was taught by the ancient Greeks, although, unlike Christians, they believed the body and soul were alien toward each other," he explained. "In contemporary terms, I'd agree with physicalist Jaegwon Kim, who acknowledged that something like this dualism of personhood, I believe, is common lore shared across most cultures and religious traditions.' "39
Still, there are those who deny dualism and instead believe we are solely physical beings who are, as geneticist Francis Crick said, "no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. To explore this issue, I decided to take an unusual approach in my interview with Moreland by asking him to imagine —-for just a few minutes—that these physicalists are right.
"What If Physicalism Is True? Let's face it," I said, "some people flatly deny that we have an immaterial soul. John Searle said, 'In my worldview, consciousness is caused by brain processes." In other words, they believe consciousness is purely a product of biology. As brain scientist Barry Beyerstein said, just as the kidneys produce urine, the brain produces consciousness."42
Moreland was listening carefully as I spoke, his head slightly cocked. I continued by saying, "Do me a favor, J. P.—-assume for a moment that the physicalists are right. What are the logical implications if physicalism is true?"
His eyes widened. "Oh, there would be several key ones," he replied.
"Give me three," I said.
Moreland was more than willing. "First, if physicalism is true, then consciousness doesn't really exist, because there would be no such thing as conscious states that must be described from a first-person point of view," he said.
"You see, if everything were matter, then you could capture the entire universe on a graph—you could locate each star, the moon, every mountain, Lee Strobel's brain, Lee Strobel's kidneys, and so forth. That's because if everything is physical, it could be described entirely from a third-person point of view. And yet we know that we have first-person, subjective points of view-—-so physicalism can't be true."
Clearly, Moreland was warming up to this exercise. "The second implication," he continued, "is that there would be no free will. That's because matter is completely governed by the laws of nature. Take any physical object," he said as he glanced out the window, where the fog was breaking up. "For instance, a cloud," he said. "It's just a material object, and its movement is completely governed by the laws of air pressure, wind movement, and the like. So if I'm a material object, all of the things I do are fixed by my environment, my genetics, and so forth. That would mean I'm not really free to make choices. Whatever's going to happen is already rigged by my makeup and environment. So how could you hold me responsible for my behavior if I wasn't free to choose how I would act? This is one of the reasons we lost the Vietnam War."
I was following him until that last statement, which seemed oddly incongruous to me. "What has this got to do with Vietnam?" I asked.
Moreland explained: "I heard a former advisor to the president say that B. F. Skinner's behaviorism influenced the Pentagon's strategy. Skinner believed that we're just physical objects, so you can condition people, just like you can condition a laboratory animal by applying electric shocks. Keep doing certain things over and over, and you can change behavior. So in Vietnam, we bombed, we came back, we bombed, we came back, we bombed, and so forth. We assumed that after we gave the North Vietnamese shock after shock, pretty soon we could manipulate their behavior. After all, they're just physical objects responding to stimuli. Eventually they had to give in."
"But they didn't," I said.
"That's right. It didn't work."
"Because there was more to the Vietnamese than their physical brains responding to stimuli. They have souls, desires, feelings, and beliefs, and they could make free choices to suffer and to stand firm for their convictions despite our attempt to condition them by our bombing.
"So if the materialists are right, kiss free will good-bye. In their view, we're just very complicated computers that behave according to the laws of nature and the programming we receive. But, Lee, obviously they're wrong-—-we do have free will. We all know that deep down inside. We're more than just a physical brain.
"Third, if physicahsm were true, there would be no disembodied intermediate state. According to Christianity, when we die, our souls leave our bodies and await the later resurrection of our bodies from the dead. We don't cease to exist when we die. Our souls are living on.
(AGAIN THIS IS WHERE THIS EDUCATED "THEOLOGIAN" GOES OFF TRACK. OUR SPIRIT RETURNS TO GOD WHO GAVE IT TO US [ECC.12:7] BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE CONTINUE TO THINK, WALK, TALK, AND LIVE ON IN HEAVEN, AS IS POPULARLY TAUGHT BY POPULAR CHRISTIANITY. THE TRUTH OF ALL THIS IS EXPOUNDED IN MANY STUDIES ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt)
"This happens in near-death experiences. People are clinically dead, but sometimes they have a vantage point from above, where they look down at the operating table that their body is on. Sometimes they gain information they couldn't have known if this were just an illusion happening in their brain. One woman died and she saw a tennis shoe that was on the roof of the hospital. How could she have known this?
(VERY SIMPLE THE SATANIC FORCES CAN WORK WHAT YOU MIGHT CALL MIRACLES [TO PUT IT IN HUMAN UNDERSTANDING] AND CAN MANIPULATE THE MIND WHEN THE HUMAN IS UNDER A SO-CALLED "NEAR DEATH" - THEY KNOW THE PERSON IS GOING TO BE BACK IN THE HUMAN LIFE WORLD, AND SUCH MANIPULATING BY THE DEMONS CONTINUES TO DECEIVE THE WORLD AND FALSE CHRISTIANITY, THAT WE HAVE AN IMMORTAL SOUL, AND UPON REAL DEATH, WE EITHER GO TO HEAVEN, HELL, OR PURGATORY [A ROMAN CATHOLIC THIRD PLACE] - Keith Hunt)
"If I am just my brain, then existing outside the body is utterly impossible. When people hear of near-death experiences, they don't think that if they looked up at the hospital ceiling, they'd see a pulsating brain with a couple of eyeballs dangling down, right? When people hear near-death stories, Lee, they are intuitively attributing to that person a soul that could leave the body. And clearly these stories make sense, even if we're not sure they're true. We've got to be more than our bodies or else these stories would be ludicrous to us."
(WE ARE MORE THAN OUR PHYSICAL BODY; YES WE DO HAVE A "SPIRIT IN MAN" AS THE BIBLE CALLS IT. BUT THAT SPIRIT IS NOT AN IMMORTAL SOUL AS TAUGHT BY THIS THEOLOGIAN SCIENTIST OR BY POPULAR CHRISTIANITY. I HAVE A STUDY CALLED "THE SPIRIT IN MAN" WHICH FULLY EXPLAINS ALL THIS. THE DEMONS HAVE THE POWER TO WORK STUFF WITH "NEAR-DEATH" PEOPLE EXPERIENCE; HENCE THE FALSE TEACHING OF FALSE CHRISTIANITY CONTINUES ON - Keith Hunt)
Moreland seemed to be sidestepping this issue a bit. "How about you personally?" I asked. "Do you think near-death experiences are true?"
"We have to be careful with the data and not overstate things, but I do think they provide at least a minimalist case for consciousness surviving death," he said. "In fact, as far back as 1965, psychologist John Beloff wrote in The Humanist that the evidence of near-death experiences already indicates a dualistic world where mind or spirit has an existence separate from the world of material things. He conceded that this could present a challenge to humanism as profound in its own way as that which Darwinian evolution did to Christianity a century ago" 43 ago.
(THE POPULAR CHRISTIAN TEACHING IS THAT YOU, THE REAL YOU IS INSIDE OF A PHYSICAL BODY; WHEN YOU DIE THE REAL YOU LEAVES THE BODY AND CONTINUES TO LIVE ON, TO THINK, WALK, TALK, BUT AGAIN AS THEY TEACH, EITHER IN HEAVEN, HELL, OR PURGATORY - Keith Hunt)
Moreland paused before adding one other comment. "Regardless of what anyone thinks about near-death experiences, we do have confirmation that Jesus was put to death and was later seen alive by credible eyewitnesses," he said. "Not only does this provide powerful historical corroboration that it's possible to survive after the death of our physical body, but it also gives Jesus great credibility when he teaches that we have both a body and an immaterial spirit."
(AGAIN THIS THEOLOGIAN MISSES THE FACT THAT JESUS WAS RESURRECTED BACK TO LIFE, AND THEN SEEN BY EYEWITNESSES. IT IS THE TRUTH OF DEATH AND RESURRECTION AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE. AND AS MANY STUDIES ON THIS WEBSITE PROVE. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A SO-CALLED "REAL-PERSON INSIDE A PHYSICAL BODY - Keith Hunt)
The Inner and Private Mind
At this point, having considered Morelands critique of physicalism, I wanted to hear his affirmative case that consciousness and the soul are immaterial entities. "What positive evidence is there that consciousness and the self are not merely a physical process of the brain?" I asked.
"We have experimental data, for one thing," he replied. "For example, neurosurgeon Wilder Penfleld electrically stimulated the brains of epilepsy patients and found he could cause them to move their arms or legs, turn their heads or eyes, talk, or swallow. Invariably the patient would respond by saying, 'I didn't do that. You did.'45 According to Penfleld, 'the patient thinks of himself as having an existence separate from his body.'46
"No matter how much Penfleld probed the cerebral cortex, he said, 'There is no place ... where electrical stimulation will cause a patient to believe or to decide.'47 That's because those functions originate in the conscious self, not the brain.
"A lot of subsequent research has validated this. When Roger Sperry and his team studied the differences between the brain's right and left hemispheres, they discovered the mind has a causal power independent of the brain's activities. This led Sperry to conclude materialism was false.48
"Another study showed a delay between the time an electric shock was applied to the skin, its reaching the cerebral cortex, and the self-conscious perception of it by the person.49 This suggests the self is more than just a machine that reacts to stimuli as it receives them. In fact, the data from various research projects are so remarkable that Laurence C. Wood said, 'many brain scientists have been compelled to postulate the existence of an immaterial mind, even though they may not embrace a belief in an after-life.' "50
(NOW ALL OF THIS PHYSICAL SHOCK STUFF IS BEING DONE WHILE THE "SPIRIT IN MAN" IS THERE STILL WORKING WITH THE BRAIN, AND THAT COMBINATION OF BRAIN AND SPIRIT DOES NOT NECESSARY JUMP TO THE TUNE OF PHYSICAL SHOCK; SO THE PATIENT SAYS, "YOU DID THIS, NOT ME" - Keith Hunt)
"What about beyond the laboratory?" I asked.
"There are valid philosophical arguments as well," he said. "For instance, I know that consciousness isn't a physical phenomenon because there are things that are true of my consciousness that aren't true of anything physical."
"For instance ...," I said, prompting him further.
"For example, some of my thoughts have the attribute of being true. Tragically, some of my thoughts have the attribute of being false—like the Chicago Bears are going to go to the Super Bowl," he said with a chuckle. "However, none of my brain states are true or false. No scientist can look at the state of my brain and say, 'Oh, that particular brain state is true and that one's false.' So there's something true of my conscious states that are not true of any of my brain states, and consequently they can't be the same thing.
"Nothing in my brain is about anything. You can't open up my head and say, 'You see this electrical pattern in the left hemisphere of J. P. Morelands brain? That's about the Bears.' Your brain states aren't about anything, but some of my mental states are. So they're different.
"Furthermore, my consciousness is inner and private to me. By simply introspecting, I have a way of knowing about what's happening in my mind that is not available to you, my doctor, or a neuroscientist. A scientist could know more about what's happening in my brain than I do, but he couldn't know more about what's happening in my mind than I do. He has to ask me."
When I asked Moreland for an illustration of this, he said, "Have you heard of Rapid Eye Movement?"
"Sure," I replied.
"What does it indicate?"
"Exactly. How do scientists know that when there is a certain eye movement that people are dreaming? They've had to wake people and ask them. Scientists could watch the eyes move and read a printout of what was physically happening in the brain, so they could correlate brain states with eye movements. But they didn't know what was happening in the mind. Why? Because that's inner and private.
"So the scientist can know about the brain by studying it, but he can't know about the mind without asking the person to reveal it, because conscious states have the feature of being inner and private, but the brains states don't."
(AND INDEED THAT IS SO; BECAUSE WE ARE NOT JUST A "BRAIN" OF PHYSICAL STUFF IN OUR HEAD; WE HAVE AS THE BIBLE CALLS IT "A SPIRIT IN MAN" THAT GOD GIVES TO ADD TO THE PHYSICAL BRAIN. THE SPIRIT IN MAN IS SPIRIT, CAN NOT BE SEEN, OR TOUCHED. THE SPIRIT IN MAN IS UNITED WITH THE PHYSICAL BRAIN. AND THAT COMBINATION GIVES MAN HIS UNIQUE CONSCIOUSNESS THAT MAKES THE WHOLE OF THE HUMAN MIND, THAT IS FAR ABOVE THE ANIMAL MIND. BUT IT IS NOT THE "IMMORTAL SOUL" TEACHING OF POPULAR CHRISTIANITY. IF THE BRAIN IS DAMAGED IN ANY WAY, THE SPIRIT DOES NOT TAKE OVER TO NULLIFY THE DAMAGE. EXAMPLE: IF THE BRAIN IS DAMAGED SO A PERSON CAN NO LONGER SPEAK, THE SPIRIT IN MAN DOES NOT TAKE OVER AND SPEAK FOR THE DAMAGED BRAIN THAT CAN NO LONGER PUT THINGS TOGETHER THAT MAKE US ABLE TO SPEAK. WE HAVE ALL KINDS OF THINGS THAT CAN AND DO GO WRONG IN THE PHYSICAL BODY WITH BRAIN; HENCE "DOWN-SYNDROME" PEOPLE. THE SPIRIT IN MAN DOES NOT TAKE OVER AND NULLIFY THE PHYSICAL BODY/BRAIN ABNORMALITY IN DOWN-SYNDROME PEOPLE. HENCE WITH OTHER MENTAL ABNORMALITIES THAT CAN OCCUR BETWEEN PHYSICAL BODY AND BRAIN. THE SPIRIT IN MAN WORKS WITH A NORMAL BRAIN TO PRODUCE NORMAL HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS; IT DOES NOT OVER-RIDE SOMETHING THAT GOES WRONG WITH THE PHYSICAL BODY AND BRAIN THAT ENDS IN A NO LONGER "NORMAL" HUMAN MIND - Keith Hunt)
TO BE CONTINUED