“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” ~Albert Einstein
A new video excerpt was recently uploaded, in which a former Christian has a discussion with a current evangelical Christian apologist discussing the nature of consciousness:
“That’s So Chratheist, Show #3 (Excerpt on Consciousness)“
Lenny Esposito (an evangelical Christian apologist with the Come Reason Ministry), says that consciousness appears something to be unique to humans. It isn’t just a matter of degree, but of humans possessing a different kind of thing, that no other animals have. This would include self-reflection (such as considering whether past behavior was appropriate or not). He says that consciousness is not anything physical, and therefore, can’t arise out of anything physical.
When asked about other animals, and their appearance of having a self-image (as seen by self-awareness studies on many animal species*), Lenny questions whether this is real self-awareness or just instinct. These are tests in which animals seem to recognize a mark on their body by observing their reflection in a mirror. Also part of the discussion are examples of animals that seem to grieve of departed kin.
Truman Smith is a former evangelical Christian. His viewpoint is that consciousness is an emergent property of the physical brain. There’s no “magic” in the life of a creature. It used to be common in science to think there was a special “life force” something, but that is no longer part of the scientific consensus. It is now widely held that non-organic elements can give rise to organic elements. And with the idea of ’emergence,’ brand new phenomena can arise when sub-parts are put together (the total is much greater than just the sum of its parts).
Studying animals is something science has been doing much more of, in just the last 50 years. At one time, animals were thought to be mostly dumb animals running by instinct. But under many new studies, animals are tested to see how they think and can even develop tools**.
* Examples of animal studies on self-awareness:
“Monkey has form of self-awareness”
** Video of a bird that designs a tool to get food:
Truman Smith can be found here on Facebook:
Lenny Esposito can be found here Facebook: