Thoughts On God And The Nature Of Consciousness

Deep thoughts, by Michael Suede

The big bang is a requirement of atheism and creationism.  Both postulate a beginning time.  Both state that at one point there was nothing, and then suddenly there was something.

The very word “creationism” means something from nothing. – a big bang.  Indeed, the big bang theory itself was first postulated by a Catholic priest, Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître.

Atheism, the belief that there is no god or eternal soul, is materialist in nature.  If you fundamentally believe that consciousness arises strictly from matter, then you believe that matter must have existed before consciousness.   Given that this is the case, then there must be a beginning point at which consciousness did not exist within the universe.  Hence, a beginning to the universe – a big bang.  While most atheists subscribe to big bang cosmology, the fact that the universe must have a beginning point from which consciousness evolved is inherently built into the ideology itself.

There is simply no avoiding the fact that both atheism and theist creationism fundamentally demand a “beginning” point of the universe.  A point where time and matter first appear.  Both claim that where we are today is a product of evolution from a specific beginning point.  Both ignore the possibility of the universe simply not having a “beginning.”

Consider the philosophical implications of the nature of consciousness.  There is no observable reason why sticking a bunch of neurons together should give rise to a conscious phenomenological experience. No matter how complex the brain may be, it is still made of matter. Since thoughts are clearly not made of matter, they are considered “emergent” properties. However, logic clearly disproves the possibility of strong emergence.  Physicists who accept strong emergence are doing so on faith alone, which would clearly put them into the same category as theist adherents.

In order to describe the nature of consciousness as a fundamental entity of the universe in its own right, one must have a steady state universe that does not necessarily have to have a beginning.  If consciousness is a fundamental entity of the universe in its own right, then by default the claim is made that consciousness must have existed at the same moment matter, and the space it occupies, came into existence.

Also consider that if consciousness is a fundamental entity of the universe, then there is no need to have a “god created” afterlife, since our consciousness would continue on in perpetuity without physical form.  What that afterlife might be composed of would depend upon our own unique consciousness and the factors that compose it within the laws that govern conscious thought.

The only way to describe consciousness as something OTHER than a fundamental part of the universe is to postulate that the universe had some beginning; that at one point it was nothing, and then it suddenly became something.

There is no clear reason why matter left alone in the depths of space should ever organize itself into a conscious entity.  We know that emergent properties are logically impossible.  If emergent properties are logically impossible, it stands to reason that consciousness is a fundamental property, rather than an emergent one that arises from the chaotic interaction of matter.

The only way to avoid a “beginning” point is to say that consciousness and matter have always existed forever.  The only possible way to avoid a “big bang” type scenario in any case is to claim that consciousness and matter are fundamental parts of the universe and that the universe has existed forever.

So, if I wanted to describe consciousness as originating from the random chemical reactions of the brain, I would necessarily have to make that claim within a framework that allowed for consciousness not to exist before matter came into being.  And because of this, I would have to believe that either consciousness is destroyed upon death or that it must be supernatural of divine inspiration.  There is no other alternative.  I would also have to believe that the universe had a beginning point, from which time consciousness must have evolved.

Clearly the third obvious option is missing from those choices; that being, consciousness is simply a fundamental part of the universe that has existed forever and will exist forever; that our brains are simply receivers of an external conscious input.

Now, I want to poke a little deeper.  One of my favorite questions that used to drive my mother insane is “Why?”

If we stipulate that there is no god and that consciousness is a fundamental part of the universe that has always existed and always will exist, then WHY does it exist?  For what purpose and how did it come to be?  Is it supernatural after all?  I hate supernatural interpretations.

Ask yourself if consciousness could exist if consciousness was fundamentally evil.  From our libertarian teachings, we know that evil is the destruction of resources.  We know that evil is harm and destruction.  Evil is necessarily a destructive force.  So however consciousness was created, it must not have been an act of evil if it has always existed.  The first act of creation for all times must necessarily be something that stems from good, for something can not be destroyed or harmed (an act of evil) before it has been created.

Good things come from people creating things for themselves or others.  Good things come from people helping themselves or others.  Now it may be that created goods are used for evil purposes, but the fundamental fact remains that good is fundamentally a creative force.

Is it logical to say that good must have existed before evil?  And that if the universe and consciousness are infinite and eternal, then consciousness must stem from good?   That only a good creative force could have created consciousness?  That because love exists, we exist?  That god (in other words, the first act of creation) is Love?

I don’t necessarily believe in a god, as a theist would describe god, but I do believe consciousness is a fundamental part of the universe and is a separate entity in its own right.

I feel this paper is a good way of demonstrating agnosticism.  Since we know that emergent properties are logically impossible, and since we can demonstrate an alternative theory of consciousness,  we can make the claim that a god is not necessary for an afterlife to exist, although a god is not necessarily precluded from existing.  The paper also shows that both atheism and creationism adhere to fiat lux, another logical impossibility.

Here’s an article I wrote previously on this subject that provides some scientific information in regards to my logic.

Oh, and by the way… This view of the universe and consciousness is supported by the science of plasma cosmology.

 

  • Rothbard

    I don’t follow your reasoning from the very beginning. I see nothing about atheism or creationist beliefs that require a beginning to the universe. Creation can mean organizing matter into a solar system, not creating matter out of nothing.

    I don’t understand the logic of the second paragraph either, and after that I quit reading.

    Maybe next time be more precise.

    • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

      The freaking word “creationism” means something from nothing.

      Atheism, the belief that there is no god or eternal soul, is materialist in nature.  If you fundamentally believe that consciousness arises strictly from matter, then you must believe that matter must have existed before consciousness.   Given that this is the case, then there must be a beginning point at which consciousness did not exist.  Hence, a beginning to the universe – a big bang.

      • Rothbard

        By defining creationism so narrowly you’re ignoring alternatives. God can create the solar system and man without creating matter. Just because many people believe in creation ex nihilio doesn’t mean it’s the only explanation consistent with the Bible.

        “If you fundamentally believe that consciousness arises strictly from matter, then you believe that matter must have existed before consciousness.   Given that this is the case, then there must be a beginning point at which consciousness did not exist.  Hence, a beginning to the universe – a big bang.”

        Your “Hence” here seems unfounded. All that follows from this assumption is that matter exists, not that there was a beginning to the matter/universe or a big bang.

        • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

          “God can create the solar system and man without creating matter” – no, he could not.

  • James Clark

    “Also consider that if consciousness is a fundamental entity of the universe, then there is no need to have a “god created” afterlife, since our consciousness would continue on in perpetuity without physical form.”

    So what you’re saying is that I’m going to get neither liberty NOR death in the end? :( 

  • LetsGetMetaphysical

    I’m sorry but your logical has more holes than the average kitchen sieve…

    • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

      so point them out.

      Pick a logical flaw and show me where I’m going wrong.

  • Ifejniz

    You need to substantiate your claim that emergent properties are impossible. Your entire argument rests upon that, and it is contradicted by ample evidence.

    • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

      Strong emergence is impossible without violating existing physical laws. A collection of things can not create novel properties that are not already inherently part of the individual units.

      If you want to claim that strong emergence is possible, then you have to point out where the element of consciousness resides within each atom of the brain.

      • Guest

        You don’t have to point out where the element of consciousness resides within each atom of the brain to argue for a strong emergence. You are taking a somewhat atomistic approach to the issue. One simplistic example one may appeal to for a strong emergence would be something like a chariot. Neither the wheels nor the cart on their own constitute a chariot and how it functions. It is only the interaction between these two parts (and other parts) that make up what we call a chariot. The whole, in this sense, is more than the sum of its parts.

        A more sophisticated example would be something like the trading markets. You cannot understand the market by just looking at one person. It requires you to understand a multitude of individuals and their interactions (too many individuals and interactions to count). What is observed from these interactions belong to no one person but belong to something emergent coming from all of them together.

        Depending on your interpretation, this is a claim that these properties exist non-materially (the German philosopher Hegel believed this) or that there is something physical about these interactions and that “emergent” properties are only a label to account for the sum total of these physical interactions.

        • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

          “You don’t have to point out where the element of consciousness resides within each atom of the brain to argue for a strong emergence. ”
          Yes, you do.

      • Mikey

        This is just begging the question. You are saying that Strong Emergence is impossible because its impossible basically.  

        • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

          It is impossible because you can’t turn two fucking cats into a chicken.

          You can’t stick things together and create novel properties that are not already part of the individual units.

          • Guest

            Getting a chicken out of two cats is not implied by claiming there is such a thing as strong emergence. It means we must understand the nature of how the emergent property arises. Consider the chariot again. The emergent property “capacity to be ridden”. You will not find this property in the wheel, the cart, the axle or any other part of this vehicle. How then, does the chariot have the capacity to be ridden? It is the interactions in between all of these constituent parts that give rise to this new property that was not found originally in any of the chariot’s parts.

            This is not to say you can get a chicken out of two cats. What the whole can be is constrained by the properties of its parts and how they interact. We can know this because every time we put an axle, wheel and cart together we get something that has the capacity to be ridden.

            Even if you don’t buy my argument, you have a lot of legwork to prove that strong emergent properties are impossible. No particles entail the property of “being the element gold”. How is it, then, that a combination of the appropriate protons and electrons suddenly become gold when combined in a certain manner? Do you see gold in an electron, proton, or neutron? What about all other elements? Do you see every element in an electron? But you can’t believe this for it implies a single electron has properties of every element and that would mean an electron is both gold and neon and oxygen, etc. which is impossible or very strange at the least.

            Even admitting strong emergent properties, you can still contend that the physical laws in question play a major part in determining what the emerging properties can be. The difference between my position and yours is that you are a materialist (everything reduces to physical matter) while I am a physicalist (everything reduces to physical matter, processes, such as interactions between matter, and physical laws, which shape/determine the existence of the previous two)

          • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

            I linked the article explaining what strong emergence is and I explained it.  Emergent properties do not arise — they simply do not exist at all.

            Period.
            End of discussion.
            There is no such thing as an emergent property.

            If you believe in emergent properties then you are doing so on faith alone, which makes you a religious adherent. Logic and philosophy do not involve blind religious faith.

          • Guest

            Unfortunately, the article you cited does not prove non-emergence doesn’t arise. The scientist himself said it was “logically possible”. His objection is that it comes with a lot of baggage that science just can’t cope with and that such a claim violates their method. As we are doing philosophy here, we don’t just say “Well, science doesn’t like it therefore science is right.” We question science and we question their method. The strong emergent property theorist need only to establish a better method than current science (that was the entire project of Hegel’s first book: The Phenomenology of Spirit) or explain how these properties come about using the current scientific method.

            Even disregarding everything I just said, all the article you cited said was “believing in non-emergence leads to troublesome implications”. This does not prove that emergent properties do not arise. All it means is that science as it is can’t explain them adequately. That’s when you take a step back from science and start doing philosophy. Start be questioning the premises of scientific inquiry: Perhaps we should be doing science from top-down instead of from bottom-up?

            Lastly, one can claim science has a serious problem if it takes an atomistic approach to its inquiry if, as I stated in my previous post, it has problems explaining how protons, electrons, neutrons come to form all the elements in combination when, looking at the particles themselves, no properties of the elements they form exist.

          • Mikey

            The armchair must be pretty comfy….

          • Guest

            Found your website a couple of days ago and have been impressed with your content and quality of your writing.

            Then I read this and realised what an arrogant douche you are.

            Shame.

  • A Country Farmer

    I think lumping big bang theory with theistic creationism is a strawman (for an unclear purpose). Read any book about big bang theory (e.g. Maps of Time) and they’re quite clear that they have no idea whether something existed before the big bang, but they clearly leave the possibility that it did. Their only point is that the only *evidence* that exists (so far discovered) is for the big bang point and afterwards.

    You also never even defined what consciousness is.

    • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

      “You also never even defined what consciousness is.”

      I thought I did.

      Consciousness is a fundamental component of the universe, in the same way matter, time and space are.

      • F4kingit

        And what evidence exists for this “fundamental component?” Matter, time and space can be observed. I can’t observe your “consciousness,” other than observing a series of bio-chemical reactions in your brain.

        • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

          What evidence exists to prove that atoms placed in a certain configuration can generate conscious thought?

          My evidence is based on the fact that strong emergence is impossible and the fact that there is no mechanism visible with in the brain to activate a conscious thought.  

          • A Country Farmer

            I don’t know what strong emergence means. And saying that there is no mechanism visible is the absence of evidence :)

          • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

            Clearly there is an absence of evidence that matter can create conscious thought, I agree.

          • A Country Farmer

            Right, so until we find evidence otherwise, Occam’s razor says that consciousness is just a very (incredibly!) advanced form of animal action.

          • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

            The amount of least hypothetical postulates lies with consciousness being its own fundamental component since we know atomic structures contain no signs of consciousness.  

            Given that strong emergence is impossible, and given that we know fundamental components of matter are not conscious, Occam’s razor favors consciousness as a fundamental component of the universe.

            If the interactions of matter were the basis for consciousness, then clearly their could be no free will, since all actions of matter are deterministic.  I for one believe I am my own person, my will is my own, it is not based on the deterministic actions of matter that I have no control over. 

          • A Country Farmer

            How do you know atomic structures or other fundamental components contain no signs of consciousness? Maybe the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is the manifestation of sub-atomic particles making decisions? It’s a very strong claim to say we “know” consciousness doesn’t exist in other forces or phenomenons — you need evidence to back that up.

            And how do you know that all interactions of matter are deterministic? Maybe there is a spectrum of consciousness.

            You also still haven’t defined strong emergence.

            The problem with all of this is that you still haven’t defined what the word “consciousness” means.

          • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

            If you want to claim atoms are conscious, then you’ll have to explain why this should be so.

            Clearly they are not conscious.

            And if you want to claim some obscure explanation like multiple dimensions, explain how this is better and different than claiming consciousness is simply a fundamental component of the universe.

          • A Country Farmer

            I’m not making the claim that atoms are conscious — I’m saying your explanation is equally as likely — neither have strong evidence. My point is that you’re avoiding the issue of evidence by simply asserting consciousness (without even defining consciousness, which is the give away). If something doesn’t have evidence, then unless we’re talking about philosophy, then how can we talk about it?

            Grade school physics is Newtonian and deterministic. High school and college physics adds quantum physics which includes non-determinism.

  • Amrita1729

    There are several books by Franklin Merrell-Wolff that I believe you would enjoy. PATHWAYS THROUGH TO SPACE & THE PHILOSOPHY OF CONSCIOUSNESS WITHOUT AN OBJECT.  
    There may well be some kind of God and even gods.  After all we are like diminished gods.  And the cosmos is vast–not just in physical extent but in the realms of subtlety.  There may well be a law or principle that if you can imagine it, then it exists on some level of existence.

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  • cheech

    Isn’t the basic question very simple. Either a supernatural being created the universe out of nothing (religious) or the belief that there was no beginning(atheism). Existence exists and always has in some or another.Hence, there is no hence.

  • Mrundle

    I’m sorry to say that I didn’t read this whole thing, so I’m sorry if I am ignoring some good points.

    I couldn’t make it past the beginning when you were making ridiculous logical errors.  “If you think X is like this, then it MUST be true that Y is like this because (blah blah blah).”  By completely failing to consider other possibilities, you lose credibility right there.  Maybe you accidentally were using unforgiving language and were merely offering this up as a “high on marijuana and had this idea” type of thing.

    If not, you should really take a step back and try to recognize that you don’t know too much about the science of what you are talking about.  Just because you don’t seem to think that consciousness can come from matter, why is that necessarily true?  Do you know what consciousness is?  What it consists of and does not consist of?  Do you understand how the neural network of the brain – containing a mind-blowing (pun, yes, intended) 1 trillion (that’s 1,000,000,000,000) neurons – works?  We don’t even have computers with that many bits yet, but we already have many instances of computers that can arguably pass the Turing test for intelligence.  

    Many scientists and philosophers hypothesize that consciousness is an emergent property.  Not a property of matter, but of the network that that matter creates.  Until you disprove this, the rest of your post is simply pretentious rambling.

    • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

      Strong emergence is impossible.  Name one instance of it occurring in anything, excluding consciousness, since that is in contention.

      It is logically impossible to create an orange ball out of red blocks. It cannot be done. The properties of the ball must be part of its constituent parts make up.

      Any properties of a system must be derived from its constituent parts. Arguing against this is illogical. Strong emergence is a form of magic.

    • Chris Mortensen

      Well I think that consciousness is everything.. Without consciousness would matter exist? Consciousness (conscious observation) causes the collapse of the wave function turning a wave of potentials into a particle(matter).

  • Seamus

    To be fair, atheism just means a lack of deities – not the denial of things beyond material comprehension. There are even many atheistic religions – Buddhism, Taoism…

  • I am universe, human too lol..

    someone told about quantum physics, some one told about religion, and someone told about feelings, imagination and thoughts. I wonder my mom and dad never made any wish or told to doctor or herself before my birth that i should have two eyes, one mouth, two hands, etc, etc,… so definitely mom and dad are our first supporters and after that we support ourselves, then definitely before that??? something is cause for this supportive and continual life act. I studied somewhere that, GOD as Generating-Organizing-Destroying (principle). And it is in everything, but time, shape, space and size changes. Suppose according to your article, if big-bang happened, ok right but where it is happened, how it is happened, and why it is happened. Again 1st thing we can understand that this was happened in some space. So if big bang is only the cause, then who is cause or effect of “space”??? in which this bang was happened?? And if “that emergent properties are logically impossible,”, then it must be possible illogically?? Just think, if this logic name came up, then definitely there must be an opposite of it, like illogical(please do not take granted to this step,just my mind). Again, if space is too spacious, means infinite, why like that??, then definitely, there is no time or space or dimension in it. Means creation is done, then space must be still, then who is this space??? Or anybody wondered that, human got an instrument called “Think”, “dream”, and “feel”. why these came into it, if they are no use in this physical state???? i doubt, one must go deep to the root to understand what is “god” made of. I think there must be more something to understand. And of–course, i wonder how an theist sensed the name “god” and told not there?? How atheist sensed “god”, and told is there??? Both are right and wrong too. Both don’t know if “nothing” exists, then for what we are exists?? and if Everything is exists, then for what “Invisible space” or space exists??? So it is good to act like “BALANCE” and to accept both, but to be conscious of it. Sometimes i doubt, the “fear” and “dare” are the sides of extreme. I think we have two brains yet one whole. So a person who can see detailed in and whole picture out, must understood what this supreme is made of. Supreme is something who know how to create nothing and everything too. I mean nothing is “space”, and space can be created inside, because everything is already created at outside. Then definitely “space” is cause of everything, otherwise there is no meaning of evolution. And this is what the dimension is made of. Go deep and deep and deep…. A tree is alive due to its roots and they are under ground and cannot be visible, then human too having underground, i mean inside brain?? or inside mind??? everything is possible.

    I want to know god thoughts and rest are details… Einstein.

    I like some points in “matrix”, a child said, don’t bent the spoon, this is impossible, because in reality there is no spoon, now it must be possible !!! lol.. So to understand god, one must make mate with that god and become like that??, then it must be already in me, proof???? imagination is everything….Einstein,… again :0…. i am shocked. “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.” Bohr. So this is how Beeeg- Baaang, (shock) happened actually, what i felt, ha ha…. never mind.

  • I am universe, human too lol..

    Plato explained something very consciously about “idea”, so it is good a person must understand logically and a little illogically too, it will at-least give some satisfaction right??? I can tell you, i am right (illogically), but after making some sense logically. Take some time to understand your-self in every direction, this is good idea. some people talk too much, how they are feeling and thinking, do a search, again some people talk nothing, so how they are feeling and thinking, do a search, and see the results, there must be something better to solve a problem. I felt. Do re-search may be we have rights to know everything, and of-course, if someone take life as gift, why???? Me to … to be continue soon….