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The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Consciousness created the universe

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/15/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 666 times Debate No: 78699
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (20)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing that it's more reasonable to believe consciousness created the universe than not. By the universe I mean all matter & energy.

Burden of proof is on me. Opponent should be a deligent materialist or anti-new-age-spiritualist.

Consciousness: (definiton) An awareness of existence on any level



I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


First I will give arguments against the notion that the brain creates consciousness then I will argue as why consciousness exists independent of the brain

1) Brainless animals

If the brain is the cause of consciousness and consciousness is considered any level of awareness then one must assert that Starfish are not conscious. Much like a clock or computer. Which means even though a Starfish "hunts" it is not aware that it is eating or satiated. This also means that I could take a living Starfish and slowly slice its limbs off or burn it and even though it struggles to free itself it's not actually feeling anything because it is not conscious. It is merely acting mechanically as it was programmed to. The same as if I abused a computer that tried to repair itself. The computer isn't actually suffering.

This makes no sense. It is more reasonable to believe an organism that acts fundamentally as conscious beings shares their fundamental property i.e. awareness. For one to claim otherwise requires great evidence.

2) Food analogy

It is asserted that if many attributes of consciousness arise from the brain then Occam's Razor, a theory that dictates that with the lest assumptions should be true, says that consciousness itself must arise from the brain. Let's look at the following analogy to assess this claim:

Bill: Where did you get those apples?

Mary: the store.

Bill: Where did you get those eggs?

Mary: the store.

Bill: Where did you get that milk?

Mary: the store.

Bill: Where did you get those bananas?

Unfortunately, Mary dies before she can answer the question. Luckily, Bill's friend Occam is nearby. He asks the following: "Given what you know, what is more LIKELY, that the bananas come from the store or that they come from somewhere else?"

Now let's complete the analogy

Bill's friend Henry is seen eating something. Henry lives in a town with no stores. Occam asks the following: "Given what you know, what is more LIKELY, that the bananas come from the store or they come from somewhere else?"

In the case of this analogy, Occam's razor dictates that it is more reasonable to believe that consciousness (bananas) existed independent of the brain (the store)

3) Manipulation of consciousness

It is asserted that if one can manipulate conscious by manipulating the brain then conscious must be exlusive to the brain. For example, if someone is given a local anaesthesia which numbs their arm, their consciousness has been altered because they have lost sensory in their arm. We know this because they exhibited no response which reflects an awareness of feeling. If we to come to such conclusions via demonstratable behaviour then we must conclude than when a creature does reflect responses caused by awarness that it is aware. If it is aware then it is conscious.

A Jellyfish demonstrates signs of awareness of it's environment. If it is aware it is conscious. If it is conscious then conscious is not be an emergent porperty of the brain because jellyfish have no brains.

4) meditation

If the lowering of one's senses is synonmous with the lower of one's consciousness then one must assert that a buddhist monk in deep meditation is in a lower state of consciousness than an anxiety sufferer eating a hamburger. A person in a state of deep meditation loses sensitivity to their external environement and resides in a state of peak consciousness.

This is how the Yogi Codoux is able to compact himself in a small box and be submerged underwater for 7 minutes. If increasing one's state of consciousness made one more sensitive of their environment then the practice of meditation prior to this event would have been counter-productive.

5) Dreams

If sensitivity of external simtuli is linked to consciousness then one must explain how somoene can react just as powerfully to the illusory state of dreams whilst in a deep sleep as they would to reality.

6) Something from nothing

No where in nature do we witness something coming into existence which ceases to be. Everything that exists already exists and will remain to exist forever - mainly in the form of atoms. Therefore, to assert that the brain creates consciousness which disappears after the destruction of the brain requires great evidence.

If consciousness didn't exist prior to organic life forms then what is it? how did it come into being? And how was it created out of thin air?

7) Conciousness and space

Consciousness and space share a unique trait that no other form of existence shares. They're the only two things which can be completely absent of everything other than themselves.

Empty Space: The complete absence of everything other than itself. Complete empty stillness

Pure consciousness: The complete absence of everything other than itself. Complete stillness

If we were to remove all matter and energy from the universe then we'd be left with only empty space. A state absent of everything other than itself.

The same can be said if we were to remove everything except consciousness. There would only be a state of awareness and nothing else.

This cannot be said for anything else. For example, the strings of string theory. Said to be the most smallest forms matter and therefore the most fundamental. But a string consists of 2 things; Itself and a single material - string. Yet space spaces consists of literally nothing yet it still is. It still consists of itself. Nothingness can be said to consist ofnothing even itself. Nothingness is completely non-existent.

Nothingness: complete absence of everything. Non-existence

Empty space: Absence of everything other than itself. Existence consisting of nothing.

Everything else: Existence comprised of something.

Pure Consciousness: Absence of everything other than itself. Existing as awareness but consisting of nothing.

As you can see, this is evidence that supports the notion that empty space and conscious could very likely be one in the same thing. However, whereas empty space exists on the outter most regions of the universe consciousness exists in the inner most regions of the universe. Which is extremely coincidental considering how much quantum physics is being correlated with consciousness yet no one correlated Einsteins theory of general relativety with consciousness

It is logical to assume that prior to the big bang there was only empty space. Or prior to all matter and energy existing there was only empty space. We come to this conclusion because it is self-evident. Without empty space to exist in nothing can exist. Therefore, empty space must exist prior to anything else.

If empty space and consciousness exclusively share this unique trait then it's reasonable to believe that they co-existed prior to the universe. Considering there is no logical explanation as to how the birth of the universe can be caused by nothing then it's only logical to place the blame on the only culprit in the room -- consciousness. Therefore, conscious created the universe.

8) Nothingness cannot be

To put it into perspective entirely let's start from the beginning:

Nothingness cannot be. To be implies being and being is existing. Nothingness means non-existence therefore nothingness MUST not exist by its very definition. If there was no universe then there would be nothing but this is not possible because nothingness cannot be. This is why there is something instead of nothing. However, this only explains why there should be the bare minimum of something which is empty space. What caused the manifestation of the universe out of empty space? Consciousness, which is one and the same thing with empty space.

Definitely not nothing. And definitely not God


First, I would like to thank my opponent for starting this wonderful debate. This is going to be fun.


Arg 1 & 3
I’m including my rebuttals for arguments 1 and 3 in the same statement as they are essentially the same thing, just given with two different examples. What they essentially state is that if consciousness originates or exists in the brain alone, then all brainless organisms, like starfish and jellyfish, must not be conscious.
Here’s what I say. I say that creatures that lack a centralised nervous system but still have primordial ones are conscious but not conscious of being conscious. Let me explain.
Let’s take the case of the starfish, for example. The starfish lacks a centralised nervous system, but has a complex array of peripheral nervous system meaning that it is aware of its surroundings and is sensitive to touch, light, temperature and some other things necessary for their survival. But, they lack the capacity to coordinate and plan. It does act like a machine. If one arm of the starfish detects an attractive odour, it becomes dominant and temporarily over-rides the other arms to initiate movement towards the prey. It is not aware, not conscious of what it is seeing or sensing. If it senses, it acts as it is supposed to do. And we do not understand these mechanisms completely.
So, consciousness does not always result from the brain, but nor is it independent. It develops from the nervous system, which in the case of complex beings, is lead by the brain.

Arg 2
Honestly, I don’t understand the point my opponent was trying to make with Occam’s razor example.
First, he states that if many attributes of consciousness arise from the brain, then Occam's Razor says that consciousness itself must arise from the brain.
Then he goes on to explain a wonderful example (which I think is more of an example of inductive reasoning than Occam’s razor) of apples, eggs, milk and bananas.
What I don’t understand is how the banana being independent of the store implies that consciousness is independent of the brain. If my opponent could clarify this for me in his next round, I would be very grateful and will try to respond to it then.

Arg 4
I think my opponent has confused intentional sensory deprivation with loss of awareness. I myself practice meditation to a some extent and know that loss of awareness is the exact opposite of what happens.
What a monk essentially does during meditation is to completely ignore all sensory stimuli. It does not mean he is not aware of his surroundings. Infact, he is more aware of his surrounding than before, and this is because he is free of external stimuli. The brain does have to deal with a multitude of thoughts or senses but just what the monk wants. That is why he is more conscious, because he does not have to deal with distractions.

Arg 5
What my opponent has done in this argument is fall victim to a formal syllogistic fallacy.
This is what he states :
1) Sensitivity of external stimuli is linked to consciousness.
2) A dream is an illusory state. That is, it is not an external stimulus.
Now, my opponent asks me to explain why someone is conscious to a dream from which I deduce that he thinks it cannot be a conclusion to the two previous statements. But there is no reason why it cannot.
Consciousness’ link to external stimuli does not imply that it cannot be true for others. During dreams, our brains are highly active and hence, we are conscious.

Arg 6
This is only applicable if one thinks of consciousness as my opponent does, as an independent entity (I didn’t get another word to describe it). If is thought as I claim it to be, then this argument would be just like asking how ‘happiness’, ‘sadness’, and ‘anger’ seem to appear at some time and disappear after some. It is just another attribute of the brain (or the nervous system, whatever you prefer).

Arg 7
The rebuttal for the last argument is enough for this one too. You could say that
Pure Happiness : Absence of everything other than itself. Existing as happiness but consisting of nothing.
Pure Grief : Absence of everything other than itself. Existing as grief but consisting of nothing.
Pure Anger : Absence of everything other than itself. Existing as anger but consisting of nothing.
Et cetera.
Looking at this, we can’t just say that since these are very much like empty space, happiness, grief, anger, etc could have existed prior to the big bang. It does not make any sense.
Moreover, when my opponent says empty space, he has to clarify. It cannot be the empty space we currently observe as according to the current theories, if anything existed prior big bang, it is ‘the bulk’, a hyper-dimensional hypothetical space, very much unlike our four-dimensional empty fabric of space-time.

Arg 8
I don’t have anything more to add to this argument than what I said for the last. This argument is the same as saying that happiness, grief and anger caused the manifestation of the universe out of empty space, which makes absolutely no sense.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank con

We are both in agreement that consciousness is not an emergent property of the brain. He then goes on to explain his position that brainless organisms are conscious but not aware of their own consciousness. I agree, however we have concluded that they are conscious on a basic level which was all that I was arguing. I did not propose that Starfish hae the capability to reflect on their actions or contemplate their existence.

However, things get a little awry in Con's argument when he goes on to say starfish are machine like and are NOT aware/conscious of it's senses. This is incoherent because Con just agreed that they were aware of their senses just not self-aware of their senses. That is, the starfish doesn't have capability to acknowledge that it is eating or feeling something yet it is still aware it is eating and feeling.

Then Con states that awareness originates in the nervous system. What evidence does Con have of this? I have evidence to the contrary all I need to do is point to one of many organisms that lack a nervous system yet demonstrate similar behaviour to conscious beings such as Plants and sponges. Sponges feed and reproduce, are we to assume they are not aware they are eating or releasing sperm?

And plants can release offensive defense mechanisms when they think they are being attacked or memorize events in their life. Unless we have evidence that gives reason to believe plants are not aware of anything then we must conclude that like us, plants are aware, at least on a primary level not secondary level like humans; that is, they don't have the capacty to know they are aware they just are.


The point i was making with occam's razor is that we should assume that all oragnisms which display conscious behaviour should be considered conscious.


CON: "I think my opponent has confused intentional sensory deprivation with loss of awareness"

ME: No, that's the opposite of what I'm saying. How can sensory deprivation lead to a higher state of consciousness if conscious is caused by the senses? My argument is that is not caused by the senses or else meditation pracitioners would become more sensitive to their environment not less.

In the Video I supplied the Yogi losses awareness of his environment and elevates to different state. That's why he says he feels a cold shock as his mind re-enters his body. And like the example i used, if one were to become more sensitive to their environment then meditation should increase levels of panic in a traumatic situation not lower.

A social anxiety sufferer is hyper-aware of their environment. They see and analyze every little thing that is happening around them. Every conversation within ear distance is heared attutely. This is not the same with meditation. A meditation state blocks out environmental elements. If we were to believe that meditation increases awareness of one's external envionment then an anxiety sufferer would become more paniced not less. It's like Con stated himself, the starfish is not aware it is aware, it is just aware. it's the same with medition. One does not become aware they are aware like "oo, look how deep in meditation i am" no they just are. they transcend into a state of oneness where there is no awareness of awareness there's just a state of pure awareness like the starfish


I'm happy to drop the dream argument. I do not believe that sensory of ones external environment is demonstration of consciousness alone. I was simply arguing against the notion that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain for reasons such as the manipultion of ones senses to their external environment is synonomous with manipulaiton of consciousness. But Con and I both agree that consciousnes is not exclusive to the brain


Happiness, sadness, anger etc... are all subjectie interpretations of chemicals. It is our consciousness that allows us to interpret these chemicals as we please. When someone is happy they are in state of awareness that good things are happening. Dopamine is a feel good chemical. However if you inject dopamine into me and i hate artificial process effecting my brain then i could be unhappy that there is a feel good chemical in my brain. Happiness is subject. Conscious causes subjectivity. Subjectivity is a state of awareness. Therefore, happiness itself is a state of awareness.

The same goes for all other emotions. Anger is caused by chemicals but it's how we interpret those chemicals. Some people are happy being angry or sad. The subjective interpretation of those chemicals IS consciousness.

CON: Then this argument would be just like asking how ‘happiness’, ‘sadness’, and ‘anger’ seem to appear at some time and disappear after some.

Emotions are caused by chemicals. The chemical itself never disappears after anytime it just changes or is replaced with a new chemical and whatever new chemical that is can be interpreted as happy or sad or unhappy. Happiness is just a state of awareness. This is why a computer cannot actually be "happy" even if a message on the screen says it is. So happiness and unhappiness are just different reconfigurations of someone's awareness. When you are happy you have decided to be aware that positive things are happening. This is why veteran meditation practitioners say they reach a state of bliss in a deep meditation. Nothing that comes into existence in the universe ceases to exist at any stage. it just reconfigures itself. When a human dies, everything that is the human (atoms and energy) doesn't just stop existing it disperses into the environment. So nothing has actually left existence.

Now, we could argue whether happiness is just the absence of unhappiness and therefore when one let's go of there material existence (meditation) they reach a state of pure happiness/bliss. But I'm intending to prove at this point is that subjective emotions like happiness or unhappiness caused by anger, sadness or grief chemicals don't disappear they just re-arrange themselves into another state

It is awareness itself that permits this interpretation of chemicals. And when one is alive, awareness remains until death. But where does it go after death? is it the only thing in nature which comes into being then ceases to exist?


COn: You could say that Pure Happiness : Absence of everything other than itself. Existing as happiness but consisting of nothing.

ME: How can one be happy if they are not aware of their happiness? happiness still requires awareness for it to exist. Awareness does not require any state. It can be completely neutral. If a computer says "i'm happy" we know that it is not actually happy because it isn't aware.

Con must show how happiness, anger, grief etc... can exist independently of awareness. He must show how one can be happy but no awareness of happiness. Happiness can't just be. Awareness and empty space are the only 2 things that can just be.

CON: Moreover, when my opponent says empty space, he has to clarify. It cannot be the empty space we currently observe as according to the current theories, if anything existed prior big bang, it is ‘the bulk’, a hyper-dimensional hypothetical space, very much unlike our four-dimensional empty fabric of space-time.

ME: Empty space is an area devoid of everything other than itself. The first thing to exist HAD to be pure empty space. before you can add energy or matter to existence it requires empty space to exist in first. We know what causes empty space to exist -- logic; nothingness cannot exist by it's very definition so something MUST exist always. by why must that something be a quatum particle? Why couldn't that something just remain to be an empty area? My argument is that it's because the only thing which shares a likeness to empty space is or was co-existing with empty space at this time -- consciousness


Con finalizes by reiterating his claim that happiness, grief and anger can exist of nothing but themselves. I've already addressed this as saying that without awareness happiness, grief and anger are just chemicals, they don't mean anything. Awareness is the basis of all subjectivity.

Con must give an example of something that can be absent of everything, including awareness, other than itself and still exist.

So far, all my points stand. We have no valid mechanisms for consciousness occuring in life yet it's still there. we have no other concept that shares the exact same traits as empty space except consciousness so it's reasonable they exist mutually. We have plausible reason for what caused quantum particles to exist so it's reasonable to assume that whatever caused them existed within empty space. consciousness shares a likeness with empty space so it's reasonable to assume that consciousness caused the first ever form of energy/matter



Muathasim forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Troy_the_Destroyer forfeited this round.


Muathasim forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by roguetech 1 year ago
Consciousness proceeds from thought, not the other way around. Studies have shown that conscious awareness of decisions follows having made the decision. By the time you think "I should go left", your brain has already reached that conclusion, and has sent the signals to the muscles, and possibly even begun to turn. Although there may be feedback processes, it is not unreasonable to think organisms could be nearly or equally intelligent without being "conscious [of being conscious]".
Posted by n7 1 year ago
I think it has the least problems out of all the philosophies of minds I've read.

I think consciousness can exist with other entities because it's prima facie likely. It seems like something with the same causal powers as the brain would be able to produce a mind, even if it wasn't carbon based. It's a very absurd position to claim only carbon based material can produce a mind. If we discovered aliens that are silicon based that act like us, it would be very strange to claim they don't have minds because they aren't carbon.
Posted by Troy_the_Destroyer 1 year ago
any particular reason you feel this is correct?
Posted by n7 1 year ago
Basically, the brain is the creator of human consciousness (de re, specific sense), but other physical entities can create consciousness (de dicto, general sense). Consciousness needs the physical to exist (the physical isn't a mere receptor) , but doesn't need any specific combination. This position shows that some your arguments don't entail the non-locality of consciousness.
Posted by Troy_the_Destroyer 1 year ago
It's all good. He was a strong opponent that really made me think. I'm glad Con participated. The "happiness, sadness" claim was very thought provoking.

@n73, no idea what you just said.
Posted by Troy_the_Destroyer 1 year ago
I told ya he would forfeit
Posted by n7 1 year ago

I don't accept that view. Although, I should specify I think the brain is the creator of consciousness de re, not de dicto. I don't think the brain is the only entity which can create consciousness, but I think some entity external to consciousness is needed. Some of your arguments attempt to defend multiple realizability, which only shows the non-locality of consciousness if it was only a choice between type-physicalism and your view.
Posted by Troy_the_Destroyer 1 year ago
I destroyed his Allah delusion
Posted by Troy_the_Destroyer 1 year ago
100 bucks says he forfeits
Posted by canis 1 year ago
A god start would be to be conscious. It does not exist.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by roguetech 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: No sources at all. Pro never addressed the actual claim. Con rebutted the... statements of Pro. Despite Con forfeiting the next rounds , it was acceptable because Pro didn't provide more support for their claims, or establish relevant. On a side not, I'm disappointed Con did not correct Pro regarding Occam's Razor. "Occam asks the following: 'Given what you know, what is more LIKELY, that the bananas come from the store or they come from somewhere else?' " Occam's Razor states that given available information, we would not assume the banana spontaneously appeared. Indeed, the most reasonable assumption, given what we know about society, is that it came from a store. It is also most reasonable to assume it originally came from a banana tree. Regardless, even with the (false) implication that there is no evidence regarding the origin of "consciousness", Occam's Razor is SILENT. All assumptions would be equally UNreliable. Therefore, the ONLY reasonable position is "I don't know".