The Existence of Consciousness is the Work of God
Debate Rounds (5)
We have a consciousness that common animals don't have. If we are said to have evolved from non-conscious animals, how and when have we developed a consciousness along the way?
I look forward to a thoughtful exchange.
Below are 7 definitions of the word consciousness, as it is a vague word to toss around without some base reference. I took the liberty of using Dictionary.com for our purposes. [http://dictionary.reference.com...]
the state of being conscious; awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.
the thoughts and feelings, collectively, of an individual or of an aggregate of people:
the moral consciousness of a nation.
full activity of the mind and senses, as in waking life:
to regain consciousness after fainting.
awareness of something for what it is; internal knowledge:
consciousness of wrongdoing.
concern, interest, or acute awareness:
the mental activity of which a person is aware as contrasted with unconscious mental processes.
Philosophy. the mind or the mental faculties as characterized by thought, feelings, and volition.
Regardless of which definition we function under, I would first like Pro to prove that other animals do not have a consciousness like ours.
If we entertain that Pro were able to prove the assertion at P1, then the next question is how the human consciousness is correlated to God. This is Pro's burden of proof via the resolution.
There are many theories of consciousness, such as materialism, idealism, dualism, etc. but none of them have any sort of relation to God either. I ask, what is Pro's theory of consciousness? Is saying "God did it" really a better argument or theory than all the others?
I wouldn't say that if you use the second term that you have stated, animals don't have a consciousness. They do. But the idea that I want to promote is that the consciousness or mind of an animal is different from a human's consciousness. Animals make decisions based upon their instinct, but humans as a whole make decisions based on their morality.
Humans are conscious of time, reality, and truth. We reflect back on the past, recognize the present, and anticipate the future. This is beyond what an animal can do, even though they might have a keen sense of concrete time, they have no capacity for abstractions about time.
Humans have a mind that is a lot different from animals. Humans ask philosophical questions, like what purpose do we serve are we here in this world, and others like it. We study theology, philosophy, and ethics.
Your objection makes me believe that you believe in extreme materialism. This is where there is no difference between the body and the mind, both in which is the same of both humans and animals. I ask you, is the brain equal to the mind? Is your mind a physical thing, which is your brain? This form of materialism means anything that is said of our bodies is true of our mind. If you steal something with your hand, and the police catch you, do you blame the hand and not yourself? If you do good on a test, do you congratulate your mind?
I believe that God made us into his image. We could not have attained the state we are in now by mere chance. There are too many factors that would have gone wrong if we were really created by chance. I do not think we could have mutated from a simple bacterium. I could possibly argue like this for every theory that was created by humans that do not involve a Creator. I, by the process of elimination and also the firm truth that Christianity is built on, have chosen that there really is a Designer. You asked why consciousness is made by God. I believe that God was the Creator simply because other theories, as you have said, are easily refutable and hard to believe.
There is also no proof that animals do not engage in philosophic behavior. It could be merely the fact that we do not have the ability to talk to an animal and engage in their thoughts.
But I this is all in all a digression that is not relevant to the resolution. Is Pro arguing that only human consciousness is the work of god based on its complexity? And is Pro conceding that animal consciousness is then explainable without God as it is not as complex?
All in all, the only argument I could detract from Pro is that complexity necessitates a creator, but I do not see how this is syllogistic.
Pro's argument against materialism is not only strawman, but it is misguided as well. Is Pro stating that idealism would entail the existence of a god?
I do not understand why humans must have been created by God, and Pro gives no other reason than his faith and his assertion that we could not have attained "the state we are in now by mere chance." But why? If anything, chance suggests infinite possibilities.
So now this debate has become about evolution, and how because every other theory "made by man" is "easily refutable". I do not see how this is the case. If anything, theories in the scientific jargon are ideas that are placed under heavy scrutiny and continuous experiment with constants and under endless review by the scientific community. If they are truly easily refutable, as Pro says, and Pro could offer proof rather than the bare assertions Pro offers, Pro would likely have won several awards in science by an organization akin to the nobel prize in science by now.
To quote wikipedia (for the sake of simplicity), "A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation."
The process of elimination does not work, when there are infinite number of possibilities not yet discussed. Pro merely dismisses the current theories (rather unjustifiably) and claims that Christianity is the only theory that makes sense. I do not understand how this is anything but mere faith.
Are you suggesting that animals secretly hold philosophical debates and discussions? How do YOU know that animals are philosophical and wonder about the meaning of life?
All consciousness is the work of God. In fact, that can actually be an argument for God's existence. I then ask you, how could consciousness come from non-consciousness? The cause of something is always greater than its effect, the unconscious force could not create rational beings. That is just a totally preposterous thought. Nothing cannot make something. This has been repeatedly proved by renowned scientists over and over again, "placed under heavy scrutiny and continuous experiment with constants and under endless review by the scientific community".
I saw that you said,"chance suggests infinite possibilities". You are saying that there are an infinite amount of different galaxies and universes that have an infinite amount of possibilities. This idea is no more scientific and no less metaphysical that a "cosmic designer" hypothesis. In fact, the infinite universe hypothesis theory is actually arguably inferior to the "cosmic designer" hypothesis, because the cosmic designer hypothesis is much simpler. According to the principle called Ockham's Razor, we should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the effect. And also, there is no possible way to prove this theory. No one has been able to explain how or why such a varied collection of universes should exist.
Who made God? by Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler
I do not claim to know the origin of consciousness. The burden of proof is on Pro to prove his claim that consciousness derives from God. All I need to do is rebut Pro's arguments to show that his resolution is but a bare assertion.
Pro then makes the argument that "nothing cannot make something". But if god can exist without a creator, then why is it that the capacity for existence must have an origin? It is a double standard. Basically, Pro's argument can be deduced to life cannot be born from death, and thus that life must have been created by an entity beyond the realms of physics. I do not see how this is a sound argument. To start, Pro must first prove that Abiogenesis is false.
I am not arguing for some sort of multi-verse theory as Pro seems to believe. What I mean by infinite possibility is that within our ignorance there could be countless other theories to explain the origin of existence, if there indeed is one.
So far, Pro's argument is akin to committing to the process of elimination without knowing the full extent of what is there to eliminate.
The resolution does not hold.
I do not have to prove that abiogenesis is false. It has always been proved false by many a scientist, most famous being Louis Pasteur. I don't see anyone challenge his findings or his experiments. Then why do you ask me to prove abiogenesis false? It is already proved false, and no one in the scientific community can ever prove it to be true.
You are saying that there are an infinite amount of possibilities out there, so why does the theory that there is a God true? First let me ask you, what do you have against the fact that there is a God? You say that the explanation for everything is anything but God. Why do you exclude God into your opinion? I can say the same thing. There is an infinite amount of other unknown answers to the beginning of the universe, so why believe in the Big Bang Theory? I could do this with almost all scientific findings out there. This is just not a sound way of telling that someone else's arguments aren't true.
Con's resolution does not hold.
Pro is asserting that through a process of elimination, he has arrived at his conclusion that God is the origin of life. If this is the case, then he must demonstrate why he eliminates them. Merely asserting it is not true does not make it so. The fact of the matter is, abiogensis is a valid scientific theory supported by the scientific community.
I have nothing against the fact that God may exist. My point is that there is no reasonable evidence that seems to suggests this, just as there is no reasonable evidence for countless other beliefs that people claim. I do not exclude God, it is merely that there is no evidence to suggest he is real. None of Pro's arguments have been convincing. And while the Big Bang theory holds some degree of validity through scientific research. What experiments can be done to prove the existence of God? The "infinite amount of unknown possibilities" is not employed to dismiss any theory, it is meant to dismiss Pro's argument (and his logic) that Pro arrived at the conclusion of God through a "process of elimination". If he arrived at the answer through negation, it only makes sense that he negates all the answers with certainty before arriving at the lone conclusion. This is the very nature of what the process of elimination entails.
To clarify, I am an agnostic. I do not assert that God is an impossibility. What I do contend is that God or anything else is an unsatisfactory answer without evidence. As I have stated before, Pro has the burden of proof to prove the resolution beyond reasonable doubt.
To reiterate, Pro's main argument thus far has been this:
"I believe that God made us into his image. We could not have attained the state we are in now by mere chance. There are too many factors that would have gone wrong if we were really created by chance. I do not think we could have mutated from a simple bacterium. I could possibly argue like this for every theory that was created by humans that do not involve a Creator. I, by the process of elimination and also the firm truth that Christianity is built on, have chosen that there really is a Designer. You asked why consciousness is made by God. I believe that God was the Creator simply because other theories, as you have said, are easily refutable and hard to believe."
The quote is but a series of bare assertions. Pro does not demonstrate why we should accept any of the above claims. He states that these are his beliefs but does not offer any reason or evidence to demonstrate why they are true, aside from "process of elimination".
I am not only asserting that through a process of elimination, I have arrived that God is the origin of life. I also am asserting that there are facts to go with Christianity which proves that God is real. I will list these later on.
You have stated,"abiogenesis is a valid scientific theory supported by the scientific community." Give me evidence on why this is true.
There is a flaw in how scientific people of the world think these days. They think that if there are no experiments to back a support up, that support is, therefore, false. Well, there are things you cannot test over and over again. You cannot test over and over again the beginning of the universe; how nothing became something. You cannot test over and over again the origin of life, for it only happened once. But there are theories, like the Big Bang Theory, for instance, that attempt to explain these one-time things. Con has said,"Big Bang theory holds some degree of validity through scientific research", it is in the end only a theory. A theory that the universe or universes were once a singularity. That this singularity expanded greatly to form what we now call our universe. How has scientific research tested this? There is no way to replay the beginning of the universe over and over again, which is what the scientific method calls us to do. How is this "scientifically valid"?
Con has stated,"it only makes sense that he negates all the answers with certainty before arriving at the lone conclusion". Well, if you said that, where are the questions I must answer? Now, because you have not listed any questions, I will give you the evidence of the most commonly asked questions by non-Christians. I will now "prove the resolution." But I have refrained from doing so until now because I wouldn't have known where to start for the list is practically infinite. Well, here is a list of the most prominent features to support God's existence.
1. Non-believers say the universe came out of nothing. And as I have said, NOTHING CANNOT MAKE SOMETHING. None of your most renowned scientists have or will prove that this is true. The assertions that the scientific community has to rely on is that "nothing" spontaneously generates "something". This is not possible to measure in our finite universe and test it over and over again, so this cannot be scientifically valid. If someone has, please state exactly who and what they were asserting instead of the vague,"Oh someone did it" like you have been in the next and final round. Anyways, since nothing cannot make something, this can call only for an eternal creator.
2. The second point I would like to argue is the fine-tuning of the universe and the origin of life. There are so many factors that allowed us to be here today. If something, let's say the gravitational constant, for instance, was off by 10 to the 60th power, there would be no life on Earth. If the mass and energy of the early universe was not distributed evenly to a precision of 10 to the 10th power to the 123rd power, the world would be life-prohibiting. There are so much more examples of fine-tuning. This cannot have happened by mere chance. And since you said that you do not believe in infinite universes, the existence of life is impossible just by chance. There had to have been a creator that had made all of these factors true to preserve life. This creator is, as you may know, God.
These are the two pieces of evidence I present to you in set-builder form.
I would greatly like to thank my opponent for a great debate and clashing of ideas. I also thank the readers and voters. I hope that we could have other debates like this one. Thank you, everyone!
The scientific method is in fact used to support scientific theories. I must note again that a scientific theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation." The Big Bang theory is supported by Hubble's Law, for example, along with other scientific findings that correlate with the theory through the scientific method. We do not need to recreate the Big Bang to give it scientific credence.
Regarding Pro's argument of elimination. He asks what are the questions that he must answer. My point is precisely that there are countless theories and possibilities one could assume to be as valid as intellectual design, which is to say, valid on the virtue of it being a possibility. My question is to illustrate that in order for Pro to argue from elimination, he must negate all the possible theories. Otherwise, he is just picking what he wants to believe is true.
Pro then goes on to argue that nothing cannot make something. So then what is this other entity that creates something according to pro? Pro states that because something cannot come from nothing, something that is from nothing must create something. This is a fine case of circular reasoning and a double standard.
His next argument is about the factors that allow life to exist on earth. I do not understand how this proves anything. Life exists on earth because the balance and variables allowed it to exist. Scientists have already found many "earth-like" planets and habitable zones. And this is only in the milky way galaxy, which itself is a speck of dust in the scope of the universe.
"Kornreich used a very rough estimate of 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Multiplying that by the Milky Way's estimated 100 billion stars results in a large number indeed: 100 octillion stars, or 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a "1" with 29 zeros after it. Kornreich emphasized that number is likely a gross underestimation, as more detailed looks at the universe will show even more galaxies." 
So out of an estimated 100 octillion stars, one of them happen to be our sun that has Earth in its orbits with the right conditions to harbor life. I don't see how this proves that God created the universe. Given, the possibilities, it would seem odd that there isn't a variable with the capacity for life.
The resolution of this debate is that the existence of consciousness is the work of God. Pro had the burden of proof to display this. My job as Con is to show reasonable doubt that this is not true. To summarize, Pro argues that due to the complexity of consciousness, God must have existed to create consciousness. But what is the correlation between complexity and intellectual design? If there was a world that had no consciousness would Pro then concede that intellectual design is false? His next argument stems from the assumption that something cannot make nothing, and he goes on to argue that the Big Bang denies this premise. But the existence of a singularity suggests that the universe does not come from nothing but comes from the singularity. What Pro is really arguing is that nothing but God can exist without an origin. But again, this is a insubstantial argument that is not explained or proven by any means by Pro.
In short, as Con, I am not making an affirmative claim that something else must have been the origin of consciousness. Rather, I am displaying reasonable doubt, as a skeptic, of Pro's affirmative claim. My conclusion is that Pro does not give convincing arguments, sufficient evidence, or the like to prove or give reasonable credence to the resolution.
Therefore, I urge a Con vote.
I thank Pro for his time and engagement, and I rest my case.
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