Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 10, 2018, 18:22 (907 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I state like most others that animals are conscious, but don't have consciousness, aware that they are aware in simple terms. Your 'consciousness' is too broad. A complex frontal lobe is capable of receiving consciousness is all I've proposed.

dhw: I have specified elsewhere that there are degrees of consciousness, and human self-awareness is the highest degree known to us. Are you now claiming that only humans “pick up” your God’s consciousness, whereas animal/bird/insect consciousness is the product of their brains. (Actually, I thought you shared the Jewish belief that animals have souls.) Your comment does not change the fact that if the development of consciousness depends on the development of the frontal cortex, this fits in perfectly with the theory that the frontal cortex is the source of consciousness.

DAVID: I have never agreed that animals/bird/insects have consciousness. They are conscious. I still think that the Jewish view of an animal soul is correct. But the animal soul is only conscious. A very complex frontal lobe can receive a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness.

dhw: I’m afraid I cannot see any distinction between having consciousness and being conscious. As I said above, there are degrees of consciousness, ranging from rudimentary to human self-awareness. If you think consciousness stems from God, and you accept that animals are conscious, then presumably even a very simple complex frontal lobe can also receive “a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness”. But what exactly IS a mechanism for consciousness? A mechanism is a structure or system that performs a particular function. So you might just as well say your God provided organisms with a system or structure which performs the function of producing consciousness, and the name of the structure is “brain”.

No animal has the ability to develop the concept of self-awareness. They may look in a mirror and recognize themselves, but have no concept of self. We disagree on the definition of 'consciousness' and it is an important disagreement. Animals are conscious, no more than that, and it requires a brain to have that much awareness.

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