Consciousness: Dennett says it is an illusion (General)

by dhw, Monday, October 07, 2019, 08:43 (235 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] humans and other animals are conscious, but only humans have a special form called consciousness, which makes us very different. The upper one is a truism, which doesn't bridge our difference.

dhw: If animals are conscious, what noun do you use for what they have? Once more: there is no difference between being conscious and having consciousness! The difference between other animals and humans is that our level of consciousness extends to self-awareness! As for the upper section in red, I am answering Egnor’s point: “...if consciousness is non-physical, how could it evolve? Darwinian natural selection can only act on a physical attribute." I am not trying to “bridge our differences.” If my answer is a truism, then clearly you agree with me, and therefore you also disagree with Egnor. So why don’t you just say so?

DAVID: I don't disagree with Egnor, and absolutely disagree with you. What I agree with in your statement about evolving is that the physical (material) evolution of organisms reached a point where self-awareness and conceptualization appear solely in the human brain, either received or created within that special brain. I believe, since consciousness is totally immaterial, based on NDE research, it is a received function, so that evolution allowed it to appear. Both the human brain and the animal brains have a conscious state, and nothing more at that level. The human brain is vastly different with that extra attribute, and as Adler points out, acts as a proof of God, which of course you won't accept. I view your effort to try to equate a conscious state with consciousness as totally wrong and an attempt to fudge the obvious difference.

I view your efforts to distinguish between being conscious and having consciousness as totally wrong to the point of absurdity. The difference is between being conscious/having consciousness and being self-conscious in the sense of self-aware/having self-awareness. I have always accepted the logic of design as evidence that God exists, and human self-awareness is one of thousands of examples, as listed and argued in all your posts on life’s complexities. You agreed on Saturday that we do not know the origin of consciousness, but it has evolved from comparatively simple beginnings to its current levels, and natural selection has been demonstrated by its survival (you called it a “truism”). Therefore you clearly disagree with the Egnor quote, which you keep on ignoring and in which he appears to think that evolving means originating: “…if consciousness is non-physical, how could it evolve? Darwinian natural selection can only act on a physical attribute.” Whether we believe the original source of consciousness is immaterial (God) or material (the brain) makes no difference to the truth of the truism.

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