Consciousness: Dennett says it is an illusion (General)

by dhw, Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 10:07 (96 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: This dispute is not over Adler’s use of human consciousness as evidence that God exists, but over the absurdity of your attempt to distinguish between being conscious and having consciousness and over the incongruities created by your anthropocentric interpretation of God’s mind and the process of evolution.

DAVID: My point agrees with you that we and animals are all conscious, but humans separately have the phenomenon of consciousness, which is unexplained, and keep trying to smudge the separateness.

There is no smudging except when you pretend that there is a difference between being conscious and having consciousness! All levels of consciousness are unexplained, and humans have the same levels as their fellow animals, plus additional levels of self-awareness, conceptualization etc. which make them special. Once more, please stop messing about with language.

DAVID: The Conscious state did not evolve into consciousness. That is pure materialism

dhw: Materialism claims that the brain is the source of consciousness. I don’t know of anyone on this planet who claims that being conscious evolved into consciousness. Consciousness IS the state of being conscious, so of course it didn’t evolve from itself! More silly word games. Once more: your belief that the brain is a receiver of consciousness is covered by dualism. That makes no difference to what to me is the obvious fact that whatever the origin and source of consciousness, once it existed it evolved – just like physical organisms – from comparatively simple beginnings to its current complexities. Do you disagree? Thank you again for conceding that consciousness is an aid to survival, in keeping with Darwinian natural selection and in opposition to Egnor.'

DAVID: I agree with your statement in bold. Humans have it, and we have evolved to learn how to use it. Our issue seems settled.

All animals are conscious/have consciousness, and all animals have learned how to use it, but humans have additional attributes such as self-awareness and conceptualization which create a vast difference between us and them. Meanwhile, you have not said whether, in opposition to Egnor, you agree that once consciousness existed, it evolved from simple beginnings to current complexities.
Our issue will not be settled until you stop playing word games. For some reason, you have even tried to smuggle this into the article on mucus, but with a subtle difference which I can accept with a slight modification:

DAVID: Mucus represents the purpose of invention in evolution. This is another aspect of how immunity is designed to protect us. We share this with all animals, but not our special form of consciousness.

I agree with your first two statements. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that no matter how such inventions originated – through your God’s individual dabbles or 3.8-billion-year-old programmes, or through the possibly God-given intelligence of cells, they are the product of purposeful design. As for consciousness, as above, we share many aspects of it with our fellow animals, but we also have special forms of it (e.g. self-awareness, conceptualization) which they do not have.


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