Consciousness: Dennett says it is an illusion (General)

by dhw, Friday, October 18, 2019, 10:35 (345 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Nothing is incongruous if you accept God is in charge of evolution.

dhw: Once again you force me to repeat the incongruities. If by “in charge” you mean he specially designed every single innovation, life form, lifestyle and natural wonder, the incongruity lies in your insistence that the only thing he wanted to design was H. sapiens but for reasons you cannot fathom, he decided not to do so for 3.X billion years, and therefore “had to” design the rest in order to “cover” the time he had decided to spend before beginning to tackle the one project he wanted to tackle.

DAVID: You are repeating your mantra again. What you are suggesting is God made the universe and Earth and then you want Him to skip to humans with nothing else created on Earth for humans to work with. How do the humans survive? Pure silliness and not a real argument.

I have not presented any such theory! Of course there is a vast range of necessities if humans are to survive! But you can’t find a logical explanation for the vast range of galaxies and of non-human life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders that have no conceivable connection to the special design of humans which, according to you, was your God’s sole purpose right from the start. Hence your cry: “Haven’t you realized by now, I have no idea why God chose to evolve humans over time” – i.e. why he decided to spend 3.X billion years designing anything but what he wanted to design.

dhw: Do you or do you not accept (in opposition to Egnor) that there has been a progression from simple beginnings to current complexities? Even if you try to confine the subject to humans and their ancestors, do you not accept that we have many simple areas of consciousness in common with our ancestors (including apes), but have acquired more complex areas, while they in turn have more complex areas than, say, worms and ants?

DAVID: Egnor and I are discussing pure human consciousness and how it possibly appeared. We do not think it evolved from earlier conscious states. Quite clear.

Egnor says “only something physical can evolve. Natural selection can only select attributes that have physical manifestations.” Do you believe, for instance, that language cannot evolve? And do you believe that ape consciousness, which is manifestly more complex than, say, that of earthworms or houseflies, did not evolve from earlier conscious states? Nobody knows the origin of consciousness at any level, but that does not mean that once it existed, it could not evolve. You (and Egnor) may believe your God popped in to dabble with the brains of our ancestors to make them more receptive to a different form of consciousness, but that still doesn't mean that "only something physical can evolve", and so that argument goes out of the window along with the bit about natural selection.


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