Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins

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Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Theory of evolution » Einstein's Gulf

Einstein's Gulf

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1 Einstein's Gulf on Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:02 pm


Einstein's Gulf: Can Evolution cross it? by John Oller, Ph.d

The mind cannot emerge from matter

Albert Einstein,undoubtedly one of the greatest scientists of all time, described the "gulf' that logically separates the concrete world of hard objects on the one hand from the abstract world of ideas on the other. He wrote: We have the habit of combining certain concepts and conceptual relations (propositions) so definitely with certain sense experiences that we do not become conscious of the gulf-logically unbridgeable which separates the world of sensory experiences from the world of concepts and propositions

   On the one side, we find the real world of objects, events, and tensional spacetime relations. On the other side, we find fully abstract representations that contain information about the material world. That articulate information is abstracted first by our senses, secondarily by our bodily actions, and tertiarily by our ability to use one or more particular languages . Between the two realms we find what appears to be an uncrossable gulf.

   A small part of the materialists problem is that hard objects are never observed spontaneously to transform themselves (on their own recognizance) into abstract ideas.

Albert Einstein, “Remarks on Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Knowledge,” The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell, Vol. 5 of The Library of Living Philosophers, editor Paul Arthur Schilpp (LaSalle, Illinois, Open Court, 1944), p. 289.

I am convinced that ... the concepts which arise in our thought and in our linguistic expressions are all—when viewed logically—the free creations of thought which cannot inductively be gained from sense experiences. ... we have the habit of combining certain concepts and conceptual relations (propositions) so definitely with certain sense experiences that we do not become conscious of the gulf—logically unbridgeable—which separates the world of sensory experiences from the world of concepts and propositions

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2 Re: Einstein's Gulf on Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:59 pm



Consciousness cannot be simply the result of meat (the brain) because, no matter how complex a meat is involved, consciousness is a property entirely separate from matter.  Consciousness has an irreducible existence.  Regardless of how complex a material thing such as a brain gets through evolution, it remains just that…a highly complex material thing, and not a conscious or personal thing.

Moreover, the inescapable problem with materialistic explanations for consciousness is that they ignore the need for a subject in subjective experiences, or in other words, the need for an experiencer of experiences. A person is a subject that can experience subjective experiences. Brain chemicals and electrical signals in the brain cannot be subjects. Just think about it…the last time that you were enjoying a piece of music, was it the chemicals and electricity in your brain enjoying the music, or was it you enjoying the music?

Simply put, the materialist/naturalist (matter comes first) view struggles mightily to explain such things as the existence of consciousness and personhood because consciousness and personhood are entirely different phenomena than matter. Because consciousness and personhood are not just highly complicated matter, the increasing complexity of material things through evolution cannot be cited as the cause of conscious, personal beings such as ourselves.

Reductive materialism tries to reduce the personal (as well as consciousness) to the material. So, put another way, reductive materialism says, “There really is no personal, just the material.” In effect, you as a person don’t really exist. I hate to be the one to deliver the bad news, but your existence as a person is really nothing but an illusion produced by a complex arrangement of matter. What you refer to as “me” is really nothing but “a survival machine….a robot vehicle blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes,” to quote the atheist biologist Richard Dawkins from The Selfish Gene. If learning that you are a mindless robot instead of a person has ruined your day, I ask that you please forgive me. (And please forgive the preceding brief interlude into sarcasm, but I am intending to show, as Ward points out, that this explanation “conflicts with our everyday experience of conscious life.”)

the cause of conscious, personal, intelligent beings must itself be conscious, intelligent, and personal. Mindless matter cannot eventually cause conscious, personal, intelligent beings because it does not contain the potential to do so.

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3 Re: Einstein's Gulf on Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:45 pm


Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck : The Observer (25 January 1931)

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

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4 Re: Einstein's Gulf on Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:01 pm



here is no observable reason why sticking a bunch of neurons together should give rise to a conscious phenomenological experience. No matter how complex the brain may be, it is still made of matter. Since thoughts are clearly not made of matter, they are considered “emergent” properties.

There is no clear reason why matter left alone in the depths of space should ever organize itself into a conscious entity. We know that emergent properties are logically impossible. If emergent properties are logically impossible, it stands to reason that consciousness is a fundamental property, rather than an emergent one that arises from the chaotic interaction of matter.

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