Monday, April 14, 2014

One of Atheism's Irresolvable Problems

Trees in my back yard

Every worldview comes up against irresolvable problems. One such problem for the worldview of atheism is self-consciousness. Theistic philosopher Paul Copan writes:

"Moral beings have the capacity of self-awareness, rising above genetics and environment to consider intentions, varying motivations, and prospective choices . Yet naturalistic philosophers of mind acknowledge that the emergence of (self-) consciousness from nonconscious matter is a huge problem." (Copan, "Ethics Needs God," in Debating Christian Theism, p. 90)

For example, atheist philosopher Colin McGinn writes: 

“We know that brains are the de facto causal basis of consciousness, but we have, it seems, no understanding of how this can be so. It strikes us as miraculous, eerie, even faintly comic.” (In Ib.)

Atheist Geoffrey Madell writes:

“The emergence of consciousness, then is a mystery, and one to which materialism signally fails to provide an answer.” (Ib.)

And atheist David Papineau writes:

As to why consciousness emerges in certain cases, “to this question physicalists' theories of consciousness’ seem to provide no answer.” (Ib.) 

This irresolvable problem within the noetic framework of atheism presents no problem for theism, which affirms a supremely self-aware being.