Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Consciousness and Creation Out of Nothing

Linda and I in Green Lake, Wisconsin

Atheist Bertrand Russell, in his essay "A Free Man's Worship," was amazed, even stunned, that unthinking Mother Nature could produce offspring that could think, and had free will. Indeed, all should be stunned by this, since mental events seem discontinuous from physical matter.

Few doubt that, with the universe's beginning, all that existed were physical particles. Yet somehow, mental events such as consciousness and feeling and free will eventually came to exist. How so?

J. P. Moreland has argued that consciousness is best explained by the existence of a conscious Being. (See Moreland, Consciousness and the Existence of God: A Theistic Argument.) Philosopher Paul Copan writes: 

"J. P. argues that the emergence of consciousness cannot be accounted for by a rearrangement of matter. Conscious/subjective experience is radically distinct from the stuff of matter—a point which a number of naturalists like Colin McGinn and John Searle readily admit. Indeed, the emergence of consciousness in a material world without God looks more like creation out of nothing than an emergent property." (Copan, "J.P. Moreland's Natural Theology," in 
J. P. Moreland, Paul M. Gould and Richard Brian Davis. Loving God with Your Mind: Essays in Honor of J. P. Moreland, p. 119)