The Hard Problem of Physics
Modern science assumes all that exists is matter, energy, space, time, and the natural laws, but excludes mind and consciousness. Yet conscious awareness is observable to us all and is necessary to do science.
Some postulate consciousness as merely a function of biological brain operation. Others postulate dualism, the idea that matter contains the property of mind leading to consciousness.
I generally accept the teachings of materialistic science, except its rejection of the spiritual realm. Here's how I explain consciousness...
- The physical realm is inert and nonliving; that is to say, having no mind, no consciousness. It is only living in the biological, chemical, materialistic scientific sense.
- The spiritual realm contains all of life, souls, ideas, symbols, meaning, consciousness, and mind.
- Souls of physical creatures interact with their physical bodies via quantum mechanics.
Key ingredients of my view of consciousness, evolution, and the development of organisms...
- Evolution occurs in the physical realm exactly as specified by science, via (1) mutations in DNA, or (2) errors in the chromosomes during mitosis or meiosis.
- Microevolution and macroevolution are both evolution; there is really no difference in the underlying mechanisms. Microevolution refers to changes within a species; macroevolution results in new species. Christian creationists make much of such distinctions but their view is idiotic and unscientific.
- DNA (and RNA) are used to build proteins including enzymes.
- The development of an organism involves: (1) sequences of DNA, and (2) epigenetic activation of genes.
- Explaining consciousness: various views such as...
- Materialism: consciousness is a product of brain complexity. This does not explain the subjective experience of perception and consciousness.
- Idealism: only mind exists which results in matter via quantum mechanics.
- Dualism: mind is an attribute of the physical world in addition to space, time, matter, and the natural laws. The brain creates consciousness and perception by structuring and concentrating mind.
- Two realms, physical and spiritual (this is my view).
- There are two realms: (1) physical, and (2) spiritual. The mind and the soul exist in the spiritual realm.
- DNA contains encoded information used by both body and soul: (1) The DNA is used by the body to create proteins and enzymes. (2) The soul of an organism uses its DNA to encode its blueprint which is used to guide the process of development.
- Genes in the DNA can be turned on and off via other genes called regulatory genes and via other mechanisms of gene regulation. Only a small percentage of DNA consists of genes used for coding proteins and enzymes; the rest consists of (ignoring true "junk DNA" which is not used for anything) noncoding DNA which is used for gene regulation to control when to activate or deactivate genes from various environmental factors.
- There is a spiritual body in the spiritual realm corresponding to the physical body in the physical realm. The spiritual body is the template used in the development of the physical body. This is not the same thing as the forms of Plato or Aristotle.
- Quantum mechanics is the interface between the body (in the physical realm) and the soul (in the spiritual realm). This interface is two-way: (1) information from the senses to the soul, and (2) the soul initiates volitional free-will activity in the body.
- Some say the universe is a virtual reality or simulation created by an intelligent being outside the universe. Yes it is. The creator is called God.
- I reject the idea that a conscious observer is needed for quantum mechanics to collapse the wave function (if such a thing even occurs). Any interaction with other physical objects will do it.
- Evolution with its random mutations is in some way guided by quantum mechanics from the spiritual realm via souls, spirit beings, and God.
- There is no conflict between science and true Christianity (of the variety I defend on this website).
During fetal development, the soul/mind designs/engineers/manufactures the physical organism using what's available in the DNA plus the fetal environment. The soul has a specific personality and set of attributes based on the DNA of its body. The soul uses quantum mechanics to trigger the operation and timing of key biochemical events.
Physical evolution is spiritual because of epigenetics: (1) passing traits on from parents to children apart from DNA, and (2) developments of an organism not controlled by DNA.
Mind and Consciousness
The mind contains a spatial map of reality corresponding to the physical world around us. This map resides in the spiritual realm, not the physical realm, and not in the brain. For example, when you look in the mirror you see reflected images appearing to be in front of you, in the wall. But placing the mirror on the wall does not cause the mind to project its mind map through the physical wall behind the physical mirror.
We don't experience the material world directly but, rather, through the soul. The soul interacts with the physical world via quantum mechanics.
Consciousness operates like a flashlight, bringing to our awareness whatever it is focused on. The object of consciousness is usually controlled by the brain; this is what makes us human instead of angels. After death our consciousness will become aware of the spiritual realm via the senses of the spiritual body.
The familiar occurrence of thinking someone is looking at you, and you turn around and they are looking right at you: there is communication between souls in the spiritual realm.
A question yet to be answered: If consciousness resides in the spiritual realm in the soul, why are we only conscious when brain activity indicates we are conscious?
Quantum Mechanics, the interface between Spirit and Matter
Some concepts of quantum mechanics...
- Wave function — the mathematical description of the possible states of an elementary particle when it is not interacting with other objects. For example, an electron does not orbit around the nucleus of an atom but merely has a probability (described using the wave function of the electron) of being in any particular location.
- Uncertainty principle — an elementary particle's position and momentum (mass x velocity) cannot both be known because, in measuring them, you interact with the particle and change something about it.
- Wave function collapse — when an elementary particle interacts with another, it "chooses" which of the infinitely many states to manifest as. It is no longer an abstract mathematical entity (the wave function) but becomes a real material object.
I reject the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
I offer an alternative view in my Creative Frames theory: The universe is static and inert having no movement of particles at all. It is created and destroyed a trillion trillion trillion times a second. The souls attach and detach repeatedly, sensing the changes and interpreting them.
In my view, the soul chooses when random events will occur and which random events will occur. It is not randomness that determines which "choice" is made but, rather, the decision of a soul which chooses one of the options for its purposes. (Even the universe has a soul which does this.) This is the primary way in which the soul controls activities in the physical realm (ignoring my creative frames theory.)
Here's how various scientists and philosophers explain consciousness...
- Daniel Dennett — Consciousness arises from brain function using only physical processes. It arises due to brain complexity. There is no mind outside the physical brain, no spiritual realm, no God.
- Roger Penrose & Stuart Hameroff — Consciousness is generated via the operation of quantum mechanics within the microtubules of cells, especially neurons. Observations during anesthesia are helpful in studying consciousness.
- Rupert Sheldrake — Panpsychism; that mind pervades everything.
- David Chalmers — Dualism; that conscious experience cannot be explained by the physical laws of nature. Therefore, consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe just as is space, time, mass, electric charge, etc. Consciousness triggers collapse of the wave function of quantum mechanics.
- Menas Kafatas — Consciousness is the foundation of the universe.