Thursday, May 26, 2016

Consciousness, and the Destruction of a Word

Many years ago, when I proved that God exists, I relied on two main pieces of evidence. I did not consider the vast species of life as evidence of God's existence, for at that time I did not fully understand that evolution is false. But I saw design in the universe. I had done enough reading in science to know that design choices were made in the creation of the universe. There are physical laws that govern the universe, and those laws determine the appearance and behavior of the physical universe.

The universe and its laws have particular characteristics. Space exists in three dimensions, not two or four dimensions, even though mathematically and logically it would make equal sense for space to exist in any number of dimensions. Light has a certain speed. Atoms are made up of protons, electrons, and in most cases, neutrons. Each particle has certain characteristics. The electron has a negative charge and is very light, the protons and neutrons are heavy, and the proton has a positive charge while the neutron, as its name indicates, is neutral. Protons and neutrons also respond to the strong force, which keeps them tightly bound in the center of the atom.

There are four known forces that control these particles and matter in general, and each force has particular characteristics. The strong force is the strongest, but it has a very short range. The electromagnetic force is long range and includes positive and negative charges, with like charges repelling each other and unlike charges attracting each other. Gravity is long range and causes all matter to attract all other matter, and there is no charge involved in gravity, but it is the weakest of the forces.

All this indicates DESIGN CHOICES. There must, therefore, be a Designer, God, who made the choices regarding the number of dimensions of space, the number and characteristics of particles, the speed of light, and the number and characteristics of fundamental forces.

This was proof number one for me. For even if evolution were true (and I did not know the answer to that at the time), the universe itself could not have evolved. Darwin's mechanism of random genetic changes and natural selection in the reproduction of plants and animals could not apply to the universe because the universe does not reproduce.

Proof number two for me was human consciousness.

Science can study the brain and think of it as a kind of chemical and biological computer that automatically processes information and sends signals to control the body. But that does not explain the consciousness of my mind. I am not a machine.

I know I have a physical body and a physical brain. I know that the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology govern the operation of my physical body. But my human consciousness is my subjective sense of existence, my actual experience, that seems to live inside my brain. I am not talking about an immortal soul, for the Bible shows that the soul is mortal and can die.

It might be possible to make a machine that can respond like a human. Science fiction is full of stories of robots and androids. And even in today's actual world, scientists and engineers work on robots, some that may look and sound remarkably like a human being. There are efforts to develop computer software and hardware that will have artificial intelligence and can solve problems as humans can. These efforts are far from making a believable copy of man. Yet, if scientists and engineers had enough time, who knows how far they could go in making a machine that might look, sound, and behave so like a human that you might not tell the difference right away.

Children have dolls that mimic a child's cry. Of course, this is done with a speaker and computer chips and circuitry that produce the sound of crying like a human baby.

Now, suppose someone made such a machine, a machine made of metal, plastic, electronic parts, computer chips, and computer software that looked and sounded just like a human being. And suppose that it had artificial intelligence as good or nearly as good as human intelligence. It would still only be a mechanism. It might be programmed to scream if you stabbed it with a knife. But that scream would only be the sound produced by the vibration of a cone in a computer speaker, and that vibration would be caused by a pattern of electric current going through the speaker. That electrical signal would be produced by a computer running a series of instructions (computer software) that says, in effect, when stabbed with a knife make a sound like human screaming. There would have to be some kind of sensors in the artificial plastic "skin" of such a machine to send a signal to the computer when the robot is stabbed.

Would anyone in their right mind say it would be cruelty to a machine to do such a thing? Would anyone say it was unethical and immoral because this machine was suffering?

Of course not!

When a child's doll makes crying noises, is there a real consciousness in that doll that is suffering? Obviously, no.

It would make as much sense to say that a rock suffers when you break it with a hammer. Then you can outlaw breaking rocks as immoral and unethical because you are causing suffering.

And yet, if I am in pain, I am suffering. There is a real me that feels it. I have consciousness. I am not just a chemical mechanism.

And science cannot explain that.

I saw a Twilight Zone episode when I was a kid that for me illustrated this. When I watch a TV story or movie, it is natural for me to tend to identify with the main character, to mentally imagine that I am that person going through his experiences. I think this episode was called, "In His Image", or something like that.

The main character takes his girl friend to the town he grew up in to meet some people and see the places he was familiar with, but had not seen for a while. But when he gets there, everything is different, not just from the passage of time. In that town, things were never the way he remembered them.

Later he finds out why. He is injured, and under the skin of his arm are wires and mechanical parts. He is a robot, a machine. His memory of that town is artificial, false, and that is why everything was different. But before that point, he didn't know he was a machine.

But at that point in the story, my ability to identify with the character was limited. Why? I could never imagine that happening to me. I know I am not a machine.

Likewise, I know that my conscious mind is more than can be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry that operate in the cells of my brain.

Scientists cannot explain consciousness. And it was for me one of the proofs of God's existence. I knew that only a Creator God could have created consciousness in my mind and the minds of all people.

So creation is the proof of God, both the design and the creation of the universe and the creation of the human mind with consciousness. And that is how I proved that God exists. I was about 20 years old at the time.

Creation is the evidence of God's existence and power, so that atheists are without excuse.

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

"Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

"For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:20-32).

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God' " (Psalm 14:1).

God says that whoever says there is no God is a fool. In modern language, we would say, "Atheists are idiots!" And in a sense, they are.

We should not be proud of ourselves for knowing about God. Satan is the deceiver of this world. The world is blinded by a supernatural force stronger than any man. "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Revelation 12:9). "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them" (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

We should be humble and realize that without God's calling, we too would be deceived. With my reading of science, I too might have been an atheist if God had not called me and opened my mind to the truth.

Atheists will have their opportunity to learn the truth in God's time. We, by God's grace, have our opportunity now. But we are not better than they, except for God's calling and grace.

But we need to be aware of their error so as not to fall into it and so we can teach and warn our children.

The mainstream scientific community takes an atheistic approach to scientific teaching and research. That does not mean every scientist is an atheist. Many scientists know that there is a God. But they must keep their knowledge of God out of their work if they want to keep their jobs, most of them.

Atheists have been very militant about their beliefs and have been becoming more militant as time goes on. They want to stamp out religion. Militarism and hostility towards religion exist in the secular scientific community. They have made atheism the dominant culture in the scientific community and its teachings. They deny God's existence and ridicule religion. Evolutionism, the theory of evolution that says that all species came through random forces, is the main weapon in their arsenal. 

The real reason atheists do not believe in God is that they do not want to believe in God. They do not want to submit to God's authority, but they also do not want to live their lives in fear of punishment from a God who has the authority to tell them how to live. So they convince themselves and try to convince others that there is no God. Then they can feel free to do what they want, whatever that is.

Most non-scientists are not well enough read on science to see the design of the universe. They see the galaxies and stars, but scientists have various explanations for how they came to be.

But every person understands consciousness. Everyone knows the difference between being awake and being asleep.

So how do atheistic scientists explain consciousness?

They don't. They avoid it.

But it is the way they avoid it that is interesting.

They try to destroy the meaning of the word.

How can they do that?

Many of them try to do that by using the word in a different way, over and over. They use it to refer to other things, thus over time diluting and changing its meaning.

Word meaning is based on common usage. Those who write definitions of words in dictionaries study how a word is used in conversation and in writing, and then write definitions to record the meaning people give to a word in the way they use it. And that is how we learn the meanings of words anyway. We pick up on how they are used by others, and we understand those words in the same way we hear them used.

And if someone coins a new word, if people pick up on how it is used and it becomes common, it becomes a new word in the vocabulary of our language.

That is how new words come into existence.

If people take an existing word and use it a different way, if others begin to use it in that new way and it becomes common, that becomes a new meaning of the word.

And that is how a word can change in meaning.

For example, the word "gay" used to mean "happy". Now it means "homosexual". Why? Because that is how many people have used the word over time. They have changed the meaning of the word by the way they used it.

Books have been written on how the dominant liberal media uses terminology to influence thought.

Scientists and science writers in popular science magazines use the word consciousness in a way that tends to change its meaning. Often I have found a science magazine with an article about "consciousness" headlined on the cover. But when I read the article, I find that what the writer labels "consciousness" is nothing more than intelligence, or attention, or something they call "self-awareness". Scientists do scans of the brain and certain areas light up when a person focuses on a certain thing, and the writer might refer to that as consciousness.

Take that term, "self-awareness". You might think the science writer is talking about consciousness, but he isn't. He is talking about an individual, even an animal, having some kind of knowledge of his own existence, or something like that. Scientists might study how a chimp reacts to his image in a mirror, and when the chimp realizes that it is him, the writer might call that "self-awareness". Then that writer or other writers blur the distinction between that kind of self-awareness and consciousness by trying to make them equivalent terms.

So scientists and science writers find ways of talking about consciousness as if it is something that can be studied, something they are learning about, but they blur the meaning of the term, and in effect, many of them seem to be seeking to destroy the original meaning of the word over time. Because, in fact, they are clueless about it. Evolution is no help to them here, and many of them must know it. This is particularly true because consciousness, apart from intelligence and various desires and instincts, has no survival value, so even if there is a way that the physical mechanism of a brain can produce consciousness solely by natural law, there would be no reason for it to evolve.

They are trying to reduce the meaning of the word "consciousness" to a form of brain science, and by so doing, keep people's minds off the truth that there must be a God who created our conscious minds.

God exists and we can prove it. We can prove it to ourselves and we can prove it to anyone whose mind is open to acknowledging God's existence. We can also prove that the Bible is inspired by God and is God speaking.

Evolution, the idea that human beings and all other species of life came into existence through natural forces only, is false, and we can prove it.

We must not mentally succumb to the propaganda and pressure of the dominant liberal media and atheistic, secular science and doubt God's existence and the truth of the Bible.

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