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God new evidence

GOD: new evidence


Is Consciousness an illusion?

(Beyond Ourselves #07)

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Does consciousness point to a deeper story behind the atoms and molecules we are made from? Some people will go to desperate lengths to explain away anything that hints otherwise.

So for example the well-known atheist Daniel Dennett claims in one recent book that consciousness is just an illusion – an illusion that helps us to monitor and manage ourselves, and to deal with one another, but still just an illusion.

But Dennett’s claim does not make any sense: who, or what, is having the illusion of being conscious, if it is not a conscious person? My own being conscious is the one thing I cannot be deluded about. As one reviewer of Dennett’s book points out, ‘It can’t appear to me that I am conscious though I am not.’ 

So we have a choice: on one hand there is a theory (that we are just atoms and molecules) which leads to a bizarre conclusion. On the other hand there is the obvious reality of our own lived experience. Why choose the theory?  If it obviously contradicts reality, shouldn't we just say 'so much the worse for it'?

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‘The fact that we are just on the knife-edge of existence, if the dark energy were very much bigger we wouldn’t be here, that’s the mystery.’
- Professor Felix Bloch, Stanford University