Is Consciousness empirically based?

The above article is a great read. It looks closer at how some scientists are trying to bridge the gap between the old debate about between the brain and the consciousness.  If you are new to the discussion, let me give you just a couple of points to prop up the story.

  • The brain has mass. It is measurable. It has a function that can be traced, duplicated, artificially enhanced and it can be stopped. In short, the brain can be empirically measured.
  • The consciousness on the other hand creates a lot of questions. It doesn’t have a mass. It isn’t measurable with the same empirical tools, yet science cannot deny its existence.
  • All animals have some sort of consciousness, higher animals like apes and humans have self-consciousness.
  • Strict scientists insist that the consciousness is nearly a by-product of the brain chemistry and nothing more.
  • Theology and Philosophy attribute the consciousness to much more than the sum of biology and thus the debate continues.

The point I would like to draw out for you is that our facts only take us so far and then we have to make assumptions. The scientific method is the way we try and test these assumptions. But whether you are a devout scientist or a devout person of faith or both, we all make assumptions about what is true.

This means that while we possess some of what is true, we do not possess all that is true. Any assumption is a faith assertion. Therefore even the scientist who is desperately trying to solve the issue of consciousness via empirical means is doing so based on his/her faith in empiricism. The theologian who argues that consciousness is a vital aspect of the Imageo Dei (image of God) in humanity can just as easily do so based on his/her faith assumption.

But this is not a stand off. In fact this article encourages me because it shows so clearly a change in the scientific world to view things that are not empirically based through a new lens.

And a new lens is precisely what is required for progress.  I believe as we all move into conformity to the truth we will see increasing examples like this taking place.  If this happens, then we have monumental evidence that a new world is coming. A promised world where these seemingly diametrically opposed perspectives are coming together.

If that happens, then Jesus was right, and if he was right, then maybe we need to revisit what he said through a new lens- (not the lens of the fundamentalist cultural church), but one of discovery and new knowledge.

That, my friend, is my life mission.

Learn more:


The Most Beautiful Thing EVER.

I’m convinced that the world is designed in such a way that truth is at the epicenter of all life and being.

Truth IS beauty.

Truth is strange because it is something that can be apprehended by all people, but no single person can possess all of it.  Truth and all that can be known is  vast and discoverable; it drives scientists, explorers, researchers, artists, the hungry and the curious. We are always inspired by those who follow after truth and we are always disappointed and hurt by those who disregard it.

Truth is the basis of all life.

Truth is such that whenever we apprehend and apply even the smallest amount of it into our lives, there is ALWAYS a corresponding benefit and increase in human thriving. This is the case for learning to ride a tricycle or whether we are solving world peace.

Conversely, whenever we suppress, ignore, or fail to apply it there is also a corresponding loss, pain or decrease in human thriving, and increase in human captivity. Ignore the truth and not only will your drywall job look like crap, but lies and corruption will flourish to the pain and suffering of others.

This is because truth has within it an ethical obligation to obey it. Sure, we are free to believe 2 + 2 = 5, but it is foolish to do so and every thing we build will not have a square corner, all of our life’s measurements will never add up. The further we walk through life in rejection of it, the more wrong our calculations become.

Nearly every problem in the world is ultimately a truth problem; it’s either something we don’t know, or it is something we won’t do. Feel free to test it.

Thus all the worlds problems can be corrected and improved so long as people are striving to move into conformity to the truth. This makes truth personal. We all have some sort of personal relationship to it. Some oblivious, others intentional, each is unique. But each of us is obligated.

This means that every person who is a student, a learner, a seeker, yes a disciple, is someone who humbly accepts they do not possess all the truth, but they are hungry for more so they can apply it to their life and watch their families, communities, and the world benefit.

Following Jesus means we seek truth and we desire to know it and be transformed by it. Isn’t it then understandable that the scientist would find satisfaction by following the truth of discovery in the sciences, while the theologian finds satisfaction by following the truth in the discovery of faith. The same is true for every possible sphere of learning, expertise, tradition, or passion. It isn’t that one is true and the other is not. It is that both have truth, but neither possess all that is true. In time they will come together as we know more.

The beauty of the gospel (good news) message to the world is not that we will all somehow morph into the impotent, culturally contrived, modern day evangelical church person who hates democrats, rock music and the city. No its beauty is that no single person has all truth, but we all humbly require each other to reflect the truth we’ve been lucky enough to possess. And as we serve each other by giving it away (being conduits of truth) all of us benefit.

And it’s so exciting to watch the progress that we are making. It really validates the ancient teaching that truth would be rolled out, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little, until one day every sad thing becomes untrue.

Now that is beautiful. It’s absolutely irresistible. Unless of course you desire to suppress it.