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.

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