Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

Broadway play features the hard problem of consciousness

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Stoppard at a reception in Russia in 2007
Tom Stoppard/Alexander Kondrashkin

In a move reminiscent of Tom Wolfe tackling The Kingdom of Speech near the end of his life, Tom Stoppard (b. 1937) decided to tackle consciousness:

Consciousness is a hard problem for science, principally because no one quite understands what makes us the subjects of our experiences.

According to one critic, the problem that has preoccupied Stoppard throughout his career is “Are the materialists right, or is there more to man than mere flesh?”:

Hilary (Adelaide Clemens), the protagonist, is a youthful research psychologist-in-the-making who longs above all things to crack the hardest problem in to her field, the conundrum of human consciousness: “Who’s the you outside your brain? Where? The mind is extra….We’re dealing in mind-stuff that doesn’t show up in a [brain] scan—accountability, duty, free will, language, all the stuff that makes behavior unpredictable.” For her, a computer that plays chess can be conscious only if it “minds losing,” and the problem of consciousness is directly related to the problem of morality: … More. Tom Stoppard’s new play tackles consciousness itself” at Mind Matters

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See also: Panpsychism: You Are Conscious but So Is Your Coffee Mug. Materialists have a solution to the problem of consciousness, and it may startle you

A short argument against the materialist account of the mind (Jay Richards)

and

What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness

2 Replies to “Broadway play features the hard problem of consciousness

  1. 1
    mike1962 says:

    Consciousness is a hard problem for science, principally because no one quite understands what makes us the subjects of our experiences.

    I had to fix it for ya. 😉

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    It is not only the subjective experience of how something may ‘feel’ to us personally that is a ‘hard’, i.e. intractable, problem for proposed materialistic explanations of consciousness, there is a whole litany of “abstract” properties of the immaterial mind that will forever by ‘hard’, i.e. intractable, for any proposed materialistic explanations.

    Dictionary – abstract
    existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence.

    As Dr Michael Egnor pointed out, “Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts.”,,, “Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.”,,, “We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.”

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.

    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.

    I stress here the difference between representation and instantiation. Representation is the map of a thing. Instantiation is the thing itself. Universals can be represented in matter — the words I am writing in this post are representations of concepts — but universals cannot be instantiated in matter. I cannot put the concepts themselves on a computer screen or on a piece of paper, nor can the concepts exist physically in my brain. Concepts, which are universals, are immaterial.

    Nonhuman animals are purely material beings. They have no concepts. They experience hunger and pain. They don’t contemplate the injustice of suffering.

    A human being is material and immaterial — a composite being. We have material bodies, and our perceptions and imaginations and appetites are material powers, instantiated in our brains. But our intellect — our ability to think abstractly — is a wholly immaterial power, and our will that acts in accordance with our intellect is an immaterial power. Our intellect and our will depend on matter for their ordinary function, in the sense that they depend upon perception and imagination and memory, but they are not themselves made of matter. It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.

    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/

    Besides the intractable problem that immaterial, i.e. abstract, objects of the mind present for any proposed materialistic explanation, the main battle between ID and Darwinian evolution is the battle over immaterial information itself.

    Namely, despite having NO evidence that materialistic processes can create information, Darwinists still hold that immaterial information is somehow ’emergent’ from some material basis, (namely, randomly mutating DNA).

    Yet that particular claim is now shown to be false. Specifically, immaterial information is now shown to be its own completely independent entity that, although being shown to be completely independent of matter and energy, is now shown to have physical effects on matter and energy.

    In short, the claim from Darwinists that information is simply ’emergent’ for a material basis is now shown to be false:

    Information is physical (but not how Rolf Landauer meant) – video
    https://youtu.be/H35I83y5Uro

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

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