For the holiday weekend LK and I jumped on our hawg, joined some dear friends and headed to the Black Hills of South Dakota. There is nothing like a long motorcycle ride for contemplation. The hypnotic thrumming of the big V twin scant inches beneath my seat, the passing scenery, the wind and sun, and above all the absence of any need to converse all combine to create ideal conditions for reverie. Here are some of the topics I turned over in my mind as the hawg chewed up the miles:
As we were winding our way through Custer State Park I became aware of myself looking through my eyes as if they were a window. I had a keenly felt sensation of what theorists of mind call the “subject-object” phenomenon. I perceived myself as a “subject” contemplating and having a reaction to an “object” (the beautiful scenery of the park).
Given their premises, materialists must believe the brain is a sort of organic computer, in principle very much like the computer on which I am writing this post. The subject-object problem is a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to this theory. Closely related to this issue is the idea of “qualia,” the subjective perception of experience (the cool blueness of the sky, the sadness of depression, the warmth of a fine sunset, the tangy-ness of a dill pickle).
Consider a computer to which someone has attached a camera and a spectrometer (an instrument that measures the properties of light). They point the camera at the western horizon and write a program that instructs the computer as follows: “when light conditions are X print out this statement: ‘Oh, what a beautiful sunset.’” Suppose I say “Oh, what a beautiful sunset” at the precise moment the computer is printing out the same statement according to the program. Have the computer and I had the same experience of the sunset? Obviously not. The computer has had no “experience” of the sunset at all. It has no concept of beauty. It cannot experience qualia. It is precisely this subjective experience of the sunset that cannot be accounted for on materialist principles. It follows that if materialist premises exclude an obviously true conclusion – i.e., that there is someone “in there” looking out of the window of my eyes – then materialist premises must be false.
The question in the title of this post is: “If my eyes are a window, is there anyone looking out?” The materialist must answer this question “no.” That the materialist must give an obviously false answer to this question is a devastating rebuke to materialism.
We made a side trip out to Devil’s Tower in eastern Wyoming. I took a picture of LK holding her hat over the top of the tower at a distance, making it appear as though the tower had donned a pink ball cap. Humor. Here again materialists premises seem to founder on common experience.
Materialists are obliged to believe that every aspect of human behavior is determined – that it was selected for by evolutionary processes. Materialists are, therefore, obliged to believe that humor conferred on humans some reproductive advantage that was selected for by natural selection. Blithering nonsense. We laugh simply because it is fun to laugh. Humor serves no “purpose.” It provides no selective advantage. Yet it is universal in human experience. The existence of a universal trait that cannot be accounted for on the premise that it conferred a selective advantage to our ancestors is a devastating blow to the materialist creation myth (Darwinism). I am certain that the Darwinists who read these words will be able to make up “just so stories” to account for the existence of humor. Let us not forget, however, that just so stories are not evidence of anything other than the remarkable fecundity of the Darwinist imagination.