Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

Niwrad: Consciousness is made of atoms too?

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According to Mark Titus at Nautilus:

The Greek philosopher Democritus might have said something like that 2,500 years ago. Although his books are lost, we know from the fragments that remain and what others said about him, that he believed everything in the universe was made of atoms in perpetual motion, whirling in space. Large, small, smooth, and slippery, or jagged and hooked, they combine to form the universe—its stars and planets, and the earth and all it contains, including our bodies and our minds. All that is required to understand this is “just a little imagination and thinking”—what physics, chemistry, and biology have provided since the 17th century.

In spite of this success, science (as we now call the metaphysics of Democritus) has not been able to show how mind or human consciousness can be incorporated into it. Democritus had a theory for this, namely, that mind consists of “fire atoms,” extremely small and mobile atoms that create copies or images of the larger ones, becoming our perceptions and thoughts. Though it’s since discarded the fire atom, neurobiology has made some progress as to how perception and thought actually take form. Consciousness may well be made of atoms, and it all begins with sensations. More.

Our Niwrad asked News to post this response:

This article “Consciousness is made of atoms, too” is typical of the nullity of scientism addressing consciousness.

To say that “Consciousness is made of atoms” is like to say that a painter is made of paints, an architect is made of bricks, a writer is made of books…

Consciousness is the subject and the world is the object. To conflate the two is to claim that a ceramic jar and the observer of it are the same. This article denies the ontological hierarchy and is metaphysically heretic.

We are told: “Sensations are the building block of consciousness”. This approach denies all the higher properties of consciousness, which are fully detached from sensations. Reason is well beyond sensation, to say nothing of intellectual intuition, which is higher still than reason. Anyone familiar with meditation, pure intellectual work, or deep learning/reasoning knows what I mean.

The article sounds like a piece of low level dialectic with no relation whatever to sensation. In that way, it is self-refuting.

See also: A defense of physicalism: Plankton could evolve minds Physicalism has come to this but it still holds the academy. Note: Schulman seems to confuse the natural tendency of life forms to make efforts to stay alive with minds or consciousness as such. The fact that plankton, like other life forms, struggle to stay in existence says nothing about whether they could evolve into creatures with minds.

At BBC: Consciousness no different than our ability to digest

Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?


What can we hope to learn about animal minds?

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5 Replies to “Niwrad: Consciousness is made of atoms too?

  1. 1
    Phinehas says:

    We can’t be too hard on Titus. His atoms made him write what he did based solely on stimuli he’s received from his environment.

  2. 2
    Origenes says:

    To say that “Consciousness is made of atoms” is like to say that a painter is made of paints, an architect is made of bricks, a writer is made of books…

    … is like to say that the source of coherence is made of purposeless chaos.

  3. 3
    LocalMinimum says:

    With respect to the “atoms build consciousness” hypothesis, I like to refer to the sublime, glorious weirdness of the teleporter paradox; and the hopeless materialist handwaving that is all but guaranteed to follow.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Let us hear Plato, again:

    Athenian Stranger: [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.– [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . . . [[I]f impious discourses were not scattered, as I may say, throughout the world, there would have been no need for any vindication of the existence of the Gods-but seeing that they are spread far and wide, such arguments are needed; and who should come to the rescue of the greatest laws, when they are being undermined by bad men, but the legislator himself? . . . .

    Ath. Then, by Heaven, we have discovered the source of this vain opinion of all those physical investigators; and I would have you examine their arguments with the utmost care, for their impiety is a very serious matter; they not only make a bad and mistaken use of argument, but they lead away the minds of others: that is my opinion of them.

    Cle. You are right; but I should like to know how this happens.

    Ath. I fear that the argument may seem singular.

    Cle. Do not hesitate, Stranger; I see that you are afraid of such a discussion carrying you beyond the limits of legislation. But if there be no other way of showing our agreement in the belief that there are Gods, of whom the law is said now to approve, let us take this way, my good sir.

    Ath. Then I suppose that I must repeat the singular argument of those who manufacture the soul according to their own impious notions; they affirm that which is the first cause of the generation and destruction of all things, to be not first, but last, and that which is last to be first, and hence they have fallen into error about the true nature of the Gods.

    Cle. Still I do not understand you.

    Ath. Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [[ = psuche], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body?

    Cle. Certainly.

    Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind.

    Cle. But why is the word “nature” wrong?

    Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

    Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

    Ath. I do.

    Cle. Certainly we should.

    Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

    Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

    Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

    Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?

    Cle. Exactly.

    Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.]

    That is how far we have fallen.


  5. 5
    Tom Robbins says:

    “There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this minute solar system together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.” – Max Planck – so we are back to MIND as primary – time to get used to it, consciousness creates reality – not that things are not REAL, but they are the product of a MIND – the big mind, and all of our smaller self-aware consciousnesses? BTW – The weird stuff of QM has NEVER been “un-weirded” despite a huge amount of effort by materialist (and a lot of hand waving of course)

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