Hush, we may be hearing answers now.
Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano informs us, from the sanctity of his discipline:
OF the three most fundamental scientific questions about the human condition, two have been answered.
First, what is our relationship to the rest of the universe? Copernicus answered that one. We’re not at the center. We’re a speck in a large place.
So fine-tuning of the universe for life means nothing? Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.
Second, what is our relationship to the diversity of life? Darwin answered that one. Biologically speaking, we’re not a special act of creation. We’re a twig on the tree of evolution.
Okay, if we are just a twig on the tree, why is there no twig anywhere near like us? Or is that just one of the questions we are not supposed to ask if we want a passing grade is Graziano’s class?
He attempts to explain consciousness:
How does the brain go beyond processing information to become subjectively aware of information? The answer is: It doesn’t. The brain has arrived at a conclusion that is not correct. When we introspect and seem to find that ghostly thing — awareness, consciousness, the way green looks or pain feels — our cognitive machinery is accessing internal models and those models are providing information that is wrong. The machinery is computing an elaborate story about a magical-seeming property. And there is no way for the brain to determine through introspection that the story is wrong, because introspection always accesses the same incorrect information.
You might object that this is a paradox. If awareness is an erroneous impression, isn’t it still an impression? And isn’t an impression a form of awareness?
But the argument here is that there is no subjective impression; there is only information in a data-processing device. When we look at a red apple, the brain computes information about color. It also computes information about the self and about a (physically incoherent) property of subjective experience. The brain’s cognitive machinery accesses that interlinked information and derives several conclusions: There is a self, a me; there is a red thing nearby; there is such a thing as subjective experience; and I have an experience of that red thing. Cognition is captive to those internal models. Such a brain would inescapably conclude it has subjective experience.
So there you have it, we have consciousness but only about stuff that is wrong.
As noted earlier, the only specialness naturalism allows humans is that, in a world of conservation consciousness, we should be exterminated.
See also: Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?
Hat tip: Wesley J. Smith