The biggest mystery left to science is the fact that you are reading this right now. Well actually, it’s that you’re “aware” that you’re reading this right now. Stop. Look around. Listen. Realize that you are alive, and conscious of being alive, and you have done something that most of the living creatures on this planet are incapable of doing.
You see, science can explain or at least believes it can explain a great many things… but consciousness has it stumped. We can describe the brain in ever-increasing detail. We have a pretty good idea about which parts of the brain control certain actions and even emotions.
But what about the so-called “mind/brain” distinction? It’s just as mysterious today as it was when philosopher Rene Descartes wrote, “I think, therefore I am” some four centuries ago.
This mystery lies in the fact that the gray matter swimming around inside our skulls is an integral part of the “us” that we know — our thoughts, our feelings, our hopes, and desires.
Of course, the culture we live in is, in large measure, shaped and governed by a materialist worldview. That worldview holds that the only “real” things are matter and energy and that everything we observe is the product of the interaction between matter and energy.
That “everything” includes our awareness that we are the ones doing the observing. But materialism doesn’t have the resources to fully explain consciousness.
Instead of acknowledging the inadequacy of the materialistic worldview, more militant skeptics will attempt to play down the problem. What’s more, the materialism that reduces consciousness to chemistry and electrical impulses cannot tell us anything worthwhile about the human condition.
The central tenet of any materialistic worldview is that we do not know our own minds, our own motives, our own desires. That only well-qualified others know them.
Thus, materialistic neuroscience explains away “experience and testimony of the individual mind,” and substitutes a story that more neatly fits the materialist paradigm.
Except that it doesn’t fit.
More and more people are noticing this, and are pushing back against junk neuroscience and even the worldview that produced it. Which is a very good thing. I’m sure the the gray matter swimming around inside your head would agree.
Nobel Prize winning geneticist Hermann Joseph Muller once said, “to say that a man is made up of certain chemical elements is a satisfactory description only for those who intend to use him as a fertilizer.” We would do well to understand the implications of this statement.
Like the Bard famously wrote, there are indeed more things in heaven and earth than exist in out philosophy.
Anyone who would deny the miracle that is consciousness shows that he has a faith in materialism to rival any true believer.