Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Who Is It That Experiences All These Perceptions? So far we have established that everything we perceive takes place in our brains, and that we have no need for the outside world or material beings to experience these perceptions. At this point we face a question which would be asked by anyone who thinks on this subject a little bit. As we know, the electric signals coming from the cells in our eyes are transformed into an image in our brains. For example, the brain interprets some electrical signals coming to the visual center in the brain as a field filled with sunflowers. In reality, it is not the eye that is seeing.
Therefore, if it is not our eyes which are seeing, what is it that sees the electrical signals as a sunflower field, at the back of our brain, in a pitch dark place, without feeling any necessity for any eyes, retina, lens, visual nerves or pupil and enjoys the view in the sight?
Or who is it that hears (without needing an ear) the voice of a very close friend, becomes happy on hearing it, and misses it when he cannot hear it, when the brain is totally sound proof? Or who is it in the brain that feels the fur of the cat when stroking it, without having any need for a hand, fingers or muscles? Who is it that feels sensations such as heat, cold, and a sense of consistency, depth, and distance, as they originate in the brain? Who is it that smells the lemon, lavender flower, rose, melon, watermelon, orange, and barbecued meat inside the brain (even though the brain is smellproof), and feels hungry because of the smell coming from the grill? We have thus far discussed how everything we perceive continuously is actually formed inside our brains. Who is it then that sees the sights in a brain as if watching television, and becomes excited, happy, sad, nervous, or feels pleasure, anxiety or curiosity while watching them? Who is responsible for the consciousness which is capable of interpreting everything seen and everything felt? What is the entity in the brain that has consciousness and throughout life is capable of seeing all the sights shown to him in a dark, quiet head, that is capable of thinking, and reaches conclusions and makes decisions in the end? It is obvious that it is not the brain, made up of water, lipid and protein, and unconscious atoms, that perceives all this and is responsible for consciousness. There must be a being beyond the brain. Despite being a materialist, Daniel Dennett ponders the above question in one of his books:
My conscious thinking, and especially the enjoyment I felt in the combination of sunny light, sunny Vivaldi violins, rippling branches - plus the pleasure I took in just thinking about it all - how could all that be just something physical happening in my brain? How could any combination of electrochemical happenings in my brain somehow add up to the delightful way those hundreds of twigs genuflected in time with the music? How could some information-processing event in my brain be the delicate warmth of the sunlight I felt falling on me? For that matter, how could an event in my brain be my sketchily visualized mental image of … some other information-processing event in my brain? It does seem impossible. It does seem as if the happenings that are my conscious thoughts and experiences cannot be brain happenings, but must be something else, something caused or produced by brain happenings, no doubt, but something in addition, made of different stuff, located in a different space. Well, why not?24
On the other hand, R. L. Gregory questions the existence of the entity in the back of the brain, which sees all sights:
There is a temptation, which must be avoided, to say that the eyes produce pictures in the brain. A picture in the brain suggests the need of some kind of internal eye to see it - but this would need a further eye to see its picture… and so on, in an endless regress of eyes and pictures. This is absurd.25
Materialists who believe that nothing exists except matter cannot understand this particular question. Who does this "internal eye", which sees and perceives things seen and reacts to such things, belong to? In the following passage, Karl Pribram describes this important search by science and philosophy for the identity of the perceiver:
Philosophers since the Greeks have speculated about the "ghost" in the machine, the "little man inside the little man" and so on. Where is the I-the entity that uses the brain? Who does the actual knowing? Or, as Saint Francis of Assisi once put it, "What we are looking for is what is looking".26
Although many people venture close to this reality in answering the question "who is the entity that sees", they hesitate to accept all of its implications. As demonstrated in the examples above, in discussing the entity in our brains, some refer to the "little man", while others say "the ghost in the machine", some refer to "the being using the brain" while some say "the internal eye". All these terms have been used to describe the entity beyond the brain which possesses consciousness, and the means of reaching this entity. However, materialist assumptions keep many people from understanding the true nature of this being which actually sees and hears. The only source that answers this question is religion. In the Koran, God states that He created man in a physical way initially and then "breathed His Spirit" to the man He created: When your Lord said to the angels, "I am creating a human being out of dried clay formed from fetid black mud when I have formed him and breathed My Spirit into him, fall down in prostration in front of him!" (The Koran, 15: 28-29) (He) then formed him and breathed His Spirit into him and gave you hearing, sight and hearts. What little thanks you show! (The Koran, 32: 9) In other words, the human being has another existence besides its physical body. That entity inside the brain which says "I am seeing" the sight inside the brain, and "I am hearing" the sound inside the brain and aware of its own existence, and which says "I am me", is the soul given to human beings by God. Any human being with a mind and a conscience can understand this: the being that watches every incident inside the brain-watches as if looking at a screen throughout his life-is his soul. Every human being has a soul that sees without the need for an eye, hears without the need for an ear and thinks without the need for a brain. The materialistic view-which maintains that matter is the only thing that exists, and that human consciousness is only a result of some chemical reactions in the brain-is in a quandary about this issue. To see this it might be instructive to ask the following questions to a materialist: o Sight is formed in our brains but what is it that watches this sight in our brains? o Try to see in your mind's eye your neighbor living downstairs in your apartment building when he is not with you. Who is it that vivifies this person so clearly in your imagination down to the details of his costume, the lines in his face, the whites in his hairs; the tone of his voice, the way he speaks, the way he walks? A materialist will be unable to give a satisfactory answer to such questions. The only explanation to these questions is the soul given to man by God. However, materialists do not accept the existence of any being other than matter. For this reason the truth explained in this book deals a massive blow to atheist materialist thought, and constitutes a subject that materialists refuse to discuss most.
Who Lets Our Souls Watch All Of These Views? At this level there is another question that should be asked: Our soul watches the sights in our brains. But who is it that creates these sights? Could the brain itself form a bright, colorful, clear, shadowy sight and form a whole world through electrical signals in a tiny space? The brain is no more than a wet, soft, curvy piece of meat. Could a simple piece of meat like this create a sight clearer than any that could be provided by a television set with the latest technology, without any snow or horizontal jitter? Could a vision of such high quality be formed inside a piece of meat? Could this wet piece of meat form a stereo sound of higher quality than a stereo hi-fi system with the highest technology, without any sizzling noises? Of course, it is impossible for a brain, which is made of one and a half kilograms (four pounds) of meat to form such perfect perceptions.
Here we arrive at another truth. Since together with everything surrounding us, the body we have, our hands, arms and faces are the shadow beings, then our brains are also shadow beings. Thus we cannot say that this brain which is itself actually only a visual sensation, forms these visual sensations.
Bertrand Russell points out this truth in his work The ABC of Relativity, Of course, if matter in general is to be interpreted as a group of occurrences, this must apply also to the eye, the optic nerve and the brain.27
Realizing this fact, French philosopher Bergson said in his book, Matter and Memory, that "the world is made up of images, these images only exist in our consciousness; and the brain is one of these images."28 Who, then, is the being that shows these sights to our souls, with all their reality and clarity, and lets us live a life with all of these perceptions and without any interruptions? The being that shows all the sights to our souls, lets us hear all the sounds, and creates all the tastes and smells for our pleasure, is the Lord of all the worlds, the creator of everything, God.
One Of The Most Important Dilemmas Of Materialism: Human Consciousness Materialist philosophy can never explain the source of human consciousness, i.e. the qualitative experiences that belong to the human soul. For the materialist philosophy, matter is the only thing that exists. Qualities belonging to the soul of a human being, such as consciousness, thought, decision-making processes, happiness, excitement, longing, enjoyment and judgment can never be explained in the materialistic concept. Materialists pass quickly over this subject saying "human consciousness is only the result of the functions of the brain". A materialist scientist, Francis Crick summarizes this materialistic claim as follows:
Your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.29
However, such a claim cannot be defended by either science or logic. The materialist prejudices lead materialists to make such explanations regarding the qualities of a soul that belongs to human beings. In order not to accept the fact that there is a being beyond the material world, they attempt to reduce human intelligence to matter and make such claims that have no relation with intelligence or logic. The science writer John Horgan, although sympathetic to the materialist position called "reductionism", points out the following problems with Francis Crick's claims:
In a sense, Crick is right. We are nothing but a pack of neurons. At the same time, neuroscience has so far proved to be oddly unsatisfactory. Explaining the mind in terms of neurons has not yielded much more insight or benefit than explaining the mind in terms of quarks and electrons. There are many alternative reductionisms. We are nothing but a pack of idiosyncratic genes. We are nothing but a pack of adaptations sculpted by natural selection. We are nothing but a pack of computational devices dedicated to different tasks. We are nothing but a pack of sexual neuroses. These proclamations, like Crick's, are all defensible, and they are all inadequate.30
Of course, these explanations are all inadequate and they are definitely not logical. Any fanatic materialist is in fact aware of this truth. Not surprisingly, Thomas Huxley, the foremost advocate of Darwin also stated that consciousness cannot be explained by the interaction of neurons: "How it is that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of the Djin, when Aladdin rubbed his lamp."31
It is very clear that mere cells cannot give a person consciousness, intelligence, the ability to think and talk, and feelings such as love, compassion, mercy, longing.
From Huxley's time until the present, the failure to explain human consciousness through neurons hasn't changed. However, this is not because of the inadequacy of science regarding this issue. In contrast, especially towards the end of the 20th century, there have been many developments in the field of neurology with many mysteries being solved. However, these findings have showed that human consciousness can never be reduced to matter and the reality lies beyond the material. One of the leading Darwinist-materialist writers in Germany, Hoimar Von Ditfurth, also confesses the fact that the currently adopted methods cannot describe human consciousness:
With our present research in natural history and genetic development, it is obvious that we will not be able to give an answer to what consciousness, spirit, intelligence and feelings are.That is because psychic-consciousness level is the highest level that evolution has arrived, at least in this world. Therefore, although we are able to look at the other stages and phases of evolution from the outside, by rising above them, again by the help of our consciousness, we are unable to approach consciousness (or spirit) itself in a similar way. That is because no level higher than consciousness is available to us.32
American philosopher and doctor of mathematics, William A. Dembski, states in his article, "Converting Matter into Mind", that the bio-chemical functioning of neurons in the human brain and which mental functions it involves have been understood, although qualities such as decision making, wishing, or reasoning cannot be "reduced to matter". Dembski also points out that specialists on consciousness have realized the error of reductionism;
…Cognitive scientists abandon hope of understanding this higher level through the lower neurological level. …Thus while the commitment to materialism persists, the hope of explaining human intelligence at the neural level, which for the materialist is the logical level, is not a serious consideration 33
It is impossible to describe consciousness with a materialist worldview, regardless of the extent of scientific development. As details of the brain surface, it becomes clearer that the mind is irreducible to matter. Materialists must put aside their prejudices and think deeper and research further if they are to understand the concept of human consciousness, as it is impossible to define the real meaning of consciousness through matter. Consciousness is a function of the soul that is given to man by God.
Questions For Materialists It is totally illogical to state that thoughts, judgments, decision mechanisms, or feelings (such as happiness, excitement, and disappointment) are merely the results of the interaction of neurons in the brain of a human being. Materialists who consider this issue more deeply are aware of this truth. The famous materialist, Karl Lashley, made the following comment towards the end of his career, even though he had defended the idea for years that human consciousness could be reduced to matter:
Whether the mind-body relation is regarded as a genuine metaphysical issue or a systematized delusion, it remains a problem for the psychologist (and for the neurologist when he deals with human problems) as it is not for the physicist. . . . How can the brain, as a physico-chemical system, perceive or know anything; or develop the delusion that it does so? 34
Lashley drew attention to this conflict in one single question. However, there are many other details that materialists must consider. The explanations listed below illustrate some of the issues that reveal the impasse of the materialist approach, and which must therefore be considered in depth : o Stating that thoughts, excitements and feelings are products of neurons is to claim that such things are the products of the unconscious atoms, or products of the sub elements of atoms, such as quarks or electrons. o Unconscious atoms cannot know the feeling of happiness or sadness and neither can they enjoy music, taste, good friendship or a chat with a friend. o Unconscious atoms cannot be Darwinist or materialist and come together to write a book. o Unconscious atoms cannot view themselves or the nerve cells that form themselves under an electron microscope and reach scientific solutions from their research. o What is meant by the statement "consciousness is in the neurons of our brains"? Neurons, just like other cells, are made of cell membrane, mitochondria, DNA and ribosomes. Therefore, according to the materialists, where does consciousness lie in these things? If they suppose that consciousness is a result of chemical reactions between the neurons and electrical signals, they are mistaken, because they cannot explain a single "chemical reaction with consciousness". Nor can they show us an "electric wave" that starts to "think" at a certain voltage level.
If materialists think sincerely about these issues, they will realize that all people including themselves are different from groups of neurons or bunches of atoms. Despite being a materialist, the brain specialist Wolf Singer, admits this fact by saying "In this confusing material of the universe there is 'something' that perceives itself as 'I am'." 35 This "something" that the scientist refers to is actually the soul that is given to the human being by God. Due to this soul possessed by the human being, a person can think, be happy, get excited, produce new ideas, or oppose the ideas of others, or know the concepts such as honour, respect, love, friendship, loyalty, sincerity and honesty. The neurons and atoms that form human beings cannot think, make decisions, produce philosophical ideas or know the feeling of love, compassion or affection. Materialists, when they are alone, know this truth and accept it. However, due to their regarding their materialist prejudices as the requirement of science and reason, they cannot come to accept this absolute reality. On the other hand, the predicament they put themselves into just to defend materialism, and the illogical ideas they accept, actually cause much greater damage to them. A person who says "Our thoughts are the product of our atoms and neurons" is no different than a person who thinks his or her dreams are real, or a person who invents incredible stories like fairytales and then believes in them. The truth is actually this: a human being is a being that possesses a soul given by God, and with this soul, he can think, talk, be pleased, make decisions, establish civilizations and manage countries.

No comments: