Evolutionary Psychologists Deny Their Own Minds
Need proof that evolutionists are not the fittest? Watch these two psychologists earn a Darwin award by cutting off the branch they’re sitting on.
“Darwin awards” are whimsical trophies given to those who, by making dumb mistakes, risk eliminating themselves from the gene pool. Two psychologists writing for The Conversation, David Oakley and Peter Halligan, may have earned one for logical mistakes so serious that they reduce their arguments to mindless babble. It’s evident right in their headline: “What if consciousness is not what drives the human mind?”
First of all, we see they are engaging in “what if” speculations. But worse, if consciousness does not drive the mind, then they must be asleep at the academic wheel.
We suggest that our personal awareness does not create, cause or choose our beliefs, feelings or perceptions. Instead, the contents of consciousness are generated “behind the scenes” by fast, efficient, non-conscious systems in our brains. All this happens without any interference from our personal awareness, which sits passively in the passenger seat while these processes occur.
Put simply, we don’t consciously choose our thoughts or our feelings – we become aware of them.
We hope someone makes them aware that they have just undermined their whole argument. If they are not consciously choosing their thoughts, then “who” becomes aware of them? Obviously, it would have to be their conscious selves. The argument is self-refuting, like saying, ‘We argue that there are no arguments’ or ‘We choose to believe there is no free will.’ Thoughts or arguments reduce to apparitions of the Stuff Happens Law.
Their idea is built squarely on evolutionary theory, because they speculate about what “gives humans their unique evolutionary advantage.”
If the experience of consciousness does not confer any particular advantage, it’s not clear what it’s purpose is. But as a passive accompaniment to non-conscious processes, we don’t think that the phenomena of personal awareness has a purpose, in much the same way that rainbows do not. Rainbows simply result from the reflection, refraction and dispersion of sunlight through water droplets – none of which serves any particular purpose.
Our conclusions also raise questions about the notions of free will and personal responsibility. If our personal awareness does not control the contents of the personal narrative which reflects our thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions and decisions, then perhaps we should not be held responsible for them.
What is their purpose in writing this? It’s to say they have no purpose. This means that we can safely disregard everything they say, because by their own admission, they don’t know what they are talking about, or why. Their arguments have no purpose. They just happen. They are indistinguishable from rainbows. They are not responsible for them. In fact, they have the audacity to say you are responsible for them.
In response to this, we argue that free will and personal responsibility are notions that have been constructed by society. As such, they are built into the way we see and understand ourselves as individuals, and as a species. Because of this, they are represented within the non-conscious processes that create our personal narratives, and in the way we communicate those narratives to others.
Their argument is just a narrative—a story—emerging unconsciously from non-conscious processes. Why even listen to them? It’s like listening to a chainsaw to study philosophy.
The only way they can imagine themselves saying anything sensible is by exercising the Yoda Complex and talking down to the rest of us, as if they have minds with free will but ordinary humans do not. That doesn’t wash. Their premise indicts the whole human race, including themselves.
In their last paragraph, they try to rescue the illusion of free will, but to no avail. Free will is not a category of understanding. It is just a “notion” – a “vague or imperfect conception or idea of something” that could be anything.
Just because consciousness has been placed in the passenger seat, does not mean we need to dispense with important everyday notions such as free will and personal responsibility. In fact, they are embedded in the workings of our non-conscious brain systems. They have a powerful purpose in society and have a deep impact on the way we understand ourselves.
It’s no use. They are zombies. They operate by “non-conscious brain systems” engaged in “non-conscious processes.” If this all has a “powerful purpose in society,” what could that possibly be, if everyone in the society is also a zombie, with no purpose? Their own argument (if it can be glorified by that designation) is guaranteed to prevent any of us from ever being able to “understand ourselves.” In this view, understanding does not exist.
Parents: Why would you ever risk sending your teenager to an institution run by zombies like this? Incredible that so-called ‘academics’ with PhD’s can be this thick.