June 27, 2023 | David F. Coppedge

The Brain Is Not Conscious

Consciousness uses the brain, but the brain’s
physical matter cannot explain reason.



Souls are conscious but the brain is not. It is no more aware of itself than a clock is aware of the concept of 8:39 a.m. Does a computer understand the program it is running? No; electrons are merely flowing through it directed by a mind.

Neuroscientist Christof Koch just paid up on a bet he lost. He bought philosopher David Chalmers a case of fine Portuguese wine, because twenty-five years ago, he bet Chalmers that “the mechanism by which the brain’s neurons produce consciousness would be discovered by 2023.” Focus on that key word “mechanism”—that is the issue. Is consciousness a mechanism performed by matter? Is it like a clock understanding 8:39 a.m. as the minute hand moves? Is a rock aware of rockness, or water aware of wetness? Is Koch’s gray matter aware of the moral rectitude of paying up on a lost bet after a quarter-century of time has elapsed?

Decades-long bet on consciousness ends — and it’s philosopher 1, neuroscientist 0 (Nature News, 24 June 2023). Mariana Lenharo reports on the bet, and explains the positions of Koch and Chalmers. It’s not necessary to understand the meaning of the two competing theories, “integrated information theory” (IIT) or “global network workspace theory” (GNWT), because both were losers in experiments to explain consciousness. To understand the “hard problem of consciousness” that Koch could not explain with materialism, watch Chalmers explain it to Robert Kuhn on this YouTube video from 2013.

Lenharo says that more experiments are planned. Koch is still optimistic that science will explain consciousness, but admits he doesn’t have 25 more years to wait.

Other experiments are underway. As part of the Templeton foundation initiative, Koch is involved in a study testing IIT and GNWT in the brains of animal models. And Chalmers is working on another project evaluating two other hypotheses of consciousness.

It’s rare to have proponents of competing theories come together at the table and be open to having their predictions tested by independent researchers, Melloni says. “That took a lot of courage and trust from them.” She thinks that projects like these are essential for the advancement of science.

But if experiments are performed on a false premise, science will not advance. It will run around in circles. The statement embraces the myth of progress, that more busy work necessarily generates understanding. Instead, it’s like the proverbial moron in a round room told there is a penny in the corner. He runs around and around till exhausted, but doesn’t get praise for effort even if he tries for 25 years.

Notice, in passing, that “courage” and “trust” assume the prior existence of moral values in the conceptual realm.

The Philosopher Wins: There’s No Consciousness Spot in the Brain (Mind Matters, 26 June 2023). Intelligent design supporter Denyse O’Leary gloats over this lost bet as a victory for dualism (the view that mind and matter are separate entities). She explains some of the terms in the Nature article, discusses other competing theories, and quotes neuroscientist Michael Egnor (another dualist) on why materialists cannot even define consciousness.

Wernher von Braun described humans as “souls cast in animal bodies.”

I remember 25 years ago when secular neuroscientists with spicy hot chutzpah promised that religion would be refuted by advances in neuroscience. Well, how many more years do we give them?

O’Leary’s analysis is welcome, but she does not address (at least in her article) the fundamental flaw in all materialist theories of consciousness: they are self-refuting. Materialists who use words are employing the very thing they deny, the meaning of concepts that are immaterial. Did she realize that even the attempt to define consciousness presupposes it? Rocks don’t do that.

Materialists are like a charlatan pretending to explain a novel by trying to say that the plot emerges from the paper and ink. But like we said earlier, meaning is orthogonal to the medium. A movie does not derive from the flashing pixels on a TV screen; it comes from a mind who intentionally organized matter to convey a message. In every case we know, meaning is a product of an immaterial mind. Read again Connally’s excellent essay at World News Group, “What Are Words?”

O’Leary could have refuted both Koch and Chalmers in one paragraph by pointing out that no refutation is necessary, because their views refute themselves. Would one give serious attention to a clown trying to explain philosophy? The only difference between the clown and Koch is in the sophistication of their ignorance. The value of reading Koch and Chalmers (who is looking for a penny in the corner of a Klein bottle) is in appreciating the hopelessness of philosophies that deny a conscious God as the Creator of consciousness.

Genesis 2:7 says, “the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” That’s dualism. The dust did not become conscious; Adam’s soul did. Consciousness was not an “emergent property” of dust. Nor was the dust already conscious, like panpsychists believe. What made Adam come to life, able to perceive his surroundings and experience the qualia from his newly-created senses, and respond in semantically-rich words to his Maker, was the breath of God—the life-giving bequest of an intelligent, wise, creative, self-existent, self-aware One who gave his name as “I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

You can’t get consciousness from materialism, nor can you get it from any other non-Biblical philosophy. Don’t get lost in the elaborate Klein bottles of unbelievers. Step outside of them and just watch the clowns inside wear themselves out.


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