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The obvious reason, put simply, is that humans are cosmic beings. Terminating the existence of a cosmic being, at any stage, for frivolous or no reason, can only be a crime against the cosmos.
The scientists tell us that the Universe is some 15 billion years old. Further, that life originated on this planet some 3 billion years ago. Loren Eisley, in his somewhat strange book, The Immense Journey, outlines the events that led to the appearance of humans on the planet, as modern Man some 200,000 years ago or so ago. And humans are the only beings we know of in the cosmos that are aware of being aware. Self-conscious. Conscious of their own consciousness.
Further, we are told there are some 10 to the 500th power possible universes. That our universe is only one of the possible 10 to the 500th power universes. And that ours is the only Universe in which we can exist. None of the others would lead to the appearance of a conscious being aware of its own consciousness. We are, if you will, the embodiment of the Universe’s capacity for self-awareness. We are the only such embodiment. In the only universe that could possibly produce such a being. Indeed, the fine-tuning of the fundamental constants of the Universe, is so precise as to defy description, and can only be explained by the Anthropic principle, the gist of which is that the Universe was made for Man, not Man for the Universe (although the physicists will reject such phraseology as a knee-jerk reflex, it accurately expresses their Anthropic Principle).
We know that once a human egg is fertilized, and becomes an embryo, a frenzy of cellular activity begins that in a short eight weeks of a continuous process, produces, from a single cell, a fully formed human being, with a full complement of some 80 billion neurons comprising it’s nervous system. That process is, to say the least, poorly understood. That human nervous system is arguably, contrary to the wildly misguided notions of the Time Bandits, the most fabulous thing in the Universe.
That particular embryo at fertilization is utterly unique in the history of the cosmos. No single identical individual person has existed before, and no identical person will ever exist after.
The Evolutionists tell us that that embryo is a cosmic accident. A happenstance. Something foreign in and to the cosmos. A mere roll of the cosmic dice. Of no significance. Yet the basis of their science is determinism. Which essentially says that whatever is must have come about because of forces that guaranteed that outcome. That the existence of that embryo must somehow have been programmed into the Universe at the moment of the “Big Bang..” They want it both ways. They contradict themselves. They are completely and egregiously in conflict with themselves.
Or they say that whatever the Universe permits will eventually emerge. Given enough time, all possibilities will be realized. That Humans are merely one of innumerable possibilities. Yet, humans are, as of now, as far as we know, utterly unique in the Cosmos. And unique in a way that does indeed reflect the Cosmos becoming aware of itself. And to extirpate such a being for frivolous reasons is an affront to the Cosmos. A violent intervention in the Cosmic order. At any stage of the existence of such a being, beginning to end.
So that Human Consciousness is studied and examined, mostly in ways that emphasize and insist on the finite and limited nature of that consciousness. That it is a causal mechanical system only. The problem is that the “scientists” or philosophers, etc., simply cannot explain it. The simple event of someone hearing a sentence, processing it, and making a verbal response, is so far beyond the capacities of “science” that it is almost laughable. Yet we treat that being as if we fully understood all that is important or needed to classify that being as some determinate collection of atoms of no significance whatsoever. Has any greater error ever been made?
Noam Chomsky once told us what language was. Unfortunately, he used a Skinnerean black box construct that explained nothing. Finally he admitted that he had no idea what language is or where it comes from or what produces it. Just a little candor, for which we are grateful (See Tom Wolfe’s book “The Kingdom of Speech”).
David Hume told us that our consciousness reflects only our sensory perceptions, bundled together. Eventually he realized that his “bundle” theory fell short, and posited that there must be an “Evident Connection” to use Galen Strawson’s words. But Hume had no idea what that was. Hume of course was called an “Empiricist” though he never did anything empirical, like amass data on a specific type of event to try and see what underlay it, like, say, Faraday did. He only speculated on Empiricism. And he kept contradicting what he supposedly was by doubting all Empiricism (going so far as to say that just because the sun rises today, does not mean that it will rise tomorrow). He was something of a skeptical anti-empiricism empiricist, it seems.
Since Hume, many have tried to explain consciousness. Dennett, for example, tells us that our consciousness is akin to the software of a computer. So how is it that human consciousness created computers? And software? The chicken comes before the egg comes before the chicken and etc….
Dennett eventually admits that he cannot explain consciousness. As Gomer Pyle would say: Surprise, surprise!
That doesn’t stop Stephen Pinker from emphasizing all the cognitive limitations of humans, such that, to read him, one comes to suspect that no human ever crossed a street without the assistance of some genius like Pinker. Or the behavioral economists who insist that we all must be continuously “nudged” in order for us to survive, let alone thrive.
No consideration by Pinker of how any such Human could invent calculus, discover the laws of motion, produce General Relativity, or Zermelo=Frankl logic, or Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems, or, for that matter, fly to the moon. Or cult the Pieta’ or write the Divine Comedy or Paradise Lost or the Canterbury Tales or Borges’ stories or produce a Bible.
More recently, Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff have presented a model of the Human nervous system as a high-temperature superconducting quantum computational system. Something like this would have to be the case, given the phenomenon of savantism. Yet Penrose falls short of explaining the central conundrum of physical science: How Human Consciousness collapses the Wave Equation. This question, recognized by Schrödinger from the Quantum mechanics that he developed, drove Erwin Schrödinger to distraction and a Vedantic panpsychic view, that the only thing that exists is consciousness. Bohr tried to prevent consideration of such a question without complete success. And Hugh Everett confused the whole issue with his Everettian view of multiple Universes created.moment after moment by Human conscious observation of physical events. (Sean Carroll apparently got fired recently from his position occupying the Feynmann chair at Cal Tech due to the seriousness with which he considers the Everettian idea).
Withal, one must perforce accept that Consciousness is as intrinsic to the Cosmos as gravity, the electroweak force, the strong nuclear force, and charge, parity, and time symmetry. And that thus we are an integral phenomenon of the cosmos, a manifestation of the fundamental nature of the Cosmos. The most overt manifestation of the most fundamental nature of the Cosmos.
Subtle is the Cosmos, and we are creatures, creations, of it, and of its Creator. As clay under the seal.Published in