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"Rational Scientific Theories from Theism"

 

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Previous: 27.2 Awareness Up: 27. Consciousness Next: 27.4 Awareness in animals and plants

27.3 What awareness is not

According to Postulate 17, consciousness is not a property of physical objects alongside other physical properties. We do not have property dualism. Neither does consciousness emerge from complicated structures of physical objects such as brains. It appears that this emergence might be what is happening, because, in theistic science, the existence of suitably complicated brain and processes is a prerequisite for the operation of the corresponding mental functions. The brain structures form a physical degree that is a good correspondence with the mental degree and therefore act (as a skin) to contain and manifest those mental processes. This appearance of emergence is not actually emergence, since (in reality) the mental and spiritual degrees are appearing from God, not appearing from physical processes or natural objects.

Neither is consciousness something internal to us, a monad, as Leibniz thought, that runs in a parallelism to physical processes. “Monads have no windows,” he said, and thus he required God to set up parallel sequences of events in separate mental and physical entities. According to theistic science, there is some kind of parallelism. We do have reasons for the mental-physical correspondences described in Section 25.3. But the reasons for the parallelism are completely different. We do not have God setting it up in advance, but rather have the parallelism arising dynamically for specific causal reasons, namely because of the generation of derivative dispositions and the reciprocal actions of constraint back on the causal degree. In theistic sciences, decisions in minds do really cause their effects. There is no parallelism which implies merely the appearance of such causality. Leibniz’s view led to Malebranche developing his view of occasionalism (as discussed in Section 18.2) whereby all power belonged to God alone and none to created creatures or objects. Because of intermediate derived dispositions, we do not hold this view within theistic science.27.4

In theistic science we therefore have a kind of dualism. It is certainly not Cartesian dualism, since Descartes’ conception of a rational soul as single non-physical substance is excessively crude and simple compared with our theory of spiritual and natural discrete degrees. Even his idea of a rational soul is not correct. It ignores the essential role of love in defining the substance of the mind.

We do have awareness coming about by reception from God, but it is not awareness itself which is received. Some forms of Hinduism have in Sanskrit the phrase Sat-cit-$\bar{\rm a}$nanda, or truth-consciousness-bliss, to describe the nature of Brahman (the divine source) as experienced by a fully-enlightened saint. In our scientific theism, God (the divine source) certainly has truth and consciousness and delights in divine actions, but our consciousness and our delights are with us, whenever we act by bringing love and wisdom together again into action.


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