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Argument From Consciousness Debunked


We’ve all heard the claim… the phenomenon of consciousness is so complicated, so magnificent, so extraordinary, that it must be the product of divine intellect! But is it? Really? This, is the Argument from Consciousness Debunked.

As always, I’ll advise you to watch the video instead of reading this description text, but in case you want the flaws I raise in the video stated simply:

1. Non-Sequitur:

Even if we were to assume that theism can adequately explain consciousness, and that naturalism can’t, it by no means follows from this alone that only theism can explain consciousness.

To name but a few alternatives, deism and pantheism can both explain consciousness within their frameworks, and so right from the outset the Argument from Consciousness isn’t coherent… it’s conclusion doesn’t follow from its premises even if they were all valid… which so far as arguments go, is pretty damn pathetic.

2. Black & White Fallacy:

But while we’re on the topic of alternative worldviews that can explain consciousness, the fact that the Argument from Consciousness posits only naturalism and theism as valid options, without justifying why these two options are the only available, means that it commits a Black & White Fallacy.

3. Doesn’t Support a Specific Religion:

A third flaw to raise is that even if the conclusion of the argument was valid, all it would prove is that theism alone can explain consciousness… it wouldn’t even suggest, let alone prove that a specific theistic religion is true.

4. Argument From Ignorance Fallacy:

A fourth spectacular flaw that the Argument from Consciousness commits is a giant Argument from Ignorance Fallacy.

If we cut to the core of what’s being asserted, it’s essentially that because we can’t explain consciousness from a naturalistic framework (which by the way we can), theism must be correct

5. Ignores Evolution by Natural Selection:

A fifth flaw, and to get back to the erroneous assertion that naturalism can’t explain consciousness, is that it can… it’s called Evolution by Natural Selection.

To state it very, very simply, the nervous system evolved to orchestrate movement; feelings evolved to move organisms towards or away from stimulus; awareness evolved to make sense of these feelings; and consciousness evolved to allow organisms to respond more efficiently to their feelings.

6. Personal Incredulity Fallacy:

While I implied earlier that all of the proponents of this argument commit an Argument from Ignorance Fallacy, that’s not always true… some proponents will appeal to ignorance and will indeed commit an Argument from Ignorance, but others won’t appeal to ignorance and will instead simply dismiss evolution by Natural Selection because they can’t personally understand it, and hence, they’d be committing a Personal Incredulity Fallacy.

[Video and text source: Rationality Rules You Tube channel]