Rebuttal to Kurzgesagt's "The Origin of Consciousness"
I was linked to a Youtube video titled "The Origin of Consciousness - How Unaware Things Became Aware" by "Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell".
"The Origin of Consciousness - How Unaware Things Became Aware"
As you can tell from the title, the "information" is materialist and therefore subject to several contradictions. This video goes above and beyond what I've heard from materialists before; I laughed so much at the insane nonsense that I started writing a rebuttal, and enjoyed it so much that I ended up finishing it in the same night, which is to say at 3:00.
Contradictions of materialism
0:04 - 0:12
Stripped to its core meaning, consciousness is what allows us to be aware both of our surroundings, and of our own inner state.
It doesn't bode well that he's making such a sloppy statement so early on. Consciousness *is* the being aware, not something that *allows* us to be aware. That might sound like a nitpick, but this kind of language is usually a sign of a really deeply confused thinker.
I think we can just tune out his filler phrase "Stripped to its core meaning", which adds nothing to his statement and serves only as a psychological trick to make what he's saying sound more profound than it is. There's going to be a lot more of this empty fake mysticism in this video.
0:27 - 0:32
But once we try to pinpoint just what exactly it is, it leaves us grasping at thin air.
Oh come on, that's because it's a prime concept! It can't be defined in terms of other things! That's like saying it's some kind of profound mystery just what "quantity" is.
Defining by reference
The next two won't be real rebuttals, just remarks he makes that I'll criticize because I can.
0:35 - 0:40
Philosophers and scientists struggle to define consciousness,
Because they're stuck in the same rut of nonthink as you! Whose definition of philosopher are we using here, by the way?
Definition of philosopher
0:40 - 0:43
Different schools and ideas compete with one another,
So it shows the typical empirical sign of being a question of philosophy and not science :P
0:43 - 0:46
... but no one has come close to figuring it out.
Of course people who don't approach it like philosophy haven't figured it out. One of the best ways to make it seem like you can't be refuted is to present it as fact that the question is unsolved and that if you don't understand it, it's not even possible that someone else does.
0:46 - 0:53
It's *unsettling* to realize that we don't understand what makes us aware of ourselves and of the world.
- Shakes head* Oh my god...
1:06 - 1:15
Like much of what makes us human, our consciousness is likely to have evolved from less complex forms as a product of evolution by natural selection.
Good job calling attention to one of the weak points in your worldview :P natural selection preserves only advantageous mutations, but consciousness has no functional advantage over an otherwise equivalent unconscious being (see the concept of a philosophical zombie), so it doesn't make sense for it to come from natural selection.
Materialists who realize this often end up going into even more incoherent ideas like that consciousness *is* behavior (or even literally that consciousness doesn't exist!)
Notes for Ontology 1: Dualism & Behaviorism
And naturally he doesn't think for a second about what this does to his moral system. If our consciousness, and therefore our sense of morality, is just a product of evolution, why should our ideas about morality be considered legitimate?
1:27 - 1:37
What was the first step on this path from the non-conscious, to the basic consciousness that ultimately led to the convoluted consciousness we humans enjoy today?
Sad! Materialists can get away with thoroughly explaining how broken their own ideology is and the reaction they get is not "Wow that's a really big problem with your ideology" but "Wow what an interesting question!" He can never describe the first step because not only does such a thing not exist, not only is it painfully obvious that there's a hard line between non-consciousness and "basic consciousness", but as I've explained before, it's impossible to have evidence for the existence of consciousness without free will.
2:14 - 2:17
A more common starting point is with a living thing.
Wow. After calling attention right to it, he just skips over the progression from non-conscious to barely conscious, because he couldn't even whip up some bullshit to make it sound remotely coherent.
2:17 - 2:24
A living thing, or a self, is a part of the universe that sustains itself, and makes more of its kind.
He actually played the life definition card! A materialist tried to define life, and to nobody's surprise, his definition is too insane to be anything but the product of a desperate attempt to move mountains to save a broken metaphysics!
Let's start with the criterion "sustains itself". What does "sustaining" mean, and how long does something have to do that for to be considered "a living thing"? And how do you define whether a being is sustaining itself or being sus-
wait. I just realized what's going on here. He included this because he's pro-abortion. He wanted to pick out some arbitrary non-definable characteristic that most humans have but the unborn don't, and claim it's part of the definition of life. Let's ask him whether he thinks newborns and disabled elders sustain themselves, or if those people aren't living things.
Okay, let's move onto the criterion "makes more of its kind." *Oh* boy.
So anything that doesn't make more of its kind is not alive. If a god similar to the Christian concept existed, it would not be alive. If there were a group of conscious and intelligent and social aliens that couldn't reproduce, they wouldn't be alive. Actually... wasn't there an episode of Star Trek about that? Or if he prefers a more "realistic" example, suppose human sterilized themselves so none of us could reproduce; do we lose our status as living beings? Or what if the eventual end of natural selection produces life forms that don't need to reproduce because they can live forever (sustaining themselves!)?
And does this criterion have to apply to each organism we consider a living thing, in which case no one who dies before having kids was ever alive? (And does having had kids in the past make you count as alive for the rest of your existence? If so, why didn't he use the present perfect tense?) Or does a species only have to have this ability for each member of it to be considered alive? But why would that be? Aliveness is a description that applies to individual organisms, so why would its definition be based on the *species* and not the individual organism that it applies to? This whole thing is just so ludicrous.
By the way, the definition of life is a two-way causal link between a soul and a universe.
2:24 - 2:31
To do so, it needs energy. And *this* is where an awareness of the world comes in handy.
No, you absurd liar, it's where *behaving* comes in handy. Nothing about having perception organs and a brain that controls the muscles based on them necessitates having the type of "mystifying" experience you described in the beginning. Or are you going to become a behaviorist like I mentioned above and claim it does?
2:31 - 4:37
(He describes in detail exactly how a physical organism can "behave" so as to sustain itself and give the outward appearance of intelligence without making any reference whatsoever to consciousness. Then more or less admits it, and claims that "the next step on the ladder of consciousness is to add some perception at a distance.")
Imagine that! Perception at a distance is a "step on the ladder of consciousness"! Are blind and deaf people any less conscious than the rest of us?
4:43 - 4:44
Holy shit! This guy deserves an award for lack of self awareness.
4:46 - 5:19
(He describes how vision enables us to get a *sense* of the space around us, and how this is a huge step toward "more familiar consciousness". Then he says "But even at this stage, the self is only able to pursue its food as long as it sees it. So the next logical step needs to happen on the inside".)
Oh, is he going to actually think? My hopes are low.
5:20 - 5:53
To visualize food in its absence, for example, a self needs to create some sort of inner representation of the world. Now, an animal can continue looking for food, even when it escapes its sensory range. Because of this inner representation of what is relevant in the world, it can remain focused on its food and its desire to get it. Our self now exists in a world it can get familiar with. The ability to remember things has emerged.
There he goes. He's a behaviorist. He actually thinks being able to store a "representation" of the world and act on it constitutes memory in the conscious sense. Does he think my laptop can remember things via its filesystem cache? Can he really not tell the difference between that and conscious memory? Oh what am I saying, of course he can't. His mind has been too severely warped by the need to defend materialism.
5:53 - 6:21
Human babies tend to develop [object permanence] around the time they turn 8 months.
That is an absurdly high guess even if you don't count recognizing their parents as object permanence, which I'm not sure why you wouldn't. And I've witnessed 4 toddlers recognize other external objects long before 8 months.
Anatomy of a soul
According to even some other materialists, his info is outdated and it happens at 2-3 months (although they go on to say 4-7, after describing the concept without using its name and saying 2-3)
6:27 - 6:45
(He mentions that memory suggests a sense of time.) A sense of time, is a big step on the ladder of consciousness. It may also enable oneself to look forward from the present moment and anticipate the future.
Yes, a sense of time is a major corollary of consciousness. I've still heard nothing about how or why natural selection created consciousness from unconsciousness.
6:55 - 7:07
This sort of delayed gratification means there is an ability to visualize a reward that only exists in the future. Which can be quite a challenge even for adult humans. (The video shows an animation of a human picking a single slice of pizza over a full pizza with a clock over it.)
- It doesn't require visualization, as demonstrated by people born blind. *Fucking think.*
- No, it's not a challenge for adult humans. Humans just have time preference. It's not that we can't imagine the future reward or don't understand that it would be bigger, we just prefer to have it now. There could be some interesting discussion about that phenomenon, but I know we're not going to get it with this video.
8:06 - 8:14
Words enable us to think about ourselves and our place in the universe. And even, about our own consciousness.
So he also thinks we can't think about those things without words. You actually can even after being raised to speak a language; if you pay close attention you'll notice that your actual thoughts are wordless; feelings can be experienced and logical deductions can be made without imagining words.
Probably the only purpose the words serve is to make it easier to remember your train of thought, by attaching perceptions which are more easily linked by instinct. It doesn't surprise me at all that this guy didn't *test* it before he said that. It's not like testing is the basis of science, is it?
8:14 - 8:17
... Which is something we'll be doing more in future videos.
Golly, I can't wait. If it's by this guy's definition of thought, I know exactly how much we'll learn. (Hint: I don't need to know the video length to determine it.)
8:33 - 8:50
It probably all started with the urge for more food. So even with this sophisticated consciousness that allows us to dream about space, build skyscrapers, or obsess about novels, it's not surprising that we can't stop thinking about where we'll get our next meal.
The best thing to end on is this sparkling demonstration of the mind cancer of materialism. To this guy, the conscious experience of the pain of hunger and the experience-trained belief that eating relieves the feeling manifesting in a temptation to eat isn't a sufficient explanation for why humans like to eat. He needs to invent this absurd history to explain what wasn't unknown. Now we see why he couldn't understand consciousness in the beginning - he's been trained to see consciousness not as the *cause* of behavior, not even as an epiphenomenon, but merely a metaphor for behavior.
It's the purest self-destroying ideology, and it destroys as well everything its believer believes or values, by delegitimizing all facets of his mind as arbitrary and meaningless.
At the end of the video, he mentions how it was funded by a grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation. Figures. Materialists don't have any substance so they need donations to hire artists and animators for a video backdrop to distract you from how nonsensical their "information" is. Now I know never to donate to the Templeton World Charity Foundation, because they fund propaganda videos that ruin people's ability to think.