I was linked to a Youtube video by a friend (my friend was not speaking positively of the video; it was just relevant) titled "The Origin of Consciousness - How Unaware Things Became Aware" by "Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell". As you can tell from the title, the "information" is materialist and therefore subject to numerous intrinsic 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 AM. I would've liked to deliver my rebuttal as a pausefest video, but I still lacked a decent video recording setup at the time, so I just wrote this.
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. This kind of language is usually a sign of people who don't understand their own ideas...
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 give the impression that what he's saying is 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. You'll never find an answer to a null question, and one of the trademarks of poor thinkers is that they can't tell the difference between a question they can't answer because it's deep and one they can't answer because there's nothing being asked.
The next two won't be real rebuttals, just inessential 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?
0:40 - 0:43¶
Different schools and ideas compete with one another,
So it shows the telltale 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.
Bullshit! People who don't approach it like philosophy haven't figured it out, but I have figured out that there's no question. 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.
He's going to outright mention natural selection in his attempt to delegitimize metaphysics. He just committed suicide. Natural selection, the process that preserves only advantageous mutations, would have no possible incentive to produce consciousness instead of an unconscious being that otherwise functions like just a human. Surely it's just extra genetic baggage.
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!)
And naturally he doesn't think for a second about what the implications of this would do to his moral system. If consciousness can evolve from non-consciousness, then couldn't there be something at any point between the two? According to this claim, it's impossible to draw a hard divide between unconscious and conscious. And then how would we resolve questions about the rights of beings inbetween us and rocks?
Most people already irrationally believe animals are a form of this, but if you outright say you believe consciousness is a gradient, then there could be beings between that and us. It's logically impossible now that there can't be a species with some human rights but distinctly less. He has to believe that there could be a species for whom ideal moral behavior from us could be treating them similarly to slaves. I don't think this guy would be comfortable with that implication...
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!" It is impossible for him to ever 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 is 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.
I love how 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.
Hoho! He actually played the life definition! 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!
First of all, he includes the criterion "sustains itself" as part of the definition of life. I'm used to dealing with non-definitions, but phew... What does "sustaining" mean? Does it mean keeping itself alive? 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 fetuses 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 and if not what he thinks of the morality of killing them.
Alright then, back to the other gaping flaws in his definition...
If living things are material objects reducible to their bodies and brains, how can you even delimit which pieces of matter are part of the being or not? I assume he thinks my toe is part of me as an organism, even though I could survive without it, but what about a microscoping piece of my toenail that I wouldn't notice, or a single molecule? What about a dead skin cell I scratched off? Is it still part of me? What about the bacteria on my stomach? These questions matter for a materialist because they reveal that dividing the world into discrete objects or organisms is a heuristic and not objective, making another reason not to use it as our definition of life.
How dumb can you get? Let me unpause the video... oh, I forgot, that was only his first criterion! He included another nonsensical criterion as part of the definition of life, "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 conception existed, he would not be alive. If there were a group of conscious and intelligent and social aliens on another planet with no ability to 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? In that case, you run into issues demarcating whether an organism is a member of a given species! Are people with rare genetic mutations human? What if humans and aliens could interbreed, what species would the children be? What if the aliens could reproduce sexually with humans, but not with themselves (they live forever)? Does that count? If so, what if humans built a machine that could take rocks and use them to produce another rock? Do all rocks suddenly become alive? His entire worldview is ludicrous!
I know a three-year-old who understands what constitutes life better than this guy. 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 materialist 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 people unconscious?
4:43 - 4:44¶
Holy shit! He just went right there! His lack of self-awareness is nothing short of stunning.
4:46 - 5:19¶
(He describes more 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 materialist. 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? Is he really unable to tell the difference between that and conscious memory? Oh what am I saying, of course he is.
5:53 - 6:17¶
(He mentions object permanence.)
6:17 - 6:21¶
Human babies tend to develop this ability around the time they turn 8 months.
This 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. Our experience with the soul's instinct indicates that any being with such an instinct learns this fundamental concept after the first few hours of experience with it. The only thing I can think of that would impede it from happening on day 1 with non-people objects is newborns not having clear vision, which I've heard they don't, so I won't argue it happens on day 1, but I know from experience with four toddlers in my life that it happens a long time before 8 months.
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 months, after describing the concept without using its name and saying 2-3).
6:27 - 6:45¶
(He finally 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 visualize 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 any actual thought 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 seem to me to be more easily linked by instinct. Of course, it doesn't surprise me at all that that 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.
Yet another sparkling demonstration of the mental illness 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 unclear, to answer a question that doesn't exist. This is actually quite revealing; no wonder 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 to argue with 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.