Emergent Properties & Consciousness

“I think therefore I am.” – Rene Descartes

I had a long discussion on Reddit about Materialist Reductionism vs Emergent Materialism.

Atheists and scientists tend to focus on reducing systems to their basic rules. Imagine a Conway’s Game of Life. You see all this emergent phenomena such as glider’s and other things that seem to be their own type of entity; yet a CS Major (or anyone) will show how 4 basic rules created those structures. However, it is the emergence of these glider’s that I posit are latent properties of the system.

Our consciousness is one such property. I believe that if we reject the importance and meaning of our own consciousness, we reject the importance and meaning of all truths, to include science as well as reality. We have to believe “I think therefore I am”; for if we do not, we reject everything about reality.

Consciousness > Abiotic Genesis > non living matter.

Reductionist viewpoint:

Thomas Huxley, in the 19th century, when he remarked that mind is to brain as the whistle is to the steam train – a mere epiphenomenon. Thoughts, feelings, intentions, reasons – all are causally generated by brain processes, and it is these latter that do the real business.

source: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/feb/12/self-comes-mind-damasio-review

I would argue we are greater in the sense that the higher level properties are what guides us. We can discover the origins of the Universe due to these emergent properties. Something that a rock (non living matter) cannot do. If we reject these as mere conventions [Atomic Philosophy viewpoint of things like emotions and sensations], then we hold everything as neutral.

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