The tragic situation of PM Sharon, being alive but in a coma without
consciousness, raises an important point, what is consciousness? Sharon is
definitely alive, his vital functions, heart rate, blood pressure, are working
as normal, but his brain is unresponsive to stimuli. This serves to emphasize
that although you can’t live without a functioning heart, consciousness is
also essential for life.
Consciousness is not merely an awareness of the surroundings, for after all
the world in which we find ourselves does not exist for us without
consciousness. I have believed for some time that while science can explain
most (if not all) aspects of the physical world, the major mystery that
remains is consciousness. People used to believe that there were Gods that
controlled lightning and thunder, but now we understand these phenomena.
Or monotheists believe that God is so omnipotent that he/she/it is watching
our every move (God would need a big computer for that). Or alternatively
that God sets the rules and then allows us free will to choose whether to
follow them or not. But, the mystery of consciousness remains. Sharon is an
example, where everything apparently works, except there is something that is
not functioning in his brain that denies him consciousness.
Several years ago I read a fascinating book entitled: “Astonishing hypothesis:
the scientific search for the soul,” by Francis Crick, the same person who
discovered the structure of DNA with James Watson. In his later years Crick
delved into the scientific basis of consciousness. This book, published in
1995, is probably out of date now, but from what I read of it, and an article
he published in Scientific American on consciousness, I came to the conclusion
that those who oppose scientific explanations for many physical aspects of
reality, including evolution, are barking up the wrong tree. It is our
consciousness of what we call reality that is the real mystery that science
has not yet been able to explain. As we develop (evolve) as individuals we
experience the world in three dimensions using our senses, limbs and brain.
This builds a working construct for us that we call reality, and we can
examine and test this reality and over time learn its laws. But, for a theist
to simply say that God gives us consciousness is inadequate. If so why is he
denying PM Sharon that essential spark that makes us live and human.
Correction: A particularly observant Jew pointed out that in my last message
I indicated that “Elohim” was a later designation of God in the Bible, whereas
in fact it is the earliest. This is because the early Hebrews worshipped a
God called El, which was one of many tribal cult figures, hence the plural


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