“The human brain’s power could rival any machine,” Tamara Cohen writes. She’s got it backwards since the brain existed before any machine. The machine – in this case a super computer – is being designed and constructed by humans who have brains and a mind to go with it.
There is no possible way that the computer could have ever evolved on its own. Not only do you need the hardware, but without software the hardware will do nothing. People with brains and minds designed and built computers and developed the software to make them work.
Christians begin with the presupposition that God created the universe and created man as a special creation different in kind from both inanimate and other animate creations. In fact, man is so special, the Bible tells us, that he is the very “image of God” (Gen. 1:27). One of these image attributes is the existence of the mind and the ability to think rationally (Col. 3:10) and to have and act with a moral sense (Eph. 4:24).
Evolutionists have no way to account for the existence of matter (brain), intelligence (mind), or morality (conscience). Of course, these imponderables don’t stop them from speculating about how these items are possible in an evolutionary worldview, but they have not demonstrated their existence empirically.
The following are some of the operating presuppositions of the matter-only worldview that serve as the pillars of evolution:
- The consistent materialist who denies God also denies the existence of the mind.
- For materialistic philosophers, the mind is an “illusion.”
- “The brain is a machine. We have no selves, no souls. How do they know? Well, it’s just a matter of faith.”1
- In the words of Fox Mulder, we’re nothing more than “electrical [impulses] and chemical[s] through a bag of meat and bones.”2
Such a view begins with the presupposition that all that exists is material in nature, and that we are the sum total of the direction of our DNA. Since the mind as distinct from the brain is by definition non‑material, the mind as a separate entity cannot exist. The existence of what we call the “mind” must be explained solely in physical terms.
Atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett presupposes that “the mind is somehow nothing but a physical phenomenon. In short, the mind is the brain.”3 “The brain,” insists MIT’s Marvin Minsky, in equally reductionistic fashion, is just “hundreds of different machines . . . connected to each other by bundles of nerve fibers, but not everything is connected to everything else. There isn’t a ‘you.’”4
With the advent of the computer, materialists believe they have found the perfect scientific mechanism to demonstrate that the mind is an illusion, a “ghost in a machine.” “The machinists’ model of consciousness is the computer; they see the brain as a superior model, somewhat more versatile than the industrial‑strength Cray super‑computer.”5
The machinists’ computer analogy is self-evidently faulty, however. The machine is nothing without the program. The program is the product of the programmer. Who programmed the programmer? Are we to assume, following the materialist’s logic, that an organic machine programmed an inorganic machine? What kind of trust can we place in the random firing of neural synapses? No one has made this point better than C. S. Lewis:
If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on bio-chemistry, and bio-chemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any significance than the sound of the wind in the trees. Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. . . . The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself.6
There is no accounting for man and the world, between dreaming and waking, illusion and reality if the materialists are right. Of course, if we start with the materialist’s ultimate presupposition that the brain is an organic machine, how would we ever know?
Theologian R. C. Sproul writes that “God’s existence is the chief element in constructing any worldview. To deny this chief premise is to set one’s sails for the island of nihilism. This is the darkest continent of the darkened mind — the ultimate paradise of the fool.”7 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” but if we follow the materialists consistently, there is no mind.
- David Gelman, et al. “Is the Mind an Illusion?,” Newsweek (April 20, 1992), 71. [↩]
- “Kill Switch,” X-File (Season 5, Episode 11). [↩]
- Quoted in Gelman, “Is the Mind an Illusion?,” 71. [↩]
- Quoted in Gelman, “Is the Mind an Illusion?,” 72. [↩]
- Gelman, “Is the Mind an Illusion?,” 72.The Cray computer, named after its founder Seymour Cray, is made up of numerous parallel computers that contain hundreds or thousands of microprocessor chips designed to work on a single problem at once by dividing the task among the individual computers. By comparison, traditional computers, such as the Cray-3, contain one or a handful of processors. [↩]
- C. S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry,” delivered at the Oxford Socratic Club, 1944, published in They Asked for a Paper (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1962), 164–165. [↩]
- R. C. Sproul, The Consequences of Ideas: Understanding the Concepts That Shaped Our World (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2000), 171. [↩]