Why Something vs. Nothing and the Essentialness of Consciousness

Updated on March 19, 2018
Bryon Ehlmann profile image

A retired professor of computer science, now attempting to employ an open mind and his analytic skills to better grasp our amazing world.

A logical argument is given that somethingness is eternal and that it has always included some type of consciousness, be it a God or something else.

Fig. 1.  The biggest of the Big Questions: Why is there something versus nothing?  (The image on the right doesn’t truly show nothingness since you’re perceiving a black space within a span of time.)
Fig. 1. The biggest of the Big Questions: Why is there something versus nothing? (The image on the right doesn’t truly show nothingness since you’re perceiving a black space within a span of time.) | Source

Introduction

The argument for somethingness vs. nothingness attempts to answer one of the age-old Big Questions. Why is there something, namely our universe as we know it, instead of nothing? See Fig. 1. This question is even bigger and more important than the question “Is there a God?” This is because “something” may include a God while “nothing” cannot.

Recently I reread portions of Biocentrism by Robert Lanza [1], a book I highly recommend. I find myself drawn to its argument for the essential existence of consciousness within our universe. In this light, I analyzed an argument for somethingness vs. nothingness in Living with Ambiguity by Donald Crosby [2]. What resulted was my own argument, partially based on Crosby’s, supporting the essentialness of somethingness.

Significantly, however, it differs from Crosby’s argument and others in emphasizing the role of consciousness. I found that an assumption of something—specifically, a present consciousness—seems to pervade it. Yet this is never made explicit. Like Crosby and others, I claim that sheer nothingness cannot exist. However, I think that supporting this claim by declaring such nothingness as “unintelligible” can be seen as inadequate, even inappropriate. I claim that sheer nothingness, which must be absent of everything including a present consciousness since consciousness is indeed a thing, is illogical and thus impossible. Like Crosby and others, I support the eternity of somethingness, though I go further. I claim that somethingness absent of consciousness is also impossible. Thus, a consciousness of some type is essential and also eternal.

Crosby’s first argument against “nothingness” takes issue with the word itself. It’s not meaningful to the real core of the issue and so is discussed in an Appendix to this article.

An Assumption of Consciousness

Crosby’s main argument against “nothingness,” simply put, is that

... sheer nothingness is unintelligible.—Living with Ambiguity, p. 97

I interpret this statement to mean that nothingness without any context is impossible to understand. “Unintelligible” assumes the existence of some intelligence, presumably human. Thus, the statement assumes a consciousness, again a thing, able to conceive or not conceive sheer nothingness.

However, suppose there’s no consciousness. Then, what can be said concerning sheer nothingness? Also, what can be said concerning somethingness, or as the author expresses, “for the existence of the universe itself”?

Crosby supports his argument by correctly stating:

Nothingness is a privative conception, the negation of something positive or existing that might have been present but that is not in some particular case. For this absence to make sense, there must be a broader background of existing things within which the absence of some particular thing or type of thing can be conceived.—Living with Ambiguity, p. 98

Again, note the phrases “For this absence to make sense” and “can be conceived,” which in describing nothingness paradoxically assumes the existence of something, a consciousness. However, again suppose there’s no conscious thing present to conceive of “a broader background of existing things”—i.e., to sense or imagine a context so as to conceive an absence? Then isn’t nothingness even less than unintelligible? Perhaps illogical?

Nothingness without Consciousness

Crosby continues:

Negation is meaningless unless there is already something to be negated. Hence, total negation or sheer nothingness is unintelligible.—Living with Ambiguity, p. 98

Can more be stated about sheer nothingness than merely that we humans can’t understand it?

If sheer nothingness includes no consciousness whatsoever, as it should, then obviously it’s “unintelligible” since there’s no intelligence of any type around to conceive it. “Unintelligible” is in quotes because the word isn't really applicable. Crosby’s argument for unintelligibility based on privation is irrelevant as there’s no one to sense or even imagine an absence of things.

More accurately, the following can be stated:

Lemma 1. Nothingness without consciousness is scientifically unverifiable and illogical.

Proof. It’s unverifiable because such “nothingness” can never be shown to be true, not even by a God. It takes a consciousness to verify.

More significantly, it’s illogical because nothingness and no consciousness is a contradiction. If there’s nothingness, then it must be conceived as contrasting with something within some context, i.e., by privation (as Crosby has correctly argued). However, if it can be so conceived, then there’s a consciousness. Now, if there’s no consciousness, then (as I have rhetorically argued) nothing can be intelligently conceived including nothingness by privation. Thus, there’s no nothingness. ■

Hereafter, for clarity I refer to nothingness without consciousness—i.e., true sheer nothingness—justifiably so, as nonsensical nothingness.

Lemma 1 implies the following.

Corollary 1. Consciousness is essential for nothingness.

Now, if a present consciousness is assumed, as Crosby seems to assume, then by definition this consciousness must be able to perceive and thus conceive of something. Thus, nothingness based on privation, and thus contextual, is always intelligible. This kind of nothingness can be termed contextual nothingness. It means the same as the word "nothingness" defined in a dictionary for a reader, i.e., a present consciousness. It's quite meaningful and applicable, for example, to an empty set.

In fact, a nothingness based on privation of seemingly all that a present consciousness can conceive is intelligible. It’s the absence of everything of which this consciousness can conceive---seemingly, including one’s self. However, the present conceiver can’t really remove their present self from this nothingness. How can they? Its conception depends on it. So, is this nonsensical nothingness? No! It’s a contextual nothingness, one that still includes one’s self.

For example, I can conceive of the nothingness that for me was my before-life, the time before my conception. I simply mentally subtract all that I now know I was missing. This is a contextual nothingness. See Fig. 2.

Fig. 2.  A contextual nothingness of a before-life. The nothingness of a before-life as may be conceived by a present consciousness.  We can't remove our consciousness from such conceptions.
Fig. 2. A contextual nothingness of a before-life. The nothingness of a before-life as may be conceived by a present consciousness. We can't remove our consciousness from such conceptions. | Source

The “nothingness” in my before-life, however, was at the time and relative to me nonsensical nothingness. There was no present me to perceive or conceive it, nor was there any time for me to do so. See Fig. 3 below, which is as the caption indicates

A figure that can't be shown:

Fig. 3.  The nonsensical nothingness of a before-life, a nothingness that can’t be and thus can’t be shown
Fig. 3. The nonsensical nothingness of a before-life, a nothingness that can’t be and thus can’t be shown

The “nothingness” many perceive as their after-life, though imagined contextually, is also nonsensical nothingness. Thus, relative to self, it’s meaningless [3].

Somethingness without Consciousness

Now, what about the concept of somethingness when there’s no consciousness? When a present consciousness is assumed, then somethingness is obviously intelligible to this consciousness by definition. That is, consciousness requires something of which to be conscious, even if only one’s self. However, somethingness in the absence of consciousness is, perhaps surprisingly, like nonsensical nothingness. It’s scientifically unverifiable and illogical. The argument supporting this closely parallels that given above for nonsensical nothingness.

First, an explanation for “something” in tune with that given by Crosby for “nothing”:

Something is a derivative conception, whose existence is based on the properties (e.g., mass, shape, color) of one of more things and their relationships to other existing things (e.g., composition, location, movement) that define and thereby identify things in space and time. For this existence to make sense, the defining properties and relationships must be conceived.

Again, an assumption of consciousness pervades the above statement. However, suppose there’s no conscious thing present to conceive of the “defining properties and relationships”? Subatomic particles and planets beyond our solar system, for example, can only be conceived to exist and make sense when their defining properties and relationships to other things are conceived—i.e. sensed, detected, measured, or imagined by a consciousness.

Below are statements about “somethingness” like those that Crosby makes about “nothingness.”

Derivation (of something) is meaningless unless there are some perceived defining properties and relationships on which to base it. Hence, undefined somethingness is unintelligible.

By undefined somethingness I mean something having no conceivable defining properties and relationships. Again, the above statement is assuming a consciousness in declaring undefined somethingness as “unintelligible." However, can more then be stated about undefined somethingness than merely that we humans can’t understand it?

If undefined somethingness includes no consciousness, then obviously it’s “unintelligible” since there’s no intelligence of any type around to conceive it. “Unintelligible” is in quotes because the word isn’t really applicable. Moreover, any argument for unintelligibility based on derivation is irrelevant as there’s no one to sense or even imagine properties and relationships.

More accurately, the following can be stated:

Lemma 2. Somethingness without consciousness is scientifically unverifiable and illogical.

Proof. It’s unverifiable because such “somethingness” can never be shown to be true, not even by a God. It takes a consciousness to verify. (Theoretically, a God could be scientifically verifiable, but somethingness without consciousness cannot.)

More significantly, it’s illogical because somethingness and no consciousness is a contradiction. If there’s somethingness, then it must be conceived from the defining properties and relationships, i.e., by derivation. However, if it can be so conceived, then there’s a consciousness. Now, if there’s no consciousness, then something cannot be intelligently conceived, including somethingness by derivation. Thus, there’s no somethingness. ■

Hereafter, I refer to somethingness without consciousness—i.e., true undefined somethingness—justifiably so, as nonsensical somethingness. See Table 1.

Lemma 2 implies the following:

Corollary 2. Consciousness is essential for somethingness.

As previously stated, a present consciousness must by definition be able to perceive and thus conceive of something. Thus, somethingness based on derivation (from conceived properties and relationships) is always intelligible. This kind of somethingness can be termed defined somethingness. It means the same as the word “somethingness” as defined for the conscious reader in dictionaries and is quite meaningful.

Table 1. Glossary of terms

Term
Defintion
consciousness
at some level, the ability of a living thing or things to perceive and be aware, i.e., conceive, of other things and perhaps be responsive
contextual nothingness or nothingness
the state of there being nothing perceived via the absence of things within some context
defined somethingness or somethingness
the state of there being some things perceived via their defining properties and relationships
nonsensical nothingness
a term for sheer nothingness that makes clear the absence of any conscious thing
nonsensical somethingness
a term for undefined somethingness that makes clear the absence of any conscious thing
sheer nothingness
a “nothingness” with no conceived absence of things, i.e., with no context
undefined somethingness
a “somethingness” with things having no conceived defining properties or relationships

I can presently conceive of a somethingness in my before-life, which existed without me and was perceived by others, because I presently know of some things I was missing. I can conceive of their defining properties and relationships. This is defined somethingness.

However, I haven't really removed me, i.e., my consciousness, from this somethingness. I’m part of it, perceiving it in hindsight. For me it’s not real but exists only in my mind, i.e., in my day dreams. See Fig. 4.

Fig. 4. A defined somethingness of a before-life. The somethingness of a before-life as may be conceived by a present consciousness.  We cannot remove our consciousness from such conceptions.
Fig. 4. A defined somethingness of a before-life. The somethingness of a before-life as may be conceived by a present consciousness. We cannot remove our consciousness from such conceptions. | Source

Actually, the “somethingness” in my before-life, at the time and relative to me, was a nonsensical somethingness. There was no present me to conceive it, nor was there any time for me to conceive it. See Fig. 5 below, which is as its caption indicates

A figure that can't be shown:

Fig. 5.  The nonsensical somethingness of a before-life, a somethingness that can’t be and thus can’t be shown
Fig. 5. The nonsensical somethingness of a before-life, a somethingness that can’t be and thus can’t be shown

As another example, which goes to the core of biocentrism, consider the period of time, if such existed, before any life, and thus any consciousness, existed whatsoever, not even a God.

We can presently conceive of a somethingness during this period. We simply subtract all living things, including us, from the somethingness we now perceive. We may even attempt to project backwards based on science and conceive of a somethingness, i.e., our universe, soon after a “Big Bang.” We haven’t, however, really removed ourselves from this somethingness. We are part of it, conceiving it in hindsight. It exists only in our minds, perhaps as shown in Fig. 6. Again, this is a defined somethingness. It’s defined based on our current perceptions of things and our assumptions that matter and energy have always existed and behaved as they do now in the presence of our consciousness.

Fig. 6.  A defined somethingness before all life. A somethingness that existed before all life began as may be conceived by a present consciousness.  We cannot remove our consciousness from such conceptions.
Fig. 6. A defined somethingness before all life. A somethingness that existed before all life began as may be conceived by a present consciousness. We cannot remove our consciousness from such conceptions. | Source

A “somethingness” before all life began, however, is a nonsensical somethingness because there would be no consciousness present to perceive or conceive it and thus no time or space in which to conceive it. (Biocentrism claims time and space are only animal perceptions, not fundamental properties of our universe [1]; however, the truth of this claim isn’t essential here.) A lifeless space wouldn’t be anything like that imagined in Fig. 6. There wouldn’t be any shapes, color, twinkles of light, not even darkness. It's just like nonsensical nothingness. See Fig. 7 below, which is as its caption indicates

A figure that can't be shown:

Fig. 7.  The nonsensical somethingness before all life, a somethingness that can’t be and thus can’t be shown
Fig. 7. The nonsensical somethingness before all life, a somethingness that can’t be and thus can’t be shown

To summarize, logic dictates that if one claims that sheer nothingness is unintelligible to a present consciousness, one most also admit that undefined somethingness is just as unintelligible. Moreover, somethingness without consciousness is like nonsensical nothingness, impossible and nonsensical. For with no consciousness, there is nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing to touch, nothing to smell, no space, no time, nothing to detect or measure, and nothing to even think about. What more like sheer, and nonsensical, nothingness could one ask for?

An Eternal Consciousness

So in the beginning, was there somethingness or nothingness? By Lemma 1, nonsensical nothingness is impossible. Also, if something cannot come from nothing, then obviously in the beginning there had to be something since there’s presently something. Thus:

Theorem 1. There has always been something.

By Lemma 2, nonsensical somethingness is impossible. Thus:

Theorem 2. There has always been a consciousness.

Such consciousness was of some form, at least up to the task of perceiving something, whatever that could have been. Perhaps it was only to perceive a molecule of nourishment. Perhaps it was to perceive in some manner everything making up a universe.

Somethingness and consciousness are contingent on each other. You can’t have one without the other! Moreover, since nonsensical nothingness is forever impossible, the following can be stated.

Theorem 3. Somethingness and consciousness are eternal.

So, there’s really no beginning and there will never be an end.

Theorem 3 implies the following:

Corollary 3. Somethingness, including consciousness, can only change.

That is, the composition of somethingness and consciousness can only evolve.

The Nature of Consciousness

But what exactly is consciousness? That’s another Big Question, which won’t be answered here. There are many definitions of consciousness. The one I give in the “Glossary of terms” is very broad, allowing for a continuum of consciousness from the very primitive to the very advanced. There is much about consciousness that we don’t know. Here are some things we do know, which are all somewhat related.

  • A consciousness can perceive certain properties of things and process and act based on them that another type of consciousness cannot even perceive. Examples are a scent detected by a dog, an echo pattern from an object “seen” by a dolphin or a bat, and a magnetic field sensed by a migrating bird.

  • A consciousness may perceive of things in some form and such things are perceived by another type of consciousness quite differently (e.g., seeing in shades of gray vs. color).

  • Many things likely exist in the universe that one or more types of consciousness perceive but that human consciousness currently does not. Whether or not such things will ever be perceived or conceived by humans is unknown.

Below is a possibility based only partially on what is known, making it very speculative.

  • A consciousness (perhaps very advanced) may perceive, even fashion, things in some form (e.g., as probabilistic waves) and such things change or materialize into another form (e.g., particles) when observed by another consciousness. Could such a possibility facilitate some degree of future control?

Fig. 8.  The structure of a single cell E. coli bacterium. Complexity can be seen in the simplest of organisms.
Fig. 8. The structure of a single cell E. coli bacterium. Complexity can be seen in the simplest of organisms. | Source

More Support for an Eternal Consciousness

Thus far I’ve given a philosophical argument for an eternal consciousness. More practical considerations and observations also support it.

  • Just as it’s impossible to explain how something can arise from nothing, it may be impossible to explain how consciousness can arise from non-consciousness. That is, how does life arise from lifeless matter and energy?

    So far, science can’t tell us. The proposition that the first cell sprang from random chemical processes in some "primordial soup” remains farfetched. This is especially true considering the complexity of the simplest of single-cell organism, an E. coli bacterium (see Fig. 8), and all of the abilities demanded of the first one. These include the abilities to “sense,” capture, and process certain molecules as nourishment from its environment, to grow, and to replicate via DNA. [4]

    All life as we know it has evolved from life. Every living cell in every living thing is part of an unbroken chain of living cells that has been dividing for billions of years [1]. Only consciousness begets consciousness, no matter how primitive or advanced. This observable fact should be scientifically accepted until proven otherwise.

  • Science cannot explain how the collection of inert molecules in a brain can by themselves create consciousness. Analogously, one cannot explain how the hardware of a TV by itself can create the experience one gets from watching it. Perhaps both must tap into something else.

    And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.Genesis 2:7, King James Version

    Not just matter and energy but an eternal and essential “breath of life,” as poetically described in a Biblical creation myth, may actually reflect a scientific truth.

  • Many mystical experiences of the human consciousness have been reported that can’t be explained [5, 6]. They’re often just written off by science. Within dreams people have had premonitions of deaths or accidents with many details that later prove to be true. A few exceptional people can rattle off small details of what happened in their lives and in the world on a particular day when given only a date. Is the information needed for these mystical phenomena readily accessible to these people only in their brains or might their brains be accessing it from “the cloud"? Is there perhaps a global consciousness that our brains and other living things tap into in varying degrees? Some have posited a transmission or radio model of the human brain where consciousness doesn’t solely arise via its “hardware and circuitry” [5].

  • Mathematics (including logic) provides semantics for describing the somethingness of the universe. Counts, quantities, equations, geometric shapes, sets, logic, etc., while not contingent on something, are irrelevant without it. Mathematics wasn’t created by humans but only discovered and given a notation as human intelligence evolved.[7] Mathematics is eternal, along with somethingness, as seems appropriate.

    Mathematics is also inexorably connected with consciousness. Mathematics is irrelevant without consciousness (along with somethingness) and is essential for consciousness. Consciousness must perform math and logic in some way to act on sensory perceptions. Very minimally, such processing for a single-cell organism after perceiving a molecule’s properties may be like:

    if (property1 is true) and (property2 ≥ quantity2), then consume it.

    Thus, the eternity of consciousness harmonizes with the eternity of mathematics and somethingness. If one believes that somethingness once existed without consciousness, they must also believe that mathematics existed without any guarantee of ever being used and must ponder why.

    (Note that the eternal existence of mathematics provides another argument for the impossibility of nonsensical nothingness.)

  • Science can only account for less than 5% of the matter and energy, i.e., the somethingness, in the universe. The rest, 95%, is simply called gray matter and energy. What does it entail? Is it something that, while mathematically conjectured, has yet to materialize in a form perceivable by a human consciousness? Has it already been perceived by another consciousness? Is it a form of consciousness?

If science could account for only 0% of matter and energy, would there be a science? Would there be a consciousness? If not, how could there be a universe, i.e., a somethingness?

A Biasing Human Arrogance

Humans are an arrogant species. At least it seems that a good bit of arrogance has always prejudiced our beliefs.

First, many humans believed they were specially created by a God to “have dominion over … every living thing that moveth upon the earth” and to “subdue it.”[8] Later, most believed their planet to be the center of the universe. Later still, humans believed that consciousness was only possessed by them and maybe a God.

Now, with the advent of evolution, many believe that humans alone are the ultimate in consciousness, the climax of a long process. This process miraculously began with no consciousness and culminated in a wholly self-contained and self-centered, human consciousness.

It’s also now generally believed that the universe preceding this evolutionary process must have been (surprise!) very much like we—obviously, possessing in every way the superior consciousness—can perceive it. Except of course, without much thought, we subtract all life and related consciousness from our conceived evolving universe. We assume we have subtracted all life and consciousness and can simply subtract our own without effect. In doing these subtractions, however, our speculations are biased. They are based on our current conscious perceptions, not those of other beings, known or unknown, and possibly not those of any type of global or shared consciousness.

Could our current, conventional view of the world possibly still be too human-centered? Still a bit too arrogant?

Conclusion

Any discussion of somethingness and nothingness must be framed in terms of consciousness. The presence or absence of a consciousness in considering each must be clearly identified.

From the perspective of a present consciousness, both a contextual nothingness and a defined somethingness are meaningful and thus intelligible. However, if no consciousness is assumed, as it should be for nothingness, then nothingness is impossible and can be called nonsensical nothingness. By the same token, if no consciousness is assumed, then somethingness is also impossible and can be called nonsensical somethingness.

That somethingness is logical only in the presence of consciousness makes consciousness an essential part of our universe.

In the beginning there was both somethingness and consciousness. Actually, both are eternal having no beginning or end. Other considerations and observations also seem to support this conclusion. To accept it, perhaps we just need to overcome our arrogance.

Now, if there has always been consciousness, the next big question is “In what form?” Is it a God or something else?

References

  1. Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, Robert Lanza, MD with Bob Berman (Benbella Books, 2009).

  2. Living with Ambiguity: Religious Naturalism and the Menace of Evil, Donald A. Crosby (SUNY Press, 2008).

  3. , Bryon Ehlmann (HubPages, 2013)

  4. How Evolution Works, Marshall Brian (HowStuffWorks, July 5, 2014)

  5. Visions of the Impossible: How ‘fantastic’ stories unlock the nature of consciousness, Jeffrey J. Kripal (Chronicles of Higher Education, March 31, 2014)

  6. A Rationalist’s Mystical Moment, Barbara Ehrenreich (The New York Times, April 5, 2014)

  7. Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, Michael Ruse (Chronicles of Higher Education, May 15, 2012)

  8. Genesis 1:28, King James Version

Notes

  • A related, recent, and yet unpublished article by this author posits and proves based on human experience and current scientific knowledge that even with death there is no such thing as nothingness. A preprint of the article, The Theory of a Natural After-life Consciousness: The Psychological Basis for a Natural Afterlife, is available on academia.edu. It describes a non-supernatural, timeless and everlasting consciousness that survives death in the mind of the dying person.
  • All trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.
  • For permission to republish this article, contact bryon.ehlmann@gmail.com.

Appendix: A Meaningless Argument Based Literally on Nothing

The first argument that Crosby makes against nothingness is given below and can be shown as not meaningful to the real issue.

Even to speak of a “state” [of nothingness] is to attribute some kind of existence to it and thus to contradict the claim of its being nothing. And what could the contradictory phrase of “being nothing” mean?—Living with Ambiguity, p. 97

The above claimed contradictions are just clever plays on word-type and semantics. To explain this, some meticulous analysis is needed.

Here are two definitions of “nothingness”:

the absence or cessation of life or existence—Google

1: the quality or state of being nothing 2 : nonexistence— The Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Because “nothingness” is a very unique noun, in the first sentence above Crosby initially uses it as a thing (since it’s a noun)—more specifically, a state—in order to attribute an “existence” to it. Then, in the same sentence he uses its “nonexistence” meaning, stated here as a claim of “being nothing” in order to assert a contradiction. So, its word type contradicts its meaning. Then why not delete it from the dictionary?

The second sentence above implies another contradiction. However, none exists if “being” is interpreted here with proper meaning, that being the present participle of “be,” defined as:

1 : to equal in meaning or symbolically—The Merriam-Webster Dictionary

That is, “nothingness” is the condition equaling in meaning to “nothing.” (Note the similar use of “being” in the sentence introducing the above definition.)

One could employ Crosby’s argument to prove that an empty set (symbolized as {} or Ø) is meaningless. After all, one could say that the “state” of nothingness exists in an empty set since it has no elements, i.e., its contents “being nothing.” Now just reread Crosby’s argument to prove that an empty set is meaningless.

If nothingness must be deemed a state (second definition above), a better definition to eliminate any word-play shenanigans would be:

the state of nothing existing, not even the state itself

Express Your Opinion

Before reading this article, did you believe that sheer nothingness (a nothingness without any consciousness) is possible?

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After reading this article, do you believe that sheer nothingness (a nothingness without any consciousness) is possible?

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Before reading this article did you believe that an undefined somethingness (a somethingness without any consciousness) is possible?

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After reading this article, do you believe that an undefined somethingness (a somethingness without any consciousness) is possible?

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After reading this article, do you believe that consciousness is eternal—that is, it has always and will always exist in some form?

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© 2014 Bryon Ehlmann

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      Bryon Ehlmann 2 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      To jesse,

      Calling one of the Biblical accounts of creation (there are two btw) a "myth" is not from "fear of the PC science police" or "a slight of passive aggressive." The vast majority of Biblical scholars, non-scientists, label them myth or legend. They are products of the science of the times, close to 1000 BC, and are known to contain elements that can also be found in older, non-Jewish creation myths.

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      jesse 2 years ago

      'Biblical creation myth'? I think account would've been a better choice in words; the use of myth is transparent to a fear of the PC science police, it is, after all, an account and calling it a myth is a slight of the passive aggressive. That being said, I like to think of consciousness as a substance which can fill a vessel, which then assumes the shape (qualities and abilities) of such a vessel, or like a program which runs on a computer. As humans, our computer has the ability to run a larger portion of the program than say a dog, though both may be running an equal program, the human hardware (brain, cognition) can run more aspects of the program than the dog and part of that program is the ability to conceive of our sentience where perhaps a dog does not. This does not mean that the consciousness of a lesser intelligent creature is inferior to that of beings of our level (or greater in the universe at large) merely that while running the program of consciousness they are not running as many aspects as the more evolved creature is able to run. You touched on this in respect to humans not running the echo location program which whales can run due to our lack of hardware. I came to this line of thinking while pondering the mentally retarded and the elderly entering into senility and dementia with a slight fear regarding the latter of the two. My thinking was that if you lost your marbles was that who you became? Or was it just a hardware failure and the software was no longer able to run but remained in tact, manifesting itself in a faulty running? The same with the mentally retarded; are they merely unable to run their program to 100% capacity?

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      Boo boo 3 years ago

      Interesting. A bit long, but cool.

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