This blog presents a summary of Chapter 10 from Lee Strobel's book 'The Case for a Creator.
The basic argument in the chapter-
The basic argument of the chapter is that there is a mind or consciousness existing in human beings which is beyond or different from the brain. We are created in the image of God and hence our soul is complex to understand. The chapter deals with evidence of consciousness. Lee Strobel starts with the controversy over consciousness and concerns related to brains boundaries. Then he writes about his interview with J.P. Moreland which deals with various issues and questions regarding consciousness.
2. The major points of the argument that impressed me the most-
Wilder Penfield, the renowned father of modern neurosurgery through performing surgery on more than a thousand epileptic patients encountered concrete evidence that the brain and the mind are actually distinct from each other, although they clearly interact. Penfield ended up agreeing with the bible’s assertion that human beings are both body and spirit. A year-long British study provided that evidence that consciousness continues after a person’s brain has stopped functioning and he or she has been clinically dead. It was dramatic new evidence that the brain and the mind are not the same but they are distinct entities. A scientist could know more about what is happening in my brain than I do but he could not know more about what is happening in my mind than I do. He can know about the brain by studying it but he cannot know about the mind without asking the person to reveal it because conscious states have the feature of being inner and private. The argument for computers being able to imitate intelligence and that can have artificial intelligence and the fact that they will never ever have consciousness and the arguments put forth were also impressive.
3. Some questions that came up while reading the chapter -
a) What is the relation between our feelings or emotions in relation to the debate of mind and brain? What plays a major role in determining how our emotions are controlled?
b) If our consciousness or mind does not die when we are clinically dead and our brain ceases to exist, then what part plays the function of the brain once a person is dead? During an after-death experience, what is that part which helps in doing the function that the brain does when a person is alive? In other words, how will intelligence function when a person is devoid of his body and left only with his consciousness?
How does this argument "measure up" as an apologetic?
I think it is a good argument for the existence of an intelligent designer behind the design of human beings. The issue of the difference between mind and brain can draw the attention of a person to think beyond the natural or accidental way of thinking about human life. This argument can be used as an apologetic argument at an advanced level. The existence of consciousness which cannot be replicated in any other machines or computer is a strong argument for human beings being unique in creation. Various arguments given by J. P. Moreland in support of dualism like the inner and private mind, the reality of the soul, etc., lay down a strong foundation to understand the difference. If the existence of a consciousness which does not die when a person dies can be proved, then the destiny of this consciousness which does not die when a person dies is an interesting question. This could draw a person’s attention to a supreme power or a creator God to who people are accountable. This argument cannot be used as a standalone tool but can be combined with various other arguments.
Strobel, Lee. The Case for a Creator. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004.