by Daniel NeimanNote: This is a part of this
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A New View of Consciousness and Reality – Introduction
Today’s materialistic science is dominated by the view that everything we see today originated in the Big Bang, when space and time came into existence and the laws of the universe were set. According to mainstream scientists, there was no guiding intelligence behind this event. The laws of nature that just so happen to allow for the formation of stars, galaxies, planets, and ultimately life are all accidental properties forged during the Big Bang billions of years ago. All matter and energy by nature is unconscious and unintelligent.
The first view that life arose and evolved through random mutation and selection is being undermined today by the specified complexity of information contained within DNA, as well as the intricate, coherent, and interdependent inner workings that we now find within all living cells. The second view that consciousness arises from, or is reducible to, brain function is being undermined by the evidence from Near-Death Experiences that consciousness can still function, and indeed shows enhanced functioning, when brain activity is miniscule or absent altogether.
I will start by exploring these new findings and the conclusions they point to, while showing how both lines of inquiry lead to the same expanded view of reality, namely that intelligent consciousness underpins the material world.
Next, I will show how the underlying Source Consciousness of the universe is experienced by people in various situations, including spontaneously, during UFO abductions, Near Death Experiences (NDE’s), and during usage of psychedelic substances. Finally, I will go through five points of knowledge that this new understanding of reality gives. Specifically, I will show how the various areas of paranormal research converge upon the same knowledge concerning life and reality.
It is due time to replace the current understanding of life and reality as touted by today’s mainstream academia. We must come to a new, truer understanding of reality. We need a view that can incorporate the findings from modern day paranormal research. This is pertinent for the advancement of knowledge and the continuing progression of society, not just scientifically but also spiritually.
Evolution and Consciousness
Two of the leading proponents of the development of life being guided by an intelligence are biology professor Michael J. Behe and philosopher of science Stephen C. Meyer. Stephen Meyer explores the structure and function of DNA in his magnum opus, Signature in the Cell. In this book, Meyer explains how DNA codes for proteins and why this process cannot be imitated by random mutation and natural selection. I will now briefly describe these findings.
There are four DNA bases, represented by the letters A, C, T, and G, which are arranged into 3-letter combinations (essentially 3-letter words), called codons. Each codon, or 3-letter word, represents one of twenty different amino acids that link up in specified sequences to build proteins. Also, there are codons that specify when to start or stop the building of a protein.1 Amino acids form proteins by linking together one at a time, based on the DNA instructions, and then folding into 3-dimensional structures. The specific 3-dimensional structure of the protein determines its precise function.2
You can think of this process as translating one language into another. You start with the language of DNA, which consists of 3-letter codes. Each of these 3-letter codes translates into one of twenty possible amino acids. During protein synthesis, amino acids are linked together in discrete chains hundreds of units long. The precise arrangement of these amino acids in the chain is crucial to the development of the protein. If the amino acids are not arranged in the proper order, a functional protein will not be produced. Therefore, if the codons are not arranged properly in the DNA, then the amino acids will not link up properly, and a functional protein will never be made.
Even a simple protein requires a chain of 100+ amino acids. Again, these amino acids must be arranged in a specific order to code for a functional protein because most combinations of amino acids will not fold into a stable functional protein at all. Remember that DNA encodes for one amino acid at a time with 3-letter “words”, or specific sequences of bases. Therefore, to encode for a simple protein requires that 300+ DNA bases be arranged in a specific order so that the amino acids link up in a proper sequence to produce a functional protein. Then, add to this the correct words, or codons, for starting and stopping the protein making sequence. These codes must be at the beginning and end of the coding region to initiate and end protein production respectively. This is akin to producing a 100 word paragraph of coherent text with a capital letter to start the paragraph and a period at the end. To produce such a paragraph by random processes is highly unlikely. Just imagine a monkey given a typewriter and blindly typing letters at random to try and produce an entire paragraph of coherent meaningful text.
To stress this point once more, consider that “though proteins tolerate a range of possible amino acids at some sites, functional proteins are still extremely rare within the whole set of possible amino-acid sequences”.3 In other words, if you link amino acids together at random you will be hard pressed to create a functional protein, just as you would be hard pressed to create a paragraph of meaningful English text by way of randomly placed letters. Therefore, if the DNA bases were arranged randomly, they may exhibit codons (3-letter words) for specifying amino acids to link together to form a protein, but these amino acids would most likely link together in such a way as not to produce a functional protein. In fact, the chances of producing any functional protein of 150-amino-acids by combining those amino acids by chance is 1 in 1074.4 Now take into consideration the fact that many proteins require far more amino acids than 150.5 As the number of amino acids in a protein rises, the chances of producing one by linking amino acids by chance just gets worse. Finally, one has to take into consideration the start and stop codons that must be in the proper place to start and stop the sequencing of amino acids for protein production. So, just as there is a low probability of combining English letters into a meaningful sequence, especially one that’s at least 150 words (or letters), in length, by pure chance and random processes, it is similarly implausible to suggest that DNA bases could be randomly arranged to create functional proteins.
Meyer refers to the information encoded in DNA with the term “specified information.” This means that it is complex, as the information does not follow a repeating pattern, and specified, meaning that a specific arrangement of bases performs a specific function.6 This is the kind of information found in a language or computer code, whereby the specific arrangement of parts determines its meaning or function and a random arrangement confers nothing. Basically what’s happening when you arrange DNA bases properly to code for a functional 3-dimensional protein is that you’re hitting a target sequence out of a vast space of possible arrangements of those bases.7 That target sequence does not get hit by ‘chance’, especially not over and over again. Meyer further asserts that specified information is only known to be caused by intelligent agents.8 Computer code and language are just two examples, whereby a specific arrangement of 0’s and 1’s in computer code and letters and punctuation in language confer meaning. However a random arrangement of these constituents would only produce non-functional or non-meaningful gibberish.
Now, the argument has been put forth, most notably by Richard Dawkins, that you could start with just one protein and then modify it little by little, or amino acid by amino acid, until it turns into another protein quite different from the original.9 This would be akin to modifying my last sentence one letter at a time until it turned into a completely different coherent and meaningful sentence. You may be able to anticipate the problem already. To change the sentence letter by letter, or even two letters at a time, would take that sentence through a whole host of unmeaningful sequences until it finally arrived at the new meaningful sentence, whatever that may be. The problem turns out to be even worse for proteins. This is because if you change too many of the amino acids in a protein, it will not only degrade function, but the amino-acid sequence that constitutes the protein will cease to fold into a 3-dimensional shape altogether. Therefore, one protein cannot morph into another protein with a completely novel function. If you start changing the amino acid sequence of a protein, function quickly degrades, and the process soon leads to amino acid sequences that fail to fold into a stable structure at all.10 Dawkins, however, imagines that proteins can change their shape little by little to successively approximate a completely different shape necessary to perform a completely different function. As stated above, this is of course, a purely imaginary line of reasoning. It does not reflect reality. Proteins have specific shapes to perform specific functions, thus emulating language or computer code. And as Meyer points out, the only known cause of specified information is an intelligent agent.
What are we to conclude from these findings? One way out would be to posit the existence of extraterrestrials from somewhere else in the universe who seeded life on this planet. However, this only pushes the problem further back to how the Aliens themselves were created. It is much more plausible, especially with respect to the findings from NDE’s which we will be discussed later, that an intelligent consciousness underlies the material world and is intimately involved with its creation from the atomic level on up. Because if a consciousness is responsible for forming the DNA bases into meaningful pairs, where would this consciousness lie? It must be woven into the very fabric of reality. It must underlie the material world itself, able to form and direct matter. Now, we will explore one more line of evidence that points to an intelligence at work in nature.
In his landmark book, The Edge of Evolution, Professor of Biology Dr. Michael Behe explores the inner workings of the cell to conclude the impossibility of the sophisticated systems therein arising by randomness and natural selection. As an example, Behe describes IFT (intraflagellar transport) which constructs and maintains the cilium, which is just one of many “molecular machines” within the cell.
In a nutshell, IFT consists of mini railroad cars (specialized proteins called IFT particles) that carry cargo (various proteins needed to construct the cilium) to their proper locations and deposit the cargo for construction of the cilium. As an analogy, think of railroad cars going up and down a steel structure carrying building materials to make a building. The cars have to bring many different kinds of parts, including parts needed for the floor, parts needed for the walls, parts needed for building the windows of the building, and parts needed to build the balconies. Actually, the cilium is far more complex than this, requiring about 200 different kinds of building materials, or proteins that construct the cilium.11 So, the cars, or IFT particles, that carry the proteins must be able to bind to and carry a vast array of different kinds of proteins. Furthermore, all of these parts have to be deposited in just the right location—window parts must be placed at the proper window building position, floor parts must be placed at the floor position, and so on–and at just the right time. Another interesting fact about this process is that the railroad cars, or IFT particles, have two different “motor” proteins, one for powering the cars up the cilium and a different “motor” protein for its trip back down the cilium. Now, here’s the biochemical explanation for how this construction works. Quoting Behe:
“Biochemical studies show that IFT can be conceptually broken down into several parts. The first part consists of the motor proteins that carry the IFT particles along the interior of the cilium. The motor protein that carries the particle toward the tip of the cilium is different from the one that carries it back. The trip out is powered by Kinesin-II, one member of a family of kinesin motor proteins that perform a variety of jobs in the cell . . . The trip back is powered by a dynein motor protein . . . Exactly what causes IFT to shift from kinesin-powered transport to dynein transport at the tip of the cilium remains unknown. The second part of IFT is called the IFT particle. It’s the container that grabs hold of the correct proteins to be carried in or out and releases them at the proper point.” 12
Behe further elucidates that “the IFT particle consists of sixteen separate proteins that bind together in one aggregate.”13 This 16-protein complex can be separated into two protein-complexes, one containing six proteins and the other ten proteins. Each of these structures “contain substructures that are known to be particularly good at binding diverse proteins—exactly what you need to transport the many kinds of protein cargo that travel by IFT along the cilium.”14 Indeed, as mentioned before, the cilium which IFT constructs is made of about 200 different kinds of proteins. Therefore, the IFT particle is a specifically designed protein for its job. It is designed to be able to bind to and carry a variety of different proteins.
This system of construction machinery also boasts not one, but two, motor proteins that are designed to carry the IFT particle up and down the interior of the cilium. If that’s not enough, when building this system, there is some sensing mechanism that senses the amount of material that the cilium needs, evidenced by the fact that “after construction is completed the trains keep coming at about the same rate, but now some of the cars are empty.”15
You can imagine the sophisticated control mechanisms that must go into the construction project, with genes controlling how much of each protein to build and when to build them, how many IFT particles to send with loads of protein, and when to cut production. Furthermore, all of the proteins used in construction require acute specification. The IFT particles must be precisely engineered to be able to bind to all of the differently shaped proteins that make up the cilium, the motor proteins must be precisely engineered to function as motors to move the IFT particles up and down the length of the cilium, and each protein that goes into the actual building of the cilium requires precise engineering to fit with all of the other parts and create a functional cilium. As you can tell, this process is integrated, complex, and coherent. Furthermore, DNA provides the instruction manual for building the entire structure, including instructions for building the molecular machines used to construct the edifice, instructions for building each of the around 200 proteins that compose the building blocks of the structure, and control instructions for coordinating the entire process.
It should be blatantly obvious by now that an intelligence is behind this process. You don’t randomly throw together a skyscraper. It takes careful planning; blueprints of the building must be drawn up, resources gathered together at the building site, all of the construction workers given specific assignments, and foremen and supervisors to manage the entire process. A cellular machine requires just as much. In the case of the cilium, DNA contains the blueprints for making the building, as well as the information needed to coordinate the project, make the IFT particles (construction workers) to do the work, and make all the building materials. The cell is miraculous in that it has the ability to make both the work force (construction machinery) and all of the materials needed to make up the structure (essentially many different kinds of proteins). Stephen Meyer’s concept of specified information is also relevant here. In IFT, we have a specific arrangement of parts that perform a specific function. This is evident in the building process and in the completed structure. Again, this requires an intelligence to arrange the parts into a functional pattern.
It is useless to invoke a Darwinian, stepwise scenario, for this process. That is because the process is so integrated. Without an IFT particle, there could be no cilium. Without the control instructions for coordinating the construction project you would have a mess of unregulated IFT particles, carrying unregulated proteins, at unregulated times. The project would never be able to build a coherent machine. And if you are missing many of the around 200 proteins needed for building the cilium, well, you can’t build it. Complex integration is the key to understanding intelligent design. Gradual evolution doesn’t work because without any one of the parts, the others couldn’t function. Therefore, a bottom-up approach doesn’t work. Instead, a top-down approach whereby the end product (cilium) is thought up first, or envisioned in the mental realm, then the many details of how to build that product are worked out in succession, and finally the whole system is implemented at once. Intelligent agents do this all the time. We think of a new idea, say to build the first automobile. First, we must think about what function our new structure is to have. In our example of the automobile, the function is to move people and objects quickly from one place to another via roads. Then, we should consider what parts are needed and how they will connect to perform the desired function. For instance, a car would need wheels that turn, a motor to power the car, a steering wheel to steer the car, and so on… We would have to figure out how to connect all of these parts to produce a functional automobile. Once we have the entire plan with all the parts and how to connect them in our minds (the mental realm), we can then begin to manufacture and arrange the material constituents to conform to our mental image and create the world’s first automobile. So, we start with figuring out what function we want a new machine to perform. Then we have to think of a design that will enable that function to be performed. The design requires not only the parts that will be used, but how those parts will connect. Once we have this mental image, we can go to work building our new structure.
In essence, we take ideas from a mental, non-material realm, and then manifest those ideas in the material realm. This is simply an imitation of what a greater intelligent consciousness does to create the machinery that sustains life. How else are we to explain intelligent workings at the cellular level without an intelligence that penetrates into the deepest aspects of the material world? And where else do we find intelligence than in the workings of conscious agents? Different types of cells require different functions, which require different kinds of protein machinery, which in turn requires the guidance of an intelligence to form. From DNA on up, life is intricately designed.
So, all of creation is first envisioned in the mental realm. To implement these creations in the material realm requires a conscious intelligent entity to arrange and organize matter in conformance with the desired function and design. For life to show evidence of intelligent design, consciousness must underlie material process and have the ability to form and manipulate the material world. To take a line from Physicist David Bohm, it forms and in-forms the material world.16 It is the basis and mover of all energy in the universe. This underlying consciousness not only forms all of the matter in the universe, it also provides the information to organize matter into functional systems, such as DNA and living cells. As we will see after looking at the evidence for consciousness after death, this consciousness has its source in a realm outside of our known concepts of space and time. It is a realm of infinite energy in a non-local space. Our consciousness is in fact identical to this One Source Consciousness. Now we turn to the unassailable evidence for life after death.
A New View of Consciousness and Reality – Article Contents:
Introduction | Evolution and Consciousness | Life After Death: The Verdict Is In |
A New Way of Envisioning Consciousness and the Brain | What Happens When We Die?
The Body is a Shell | Everyone has a purpose they must fulfill before death |
Life is about Spiritual Growth | The Problem of Evil | We exist in a multi-dimensional universe | Conclusion | Notes
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Contact address: danneiman”AT”gmail”DOT”com