Bernstein/Ahmed debate on Unbelievable?
Unbelievable? hosted a great debate between C’Zar Bernstein and Arif Ahmed on the Argument from Consciousness for God’s existence: listen here.
A rough outline for Bernstein’s argument was something like:
1. There are non-physical minds.
2. The explanation for (1) is either personal or natural.
3. The explanation is not natural.
4. Therefore, the explanation is personal.
Fleshed out, Bernstein defended an evidential argument, where consciousness doesn’t logically entail the God of classical theism, but that consciousness provides evidential support for classical theism. Most of the debate came down to the first premise, which Bernstein defended by way of the modal argument for the soul.
Ahmed focuses on an eliminativist/Humean response and basically just denied there were persons, and fell back on the claim that we should really only admit into our ontology whatever is strictly needed for science (so no need to talk about conscious persons or moral properties). A good deal of the discussion focused on whether we have good reason to think persons exist, and I think Bernstein got the better of Ahmed in the end (pointing out how Ahmed couldn’t even really talk about pain without referencing his own awareness of it). However, this meant that little time was focused on showing why consciousness is good evidence in support of classical theism. Indeed, I agree with Bernstein that it is good evidence. However, I think more needs to be said for why this is so.
It’s worth a listen, that is for sure.