This is part ten of the Information Universe series. See the link for part one.
This is actually the most difficult part of this series because consciousness is hard to define. Furthermore consciousness is the one phenomenon that can not be part of the calculations of the Universe’s information processing system. While consciousness is hard to precisely define it does have some distinct properties. They are self awareness, awareness of what around you, willful though and willful action. A persons consciousness is basically another to term for the mind or soul.
The reason why consciousness can not be part of the calculations of the Universe’s information processing system is because that system is designed to only calculate detail information that is needed by a conscious entity as shown by the double slit experiment. Furthermore evidence has been found that synaptic activity in the brain requires quantum tunneling on demand. This tunneling has only a 1 in 10 million of occurring but yet it occurs in the brain every time it’s needed. This shows some degree of control by the mind (consciousness) of quantum wave functions this more than anything else eliminates the idea that the mind is just a by product of the brain since the brain is just part of the calculations of the Universe’s information processing system and a part that is at least partly controlled by a conscious entity. This is not strictly speaking dualism since the body is actually a calculated virtual construct that allows a conscious entity to experience and interact with the reality of this universe. In this sense the body would be much like a character a person plays in a video game that could be discarded in a similar manner when we reach game over at death.
Unfortunately this tells us nothing of what consciousness really is. However it does require that consciousness has to be more than a property of the brain because it can not be part of the calculations of the Universe’s information processing system since that information system seem to geared towards producing the information need to produce a consistent reality for the conscious entities that inhabit the universe. It does however allow for the possibility that the mind survives the death of the body because it requires that a conscious entity to be more than a function the brain.
Now to be fair this does not mean that consciousness is not also a information processing system of some type just that it’s not part of the Universe’s information processing system. It is possible that conscious minds are simply different programs with in the same over all system that simply shear information with the Universe’s information processing system. Now the Information Universe does not require conscious minds to be such information processing systems but it is consistent with it.
Regardless the ultimate nature of consciousness the main relationship between consciousness and the Information Universe is that the Universe’s information processing system exists to produce a consistent reality for conscious entities. Thus contrary to totally naturalistic claims we conscious entities are not mere by products of the universe but its reason for existing. This relationship is clearly demonstrated by the double slit experiment and in particular by the quantum erasure variety of by the double slit experiment. As a result it is not a philosophical or religious conclusion but what the data is actually telling us.
------ Charles Creager Jr.