Mary’s Room and the Theory of Evolution – Quantum Mindcast Episode 2

Episode 2 of the Quantum Mindcast. In this episode we’ll take a look at a couple of intriguing thought experiments that help to shed light on the nature of consciousness and physical reality; namely, Frank Jackson’s “Mary’s Room” and John Searle’s “Chinese Room”. We’ll also talk about the Theory of Evolution and why it’s not quite the full story.

Quantum Mindcast

In this episode:

Mary’s Room, aka The Knowledge Arguments – Emotion and the brain are not the same – experience vs. knowledge – Quale – Who makes the grass green? – The mind vs. the brain – Searle’s Chinese Room – Why do so many people dislike the Theory of Evolution – Why consciousness cannot have evolved.

Featured music: Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata no. 14 in c sharp minor ‘Moonlight’, op. 27 no. 2 – i. adagio sostenuto

3 thoughts on “Mary’s Room and the Theory of Evolution – Quantum Mindcast Episode 2

  1. Bob O.

    I disagree. I do not disagree entirely with all content of this episode, but more specifically with the idea that emotion does not serve a purpose and that considering emotion to be the result of evolution would imply that rocks also have to have emotion. The process of natural selection does dictate a need for emotion in certain ways. The genetics of an organism are more likely to be passed on to another generation of the organism if the organism passing the genes on is protected. In our society this is represented well by parents to children. A parent “loves” a child and protects it, the child then grows and has a much higher probability of passing on the parents genetics to another generation of the organism. Another example is that of love between sexually reproductive organisms. Men and women that reproduce certainly do not have to “love” each other, but the couple is more likely to raise/protect and provide a stronger future for their genetics by “loving” each other and working as a team. I don’t know that these concepts are proven at any point, but I know a few psychology professors that would certainly argue the potential validity of them.

    1. John Post author

      Hi Bob, this is all true; the problem lies in that, if we are machine following a fixed set of rules, we should see all the physical things that happen when love is manifest, without actually in fact feeling anything at all. We should be “philosophical zombies” . Absolutely we need all the things that we consider to be the physical manifestations of love in order to survive, but there’s no clear reason why these shouldn’t all be produced through a complex unfeeling mechanism.


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