In a recent article published in the science blog Quartz, written by Olivia Goldhill, a claim is advanced that Octopuses are conscious beings, removing this status as unique to humanity. This article is not meant as a rebuttal to the Quartz article. Rather, it is an examination of what consciousness is, whether Octopuses have it, and why it matters.
Consciousness is tough to define by any scientific standard. The best definition I could find essentially states that a conscious individual is one that is aware of what is going on around them and has a sense of self. In practice, this means that a conscious individual knows at least something about its surroundings and, more importantly, has the ability to grasp and express emotions, while also comprehending emotions expressed toward them. This, however, is not a scientific definition, because, as I will explain further below, it cannot be tested. However, just because something cannot be scientifically proven, does not make it necessarily false. For example, it would be impossible to scientifically prove that a man and a woman love one another, yet it might still be flagrantly obvious to any observer.
With this working definition of consciousness established, we come to a more difficult part of the article. The question of whether octopuses have consciousness is a very perplexing one. They certainly have elements of it. The Quartz article rightly points out that they can go so far as to tell two people apart, even though they were wearing identical uniforms. They certainly can interact with their environment, but do they meet the second criteria of consciousness? Are they self-aware? Can they express and receive feelings? This is where the inability to test comes into play. Feelings and emotions cannot be tested in a laboratory setting, even using human test subjects. Thus consciousness itself is untestable because feelings and emotions are an integral part of what it is to be conscious. So the short answer to the question of octopus consciousness is: We can’t say. There is a longer answer, however. Consciousness is generated by the soul. Octopuses are not created with a soul. Never in the Bible do we see the word “soul” used for an animal. It refers exclusively to humans. This being the case, Biblically, we can state that octopuses do not have consciousness. However, being that evolutionists have rejected the Bible, it should come as no surprise that they came to an incorrect conclusion in this matter.
At this point, I’m sure some of my readers are currently wondering why whether an octopus is conscious or not matters. If an octopus is conscious, the Bible is significantly weakened. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7 tells us. The term “living soul” appears three times in the Bible. Each time it refers to man. Recall that it is the soul of man which grants him his consciousness. If octopuses are conscious, they are so without a soul. This completely upsets Bible teachings on the soul, which provides the connection to the spiritual realm and allows for ideas, emotions, and feelings to be processed.
Evolutionists have a further problem with consciousness, which is a handicap of monumental importance. They have no idea how consciousness evolved once, let alone twice. Consciousness must be explained in order for the evolutionary theory to work. Apes are not conscious, but humans are. Therefore an explanation for how unconscious apes developed consciousness must be found. If they are correct and octopuses are conscious as well, that merely doubles the problem. Fortunately for us, the Bible solved the consciousness riddle thousands of years ago. While it does not tell us how consciousness works, it does make it clear that humanity has a unique claim on consciousness, because we have a unique connection to the Creator of the universe.