The Origins of Self:

Dialogues about the origins and evolution of self consciousness

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Extract from The Origins of Self

Chapter 1: The Missing Me

In which Freya reveals her problems with the theory of evolution and Max determines to expose the flaws in her reasoning process.

All about me

Freya: I’ve finally lost my faith in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution!

Max: O my God, you’ve become a Creationist! You go to my family reunion, meet my fundamentalist cousins and they’ve won you over. That’s despite all my brilliant attempts to argue them out of such nonsense.  

Freya: You made your point very powerfully, as you say, it’s not a ‘theory’ that animals evolved from simpler organisms over many millions of years, it’s a matter of factual evidence based on the fossil record.

Max: Why they need to turn these facts on their head to justify some ancient cosmology is what I don’t understand. We seem to be living on an entirely different planet. They’re suspicious of all science, not just evolution, but global warming, genetic engineering and particle physics. As far as they’re concerned it’s all a left wing conspiracy to undermine their God, freedom and the American way of life.

Freya: Well your all out attack didn’t help to bridge the gap either. All their stereotypes of scientists being left wing amoral atheists were confirmed weren’t they?

Max: Well perhaps I did get a bit carried away. So what’s this ridiculous statement about you ‘losing your faith’?

Freya: I still believe evolution happened, but not in the way described. Something in Darwin’s theory just doesn’t work.

Max: Oh I see where this is going; it’s the process of natural selection you don’t like. This is just the bedrock of evolutionary theory. If you’re going to challenge that, then you have lost your head totally. To even contemplate such a claim means you’re going to take on some mighty big guns of the scientific establishment. It’s goodbye to your university career and tenureship. Good job I’ve got a decent income, we biochemical engineers don’t have the time to ask such questions, we just get on with the job of making the medicines that cure cancer.

Freya: You see my problem with the theory is a personal one. It’s about us, or rather me. We don’t come into the picture at all, I’ve no role to play in what happens so what am I for?

Max: Me, me, me, it’s always about you. Seriously though, it’s quite obvious, I’m the one that struggles for survival and so do you. It’s because I struggle to survive I bring home the food so we can bring up our children. Without my struggle, we wouldn’t survive and neither would our family. My ancestors passed on my genes to me because they struggled and survived. If they didn’t they would have died out and I would never have been born. --------

Copyright Dr. Stephen J. Brewer 2013

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The Origins of Self Cover

10 Chapters, 160 pages, 36,000 words

Download a free pdf version of *The Origins of Self.

You can also order a printed copy or Kindle version of from or

*Note: This free open access version of "The Origins of Self" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Freya has lost her faith in Darwin's Theory of Evolution!

"Darwin's theory of evolution does not explain how evolution could produce us; self-conscious beings caring for our own survival and that of our friends and family."

Fact: In his Theory of Evolution, Darwin contradicts himself about whether animals are machines with no feelings or really struggle for survival and care for themselves and their offspring.

Fact: Darwin's 'Origin of Species' explains how animals adapt to new environments but not how animals evolved in the first place.

Fact: Because science sees us as machines, it can only explain our experiences of consciousness and free will as illusions. This dehumanization is not just nonsense, but dangerous nonsense undermining morality and alienating science from society.

Meet Freya, Max and Orin as they argue about Darwin's Theory of Evolution, its recent developments and the failure of Darwin's Theory of Evolution to explain the origins of self-conscious human beings.

Darwin's Theory of Evolution rescued!

Discover how Freya's quest for the 'Origins of Self' allows Darwin's Theory of Evolution to be rescued and to fully explain how and why we experience the world as one of beauty, duty and purpose.

Understand how the current theories of emergent evolution, complexity and the Process Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead can fully explain the evolution of self conscious human beings with free will and infinite potential.

“My goal is to overcome science's simplistic mechanistic understanding of life and its insistence that we are machines with no purpose. For this reason, I have made this book free and open-access. Please join the other downloaders and read the book for free.” Dr. Steve Brewer, Author

Download a free pdf version of *The Origins of Self or order a printed or Kindle version from or

A free open access commentary containing sources and attributions underpinning the controversial ideas presented in "Origins of Self" are available from the on-line appendix.

*Note: This free open access version of "The Origins of Self" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Back Cover

“I will show you fear in a handful of dust” ( T. S. Eliot: The Wasteland)

How can dust and water become a conscious living person capable of fear? The way these elements are transformed into life is sketched out, but it's our conscious minds, our intensity of being in a flood of emotions; this is the big problem that science has so far failed to explain.

Freya, a biologist, is dissatisfied with the way evolution has no explanation or role for her own self. This science undermines our humanity because it treats people as robots with any feelings of self-determination an illusion. Max explains that given the physical-chemical basis of life, this is the only possible conclusion. On the brink of accepting this unpalatable fact, she meets with Orin. Together they explore the unthinkable, that the basis of consciousness and self is present in the underlying operations of the universe.

Dr Steve Brewer, Author

Heisenberg: “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

Whether your interests are in religion, science, psychology or philosophy, these conversations take you to the bottom of the glass in a stimulating but easily understood journey of self discovery.

Follow Orin as he presents various aspects of Whitehead's Process Philosophy in a series of stimulating discussions made available through Philosophy Forums