Here is a fairly good example of why evidential type apologetics, whether done by evangelicals or atheists, more often than not end up going nowhere. The truth is that we “see” what we want to see. As noted in the essay- the two philosophers, who both find that consciousness escapes a completely physical explanation, still don’t think this should lead us to believe there is anything beyond, or in excess of, the material.
Also, few philosophers think these thought-experiments show that there are souls or some other sort of supernatural entities. Frank Jackson, who first proposed the Mary scenario, and David Chalmers, who gave the most influential formulation of the zombie example, remain philosophical naturalists. They maintain that there is no world beyond the natural one in which we live. Their claim is rather that this world contains a natural reality (consciousness) that escapes the scope of physical explanation.
I’m not sure how one could “maintain” that there is “no” world beyond the natural given they think the most important and significant part of that world (consciousness) escapes physical explanation. I would think this would at least make them agnostic regarding a positive assertion like, “there is no world beyond the natural…” A further issue is- are they (or the writer who is speaking for them) aware that such an assertion is a philosophical assertion and not an empirical or scientific assertion?
For Jackson and Chalmers it would appear their world must remain entirely materialistic, regardless the evidence. They must interpret the evidence a certain way. Why? Because it would probably turn their world upside down to interpret it otherwise. It would shake their faith. One world-view would crumble and another would need take its place. It would mean there could be other aspects to existence that are in excess—that also escape a purely physical explanation.
We should ponder the last sentence of the above quote: “Their claim is rather that this world contains a natural reality (consciousness) that escapes the scope of physical explanation.”
How does a “natural” reality escape physical explanation? Because they are not saying it escapes it for now, but future advances will give us a physical explanation. They appear to be saying, based upon these thought-experiments, that a physical explanation will never exist. So why the need to describe it as a “natural” reality then?
This is why appeals to evidence and facts are not the deciding issues in these types of discussions (Obviously, if we were talking about distance to the sun- such an appeal would be critical). They are, rather, red herrings used to privilege one’s philosophy or faith held world-view. And evangelicals can be just as guilty of their use as those committed to scientism.