The ancient, unending debate over whether the totality of reality can be explained solely by matter or if it requires an additional spiritual substance of some sort does indeed better fit in the philosophy subforum.
It is a mistake, I think, to approach consciousness from the perspective of trying to fit fundamental forces and the laws of physics directly onto subjective phenomena. It is easily verifiable that consciousness, and all subjective phenomena, are not directly physical phenomena, but operate through and as a result of material media/interactions, such as cells.
The primary requirement of a subjective phenomenon is a capacity for memory. Subjective phenomena do not require intelligence. They are distinguished from objective phenomena by their non-deterministic functions. Single celled organisms, for example, are often capable of (limited) selective responses to environmental stimuli. made possible through chemically stored information.
We can argue that subjective phenomena are fundamentally immaterial, but I think this requires ignoring the fundamentals of complexity and I think that all subjective phenomena are fundamentally complex. After all, nothing subjective has ever been observed at the quantum level or even at the substantially more complex atomic level. Complexity requires that the particular arrangement of the simple components of a phenomenon do not affect the complex phenomenon per se. This does not mean the particular arrangement of complex phenomena are not affected by the particular arrangement of the simple components, merely that a human brain is a human brain regardless of what particular information is stored in it. This behavior can give the appearance that the material involved is not relevant to the subjective function, but that is not the case. Remove the brain and you remove the conscious subject. Change the brain's material arrangement and you change the subject, although the subject is still a subject.
One analogy would be that turning a fan on outside in a storm changes the storm measurably (barely), but it is still a storm.
The other problem with materialism is that subjectivity naively (in the technical sense) appears to be a fundamental property of objects, but this is not the case. I would point to Putnam's Miniworld thought experiment for a rather conclusive argument that subjective markers (words) and the difference between a complex phenomenon and a simple phenomenon involving the same matter are distinctive properties that only occur when an intelligent subject is involved, not as a result of any direct material interaction. It merely appears to us, as intelligent subjects, that these properties are fundamental, because they are fundamental to the subjective universes existing virtually in our minds as materially stored information.