Taking emergence really seriously

What's scientifically illegitimate about asking the question whether intelligence is involved in evolution? Only this: if you define science as a priori excluding such a possibility, then perforce it's illegitimate.

A scientific question is any question that can be investigated using reason, and has some empirical referent. This applies very widely, even to subjects like historical research or whether it was next door's dog that crapped on my lawn two days ago. Can it be investigated using reason whether what appears as designed in nature actually is designed? Certainly. We have empirical referents, like cells and DNA and proteins, and we can use reason to determine the likelihood of their arising as as result of RM + NS given the hypothesised way that those two principles are supposed to work.

We can argue about whether we believe that resulting data that indicates that RM + NS are insufficient is correct, but I don't think we can argue that the very question is unscientific. Unless, that is, we're ideologues who want, a priori, to rig the goalposts so that certain questions are inherently illegitimate. How fortunate that on this forum there are no such people, eh? ;)
It seems disingenuous to postulate other realities and then blame "science" (designed for exploring our physical reality) for not being able to explore and test them.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
Well the crucial point - indeed the main point of this thread - is that if consciousness and intelligence can emerge in any adequately complex system, then why can't it have played a part in the natural history of the earth?

Now let me be utterly clear - I don't think emergence does explain consciousness, but I just want to point out that if it did, it would open up a Pandora's box of interesting possibilities - all sorts of intelligent interventions - including ID - would become viable within materialism!
Well, it clearly has played a part in the history of the Earth, since humans are intelligent. The trick is finding something that is intelligent other than humans and certain other organisms.

For that matter, if intelligent is not emergent, that doesn't rule out its presence in things other than humans. So one way or the other, nonhuman intelligence could play a role.

~~ Paul
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
What's scientifically illegitimate about asking the question whether intelligence is involved in evolution? Only this: if you define science as a priori excluding such a possibility, then perforce it's illegitimate.
There is nothing illegitimate about asking that question. But that doesn't make it science.

A scientific question is any question that can be investigated using reason, and has some empirical referent. This applies very widely, even to subjects like historical research or whether it was next door's dog that crapped on my lawn two days ago. Can it be investigated using reason whether what appears as designed in nature actually is designed? Certainly. We have empirical referents, like cells and DNA and proteins, and we can use reason to determine the likelihood of their arising as as result of RM + NS given the hypothesised way that those two principles are supposed to work.
I think this task is much harder than you make it sound. Dembski and others tried but basically gave up. I'm afraid some direct supporting evidence is required to convince anyone to consider ID.

We can argue about whether we believe that resulting data that indicates that RM + NS are insufficient is correct, but I don't think we can argue that the very question is unscientific. Unless, that is, we're ideologues who want, a priori, to rig the goalposts so that certain questions are inherently illegitimate. How fortunate that on this forum there are no such people, eh? ;)
I agree that you could make a scientific project out of trying to calculate probabilities, though I'm not sure how you would verify them. It's just that the ID community doesn't seem interested anymore.

~~ Paul
 
It doesn't matter if it's logical. It's about "what works". I want results, something of value, not a bunch of lame excuses about how, "sorry it came from nothing, there's no hope for you." That's what I can't stand about the atheist-cynical point of view. Instead of worrying about where God came from (which is the height of laziness) why don't you figure out how the laws of physics are implemented so that we won't have to rely upon God. There is no reason why the physics constants should be fixed, other than it being a dictate of God.
How is it lazy to wonder where god came from. You are the one making god of the gaps arguments, you are the one stating that god made the laws of physics despite no evidence, you are the one anthropomorphising god to fit your view, and You are making claims that god did it with no evidence fashioned it just for us.
 
Well the crucial point - indeed the main point of this thread - is that if consciousness and intelligence can emerge in any adequately complex system, then why can't it have played a part in the natural history of the earth?
Do many people argue that it evolution couldn't have been designed?
 
Ok - but you've got to put motives aside - they are not relevant to whether or not the papers are sound.
In the ID/creationist mind there is no separation between motives and any conclusions, because all conclusions are intended support their beliefs and if they don't are rejected. The only sound research is confirmatory.
Creationists reject the age of the Earth as determined by radiometric dating. They believe the Earth is 10,000-6,000 years old.
They believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the Earth at the same time.
They *(see Micheal Behe) will argue irreducible complexity points to God, the argument has been refuted.
They believe the speed of light is not constant.
The Grand Canyon was formed by the receding waters of the Biblical flood.


* http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html
 
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In the ID/creationist mind there is no separation between motives and any conclusions, because all conclusions are intended support their beliefs and if they don't are rejected. The only sound research is confirmatory.
Creationists reject the age of the Earth as determined by radiometric dating. They believe the Earth is 10,000-6,000 years old.
They believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the Earth at the same time.
They *(see Micheal Behe) will argue irreducible complexity points to God, the argument has been refuted.
They believe the speed of light is not constant.
The Grand Canyon was formed by the receding waters of the Biblical flood.
If an ID paper specifically makes arguments about the nature of the designer those can be evaluated. But if there is no mention of the nature of the designer then I don't think its fair to read that into the paper - whether the authors believe it or not.

We should deal with what is actually written - not with what we imagine are the implied assumptions behind the piece.
 
How is it lazy to wonder where god came from. You are the one making god of the gaps arguments, you are the one stating that god made the laws of physics despite no evidence, you are the one anthropomorphising god to fit your view, and You are making claims that god did it with no evidence fashioned it just for us.
If we wanted to penetrate deeper into the laws of physics, into how they are implemented, we would ask: how did God do it? I truly hope that one day we will be able to unlock the laws of physics and physics constants in a way that allows us to modify the laws of physics.
 
I sort of see what you're getting at, that we can't ever stop the issue of infinite regress without positing some kind of First Cause or Eternal Axiom.

But while there is always cause for doubt about axioms, that doesn't make them inherently false or in definite need of a maker. Though I do agree that positing a creator or creators(s) is not logically incorrect here. Yet God could be many/one, good/evil/neutral, lawful/chaotic/neutral, already dead, etc.
I think that God is part of each one of us. God is the observer part of us.
 
As you are not a proponent of ID (but just like to defend it), you understand that just because something looks designed it may not be the case that it is... But the problem to me is the "intelligent designer". Testing/investigating that would seem to be outside the remit of the natural sciences (nothing at all like your example "what makes the sky blue"). Your sentient bunnies are looking just as worthy of study, if not more so.
We would need to find evidence of the designer, yes. However, if the designer is by definition of unfalsifiable ( such as in the bunny case ), then it's not opened up to scientific inquiry. If, like many ID proponents espouse, aliens designed terrestrial life we could find evidence of the designer physically. That makes it a genuine scientific question.
 
If an ID paper specifically makes arguments about the nature of the designer those can be evaluated. But if there is no mention of the nature of the designer then I don't think its fair to read that into the paper - whether the authors believe it or not.

We should deal with what is actually written - not with what we imagine are the implied assumptions behind the piece.
As I told you previously, sometimes we need to look at the subconscious reasoning behind people to understand them.

Steve clearly can't separate his bias against creationism from his ability to carry out an intellectual discussion about ID. This is something that absolutely needs to be taken into account when considering other topics.
 
If an ID paper specifically makes arguments about the nature of the designer those can be evaluated. But if there is no mention of the nature of the designer then I don't think its fair to read that into the paper - whether the authors believe it or not.

We should deal with what is actually written - not with what we imagine are the implied assumptions behind the piece.
There's nothing to imagine, every paper, every argument has two goals. The first is to disprove evolutionary theory. The second is to find evidence of God's direct intervention. Take a look at creationist and ID sites you'll see what I mean. Start with www.answersingenesis.org
One more thing. It's unlikely you'll find a discussion on the nature of God on any of those types of sites.

P.S. I see Canada has it's own problems with creationists.
We do not have as overt a challenge to established science in Canada classrooms currently, although the Alberta Education Act amendments last year, spearheaded by the small but vocal religious home-school lobby, may be a start. This poll by Angus Reid in 2008 showed that 20 per cent of Canadians believe that man was created by God in the last 10,000 years, which is a very worrying statistic, and there is a movement with the goal to get creationist ideas into the classroom under the guise of religious freedom. http://www.skepticnorth.com/2013/02/darwin-day-modern-creationism-still-threatens-education/
 
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As I told you previously, sometimes we need to look at the subconscious reasoning behind people to understand them.

Steve clearly can't separate his bias against creationism from his ability to carry out an intellectual discussion about ID. This is something that absolutely needs to be taken into account when considering other topics.
Oh my Ferris, your words cut so deep.
 
There's nothing to imagine, every paper, every argument has two goals. The first is to disprove evolutionary theory. The second is to find evidence of God's direct intervention. Take a look at creationist and ID sites you'll see what I mean. Start with www.answersingenesis.org
One more thing. It's unlikely you'll find a discussion on the nature of God on any of those types of sites.

P.S. I see Canada has it's own problems with creationists.
Can you link a paper in mind? A scientific paper?
 
We would need to find evidence of the designer, yes. However, if the designer is by definition of unfalsifiable ( such as in the bunny case ), then it's not opened up to scientific inquiry. If, like many ID proponents espouse, aliens designed terrestrial life we could find evidence of the designer physically. That makes it a genuine scientific question.
Ah. Aliens. Yep possible, but then your sentient bunnies could be aliens too? I refer you back to the bit about pulling claims out of your butt...

BTW, in your post "many ID proponents" should read as "a tiny fraction of ID proponents"....
 
As I told you previously, sometimes we need to look at the subconscious reasoning behind people to understand them.

Steve clearly can't separate his bias against creationism from his ability to carry out an intellectual discussion about ID. This is something that absolutely needs to be taken into account when considering other topics.
You seem to be disagreeing with Steve but Steve's argument is that we should take into account the motives behind ID authors - which is in line with what you seem to advocate in taking into account the subconscious motives.

I am disagreeing with both you and Steve in that we should ignore subconscious or even concious motives and just focus on the arguments being advanced.
 
How is it lazy to wonder where god came from. You are the one making god of the gaps arguments, you are the one stating that god made the laws of physics despite no evidence, you are the one anthropomorphising god to fit your view, and You are making claims that god did it with no evidence fashioned it just for us.
How is it lazy to wonder where matter came from. You are the one making matter of the gaps arguments, you are the one stating that matter made the laws of physics despite no evidence, you are the one anthropomorphising matter to fit your view, and You are making claims that matter did it with no evidence fashioned it just for us.
 
You seem to be disagreeing with Steve but Steve's argument is that we should take into account the motives behind ID authors - which is in line with what you seem to advocate in taking into account the subconscious motives.

I am disagreeing with both you and Steve in that we should ignore subconscious or even concious motives and just focus on the arguments being advanced.
Arouet, take time if you have not to look over creationist sites.
Ok, pick one pro creation argument and examine the con argument.
 
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