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  Topic: ID logic renders God unlikely?, a theological interlude< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 27 2006,07:26   

A thought occurred to me in the shower this morning. (That's where a disproportionate number of useful thoughts tend to occur to me.)

The gist of Paleyism (or "intelligent design", as the repackagers of the old argument have liked to brand it) goes something like this:

"Wherever you find a complex thing with multiple interacting parts (etc. etc... substitute here your favorite Behe-ian, or Dembskian, or Hovindian formulation) and can know how it originated, it can be ascribed to an intelligent, purposeful consciousness (which happens to be human in every case we can name, but that's supposed to be beside the point). Therefore, it's 'logical' to ascribe the constructs we recognize as living things - which match whatever Behe-ian/Dembskian/Hovindian formulation we've used - to an intelligent, purposeful consciousness."

By the same logic, though: Wherever we find intelligent, purposeful consciousness (and I take a very generous definition here, including not just human, but animal behavior, even - as Lynn Margulis has pointed out - microbial behavior), i.e. wherever you find what could by even the most generous definition be called "will", it is inextricably associated with a physical assembly of atoms. Would we not be justified in making the extrapolation that the existence of a "noncorporeal will" is a pretty dubious proposition?

I have to admit, that while I find the first, Paleyan, proposition less than compelling, I find it harder to dismiss the second proposition. Does this mean I'm an atheist first, and seeker of wisdom second (at best), or is the second proposition more sound than the first?

Anyone care to discuss?

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Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 28 2006,05:55   

Wow, this is an interesting topic. Our resident neurologist-in-training (Drew Headly?) would have a lot to say about that. I know a lot of experts think that the idea of a unified conscious entity within our heads is an illusion, but I haven't seen the proof for that. On a societal level, you make a good point: the society behaves as an integrated system despite being composed of independent units. I just saw "Fast, Cheap, and out of Control" and it talks a little about this issue.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 28 2006,10:15   

Quote
Wow, this is an interesting topic.
why, thank you! I thought so myself. And who apter to comment on it than the noncorporeal will of Paley himself?

In an effort to stimulate further discussion, I offer the following thoughts on why the Paleyan proposition (not yours, Ghost; your namesake's) strikes me as weaker than the second (the Russellian, if you will).

The Paleyan proposition, i.e. the Argument from Design, takes the bold step of postulating the existence of an entity for which there is no other evidence. The Russellian proposition takes the much less extraordinary (though admittedly less "creative") position that an  entity uniquely at odds with our daily and cumulative experiences (a nonphysical being that somehow interacts with the physical world) does not exist.

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Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 28 2006,11:38   

Quote
The Paleyan proposition, i.e. the Argument from Design, takes the bold step of postulating the existence of an entity for which there is no other evidence. The Russellian proposition takes the much less extraordinary (though admittedly less "creative") position that an  entity uniquely at odds with our daily and cumulative experiences (a nonphysical being that somehow interacts with the physical world) does not exist.


True, and that's why I brought up neuroscience, because many people think of their personal identities as an example of an incorporal being with intangible projections (hopes, desires) that interacts with the physical world. Aka "the soul". Of course, this "soul" may very well be reducible to neurons & electrical impulses, and our personal identity as an emergent property of competing/interacting brain modes, but most people have a subjective sense of a mind/body duality. Then there's this perspective.

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 28 2006,11:57   

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Of course, this "soul" may very well be reducible to neurons & electrical impulses, and our personal identity as an emergent property of competing/interacting brain modes, but most people have a subjective sense of a mind/body duality.
Being your stereotypical "materialist", I would subscribe to the idea that these various nontangible things we ambiguously define (will, mind, soul, personality...) are, in fact, reducible to, or emergent properties of neurons, etc. But even if you grant some more profound significance to the "mind/body duality" that most people have a subjective sense of, the fact remains that nowhere in our experience (well, mine, anyway) is there a will/mind/what-have-you not inextricably linked to, and utterly dependent on, a body.

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Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
jeannot



Posts: 1200
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 29 2006,08:23   

Quote (Russell @ Oct. 27 2006,12:26)
By the same logic, though: Wherever we find intelligent, purposeful consciousness (and I take a very generous definition here, including not just human, but animal behavior, even - as Lynn Margulis has pointed out - microbial behavior), i.e. wherever you find what could by even the most generous definition be called "will", it is inextricably associated with a physical assembly of atoms. Would we not be justified in making the extrapolation that the existence of a "noncorporeal will" is a pretty dubious proposition?

That's why Goddidit explains nothing.
According to IC or CSI, the designer is designed.
Then who designed the designer?

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 29 2006,10:46   

Quote
Being your stereotypical "materialist", I would subscribe to the idea that these various nontangible things we ambiguously define (will, mind, soul, personality...) are, in fact, reducible to, or emergent properties of neurons, etc.


This got me thinking. If "will" and "personality" are emergent properties of matter that interacts through the medium of chemical/electrical signaling, and the critical threshold of complex interaction is reached, then what does this imply about the internet? Are we creating an Internet God that will use us as pawns for His Will?



OH HE WHO WALKS BEHIND THE SCREENS.......TELL ME WHO TO SMITE, AND THEY SHALL BE SMITTEN!

(Fun with transhumanism!;))

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Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 29 2006,10:56   

No.

Next question

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If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
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