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  #11  
Unread December 23rd, 2005, 10:10 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Intelligent Design and Why Not

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CM: I'm reminded of an aboriginal belief in existance, but I would describe it differently: reality rests on the back of a "higher power" and it's higher powers all the way up!
I’m reminded of an inflationist belief in the infinite universe(s)—the probability of our universe, and indeed all universes, is 1. (See http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/gr-qc/pdf/0507/0507094.pdf , July 2005 paper on the Arrow of Time and initial conditions by Robert M Wald, Enrico Fermi Institute and Dept of Physics, U. of Chicago.)

And it’s universes all the way up, down, and sideways.
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  #12  
Unread December 23rd, 2005, 11:07 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Intelligent Design and Why Not

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sk8: This is all nothign more than a splitting of hairs, the underlying motive being to banish anything from our schools that contradicts the literal word of the Bible.
Undoubtedly there are those with fundamentalist creationism agendas. But the larger issue is that neo-Darwinianism, as it is generally presented in it's current mutation—essentially a directionless evolution resulting from random mutation and an indefinable natural selection—inescapably points towards a universe that is best described by it’s current high priest, Richard Dawkins:
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"In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference."
However, many great physicists, undoubtedly smarter and better equipped to make such judgments than Dawkins or pretty much any biologist, have seen things differently—
Quote:
Einstein: “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe—a spirit vastly superior to that of man....”

Max Planck: “There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.”

Roger Penrose, the eminently qualified Oxford physicist who wrote The Road to Reality, A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe, 2005, “The most complete mathematical explanation of the universe yet published,” has stated elsewhere: "I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance."
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  #13  
Unread January 11th, 2006, 11:47 PM
alexandra_k alexandra_k is offline
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Default Re: Intelligent Design and Why Not

If science is the study of the natural world, then what caused the first event in the natural world is always going to lie beyond science. But what lies beyond science is not part of science and thus should not be part of the science curriculum. I think it is a tricky one because there are different versions of the intelligent design hypothesis. The trouble is that they seem to be either false or to lie beyond science. The limits of science are an interesting matter but I am not in favour of diluting the science curriculum in order to teach it in the schools. It is a subject matter for philosophy of religion and philosophy of science which might be interesting as an option, and can certainly be studied at university. But evolution by natural selection is a complicated topic and most students don't seem to have an adequate understanding of it. To dilute the science curriculum is likely to lead to even more misunderstandings of the theory.

I do find it interesting how people respond to the idea that there is no intentionality / mentality in the world that is independent of what humans (as beings with minds) project on to it.

Okay so there is no goodness or caring in the world-in-itself...
But there is no badness or malevolent intent either.

And as for the physicists... It used to be thought that they studied the nature of mind independent reality. Then we started to grasp that they study our observations of reality (hence inter-subjective reality). Hence our projections of meaning / purpose / intentionality may well be an integral part of our experience of the world. And the world-in-itself lies beyond our understanding as a matter of definition...
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  #14  
Unread January 12th, 2006, 11:54 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Intelligent Design and Why Not

As I understand it, intellignce is used for only one thing in the whole of the universe (that I know of) - to help creatures who have some of it choose the best alternatives from those available by making better predictions.

Or, it has the same function as a cheetah's speed or any other evolutionary adaptation - to increase the chance that the cheetah's DNA will appear in future generations of cheetah-like creatures.

This raises the question in my mind of why an omnipotent immortal God would need to have intelligence (if Her decisions could not kill Her or reduce Her fitness). Or why she would have a need to use that intelligence to design other mortal creatures and then have to share Her space with the disgustingly flawed results. Seems like a lot of trouble just to make Her life complicated.

I mean one day She's sitting there reading a good book, enjoying a cosmic latte - and the next She's got people trying to mug Her and sell Her shit, and a humongous extended family with serious relationship problems looking for special favors.

Seems like a pretty unintelligent thing to do.
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  #15  
Unread January 14th, 2006, 06:39 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Re: Intelligent Design and Why Not (Parsomony)

"But then the principle of parsimony, not to mention a lack of evidence, seems to preclude any rational belief in multiple universes ."

I think Lewontin pointed out that nature is not parsimonious even though human beliefs attempt such in science. Occam's razor emasculates sexual selection: the displays that Geoff Miller described as an underpinning for human smarts and that Pinker called a "spin doctor."

Jim
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  #16  
Unread January 14th, 2006, 06:44 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Default Re: Intelligent Design and Why Not: Smart Gods

As to "intelligence"
Please consider arguments that it's about getting laid, not about making the "best choices." Geoff Miller supplies many planks that support that argument. Consider also intelligence as a weapon in social contests: we need to be bright in order to survive the company of other cheaters. And the idea that intelligence and language grew as replacements for grooming. And finally my own, and therefore favorite hunch: intelligence is one of many many exploratory systems that baton our development...

Thanks for being here!

JimB
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  #17  
Unread January 15th, 2006, 03:15 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Intelligent Design and Why Not

Hi JimB, Thanks for the welcome.

You said,

Please consider arguments that it's about getting laid, not about making the "best choices."

From reading that and several of your other essays here I suspect we have some fundamentally different ideas about how the human mind works.

But first, it seems to me that what it’s about – is trying to increase the probability that more of our DNA will appear in succeeding generations riding around in cells within descendents that can do the same. And that is not necessarily just boinking. First, one has to live to sexual maturity. By that time a person will have made several million choices - like not to crap in the cave and not to irritate that lion and to sit under a tree at mid-day and not to drink water from that puddle.

Then, if you make enough of those good choices to live to boinking age there’s the question of whom to boink. There have been few primate societies where boinkees are an unlimited resource.

I would assume that the sweet young thing with the clear complexion would likely produce more healthy offspring for a hunky hunter than that older one with the missing teeth. But the young one has no dowry or lineage – and she has a jealous suitor who wields a mean club. The older one is the chief’s widowed daughter whose offspring will surely get the royal treatment should they be born - and whose husband will gain great status. Ah, choices, choices. Most of them better be good ones too because one wrong choice can kill you long before your first sperm finds an egg.

And the more intelligent human will probably make better choices. Possibly even choices that would lead to less pleasurable or even less frequent boinking, but a greater chance that more of his or her DNA will be riding around in the cells of fit future offspring.

Certainly males and females have different mating strategies but in terms of the energy spent and the risks taken in life I'd say both men and women spend thousands of times more of that making and acting on choices that are not directly associated with boinking than those that are - don’t you think? OK, frat boys and travelling salesmen excepted.

PS - I've always considered baton a noun and that makes your favorite hunch unintelligible for me. I need a clue.
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  #18  
Unread January 15th, 2006, 12:21 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Talking Choices & Procreation: Triver's Balls

I think we agree on basics but focus differently on proximate and distal motives. I also side-tracked on the "choices" phrase because of my annoyance with current educational blather about "teaching kids to make good choices."

Anyhow, Bob Trivers captured the essence in one of his talks at a Princeton meeting of Georgetown Family Systems group: He stood tall in front of this mostly female, mostly social-worker audience, bent backwards, grabbed his testicles, lifted them upwards, and proclaimed, "I'm working for these."

Glad he did it, I would have been too embarrassed...

As to "baton": you can figure it out. Also consult Pinker on the Language Instinct (grammar tends to endure, nouns and verbs mutate quickly), and some obscure thoughts by one Brody on language as an exploratory system. Check also Barabasi on emergent networks in regard to hubs and nodes.

JB
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  #19  
Unread January 15th, 2006, 04:49 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Intelligent Design and Why Not

JB: I think we agree on basics but focus differently on proximate and distal motives.

MM: From reading the rest of your post I still think we disagree on the fundamentals. If you believe that what you said is true - it deserves a clearer statement of where you think we agree and disagree. IMO that's the first step in these discussions - if we're actually interested in comparing and exploring ideas.

JB: Anyhow, Bob Trivers captured the essence in one of his talks at a Princeton meeting of Georgetown Family Systems group: He stood tall in front of this mostly female, mostly social-worker audience, bent backwards, grabbed his testicles, lifted them upwards, and proclaimed, "I'm working for these." Glad he did it, I would have been too embarrassed...

MM: Nothing creates emotional excitement like having one's core beliefs massaged (or attacked). From noticing the things in your essays that seem to get you excited - I'm detecting a strong whiff of the socially-conservative, anti-PC, pseudo-science that is popular at places like Steve Sailer's repugnant HBI website. Please say it isn't so. You're not another member of his infamous mail-list are you?

JB: As to "baton": you can figure it out. Also consult Pinker on the Language Instinct (grammar tends to endure, nouns and verbs mutate quickly), . .

MM: If people want to discuss complex ideas intelligently they need to understand as accurately as possible what each other mean when they make a statement. If either side asks for a clarification that's a sign that they are sincerely trying to understand your meaning. I can certainly guess what you mean by baton in this context but then I'd never know if I got the true meaning of your statement or just my own version. I'm surprised someone educated in science would be so dismissive.

JB: . . and some obscure thoughts by one Brody on language as an exploratory system

MM: If your obscure thoughts are relevant here it shouldn't take more than a paragraph to lay them out and explain why. Sounds like they could be interesting. Since you didn't say another Brody I'll assume you don't mean Richard.

JB: Check also Barabasi on emergent networks in regard to hubs and nodes.

MM: I could list several significant books and authors from which I inform my understanding of human nature. I'm sure we've read many of the same ones despite that we probably have some different conclusions. But, when I'm trying to make a point in a discussion I figure that if I can't state the relevant principles that support my point clearly enough and in my own words - then I probably don't have an argument.

As I read through your essays I find very little discussion of principles and a lot of anecdotes that seem to affirm some imputed beliefs - although they're all fun to read. I'm more interested though in the principles and reasoning that support your beliefs. That's assuming that you just like to write entertaining essays that happen to support some anti-PC beliefs (especially those that deal with boinking) and that you are not an anti-PC ideologue.

If you are (I really hope not) then you're probably miffed by my dismissive attitude toward such things. In any case, I'd still be interested in a discussion of how we come to have the beliefs that we do and how they can become such strong forces in our lives - which actually speaks to the very heart of evolutionary psychology in my opinion - and will probably come up in any case.

MM
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  #20  
Unread January 19th, 2006, 08:25 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Intelligent Design and Why Not

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alexandra: And as for the physicists... It used to be thought that they studied the nature of mind independent reality. Then we started to grasp that they study our observations of reality (hence inter-subjective reality). Hence our projections of meaning / purpose / intentionality may well be an integral part of our experience of the world. And the world-in-itself lies beyond our understanding as a matter of definition...
All of this seems to boil down to whether there is objective truth and whether we can know it—since mathematics seems to explain the physical world amazingly well, the issue is whether 1 + 1 = 2 is real and objectively true, or whether it’s merely social constructivism.

As I see things, 1 + 1 = 2 is an objective truth—mathematical realism holds that mathematical entities exist independently of the human mind, that we don’t invent mathematics but rather discover it, and that any other intelligent beings in the universe would presumably do the same.

Many working mathematicians, and certainly all the great ones, are/were mathematical realists (essentially Platonists, if not openly then certainly in their hearts); and I suspect the same could be said of the greatest physicists.

For those having a social constructivism POV, everything tends to be relative and subjective and nothing ever seems to add up.
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