Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Intelligent Design

At the end of the day the argument between the proponents of intelligent design and the neo-Darwinists is one about the nature of intelligence itself.

The ID camp can't handle the idea that life took shape as the result of a process that was mindless - which is the clear implication of the work of materialist philosophers like Daniel Dennet.

No, they say, life-forms look like they were designed by an intelligent designer, ergo they were.

Now when they argue that random mutation coupled with natural selection can't account for all the biochemical intricacies we see in Nature they may actually have a point, but their alternative explanation requires the intervention of intelligence from outside Nature.

You get the impression that while the materialists see self-conscious intelligence as a bizarre aberration within a mindless material universe - our peculiar aberration as people - the ID camp regard the source of intelligent design as some sort of super-person with essentially the same mental attributes of an ordinary human being but generally operating on an infinite scale.

The materialists are locked into a worldview that refuses to acknowledge any other way of perceiving reality except as a the cumulative result of the interactions of tiny, individual pieces of matter.

Cosmologists might be telling us that time, randomness, three-dimensional space etc might all be considered artefacts of perception, but the Neo-Ds aren't listening. For them evolution is a sequential algorithm that takes tiny things and under certain conditions and over geological timeframes creates larger, more interesting structures.

They're just not that interested whether along the way it results in patterns (such as intelligence) that mirror fundamental properties and processes of the universe at many different scales and possibly across different dimensions as well.

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