Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Barry Arrington

Bob Marks Knocks it Out of the Park on AI

This is a great discussion about whether AI (1) is currently sentient and (2) can, in principle, be sentient. All three panelists agree that it not currently sentient. It is 2 to 1 on whether it can, in principle, be sentient. As you might expect, how the materialists reach their conclusion follows more from metaphysical commitments than evidence. Max and Melanie (the materialists) see no reason why, in principle, computers cannot in the future be conscious. Why not? they ask, we are all just material stuff. And if you agree with their metaphysical premises, that is an unanswerable question. Max, especially is committed to this view and thinks we should be more humble. He is so blinkered by his commitment Read More ›

Update on Materialism

In my previous post, I demonstrated that materialism refutes itself because the very act of affirming belief in materialism depends on a denial of materialism. Why? Because purely physical things do not exhibit “intentionality” (the “aboutness” between believer and that which is believed). A liver cannot have any relationship to a proposition. So, for example, it would be absurd to say “my liver believes materialism is true.” And, of course, the problem for the materialist is that materialism claims that brains and livers are essentially the same in that they are purely physical. Here is the key point: If the amalgamation of chemicals called “liver” and the amalgamation of chemicals called “brain,” are essentially the same, the materialist cannot logically Read More ›

The Very Act of Affirming Materialism Refutes It

Consider the following statement:  “My liver believes materialism is true.” Sheer lunacy, right? But on materialism, there is no fundamental difference between the brain and the liver. They are both just meat. Therefore, for the materialist, the phrase “my brain believes materialism is true” is equivalent to the phrase “my liver believes materialism is true.” The materialist really is stuck. Objects like the liver do not have belief states. Philosophers say they do not exhibit “intentionality” (the “aboutness” a subject has towards an object). A rock cannot have a belief about the proposition “materialism is true.” Neither can a liver. Neither can a brain. Thus, the very act of affirming materialism denies one of its fundamental tenants because the act Read More ›

China is Doomed

From a recent FB post: China has committed slow motion suicide. The WSJ reports that China’s population shrank last year for the first time since the early 1960s when Mao’s insane policies led to the deaths of tens of millions. India is on the cusp of displacing China as the world’s most populous country. From this point on China’s population will continue to shrink. Again, insane CCP policies are the culprit. The CCP’s one child policy has resulted in an inversion of the population pyramid. Instead of more young people, today there are more people in their 60s than in their 50s and more people in their 50s than in their 40s and so on. China’s population implosion is almost Read More ›

Yet Another Example of How Materialism Blinds its Proponents

Over at the Reasons.org post (see here), UB and JVL are having an exchange that illustrates perfectly how materialism blinds its proponents. UB summarizes: In 1948 did John Von Neumann take a page from Alan Turing’s 1933 Machine and give a series of lectures predicting that a quiescent symbol system and a set of independent constraints would be required for autonomous open-ended self replication? Yes. In 1953 did Francis Crick, along with Watson, discover the sequence structure of that symbol system, calling it a code? Yes. And in 1955 did he further predict that an unknown set of protein constraints would be found working in the system, establishing the necessary code relationships? Yes. In 1956-1958 did Mahlon Hoagland and Paul Read More ›

Annual Fundraising Drive

Please support UD! Everyone has heard of a “shoestring budget.”  But did you know that UD gets by on an “aglet budget”?  What is an aglet? you ask.  An aglet is that little plastic sheath at the end of a shoestring.  That’s right.  Our budget is so small that we only wish we could get by on a shoestring.  All of which is prelude to our annual holiday fundraising drive.  If you have benefited from Caspian’s and the News Desk’s tireless efforts chasing the latest ID-related happenings, or KF’s in-depth analysis of the fundamentals, or any of our other UD features, please consider a donation to help fund our efforts.  The Donate button is there on the right of the Read More ›

What Must We Do When the Foundations Are Being Destroyed?

The twentieth century was drenched in blood. Totalitarian governments cruelly slaughtered over 100 million people and consigned tens of millions more to the camps, where their bodies were broken and their spirits crushed. As the years dragged by in that most miserable of centuries, time and again the world convulsed in the grip of a malignant evil that was unprecedented in its scope and brutality. Yet, for all its horror, as the century came to a close there were reasons for hope and even optimism. Memories of the Nazi horror were fading. The Soviet Union had collapsed not, as many had feared, in a paroxysm of fire and blood, but with a whimper. In China, Deng Xiaoping unleashed the power Read More ›

Live Not By Lies

The North Korean government claims Kim Jong Il made 11 holes-in-one in his first golf game. For a long time I wondered why they bother making up such outrageous lies. Then one day I realized that the very outrageousness of the lie IS the point. Every tyrant’s power is built on a foundation of lies, and therefore tyrants must always condition their victims to the subjugation of lies. The more outrageous and unbelievable the lie, the better. Because the more outrageous the lie, the more the light in the victim’s soul fades when he repeats it, and as that light fades so too does his will to resist. The point of the 11 holes-in-one story is not that anyone believes it. Read More ›

Are We Free?

There is a constant struggle in every man’s heart between what he does and what he knows he should do.  Freud and the Apostle Paul wrote about this conflict in the following famous passages: Thus the ego, driven by the id, confined by the super-ego, repulsed by reality, struggles to master its economic task of bringing about harmony among the forces and influences working in and upon it; and we can understand how it is that so often we cannot suppress a cry: ‘Life is not easy!’ If the ego is obliged to admit its weakness, it breaks out in anxiety – realistic anxiety regarding the external world, moral anxiety regarding the super-ego and neurotic anxiety regarding the strength of Read More ›

Defend the Children

The madness will not end until we grasp the following truths: 1. There are hundreds of millions of guns in the US. 2. Even assuming for the sake of argument that it would be a desirable thing to do, no gun control law can eliminate all or even a small fraction of those guns. 3. Evil men will always be able to get a gun. 4. Schools are soft targets full of defenseless people. 5. We can’t hire enough cops to guard all of those people. 6. We need to equip and train school staff who are willing to do so to defend themselves and the children in their care. 7. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. It is Read More ›

Quote of the Day

The quote of the day comes from commenter AaronS1978. In a comment to my last post, Aaron brings to our attention MMA fighter Fallon Fox, a man posing as a woman and fighting in the woman’s division. He has smashed the faces of multiple woman. Aaron writes that in our brave new world: beating the crap out of a woman is OK as long as you think you’re a woman Where are the feminists?

Yes, Lia Thomas is Causing Harm

Some have responded to my last post by saying “take a chill pill dude” (not kidding; one commentator actually resorted to that inanity). They argue that I should settle down because Lia Thomas’ posing as a woman to crush real women in athletic competitions does not harm anyone. Nonsense. He is causing harm. Former collegiate swimmer Jenna Stocker writes this about her swimming career: Whether on a court, rink, or in my case, a pool, the ultimate goal is to win. The drive to be the best in my sport and my events — distance freestyle — is why I rode my bike through the snow for predawn practices at the University of Minnesota. It is why I swam countless laps, pushing Read More ›

Never Fall into the Trap of Trying to Argue for the Self Evident

For two reasons, it is a mistake to argue for self-evident propositions.  First, it is impossible to argue for a self-evident proposition because the definition of a self-evident proposition is a proposition that is known to be true merely by understanding its meaning.  Consider the challenge “I deny 1+1=2.  Prove it.”  Don’t fall for it.  If a person denies the glaring truth of such an analytic statement (i.e., 1+1 actually means 2), they are a hopeless fool. Nothing you can say to them will reduce the proposition to more basic terms.  Secondly, arguing for self-evident truths is rhetorically self-defeating, because the very act of trying to argue for them concedes the proposition that they are “arguable.”  And they are, again Read More ›

How the Doctrine of Original Sin Helped Spark the Scientific Revolution and Why Neo- Pelagianism Has Produced the Replication Crisis

Are the majority of new scientific publications false?  There is very good evidence to believe that is the case.  This short video is must viewing for anyone who wants to know why that is the case.  As our News Desk has faithfully reported these last couple of years, science is beset with a replication crisis.  A passage in Stephen Meyer’s Return of the God Hypothesis got me to thinking about this crisis and perhaps the reason it arose.  In an early chapter of his book, Meyer discussed why the scientific revolution occurred in Christian Europe and nowhere else.  The reason, of course, is that far from being at war with science as some blinkered revisionist historians would have it, science Read More ›

Frank Herbert’s Secular Prophecy

When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles Frank Herbert, Children of Dune Last Tuesday I arrived at an inflection point in my view about the prospects of a negotiated solution to our national divisions.  It was one of those shocking moments that slashes through the haze and brings startling clarity.  Law professor Ilya Shapiro was invited to speak at the U.C. Hastings Law School.  The event had to be cancelled because every time Shapiro attempted to speak, fascist students banged the table and shouted him down.  After enduring these Brownshirt tactics Read More ›