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Biological evolution is intelligent? All by itself?

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It’s come down to this, apparently, among the no-design crowd. From Raw Story:

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution offers an explanation for why biological organisms seem so well designed to live on our planet. This process is typically described as “unintelligent” – based on random variations with no direction. But despite its success, some oppose this theory because they don’t believe living things can evolve in increments. Something as complex as the eye of an animal, they argue, must be the product of an intelligent creator.

I don’t think invoking a supernatural creator can ever be a scientifically useful explanation. But what about intelligence that isn’t supernatural? Our new results, based on computer modelling, link evolutionary processes to the principles of learning and intelligent problem solving – without involving any higher powers. This suggests that, although evolution may have started off blind, with a couple of billion years of experience it has got smarter.

What is intelligence?

Intelligence can be many things, but sometimes it’s nothing more than looking at a problem from the right angle. More.

What is the subject of the gerund “looking at a problem from the right angle”? = [x] looks at a problem from the right angle. Who/what does that?

A process? An abstraction? A force? What exactly? Sorry wasn’t supposed to ask, right?

Naturalism makes for the rottenest religion going. People don’t have minds but stuff does? Is this a joke or what?

See also: Consciousness is like a self-driving car with no will or intent?

and

What can we hope to learn about animal minds? (You’d be surprised.)

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16 Replies to “Biological evolution is intelligent? All by itself?

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    More BS from the usual math-challenged suspects.

  2. 2
    GaryGaulin says:

    In my opinion you are seeing the theory of intelligent design that I have long been working on becoming accepted in science.

    The discovery of the century would be that gene regulation networks work similarly to the networks we use to consciously navigate and understand the world we sense around us, as demonstrated in the latest Intelligence Design Lab model:

    http://www.planetsourcecode.co.....8;lngWId=1

    There is no knowing what highly creative people in David Heiserman minded groups like this will come up with but at least Camp and others understand the mad-scientist “It’s alive!” thrill from yourself creating something that actually behaves like real intelligence:

    http://www.camppeavy.com/

    What is getting around is a simple way to explain something neuroscientists are working on that makes the virtual critter real good at a very demanding place avoidance test, for even the brainpower of a live rat. Where the same is going on at the genetic level we have a molecular scale neocortex of a brain that controls morphology much the same way we at the multicellular level (with brain in our head) control its muscles for motion through the environment and communication with others. It’s too early to know for sure but at least some know what to look for with their microscopes or whatever, not “Naturalism”.

    It’s as I have been saying, a presentable theory of intelligent design that did NOT come from the Discovery Institute is coming alive in science.

    Also see my critique of something else that’s looking promising:
    http://www.kurzweilai.net/foru.....p-learning

    I can agree that terminology needs some working on but it’s either be where the action is with what serious researchers need or that’s what you and all in science are stuck with.

  3. 3
    News says:

    GaryGaulin at 2: “It’s as I have been saying, a presentable theory of intelligent design that did NOT come from the Discovery Institute is coming alive in science.”

    Not until they get themselves a subject for that verb. As in: X is “looking at a problem from the right angle” X cannot be just an abstraction like the word “evolution” – an abstraction is not an intelligence, but a product of intelligence.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    With so many folks out there spitting out all kinds of daydreaming theories presenting the figments of their prolific imaginations, can someone put their feet back on the ground and point* at a serious literature explaining exactly how to build a cute kitten from a healthy feline zygote? Yes, let’s graciously make it simpler by keeping the formation of the zygote and the whole chicken-egg dilemma out (for now). 🙂
    What is intelligent is not the fascinating process from Z (zygote) to K (kitten), but the amazing mind that could design such an elaborate cellular and molecular choreography.
    Don’t agree? Too bad! Your problem. Chill out. 🙂

    (*) hint: there’s no such a literature available these days. In the best case scenario what we have out there is grossly incomplete.
    The more we know, more is ahead for us to learn.
    As outstanding questions get answered, new ones arise.
    Complex complexity.
    Work in progress… stay tuned. 🙂

  5. 5
    GaryGaulin says:

    What is intelligent is not the fascinating process from Z (zygote) to K (kitten), but the amazing mind that could design such an elaborate cellular and molecular choreography.

    And how do you propose to scientifically test your hypothesis?

  6. 6
    Peer says:

    “I don’t think invoking a supernatural creator can ever be a scientifically useful explanation.”

    ID is not and never will be an explanation, it’s a conclusion.

  7. 7
    EvilSnack says:

    “I’d like to introduce you to a couple of fellows named Mr. Chicken and Mr. Egg. See if you can figure out which one came first.”

  8. 8
    Axel says:

    Deleted as it is the basis of the following edited and amended post.

  9. 9
    Axel says:

    ” scientifically useful explanation.”

    That is a loaded question, Gary, in a manner not propitious to your conjecture.

    An explanation may be either useful or not useful. However, an explanation is superior to a partial explanation, in which truth is subordinated to the limitations of scientism ; which is the import of your phrase, ” scientifically-useful explanation “.

    Who gives tuppence, if its usefulness transcends even the limiting canons of ‘natural science’ – itself, a form of reducing valve, of intellectual blinkers, to serve that specific subdivision of truth, we call called ‘science’. Transcendance tends to be complimentary, rather than a flaw.

  10. 10
    Dionisio says:

    And how do you propose to scientifically test your hypothesis?

    That’s a good question. Thank you for asking it.

    The statement you quoted is not my hypothesis. It’s common sense. My vast ignorance disqualifies me from proposing any scientific hypothesis.
    The test is obviously easy. Just present a valid example describing how to produce such a developmental process without having to get a mind involved. I won’t hold my breath. 🙂

  11. 11
    Dionisio says:

    #10 addendum/correction

    Missed to indicate that the comment @10 is related to the comment @5 by GaryGaulin

  12. 12
    GaryGaulin says:

    Dionisio, only an easily suckered nitwit would believe that your hypothesis is “common sense”:

    What is intelligent is not the fascinating process from Z (zygote) to K (kitten), but the amazing mind that could design such an elaborate cellular and molecular choreography.

    Your refusal to test your own hypotheses makes you one of the con-artists:

    Just present a valid example describing how to produce such a developmental process without having to get a mind involved. I won’t hold my breath. 🙂

  13. 13
    Dionisio says:

    GaryGaulin @12

    Let me repeat something I wrote @10, in case you missed reading it:
    The statement you quoted @5 is not my hypothesis.
    My vast ignorance disqualifies me from proposing any scientific hypothesis.

    Now let me add something that might help to clarify any remaining misunderstanding:
    There are recorded precedents for complex functional information-processing systems being designed exclusively by intelligent agents.
    The test suggested @10 is obvious and valid.
    Its validity does not depend on being accepted or understood by everybody. Consensus is not required in this case. 🙂

    Have a good week.

  14. 14
    GaryGaulin says:

    You clearly stated a hypothesis that I just happen to have scientific evidence against:

    What is intelligent is not the fascinating process from Z (zygote) to K (kitten),

    And the only thing you could find to support your own hypothesis with is this ridiculous answer that even expects me to test it for you:

    The test is obviously easy. Just present a valid example describing how to produce such a developmental process without having to get a mind involved.

    Grow up.

  15. 15
    Dionisio says:

    GaryGaulin @14

    Ok, let’s agree to disagree and move on. 🙂

    gpuccio just posted a new article that is very interesting. Feel free to join gpuccio’s discussion thread.

  16. 16
    GaryGaulin says:

    News says:

    Not until they get themselves a subject for that verb. As in: X is “looking at a problem from the right angle” X cannot be just an abstraction like the word “evolution” – an abstraction is not an intelligence, but a product of intelligence.

    I can add by saying: the “theory of intelligent design” requires the ID movement to be able to operationally define “intelligent” behavior and be able to scientifically explain how “intelligent cause” works. Complaining about “evolution” does not accomplish that, so I can agree that it’s an unnecessary abstraction that not even you need. And in order to myself prove it to others all “evo” words have long been absent from my scientific texts. I found that it is best to completely ignore them. Can you?

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