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If materialism is true . . .

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Terry Mirll sent me the following predictions and anti-predictions related to materialism.

If naturalistic materialism is true:

1. We are nothing but the sum of our parts. Our bodies are wholly explicable in terms of nature, and there is no aspect of our bodies that cannot be described in purely naturalistic terms, nor any means of describing ourselves other than naturalistic ones. Human beings are simply organic beings and nothing more, composed of organs which are composed of cells which are composed of molecules which are composed of atoms which are composed of sub-atomic particles (and, if string theory is valid, the particles are composed of various strings of energy), and that’s it. We are thus material beings and not spiritual ones. We have no souls. Consciousness is therefore nothing but a curious offshoot of biochemistry, a higher reasoning function of our brains that has arisen from the natural advantage afforded to us by both the size of the human brain and its level of complexity. It is NOT evidence that Man is a creature imago dei, but rather evidence of the power by which natural selection operating in tandem with random genetic mutation can operate.

THEREFORE, I PREDICT that scientists will one day construct a device capable of transporting a human body across vast regions of space–a device comparable to the “teleporter” as portrayed in the “Star Trek” TV series. It will disassemble a living human body at a molecular or sub-molecular level, transport those small bits of living organic material at high speed across great distance, and reassemble them to their original macroscopic configuration, with no ill effects to the body it has transported.

IF, HOWEVER, after several hundred years of scientific advance no such a device will have been formulated, this fact should be taken as an indication that naturalistic materialism is not true.

2. The biodiversity of this planet is explicable in purely naturalist terms. Organic life on earth has arisen from purely inorganic material. As the fossil record clearly indicates that at one time earth was lifeless and then later it wasn’t, biogenesis can only be explained as abiogenesis–that is, that life occurred spontaneously out of nonlife. Further, since there is nothing particularly unique about the earth, since life can arise purely on its own given the right ingredients and the right conditions, and since there are assuredly other earth-like planets in our galaxy as well as in other galaxies, it is inconceivable that we are alone in the universe. Surely on some other planet or planets, life has spontaneously generated much like it did on ours, and since it is the intractable rule of natural selection to force the various species into ever-greater levels of complexity, it is reasonable to suppose that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. If we look for it, sooner or later we should find it.

THEREFORE, I PREDICT that scientists will one day find unequivocal evidence of extraterrestrial life. We will either be visited by members of some extraterrestrial race, or we will visit them, or at least detect their activity via radiometry or telemetry or some such means. If there is no intelligent life in the universe other than ours, there should at least be signs of the unintelligent kind: an alien hive or nest, an otherworldly forest, or an ocean filled with algae.

IF, HOWEVER, after several hundred years of searching for life on other planets no such evidence is found, this fact should be taken as an indication that naturalistic materialism is not true.

3. Darwinism is true. Live evolves in an undirected, unscripted way. It just happens, all on its own, and unassisted by anyone. Nature is thus a closed system, fully capable or self-sustainment.

THEREFORE, I PREDICT that an incident of active evolution will be observed in the field. Now that we know what we are looking for, we will be able to demonstrate what we claim the fossil record suggests. Scientists will be able to tag a species of plant or animal, and by meticulous tracking an tagging of its offspring by generations of scientists yet to come, will eventually identify an incident in which new speciation occurs. They will be able to point to the descendants of the original species and, by careful examination of their DNA, indicate at what point their genetic coding diverged. Further, they will be able to identify the conditions responsible for the divergence, whether via natural selection, random genetic mutation, or some combination of the two.

IF, HOWEVER, after hundreds of years of field observations, no incident of new speciation is ever identified, this should be taken as an indication that naturalistic materialism is not true.

4. Concomitantly, if Darwinism is true, then morality is subjective–and if it is subjective, then no one brand of morality is required for our survival. There is no higher authority establishing morality or requiring us to live among each other in any particular way. The only code of conduct required is the Rule of Law, and as this code is exclusively of human invention, we should be able to legislate ourselves into Utopia. Religion, the byproduct of primitive superstition, will ultimately disappear, once we discard our fears and emotions and give in to reason and logic.

THEREFORE, I PREDICT that one day a nation will arise that will be a purely secular society with no notion of religion, spirituality, or morality. It should be a society which does far more than merely tolerate atheism, but has atheism at its core as its functioning principle. It will be a Nation Not Under God, and will be able to function without any appeals to religion. It will be a free society, curtailed only by law, the codified product of mutual consent. It will be truly tolerant of all viewpoints, regardless of how extreme, and will accept all modes of behavior without judgment or dissatisfaction. It will be not the product of mere wishful thinking, but an active, living, fully functional entity.

IF, HOWEVER, after hundreds of years of trying to build a wholly secular society, no such society is ever able to establish and sustain itself, this should be taken as an indication that naturalistic materialism is not true.

5. As we as a species are either a product of our heredity or of our environment, or of some combination of the two, all human characteristics must have their explanations along those lines as well. This includes notions such as higher intelligence, self-awareness, and free will. Therefore, what we call the mind-as separate from the brain-is no esoteric concept but has, as all things do if materialism is true, a perfectly natural explanation. The mind does not operate independently from nature. It therefore has its cause in nature and nowhere else. As the mind is clearly linked with the brain, its source must be somewhere therein.

THEREFORE, I PREDICT that science will one day identify that area or areas of the brain which produce the mind, describing in precise detail the chemical basis for thought. It will demonstrate the biochemical processes from which the mind emerges and by which the mind operates.

IF, HOWEVER, after hundreds of years of research into the human brain, the mind is never established as a dependent construct of the brain, this should be taken as an indication that naturalistic materialism is not true.

6. Knowledge and information are finite. As Carl Sagan once famously remarked, “The universe is all that ever was, is, or will ever be.” Because knowledge and information can only be explained in materialistic terms, the amount of knowledge or information available in the universe is limited to the total amount of material of which the universe is comprised, and, as science has demonstrated, the universe is finite. Just as there is a theoretical limit to the amount of information that can be stored in a computer chip, there is a corresponding limit to the amount of information that can be stored in any brain, human or otherwise (or in any organ other than a brain that is capable of storing knowledge and information). Further, there is only a finite amount of material that can be used to form a chip or brain and likewise a limit to the amount of information that can be stored in any computer, however large, or in the mind of any organic being, however complex (infinitely complexity also being an impossibility, as complexity is also limited by a finite source of organic material). This suggest that both knowledge and information are finite, limited by both the total numbers of individual entities, living and nonliving, which are capable of storing knowledge and information, and by their capacity for doing so. It is impossible to construct a computer that is larger than the available material out of which to build one; it is also impossible to have more organic beings than the total amount of organic material out of which to build them. If knowledge and information are finite, and if human beings are merely materialistic entities suborned to a material universe, then there is a theoretical limit to human thought. A Theory of Everything is therefore possible, as it would encapsulate the entire set of all things that are knowable.

THEREFORE, I PREDICT a Theory of Everything will be one day formulated and will be born out by repeated experimentation. It will accurately predict knowledge of things we do not yet know, and all future scientific discoveries will flow from it.

IF, HOWEVER, after hundreds of years of research in theoretical physics, in neurology, in psychology, and/or in related sciences no Theory of Everything is forthcoming and no experiment is ever devised to test it, this should be taken as an indication that naturalistic materialism is not true.

32 Replies to “If materialism is true . . .

  1. 1
    mike1962 says:

    The funny thing is, if materialism is true, there is no rational reason for us to *believe* it is true. You philosophy majors know what I’m talking about.

    I neither reject nor accept materialism, myself, in any *objective* philosophical sense. However, I have certainly become much more predisposed to accepting a non-materialist view over the years. My first eye opener came years ago when I seriously begin to consider the nature of my own consciousness. And now, despite all the brain studies mapping certain mental states to certain areas and states within the brain, nobody is any closer at understanding with the subjective experience IS, and how to even describe it in any terms a non-conscious entity (like a computer) could process. It just doesn’t make sense. The conscious experience of “blue” just doesn’t map to anything else. It is what it is. It is fundamental. My consciousness and it’s states are fundamental. Is this the Big Clue?

  2. 2
    mike1962 says:

    …furthermore, and to Mirll’s statements, I guess he’s never heard the old, bue true, cliche “absense of evidence is not evidence of absense.”

    “If after hundreds of years” is nonsensical. Why hundreds? Why not thousands or millions? Even after a million years, if mankind is still here, and our technology is roughly on the same order as it is now, it is conceivable that no evidence of the kind Mirll specifies will make itself known. Materialism may be true or not, but no conditions of the sort Mirll specifies will demonstrate it either way.

  3. 3
    BarryA says:

    mike1962

    As you probably know, there is a technical name for the phenomenon you describe: qualia.

    Ed Oakes describes qualia as follows: “‘qualia’ stands for all those features of consciousness that give awareness its specific identity as a particular kind of experience: the redness of red, the sadness of depression, the piquancy of papaya juice, the irksomeness of traffic jams, the crankiness that comes from insomnia, the hurt feelings arising from playground taunts, and so forth.”

    The existence of qualia is difficult (read impossible) to explain in materialist terms.

  4. 4
    BarryA says:

    mike1962

    “Materialism may be true or not, but no conditions of the sort Mirll specifies will demonstrate it either way.”

    Read the article again. Mirll says that if the predictions do not come true in hundreds of years: “this should be taken as an INDICATION that naturalistic materialism is not true.” He never says, as you suggest, that it will firmly establish that materialism is not true.

    Assume that a prediction that logically follows if materialism is true is made in year A. If in year A+900 the prediction has not come true, surely you will agree that there is less – even if only very slightly less – reason to have confidence in the foundation upon which the prediction was made. The only alternative is to say that 900 years of experience is utterly meaningless.

  5. 5
    jaredl says:

    Point #2 is invalid. The primitive Christians taught that there was life on other worlds. That modern Christianity has repudiated such teachings ought to give the thoughtful pause.

  6. 6
    crandaddy says:

    My first eye opener came years ago when I seriously begin to consider the nature of my own consciousness. And now, despite all the brain studies mapping certain mental states to certain areas and states within the brain, nobody is any closer at understanding with the subjective experience IS, and how to even describe it in any terms a non-conscious entity (like a computer) could process. It just doesn’t make sense.

    A book you mignt find interesting is C. S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason by Victor Reppert. I’ve never been a materialist, but until I read Reppert’s book I held reservations about the irreducibility of mind to material mechanisms. Agree with his conclusions or not, he makes a powerful case.

  7. 7
    mike1962 says:

    “A book you mignt find interesting is C. S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason by Victor Reppert.”

    Haven’t read it. Although, I’ve read the book Reppert apparently based his book on, Miracles, by C.S. Lewis. A very good read indeed. But it should be called, “Why naturalism (materialism) is self-refuting, and why Christianity is plausible in light of this.” 🙂

  8. 8
    crandaddy says:

    Never read Miracles, I\’m somewhat embarrassed to say. I probably ought to, as great an admirer of his that I am.

  9. 9
    Mats says:

    jaredl@5

    The primitive Christians taught that there was life on other worlds. That modern Christianity has repudiated such teachings ought to give the thoughtful pause.

    From which era? Apostolic Age?

  10. 10
    steveh says:

    Maybe a first step would be a “transporter” which doesn’t destroy the original but makes an exact atom-by-atom replica (alive or dead). If technology doesn’t allow you to do that, and to such an extent that any organ (except the brain) could be transplanted back to the live owner with absolutely no ill effect, and no doctor could work could discern which was the copy and which was the original, then the failure to make a fully sentient being could not be considered a failure of materialism, merely a recognition of the fact that technology doesn’t always advance the same in real life as it does in science fiction. Maybe the resulting copy should also be required to be capable of breathing and doing simple math, exhibiting basic instincts, and maybe doing all sorts of other things, apart from the hard-stuff – such as being to appreciate the redness of red, the piquancy of papaya juice, and the crankiness that comes from losing a court case etc.

  11. 11
    jaredl says:

    Mats@9 – I’m unable to locate my source at the moment. I will cite it when I find it.

  12. 12
    BK says:

    Another couple hundred years of entertaining materialism? Egad! It’s all over after the fall of Darwinism. Evoltionary biology is materialism’s last hold-out in the sciences. Once the fortress falls, the bullies won’t have the authority of science to use as a hammer to beat religious folk over the head with anymore. Without science as cover, their crazy philosophy has no credibility.

  13. 13
    Ryan says:

    “Point #2 is invalid. The primitive Christians taught that there was life on other worlds. That modern Christianity has repudiated such teachings ought to give the thoughtful pause.”

    Modern Mormons like to cite the early church fathers out of context by anachronistically reading LDS doctrines into early Christian writings. [They fill words with LDS definitions when those words meant something totally different.]

    An example of this is documented here:
    http://aomin.org/ONEGOD.html

  14. 14
    BarryA says:

    steveh, ever notice how materialists say “maybe” a lot. Someone once counted and determined that your boy CD used the subjunctive over 800 times in Origin of Species. Maybe, yeah, but not probably.

  15. 15
    Jack Krebs says:

    Prediction 3 says,

    THEREFORE, I PREDICT that an incident of active evolution will be observed in the field. Now that we know what we are looking for, we will be able to demonstrate what we claim the fossil record suggests. Scientists will be able to tag a species of plant or animal, and by meticulous tracking an tagging of its offspring by generations of scientists yet to come, will eventually identify an incident in which new speciation occurs. They will be able to point to the descendants of the original species and, by careful examination of their DNA, indicate at what point their genetic coding diverged. Further, they will be able to identify the conditions responsible for the divergence, whether via natural selection, random genetic mutation, or some combination of the two.

    IF, HOWEVER, after hundreds of years of field observations, no incident of new speciation is ever identified, this should be taken as an indication that naturalistic materialism is not true.

    Several problems here.

    1. The theory of evolution does not claim that there is some identifiable “speciation” event in the sense of one birth that moves us from species A to species B, which seems to be the situation being described.

    2. All evolution is by a combination of genetic change and natural selection: neither one working alone can produce evolution.

    3. Speciation has been observed – not in the incorrect sense described in the prediction, which seems to say that we ought to be able to directly see the speciation happen in front of our eyes, but in the correct scientific sense that there are now multiple species when we know that there was just one a some time in the not too distant past. Even Answers in Genesis accepts that speciation has been observed in this sense.

  16. 16
    Michael "Tutu" Tuite says:

    In the ID-informed history of life on earth, does the advent of human conciousness represent another episode of active intervention on the part of a non-materialist designer? I assume that most here would answer “yes.” Would anyone be willing to posit at what other points in life’s history the designer has actively intervened? Are the minds of other animals explicable in purely materialst terms?

    Thanks

  17. 17
    Joseph says:

    From what I gather from “The Privileged Planet” is that just about the only way to get ETs is if ID were true. IOW the design inference makes ETs a likely probability. TPP tells us where to look and what to look for. We just need the technology.

    TPP page 329:

    14) You haven’t shown that ETs don’t exist.

    “This is true, but we did not intend to. In fact, ironically, design might even improve the possibility of ETs.”

    Well, yeah…

  18. 18
    steveh says:

    OK Barry, let’s drop the “maybe’s” from my previous post. If non-materialism is true we should definitely be able to make an atom by atom copy of a human being lying on a slab (A), to a facsimilie on another slab (B), within a few hundred years. That copy would lack the ability to experience the redness of red etc, but will be physically indistiguishable from the original by any means. However we would be able to swap organs/parts with the original with no ill-effect. I.e. leg for leg, arm for arm, kidney for kidney, heart for heart, brain for brain, or synapse for synapse, until finally the original physical beings would be completely interchanged. Yet only the entity on slab A would feel the inclination to to go on and on about how it had been cheated by that activist judge, despite the fact that it was now physically only a copy, because the soul and the qualia would belong to the ensemble and not to any individual group of atoms. If the technology didn’t let you perform a complete body swap this way, then we would not be in a position to judge. Any failure to achieve the above within a few hundred years, would be a failure of supernatural/non-material woohooism.

    Or to answer your rhethorical question, “Yes I have noticed that materialist don’t display the same degree of arrogant certainty that some theists do. E.g. Do these 58 peer reviewed papers refute your claim? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t – I can’t say either way without having read any/all of them.”

  19. 19
    terrylmirll says:

    mike1962

    “but no conditions of the sort Mirll specifies will demonstrate it either way.”

    Nonsense. That’s the entire point of my predictions. If, for instance, future scientists are able to demonstrate conclusively that an instance in natural selection has caused an incident of new speciation, this will once and for all prove the validity of Darwinism, which will thus prove that materialism works. Such a proof would furthermore put an end to all this talk of Intelligent Design.

    I’m suggesting, however, that since I believe materialism is false, that such a proof will NEVER be forthcoming, no matter how diligently or how long the materialists look for it.

    Further, the notion of naturalistic materialism is relatively new–it came about roughly the time of Francis Bacon. At present, such a notion still has weight because of its relative newness. However, in 500 years it will have considerably less weight, because we will have been looking steadfastly for its confirmation AND IT IS MY PREDICTION THAT WE WON’T HAVE IT. So, will scientists still be telling themselves that “sooner or later” we’ll find ET and that his discovery is “just around the corner,” even after 500+ years of unfulfilled promises? And if they do, what will the rest of us have to say about it?

  20. 20
    terrylmirll says:

    And here’s another thought: what about scientific research into artificial intelligence? If materialism is true, shouldn’t artificial intelligence eventually achieve self-awareness? After all, isn’t that precisely what happens in the “Terminator” and “Matrix” sci-fi flicks? Ditto for “Star Trek: the Next Generation.” In one episode, Captain Picard appears befor a military court and testifies that Commander Data is sentient.

    So, after 500 years of writing artificial intelligence programs, if we never meet Commander Data, won’t that suggest that materialism is false?

  21. 21
    Mark Frank says:

    “If materialism is true”

    This relies on a clear idea of what materialism is and is not.

    Consider:

    a. There may be physical phenomena which we are completely unaware of that will eventually become part of science – just as microbiology, electomagnetism and quantum theory were once completely unknown.

    b. It may be that there are some things which humans are incapable of understanding just as dogs will never understand Proust.

    c. A special but important case of 2. We may be logically unable to understand how our own brains work in detail – something like Godel’s theorem might make it impossible.

    None of this implies a divinity in the sense of something that has a mind as we do, requires worship and gives moral guidance. In fact I would guess Dawkins and Dennett would allow that all three might be true.

    Now look at the predictions in the light of these.

    1. May not be possible because of c above. In any case we can’t even do it for one atom at the moment so we are not going to do it for the billions of neurons in a brain in any conceivable timeframe.

    2. Depends entirely on the probability of biogenesis. We have no idea how probable this is – well we know it is pretty rare because it only happened once on earth. It is a finite universe and most of that universe is uncontactable for all practical purposes.

    3. Jack Krebs answered this – speciation has been observed.

    4. Might happen I guess – but it is a function of how people behave which is pyschology and sociology – not a function of whether materialism is true. Materialism may be true but people as a matter of psychology may prefer not to believe it and societies may be more successful if they don’t believe it.

    5. May not be possible because of c above.

    6. May not be possible because of a above.

  22. 22
    Lurker says:

    “A book you mignt find interesting is C. S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason by Victor Reppert.”

    Love the argument from reason. Very powerful. Victor Reppert has a blog here http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/

  23. 23
    jwrennie says:

    ““If after hundreds of years” is nonsensical. Why hundreds? Why not thousands or millions? Even after a million years, if mankind is still here, and our technology is roughly on the same order as it is now, it is conceivable that no evidence of the kind Mirll specifies will make itself known. Materialism may be true or not, but no conditions of the sort Mirll specifies will demonstrate it either way.”

    This is actually a reasonable request to make. After all, if a theory is correct, or approximates reality accurately enough, then you would expect it to make progress.

    If the problems continue to be solved and progress made, then this would at least offer reason to think you are on the wrong track, but if you are getting more and more problems and things get more and more intractable, essentially the evidence and experimentation is producing problems for the theory, then it is reasonable to conclude that you are on the wrong track.

    This is after all the way science is supposed to work. If the materialist assumptions that serve as a philosophical background to much of current scientists thought is a correct assumption, then you would expect discoveries to tend towards bearing this assumption out. If it is false, then you would expect the evidence to not go in this direction.

    Why would you expect a false paradigm to work and continue to yeild results ? It didn’t last for phlogistion and others, why should you expect it here ?

  24. 24
    jaredl says:

    Mats @ 9 – Nibley, Hugh. Temple and Cosmos, pp 285-287. The teaching is an ancient Jewish one which the primitive Christians also had.

  25. 25
    jaredl says:

    Ryan @ 13 – you are very ill-served to rely upon James White. I suggest you pick up a copy of FARMS Occasional Papers #3, Partakers of the Divine Nature, available at the FARMS website for free ( farms.byu.edu ) (just look for the FARMS Occasional Papers links. Written by a Dominican priest, it can hardly be characterized as an anachronistic interpretation of the fathers by Mormon apologists, as your highly bigoted and unreliable source would have you believe.

    I’ll just cite Father Vajda’s conclusion here:

    Finally, what has resulted from taking “Another Look at The God Makers,” as the title of chapter one proposed to do? As chapter three has made abundantly clear, the Mormons are truly “godmakers”: as the doctrine of exaltation explains, the fullness of human salvation means “becoming a god.” Yet what was meant to be a term of ridicule has turned out to be a term of approbation, for the witness of the Greek Fathers of the Church, described in chapter two, is that they also believed that salvation meant “becoming a god.” It seems that if one’s soteriology cannot accommodate a doctrine of human divinization, then it has at least implicitly, if not explicitly, rejected the heritage of the early Christian church and departed from the faith of first millennium Christianity. However, if that is the case, those who would espouse such a soteriology also believe, in fact, that Christianity, from about the second century on, has apostatized and “gotten it wrong” on this core issue of human salvation. Thus, ironically, those who would excoriate Mormons for believing in the doctrine of exaltation actually agree with them that the early church experienced a “great apostasy” on fundamental doctrinal questions. And the supreme irony is that such persons should probably investigate the claims of the LDS Church, which proclaims that within itself is to be found the “restoration of all things.”

  26. 26
    Joseph says:

    terrylmirll:
    If, for instance, future scientists are able to demonstrate conclusively that an instance in natural selection has caused an incident of new speciation, this will once and for all prove the validity of Darwinism, which will thus prove that materialism works. Such a proof would furthermore put an end to all this talk of Intelligent Design.

    That does NOT follow from what Dr. Behe tells us:

    Intelligent design is a good explanation for a number of biochemical systems, but I should insert a word of caution. Intelligent design theory has to be seen in context: it does not try to explain everything. We live in a complex world where lots of different things can happen. When deciding how various rocks came to be shaped the way they are a geologist might consider a whole range of factors: rain, wind, the movement of glaciers, the activity of moss and lichens, volcanic action, nuclear explosions, asteroid impact, or the hand of a sculptor. The shape of one rock might have been determined primarily by one mechanism, the shape of another rock by another mechanism.

    Similarly, evolutionary biologists have recognized that a number of factors might have affected the development of life: common descent, natural selection, migration, population size, founder effects (effects that may be due to the limited number of organisms that begin a new species), genetic drift (spread of “neutral,” nonselective mutations), gene flow (the incorporation of genes into a population from a separate population), linkage (occurrence of two genes on the same chromosome), and much more. The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.

    If materialism is true, shouldn’t artificial intelligence eventually achieve self-awareness?

    Why couldn’t that happen in an ID scenario? What would prevent a human, for example, from constructing such AI self-awareness?

  27. 27
    jaredl says:

    Joseph @ 25 – because the primary implication of Dembski’s theory of design is that intelligence cannot be reduced to matter.

    Interestingly, science teaches that matter is neither creatable nor destructible.

    It would appear, therefore, that physics and design theory combine to give us an ontology where both intelligence and matter are eternal. One’s theology should expand to incorporate such an ontology.

  28. 28
    tinabrewer says:

    Michael Tuite: keep in mind that ID does not hold that “the designer” only intervened in specific instances, although some who adhere to ID might take this view. All ID says is that in certain instances it is possible to objectively infer design, which is entirely different. It is a result of the limits of objective inference.

  29. 29
    Joseph says:

    JaredL:
    Joseph @ 25 – because the primary implication of Dembski’s theory of design is that intelligence cannot be reduced to matter.

    How is that relevant to my post? IOW – What would prevent a human, for example, from constructing such AI self-awareness?

    That is not reducing intelligence to matter. That is one intellignece imparting intelligence onto something else.

  30. 30
    devilsadvocate says:

    The mind may never be explained through reductionist materialism but the possibility remains at this time that it is an emergent property, which is therefore not deducible from the nature of the individual components. A specified area of the brain responsible for consiousness would probably never be located, as an emergent property is, by definition, a propery of the whole rather than the parts. This is also a reason why AI may never be achievable in computer science.

    “From a practical standpoint there is not much difference between a law that emerges and a miracle that just is, but from a philisophical standpoint the difference is profound”(Laughlin,Robert.B, A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down, Basic Books, 2005)(Sorry about the format of this citation)

  31. 31
    Ryan says:

    jaredl,

    I’d encourage anyone to read White’s work and FARM’s work side by side any day. I’ve spent much time reading the EC Fathers, and I am quite positive that they did not teach that believers can become actual gods in the LDS sense. I don’t know that priest (he’s likely a post-modern ecumaniac who’s compromising to further his post-modern cause), but he’s failing to see the difference between “deification” as it was defined in the early church (i.e. meaning to be conformed in holiness to the image of Jesus) and the “deification” of LDS theology (i.e. becoming an actual god who ruled over his own planet).

    “Interestingly, science teaches that matter is neither creatable nor destructible. It would appear, therefore, that physics and design theory combine to give us an ontology where both intelligence and matter are eternal. One’s theology should expand to incorporate such an ontology.”

    Too bad this only begs the question since it assumes that there is nothing *above* these laws. It automatically rejects the belief in creation ex nihilo and assumes materialism (or rather that matter is absolute and is not being held together by the power of a Transcendent Mind).

  32. 32
    idadvisors says:

    Hyper-reductionism at work leads to a pile of nuts, bolts, axles, tires, rims, frame and sprockets; while Plato stands there saying “where did the bicycle go??????”

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