A friend at the Italian ID blog, who spent 40 years in informatics, thinks that materialist atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett (who thinks that Darwin had the best idea ever) is robbing Turing in this piece where he tries to imply some equivalence. Friend replies here at UD:
Imposture gets parasitic power from truth. In this article, Daniel Dennett shows himself a master of this tactic.
Dennett takes the opportunity of the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing to try to associate the “father” of informatics with Darwin. He writes: “Charles Darwin and Alan Turing, in their different ways, both homed in on the same idea: the existence of competence without comprehension.” Dennett’s aim is clear: to attach the scientific authority of Turing to Darwin.
According to him, Turing showed that “In order to be a computer, it is not requisite to know what arithmetic is.” This shows what Dennett really wants to argue: “a purposeless, mindless process can crank away through the eons, generating complex organisms without having the slightest whiff of understanding of what it is doing.” In short computer science can prove Darwinism.
Dennett’s claim is not only a non-sequitur, but an inversion of reality.
Informatics is a field where every bit of functional complex information is designed by intelligent agents. As such, it does not prove Darwinism’s claim that “mindless processes generate complex organisms”.
Turing’s machines passively execute instructions. They don’t project complex systems on their own. So they cannot be taken as examples of mindless processes that do it.
Given the failure of Dennett’s fundamental tenet, it hardly seems necessary to comment at length on the rant that follows about “evolution and its cousin in Turing’s world, artificial intelligence”, which, according to him, proves that “[evolution’s] mindless mechanicity can generate human-level — or divine level! [sic] — competence”.
Being an admirer of Turing (and a guy who spent 40 years in informatics), all I can say about Dennett’s specious attempt to associate him with Darwin: Don’t mix science with fables please.
Yes. Dennett actually said:
The very idea that mindless mechanicity can generate human-level — or divine level! — competence strikes many as philistine, repugnant, an insult to our minds, and the mind of God.
– “’A Perfect and Beautiful Machine’: What Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Reveals About Artificial Intelligence,” The Atlantic , (June 22, 2012)”
We checked. Dennett did say that mindless mechanicity can generate divine level! competence.
He should retire and golf with Dawkins.
See also: If you ever wondered whether Richard Dawkins is past it, yes he is. This is another instance of Dawkins lighting into Wilson. But how come these people are self-destructing all at once? Who’s next? Thoughts?