Intelligent Design

Evolutionists Are Now Embracing Determinism and Denying Free Will

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Evolution is the most influential theory in the history of science, but where exactly does it lead? Well aside from eugenics, abortion, population control, euthanasia, anti realism, blackballing of opponents, false histories and atheism, evolution also leads to determinism. Of course like so many of its metaphysical conclusions, evolution leads to determinism only because determinism first led to evolution. For determinism was one of the planks in the so-called “Enlightenment” period, a century before Darwin. So like the French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace from two centuries ago, today a growing number of evolutionists hold to the anti realism belief that free will is an illusion. For Harvard’s Gabriel Kreiman, our actions are governed by our neurons, and how they fire off is like the toss of a coin:  Read more

33 Replies to “Evolutionists Are Now Embracing Determinism and Denying Free Will

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    Would the output of a BMW factory be considered deterministic? If so, I would think Intelligent Design is the Ultimate Driving Machine.

    Unless you believe in the Blind Automaker.

  2. 2
    Phil2232 says:

    My jaw dropped during the William Lane Craig Vs. Alex Rosenberg debate when Dr. Craig unleashed his 8 arguments against naturalism. Dr. Rosenberg didn’t even attempt to refute his arguments. The funny thing is, many atheists believe he actually won the debate, but how do you win a debate when you don’t actually exist?

    8 arguments against naturalism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU_K_a7fW1A

  3. 3
    RDFish says:

    If libertarian free will is false, that wouldn’t mean that human beings are not conscious, nor that they are blind, nor that they do not make choices. It would just mean that there is nothing that occurs within our bodies that contradicts (or transcends) physical law.

    When an ant chooses a path back to the colony, even if the choice can be shown to be determined mainly by the pheromones on the ground (along with prior experiences of the ant), and even if there is no conscious deliberation in the mind of the ant, there is nothing incoherent about calling the selection of that path a choice. That remains true even if the behaviors of the ant are finally understood completely in terms of physical processes.

    Thus, a choice is a perfectly coherent concept even if determinism was true.

    And here, yet again, the issue of libertarianism arises in the context of ID, with ID proponents staunchly defending metaphysical libertarianism. Some people here claim that ID requires libertarianism (because that is what is meant by “intelligent cause” in ID), others say that ID demonstrates libertarianism to be true (by ruling out lawlike causes for certain phenomena), and still others claim that ID is fully compatible with determinism (although nobody can explain how that might be true).

    ID is very mixed up in the metaphysics of dualism and libertarianism. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but there should be a recognition of what the commitments actually are.

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    Thus, a choice is a perfectly coherent concept even if determinism was true.

    There is a flagrant contradiction in that statement. Methinks angry Darwinist speaks with a forked tongue. But worse, angry Darwinist insults our intelligence with banalities.

  5. 5
    Phil2232 says:

    RDfish,

    “When an ant chooses a path back to the colony, even if the choice can be shown to be determined mainly by the pheromones on the ground (along with prior experiences of the ant), and even if there is no conscious deliberation in the mind of the ant, there is nothing incoherent about calling the selection of that path a choice. That remains true even if the behaviors of the ant are finally understood completely in terms of physical processes.”

    You seem to be begging the question.
    1. That ants have ‘experiences’
    2. That ants ‘choose’ paths

    ‘and even if there is no conscious deliberation in the mind of the ant, there is nothing incoherent about calling the selection of that path a choice.’

    LOL! What mind? The mind which you assume the ant has?

  6. 6
    RDFish says:

    Hi Mapou,

    Obviously you are incorporating the libertarian assumption into your definition of the word “choice”. I demonstrated that the word needn’t incorporate that assumption in order to be meaningful, and you failed to address that. I suppose if you had an argument against what I said you would have articulated it.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  7. 7
    Phil2232 says:

    “I demonstrated that the word needn’t incorporate that assumption in order to be meaningful”

    I must have missed that part.

  8. 8
    RDFish says:

    Hi Phil2232,

    You seem to be begging the question.
    1. That ants have ‘experiences’

    I haven’t said anything about “experiences”, and don’t understand the relevance here of that concept.

    2. That ants ‘choose’ paths

    The point is that the word “choice” remains coherent and meaningful even if one removes the connotation of Hi Phil2232,

    You seem to be begging the question.
    1. That ants have ‘experiences’

    I haven’t said anything about “experiences”, and don’t understand the relevance here of that concept.

    2. That ants ‘choose’ paths

    The point is that the word “choice” remains coherent and meaningful even if one removes the connotation of concious deliberation. I am therefore not assuming that an ant has a conscious mind.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  9. 9
    RDFish says:

    Sorry for formatting error. Again:

    Hi Phil2232,

    You seem to be begging the question.
    1. That ants have ‘experiences’

    I haven’t said anything about “experiences”, and don’t understand the relevance here of that concept.

    2. That ants ‘choose’ paths

    The point is that the word “choice” remains coherent and meaningful even if one removes the connotation of conscious deliberation. I am therefore not assuming that an ant has a conscious mind.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  10. 10
    RDFish says:

    So far in two responses I’ve been called an angry Darwinist (I am neither) and accused of saying that ants have conscious minds (I didn’t). This will go a bit better if folks here read what is written rather than making up strawmen in their heads.

  11. 11
    ppolish says:

    RDFish, is Determinism guided or unguided? Unguided Determinism seems like a contradiction. Guided Determinism seems like “God’s Plan”. I am admittedly confused here.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    RDFish:

    This will go a bit better if folks here read what is written rather than making up strawmen in their heads.

    oh the irony

  13. 13
    Phil2232 says:

    RDfish,

    “I haven’t said anything about “experiences”, and don’t understand the relevance here of that concept.”

    “(along with prior experiences of the ant)”

    ??????????

    “The point is that the word “choice” remains coherent and meaningful even if one removes the connotation of concious deliberation. I am therefore not assuming that an ant has a conscious mind.”

    You aren’t using “choice” in a relevant and meaningful way in the discussion.

    “So far in two responses I’ve been called an angry Darwinist (I am neither) and accused of saying that ants have conscious minds (I didn’t).”

    But you did: “and even if there is no conscious deliberation in the mind of the ant”

    In the “mind” of the ant. I said nothing about consciousness.

    “there is nothing incoherent about calling the selection of that path a choice.”

    The “selection” of that path a choice? Who or what selected the path?

  14. 14
    Acartia_bogart says:

    “RDFish, is Determinism guided or unguided? Unguided Determinism seems like a contradiction. Guided Determinism seems like “God’s Plan”. I am admittedly confused here.”

    So, since you are admitting that ID is fundamentally determinism, you are concluding that free wi does not exist.

  15. 15
    Phil2232 says:

    “So, since you are admitting that ID is fundamentally determinism, you are concluding that free wi does not exist.”

    LOL! Non-sequitur. Where did that come from?

  16. 16
    Bateman says:

    Huh? What happened in this comments section!? Words don’t mean anything anymore!!!

  17. 17
    ppolish says:

    a_b, I’m just trying to understand if Determinism is guided or unguided. And as a recovering Theistic Darwinian, I’m not even sure what ID is. Still learning. Like a sponge, soaking it up.

  18. 18
    RDFish says:

    Hi ppolish,

    RDFish, is Determinism guided or unguided? Unguided Determinism seems like a contradiction. Guided Determinism seems like “God’s Plan”. I am admittedly confused here.

    This is not the best place to become less confused, I’m afraid.

    Anyway, the first question you need to think about is this: When something is “guided”, what is it “guided” by?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  19. 19
    RDFish says:

    Hi Phil2232,

    “(along with prior experiences of the ant)”
    ??????????

    By this I simply mean “things that have happened to the ant”, without any assumptions regarding the ant have conscious experiences.

    You aren’t using “choice” in a relevant and meaningful way in the discussion.

    I disagree. Without the assumption of libertarianism, the word choice simply means “selecting one of multiple options”.

    RDF: “So far in two responses I’ve been called an angry Darwinist (I am neither) and accused of saying that ants have conscious minds (I didn’t).”
    PHIL: But you did: “and even if there is no conscious deliberation in the mind of the ant”

    Again, there is no assumption that the ant is conscious. (I don’t believe they are).

    RDF: “there is nothing incoherent about calling the selection of that path a choice.”
    PHIL: The “selection” of that path a choice? Who or what selected the path?

    The ant, in this example.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  20. 20
    Acartia_bogart says:

    “a_b, I’m just trying to understand if Determinism is guided or unguided. And as a recovering Theistic Darwinian, I’m not even sure what ID is. Still learning. Like a sponge, soaking it up.”

    And, like a sponge, absorbing everything that ID pours on you without any thought.

    The entire idea of free will is untestable. Is it chemically induced? Most certainly, as are all functions that occur in cells and organs. But that doesn’t mean that it is beyond our control. But how do you test this? You can only record decisions that are made, after the fact. Even if you try to replicate the exact conditions, you can never conclude that a different decision proves free will because you can never replicate the initial conditions perfectly.

  21. 21
    ppolish says:

    Guided by Oops. Nope. Guided by chance. Nope. Guided by Laws? Is Determinism guided by Laws? Don’t tell me the Law of Oops:(

  22. 22
    ppolish says:

    a_b, no I’m not “absorbing everything that ID pours on you without any thought”. I made that mistake with Darwinism. Once bitten, twice shy. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame, on me. It’s not over until the fat lady sings. Determinism? You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Determinism?

  23. 23
    ppolish says:

    Actually it’s “Fool me once – shame on Determinism. Fool me twice, shame on Determinism again”

    “Once bitten twice shy duh”

    Mott the Hoople song IURC

  24. 24
    gpuccio says:

    RDFish #3:

    Thus, a choice is a perfectly coherent concept even if determinism was true.

    This is the old trick of compatibilism: just play with words to hide true concepts.

    An effect is not a choice, however you like to call it. A choice is a conscious output which changes the events, modifying the result by selecting between different possible outcomes.

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    RDish:

    When an ant chooses a path back to the colony, even if the choice can be shown to be determined mainly by the pheromones on the ground (along with prior experiences of the ant), …

    It isn’t a choice if it has been determined.

    I demonstrated that the word needn’t incorporate that assumption in order to be meaningful,

    You never demonstrated anything- you just declared stuff. Grow up already.

    Without the assumption of libertarianism, the word choice simply means “selecting one of multiple options”.

    Prove that the ant had options.

    I was once told by a professor that in order for there to be a choice there has to be an attraction, meaning you have to like (because it gives you something you want or require) more than one option that is available to you.

    And according to Rush “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice”- Freewill.

  26. 26
    Aspire to Solomon says:

    Here is what I don’t understand about many people in the ID community, and I’m speaking as a proponent of ID myself.

    You are eager to triumph the end of genetic determinism with the discoveries in epigenetics and the myth of junk DNA

    ….yet, you never question the veracity of the most deterministic theory of all: John Sanford’s theory of genetic entropy!

    It’s just Darwinisim in reverse. Evolution says that genes determine our development, and that it leads in a positive direction. GE says genes determine our development , and it leads to extinction of the species. Neither side challenges the top down view of the genetic control system, and I believe even John Sanford admitted to being sympathetic to a eugenics policy as means of keeping the gene pool from getting worse? The height of cynicism.

    Also saying that genes can only stay the same or get worse is a contradiction. If they get worse..they are by definition not staying the same. If they stay the same…they by definition cannot get worse without environmental interference. They cant be both.

    I’m not exactly sure what makes the discoveries in Junk DNA and epigenetic such a significant discovery if the genes still posses so much sway, that it is by genetic incompetence that we are all determined to go extinct, with no ability to reverse course IN PRINCIPLE.

    The issue of wether or not biological information is stored in physical genetic matter is an issue onto itself.

    To be honest, I think we know far too little about the power of epigenetic control systems to be making claims that all life on earth has been given shoddy gene repair mechanisms. In light of the colossal destruction man has done to his own environment, its a bit premature to be laying the finger of blame on God’s inability to construct a competent gene repair mechanism.

    Take autism for example. John Sanford blames gene deterioration for causing things like autism, even though is good evidence that these things have strong environmental influences that we are only beginning to grasp, as some people like Bruce Lipton point out.

    many proponents of ID criticize that darwinist cannot pinpoint a selection mechanism. This is a fair criticism. But many proponents of ID also cant pinpoint of the cause of irreversible gene errors, if we are too assume such exist. They insist its not caused by the environment, but magically by the genes themselves. Copy errors in an EXTREMELY SOPHISTICATED AND INTELLIGENT design do not just “happen.” What sort of just so story is this?

  27. 27
    Aspire to Solomon says:

    It just seems more plausible that in a stable environment over the course of various generations, we would wouldn’t see neither an evolution or degradation, but stabilization.

  28. 28

    As a Calvinist, I would agree with the determinists that there aren’t any uncaused causes in relation to the will. But against them, I realize that if it is purely materialistic processes that has brought this about, we can’t trust our own reason nor our own conclusions.

    This is pretty much a case for the Argument for Reason. To assume our rationality can work we need to assume a designer.

  29. 29
    gpuccio says:

    Aspire to Solomon:

    I don’t think that fee will and determinism have anything to do with design inference, not directly at least.

    The important thing about non coding DNA and epigenetics is that they are additional levels of complexity and function which at present are not recognized by all, and so potentially they add much to the design argument, which is based on functional complexity. If it is impossible to explain a single complex protein, think how much more impossible it is to explain meta-networks of regulation at different levels.

    The role of free will in the design theory is more fundamental: I believe, like many here, that the conscious processes of understanding (meaning), purpose (feeling) and free will (independent output) are the true special faculties of conscious intelligent beings which can explain their ability to generate CSI, something that nothing else in the universe can do.

    So, free will is the true source of CSI and of complex design.

    But there is no doubt, IMO, that the complex functional information which generates living beings is transmitted “deterministically” from cell to cell, from being to being. That information is already in the zygote of metazoa, we may not understand in what form, but it is there. A cat becomes a cat, and a human becomes a human. There is no free will there, only the implementation of pre-existing information. I agree that such information is probably not only in the DNA, and I have argued many times that we still have no real idea of where the bulk of that information, the procedures, is written.

    But it is there, in some form. There can be no doubt about that. And its implementation is mainly deterministic.

    Its origin, on the other hand, can be traced only to free will – design.

  30. 30
    Dionisio says:

    eccellente commentario caro Dottore!

    As they say here in my town, in a more refined philosophical manner: Wow!

    Mile grazie!

  31. 31
    tgpeeler says:

    RDFish…

    The very acts of thinking and communicating require libertarian free will. How else did you manage to put together the particular combination of symbols (hint: you did it freely and intentionally with your mind) that you did in order to communicate the message that you wished to communicate? The message is encoded into the physical substrate by means of language but the message is not the substrate. It is abstract and governed by the laws of logic and the language being used. If information were physical it would be explainable by physics, but it isn’t. Materialism is utterly bankrupt, intellectually and morally. Why people can’t see the obvious is beyond me. It really is.

  32. 32
    Phil2232 says:

    RDFish,

    “I disagree. Without the assumption of libertarianism, the word choice simply means “selecting one of multiple options”.”

    I think that you are anthropomorphising the ant. You’ve agreed that you don’t know if the ant is conscious (you believe it’s not) so your “choice” of words makes it appear (in context) like you are equivocating.

    Do you have any definitions of choice, select, and option that would support your contention? I don’t see where I would have to use “libertarian assumptions” with these words when they are used in context.
    Gpuccio correctly points out: “This is the old trick of compatibilism: just play with words to hide true concepts.

    An effect is not a choice, however you like to call it. A choice is a conscious output which changes the events, modifying the result by selecting between different possible outcomes.”

    When an ant “chooses” a path, this implies that the ant has a choice, and when an ant “selects” a path, this implies the and has “options.”

  33. 33
    tgpeeler says:

    more crickets…

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