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How to Convince Students of Evolution

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Sometimes the most ardent evolutionists are those who understand it the least. Many who are not life scientists take evolution to be the gospel truth—after all, evolutionists have told them it is a scientific fact. And unlike the life scientists who at least are familiar with the evidential quandaries, those more distant from the data are blissfully ignorant. For them evolution is all the more an unquestionable truth. Evolutionists have misrepresented science and now we are paying the price with increasing scientific illiteracy. Consider a recent peer-reviewed paper on how to succeed in convincing students that evolution is true. The authors consider the problem of consciousness:  Read more

I doubt it's really that difficult. I think this whole ID movement is just an appeal to incredulity and our (oftentimes) faulty intuition. And of course it presupposes that human life has some kind of cosmic importance. There is a massive difference between genetics and hard-wiring electronics. That's the whole point: Computers are hard-wired. I do believe that someday there may be robots that can think for themselves, but it would probably be a long way in the future. Even if computers were created with consciousness, it would still technically be a natural phenomenon. The reason? Well, our human capabilities sprung these conscious computers into existence, so it's still an offshoot of evolution. Everything we do is still natural by definition, but we use different terms in order to differentiate from human interference (which often invokes purpose, direction, and reason) from things that occur separate of human interference (which invokes a lack of purpose, a lack of direction, and a lack of reason). Actually, I think computers work well as an analogy for human beings. There are a lot of things I'd like to be able to do (maybe like....Fly? Or responsibly use superhuman power?), but I am limited by my biology from doing certain things. Kind of like God as the ultimate computer programmer, isn't it? Eric080
Thagard and Aubie (2008) offer a neuro computational model of emotional consciousness that explains how many interacting brain areas can generate such emotions as happiness.
Amazing what you can now model with computers! Below is something I posted about the problem of consciousness here some years ago, which is now in In the Beginning : ... one way to appreciate the problem it poses for Darwinism or any other mechanical theory of evolution is to ask the question: is it possible that computers will someday experience consciousness? If you believe that a mechanical process such as natural selection could have produced consciousness once, it seems you can't say it could never happen again, and it might happen faster now, with intelligent designers helping this time. In fact, most Darwinists probably do believe it could and will happen---not because they have a higher opinion of computers than I do: everyone knows that in their most impressive displays of "intelligence," computers are just doing exactly what they are told to do, nothing more or less. They believe it will happen because they have a lower opinion of humans: they simply dumb down the definition of consciousness, and say that if a computer can pass a ``Turing test," and fool a human at the keyboard in the next room into thinking he is chatting with another human, then the computer has to be considered to be intelligent, or conscious. With the right software, my laptop may already be able to pass a Turing test, and convince me that I am Instant Messaging another human. If I type in "My cat died last week" and the computer responds "I am saddened by the death of your cat," I'm pretty gullible, that might convince me that I'm talking to another human. But if I look at the software, I might find something like this: if (verb == 'died') fprintf(1,'I am saddened by the death of your %s',noun) end I'm pretty sure there is more to human consciousness than this, and even if my laptop answers all my questions intelligently, I will still doubt there is "someone" inside my Intel processor who experiences the same consciousness that I do, and who is really saddened by the death of my cat, though I admit I can't prove that there isn't. I really don't know how to argue with people who believe computers could be conscious. About all I can say is: what about typewriters? Typewriters also do exactly what they are told to do, and have produced some magnificent works of literature. Do you believe that typewriters can also be conscious? And if you don't believe that intelligent engineers could ever cause computers to attain consciousness, how can you believe that random mutations could accomplish this? Granville Sewell

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