Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Templeton is trying to have agency, directionality, and function in life forms without underlying intelligence


Kind of like giving a monkey a computer and hoping he’ll “get it” on his own:

There is a growing recognition that biological phenomena which suggest agency, directionality, or goal-directedness demand new conceptual frameworks that can translate into rigorous theoretical models and discriminating empirical tests. This project addresses the demand through a novel, interdisciplinary, large-scale program that combines philosophers, theoreticians, and experimentalists.

Introduction, “Biologists often attribute purpose to living systems… Should they?” at Agency, Directionality & Function

Here’s the blog.

A friend says a number of interesting Third Way people are there. No ID folk, of course.

It’s a good thing theTempleton-funded project is going to a great deal of trouble to demonstrate that intelligence does not create itself by — in effect — ruling out other possibilities via their work. Let’s wish them well at that.

ID folks not invited to the prom? Bummer.... chuckdarwin
They are, apparently, trying to 'scientifically' explain the origin of the teleology within biology,,,
Definition of teleology - noun 1a : the study of evidences of design in nature b : a doctrine (as in vitalism) that ends are immanent in nature c : a doctrine explaining phenomena by final causes 2 : the fact or character attributed to nature or natural processes of being directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose 3 : the use of design or purpose as an explanation of natural phenomena - per Merriam Webster
,,, teleology that is pervasively apparent at all levels of biological life.
“Teleology is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he’s unwilling to be seen with her in public.” - J. B. S. Haldane “the most striking thing about living things, in comparison with non-living systems, is their teleological organization—meaning the way in which all of the local physical and chemical interactions cohere in such a way as to maintain the overall system in existence. Moreover, it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.” - Denis Noble - Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics of the Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford.
Yet, although they are trying to 'scientifically' explain the origin of teleology within biology, the fact of the matter is that you can't even 'do science' in first place without first presupposing that teleology already exists. As Dr. Michael Egnor succinctly put it, "No explanation of nature — not in biology or physics or in any natural science — makes sense without recourse to final causes. Final cause – teleology — is the cause of causes."
Philosopher in NY Times: The Universe Has No Purpose, But We Can Pretend… Michael Egnor - August 8, 2017 Excerpt: Teleology and Aristotelian metaphysics came roaring back in the early 20th century with quantum mechanics and relativity. And quantum mechanics is not the most striking example of teleology in science. Biological science is simply not possible without constant invocation of teleology. Biologists cannot even begin to understand DNA or mitochondria or hearts or brains or enzymes without inference to the goal or natural end of the thing. Biological science is not merely aided by inference to teleology. It cannot be done without profound and deliberate investigation of the telos of biological molecules and organs. “What is it for” is the fundamental and inescapable question in all biological research. No explanation of nature — not in biology or physics or in any natural science — makes sense without recourse to final causes. Final cause – teleology — is the cause of causes. https://evolutionnews.org/2017/08/the-universe-has-no-purpose-but-we-can-pretend/
Or to put it even more simply, you can't even 'do science' in the first place without first presupposing that there is a purpose, and/or rational explanation, a 'teleological' purpose, for why things happen. For example, if you mixed two volatile chemicals in a test tube and they exploded, and your 'rational explanation' was that the chemicals exploded for no reason whatsoever, then you, obviously, would not remotely being 'doing science'. Science, at its most basic level, is a search for the 'rational explanation' for, not only 'how' things happen as they do, but also a search for 'why' things happen as they do. As Paul Davies explained in his Templeton Prize address, "even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence",,,
Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address – by Paul Davies – August 1995 Excerpt: “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.” https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/003-physics-and-the-mind-of-god-the-templeton-prize-address-24 Taking Science on Faith – By PAUL DAVIES – NOV. 24, 2007 Excerpt: All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed. ,,, the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html
And indeed the presupposition that the universe has a rational, i.e. 'teleological', basis to its existence was one of the primary, foundational, Judeo-Christian presuppositions that led to the founding of modern science itself,
“Science in its modern form arose in the Western civilization alone, among all the cultures of the world”, because only the Christian West possessed the necessary “intellectual presuppositions”. – Ian Barbour Presupposition 1: The contingency of nature “In 1277, the Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, writing with support of Pope John XXI, condemned “necessarian theology” and 219 separate theses influenced by Greek philosophy about what God could and couldn’t do.”,, “The order in nature could have been otherwise (therefore) the job of the natural philosopher, (i.e. scientist), was not to ask what God must have done but (to ask) what God actually did.” Presupposition 2: The intelligibility of nature “Modern science was inspired by the conviction that the universe is the product of a rational mind who designed it to be understood and who (also) designed the human mind to understand it.” (i.e. human exceptionalism), “God created us in his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts” – Johannes Kepler Presupposition 3: Human Fallibility “Humans are vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and jumping to conclusions.”, (i.e. original sin), Scientists must therefore employ “systematic experimental methods.” – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA
Yet, (in direct contradiction to this foundational 'rational presupposition' that is essential to practice modern science in any meaningfully coherent manner in the first place), Darwinian atheists, as a foundational presupposition, hold that, 'at bottom', there is no 'rational explanation' to be found for why the universe exists, nor any rational explanation to be found for why life itself exists in the universe. As Richard Dawkins himself succinctly stated the atheist's presupposition, "you won't find any rhyme or reason in it,,, there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
"In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” - Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life
Yet, as Paul Davies observed, it makes a , quote-unquote, "mockery of science" to claim that, 'at bottom', there is no 'rhyme or reason' to be found for the universe, (nor for life I might add),,
Taking Science on Faith – By Paul Davies– Nov. 24, 2007 Excerpt: Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favorite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are — they just are.” The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality — the laws of physics — only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science. Can the mighty edifice of physical order we perceive in the world about us ultimately be rooted in reasonless absurdity? If so, then nature is a fiendishly clever bit of trickery: meaninglessness and absurdity somehow masquerading as ingenious order and rationality. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html
In short, and in conclusion, Darwinian atheists, by holding that, 'at bottom', things happen for 'no rhyme or reason' whatsoever, are, in fact, undermining a necessary and essential presupposition that lay at the foundation of modern science itself. Namely they are undermining the necessary and essential Judeo-Christian presupposition that the universe is rational, and/or teleological, in its foundational essence. Supplemental note,
Teleology and the Mind - Michael Egnor - August 16, 2016 Excerpt: Intentionality is a form of teleology. Both intentionality and teleology are goal-directedness — intentionality is directedness in thought, and teleology is directedness in nature. Mind and teleology are both manifestations of purpose in nature. The mind is, within nature, the same kind of process that directs nature. In this sense, eliminative materialism is necessary if a materialist is to maintain a non-teleological Darwinian metaphysical perspective. It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts. https://evolutionnews.org/2016/08/teleology_and_t/
Of note per C. S. Lewis, "unless Reason is absolute—all is in ruins."
"Long before I believed Theology to be true I had already decided that the popular scientific picture at any rate was false. One absolutely central inconsistency ruins it…. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears. Unless we can be sure that reality in the remotest nebula … obeys the thought laws of the human scientist here and now in his laboratory—in other words, unless Reason is absolute—all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based." C.S. Lewis - “Is Theology Poetry,” in The Weight of Glory, 134–136.
Verse and Quote:
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos also happens to be the root word from which we derive our modern word logic What is the Logos? Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,, In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.” https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-Logos.html
"Large-scale interdisciplinary program" = Big Grants! Oh boy! Gimme some! If nothing else, this demonstrates that academics are purposeful goal-seeking animals. polistra

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