Artificial Intelligence Mind Naturalism

Can AI become just like us?

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File:Artificial.intelligence.jpg We’ve been hearing a lot about that. From Rodney Brooks, former director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT , in “The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions” at Technology Review, featuring the fourth sin:

When people hear that machine learning is making great strides in some new domain, they tend to use as a mental model the way in which a person would learn that new domain. However, machine learning is very brittle, and it requires lots of preparation by human researchers or engineers, special-purpose coding, special-purpose sets of training data, and a custom learning structure for each new problem domain. Today’s machine learning is not at all the sponge-like learning that humans engage in, making rapid progress in a new domain without having to be surgically altered or purpose-built.

Likewise, when people hear that a computer can beat the world chess champion (in 1997) or one of the world’s best Go players (in 2016), they tend to think that it is “playing” the game just as a human would. Of course, in reality those programs had no idea what a game actually was, or even that they were playing. They were also much less adaptable. When humans play a game, a small change in rules does not throw them off. Not so for AlphaGo or Deep Blue.

Suitcase words mislead people about how well machines are doing at tasks that people can do. That is partly because AI researchers—and, worse, their institutional press offices—are eager to claim progress in an instance of a suitcase concept. The important phrase here is “an instance.” That detail soon gets lost. Headlines trumpet the suitcase word, and warp the general understanding of where AI is and how close it is to accomplishing more.More.

Show this to people who are freaked out by pop science claims about AI.

See also: Silicon Valley religion: “The final end of science is the revelation of the absurd”

52 Replies to “Can AI become just like us?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Can AI become just like us?

    NO.

    Here’s a very easy challenge: if the ‘strong’ AI folks can explain coherently and logically how their robots could eventually experience a situation like the one described in Charles Aznavour’s song “Venezia sin ti”, which is very common among humans, then we could discuss. Otherwise, their hogwash isn’t worth the time it takes to read it.

    Next subject please?

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Can AI become just like us?

    Not until we know what makes us just like us.

  3. 3
    J-Mac says:

    Can AI become just like us?

    Not until we know what makes us just like us.

    Evolution is mysterious even in this aspect…

  4. 4
    EricMH says:

    If you put a bunch of gears and pulleys together in just the right configuration, does it suddenly become conscious?

    If you move rocks around desert, do certain configurations become conscious?

    If you write certain mathematical formulae on a piece of paper, do they suddenly become conscious?

    All of these instances are identical to claiming computers can become conscious, because each instance is Turing complete. But, don’t they seem absurd? If so, then claims that computers can become conscious are also absurd.

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    Can AI become just like us?

    Well, Pinocchio did. Though he was an unreliable source, apparently.

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Can AI become just like us?

    Well, Pinocchio did. Though he was an unreliable source, apparently.

    LoL.

    But Pinocchio wanted to become a boy. Do the machines want to become human?

  7. 7
    Axel says:

    Superhuman, honorable Mung.

    Glad you liked it. Still not as witty as your sat-nav ‘bon mot’, though.

  8. 8
    Origenes says:

    Can AI become just like us?

    If so, I’m pretty sure they’ll have a hard time selling darwinism over intelligent design to these guys.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    critical rationalist says:

    Machine learning is not AGI.

    We don’t know how to program AGI yet. However, that doesn’t mean we never will. What we need is a breakthrough in epistemology, not faster computers with more memory, etc.

    Furthermore, this represents yet another inconsistency in ID.

    Specially, why do ID proponents think we cannot create GAI? This makes totally no sense, given that we’re, well, intelligent agents. So, what gives?

    Oh, that’s right. Everyone knows ID’s designer is actually God. Despite being rational, free, intelligent agents, we cannot create GAI.

  11. 11
    gpuccio says:

    critical rationalist:

    “Specially, why do ID proponents think we cannot create GAI? This makes totally no sense, given that we’re, well, intelligent agents. So, what gives?”

    We are conscious beings. Machines are not conscious.

    Is that difference something that “makes totally no sense”, in your opinion?

    Do you think that consciousness has no role in cognition?

    Have uou ever read Penrose, or Searle, or Chalmers? Just to show that someone considers questions about consciousness as an interesting topic!

    Maybe you don’t.

  12. 12
    gpuccio says:

    Axel:

    “Can AI become just like us?

    Well, Pinocchio did. Though he was an unreliable source, apparently.”

    That is really good! 🙂

  13. 13
    critical rationalist says:

    We are conscious beings. Machines are not conscious.

    I didn’t suggest any machines are currently conscious. I asked why can’t we make them conscious, since we are intelligent agents. ID’s designer is an intelligent agent, right? It supposedly designed us, and we’re conscious.

    So, what’s the difference between ID’s designer and us? If ID’s designer is a good explanation for consciousness in us, then why can’t we be a good explanation for conciseness in the things we design?

    Are we not intelligent agents? Are we not conscious beings?

    If consciousness comes from consciousness, which we exhibit, and ID doesn’t say anything about the designer, then what is your objection?

  14. 14
    Dionisio says:

    critical rationalist,

    What is consciousness?
    How does it work?
    How is it made?,
    With quantum computing? How?

    We humans know how to build supercomputers today and might know how to create even more powerful computers tomorrow, but that’s because we have documented every detail about them, because we created them to begin with.
    But we did not create consciousness. We don’t know how it works. Much less how to make it.
    Try again.

  15. 15
    critical rationalist says:

    To rephrase…

    Is the explanation that we’re intelligent, conscious agents but cannot make GAI because we don’t possess the necessary knowledge? However, ID’s designer is not only intelligent and conscious but also did posses that knowledge, so it could make us conscious?

    But that makes the difference between us and ID’s designer merely a matter of the necessary knowledge being present in the case of ID’s designer, but not us. We just don’t know how yet. Is that what you’re suggesting?

    Otherwise, what is the difference?

    Does the field of AI research not contain intelligent, conscious agents that want to create genuinely intelligent, conscious machines? Is their intent and purpose to reach that goal? If so, it seems that we should already have conscious, intelligent machines, right?

    But we do not. So what gives?

    This is the same argument I’ve made in the case of the medical community, which consists of intelligent agents. They exhibit intent and purpose. IOW, If it’s a matter of choice and intelligence, then we should already have a cure for cancer. But we do not, right?

    So, why don’t we?

  16. 16
    gpuccio says:

    critical rationalist:

    Let’s try to remain empirical.

    ID is about the generation of complex functional information in biological objects.

    It is not about the generation of consciousness.

    There is no argument at all that consciousness is a designed object.

    We are certainly conscious, because we can observe consciousness in ourselves. That is an empirical fact.

    What consciousness is cannot be explained at all in terms of some configuration, however complex, of objects. At least, there is no evidence at all in that sense.

    So, the fact that we are conscious intelligent beings means that we can design objects, like the ID designer (but somewhat less efficiently, I would say).

    It does not mean that we can generate consciousness.

    Consciousness, again, has none of the properties of complex designed things. It has completely different properties and manifestations.

    Consciousness is necessary to design. But it is not designed.

    You can think that the ID designer is also the source of our consciousness. But that is just something one can believe, or not believe. It is not, at present, a scientific issue, because we have no empirical facts about how consciousness comes into existence. We don’t even understand what it is, certainly not from a scientific point of view.

    ID is about design in objects. It makes inferences from objective configurations that are observed in matter.

    Consciousness is all another thing. It is the source of design, not the other way round.

  17. 17
    Dionisio says:

    critical rationalist,

    You may want to read carefully what gpuccio wrote @16 before commenting further in this thread.

  18. 18
    critical rationalist says:

    I did read #16. The question remains.

    Are you suggesting we were not designed to be conscious? Are we not intelligent designers?

  19. 19
    gpuccio says:

    critical rationalist:

    I am suggesting that the design of our body and brain, although a part of what we are as humans, is not the source of our consciousness.

    I am suggesting that subjective experiences cannot be explained in term od design and configuration of objects.

    We are intelligent designers, and therefore we can make designed objects.

    In no way that means that we can make conscious beings. As I already said, design is not the source of consciousness.

  20. 20
    Origenes says:

    CR: I didn’t suggest any machines are currently conscious. I asked why can’t we make them conscious …

    I’ll let you in on the reason why we cannot make machines conscious: a free rational being cannot be brought about by unfree nonrational physical processes.
    Consciousness is not just an object amongst objects; a fact neither understood by Buddhists nor naturalists.
    So, I do understand where your question is coming from. You see CR, naturalism entails an ontology in which your consciousness is the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be a placeholder for a more detailed causal account in which various nonrational physical processes are the sole actors.
    If naturalism is true, then neither did you decide to write forum post #18, nor did you compose it. Nonrational physical processes did. You were informed of the event after the fact.

  21. 21
    critical rationalist says:

    ID is about the generation of complex functional information in biological objects.

    It is not about the generation of consciousness.

    So human beings exhibiting consciousness is an accident? A designer isn’t a good explanation for our consciousness?

    We are certainly conscious, because we can observe consciousness in ourselves. That is an empirical fact.

    Are you a realist? If so, why?

    I’m asking because solipsism accepts everything you and I observe as external to ourselves with the one exception that these same observations are supposedly facets of one’s internal self. Since solipsism predicts exactly the same empirical observations we observe, this means every discovery in technology, medicine and particle physics also “supports” solipsism. They just happen to be internal to the solipsist, rather than external.

    So, from a mere empirical perspective, only I know I’m conscious. Not you or anyone else. This is why empiricism is insufficient. What’s scarce isn’t empirical evidence, but good explanation for that evidence.

    What consciousness is cannot be explained at all in terms of some configuration, however complex, of objects. At least, there is no evidence at all in that sense.

    Since what it’s made of or how it is organized is not relevant, anything can be made conscious? Like, say, a computer?

    So, the fact that we are conscious intelligent beings means that we can design objects, like the ID designer (but somewhat less efficiently, I would say).

    What would prevent us from doing so “somewhat less efficiently”, other than knowing how? What’s the difference? Either something is impossible because it would violate the laws of physics, or it’s possible if the right knowledge is present there. There does’t seem to be anything in-between.

    It does not mean that we can generate consciousness.

    It’s unclear what you mean here, as you make it sound as if consciousness is “generated” like we “generate” electricity.

    Consciousness, again, has none of the properties of complex designed things. It has completely different properties and manifestations.

    ID’s argument is how can something have a property if it wasn’t designed to have it? Again, is it an accident?

    Consciousness is necessary to design. But it is not designed.

    Except, the medical community consists of conscience, intelligent beings, yet we do not have a cure for cancer. So, it seems that exhibiting the properties of conciseness and intelligence are insufficient.

    You can think that the ID designer is also the source of our consciousness. But that is just something one can believe, or not believe.

    So the idea that we can design AGI is something we can believe or not believe? If not, and ID doesn’t say anything about the designer, then why is there a difference?

    It is not, at present, a scientific issue, because we have no empirical facts about how consciousness comes into existence. We don’t even understand what it is, certainly not from a scientific point of view.

    Except, consciousness is effected by material changes in our brains, such as strokes, accidents, etc. Personalities can change in very drastic and specific ways.

    I don’t know why we should think there is some boundary at which phenomena cannot be explained, let alone conciseness is that boundary.

    ID is about design in objects. It makes inferences from objective configurations that are observed in matter.

    There are many empirical experiences that are mutually exclusive and cannot continue. Furthermore, no one has actually formulated a “principle of indiction” that actually gives guidance as to which will continue, in practice. So, picking one, against all others, seems arbitrary. IOW, why this ‘inductive inference’ over some other ‘inductive inference’?

    Consciousness is all another thing. It is the source of design, not the other way round.

    So, why don’t you start out by explaining how consciousness can actually be the source of design, then point out how Neo-dearwnism doesn’t fit that description.

  22. 22
    critical rationalist says:

    I’ll let you in on the reason why we cannot make machines conscious: a free rational being cannot be brought about by unfree nonrational physical processes.

    Again, this doesn’t make sense. If the composition of something isn’t relevant to whether it can be conscious, then apparently anything can be concuss, regardless of its makeup.

    So. as intelligent conscious designers, why can’t we make that something conscious as conscious beings?

    Specially, supposedly, some very high percentage of out bodies are made up of “unfree nonrational physical processes”, including the synapses in our brains, right? Yet, we’re conscious. So, why can we be conscious, but not a computer, regardless of being made up of “unfree nonrational physical processes”?

    Are you suggesting a computer could not be endowed with conscious, just like we supposedly were? Apparently the only reason computers are not conscious is because some designer didn’t want them to be. Not because they are made up of “unfree nonrational physical processes”, because we are as well.

    If not, then what’s the difference?

    “That’s just what some designer must have wanted” is a bad explanation.

  23. 23
    Origenes says:

    CR:

    Origenes: I’ll let you in on the reason why we cannot make machines conscious: a free rational being cannot be brought about by unfree nonrational physical processes.

    Again, this doesn’t make sense. If the composition of something isn’t relevant to whether it can be conscious, then apparently anything can be concuss, regardless of its makeup.

    No physical composition is relevant to consciousness. And no it doesn’t follow that anything physical can be conscious. Quite the opposite.

    CR: So. as intelligent conscious designers, why can’t we make that something conscious as conscious beings?

    Again, not from matter. It doesn’t have what it takes.

    CR: Specially, supposedly, some very high percentage of out bodies are made up of “unfree nonrational physical processes”, including the synapses in our brains, right? Yet, we’re conscious. So, why can we be conscious, but not a computer, regardless of being made up of “unfree nonrational physical processes”?

    Again, physical processes don’t constitute a free rational being. I did explain why this cannot be the case.

  24. 24
    critical rationalist says:

    No physical composition is relevant to consciousness. And no it doesn’t follow that anything physical can be conscious. Quite the opposite.

    You keep saying this, but fail to explain why. Again, the physical part of us is made up of “unfree nonrational physical processes”. So, apparently, “unfree nonrational physical processes” can be made conscious in some way. And, supposedly, it wasn’t an accident. So, why can’t this same thing happen to, say, a computer just as it can happen to us?

    Are you saying a computer couldn’t be endowed with conciseness like we can? Why? It’s unclear why because a computer is also made up of unfree nonrational physical processes” and, apparently, that wasn’t a problem for us.

    Again, not from matter. It doesn’t have what it takes.

    And we’re not made of matter? Matter + a designer can make us conscious, then why can’t matter + designer make a computer conscious? Apparently, that’s just not what some designer wanted.

    Are you saying God couldn’t make a computer conscious if he waned to? After all, everyone knows ID’s designer is actually God.

    Apparently, the only reason a computer, or anything else for that matter, doesn’t become conscious when it is assembled is because God didn’t want it to. Is that an accurate assessment?

  25. 25
    Origenes says:

    CR

    Again, the physical part of us is made up of “unfree nonrational physical processes”. So, apparently, “unfree nonrational physical processes” can be made conscious in some way.

    No, doesn’t follow. The body has no self-awareness. Consciousness is conscious.

    And we’re not made of matter?

    Indeed, we are not. I did explain why this cannot be the case.

  26. 26
    critical rationalist says:

    @origines

    If something can be added to the “unfree nonrational physical processes” that represents our bodies, then why can’t that same thing be added to the “unfree nonrational physical processes” of a computer?

    If the former is possible, then why not the latter?

  27. 27
    critical rationalist says:

    @Origines

    Are you saying God couldn’t make a computer conscious if he waned to? After all, everyone knows ID’s designer is actually God.

    Apparently, the only reason a computer, or anything else for that matter, doesn’t become conscious when it is assembled is because God didn’t want it to. Is that an accurate assessment?

    Should I take your lack of a response as a “No”, in that would not be possible for God?

  28. 28
    drc466 says:

    cr,

    Let me take a shot at helping you understand, through a set of factual and logical statements:
    1) ID (loosely translated) states that some things are so complex they must have been designed by an intelligence.
    2) Human Beings and Computer AIs are examples of such things
    3) “Consciousness” is not a thing
    3a) It is not definable in terms of matter or energy (core of all things)
    3b) While it is possible to define a list of things required for consciousness, such a list is “necessary but not sufficient”
    3c) Furthermore, it is not even definable in the fashion of some non-things that are (e.g. information) – it is not “of” the universe
    4) Humans are not capable of creating “consciousness”. Being things within the universe, humans are constrained by the rules of the universe, and incapable of creating things not definable by the rules of the universe
    5) Because of 3c and 4, consciousness can only be created by an entity that is:
    5a) external to the universe
    5b) not bound by the rules of the universe
    5c) greater than humans
    5d) capable of understanding and defining non-things
    6) Such an entity would fit the definition of “God”.

    Therefore: Since consciousness exists, God exists.

    Congratulations, you’ve proven the existence of God! And disproven the idea that Computer AIs can ever become conscious (without Godly intervention – you are correct to say that God could make a computer conscious, but only God).

  29. 29
    gpuccio says:

    critical rationalist:

    So human beings exhibiting consciousness is an accident? A designer isn’t a good explanation for our consciousness?

    I never said anything about an accident. But yes, design is not an explanation for consciousness. Design is about the arrangement of matter, and consciousness cannot be explained by arrangements of matter.

    Are you a realist? If so, why?

    I’m asking because solipsism accepts everything you and I observe as external to ourselves with the one exception that these same observations are supposedly facets of one’s internal self. Since solipsism predicts exactly the same empirical observations we observe, this means every discovery in technology, medicine and particle physics also “supports” solipsism. They just happen to be internal to the solipsist, rather than external.

    So, from a mere empirical perspective, only I know I’m conscious. Not you or anyone else. This is why empiricism is insufficient. What’s scarce isn’t empirical evidence, but good explanation for that evidence.

    Yes, I am a realist, not a solipsist.

    I believe that all things that we experience have somne reality, of course at different levels.

    You are right, consciousness is observed only by oneself. I observe my consciousness, you observe yours. But that solitary observation is so strong and basic, that it is the foundation for all the other knowledge we develop: indeed, what we experience in our personal consciousness is the foundation for everything else.

    We could say that all we know is made by inferences from what we experience in our personal consciousness.

    One the first of those inferences, and one of the strongest, is that other people are conscious too, that they have subjective experiences as we have, and that they can observe their personal consciousness as we do. It is an inference by analogy, and definitely a very good one.

    Everybody agrees on that, except for solipsists, as you correctly mention. But I am not so sure that solipsists really believe what they preach.

    So, I do believe in good inferences. That other people are conscious and can observe their own consciousness is probably one of the best.

    Everything we know is based on that kind of knowledge.

    Since what it’s made of or how it is organized is not relevant, anything can be made conscious? Like, say, a computer?

    I did not say that it is not relevant: how a brain is configured is certainly relevant on how consciusness can express itself in that individual. What I said is that it cannot explain consciousness, not that it cannot interact with it. There is, of course, an interface between cosnciousness and the brain.

    I don’t know if anything can be made conscious. As said, I am a cosncious person, but I don’t know why: I did not make myself conscious. And I am a designer, but design cannot generate consciousness. Therefore, I am utterly inappropriate to answer that question.

    What I certainly know is that I cannot make a computer conscious by acting on its design.

    What would prevent us from doing so “somewhat less efficiently”, other than knowing how? What’s the difference? Either something is impossible because it would violate the laws of physics, or it’s possible if the right knowledge is present there. There does’t seem to be anything in-between.

    It seems so to you, only because here you are assuming something without even realizing it:

    You are assuming that the laws of physics (I suppose you mean the laws of physics as we know them!) are all that exists, the only possible explanation for what exists.

    I certainly don’t agree with that assumption.

    First of all, what you call “the laws of physics” is only a very limited model of reality that we have developed, which is constantly changing, not only in details, but also in basic paradigms.

    Second, that model has been developed essentially to explain what we observe by our senses. Our personal consciousness is certainly observed, but not by our senses. We could say that it is an intuitive observation. So, of course, consciousness itself eludes any explanation by our current model, because it has no relationship with it.

    So, there can really be a lot in-between.

    It’s unclear what you mean here, as you make it sound as if consciousness is “generated” like we “generate” electricity.

    Language is tricky in that kind of statements. I am not sure that saying that electricity is “generated” is a safe statement too. It all depends on what you mean.

    As we were speaking of “making” something conscious, I used the word “generate”. I something is “made” conscious, I suppose we can say that consciousness is “generated”. But I used that term only in reference to the model we were discussing.

    ID’s argument is how can something have a property if it wasn’t designed to have it? Again, is it an accident?

    No, you are confised about ID. ID is not about properties, it is about functions.

    A stone has the property of having some weight: that does not mean that we can infer design for it.

    Water has definite physical properties: that does not mean that we can infer design for it.

    We infer design not because an object has properties, but because it shos a specific configuration of parts that is linked to a specific function.

    Consciousness is not made of parts, as far as we can say, and least of all of parts consifured for some function.

    Except, the medical community consists of conscience, intelligent beings, yet we do not have a cure for cancer. So, it seems that exhibiting the properties of conciseness and intelligence are insufficient.

    I said that “Consciousness is necessary to design.” I never said it is sufficient. Can you ubnderstand the difference between necessary and sufficient?

    I am sure you can!

    So, this is really below you.

    So the idea that we can design AGI is something we can believe or not believe? If not, and ID doesn’t say anything about the designer, then why is there a difference?

    I said:

    “You can think that the ID designer is also the source of our consciousness. But that is just something one can believe, or not believe.”

    You say:

    “So the idea that we can design AGI is something we can believe or not believe?”

    Exactly. The meaning is that both statements have no scientific support, at present. In that, they are similar. What’s the problem?

    Except, consciousness is effected by material changes in our brains, such as strokes, accidents, etc. Personalities can change in very drastic and specific ways.

    I don’t know why we should think there is some boundary at which phenomena cannot be explained, let alone conciseness is that boundary.

    Nobody has ever denied that consciousness is effected by material changes. It is. I clearly stated that there is an interface between cosnciousness and the brain, working in both directions.

    I say again that there is nothing that can make us thing that a configuration of objects can explain, even less “generate”, subjective consciousness. I also believe that such an explanation is impossible.

    You can, of course, believe that it is possible. However, at present, there is no fact supporting that beliefe, and IMO there are a lot of good conceptual reasons to believe differently.

    There are many empirical experiences that are mutually exclusive and cannot continue. Furthermore, no one has actually formulated a “principle of indiction” that actually gives guidance as to which will continue, in practice. So, picking one, against all others, seems arbitrary. IOW, why this ‘inductive inference’ over some other ‘inductive inference’?

    If you want to discuss ID theory in detail with me, I am ready. Just say a word, and we start. But what has that to do with our discussion about consciousness?

    So, why don’t you start out by explaining how consciousness can actually be the source of design, then point out how Neo-dearwnism doesn’t fit that description.

    That’s a very good idea. I’ll do exactly that in next post, as soon as possible.

  30. 30
    Origenes says:

    CR @26 @27

    CR: If something can be added to the “unfree nonrational physical processes” that represents our bodies, then why can’t that same thing be added to the “unfree nonrational physical processes” of a computer?
    If the former is possible, then why not the latter?

    Maybe consciousness as a whole can be added, but not by us.
    Consciousness is an indivisible unity. For one thing this means that it does not consist of parts. It follows that consciousness cannot be designed by arranging multiple parts.

    CR: … everyone knows ID’s designer is actually God.
    Apparently, the only reason a computer, or anything else for that matter, doesn’t become conscious when it is assembled is because God didn’t want it to. Is that an accurate assessment?

    Let’s be very clear about the fact that we are in theological territory; well beyond the boundaries of ID. Surely you know by now that ID is neutral on the identity of the designer.
    That said, I did indirectly answer your question. Again, a computer consists of parts and therefore cannot become conscious even when God wants it to be. God cannot make square triangles. Consciousness is a unity.

  31. 31
    gpuccio says:

    critical rationalist:

    So, why don’t you start out by explaining how consciousness can actually be the source of design, then point out how Neo-darwnism doesn’t fit that description.

    OK. But first of all, I would like to clarify the terminology.

    That consciousness is the source of design is not something that must be explained: it is simply implied by the definition itself of design.

    You can look at my OP here for an explicit definition of design:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/defining-design/

    For your convenience, I quote here the most relevant part:

    At this point, I will give my explicit definition:

    Design is a process where a conscious agent subjectively represents in his own consciousness some form and then purposefully outputs that form, more or less efficiently, to some material object.

    We call the process “design”. We call the conscious agent who subjectively represents the initial form “designer”. We call the material object, after the process has taken place, “designed object”.

    So, by definition, to say that an object is designed mean to say that its form derives, more or less directly, from conscious representations that precede the implementation of the design itself, thorugh a process by which those representaions are outputted, as a form, to a material object.

    Now, I suppose that what your statement probably meant is something like that:

    “So, why don’t you start out by explaining how consciousness can actually be the source of complex functional information, then point out how Neo-darwnism doesn’t fit that description.”

    That makes sense, and I will answer to that. Of course, if you meant something different, you are invited to correct me.

    Because ID theory is about inferring the process by which some object (in its current form) originated.

    So, we look at the object, and at some specific configuration in it, and from that we try to infer if the process which generated that configuration is:

    a) a design process, where conscious representations played a necessary role

    b) a non design process, where no conscious representation played any role.

    Is that clear?

    Now, In brief, the specific configuration we look at for the inference of design is complex functional information. For my explicit definition of that, please look at my OP here:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/functional-information-defined/

    Again, for your convenience, I quote here the relevant part:

    c) Specification. Given a well defined set of objects (the search space), we call “specification”, in relation to that set, any explicit objective rule that can divide the set in two non overlapping subsets: the “specified” subset (target space) and the “non specified” subset. IOWs, a specification is any well defined rule which generates a binary partition in a well defined set of objects.

    d) Functional Specification. It is a special form of specification (in the sense defined above), where the rule that specifies is of the following type: “The specified subset in this well defined set of objects includes all the objects in the set which can implement the following, well defined function…” . IOWs, a functional specification is any well defined rule which generates a binary partition in a well defined set of objects using a function defined as in a) and verifying if the functionality, defined as in b), is present in each object of the set.

    It should be clear that functional specification is a definite subset of specification. Other properties, different from function, can in principle be used to specify. But for our purposes we will stick to functional specification, as defined here.

    e) The ratio Target space/Search space expresses the probability of getting an object from the search space by one random search attempt, in a system where each object has the same probability of being found by a random search (that is, a system with an uniform probability of finding those objects).

    f) The Functionally Specified Information (FSI) in bits is simply –log2 of that number. Please, note that I imply no specific meaning of the word “information” here. We could call it any other way. What I mean is exactly what I have defined, and nothing more.

    One last step. FSI is a continuous numerical value, different for each function and system. But it is possible to categorize the concept in order to have a binary variable (yes/no) for each function in a system.

    So, we define a threshold (for some specific system of objects). Let’s say 30 bits. We compute different values of FSI for many different functions which can be conceived for the objects in that system. We say that those functions which have a value of FSI above the threshold we have chosen (for example, more than 30 bits) are complex. I will not discuss here how the threshold is chosen, because that is part of the application of these concepts to the design inference, which will be the object of another post.

    g) Functionally Specified Complex Information is therefore a binary property defined for a function in a system by a threshold. A function, in a specific system, can be “complex” (having FSI above the threshold). In that case, we say that the function implicates FSCI in that system, and if an object observed in that system implements that function we say that the object exhibits FSCI.

    h) Finally, if the function for which we use our objects is linked to a digital sequence which can be read in the object, we simply speak of digital FSCI: dFSCI.

    So, FSI is a subset of SI, and dFSI is a subset of FSI. Each of these can be expressed in categorical form (complex/non complex).

    More in next post.

  32. 32
    gpuccio says:

    critical rationalist:

    OK. Now, let’s go to your question, in the form I have given it:

    “So, why don’t you start out by explaining how consciousness can actually be the source of complex functional information, then point out how Neo-darwnism doesn’t fit that description.”

    Now, the point is that ID theory makes an inference about the process where the current form of the object originated. In that sense, there are two kinds of objects:

    a) Objects which originate in their current form from processes where conscious representations play a fundamental role: designed objects

    b) Objects which originate in their current form from processes where conscious representations play no role at all.

    Now, ID theory concludes, from empirical observations, that only designed objects exhibit dFSCI. Therefore, dFSCI can be reliably used as a marker to infer design.

    This is an empirical conclusion, based on observed facts.

    But there are also conceptual reasons that allow us to understand why that is the case.

    Those reasons are based on the nature of two very specific intuitive conscious experiences:

    a) Meaning

    b) Purpose

    Design is the application of the conscious understanding of meanings to the implementation of a desired result.

    That’s what allows conscious intelligent beings to overcome theb huge probabilistic barriers in the search of a solution to a new problem, because the process does not rely only on some random search or on some pre-determined algorithm, but is continuously fed by new, fresh intuitive representations about the data.

    That’s why Shakespeare could write his sonnets, and a computer cannot do anything like that.

    IOWs, new complex functional information is the result of conscious cognitive and intentional processes, and only of them: non conscious systems simply cannot generate it.

  33. 33
    EugeneS says:

    Seversky #2,

    Exactly.

    Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.
    Max Planck

  34. 34
    EugeneS says:

    GP #32,

    Excellent. The only thing I would add to your description to clarify is that designed objects do not have to exhibit large quantities of functional information (designed things can be simple), but, when they do, it is a reliable indicator of prior design activity.

    An interesting example of detecting designed simplicity is SETI where the design classifier is based on the ‘waterhole’ in the natural microwave radiation. According to SETI, if you get a signal in a specific very narrow range, it is enough to infer design.

  35. 35
    Dionisio says:

    EugeneS @33,

    You’ve quoted someone’s opinion on the topic of the power of science to solve all the known mysteries, but did that person you quoted know anything about science at all?

    🙂

  36. 36
    EugeneS says:

    Dionisio

    🙂

  37. 37
    Dionisio says:

    EugeneS @34,

    That’s an interesting comment about designed simplicity associated with the expectations of the SETI folks. I hadn’t realized that before. Thanks.

    I wonder why do they settle for designed simplicity to recognize space aliens but don’t accept the designed complexity seen in biological systems?

  38. 38
    critical rationalist says:

    Let me take a shot at helping you understand, through a set of factual and logical statements:

    I suspect we will not be in agreement on whether these statements are factual or logical, but…

    1) ID (loosely translated) states that some things are so complex they must have been designed by an intelligence.

    Yet consciousness seems to play a rather significant role in ID’s idea of “design”, so it’s unclear how it doesn’t qualify as being complex. Furthermore if it’s not complex, then what causes complex behavior to occur? How do we get from something not complex to something so complex? This sounds like the spontaneous appearance of complexity.

    Human Beings and Computer AIs are examples of such things

    Human beings and Computer AIs exhibit the appearance of deign. They are well adapted to serve a purpose. Specifically, if you vary them, they will be unable to serve that purpose significantly less, if even at all.

    “Consciousness” is not a thing

    Emergent phenomena is not a thing in a reductionist sense, but this doesn’t mean it is some how requires the existence of some “other” realm or being inexplicable.

    It is not definable in terms of matter or energy (core of all things)

    See above. The fact that the movement of water molecules in a kettle is untraceable with our current technology doesn’t present us from making tea. All we need to know is the area of the kettle and the power of the heating element.

    Furthermore, it is not even definable in the fashion of some non-things that are (e.g. information) – it is not “of” the universe

    ?It’s unclear how not having a definition of something means it’s not “of” the universe. For example, we didn’t have a strong definition of information until recently.

    Humans are not capable of creating “consciousness”. Being things within the universe, humans are constrained by the rules of the universe, and incapable of creating things not definable by the rules of the universe

    Am I not conscious? Is consciousness not of this universe? Furthermore, being of this universe and bound to its rules is supposedly a problem for having free will, according to most ID proponents here. So, something doesn’t seem to add up here.

  39. 39
    critical rationalist says:

    @gpuccio

    Yes, I am a realist, not a solipsist.

    The most common responses is that it’s a question of metaphysics. While we cannot know for sure, our personal experience of interacting with what strongly appears to be other conscious beings, rather than highly convincing zombies, overwhelming appeals to one’s intuition, etc. This seems to be your response as well.

    While I’d agree this can be compelling, we’re not limited to intuition. However, this might not be obvious, so I’ll elaborate on this below.

    Should we attempt to take it seriously, in that it’s true in reality and that all observations should conform to it, Solipsism presents an implicit theory that there are dream-like aspects of myself that act like autonomous conscious beings which surprise me, have different personalities and even disagree with me on Solipsism. And there object-like facets of myself that obey laws of physics like facets even though, as a non-physicist, I can’t do the math that describes their behavior. Not to mention that these supposed people-like facets of myself discover new things about myself (physics like facets) all the time, which I wasn’t aware of previously.

    However, observations still fit this theory, which means they would still “support” solipsism! This is why finding evidence to support a theory is easy. But there is a way to reject solipsism.

    The key difference is that Solipsism makes no attempt to explain *why* object-like facets of one’s self would obey laws of physics-like facets of one’s self, etc. No explanation is presented at all. Instead, the claim is based on a supposed philosophical limitation that we cannot know anything exists outside of our own minds.

    In other words, Solipsism consists of the theory of realty with the added exception of it all being elaborate facets of the internal self. It merely attempts to explain away the currently tenable theory of reality. Despite portraying itself as anti-reality, solipsism is actually a convoluted elaboration of reality, which can be discarded.

  40. 40
    gpuccio says:

    critical rationalist:

    So, I suppose we are both realists, and not solipsists. Therefore we agree on that.

    And so?

  41. 41
    gpuccio says:

    EugeneS:

    “The only thing I would add to your description to clarify is that designed objects do not have to exhibit large quantities of functional information (designed things can be simple), but, when they do, it is a reliable indicator of prior design activity.”

    Absolutely correct! 🙂

  42. 42
    Dionisio says:

    EugeneS,

    Is the first comment below missing in the thread?

    Recent Comments

    EugeneS
    Dionisio I do not know that. Very often I disagree… – Can AI become just like us?
    .

    News
    Peer at 3, either way, it’s not the Darwin-in-the-schools lobby’s… – Jumping’ Genes!: A quarter of cow…
    .

    Dionisio
    EugeneS @33, You’ve quoted someone’s opinion on the topic of… – Can AI become just like us?

  43. 43
    Origenes says:

    CR: Yet consciousness seems to play a rather significant role in ID’s idea of “design”, so it’s unclear how it doesn’t qualify as being complex.

    It doesn’t qualify as a complex thing, for two reasons. First, consciousness is not a thing amongst things. Secondly, consciousness is ontologically simple — it does not consist of parts.

    CR: Furthermore if it’s not complex, then what causes complex behavior to occur? How do we get from something not complex to something so complex? This sounds like the spontaneous appearance of complexity.

    Again, consciousness is not complex in the ontological sense that it has no parts. When it is said that consciousness is “simple” this is also meant in the ontological sense — it is a unity. This ontological status of being “simple” has nothing to with ‘simple’ as in ‘simple design’.

    CR:Human beings and Computer AIs exhibit the appearance of deign.

    Computers are designed, they do not merely appear to be designed. I hope we can agree on that.

    CR: They are well adapted to serve a purpose.

    “Adapted”? You make it sound so Darwinistic. Why do you do that? Computers are designed by intelligent designers to serve a purpose, thank you very much.

    CR: Specifically, if you vary them, they will be unable to serve that purpose significantly less, if even at all.

    “Vary”? You mean ‘random mutations’ in the system board with a hammer? Well, that is not a good idea indeed. Why do you mention that? That’s crazy talk man!

  44. 44
    critical rationalist says:

    It doesn’t qualify as a complex thing, for two reasons. First, consciousness is not a thing amongst things. Secondly, consciousness is ontologically simple — it does not consist of parts.

    First, many emergent properties could be said “not to be a thing amongst things”, yet are not “simple” in the sense you’re implying because they emerge from complex systems. IOW, you haven’t sufficiently made a distinction between consciousness and other emergent phenomena. Just because we currently lack an explanation for consciousness, that does not mean it’s inexplicable.

    Second, even if consciousness did not “consist of parts” that wouldn’t mean it is simple. People have complicated personalities which are unique. How can something be unique in a multitude of ways, and yet not complicated? How does that work?

    Computers are designed, they do not merely appear to be designed. I hope we can agree on that.

    That’s not what’s in question. I’m providing an exact definition of the appearance of design.

    Raw materials are transformed (well adapted) to serve a purpose. If something with the appearance of design is varied, it will not serve that purpose nearly as well, if at all.

    “Adapted”? You make it sound so Darwinistic. Why do you do that? Computers are designed by intelligent designers to serve a purpose, thank you very much.

    Computers start out as raw materials that are transformed (well adapted) to serve a purpose (perform computations as a universal Turning machine). If you vary them, they will not perform that purpose nearly as well, if at all, right? That only happens when the requisite knowledge is present there. Being conscious or intelligent isn’t sufficient.

    Is there something about the above that you disagree with or think is not factual?

    However, on the other hand, consciousness supposedly isn’t well adapted to serve a purpose as there is nothing to vary. So, it’s unclear why it serves any specific purpose, as opposed to some other specific purpose, or all purposes, or no purpose at all.

    This is why I keep asking why the part of us that is supposedly out of this universe cannot create consciousness. Apparently, not all non-material things are equal in that they have no parts, are equally simple and not well adapted to serve a specific purpose, but they somehow unequal in that they serve different purposes and / or do not serve them as well or efficiently as others.

    To rephrase, why would equally simple non-things, which are both not well adapted to serve any purpose, serve that purpose less efficiently? What’s the difference?

  45. 45
    Dionisio says:

    News,

    Please, see the comment @42:

    https://uncommondescent.com/mind/can-ai-become-just-like-us/#comment-641511

    Note that one comment posted by EugeneS seems missing from the thread but still appeared in the recent posts list.

  46. 46
    gpuccio says:

    critical rationalist:

    “First, many emergent properties could be said “not to be a thing amongst things”, yet are not “simple” in the sense you’re implying because they emerge from complex systems. IOW, you haven’t sufficiently made a distinction between consciousness and other emergent phenomena. Just because we currently lack an explanation for consciousness, that does not mean it’s inexplicable.”

    Consciousness is not an emergent property. It has none of the characteristics of emergent properties. Emergent properties do not create subjective experiences, not an I which refers them to itself and unifies them.

    The idea is not that consciousness is “inexplicable”. Rather that it cannot be explained in terms of configurations of objects.

    IOWs, you will never be able to show that configuration A is not conscious, but if we change it to configuration B the object becomes conscious and starts having subjective experiences.

    “Second, even if consciousness did not “consist of parts” that wouldn’t mean it is simple. People have complicated personalities which are unique. How can something be unique in a multitude of ways, and yet not complicated? How does that work?”

    This is simple. Consciousness is simple because one transcendental I unifies all the diverse experiences that are perceived.

    Of course sensations, perceptions. states of mind, personalities, and so on are various an multiple and different. The mystery of consciousness is that the same I perceives all of them, and refers all of them to itself. In that sense, comsciousness is simple: the transcendental I is simple, and cannot be explained in terms of parts and configurations.

    Of course, the contents of the mind are complex.

    “However, on the other hand, consciousness supposedly isn’t well adapted to serve a purpose as there is nothing to vary. So, it’s unclear why it serves any specific purpose, as opposed to some other specific purpose, or all purposes, or no purpose at all.”

    I suppose that debating about the purpose of consciousness is a purely philosophic issue. I don’t see how we can try to give answers to that form a scientific point of view, at present. But of course, conscious could well have a purpose with its existence: for example, in how it reacts to experiences by the use of reee will.

    “This is why I keep asking why the part of us that is supposedly out of this universe cannot create consciousness.”

    Why should we? The simple facts is that we can’t. Why is that a problem for you?

    “Apparently, not all non-material things are equal in that they have no parts, are equally simple and not well adapted to serve a specific purpose, but they somehow unequal in that they serve different purposes and / or do not serve them as well or efficiently as others.”

    I am not sure that I understand well what you mean. If you mean that not all non material things are equal, then you are perfectly right. Why should they be?

    “To rephrase, why would equally simple non-things, which are both not well adapted to serve any purpose, serve that purpose less efficiently? What’s the difference?”

    Being simple is not all. For example, equally simple perceiving subjects can expereince different things and react differently to them by the use of free will, which is itself a transcendental property of consciousness, So, even if they are equally simple, their history in time and space would be different, and have different value or meaning.

    The part on purposes, as I have said, is not clear at all. Why are you so sure that simple non material entities cannot have purposes and pursue them?

    The simple idea is that the perceiving I has no form, but it percveives forms, and reacts to them. Like a video gamer is not the game, but interacts with it. (OK, now you will say that a video-gamer is not simple, but that was only a metaphor to show how the perceiving I is always in a meta relationship with its perceptions.)

  47. 47
    critical rationalist says:

    The idea is not that consciousness is “inexplicable”. Rather that it cannot be explained in terms of configurations of objects.

    IOWs, you will never be able to show that configuration A is not conscious, but if we change it to configuration B the object becomes conscious and starts having subjective experiences.

    That’s a pretty big claim there. How do you know this?

    I would agree that no such explanation at, say, the atomic level could explain it. But that doesn’t mean some higher level explanation never could.

    Imagine a giant computer made of millions of dominos that spring back after falling down. Imagine it was programmed to determine if an input number was a prime number and the input dominos were set to enter the number 43. Now imagine the entire process of falling dominos is started, and someone who had no knowledge that the dominos were configured as a computer walks up and notices, out of all of the patterns taking place in the falling and rising dominos, one was left standing. If they asked why, you could say it’s because the domino that preceded it didn’t fall on it, and the strong nuclear force, etc. Is that accurate? Yes. From the perspective of physics it is.

    But the answer we’re looking for requires a different level of explanation. Namely that one domino is actually the output of the computation process. So, the explanation for why it did not fall is that 43 is indeed a prime number.

    So, yes. Consciousness will never be explained in the “the domino that preceded it did not fall” sense. Nor will it be explained that I moved Q from one XY position to another YX position, etc. However, this does not entail that consciousness cannot be explained at the “43 is a prime number” level of explanation.

    CR: “This is why I keep asking why the part of us that is supposedly out of this universe cannot create consciousness.”

    G: Why should we? The simple facts is that we can’t. Why is that a problem for you?

    Drc466’s comment indicated consciousness can only be created by something out of this world, because it is free of the laws of nature, but we’re conscious and that is supposedly free of the laws of nature as well. So why can’t we create consciousness? I’m just trying to take what he/she said seriously.

    The problem I have is that this sort of explanation doesn’t seem to add up.

    Furthermore, it’s unclear why some consciousnesses are more efficient than others.

    In the case of material things, they are more efficient because they are better adapted to serve a purpose. But, supposedly, non-material aspects are not adapted for any purpose, let alone well adapted for a specific purpose. So, it’s unclear why they perform a purpose more efficiently than others, if any specific purpose at all.

    The part on purposes, as I have said, is not clear at all. Why are you so sure that simple non material entities cannot have purposes and pursue them?

    You are conflating someone having a purpose and consciousness having purpose.

    For example, why isn’t the purpose of consciousness to result in one single “I” for everyone, as opposed to a number of individual “I”s that corresponds with individual brains in human bings? Why does it serve the latter purpose, instead of the former? Or why not a single “I” for all of the brains in a 10 foot radius or for all humans we physically contact, etc. If it’s purpose is interact with the nervous systems of my brain, then why not other nervous systems in addition to mine simultaneously?

    Again, if consciousness is not well adapted to serve the specific purpose is serves, (individual “I”s that corresponds with individual brains in human bings) then why does it serve that specific purpose, as opposed to some other purpose, or no purpose at all. Why can some concisenesses create conciseness when others cannot when they are no more or less well adapted to serve any purpose?

    To use an analogy, a TV is well adapted to receive particular channels because TV signals are broadcast on specific frequencies. Those signals are well adapted to broadcast that content for receivers on those frequencies. But there is supposedly nothing well adapted about consciousness. It would be like broadcasting on all channels situationally, but even that is well adapted, which consciousness is supposedly not. So it’s unclear why any individual brains receive separate consciousness or all brains receive one consciousness, or some other combination there of. It just doesn’t add up.

  48. 48
    Origenes says:

    CR: First, many emergent properties could be said “not to be a thing amongst things” …

    Indeed properties are not things. Properties are properties of things. However consciousness is not a property of a thing, because consciousness is free and a property of a thing is not.
    Note that freedom is required in order to be rational.
    Also note that freedom, by definition, cannot have a mechanistic explanation.

    CR: Just because we currently lack an explanation for consciousness, that does not mean it’s inexplicable.

    The lack of a mechanistic explanation does not equate to “inexplicable”. Note that every mechanistic explanation is incomplete; they all trace back to a starting point without a mechanistic explanation — the infamous First Cause.

  49. 49
    critical rationalist says:

    @origenes

    However consciousness is not a property of a thing, because consciousness is free and a property of a thing is not.
    Note that freedom is required in order to be rational.
    Also note that freedom, by definition, cannot have a mechanistic explanation

    We’re going in circles. I’ll again as, if consciousness is free, and not well adpated for a specific purpose then why can’t it make consciousness?

    Furthermore, argument by definition doesn’t really help because your definition could be wrong. Definitions are useful to the degree that we can communicate, not to merely define things as so.

    The lack of a mechanistic explanation does not equate to “inexplicable”. Note that every mechanistic explanation is incomplete; they all trace back to a starting point without a mechanistic explanation — the infamous First Cause.

    As I pointed out in the above example, there are many different levels of explanation. One of which is that 43 is a prime number. This doesn’t trace back to a “first cause”, which would add nothing to the explanation. Nor is it clear that we have to explain things in the sense of initial conditions, such a first cause.

    I’ll ask again. Despite not being well adpated to serve any purpose, apparently, consciousnesses gives “I”s to individual human brains, instead of all human brains in 10 foot radius, or all human brains as a single “I”, or for every universal Turing machine. Why is this the specifically the case?

    How do you explain it why it serves that particular purpose?

  50. 50
    Origenes says:

    CR @49

    CR: We’re going in circles. I’ll again as, if consciousness is free, and not well adpated for a specific purpose then why can’t it make consciousness?

    Not from parts, not from matter. So, “make consciousness” from what? What is your proposal?
    BTW “not well adapted” for whose “specific purpose?”

    CR: Nor is it clear that we have to explain things in the sense of initial conditions, such a first cause.

    If we build an explanation on unexplained assumptions, as naturalism does, then an explanation can never be a full explanation.
    But maybe you feel that you don’t have to do more than that.

    CR: I’ll ask again. Despite not being well adpated to serve any purpose, apparently, consciousnesses gives “I”s to individual human brains, instead of all human brains in 10 foot radius …

    That is not the case. Consciousness does not give an “I” to any brain.

  51. 51
    critical rationalist says:

    Not from parts, not from matter. So, “make consciousness” from what? What is your proposal?

    Again, Drc466’s comment indicated consciousness can only be created by something out of this world, because it is free of the laws of nature, but we’re conscious and that is supposedly free of the laws of nature as well. So why can’t we create consciousness? Again, I’m just trying to take what he/she said seriously.

    Or do you disagree with him about consciousness?

    BTW “not well adapted” for whose “specific purpose?”

    If I intentionally arrange some molecules for the purpose of creating a drug to cure cancer, does that mean they actual will cure cancer? No, it does not. That will only occur if they actually are well adapted for the purpose of curing cancer. And that would occur when the requisite knowledge of what transformations to perform was actually present. My belief, intent or choice isn’t sufficient.

    IOW, what I care about is whether something actually is well adapted to serve a purpose, as opposed to whose intent, purpose, etc.

    If we build an explanation on unexplained assumptions, as naturalism does, then an explanation can never be a full explanation.

    You haven’t explained the origin of the knowledge that the designer supposedly used to create organisms. As such, It’s just an authoritative source, which doesn’t add to the explanation. So, I fail to see how you’re better off than “materialism”.

    But maybe you feel that you don’t have to do more than that.

    Arbitrarily decding that some beliefs are a foundation doesn’t solve the problem either. The entire search for some ultimate justification is a fools errand. So, no, I don’t feel like I need to arbitrarily decide some beliefs are different than others, in that they are immune to criticism.

    That is not the case. Consciousness does not give an “I” to any brain.

    Let’s not be pedantic, Origenes.

    If not that, then what purpose does consciousness serve?

    Specifically, why do I feel like I’m inside just one head looking out at the screen of my MacBook Pro? Why do I feel keys under my fingers and while typing in a Starbucks coffee shop? Why do I feel hungry?

    Why don’t I feel like I’m in two heads, or three heads? Why not all heads in a 15 food radius? On in all of the heads of people I touch? Why doesn’t it jump around, connecting to other brains?

    IOW, it seems that consciousness is connected to just one brain. Yet, apparently, consciousness is not well adapted for any specific purpose at all, let alone just that specific purpose. Yet, it still does just that.

  52. 52
    Origenes says:

    O: Not from parts, not from matter. So, “make consciousness” from what? What is your proposal?

    CR: … we’re conscious and that is supposedly free of the laws of nature as well. So why can’t we create consciousness?

    Not from parts, not from matter. So, “make consciousness” from what? What is your proposal?

    O: BTW “not well adapted” for whose “specific purpose?”

    CR: … what I care about is whether something actually is well adapted to serve a purpose, as opposed to whose intent, purpose, etc.

    “Well adapted” for whose “specific purpose?”

    O: If we build an explanation on unexplained assumptions, as naturalism does, then an explanation can never be a full explanation.

    CR: You haven’t explained the origin of the knowledge that the designer supposedly used to create organisms.

    ID does not explain intelligence. ID is a modest inquiry about whether a thing is designed.

    CR: As such, It’s just an authoritative source …

    ID is neutral on the designers and their social status.

    CR: Arbitrarily decding that some beliefs are a foundation doesn’t solve the problem either. The entire search for some ultimate justification is a fools errand.

    If so, where do you start? With consciousness or matter?

    CR: So, no, I don’t feel like I need to arbitrarily decide some beliefs are different than others, in that they are immune to criticism.

    Do you know what is immune to criticism? Do you know what is undoubtedly true? “I exist”.

    Maybe a good starting point. Why not start with absolute truth?

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