Jack Scanlan, over at Panda’s Thumb, asks, “Does intelligent design have a dualistic assumption, not a theistic one?”
Interesting question, his point being that dualism is not the same thing as theism.
A dualist may hold that nature is governed by a meta-nature, without that latter realm being “God.” Without being God, a meta-nature could exhibit in nature what looks like intelligence (and is). Comments?
There are many types of dualism:
The Mind-Brain ProblemNo satisfactory account of the mind is currently widely accepted. Here are a few of the many theories scientists and philosophers offer.
Mind does not move matter.—Neurologist C. J. Herrick
The mind exists, like a rainbow shimmering over the falls. Yes, it’s there, but it doesn’t affect anything. You know it’s there because some experiences are unique to yourself, for example, whatever you personally associate with peanut butter. Merely a product of brain-body processes, the mind sometimes facilitates for itself the illusion that it affects those processes, much as if the rainbow thought it affected the falls in some way.
We now understand that the mind is not, as Descartes confusedly supposed, in communication with the brain in some miraculous way; it is the brain, or more specifi cally, a system or organization within the brain that has evolved in much the same way our immune system . . . evolved. — Materialist philosopher Daniel Dennett
The mind-matter problem is resolved by denying that mental processes exist in their own right. “Consciousness” and “mind” (intentions, desires, beliefs, etc.) are prescientific concepts that belong to unsophisticated ideas of how the brain works, sometimes called “folk psychology.” They can be reduced to whatever the neurons happen to be doing (neural events).
“Consciousness” and “mind” as concepts will be eliminated by the progress of science, along with such ideas as “free will” and the “self.” Current key exponents of this view include philosophers Paul and Patricia Churchland and Daniel Dennett.
Psychophysical Identity Theory
States and processes of the mind are identical to states and processes of the brain. — Stanford Plato Encyclopedia of Philosophy
We apprehend our own consciousness and mental processes in the first person, that is, in a subjective and experiential manner. Brain events, however, are measured in the third person, that is, from the outside in an objective manner. Brain events and mental processes are completely parallel, like the two sides of the same medal. This view is defended by neuroscientist Jean-Pierre Changeux. The underlying assumption is that the brain states create the mind states, not the other way around.
The whole world of inner experience (the world of the humanities)long rejected by 20th century scientific materialism . . . becomes recognized and included within the domain of science. – Neuroscientist Roger Sperry
Mental processes and consciousness arise from brain activity (emergent),but they actually exist and make a difference (dynamic). Mental events (thoughts and feelings) can make things happen in the brain. Therefore, they are neither identical with nor reducible to neural events.But conscious experience cannot exist apart from the physical brain. Nobel Prize winner Roger Sperry is the main proponent of this view.
I think, therefore I am. — Philosopher René Descartes (1596–1650)
Sometimes called Cartesian dualism after the French philosopher and mathematician Descartes, this position argues that there are two fundamental kinds of entirely separate substances: mind and matter.
Since materialist solutions fail to account for our experienced uniqueness, we are constrained to attribute the uniqueness of the psyche or soul to a supernatural spiritual creation. – Neuroscientist John Eccles
Consciousness and other aspects of the mind, which can infl uence neural events, can occur independently of the brain, generally through aspects of quantum mechanics. This view is associated with neuroscientists John Eccles and Wilder Penfield as well as philosopher Karl Popper.
– The Spiritual Brain, pp. 107-8