Sometimes, comments at UD can be quite revealing. Jan 25, AIG objected in the Shermer/Flannery Wallace debate thread in an inadvertently revealing way, which I have picked up:
Re: questions of how, why, and “who” (the names of people involved [at Stonehenge etc]?) are secondary. We know that human beings were present at the time these were built, so everybody agrees that human beings were responsible . . . . “Agency” is a term from philosophy (mainly moral philosophy and philosophy of mind). It is also used in sociology, where it refers to people (human beings) in social systems. It is not a term used in biology, physics, or the cognitive sciences . . .
This is utterly, and inadvertently revealing:
1 –> Right off, if the cognitive sciences do not reckon with the reality of agency, they are showing such an abundant closed-mindedness that they are refusing to recognise one of the most salient characteristics of cognition, i.e that even they themselves as cognitive agents, are conscious subjects and agents.
2 –> Similarly, last I checked, we are biological beings, and are conscious agents, which needs to be addressed if biology is to deal with highly material facts of reality. Or, has science now become materialist ideology dressed up in the holy lab coat?
3 –> As for physics, last I checked, thought experiments are an important part of the development of modern physics, which relies through and through on cognitive and conscious agents. There is even a whole set of issues linked to the evident fine tuning of the observed — oops, agents in action again, no, no tut tut . . . — cosmos.
4 –> More directly, when we turn from addressing the patterns that show mechanical necessity and/or chance in action, we find that here are also empirically observable, tested and found reliable signs that point to ART-ificial cause, i.e. to design. As Stonehenge etc so strongly highlight.
5 –> That is, if we are to scientifically study the world with the objects and events and processes in it in accordance with the truth, we have to reckon with the reality and acts of agency, indeed without that we cannot do either science or mathematics, engineering and computing, its handmaidens. I stress this because without these, we have no effective science.
6 –> Next, we turn to the question of origins of the cosmos, our solar system, life in it, body plans, and mind [which BTW also includes morals]. To claim to study such scientifically, is to claim to study the past on observable facts, processes and signs in the present that can credibly account for the origin in question as best empirically anchored, truth-oriented explanation.
7 –> Now, we happen to know that functionally specific, complex organisation and related — sometimes, digitally coded — information is a feature of our world, as common as the posts in this thread and the computers on which we are reading them.
8 –> In our experience, and observation, reliably, such FSCO/I reliably comes from ART-ifice, i.e design. The whole internet, for just one instance, stands in testimony to that.
9 –> We have every right of reasonable induction, to infer that such FSCO/I is a strong sign of design as cause. At any rate, as candidate cause.
10 –> In addition, we observe that FSCO/I implies high contingency of arrangement of components, beyond the search capacity of the solar system or even the observable cosmos, on blind chance and mechanical necessity, the other two well warranted causal patterns.
11 –> So, we have only one empirically adequate causal explanation for FSCO/I. So, when we see it in the living cell, we have every reason to infer that this is a sign that points to design as best explanation, or at any rate as a serious candidate explanation.
12 –> Unless, we have reason to know on separate warrant in advance that designing agency is IMPOSSIBLE in the causal context. Which, pace a priori Lewontinian materialism, is precisely what we do not know about the context of origin of life or body plans including our own.
13 –> That is, we can only rule out the possibility of agency in that context by refusing to entertain the otherwise most obvious candidate causal explanation. >>
I hold that AIG, here, has begged big questions in an inadvertently revealing manner.
What say ye? END