Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


The Intelligent Design Audiopaper Project

I was thinking recently, about how many audiobooks are consumed by people these days. I would guess that the main reason behind this consumption is convenience. Many people just don’t have the time, or don’t create the time, to really sit down and get their head in a book. But I understand that for many, it can also be due to personal preference, financial considerations, lack of space, being visually impaired, or learning difficulties. If non of these issues are barriers, I would always encourage reading (and ideally taking notes), rather than simply listening. On balance, the evidence does suggest that good reading is a much more efficient way of retaining information than listening, on its own. In general, listening Read More ›

The Immense Negative Impact of External Physical World Theory

[ETA: The OMG TOO LONG I don’t know if I wanna read all that teaser: I have said before it’s impossible to deny the value of the external physical world theory. In one sense it’s true – we have made a lot of scientific progress under that model. However, in comparison to what MRT could have provided and prevented, the overall effect has been disastrous, not just for science, but for the human condition as well.] External physical world theory is the theory that an objective, physical world exists external of mind that causes a set of subjective personal experiences, thus explaining the difference between experiences we have in common with other people, and experiences that others don’t appear to Read More ›

What Research Tells Us About The Afterlife

Millions of people visit what we call “the afterlife” every day bringing back empirical reports and information, including ongoing contact with the “dead.” Interaction with the dead and “cross-dimensional” visitation has been reported from the earliest times in recorded history. According to available data, it may be that a majority of people have experienced ADCs, or “after-death contact” of one kind or another, ranging up to fully physical manifestations of the dead here and long visitations with the dead in their world. There has been a vast amount of technological interaction with what we call “the afterlife,” including with people who lived and died here. The technological evidence includes video, photos, and audio recordings. Teams of scientists and engineers here Read More ›

My Tribute to Phillip Johnson

Many of us here were greatly influenced by Phillip Johnson’s books, articles, and lectures. Indeed, if not for Johnson, this blog might never have come to be. Like so many, I was saddened to learn of his death on November 2nd. While several of Johnson’s fellow academics and colleagues have written some wonderful tributes to him, I wanted to give one from the perspective of a layman. My tribute was published in The Stream last week and republished today over at Evolution News.

But who says today’s philosophers must make sense?

A friend can’t make sense of this, from philosopher Keith Frankish in Aeon: Consciousness is a life-transforming illusion So, again, what is consciousness for? In his 2011 book Soul Dust, Humphrey proposes a novel idea. He argues that consciousness enriches life. It doesn’t add information; it adds interests and goals. Qualia are wonderful, magical things, and conscious creatures enjoy having them. They relish their sensations, and this relish gives them a deeper interest in their own existence. They also project qualia onto their surroundings and take a deeper interest in them too; and they come to think of themselves as having a self, which is of great importance to them. These developments, Humphrey argues, have great survival value and explain Read More ›

Confessions of a Design Heretic

Those of you who’ve followed my posts and comments will have picked up that my view of Intelligent Design is pretty complicated. On the one hand, I defend design inferences, even strong design inferences. I’m entirely comfortable with questioning Darwinism (if that view still has enough content to identify it as a clear position, anyway), and have a downright dismissive view of both naturalism (if that view… etc) and atheism. I regularly see the ID position butchered, mangled and misrepresented by its detractors, most of whom should and probably do know better.

On the flipside, I don’t think ID (or for that matter, no-ID) is science, even if I reason that if no-ID is science then so is ID. My personal leaning has always been towards theistic evolution, and I see evolution as yet another instance of design rather than something which runs in opposition to it – a view which I know some ID proponents share, but certainly not all. I think non-scientific arguments for and inferences to design have considerable power, and see little reason to elevate particular arguments simply because some insist they’re “scientific”.

Here’s another part of that flipside, and the subject of today’s post. One of the more prominent ID arguments hinges on the trichotomy of Chance, Necessity, and Design. The problem for me is that I question the very existence of Chance, and I see Necessity as subsumable under Design.

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