« on: 12/08/2008 19:00:53 »
Intelligence itself is not evidence of a designer - many species are intelligent to a degree, and intelligence can clearly be seen as an advantageous adaptation to a challenging environment. In fact, as a very intelligent species, we have been able to adapt our environment to suit ourselves in such a way that we no longer rely on our wits for pure survival, and are able to think about philosophy as well.
So we're back to the question begging with a vengeance.
If intelligence is not evidence of a designer, then what is it evidence of?
It is an 'advantageous adaptation' you say. But it is not an adaptation.
We are struggling to create 'artificial intelligence' in computers. I don't know how far they've gone, but let's say pretty far. There is no adaptation involved. Computers have to be intelligently invented and constructed, intelligent programs written, huge memories created by intelligence,and that's just the beginning. Any number of intelligent researchers have to exist, intelligent people I might add, and one day they'll have an intelligent computer. Created by intelligent Designers and implementers.
We look at ourselves, and see the intelligence that can design and produce artificial intelligence. That is an inordinately higher degree of intelligence that the computers won't be able to mimic. Nor can they mimic the emotions, the feelings, and most important of all, life, and reproductive capacity.
Yet, say you, that is an advantageous adaptation. I say that is nonsense. The word 'adaptation' is a loaded term, which begs the question of whether evolution did or did not take place. Intelligence is not an adaptation, it is a cause of design and change.
I wonder if I can ask you: look at the cliff swallow for a moment. Let's leave out the questions of the origin of flight for a moment.
Those birds migrate from Goya in Argentina to Capistrano in southern California, a distance of about 7500 miles. The arrive there on March the 18th every year, give or take in a leap year. They fly up, on the 23rd October and make the return flight. Another 7500 miles. Those are specific dates, every year. Time has newsreel footage of it happening, and thousands of tourists go every year to watch.
I need a GPS to get me from London to Birmingham. Airline pilots have extremely complicated navigation systems to get them the same distances safely and correctly.
Now, are those GPS systems the products of intelligence, or not? Are those timing devices aboard the products of intelligence or not? Be careful what you say - they'll probably lock you up for libel if you say 'no'.
Now those things are relatively recent inventions. But birds have been doing those journeys for presumably millions of years.
How did they get the equipment to do so? And pack it all in a brain the size of a peanut? And not only that but the mechanisms which run all their life processes are in there too. This is microminiaturisation gone mad.
Any genius who could microminiaturise to that extent would receive a dozen Nobel prizes - yet here is a little bird having successfully done so millions of years ago. How? Without intelligent direction and design? Nonsense.
If a monkey was able to communicate a scientific idea to me, a testable hypothesis with experimental data, then yes, of course I would trust it, as I can apply my own logic to test the hypothesis. As it happens, apes and monkeys do not have the communicative skills to do so, but apes can be seen in the wild to adapt sticks into tools through a process of trail and error, and then pass info on to fellow apes - clearly the precursor to modern man's ability to make tools and share this knowledge.
Do you really believe that monkeys handing sticks on to one another is the precursor of producing the theory of relativity and Beethoven's Seventh? They've been passing sticks for millennia - where's the monkey music? Or physics?
And this illustrates another point which you will not be able to explain. Music. Now for music to be appreciated, the neural connections etc etc have to be present BEFORE music could ever be invented - otherwise the uncultured brutes across the river would pulverise the composers and players for disturbing their slumbers! The connections etc were obviously there BEFORE the need arose: if there ever was a need.
Those things were divinely implanted in us. Evolution is helpless to answer the problems of the origins of abstract thought. There's no need for it. Billions of animals live and die without it. So where did it come from? And why?
As the brain evolved through several stages, as you pointed out with increasing complexity, the final product is not random. It has been shaped by millions of years of evolution. Therefore the actions prescribed by this organ are not random.
Here you are begging questions galore again.
We are discussing whether or not evolution did or could have taken place. You may not therefore say that 'the brain evolved'. It quite obviously didn't. And to be fair, I shouldn't say that either. So that leaves us with the facts, and not the assertions, your or mine.
My logic cannot be faulted: Darwin himself saw this point:
"... But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?"
Whether Dawkins can see it is a moot point.
"I understand you may feel the need to believe in a god, and that is fine by me. However you cannot use perceived gaps in evolution as an excuse to fit your god in - there is no evidence of intelligent design. If you wish to believe in the biblical creation myth, again, that's fine by me. But by doing so you opt out of rational discussion of evolution, having rejected reason in favour of an old story."
Logic tells me that intelligence cannot originate from muck and mire. Life can't either, as Pasteur proved irrevocably.
Whether I believe in a God or not, does not invalidate the facts. As as someone with a scientific frame of mind, I don't think you should hide behind such statements as 'having rejected reason'. That is an extremely unjust and irrational statement, reeking highly of prejudice and recognition of the weakness of evolution's case.
As the old saying goes, if you can't beat the case, beat the guy who's presenting it over the head. Nothing changes.