JIS XXII 2010
Intelligent Design & Artificial Intelligence:
THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE?
JIS XXII 2010: 1-31
PROGRESS IN SCIENCE:
A COPERNICAN REVOLUTION IN EVOLUTION?
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research
A new paradigm is emerging which places Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution via natural selection into a larger conceptual framework with greater explanatory power. Darwinism needs to be reconceptualized as a scientific enterprise and philosophical worldview. A larger framework is needed to account for the immaterial laws of nature which guide evolutionary mechanisms and processes to achieve predetermined ends that reflect a superlative Intelligence, Mind or God. Curiously, Darwinism fails to explain intelligent observers who can make sense of the laws of nature. Immanuel Kant’s conception of man as both phenomenon and noumenon suggests that man is the missing link between science and religion, and that the two views of genesis–evolution and creation–are complementary rather than antithetical. Evolution should be taught as science, not ideology. Teaching evolution as science means opening the theory to critical scrutiny which can correct, modify, enrich, and develop the theory in interdisciplinary perspective. But the theory of evolution reaches well beyond science narrowly defined, and broaches philosophical, ethical, and theological dimensions which can be addressed only in interdisciplinary conversation bringing to the table insights from many disciplines. Finally, Darwinism as a materialist, reductionist worldview needs to be humanized, if not Christianized, and thus reach its full potential as science. It would then also recognize human exceptionalism, the teleological imperative, the principle of tolerance, and the fundamental religious insight that we live by faith.
JIS XXII 2010: 32-66
MIND OR RANDOMNESS?
Dennis F. Polis
University of Notre Dame
Philosophical naturalists claim macroevolution shows order emerging by pure chance. This claim is incompatible with accepted physical and biological principles. The present state of the universe is implicit in its initial state and the laws of nature. Logical principles essential to science require these laws to be maintained by a self-conserving reality identifiable as God. Further, the laws share a common dynamic with human committed intentions. Both are logical propagators seen to be intentional by theists and naturalists alike. Mechanism and teleology project a single reality into different conceptual spaces. Statistically, evolution is only possible given predefined goals. For fitness to be explanatory, it must be prior to survival events, entailing immanent goals verified by convergent evolution, toolkit genes, and evolutionary stasis. Aristotle’s falsifiable claims for teleology are confirmed by evolution. Evolution is not random, but fully intentional, evidencing mind in nature.
JIS XXII 2010: 67-88
DARWIN’S STRAW GOD ARGUMENT
In the controversy between Darwinian evolution and Intelligent Design, the former is commonly portrayed as science and the latter as theology or philosophy. Yet Charles Darwin’s “one long argument” in The Origin of Species was heavily theological. In particular, Darwin argued that the geographical distribution of living things, the fossil record, vestigial organs, and homologies were “inexplicable on the theory of creation,” but made sense on his theory of descent with modification. In this context, “the theory of creation” did not imply young-earth creationism, but a God conceived by Darwin to create all species separately, arbitrarily, and perfectly. In the many instances when the evidence was not sufficient to support his positive case for descent with modification, Darwin would simply declare that the only alternative–the “theory of creation”–was not a scientific explanation. Darwin’s followers often argue similarly. Thus, arguments for Darwinian evolution, in both its original and modern forms, are commonly bound up with arguments from theology and philosophy.
JIS XXII 2010: 89-114
EVOLUTION AND IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY
Northwest State College
The concept of irreducible complexity is central to the origins controversy. Irreducible complexity (IC) may be defined as any machine or system that requires two or more parts in order to function. Examples range from molecules to mousetraps, organelles, and organisms such as humans. This essay explores the relationship between IC and complexity, clarifying the levels of IC such as the irreducible core and its mode of function. IC has been used in a wide variety of disciplines for over a century. Objections to irreducible complexity include co-option, the “junk DNA” theory, and the scaffolding argument. Co-option, a major argument against IC, attempts to explain how IC can be achieved through natural means by utilizing existing parts to construct a new biological machine or structure. Yet examples of IC in both the biological and non-biological worlds show that such common objections do not invalidate the concept. IC is firmly established.
JIS XXII 2010: 115-133
EVOLUTION AND SCIENTIFIC THEORIES
Polish Academy of Sciences
Evolutionary processes are conditioned both by unique phenomena and probabilistic ones. Given probabilistic factors, one may speak of changeability of evolution. This essay attempts to model evolutionary processes by modeling changeability in the natural sciences. Yet a framework of determinism and indeterminism appears inadequate to apprehend evolutionary processes. Autodeterminism is a more promising framework for addressing the causal, functional, and probabilistic dimension of evolution. Such an approach ensures the possibility of perceiving and presenting the complexity of evolution. The essay proposes that the synthetic theory of evolution conjoins factors of evolution, determinism, and changeability. The question still remains whether one can say that real being, which exists in the stream of time, is the subject of philosophy. This puzzle may be resolved by showing that besides the scientific cognition of nature, there is another possible cognition–the philosophical cognition. This is reflected in a significant group of problems of philosophical cosmology which are not addressed by the natural sciences due to their research methods.
JIS XXII 2010: 134-154
NATURAL INTELLIGENCE AND
TOWARD HARMONIOUS INTEGRATION
William R. Clough
Intelligence and design are vast concepts. Components of intelligence, such as changing in response to environmental conditions or problem-solving, can be found in things such as viruses or machines, which are not fully intelligent. “Intelligence” in humans includes awareness, ethics, narrative, and perceiving meaning. The word “designed” usually refers to things for which the designer’s purpose is known or inferred. The problem of how the “ghost”–soul, spirit, or consciousness–gets into the “machine”–material reality–arises because of the assumptions inherent in the question asked. What is needed is a perspective that recognizes subjective and objective data, does not deny a major part of human experience or contradict scientific knowledge, and that takes both the existence of intelligence and the observation of design seriously. This essay is an attempt to explore the outlines of such a theory, as suggested by the design of the human brain.
JIS XXII 2010: 155-188
A LESSON FOR THE AGES
Envisioned as a cosmic Cabaret beyond the space-time continuum, Gadfly explores the power of the establishment to determine what we call accepted truth, and chronicles how it has historically been the outsider that has moved our understanding of truth forward. Special guests are invited to defend their teachings or actions, including Socrates, Luther, Copernicus, Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Picasso, Beckett, and science philosopher William Dembski. These visitations are marshaled by a musical Poet Guide named Virgil (shades of Dante), who is backed by a British threesome with a ukulele and a squeeze box. Virgil keeps the action moving forward as the “Idols of the Institution” play judge and jury over the minds of history’s greatest thinkers. The resulting journey beyond space and time sheds light on the present claims of science as compared to the claims of the greatest thinkers down through the ages. It is, above all else, an exoneration of contemporary scholars choosing to explore Intelligent Design as a legitimate discipline in the academy, both scientifically and philosophically.