Re: [pcp-discuss:] Re:: "Intelligent Design"

From: Don Mikulecky (mikuleck@HSC.VCU.EDU)
Date: Tue Jun 20 2000 - 16:02:07 BST

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    I thought that was what we were doing all along, so I'll repeat a few things to
    refresh memories:

    Using Aristotelian causality, we can distinguish the machine (a product of
    intelligent design ala human intelligence) from an organism by the criterea of
    closure to efficient cause. Efficient cause is the agent which actually impliments
    the design, which is the formal cause.

    The very notion of God comes about as a direct result of the machine metaphor due
    to an infinite regression of causality in the absence of this notion. Complexity
    theory, as many of us see it, in fact ELIMINATES this need.
    Don Mikulecky

    Francis Heylighen wrote:

    > >
    > >The real question is where to look for intelligence in nature. Theologists
    > >attribute it to God. I attribute intelligence to evolutionary systems. You may
    > >argue that this is a too far stretch of the meaning "intelligence"
    > >(this was the
    > >response of Joslyn). I don't think that it is such a big stretch.
    > >The first proof is
    > >that plants and animals are indeed designed intelligently. We still don't
    > >understand 99% of biological know-how. The second proof is that human
    > >intelligence is also based on an internal evolutionary system described by
    > >Edelman. We will never succeed in creating artificial intelligence unless we
    > >put an evolutionary system inside our robots. So why should we refuse to
    > >call evolutionary systems intelligent?
    > >
    > >But evolutionary systems are intelligent, then there are intelligent designers
    > >in nature besides humans. So after all, the ID theory is only
    > >partially stupid.
    > >It's error is that intelligence is attributed to some immaterial object (God).
    > I don't have problems with evolutionary systems being intelligent, on
    > the contrary. I have problems with the idea of "design". Design
    > implies that you first start with a plan or blueprint of what the
    > system will be, and then through some separate process realize or
    > implement that plan. What evolution does is to make up the blueprint
    > while it is building the system. It is "intelligent" in the sense
    > that its trial-and-error is not purely random but constrained or
    > guided by various controls that it has discovered at an earlier stage
    > (Campbell's idea of "vicarious selectors",
    > But you forsake any hope of really explaining what has happened by
    > assuming the existence of some invisible blueprint (God?) determining
    > the process, because you will never be able to explain where that
    > blueprint has come from, except by considering some earlier form of
    > evolution (how was God created?). Thus, if you go back in time, you
    > should be able to explain any form of "intelligent" development by
    > the results of earlier trial-and-error at a more primitive level.
    > Thus, Campbell insists that his "vicarious selectors" must be the
    > result of blind variation and selective retention at an earlier stage
    > (note that "blind" is not the same as "random").
    > >I know that from a political point of view we have to criticize the ID theory
    > >because it is used as an anti-scientific tool. But some times it is better to
    > >find a common language with political enemies and even accept their
    > >terms with a modified meaning.
    > I agree that it may be good to find a common language in order to
    > make your own point of view better understood, and that is what I
    > meant when I said that PCP should try to offer a philosophy that is
    > sufficiently deep and elegant to convince non-scientists. Concretely,
    > I am thinking about what I have proposed to call "evolutionary
    > cybernetics", an approach that extends the rather reductionist view
    > of orthodox Darwinism so as to encompass the fundamental features of
    > organization, intelligence, goal-directedness and "meaning" that
    > characterize all living systems. See
    > But although I am willing to embrace the term "intelligence", I still
    > want to avoid "design" because that would eliminate the intrinsic
    > creativity and unpredictability that is the most fascinating aspect
    > of evolution.
    > --
    > _________________________________________________________________________
    > Francis Heylighen <> -- Center "Leo Apostel"
    > Free University of Brussels, Krijgskundestr. 33, 1160 Brussels, Belgium
    > tel +32-2-6442677; fax +32-2-6440744;
    > ========================================
    > Posting to from Francis Heylighen <>

    Posting to from Don Mikulecky <>

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