Friday, March 16, 2007

A summary

First, for the purpose of this blog post, I am going to define “faith.” Faith = trust based on a rational reflection which causes corresponding belief and action.

Now, as I begin, I want to make it clear that the theory of intelligent design is not an argument against evolution. It merely asks the question “can the result of intelligence (design) be scientifically detected and if so what is necessarily designed?" ID is a scientific inference which may negate the materialistic view that everything which exists is ultimately an accident arising from some type of eternal material and laws which arise before any intelligence and/or consciousness. “But science is materialistic in nature,” you say? That is incorrect. Science is the discipline which attempts to explain phenomenon in terms of laws of cause and effect, which is not equal to materialism. Since the information within an information processor is not defined in terms of physical laws (see here), ID theory is interested in the question “what is the law of cause and effect which produces information and its compatible processor?”

ID then postulate an extrapolation from the verifiable fact that information processors (effect) have only ever been scientifically verified to be the result of intelligent action (cause) to the hypothesis that information processors are necessarily the result of intelligence, either through direct intervention or indirectly arising from a designed program.

Here is where the faith comes in. The materialist has faith that information processors can be accidentally self-organized, and that the biological replicating information processor’s (life’s) ability to evolve is an accident, that further information processors (ie: the brain) are accidents, informational structures (ie: protein systems and molecular machines) are accidents, further laws (genetic laws, and logic) are accidents, and that the universe’s fine-tuning to allow genetic
information to be translated, allow proteins to fold, and allow life to exist and evolve is also an accident.

I view that as illogical as based on the same ideas contained in these two peer reviewed articles (here and here) and expounded by myself (see the first link in this post) and on the fact that there is no scientific inference of information processors accidentally generating themselves. Basically, if we look at an information processing system, we see that the function resulting from the information processor is not the result of only natural laws. Why is this so? Because the function results from the information which is not created in accordance with any physical laws of attraction. Information is the result of a seemingly random sequence of units, which are not sequenced in accordance with any law. If it was, then it would merely be a repeating sequence without the ability to code for multiple interrelated parts which together provide function. The only reason that information isn’t random is because specific sequences are converted into specific functions as future goals but only when acted upon by an information processing system. The only law that defines information is its future function as converted by a compatible information processor. However, you need the information first, before you can arrive at the function – the law which defines the information.

Thus, information is described neither by randomness nor by natural laws. It is described by an information processing system. Without a system to process it, information does not exist. Furthermore, without information to process, one can not have an information processing system. Now, of course, the information does not have to be immediately present, but it is at the least present in the designer’s mind in the form of a future goal so that he can create the correct information processing system in the present. Because of this, neither information nor its processing system can exist on their own. You either have both or you have none.

In order for random events to actualize information, it would also have to accidentally create a compatible information processing system at the correct place in space and time. However, this process can not slowly evolve. If you have information, without a processing system, there is no resulting function, no benefit to a larger system’s survival success, and thus nothing to preserve. Obviously an information processing system without information to process is useless. And, actually, without a replication system, even if you already had information and its processing system, there would be no evolution and when the system breaks down as information systems do on their own without corrective measures; then the whole information storage and processing system would have to be randomly and accidentally formulated from scratch again.

I, as an ID proponent, have faith that science will show the idea that consciousness is fundamental to natural law (ie: caused by or cause of quantum occurrences) to be the best explanation for consciousness. This would then place consciousness, or quantum intelligence, as I view it, as a candidate for the creation of the information processor of the universe, the relationship and fine tuning between natural laws and the information processor known as life, and an indirect cause of
the development of further information processors and laws within the universe.

So far, Paul Davies has hypothesized that consciousness may be derived from quantum occurrences.

Also, many neurosurgeons are discovering that the brain behaves as if it were merely acting as a transmitter of consciousness, as opposed to generating consciousness. Here is a blog following this controversy.

Cyril Burt (British neurologist):
"A comparison of the specific micro-neural situations in which consciousness does and does not arise suggests that the brain functions not as a generator of consciousness, but rather as a two-way transmitter and detector, i.e., although its activity is apparently a necessary condition, it cannot be a sufficient condition of conscious experience."

Furthermore, David Chalmers and Angus Menuge, in their books “The Conscious Mind" and “Agents Under Fire” respectively, create a hypothesis which treats consciousness as a given, which is the opposite of treating material and law as a given, as the materialistic worldview does.

Moreover, law has never been seen to be a given. It arises from an information processor. This is why the universe is now viewed as a computer, with an informational base founded in quantum occurrences; intelligent processes, in my view possibly conscious intelligence.

However, I must clarify that a specific candidate is not necessary in order to infer design. The only scientific knowledge necessary is that intelligence precedes information. For example the inference that ID makes, as it relates to SETI, is that intelligence is the best explanation for information rich signals and the only assumption is that intelligence possibly exists outside of life on earth. Similarily, ID as it relates to biology makes the same inference and the only assumption is that intelligence possibly exists before life on earth. The discovery of attributes or the type of intelligent cause is merely an example of further scientific investigation consistent with ID theory after design has been verified by the discovery of information. Not knowing specific attributes of the intelligent
cause, other than that it is indeed intelligent, in no way negates the scientific inference to design as the best explanation of information, since lack of extraneous knowledge of the intelligent cause does not provide a better explanation for the cause of information.

As Dr. Dembski states: “"Design-theoretic explanations are proximal or local explanations rather than ultimate explanations. Design-theoretic explanations are concerned with determining whether some particular event, object or structure exhibits clear marks of intelligence and can be legitimately ascribed to design. Consequently, design- theoretic reasoning does not require the who-designed-the-designer question to be answered for a design inference to be valid. There is explanatory value in attributing the Jupiter Symphony to the artistry [design] of mozart, and that explanation suffers nothing by not knowing who designed Mozart. Likewise, in biology, design inferences are not invalidated for failing to answer Dawkin's who-designed-the-designer question." - Dr. Dembski

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