Tuesday, February 24, 2015

567: The Watchmaker...

What always has fascinated me, is the photo of some prehistoric pottery, maybe a 10.000 or more years old.
It was a simple pot and the maker had decorated it with a tiny  regular pattern around the upper edge.
Why in the world would someone waste his time on doing that? It must be a by-product of our brain, the desire to make something more than just a pot.
Like writing and reading is a by-product of our ability to use language and music is a by-product of our ability to recognize pitch and rhythm.
Like our ability to imagine other minds can be a by-product of our self awareness and our empathic abilities.
This might very well be the evolution of the brain in action finally resulting in our ability to imagine things.
And as soon as we begin to contribute real existence to things we imagine, it is a small step to believing in supernatural existences.
The first traces of ritualistic and religious behavior date back to more than 26.000 years ago and it has never left our culture since.
Through the ages many gods have come and go,  but our imagination stayed as one of the abilities of the brain.
And when you say that what you imagine really exists, we in our age of science want to see hard evidence for it.
When we find this hard evidence, the case is closed and what we imagined (actually a hypothesis) becomes a fact.
Now here comes this peculiar logic: when you find in nature something complex, it MUST have a maker, a designer.
This inclination to attribute things we do not understand to an intelligence, that does understand the matter, is not new.
You may remember that I quoted  Cicero (106 - 43 BC) in one of my previous lecture: “When you see a sundail or a waterclock, you see that it tells the time by design and not by chance. 
How then can you imagine, that the universe as a whole is devoid of purpose and intelligence?” -end quote-
So, the desire to find direct or indirect evidence for the existence of something supernatural, is as old as Rome itself.
A more recent attempt was The Watchmaker Analogy. It was given by William Paley in his 1802 book “Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity”:
1.The complex inner workings of a watch necessitate an intelligent designer.
2. As with a watch, the complexity of X (a particular organ or organism, the structure of the solar system, life, the universe, anything complex) necessitates a designer.
Why do we necessarily have to conclude that there is a designer, when something is complex? I still do not understand this logic.
In the 60s creationists revived the Watchmaker analogy and related to that a new concept emerged: Intelligent Design (ID).
For ID the most notable disputes concern the evolution of living organisms, the idea of common descent, the geological history of the Earth, the formation of the solar system and the origin of the universe.
The interesting thing about ID is that it hijacks science and uses it as arguments for its stance. Dozens of lawsuits there were in the US…and in the US only.
Christian organizations tried to force public schools to teach Intelligent Design theory as alternative for Darwinian evolution theory.
All cases were lost nevertheless. Educators, philosophers, and the scientific community have demonstrated that ID is a religious argument, 
a form of creationism which lacks empirical support and offers no testable or tenable hypotheses. 
Proponents argue that it is "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" that challenges the methodological naturalism 
inherent in modern science, while conceding that they have yet to produce a scientific theory and that is probably because they are not evidence-based but beliefs-based.
Main questions stays: WHY want people so eagerly this creator story about our reality? By the way….who created the creator, where does he/she/it come from?
Anyway, enough to think about…and you will have plenty of time for that. This Thursday I’ll leave for a vacation on Schiermonnikoog, the island, and I won’t be back before February 21 ^_^
The floor is yours…:-))

The Discussion

herman Bergson: Thank you :-)
herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...feel free...
CB Axel: I can't help thinking that we do a very bad job in the US of teaching science.
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): I think
Corona Anatine: okies not totally on topic but the pattern on pots might be an aim to copy rope
CB Axel: It allows people to think that a book is evidence.
Door Deluxe Plus: Tarokaka Resident has just entered your land !
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Wait, lost my train of thought
herman Bergson: Well CB...that is a problem indeed....
herman Bergson: I wasn’t there 28.000 years ago when the early men started rituals...
herman Bergson: so how can I believe that....
Corona Anatine: on ID idea - the need to have id in complex thing is because t we learn that complex things tend to have intelligence
herman Bergson: I read a book indeed...but its authority was based on earcheological evidence
Max Chatnoir: Nice point, Corona.
Corona Anatine: it is a product of child development
Max Chatnoir: So something inanimate that looks complex had to have been formed by an intelligent creature.
Corona Anatine: that things with a will of their own are intelligent
Corona Anatine: yes
Max Chatnoir: A bird's nest or a termite mound.
herman Bergson: yes...for I don’t see any relation between complexity and intelligence....conscious intelligence corona
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Uh, to totally dismiss the validity of written record is to undermine the basis of all sorts of things
Corona Anatine: true btu you have wisdom beyond that of a child - many adult dont progress as far as you
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): While something being written down doesn't immediately give it a pass
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): It also doesn't mean that it's entirely without value
CB Axel: True, but the written record has to be based on evidence.
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Why?
herman Bergson: Oh no Kei-chan...
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Why does something have to be true for us to learn from it?
herman Bergson: on the contrary....
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): That's a flawed method of thinking
CB Axel: We can learn from myths. But that's not the problem.
Max Chatnoir: What a good question.
herman Bergson: Tons of scientific researches are stored in written documents....
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): The origins of man are a matter for science, not philosophy, to prove, disprove, or otherwise explain
herman Bergson: to begin with what Galileo, Kepler and Newton and einstein wrote for instance
herman Bergson: Philosophy is not concerned about the origin of man at all...
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Then why lecture on creationism, the clockmaker theory, and intelligent design?
herman Bergson: It is concerned with the validity of the theories that are formulated about this origin
Corona Anatine: [and if there was science in an ancient civilization - it could well be that we would not recognize it as such due to word meaning shifts
herman Bergson: Because this is an educational project Kei-chan.....
herman Bergson: to teach people about what theories are around....
herman Bergson: and to discuss their validity...
CB Axel: And about why some people believe one thing and why some believe something else?
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): The problem with those theories though is their attempt to explain through inference
herman Bergson: Indeed CB.....and the justification of such beliefs
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): They're creating a house of cards, theories upon theories, "Well if this, and this, and this, then this must be true"
Max Chatnoir: the curse of the scientific method.  :-)
herman Bergson: Oh yes Kei-chan...
Max Chatnoir: But the power of that method comes from the ability to make predictions that would falsify your hypothesis.
herman Bergson: Put two philosophers in a room to discuss the existence of god and you wont get no answer :-))
Mickorod Renard: and some are natural convincing people, but not nessesarily correct
herman Bergson: Take the Smart /Haldane discussion for instance...
Corona Anatine: wouild three of them acheive it ?
herman Bergson: They might end with voting, Corona ^_^
Corona Anatine: so the existence of god is a democratic concept then herman?
herman Bergson: But Kei-chan has a point that a lot of the debates are just verbal and use logic...
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): It's a construct
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): God exists in the same way that Odin or Zeus existed
herman Bergson: In that case Yes, Corona....but then too still a belief...not a fact
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Or any other deity
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): It exists to answer the questions without answers
Corona Anatine: for sure
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Because we need answers
herman Bergson: Yes Kei-chan....I can agree with that :-)
Corona Anatine: often tho they come up with the answers and then find quaetions to fit
Max Chatnoir: And maybe justification for answers that we cannot otherwise support.
herman Bergson: The only thing I'd like to question is this NEED for answers...
Scarre (scarre1648): but if we use a god as the answer to all our unsolved questions, how do we progress?
Corona Anatine: well the creationists answer that - they see life as pointless without a god to give their lives meaning
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): It's the human condition
herman Bergson: Yes Scarre indeed...we don’t need to because we ahve the answers...
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Humans need meaning
herman Bergson: but on the other hand...PROGRESS...to what?
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): And not everyone is strong enough to find it for themselves
Daniel Luchador: to a more complete understanding of the world
Corona Anatine: nor is there progress where religion is ascendant - history shows that
Max Chatnoir: rather the opposite.
herman Bergson: Yes I agree...but why can't we accept the facyt that our brain some things just can not know!
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Pretty judgmental to look down upon a culture for not making "progress"
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): So long as a culture is surviving, it's succeeding
Mickorod Renard: I think the human brain does indeed need answers..and that perhaps is due to storing experiences and knowledge..without knowing what it is it cannot be resolved and stays in a loop
herman Bergson: YEs Mickorod...
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Modern culture is so increasingly aimless and frivolous that we tend to forget that the challenge for humanity is simply to survive
herman Bergson: but take the simple question of the origin of the universe...:-)
Mickorod Renard: yes, far easier to say God created it
herman Bergson: It is our brain that perceives reality in time and space....
Corona Anatine: not sure your word 'increasingly ' is correct there kei
herman Bergson: but when we apply this to the universe we have to come up with a big bang story
herman Bergson: Well, Kei-chan....in the Arab world, in Ukraine....they know....there they try to survive
Corona Anatine: not totally true herman the 'big bang was the product of observation - a theoiry to fit the obersved data
herman Bergson: no Corona...it was the result of an inference based on observations
herman Bergson: it was deduced from observations
Corona Anatine: okies accepted -your definition is more accurate
Mickorod Renard: and it is still not conclusive
herman Bergson: no it isnt at all to me...
herman Bergson: pragmatically it may explain a lot withinits context...
herman Bergson: but as an answer to the question about the origin of the universe it is nada...nothing...no answer at all
Corona Anatine: oh its fairly conclusive -what tends to be disputed is whtehr it will expand forever or collapse back down again
Mickorod Renard: I also believe we allow ourselves to be convinced because we are limited in our ability to challenge
Corona Anatine: before the next expansion occurs
herman Bergson: So we need the Intelligent Designer, some people think
Max Chatnoir: Or maybe it just expands locally.
Max Chatnoir: But I don't see how a Designer helps.
herman Bergson: this expansion story is also weird....
herman Bergson: for all expands AWAY from EARTH,...
herman Bergson: in other words...
CB Axel: Well, I haven't heard anyone say what they think happened before the big bang. Was it a god?
herman Bergson: it looks like earth is the center of the universe
Max Chatnoir: Wouldn't it look the same from Mars?
herman Bergson: That is our brain CB....we think in time.....
Max Chatnoir: Or Alpha centauri?
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): CB, the theory is that the universe is expanding towards a point
Mickorod Renard: and maybe its just us getting smaller?
herman Bergson: so..what happened BEFORE the big bang indeed
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): after which it will begin to compress
herman Bergson: it looks like a rational question
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): If you're to go off that, then before the big bang, there was another universe
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): And after ours is gone, there'll be another
herman Bergson: Mickorod...are we shrinking???:-)
CB Axel: I thought the universe was expanding faster and faster.
Mickorod Renard: he he could be Herman
Sovot: Asking what happened "before" the Big Bang is a moot point in itself though, since if the Big Bang was truly the beginning of everything, that would also mean time
Sovot: You cannot have "before" if time does not exist
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): That's
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): dumb
herman Bergson: That only shifts the question to those other universes Kei-chan
Sovot: You're
Sovot: Dumb
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): No you
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Well, nobody can answer those questions
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Because they don't exist anymore
herman Bergson: Time exists in our minds...
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): And neither would any evidence
herman Bergson: we can not escape it
Corona Anatine: it would mean time and space for this expansion - but it might not have been the first ever
Sovot: The Big Bang came from one of the most densest singularities ever calculated and it is still not as dense as you kei
Corona Anatine: previous expansions are possible
Daniel Luchador: haha
Corona Anatine: but only as mathematical constructs
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Most densest
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): durr
Mickorod Renard: but to many folk,,when one had to work the fields for food etc..deep questions re the universe were best put in God
Corona Anatine: do we need ad hominem arguments Sovot
herman Bergson: Well at least beyond your personal responsability, Mickorod...yes
herman Bergson: I noticed Corona...
Sovot: All I'm saying is scientists could just observe Kei if they wanted to perform theoretical experiments on incredibly dense objects
herman Bergson: I'll let is pass as a humoristic remark Sovot...
Mickorod Renard: there is the thing re the falling tree in the forrest..I was thinking that perhaps the beginning was the beginning of human dna
Scarre (scarre1648): Sovot, come on now
Daniel Luchador: there was no beginning of human dna
Daniel Luchador: it's the same type of dna that monkeys have with a few extra bits
herman Bergson: I have no idea about that Daniel
herman Bergson: yes....it is
Mickorod Renard: nor me daniel..but I was making a sort of idea up
Corona Anatine: well in truth there was a beginning of human dNA- the mutation that cause the fusion of chromosome 2
Max Chatnoir: human DNA goes all the way back to the prokaryotes.
Mickorod Renard: ie..did the universe only become relevant due to our existence
Corona Anatine: no
herman Bergson: so far we are the only beings aware of the existence of the universe Mickorod
Corona Anatine: the universe has relevance to itself
Corona Anatine: it does not need or care we exist
Mickorod Renard: how do you know Corona?
herman Bergson: the universe just IS....nothing more, I would say
Daniel Luchador: how do you know that we are the only beings aware of the existence of the universe
Corona Anatine: because the universe exosted long before humans existed
herman Bergson: We don’t know Daniel....
Corona Anatine: and will long after we are extinct
Daniel Luchador: you wouldn't say a dog or a cat is aware of the universe?
herman Bergson: but we have no prove of any other self aware bing in the universe sofar...
Mickorod Renard: we are all made of star dust
herman Bergson: being
Max Chatnoir: You know the study about dogs facing north when they poop?   I don't know if that qualifies as awareness of the universe, but they are certainly sensing features of the earth.
Daniel Luchador: simply navigating your physical environment is being aware of the universe
herman Bergson: they may like many other animals sense the magnetivc field of the earth Max
Corona Anatine: even an ameoba is aware of the existence of the physical universe -in whater eevr level of awareness is applicable to amaoba
CB Axel: Are they aware or are they just reacting to the magnetic field or something?
herman Bergson: we have to be careful here....
Max Chatnoir: Well, that's the question.
Mickorod Renard: aware yes, but does it question for an answer?
Corona Anatine: no more or less than humans are
Max Chatnoir: what is "awareness"
herman Bergson: responding to input is not the same as being aware of something...
Corona Anatine: which is why i added the rider at the end
herman Bergson: the needle of my compass turns to the north....but that doesnt mean it is aware of the north
CB Axel: Are you sure? Have you asked it?
Corona Anatine: okies : ))
CB Axel: LOL
Max Chatnoir: But aren't we also responding to input when we try to look beyond what we can immediately see?
herman Bergson: Yes Max....we are responding to impulses from our brain, I would say
Daniel Luchador: actually i think you could say the compass is aware of the north, it doesn't have a brain but it has a mechanism to take input and come up with a correct output, which is what the brain does on a more complicated scale
Corona Anatine: a maget that is part of an organism is aware of the north
herman Bergson: why it creates these impulses is another story
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Oh man, that's
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): I don't know
Max Chatnoir: And we have these big brains that can imagine things, and remember things, and anticipate things.
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): I don't know about people making comparisons between the brain and machines
herman Bergson: That is a very broad definition of awareness Danial...makes it almost trivial
Gerael: there's programs already that are far better at mental tasks than people, like understanding legal text
Gerael: so it's not that much of a stretch to say the mind is a more complicated machine
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): There's a huge, HUGE gap of complexity between the human brain and a computer, for example
Mickorod Renard: what was the question again Herman?
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): And what's more, we're so unsure as to its exact functions
Corona Anatine: [currently]
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): How can we even say that machine thought and organic thought would operate on the same level
Daniel Luchador: yes but at the fundamental level it's just hooking up a network that calculates answers
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Maybe they come to conclusions in entirely different ways?
herman Bergson: Mickorod "responding to input is not the same as being aware of something..."
Max Chatnoir: machines can't grow new connections as they experience the world.
Max Chatnoir: At least I don't think they can.
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): And that's not to push the whole reason versus emotion argument, I mean on a functional level
Corona Anatine: that is a thing of current research
Mickorod Renard: :) thanks, although i was thinking of the first question after your lesson
herman Bergson: I guess we have to return to the topic of this lecture...:-)
herman Bergson looks at his watch
Corona Anatine: the difference between human and machine awareness is only really a difference in programming
herman Bergson: A lot of good remarks and observations has been presented by you tooday...
Corona Anatine: organism are preset to learn and respond to the outside world
herman Bergson: Enough to keep your mind working on it for a week I hope :-))
Corona Anatine: while IT is preset to calculate
Daniel Luchador: thank you for the class
herman Bergson: SO..thank you all for your participation...
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Ok, I'm out
Kei-chan (hanako.alchemi): Later, chumps
herman Bergson: Class dismissed...
Mickorod Renard: have a nice break Herman
CB Axel: Thank you, herman. Have a nice holiday.
Max Chatnoir: Yes, thanks, Herman.  It's always interesting.
herman Bergson: Thank you Mickorod
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Fijne vakantie Herman
Max Chatnoir: And have a good break.
Scarre (scarre1648): thank you for having us, Herman
herman Bergson: My pleasure Scarre
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): can I carry your suitcase?
Max Chatnoir: :-)
.: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): want to go to Schier too:)
CB Axel: Good bye, everyone. See you next week.
Corona Anatine: no axel
Gerael: farewell
Max Chatnoir: I must get back to my fruit flies.
herman Bergson: Bye CB :-)
Corona Anatine: nohting happens next wek
Max Chatnoir: We're meeting thursday?  Or not.
Corona Anatine: this thursday yes
Max Chatnoir: But not next Tuesday until after the 21st?
Max Chatnoir: I'll adjust my calendar.  And my door.  :-)
Corona Anatine: was sure herman said thursday and then holiday till 21st but cant find it on scrolling up
herman Bergson: Yes corona...I'll be back the 21st...
Max Chatnoir: Oh, that's perfect.  I have to take my husband to the dentist on the 17th.  :-)
Corona Anatine: hmm hsame means i will gave to find something to fill the emptiness of tuesday and thursday nexty week
Max Chatnoir: Well, I will see you all Thursday.
Max Chatnoir: Bye for now.
herman Bergson: You have your day off Max...granted :-))
Corona Anatine: good session Herman
Corona Anatine: and you learn a lot about kei and sovot
herman Bergson: thank you corona :-))
herman Bergson: For you too!
herman Bergson: a pity....
herman Bergson: It was only one remark.....
herman Bergson: next time he wont get away with it...not in my class
Corona Anatine: wel the name sovot - does suggests folk from the soviet university
herman Bergson: I have no idea what that group of weird looking people was
Corona Anatine: a hub of griefing is found at the soviet university
Corona Anatine: was banned by LLK a few years back
Corona Anatine: there appearance was suggestive
herman Bergson: Sovot is Japanese
Corona Anatine: okies i saw that in the profile
herman Bergson: Kei-chan too
Corona Anatine: or at least the claim to be
herman Bergson: yes...
herman Bergson: for Sovot says "I do not understand the English conversation."
herman Bergson: but he knows to play with the word 'dense"
Corona Anatine: indeed
herman Bergson: which is quit idiomatic use
herman Bergson: American Japanese....perhaps
Corona Anatine: after a few years in sL one learns to spot the hallmark o f greifers - there chat topics also showed this
Corona Anatine: have encountered a lot worse
herman Bergson: they looked like some battlegroup indeed ^_^
Corona Anatine: but it might pay to have a tactic ready if you are being targeted
herman Bergson: I was a little worried indeed to be honest....
herman Bergson: why shoudl I...
Corona Anatine: because ti would amuse them to distrupt you lessons
herman Bergson: first of all I SIT here...so they cant do anything
herman Bergson: I give a shit about that...:-)
Corona Anatine: : )
herman Bergson: oh...funny coincidence....
herman Bergson: I scripted my lecturen just recently .....and I SIT here....
Corona Anatine: : )
herman Bergson: bad luck for griefers
Corona Anatine: oh btw herman - a link for you=http://www.secularconference.com/videos/
herman Bergson: ok...I'll check it out
Corona Anatine: : )

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