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Intelligent Design using Objectivist theory?

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Fëanor
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After expressing admiration of Ayn Rand I was told by a Kantian that Intelligent Design and Objectivism have "the same conceptualisation of things". My knowledge of Oism tells me that he's probably wrong but my lack of knowledge of ID doesn't tell where his error stems from. How similar are the two theories of conceptualization and is there any evidence that ID has copied Oism?

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How similar are the two theories of conceptualization and is there any evidence that ID has copied Oism?
ID is not a theory of "conceptualization". It is not even in the same subject area -- Philosophy -- as Objectivism. perhaps your friend was speaking of something else when he said "objectivism", not about the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Edited by softwareNerd
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Intelligent design (ID) is the concept that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."All of its leading proponents are affiliated with the Discovery Institute. They say that intelligent design is a scientific theory that stands on equal footing with, or is superior to, current scientific theories regarding the evolution and origin of life.

An overwhelming majority of the scientific community views intelligent design as unscientific,as pseudoscience or as junk science.The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that intelligent design "and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life" are not science because they cannot be tested by experiment, do not generate any predictions, and propose no new hypotheses of their own. continue reading...

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A possible similarity (though this is really stretching things): Objectivists view the question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" as a nonsensical question, we must simply accept that existence exists and proceed from there. Likewise, an IDist might argue, "Why believe in god?" to be an equally nonsensical question. This would certainly be a perverse way of understanding both ID and any similarity to Objectivism.

One other thought: ID argues, because there is complexity there must be something which orders the complexity. Objectivism fundamentally believes in an order to the universe, manifest in the natural laws. Either way, trying to dig up a similarity between the two is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

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Either way, trying to dig up a similarity between the two is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

I had a toy set with pegs and holes when I was younger... My mom tells me I quickly figured out how to put the right shapes in the right holes, and after having done that a few times, I immediately set out to find out which ones would fit into the wrong holes... She says I somehow got the square one firmly stuck in the round hole by turning the table upside down and putting the square peg in at a diagonal.

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Objectivist conceptualization is integration through measurement omission; finding the one in the many; finding the conceptual common denominator and organizing the concept around it. All valid concepts have a conceptual common denominator; an 'organizing principle' would be another way to put it. Perhaps your Kantian is confusing concepts with concretes and asserting that, because IDers think all entities (and perhaps all existents) have an 'organizing principle,' IDers and Objectivists therefore have a similar theory of conceptualization.

I think it is more likely, though, that your Kantian, being explicitly and vehemently opposed to integration of any kind, sees the misintegration of ID and the (proper) integration of Objectivism as somehow equivalent (and bad.)

-Q

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After expressing admiration of Ayn Rand I was told by a Kantian that Intelligent Design and Objectivism have "the same conceptualisation of things". My knowledge of Oism tells me that he's probably wrong but my lack of knowledge of ID doesn't tell where his error stems from. How similar are the two theories of conceptualization and is there any evidence that ID has copied Oism?

I don't know that much about ID either, but based on my knowledge that ID is religious and claims to be scientific, it seems possible that ID would claim that scientific observation can lead to knowledge of reality.

If so, a Kantian might say that Objectivism is similar in that it also holds scientific observation can lead to knowledge of reality, as opposed to Kant who said that observation only leads to knowledge about the functioning of the human mind as it appears to us, and that reality "as it is in itself" is unknowable. (A stretch too, I guess, but Kantians are used to stretching).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Intelligent design asumes that there is an "intelligence" that has created the physical universe.

I have read (in Ayn Rand's "Capitalism", most likely) that "the physical proceeds from the spiritual". Of course, she has also mentioned that she is not a dualist and does not believe that the consciousness is diffrent from the physical body. I have some doubt what she meant by saying "the physical proceeds from the spiritual". Most likely it means that the individual (who is conscious) is in control of the physical world.

Also, when Objectivists mention "spiritual", they must mean something different from the conventional mystical irrationalism that it usually means. Am I right?

However, collectivists most likely try to say that O'ism and ID have "the same conceptualisation of things", to make human beings look as part of the collective and subtract the consciousness from the individual. :lol:

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The Objectivist "conceptualization of things" is based on the primacy of existence. Intelligent design theory is based on the failure to grasp the primacy of existence. Now, it may (or may not) be true that I.D. uses an objective epistemology ever after introducing their false premise, but a false premise will lead you to the wrong conclusion no matter how impeccable your logic is afterwards.

If you replace just one ingredient of a recipe with arsenic, what you produce will be poison no matter how correctly you follow all the rest of the recipe.

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Also, when Objectivists mention "spiritual", they must mean something different from the conventional mystical irrationalism that it usually means. Am I right?

Rand has qualified her use of the word spiritual in many places where she uses it. You are correct. I don't have the specific quote handy, but someone can provide it.

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After expressing admiration of Ayn Rand I was told by a Kantian that Intelligent Design and Objectivism have "the same conceptualisation of things". My knowledge of Oism tells me that he's probably wrong but my lack of knowledge of ID doesn't tell where his error stems from. How similar are the two theories of conceptualization and is there any evidence that ID has copied Oism?

Since the Kantian is opposed to conceptualization as such (insofar as he is a Kantian), and two opposite conceptualizations of some thing are similar to the Kantian in that they are conceptualizations and that he opposes them.

But once one approves of conceptualization, there turns out to be no similarity between Objectivism and Intelligent Design.

The Objectivist response to Intelligent Design is: "And you expect me to believe this claim, which you present arbitrarily (i.e., without reality-based evidence and logic), because...?"

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  • 2 months later...

Hypothetical argument:

Objectivism asserts that in order to make a rational argument you must assume free will, existence, etc. ie, it would be invalid to argue against free will because you are using it in the act of arguing against it. Therefore any arguments against free will, reason, etc are self refuting.

Now similarly, it is stupid to believe evolution. To believe that our faculty of reason is composed of chance survival events spanning millions of years (ie it evolved), is to argue that our reason is a function of chance (ie that it is not reasonable), that our actions and behavior help our genes survive and are not necessarily reasonable. For instance, altruistic urges could be successful in helping our genes survive (in others) but not in helping ourselves and making ourselves happy.

As with all arguments that attack reason itself, the argument for evolution is self refuting. If our brain evolved from chance events it will not be perfectly reasonable, rather it will be perfectly designed to propagate genes. By upholding evolution, you attack reason, and any attacks on reason are self refuting.

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To believe that our faculty of reason is composed of chance survival events spanning millions of years (ie it evolved),...
For starters, your hypothetical misrepresents evolution exactly as ID folk do. Evolution does not say that organisms owe their faculties to chance. Individual variation happens, we see it all around us -- my brother is visibly different from me. That chance variation is part of what anyone would know, it's part of Darwin's context, not his fundamental addition to science. The real question Darwin answers is this: why do some of those individual variations remain just that, and why do others actually start to spread across the species until they become a feature of the species. This second process is not a product of chance.

...is to argue that our reason is a function of chance (ie that it is not reasonable), that our actions and behavior help our genes survive and are not necessarily reasonable.
Ouch! Nobody says reason is a function of chance. But, even if it were, that would not make it unreasonable. It would make the theory about its origin unreasonable, but not reason itself.

My suggestion is that when one finds oneself saying things like "our reason is not reasonable" its time to replace those terms with synonyms. Saying "reason is not reasonable" sounds like it's a contradiction, but it's really no different from saying "the faculty of figuring things out about the world was created by some natural process, not by another consciousness". By using synonyms, suddenly the apparent contradiction goes away -- the conceptual idea replaces the distracting audio-visual symbols.

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Richard Dawkin's book 'The God Delusion' does a fantastic, and fascinating, job of dissecting ID/creationism and also of explaining to new-comers the beauty of Darwiin's theory. ID is shown to be the self-defeating arguement that it really is, and completely incompatable with any reasoned view of reality.

I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks that ID is a reasonable position to adopt from an intellectual stand-point.

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Continuing my hypothetical argument:

The real question Darwin answers is this: why do some of those individual variations remain just that, and why do others actually start to spread across the species until they become a feature of the species. This second process is not a product of chance.

It is a product of the environment. Variations that are successful in dealing with the current environment propagate. The current environment is entirely random. Therefore variations that contained the genes for a reasonable brain occurred randomly.

Ouch! Nobody says reason is a function of chance. But, even if it were, that would not make it unreasonable. It would make the theory about its origin unreasonable, but not reason itself.

Precisely. Evolution as a theory about reason's origin is unreasonable, not reason itself.

So what we are really discussing is whether intelligence spawning from random processes is really intelligent. Or, more fundamentally, whether evolution is random. I say it is random because of random mutations, and also because of a random environment which determines which mutations survive. This is self refuting because it asserts that reason is a result of purely random forces. In other words that reason is not reasonable. Therefore evolution is an unreasonable theory.

Saying "reason is not reasonable" sounds like it's a contradiction, but it's really no different from saying "the faculty of figuring things out about the world was created by some natural process, not by another consciousness".

This is fine for an entity such as a river. One could say that the water cycle, with the ocean, evaporation, precipitation, rivers, etc, are created by natural process as a result of random forces. Thats fine. But if you then say that the process of figuring out this natural process of the water cycle, is itself a natural process, then you have condemned reason as being a random natural process. This is because it is a result of random mutations and random environmental factors.

Richard Dawkin's book 'The God Delusion' does a fantastic, and fascinating, job of dissecting ID/creationism and also of explaining to new-comers the beauty of Darwiin's theory. ID is shown to be the self-defeating arguement that it really is, and completely incompatable with any reasoned view of reality.

I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks that ID is a reasonable position to adopt from an intellectual stand-point.

I have read “The God Delusion”. I have to be honest that I found many of his arguments to be weak. I might start a new thread on some specific issues.

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It is a product of the environment. Variations that are successful in dealing with the current environment propagate. The current environment is entirely random. Therefore variations that contained the genes for a reasonable brain occurred randomly.
No, neither is the environment "random", nor that does not follow that any reaction to a a random aspect is random. And, to the extent it is...what of it?

You seem to be saying something like this:

1. The laws of nature are random

2. Since reason evovled to deal with that nature, it is random too

Not sure what random means here, but if one grants you the terms, the obvious question is: well, what of it? How does that disprove that it did evolve in that way?

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The current environment is entirely random. Therefore variations that contained the genes for a reasonable brain occurred randomly.
If by "random" you mean that we don't know how to exhaustively describe the current environment, or the environment at various times in the past (especially when there are no records), then your statement reduces to the observation that we don't know how to describe all aspects of the environment, and we don't know the specific causal events that gave rise to the faculty of reason within the brain. I'm not aware of anybody who has said that we do know how, so are you actually saying anything? I understand that you're trying to be amusing with a word game, but I'm wondering if you had something serious that you were trying to say.
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I understand that you're trying to be amusing with a word game, but I'm wondering if you had something serious that you were trying to say.

Not at all. I was seriously wondering how one can generate an intelligence from dust without the hand of God. I can accept the theory of evolution for physical things, eg for an eye or for a hand, even for a brain, but to say that reason is a product of evolution..... hmmm.

For example, a lot of evolutionary theories explain emotions in women such as cheating on their partner during maximum fertility, depression after a baby is born, etc. The same for men. These things are explained by evolution as survival mechanisms that have evolved, and I would say that just because a decision has survival value (for your genes), does not mean it is the rational thing to do.

When someone tells me that reason has evolved, is it not self refuting? Is that very statement not a product of evolution also? If so, the statement is meaningless because a product of evolution has only survival value and not necessarily truth value.

This is still a hypothetical argument, I do not necessarily believe it, but I'm still not satisfied with rejecting it.

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I was seriously wondering how one can generate an intelligence from dust without the hand of God.
I think that the very way you're asking the question presupposes a theistic answer, and that's an invalid assumption. Your question -- invoking a nameless "one" and the process of "generating" which at least has strong connotations of design, smells of theism. Nobody has ever claimed that a brain of any sort arises from dust (much less a brain capable of rational thought). Do you know what you get from dust? Dust piles. If there's enough of it and there's also rain, you get mud. I'd suggest starting from a different perspective -- don't assume that god is necessary in order for there to be consciousness or reasoning.
I can accept the theory of evolution for physical things, eg for an eye or for a hand, even for a brain, but to say that reason is a product of evolution..... hmmm.
If you can accept that an eye and a brain, which are things, can arise evolutionarily, without the need to invoke god, then can you equally accept the idea of "vision", which is not a thing like a brain is, arising without god? Other examples of non-things are "digestion", or "suffering".
When someone tells me that reason has evolved, is it not self refuting?
No, certainly not. I think I see the problem. Neither reason nor vision are detachable things: they are aspects of consciousness, so to be much more verbose, the brain evolved in some particular way so that the structures that give rise to stereoscopic vision became better. Vision didn't evolve independent of everything, the brain evolved in such a way that vision first emerged at all, and then got better in specific ways. The human brain similarly changed through genetic mutations, and the sum of those mutations gives what is known as "reason".
Is that very statement not a product of evolution also?
No, it's the product of the product of evolution (it's produced via the language faculty, which is a product of reason).
If so, the statement is meaningless because a product of evolution has only survival value and not necessarily truth value.
That's nonsense. Man's rational faculty is a good thing, because it gives him a massive advantage over everything that he might be competing with. It allows him to completely take over the planet. What more could you ask for as an evolutionary advantage?
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When I saw this, I thought of "aliens." I have never given much thought to "god," but I always thought that we could have been placed on this earth by another life form. I see it kind of like an ant farm, we place the ants in the tank, just as "aliens" could have placed us here.

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