Thursday, June 6, 2013

Designed intelligence?

Back when I was still a tadpole, I took a metaphysics course with Professor Jaegwon Kim--he seemed interested in the natural world, he's a bright guy, and I was still naive enough to chase the unknowable.

Within a few weeks things went south--we fussed a tad over premises, which is really all that matters in philosophy, and I realized that this exceptionally rational man's world view still required a leap of faith I couldn't muster.

I left his class with a gentleman's B+ and the realization that philosophy wasn't going to solve much of anything, and for that I am grateful. There's a huge difference between chasing the unknown and chasing the unknowable.

It might also explain my intolerance for the Intelligent Design folks.

If we should ever manage to get to another planet, and there are critters just like us, well, OK, natural selection as the driving force of evolution takes a major hit, and the ID folks can start dancing (if their particular sect allows for that).

Et tu, Klaatu?

If, however, you find evidence that some things other than natural selection are at work, or evidence that natural selection is not sufficient to explain an evolutionary event (and examples abound), if you find examples that show our understanding of the natural world is incomplete, well, that's science.

Some things may be unknowable. I've heard through the grapevine that God is one of those things, which is a big reason I have no interest in learning more, but plenty of people plenty interested in telling me anyway.


cope said...

Sounds just like my experience with political science in college. Throughout my college career (undistinguished as it was), I took as many humanities courses as hard science courses and poli sci was one. I tried hard (no, really, I did) to wrap my brain around it and had a very good professor but, in the end, found it completely unable to give me the sense of understanding about the world I was craving. After that, I stuck with English courses as the yin to my geology courses yang. As the only non-English major taking courses like Shakespeare I and II, I relished the opportunity to interact with those whose choice of worldview was so completely subjective.

I actually would have majored in English but realized the only career I could end up with was (shudder) teaching high school English. Good thing I chose geology and, after 10 year as a geologist, ended up teaching high school science.

John Spencer said...

I won't lie about it. I believe in God. I believe in magic. I believe in loving people. I believe in standing up for those who are victims of injustice.

There aren't a lot of other things that I believe in.

I'll accept evolution as fact, just as long as that fact is allowed to dance along with my batshit crazy tune of Genesis one.

In my mind they do.

I might be crazy, though.

John Spencer said...

And for the record, I love the lyrical poetry of Genesis one. Always will. It reaffirms just how little I know about the cosmos and I'm okay with that.

Classof1 said...

Pretty much, similar to how I felt during college. I was not able to comprehend religious philosophy and science in tandem. I believed that one couldn't stay true while the other existed. And yet I also had this turmoil making me want to believe in both. Although the turmoil has reduced now, the confusion still remains.

doyle said...

Dear cope,

I, too, hung out in English classes as an outsider--my future bride was an English major, and the Frost guy seemed to have a clue. The English crowd I hung with, however, did not have a "subjective" view of the world. (To be fair, my wife is a magnitude brighter than me.)

Dear John,

I do not know what the word "God" even means--I happen to love Genesis, and both versions of Creation in it.

doyle said...

Dear Classof1,

I can live with confusion--it's when folks are sure of things that bad thing happen.

If someone is "sure" I am condemned to Hell if I don;t change my ways, that person may have little problem torturing my temporary corporeal self to save my soul.

(Ironically, in Genesis anyways, the soul is as much dirt as it is spirit.)