Darwin's Black Box - Michael J. Behe and Intelligent Design

zak

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There is this article by LG that precedes the genealogy of Darwinism, which certainly deserves its place in this thread as well:


Joyful immortality

Muammar Gaddafi has, it seems, put forward the idea that a man's destiny depends on how he thinks of death[1]. Perhaps the same is true of the fate of a civilization.

No book more confidently formulates the conception of death that predestines our materialistic and commercial civilization than Yuval Noah Harari's new volume, Homo Deus: A Brief History of the Future, which follows his previous book Sapiens : A brief history of humanity, translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 5 million copies.

This gay Israeli, medievalist by training, produced the perfect catechism of transhumanism, this new scientific religion that proclaims man's ability to evolve his own species through technology and become immortal: either, according to Harari's expression, "the upgrading of men into gods" in the original version (the French translator opted for "transformation", while the accepted translation of upgraded man is "the increased man").

This transformation/increase will be done in three ways, according to Harari: biological engineering, cyborg engineering, and engineering of non-biological beings.

"Bioengineers will[...] seize the old body of Sapiens and deliberately rewrite its genetic code, rewire its brain circuits, modify its biochemical balance, or even make it grow new members. In doing so, they will create deities, which may well be as different from us, Sapiens, as we are from Homo erectus. The cyborg genius will go further, and fuse the organic body with non-organic devices, such as bionic hands, artificial eyes or millions of nanorobots that will navigate our blood vessels, diagnose problems and repair damage. A bolder approach is to do without organic parts altogether in the hope of making entirely non-organic beings. Neural networks will be replaced by intelligent software that could surf the virtual and not the virtual worlds and escape the limits of organic chemistry. After four billion years of wandering in the realm of organic compounds, life will burst into the vastness of the inorganic field and take forms that cannot be contemplated even in our wildest dreams. After all, our wildest dreams are also the product of organic chemistry. »
Harari is flatly verbose, has no philosophical culture (he doesn't seem to have heard of Nietzsche's "superman", a height for a transhumanist), and doesn't master the complexities of the science he popularizes. But this probably explains the worldwide success of the media machine. An indoctrination manual must be immediately comprehensible to anyone with a Baccalaureate minus 1 level, and must not leave room for doubt: it is not designed to raise questions, but to provide answers without nuance, to inject preconceived ideas, with the authority of the wise person recognized by his peers.

What could we expect, moreover, from a man who conceives himself as being made up of algorithms? The word "algorithm", defined as "a methodical set that can be used to make calculations, solve problems and make decisions", is used 250 times in Harari's book because it is considered "the most important concept in our world". According to him, the human mind is only a collection of algorithms, just like that of "pigs, baboons, otters and chickens" (our author loves these lists, where all his talent is expressed). Emotions, for example, are only "biochemical algorithms that are vital for the survival and reproduction of all mammals".


From human rights to transhumanism

Thus begins the argumentation of the Harari algorithm:
"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights... categorically states that the "right to life" is the most fundamental value of humanity. Since death clearly violates this right, death is a crime against humanity. We must wage an all-out war against it. ...] The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not say that men have the "right to live to the age of ninety", but that every human being has the right to life, period. This right is not limited by any expiry date. »


The fight against death would therefore, according to this algorithmic argument, be the mission that modern man would have assigned himself, without realizing it.

Religions, which have reached their time, conceived death as an essential moment in life, the ultimate meeting that gives meaning to all existence. But death today is a medical issue, no longer a religious one; it is a technical problem, which requires a technical solution.

"Humans always die from a technical glitch. The heart stops pumping blood. Grease deposits clog the main artery. Cancer cells are spreading in the liver. Germs multiply in the lungs. And what is responsible for all these technical problems? Other technical problems. Nothing metaphysical about it. Only technical problems / And every technical problem has a technical solution. ...] We can kill cancer cells with chemotherapy or nanorobots. We can kill the germs in our lungs with antibiotics. If the heart stops, we can revive it with medication or electroshock therapy - and if it doesn't work, we can implant a new heart. »
Because medicine is able to cure all diseases one by one, it will eventually delay death indefinitely. Harari is therefore the spokesman for scientists who "ensure that the flagship project of modern science is to defeat death and offer humans eternal youth". And he applauds the sponsors of this promising research, Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal, or Ray Kurzweil, Google's engineering director and founder of its subsidiary Calico dedicated to "solving the problem of death".

Why such a project?

"If you take into account our belief in the sanctity of human life, which you add to it the dynamics of the scientific establishment and crown it all with the needs of the capitalist economy, an implacable war against death seems inevitable. Can we imagine a more exciting scientific challenge than fooling death, or a more promising market than that of eternal youth? »
The second major challenge that will occupy the dream merchants of tomorrow, for the same reasons, will be the quest for bliss. Happiness being nothing more than a sensation produced in the brain by chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, the quest for happiness is also a scientific, neurochemical quest. All the drugs already on the market are in their infancy.

From Darwinism to Transhumanism

As we have guessed, Harari's basic premise is a dogmatic and simple Darwinism, which ignores - or pretends to ignore - the state of permanent crisis in which Darwinian science finds itself, traversed by a growing number of contradictions (the latest being the discovery of "epigenetic" phenomena, which are acquired genetically transmissible traits, or heresy par excellence). By a crude customary dishonesty of the militants of philosophical atheism, Harari also confuses - or pretends to confuse - evolution with Darwinism, when he asserts, for example:
"If you really understand the theory of evolution, you understand that there is no soul"
or :

"Just as evolution is incompatible with the existence of eternal souls, so it cannot accept the idea of free will. »
There are, of course, other ways of looking at evolution than Darwinism, compatible with a "divine design" (Intelligent design) and with the immortality of the soul. But it is an effective strategy to make consumers of preconceived ideas believe that they have only a choice between the Bible and Darwin.

Except for that, Harari is right: Darwinism, well understood, leaves no room for free will. He postulates that there is nothing else in the universe but determinism and randomness. Like the rest of the animal kingdom ("rats, dogs, dolphins or chimpanzees"), man is the product of a very long series of totally accidental genetic accidents, sorted by natural selection, that is, by the survival of those most likely to survive.

And yet, seventy thousand years ago, in the great apes, the "cognitive revolution", a genetic mutation that allowed a hominid to acquire a language and new algorithmic capabilities, occurred in a purely accidental way, of course. Time to get used to his new faculties, and here we have our homo sapiens who became master of his destiny and, a few millennia later, ready to transform himself into an immortal god. This mythical narrative, of which Harari is only the umpteenth prophet, takes the form of a two-stage revelation: first, the bad news of God's death and the end of all illusions, the metaphysical despair: "The old covenant is broken; man finally knows that he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the universe from which he emerged by chance", Jacques Monod already declared (Le hasard et la nécessité, 1970). Harari pushes the nail in: there is no "great cosmic plane".

"We are not actors in a great movie. Life has no script, no author, no director, no producer - and no meaning. »

We wreak havoc for a short moment on an insignificant part of the universe, then we disappear forever. After this proclamation of our damnation to insignificance, comes the good news, the announcement of redemption, the new covenant of man with himself, the prophecy of his self-divinization by the miracle of high technology.

"One day our knowledge will be so extensive and our technology so advanced that we will be able to distil the elixir of eternal youth, the elixir of true happiness, and any other drug we may desire - and no god will stop us. »

"After reducing mortality from hunger, disease and violence, we will now seek to overcome old age and death itself. After saving people from deep poverty, we will seek to make them truly happy. And having taken humanity out of the brutality of the struggles for survival, we will seek to elevate men to the rank of gods, to transform Homo sapiens into Homo deus. »
The link between these two dogmas is insolently simple: from determinism appears self-determination, through a series of pure accidents, i. e. random errors in the replication of the genetic code. At the end of the race, chance and necessity transformed the monkey-man, entirely subject to his impulses, devoid of soul and free will, into a god-man, absolute master of his destiny.

It is less a rational discourse than a mythical schema, to which one adheres not by logical examination, but by conformity and submission to authority; hence the importance of teaching it from nursery school onwards. It is both a genealogical and eschatological myth, which encompasses in diptych form the origin and destiny of humanity: "We were monkeys, we will be gods. »

This two-sided myth (like Harari's two books) plunges the mind into a strange schizophrenia, as if by a kind of metaphysical "double bond" (double bind): on the one hand, man reduces to his biological determinisms, a beast driven by impulses (as the very Darwinian Freud claims, for example); on the other hand, the promoted fantasy of the omnipotent human power, the self-created man because it is uncreated. Only a madman should normally be able to make two such contradictory thoughts coexist in his mind, but this is what a large part of humanity has been convinced of for a century, without much resistance.

A century ago, the British thinker Bernard Shaw, a supporter of the theory of "creative evolution", sounded the alarm: in its political applications, Darwinism "produced a European catastrophe of such appalling magnitude, and such an unpredictable extent, that as I write these lines in 1920, it is far from certain that our civilisation will survive it. " (Reflections on Darwinism).

But Shaw himself was far from imagining that philosophical Darwinism would produce, between Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, a new form of aggressively missionary religion, with its prophets on fire like Anthony Levandowski, Google's defector engineer who had just founded a religious organization called Way of the Future devoted to worshipping the god in the making, artificial intelligence.


What does Darwinism really say?

Yet, if we make the effort to get inside the heads of these very intelligent people (algorithmically speaking) who believe in transhumanist utopia, their belief is not so illogical. For anyone who firmly believes that chance alone has been able to transform the bacterium into a human being step by step has every reason to hope that man will be able to do better than chance and produce a new species.

It is commonly believed that Darwinism attributes evolution to natural selection, not random selection. But this is a mistake, deliberately maintained by extension workers and educators to mask the scandalous imbecility of the theory.

According to Darwin, "natural selection" is not creative in itself; it only acts negatively by eliminating the least able individuals:

"It only involves the conservation of accidentally produced variations, when they are beneficial to the individual in the living conditions in which he or she is placed. [2]
The idea is simple and easily illustrated: when the food of the leaf grazing deer is lacking, those who die first are the deer with the shortest necks. This selection process, repeated over a very long period of time, produces giraffes, provided, however, that an indefinite number of genetic accidents produce an exceptional neck lengthening in each case in certain specimens, which must each time give rise to deer with the same advantage. Through this simple mechanism, Darwin explains how, through an accumulation over a few million years of "accidentally produced variations", the bacterium became homo sapiens, passing through fish and monkeys.

Only "accidentally produced variations" produce evolution, natural selection only sorts them. These variations are accidental, fortuitous, random. It is therefore chance that has created man, because a sum of chance, however long it may be, remains a chance, and even a chance even more improbable than each of its terms. It's mathematical.

However, Darwin was well aware that chance is not a scientific notion:

"I have so far expressed myself as if the variations[...] were due to chance. This term, which is, of course, incorrect, is simply used to indicate our complete ignorance of the cause of each particular variation. »
He also spoke of "variations that appear to us, in our ignorance, arise spontaneously", and he did not exclude that these variations could be anything other than "accidents". For example, contrary to popular belief, he did not totally reject the possibility of transmitting the acquired characters, which had been put forward long before him by the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck. As is often the case, the master was less dogmatic than his disciples.

It was not until the 1930s, with the genetic discoveries, that it became clear that the accidental variations assumed by Darwin were errors in DNA reproduction, and people began to talk about "genetic mutation". Experience proves, however, that genes are replicators and therefore stabilizers and that their accidental mutations only produce degenerations, generally sterile, and in no case does it know any "selective advantage" that would allow the mutant gene to prevail. In other words, natural selection tends to preserve genetic heritage by eliminating individuals who deviate too much from the standard. It has flexibility and may possibly produce some adaptation to environmental changes, within the limits of a given species, but generally it prevents rather than encourages evolution.

It is true that "artificial selection" allows over time to "improve" a domestic animal species in terms of a particular criterion (e. g. milk or meat yield) and, within the species, to create a new "race". But not a new species; even modern genetics does not allow us to consider taking this step.

Genetic discoveries and common sense should therefore have caused the extinction of Darwinism among credible theories of evolution. If this was not the case, if, on the contrary, a new form of speculative Darwinism was bricked up under the name of "synthetic theory of evolution", it was because Darwinism had already, at that time, become the dogma of a theology of God's death to which Orthodox science adhered. There is in fact a strict Darwinian selection within universities, which mercilessly eliminates any non-Darwinian scientist[3].

Darwin is the sole basis for the idea that man appeared in a purely accidental way from the first bacteria, without the intervention of any Creator, by the simple combination of "chance and necessity". Darwinism is the heart of nihilistic theology. It synthesizes the idea that modern man is supposed to have of himself through his school culture. It is both a doctrine on the essence of man and a myth of man's creation.

Darwinism quickly established itself as the unbeatable framework for all "human sciences". Sigmund Freud, for example, owes his success to the fact that he re-founded psychology on a Darwinian premise. Since, according to Darwinian logic, procreation determines selective advantage, it is logically in the sexual drive that Freud found the key to the human psyche. Freudism is the younger brother of Darwinism, and both go hand in hand in the materialistic paradigm.

Without being explicitly Freudian, Harari is implicitly so insofar as his conception of happiness ("There is only one thing, and only one thing, that makes people happy: pleasant sensations") is faithful to Freud's idea that "it is simply the principle of pleasure[...] that governs from the beginning the operations of the psychological apparatus" (Malaise dans la civilisation, 1929).

Transhumanism is also in the logical continuity of Darwinism, and is no more absurd. The divinization of man is an attempt - the only one possible - to get out of Darwinian despair while remaining in Darwinism. Obviously, this attempt is doomed to failure. It is inevitable that one day or another, common sense will bring humanity back to humility before the great and wonderful mystery of life.

Laurent Guyénot
DeepL.

The original article in french.
 

manitoban

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It's so ridiculous. It's almost hard for me not to have at least some contempt for those who believe it. Those who believe it don't understand the details of the theory. It's the old; someone with supposed credentials says it's real science (i.e. the white lab coat effect) so it must be true.
That's a big factor of why the human race is such a mess. Too many people don't grasp that they need to take personal responsibility and question everything. Really think for themselves. Don't take anything at face value, especially atheism. The atheist make fools of themselves prancing around like peacocks because they figured out the bible can't be taken literally! Really? Wow, I never thought of that! If I could just learn how to be a 'free thinker.' Free, apparently, just so long as I take any scientific dogma as incontrovertible fact. Because science (duh)!

Don't get me started...
Totally agree that you don't need to have any special science abilities to understand this, I'm also very weak in science and after I read the book, it was so obvious - you just can't miss it once you look into it.

However, exactly as Mandatory Intellectomy has said, that's really not the main problem, the problem is that the programming (which is clearly complete :-() has pretty much taken over people's reasoning powers and ability to think independently. And this is going on across the board, in almost every area that affects human life. It's mind boggling and incredibly disturbing when you think of the scope of this, and where it's all leading.
 

Laura

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There is this article by LG that precedes the genealogy of Darwinism, which certainly deserves its place in this thread as well:

Yuval Noah Harari's new volume, Homo Deus: A Brief History of the Future, which follows his previous book Sapiens : A brief history of humanity, translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 5 million copies.

This gay Israeli, medievalist by training, produced the perfect catechism of transhumanism, this new scientific religion that proclaims man's ability to evolve his own species through technology and become immortal
Dear God, shades of the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, Atlantis, the whole nine yards! Obviously a schizoid psychopath in Lobaczewski's terms, too.
 

Altair

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Dear God, shades of the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, Atlantis, the whole nine yards! Obviously a schizoid psychopath in Lobaczewski's terms, too.
Geez, I see his books each time I go to bookstores here in Germany.
 

Joe

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Dear God, shades of the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, Atlantis, the whole nine yards! Obviously a schizoid psychopath in Lobaczewski's terms, too.
Not only that, but in such "inspirational" screeds, there is more than a little echo of the Cs account of how 4D STS have a penchant for engineering humans. Talk about 'downloading ideas'
 
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anka

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It is less a rational discourse than a mythical schema, to which one adheres not by logical examination, but by conformity and submission to authority; hence the importance of teaching it from nursery school onwards. It is both a genealogical and eschatological myth, which encompasses in diptych form the origin and destiny of humanity: "We were monkeys, we will be gods. »

This two-sided myth (like Harari's two books) plunges the mind into a strange schizophrenia, as if by a kind of metaphysical "double bond" (double bind): on the one hand, man reduces to his biological determinisms, a beast driven by impulses (as the very Darwinian Freud claims, for example); on the other hand, the promoted fantasy of the omnipotent human power, the self-created man because it is uncreated. Only a madman should normally be able to make two such contradictory thoughts coexist in his mind, but this is what a large part of humanity has been convinced of for a century, without much resistance.
Obviously a schizoid psychopath in Lobaczewski's terms, too.
In one of the Mind Matters show the guys were discussing these cases when such individuals, whose crooked personal characteristic would otherwise have relatively only local impact on the society, get a chance to write and publish a book and how that can have an immensely detrimental impact on society if their 'ideas' get promoted and exploited by people in power for their goals. We do live in an asylum with some serious lunatic creatures leading the way.
 

Approaching Infinity

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In one of the Mind Matters show the guys were discussing these cases when such individuals, whose crooked personal characteristic would otherwise have relatively only local impact on the society, get a chance to write and publish a book and how that can have an immensely detrimental impact on society if their 'ideas' get promoted and exploited by people in power for their goals. We do live in an asylum with some serious lunatic creatures leading the way.
Yep, and another problem is that these guys can be so prolific. The collected works of Marx and Engels are 50 volumes. And that's not all of what they wrote... But all it takes is one or two books that can be very influential, even if in their personal lives no one likes them. And nowadays they have expert editors who can massage their texts to be even more appealing to the reading public.
 
There really isn't much difficult here. Especially Behe's books are easily understandable to anyone. Whenever he goes into biological details, it's just to give you the impression of the complexity, so that you get it's too complicated to just happen accidentally, but you don't really need to understand any of the details. Basically you just need to get that the cell is more complex than a computer, and thus the idea that it could build itself is retarded. The general explanations are very clear.

In fact, I would say it's all pretty simple. Evolution is just ridiculous nonsense. The only difficulty is in overcoming the programming and brainwashing. Once you get over that, it all seems plain as day. You start wondering how the hell could anybody have believed it ever.

When I started reading these books, I pretty much didn't know anything about the topic. I don't think I had even heard of random mutations before this. I did a lot of research of my own later, outside the books, because I became really fascinated with it, so I studied DNA and proteins and ribosomes and so on, but none of that is necessary in order to get the point. I mostly did that because I really wanted to be able to explain it to others. All the books I've read so far have been easy to understand.

And if there's something you don't get, you can always ask here.
I want to congratulate you and my thanks for your last article.

It shows that you write to try to make others learn.

I don't know if the snowball you started will become very big down the mountain, but it is a dazzling and beautiful snowball.

My respect for you.:-)
 

mkrnhr

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Bernardo Kastrup's writings have been cited previously in this thread. Regardless of whether one agrees or not with his cosmic mind model, he at least invalidates the basic premises of the materialist/physicalist worldview in an elegant way. He also does it in an academic setting. The video is Kastrup's Ph.D. defense this year:
 

Joe

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Bernardo Kastrup's writings have been cited previously in this thread. Regardless of whether one agrees or not with his cosmic mind model, he at least invalidates the basic premises of the materialist/physicalist worldview in an elegant way. He also does it in an academic setting. The video is Kastrup's Ph.D. defense this year:
I enjoyed that, and I find his thesis pretty compelling and pretty close to our own general viewpoint on the nature of the universe. It's kind of funny to see the panel and Kastrup himself argue back and forth about such abstract topics as if a non-abstract answer would be forthcoming, and most of the panel apparently invested in finding a materialistic answer to the question of 'what is the nature of the immaterial universe'. Then again, that's the 'hard question' of human philosophy for ya.
 

mkrnhr

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and most of the panel apparently invested in finding a materialistic answer to the question of 'what is the nature of the immaterial universe'
The two bearded guys especially got into circular reasoning and almost admitted that they wanted to stick to materialism on the basis of faith despite the counter-arguments they encountered. Something like "but I have more to say about it" or "we can talk about it later" (paraphrazing) is to save face, which shows how ego-driven these discussions can become sometimes.
Kastrup has a book called "why materialism is baloney" after all. That's more than enough to "trigger" some people.
 
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