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Friday, February 23, 2007

New Age discovers AI and ID?

Or have they all just discovered each other?

According to James Gardner's The Intelligent Universe,
It is remarkable to me that almost all of the discussions of cosmology fail to mention the role of intelligence. In the common cosmological view, intelligence is just a bit of froth, something interesting that happens on the sidelines of the great cosmic story. But in the standard view, whether the universe winds up or down, ends up in fire (a great crunch and new Big Bang), or ice (an ever-expanding and ultimately dead universe), or something in-between, depends only on measures of dark matter, dark energy, and other parameters we have yet to discover. That the story of the universe is a story yet to be written by the intelligence it will spawn is almost never mentioned. This book will help to change the common "unintelligent" view.

This scenario,.as prophesied by Ray Kurzweil's Foreword, seems materialist, but it's a bit hard to tell. Kurzweil, interestingly, is not a fan of Carl Sagan's billions of civilizations out there in space:
According to most analyses of the Drake equation, there should be billions of civilizations, and a substantial fraction of these should be ahead of us by millions of years. That's enough time for many of them to be capable of vast galaxy-wide technologies. So how can it be that we haven't noticed any of the trillions of trillions of "needles" that each of these billions of advanced civilizations should be creating?
My own conclusion is that they don't exist. If it seems unlikely that we would be in the lead in the universe, here on the third planet of a humble star in an otherwise undistinguished galaxy, it's no more perplexing than the existence of our universe with its ever so precisely tuned formulas to allow life to evolve in the first place.

Gardner's book is here.

My other blog is the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

My review of Francis Collins’ book The Language of God , my backgrounder about peer review issues, or the evolutionary biologist’s opinion that all students friendly to intelligent design should be flunked.

Lists of theoretical and applied scientists who doubt Darwin and of academic ID publications.

My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy at the University of Minnesota.

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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