Tuesday, December 14, 2010

David Hume, I pencil, Markets, and Intelligence.

All these various machines, and even their most minute parts, are adjusted to each other with an accuracy which ravishes into admiration all men who have ever contemplated them. The curious adapting of means to ends, throughout all nature, resembles exactly, though it much exceeds, the productions of human contrivance; of human designs, thought, wisdom, and intelligence. Since, therefore, the effects resemble each other, we are led to infer, by all the rules of analogy, that the causes also resemble; and that the Author of Nature is somewhat similar to the mind of man...
 One should logically draw this conclusion. The author of nature is somewhat similar to the mind of man. Somehow about the time Darwin looked behind the curtain and determined  that the author of nature is nothing more than compounded dumb luck, blind chance distilled into the miraculous, where life cheats at thermodynamics and only collects on the winning bets and forgets it even made the losing ones. That design is the product evolution by natural selection sufficed to give cause for forgetting these previous conclusions. Why should we accept a logical conclusion of the sort that "the author of nature is somewhat similar to the mind of man"? When we know full well how the author of nature writes? Sure we don't have a flipping clue how the mind of man works, but certainly we can be justified to ignore the logical arguments above out of hand, without explaining it. After all when one considers the amazing nature of  human minds, it ravishes into admiration all men who have ever contemplated them. And equivalences somehow only go one way, to say that the author of nature is similar to the mind of man, certainly it true but to be disregarded because we now have Darwin to explain the authorship of nature. And why should anybody bother taking that one tiny extra step of saying that perhaps the mind of man is somewhat similar to Darwinian evolution? -- I would argue that they should because it explains the vast majority deep mysteries about intelligence. But that's just me.

There was a somewhat influential essay within Economics, which some are coming to understand  is Darwinian in nature, called I Pencil. Which argues, that the markets are such that nobody really knows how to make a pencil. That we cannot fathom how trees are made and so we conclude that it must be God. Only God can make a tree. But, nobody really knows how to make pencils. We know they are wood, graphite and brass (now aluminum for the ferrule) but who knows how to mine graphite, who knows how to make the mining equipment, who knows how to drill for oil to power the equipment, who knows how to make the lighthouse for the shipments of tin, or to power the saws. The division of labor by the markets is so profound that nobody really knows all the steps. You could set no person on a massive island filled with resources for the taking and have them make a pencil, because nobody knows how to do it.

There is a fact still more astounding: the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work.
Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.
 That evolution plays a distinctive role is nothing new, to economics. It's gaining some steam but isn't a rather widely understood point. Evolution is decentralized and doesn't require that particular part know the whole. It's just not needed. And though, Read here seems to suggest that God is behind the invisible hand rather than the same blind watchmaker behind the tree. And also concludes his essay with a presumption of laissez faire faith.

The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society's legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed.

Neglecting that the blind watchmaker does better for humans when humans gum up the works. Everything in nature is on a knife's edge. Nature's red in tooth and claw. And filled from the foot fungus to head lice with parasites. We shouldn't have faith in the markets, we should recognize that they are the single most powerful economic tool we have but are far better off domesticated than dominating.

In any event, the invisible hand of the markets, the blind watchmaker, the homunculi that live in the pituitary gland are really just different sides of the same process. A decentralized process that doesn't require knowing anything to know everything, to design without understanding, to arrange without forethought, to create without a creator. Is it any wonder that religious people the world over have been saying intelligence is behind the designs of nature? Darwinian evolution looks exactly like intelligence, because intelligence is likely the same process at its core. Intelligent design is trying to replace the cranes (in the Dennett sense) of evolution with the skyhooks behind intelligence often wrongly attributed to God, but really if one takes the arguments seriously, the universal acid of evolution flows the other way. It doesn't save God from the clutches of evolution, it allows the universal acid of the explanatory power of evolution to explain away that meek idol of that He who made the lamb made thee. It ends up splashing acid in the face of God. Because yes, you can argue for intelligent design in nature, but the intelligence, like all intelligence, is just another face of Darwin. The illusion of design, and the thoughts of intelligence behind nature, which even Darwin noted tend to come and go, are the other side of the same coin.

Within research into intelligence, we haven't produced anything even remotely intelligent and fail to produce anything, there is an utter lack of something we could confuse for intelligence. Within biology we have gobs of intelligence, it's all over the place infecting ever facet of what biologists do, and a seeming effort to call it an illusion of design, a mirage of intelligence. On one side of intelligence, we have no intelligence and deeply want something we could confuse for intelligence and no understandable processes and on the evolution side, we have lots of intelligence and a process we understand and all the while deep in the vaults of human intellectual history we have valid arguments which say these are the same thing. It was a mistake to disregard the equivalence of the Author of Nature with the contrivances of human minds, just because Darwin fully explained nature. We should have, at the time, and in the years since, realized that Darwin also explained human minds. It isn't that intelligence in nature is an illusion or that the design is a mirage, it really is there. It's actually completely really deeply and truly a part of nature. God is the illusion. We see the intelligence in the essence of nature and claim that it must belong to somebody, but that's just not the way it works. You can worship the Author of Nature as God, the Intelligent Designer as a divine being, but really if you look behind the curtain you'll find that you're just worshiping what Darwin so aptly described. But "It's intelligent!" one  might insist, rightfully I concede, but that's not a contradiction. Darwin's process is behind that curtain as well. Intelligent Design doesn't save God from evolution, it meekly attempts to call evolution God. Somehow I don't think that even theists who find Paul Tillich's God (a theism as close to atheism as twilight is to night) palatable could manage to swallow that bitter idolatry when properly unmasked.

Properly, the argument for design has been touted as the greatest argument for God ever devised, but really, when you get down to the core, and a dollop of universal acid is splashed on it. We find that much of theological effort, has been, over the years, engaged in worshiping Darwinian Evolution. Insisting on the false distinction that because it's intelligent, it can't be evolution.

17 comments:

possibly the chicken said...

nice

Theunis said...

Aaah and he evolves. No more the theist, no more the atheist. Magnificent.

Tatarize said...

Wha? Hume was a deist, I'm an atheist. Not sure what you're referring to here The.

Theunis said...

The catch word is evolves. Go beyond. See what exists; See what can be. If he be a deist then he is both atheist and theist, but that is not the point. It is the possibility of moving on beyond limiting thoughts and man made obstacles. Intelligence being used intelligently. No blind acceptance, no blind rebuttal, just progress into an unblinkered world and therein lies the Magnificent.

Tatarize said...

>>If he be a deist then he is both atheist and theist,

No deists would be theists.


>>No blind acceptance, no blind rebuttal,

There's nothing blinding about wanting evidence for claims and understanding that there's as much evidence for God as there is for werewolves.

>>just progress into an unblinkered world and therein lies the Magnificent.

So rather than say something coherent and meaningful you're more of a vague platitudes of crap that doesn't really mean much and is wrong when it does mean something kind of fellow?

Theunis said...

Well if he believes in something and not the accompanying nonsense then he must be both.

Am I being too intelligent ? I thought this was about Hume, Nature, Darwin and the intelligence of biology etc. So if it is about intelligence then do we not become more intelligent as we evolve ? A few years ago they said Dogs have the intelligence of a three year old child. This year they said dogs have the intelligence of a five year old. Are we being left behind!
If we evolve then we leave this nonsense behind and we can truly go forward unblinkered and the result is a magnificent concept for we are what we want to be and not what others say we should be. Unblinkered as I use it merely means not to have tunnel vision but to see forward as well as to the left and right. Alas this is something sorely lacking in extremists.

You forget I do not attack theist or atheist for their views. So know well that when I say the Magnificent I refer to a concept of us moving on beyond being petty little human beings. I most definitely do not say this to mean a God or deity.

Tatarize said...

>>Well if he believes in something and not the accompanying nonsense then he must be both.

No. That would make him a theist. Because he believed in a god. Do you believe in any gods? Hume would say yes. That makes him a theist. The deist God is certainly not the Christian God but that doesn't make him atheist, that makes him an atheist with regard to that God. I contend that we are all atheist with regard to the thousands upon thousands of various gods proposed throughout history, I just go one God further. And if you realize why you disregard those other gods, you'll know why I disregard yours.

>>So if it is about intelligence then do we not become more intelligent as we evolve ?

No. Just as you don't run into a species that has more evolution than another species.

>>So know well that when I say the Magnificent I refer to a concept of us moving on beyond being petty little human beings.

I tend to like being human. I'm proud to be a great ape. Whatever mystic sort of sham-wow you seem to want to bargain out of the universe is a bit silly. The universe is awesome and reality is awesome and begging the magnificent for more is just petty.

Theunis said...

>>"And if you realize why you disregard those other gods, you'll know why I disregard yours."

Which God of mine are you referring to? I cant find him anywhere in my writings to you. Where and how did you presuppose that I have one. Or is it still the "If you are not the one then you are the other" nonsensical argument that theist and atheist alike bandy around because they both cannot envision others who fall outside their scope of how things should be.

>>"No. Just as you don't run into a species that has more evolution than another species."

In the scheme of things as you very well know... Homo Sapiens relative to the time line of other creatures virtually appeared overnight, it is thus obvious that we have less evolution than other earth creatures.

>>"I'm proud to be a great ape".

Are you saying you like to be an ape and that you are not worthy of reaching your full human potential.

>>"Whatever mystic sort of sham-wow you seem to want to bargain out of the universe is a bit silly.
>>" The universe is awesome and reality is awesome and begging the magnificent for more is just petty".

Mystic Sham-wow? Begging ? Who is this "magnificent" you are referring to? Is it your concept of a God that you think I have created or renamed. I used it as an adjective to show you that it would be magnificent to realize your full potential. When you realize your full potential you move beyond the petty crippling things in life. To move beyond is to leave the burden behind, this does not mean asking to become more than human. It does not mean life will become rose tinted it means You will become MORE Human.

Yes, Reality is almost as you say; The Universe is awesome, Nature is awesome - and as part of this Mankind is awesome, BUT our personal reality is only what we make it and permit others to make it for us, and in many cases it stinks. Yes it stinks and is something we both lament. I do not beg - nasty little word - Nay I only say why must we be bogged down in poof when we can change it to compost, which gets rid of the pong and is useful for organic gardening. Meaning of course that we rather use the stumbling blocks to our advantage as an obstacle course to get fit (better our lives) and to see them as petty meaningless things which will then cause them to decay and turn to dust.
Then truly we are beyond the daily excreta given to us and we can with opened eyes see the true reality, forgive others and smile.

Some quotes on reality:
"What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality". Otto Rank
"You must be the change you want to see in the world". — Mahatma Gandhi
"Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be." — Abraham Lincoln
"Tell yourself that everything you visualize is already there. Everything is energy. Everything vibrates at its own level of reality. Having a thought about what you'd like to see happen for yourself, it is nothing more than connecting the two frequencies together to make the reality happen for you". — Wayne Dyer
"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are". - Anais Nin

Tatarize said...

>>In the scheme of things as you very well know... Homo Sapiens relative to the time line of other creatures virtually appeared overnight,

What? No we didn't. The homo line is very diverse with a number of branches and offshoots in everywhich direction. That's the stupidest thing I've heard from you yet. Something like flat worms really have no fossils at all, humans have one of the most complete and diverse known set of fossils. I mean seriously dozens of different cousin species and lots of fossils along the way. I have no clue how you can even suppose there's no fossils for humans. There are a heck of a lot of them.

I mean it's like taking a set of fossils we know very very well and saying they don't exist. Do you also claim that whales have no fossils either?


>>Are you saying you like to be an ape and that you are not worthy of reaching your full human potential.

All humans are great apes. We're one of the African great apes. Chimpanzees and Bonobos and Gorillas being the others. Then you get the orangutans, in Asia. But, there's nothing about human potential not being reached if one recognizes they are an ape, a primate, a mammal or an animal.

>>When you realize your full potential you move beyond the petty crippling things in life.

Are you going to accuse me of using 10% of my brain next?


>>You will become MORE Human.

I can't become more human. I am human already.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Phillip K. Dick.

Theunis said...

Wise up my friend go check on the evolution of Homo Sapiens again. Don't just follow poor old Darwin like a slave. Oh sorry what he says suits you so you will naturally disregard any other truths or scientific facts in this regard.

Let me rephrase the more human then to fully human, which means
to have a broader outlook on life, (which you have as yet not exhibited for you harper on the same swaybacked petty little old arguments over and over). To have more understanding of human frailties, whims and viewpoints. To be more compassionate. Not to project yourself onto others.
A serial killer is human, a rapist is human, albeit that their thoughts are debased which makes them less human. To become fully human is plainly a concept not understood by you.

On another forum I praised you as being liberal and more openminded than other atheists. Alas another disappointment I must face. I passed your stage of thought many many years ago when I was not yet a teenager, so I will have hope and faith that, that which I saw in you is there.
Well I tried so I will give you, as previously, another two months or so before I again have discourse with you.

In the meantime peace be with you.

Tatarize said...

>>Wise up my friend go check on the evolution of Homo Sapiens again. Don't just follow poor old Darwin like a slave.

Are you serious? In Darwin's day there were zero fossils of humans. It wasn't until Dart found the Tong child. Darwin suggested based on our resembling most chimps and chimps being African that we should be African. He didn't have the huge number of modern fossils we have from the Ardipithecus, Australopithecus, and the Homo fossils line. And not just the the line that leads to humans, but rather all the branches. From Homo Robustus, Boisei, Kenthantropus, Garhi. There's even some H. Erectus fossils that date from well beyond where there are clear examples of H. habilis. And fun side branches like floresiensis. There are some really interesting bits with our ancestors and Neandertals and Denisovans with whom both distinct branches interbred with modern humans.


>>Oh sorry what he says suits you so you will naturally disregard any other truths or scientific facts in this regard.

Not at all. I just know the facts and truths and really they all support the fuck out of Darwin. I have no clue how you could claim otherwise with a straight face, unless somehow you don't know the science involved.

>>Let me rephrase the more human then to fully human, which means
to have a broader outlook on life,

That is just as human as human.


>>albeit that their thoughts are debased which makes them less human.

No. They are just as human as humans. They can be inhumane. They can be evil. They can be evil sacks of shit the world would be better off without, but they're still human.


>>To become fully human is plainly a concept not understood by you.

No. It's that you somehow view some subset of humanness as actual humanness. Humans are all human, even the parts we don't like about ourselves and others.

Theunis said...

Regarding Human: -
I now see my communication error. I was using it the way we use it in Afrikaans.
The English equivalent is becoming more humane.
So you were referring to the biological and I was referring the the evolving of human thoughts and actions. When I said becoming more human, I should have said becoming more humane, showing more humanity, compassion, kindness etc.

As far as I am concerned - Serial killers, rapists etc appear to be reverting back to the ape which you say is in their ancestry and as such they have become apes and are no longer human. Less human in this sense would be an ape in human form. (LOL).

Slavery : First it was death. One step better became slavery. The next step was exchanging prisoners of war. (of course despots kept slaves as a cheap workforce).
The present is indentured slaves who must work for someone until his debt has been paid off. This is not practised by Christians.

Tatarize said...

>>I now see my communication error.

Oh, well good thing you jumped to the conclusion that I was really stupid and couldn't understand the concept. Because really how telling is that?

>>Serial killers, rapists etc appear to be reverting back to the ape which you say is in their ancestry and as such they have become apes and are no longer human.Less human in this sense would be an ape in human form. (LOL).

No. All humans are apes. Even the most humane humans are still apes. Apes is something we are like mammals and primates and animals. We're apes. It's not proper to say apes are violent serial killers, because I know plenty of apes and none of them are serial killers, because I know plenty of humans and I don't know (personally) any murderers.


>>Slavery -.... The present is indentured slaves who must work for someone until his debt has been paid off. This is not practised by Christians.

Christians practiced open slavery for hundreds of years. They bought and sold men and women and children and forced them to work. There aren't that many in the west who can be that open about slavery. Some places in Haiti which is mostly Christian has slavery and some third world areas.

The main point is that Christianity does not deter slavery. It's explicitly condoned in the Bible, and Christians were more than happy to enslave people until modern secular ethics determined it was an evil. Even the most basic moral lessons, the Bible seems to fail.

Theunis said...

To explain what was meant does not entail jumping to conclusions, it just makes sure that we were communicating. If you knew what I was talking about then you were truly acting stupid by playing with words.

So all Homo Sapiens are human, be they depraved, murderers, perverting others, abducting women and children for sex slaves; That does not mean I do not abhor them and their actions. But I will nevertheless and notwithstanding your views call them sub-human for we are not dealing with biology we are dealing with a concept.

You can remain an ape if you wish, living in the past with grunts and violent outbursts. Again you are referring to your biological ancestry while I am not.
A pity I had such a FAITH in you with your liberal ways to understand.

You really like it in the dark ages don't you. You are also a slave, a slave to your thoughts which keep slipping into that dark era of human despair. It is the 21st Century, come live here even if it is not as good as we would like it to be, it is much better than living in the past. We still have a way to go but we WILL get there and we wont get there if we carry the burdens of the past. As was once said to me by a Sotho when we were discussing the past - One cannot be blamed for something our ancestors did. We don't condone such things, they cannot be ascribed to us, they are the burden of the past and now only pose a lesson of that which I must not follow. He is a so-called third world person, but shows so much wisdom.

Third worlds: A stinking blasphemy by egotistical fools who consider themselves better than others thereby demeaning others and talk of - the man in the street - Those on the outside - look at the third worlds. Dammit there is only one world we live on, apart from the mental phantasy worlds some live in.
Even you intimate that I am stupid because according to you I make stupid utterances merely because some aspects of my way of life and thoughts differ from yours. I on the other hand push you to see there are more things on earth and in peoples realities and minds than you are at present unwilling to accept.

There are others that have better moral codes than the western way of life and if some of those nations do have slaves in most cases they are treated better by their "masters" than employers in other nations treat their employees.

Theunis said...

There is a fault on this site. It said "too large to process the URI", I said O well bad luck and then suddenly it appeared three times.

Tatarize said...

The URI too long thing is odd. It still posts. I semi-trashed the previous two identical comments. It's something about Blogger and I can't fix it personally, but it works and just gives an error.

Tatarize said...

>>You can remain an ape if you wish,

No. I am an ape whether I wish it or not. I'm a great ape. I descend from the common ancestor of all great apes.


>>living in the past with grunts and violent outbursts. Again you are referring to your biological ancestry while I am not.

Why do you suppose that our humanity is different than our humanness. We're humans, we do what humans do. We walk, we talk, we wear clothing and use computers.


>>You really like it in the dark ages don't you.

In the dark ages, everybody believed in God and the church ran everything. I'm not a fan of a world without science.

>>It is the 21st Century, come live here even if it is not as good as we would like it to be, it is much better than living in the past.

That's the thing. It's not the past. It's the present. I am a great ape. Not I was a great ape. This is what I am.


>>One cannot be blamed for something our ancestors did.

I don't blame my ancestors for being apes. I accept that it's true of them and true of myself and all humans.

---

Also, in response to your previous claim that there's no links in the human line:
http://godsnotwheregodsnot.blogspot.com/2011/01/on-blindly-following-darwin-about-human.html