Month: January 2015

Brain vs. Mind

In my discussion of A.I., I concluded that the matter of the idea of artificial intelligence’s compatibility with the Christian God really comes down to whether or not there is an immaterial “mind” apart from the material workings of the brain.  Not surprisingly, modern psychology on the whole takes the materialistic position (as it is essentially constrained to do, might I point out); the “mind/brain identity theory” — called elsewhere the “psychoneural identity” (PNI) theory — seems to be the pervasive current working assumption in the scientific community. Sam Harris (noted neuroscientist and one of the infamous Four Horsemen of New Atheism) seems to think there are good reasons for adhering to this materialistic premise — however, I find his reasoning rather circular, at least as presented here: (more…)

"A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God." - Alan Perlis

God and A.I.

Apologies for not updating in the last few days — writer’s block! To tell you the truth, this Meaning of Life series has become more arduous than I anticipated going into it, and when I sit down to write more about it I invariably get fed up and go do something else. Also, I guess my perfectionism is catching up to me; I have two decent drafts almost, almost ready to go, and as of now I just can’t find it in myself either to be satisfied with them or to make them satisfactory.

So, if you don’t mind, I’ll table that topic for now and come back to it later, with a fresh set of eyes.

Now, for today, I would like to discuss a topic that I had never really thought about before.  The question was posed by John (both in a comment on my blog and in a post of his own) about whether it’s possible to believe in both God and artificial intelligence.  To quote him:

… god-belief doesn’t seem compatible with the idea that we humans can build a living, conscious machine.

Isn’t that a fascinating concept??  I love this kind of stuff! (more…)

Why do I believe? – My testimony (the short version)

I’m going to take a brief reprieve from the onerous “Meaning of Life” series to answer an important question asked by Arkenaten.  Since the question was somewhat buried in the Rules section of all places, I thought I’d devote a post to it, because I imagine it’s a question that will come up a lot:

Why do you believe?

Now, in spite of Arkenaten’s slight misgivings that my answer may involve too much metaphysics and philosophical ramblings, my answer is actually much less technical than that — for it’s a question that’s best answered, I think, by telling my story rather than giving a litany of intellectual reasons.  (Also, since among the aforementioned misgivings was also one that involved my tendency toward prolixity… I will try to be brief.) (more…)

What is the meaning of life? – Part 2

In Part 1, I outlined my impression of the naturalist’s answer to the question, “What is the meaning of life?”  In short, assuming the premise of naturalism, the best answer seems to be, “Whatever makes brings me pleasure.”  Since anything that could be considered authoritative over or transcendent to our own sensations (morality, God, even civil law) is just an illusion, the only ultimate authority on what gives life meaning is the individual; thus, hedonism (in the philosophic sense) is really all that is left to us under the premise of naturalism, and therefore if life has any meaning whatsoever, we create it ourselves.  (Bravo to John who turned me on to this post, where you can watch Neil deGrasse Tyson’s naturalistic answer to the meaning of life question.)

Now, I shall move on to my commentary of this answer, and share one of my objections to it: (more…)

What is the meaning of life? – Part 1

Twisted Inspiration made a profound (to say the least) comment on an entry of mine:

I am really interested to hear how you define “meaning”, what makes it important, etc. (Not what’s YOUR life’s meaning, but what IS “the meaning of a life”?).

The meaning of life?  Piece of cake!  This shouldn’t take long 😉 (more…)

Why do apologists exist?

makagutu commented on my post about intelligent design by asking:

Why, if god is self evident as most believers think it is, does it need apologists?

It’s a valid question.  And since makagutu has gotten on my case in the past for being too loquacious, I’ll try to keep my answer brief 😉

For one thing, though I can’t speak for others, I for one would not categorize God’s existence as something that is self-evident.  makagutu is right:  If such a thing were self-evident, there would be no need for argumentation, and reasonable people would be expected to believe without needing to be convinced.  I don’t think that is the case, though — though I believe there are good arguments for theism, they are still arguments nonetheless — it takes some effort to get there.

So, that’s the quick answer (so makagutu, you can stop reading at this point if you’d like 😉 ) — but I think there’s more to the issue.  I may be making a jump here, but I think the heart of the question is: If the case for God is compelling, then why are there reasonable people who don’t believe in Him? (more…)