"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…)

John Lennox on Intelligent Design

John Lennox is absolutely my favorite Christian apologist of our time.  Ravi Zacharias is up there too.

What I love about both these men is their style of communicating.  Yes, they make brilliant points and are strong thinkers — but they are able to avoid the communicative pitfalls that often accompany members of the intelligentsia.  Never in my experience of watching either of these gentlemen has there ever been an ounce of arrogance, self-promotion, or malice in anything they say — but on the contrary, they exude respect, compassion, honesty, and integrity.  I want to be like these men, for I see them as strong imitators of Christ.

And I came across a clip from a talk that seems to feature both Lennox and Zacharias!  I need to find out what event this was, and if a full video of it is available.  In this clip, Lennox is responding to the following question from an audience member:

If humans and life were intelligently designed, then why do our bodies not show intelligent design so much as they reveal the evidence of evolutionary ancestry?

I think his answer is elegant, incisive, and brilliant.  But, then again, I shouldn’t be surprised, we’re talking about John Lennox — this is par for the course.

Scientism (Part 3)

I’d like to conclude (for now) the discussion on scientism.  (If you wish, you may read Part 1 or Part 2.)  Pending any objections, I think a solid case has been made that, for those who wish to take seriously the debate about God’s existence, relying solely on scientific evidence isn’t going to cut the mustard; there must be a place for non-scientific, subjective evidence to play a part in the discussion.  And, from that point, I’d like to discuss the question left unanswered from the last post:

What does subjective evidence tell us about the existence of God?


Scientism (Part 2)

We left the discussion in Part 1 in a difficult position, I think:

  1. There are two types of information: objective (scientific) and subjective (non-scientific).
  2. Objective information is, on the whole, much more reliable — but because of its limited scope, it cannot tell us definitively whether God exists or not.
  3. If we wish to explore seriously the question of God’s existence (which means we must go beyond the bounds of science), then we are left only with subjective evidence, which is, as a rule, less reliable than objective evidence.

What, then, are we to do?


Scientism (Part 1)

I wanted to start the ball rolling by discussing a philosophy that, in my experience, tends to stymie the discussion about the existence of God — and that is scientism.

The way I see it, scientism is a sort of “silent killer” of robust theological discussion, because it’s a bias that seems often to be taken for granted as being true — and, as such, tends to float under the radar, eluding the kind of direct scrutiny that I believe it deserves. Those that hold to it often don’t seem to recognize that they have, in fact, adopted a theoretical world-view, but instead seem to view it as a self-evident truth — and this, I think, makes it difficult for such a one to have real, meaningful discussions about God. I am generally distrustful of any philosophy that inherently and automatically discounts competing philosophies out of hand — and scientism, I believe, is one such philosophy.