Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis
Sunrise at the valley of orange plantation..Beginning of a new day with optimistic thought,inspiration concept..
Sunrise at the valley of orange plantation. Beginning of a new day with optimistic thought,inspiration concept.

Seven Minutes to Goosebumps: Confronting Materialism Head On

A new short film series takes on materialism in science, including that of AI’s pop prophets

If you haven’t watched the recent release of the first episode of Discovery Institute’s Science Uprising, watch it now. The seven-minute video gave me goosebumps. The good kind. It’s a great summary of where pure materialism in science leads. And yes, that matters to AI.

In a clip from a now-banned TED talk, biochemist Rupert Sheldrake describes the presupposition of materialist science as the science delusion. He says: “The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality in principle leaving only the details to be filled in.”

The presupposed principle is materialism. But such an untested ideological constraint is not science. Pure unsubstantiated materialism can be a brick wall, a roadblock hiding paths of investigation down which we might find evidence.

The materialist view underlies the forecasts of some AI prophets. According to the materialist, human properties like consciousness, creativity, and qualia must be the result of purposeless, as-yet-unidentified physical phenomena. They allow no other alternative.

At the Bradley Center, we are open to discussing and reporting any such discovery but are also open to evidence leading to alternative explanations. The spotlight of evidence must be followed no matter where it shines, even if contrary to deep and narrowly entrenched ideology.

Science Uprising wonderfully makes these points. I suspect many, like me, will watch the first episode more than once.

Note: The first episode features Bradley Center Senior Fellows Michael Egnor and Jay Richards.

Also by Robert J. Marks:: Things exist that are unknowable. A tutorial on Chaitin’s number

Robert J. Marks II

Director, Senior Fellow, Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Besides serving as Director, Robert J. Marks Ph.D. hosts the Mind Matters podcast for the Bradley Center. He is Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. Marks is a Fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Optical Society of America. He was Charter President of the IEEE Neural Networks Council and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks. He is coauthor of the books Neural Smithing: Supervised Learning in Feedforward Artificial Neural Networks (MIT Press) and Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics (World Scientific). For more information, see Dr. Marks’s expanded bio.

Seven Minutes to Goosebumps: Confronting Materialism Head On