Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


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Joe Rogan Spins Bizarre Take on Evolution and AI

The podcaster thinks AI could become "God"

Joe Rogan recently sat down with Tucker Carlson to have an often-bizarre conversation that involved everything from UFOs to evolution to saunas. Rogan’s comments on artificial intelligence, however, were some of the most provocative of the exchange, and reflected a sentiment common among futurists and transhumanists: AI could become a life form, evolve, and replace the human race. Rogan situates his views by noting that only humans think humans are important. In the grand scheme of the cosmos, human life is inconsequential. He went on to note that AI could become “God,” and evolve to a certain point where it would basically know everything there is to know. The question is: why would anyone want that, and why should that Read More ›

Mind Burst

Could Consciousness Have Evolved?

Michael Egnor takes a hard look at the evidence in this classic podcast episode.

On a classic episode of ID the Future, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor interviews Bernardo Kastrup, a philosopher with a background in computer engineering, about consciousness, evolution, and intelligent design. Did consciousness evolve? What does the evidence suggest? And how do materialists deal with the seemingly immaterial reality that is consciousness?  Enjoy this guest episode from Mind Matters, a podcast of Discovery Institute’s Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence. Dig Deeper Cross-posted at Evolution News.

Cell microscopic- weevil rye

Directed Goals in Living and Evolving Systems

Nearly every action that an organism does is for something.
 Can this teleonomic behavior of evolution simply be a byproduct of non-teleological forms of evolution? Information theory suggests that this is not likely. Read More ›
Foggy coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forest in Northern California, in the early morning light.

Planet of the Apes and Human Exceptionalism

This movie franchise makes us wonder what makes human beings unique.

One semi-random movie franchise I’ve been a massive fan of is the newest iteration of The Planet of the Apes. The original trilogy, directed by Matt Reeves (The Batman) concluded in 2017, but a “fourth” film is set to release on Memorial Day of 2024, and a trailer for it dropped this week. I’m starting to become somewhat “anti-trailer” given that more often than not they tend to either distort the hype of the film or give away the story entirely. But in the cases of movies I’m most excited about, I confess that generally I give the trailer a quick view. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is set years after Caesar, the founder of the ape colony Read More ›

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How Could Human Consciousness “Evolve”?

Human consciousness entails a unique human ability to think abstractly .
According to Darwinian “science,” things changed, survivors survived, and the human ability to think abstractly materialized out of thin air. Read More ›
Israeli National flag waving on the top of Mount of Olive with background of residential houses in Jerusalem, Israel

Israel, Free Will, and the Problem of Evil

If determinism is true, then we have no free will. We are nothing more than meat machines.

The events of the past week in Israel have left the civilized world reeling. Hamas has killed more than 1,200 Jewish innocents in the most violent eruption of anti-Semitism since the Holocaust, and it seems likely a war will follow that will soon kill thousands more innocent people. As we ponder and pray over this mass slaughter, it is worthwhile to reflect for a moment on what these events tell us about the ideological and scientific dogmas of the 21st century — about atheism, determinism and Darwinism. Are these dogmas true, and do they provide a meaningful understanding of man and of moral action? If atheism is true and there is no God, there is no Moral Lawgiver. The concept of Read More ›

Statue of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates in Athens, Greece.

David Berlinski: Humans Are Unique

Some argue that humans are growing more peaceful, enlightened, and improved by the year, and that a coming technological singularity may well usher in utopia. Berlinski isn’t buying it.
In this conversation and in his book, Berlinski argues that human beings have a fundamental essence that is radically different from other organisms. Read More ›
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When ChatGPT Talks Science

Can AI ever transcend its trained biases?
Left to its own devices, ChatGPT is heavily biased toward methodological naturalism and will not say that intelligent design is a theory of biological origins Read More ›
Vienna, Austria. 2019/10/23.

The Immaterial, Alan Turing, and the Mystery of Life

Mathematician David Berlinski comments on his new book in new podcast
If scientists thought that life’s origin and nature would soon yield to scientific reductionism, they have been disappointed. Read More ›
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Is Mathematics an Illusion? Lawrence Krauss and Cormac McCarthy Discuss

McCarthy asked, "Would mathematics be here if we weren't?"

In December, physicist and author Lawrence Krauss interviewed the late American novelist Cormac McCarthy, who died on June 13th at the age of 89 in Santa Fe, N.M. McCarthy is famous for his remarkable fictional works like The Road and Blood Meridian, but he was also deeply fascinated with mathematics and science. Apparently, he enjoyed reading science more than he did fiction! He moved to Santa Fe from El Paso to be closer to the Santa Fe Institute, a science think tank where McCarthy would spend time speaking with various physicists, scientists, and mathematicians. His latest two novels, The Passenger and Stella Maris, are about a brother and sister who are both brilliant mathematicians. Towards the beginning of the interview, Read More ›

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Kenneth Miller on Consciousness and Evolution

Despite Miller's claims, neither human reason nor free will evolved because neither are generated by material processes

Kenneth Miller is a biologist at Brown University who has been very active in his written and vocal support for Darwin’s theory of evolution. He’s neither a materialist nor an atheist – he is a Catholic, and in being one of the rare Darwinists who doesn’t subscribe wholeheartedly to the materialist/atheist paradigm, he allows himself to be used as a token theist by the Darwinists. It helps his career, no doubt, but doesn’t advance the truth. Not an admirable place to be. Miller’s New Book and What it Misses In his 2018 book The Human Instinct: How We Evolved To Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will, Miller manages a feat uncommon even for Darwinists – even the title of the Read More ›

Evolving Soul Geometry

Brain Scientist: Consciousness Didn’t Evolve. It Creates Evolution

With a tremor in his voice, Donald Hoffman tells Robert Lawrence Kuhn that even the Big Bang must be understood in a universe where consciousness is fundamental

In a recent episode of Closer to Truth, Robert Lawrence Kuhn interviewed University of California cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman on a challenging topic, “Why did consciousness emerge? (7:41 min, December 10, 2022): There was a time when there was no consciousness in our universe. Now there is. What caused consciousness to emerge? Did consciousness develop in the same way that, say, the liver or the eye developed, by random mutation and fitness selection during evolution? Inner experience seems to be radically different from anything else. Are we fooling ourselves? Donald Hoffman is the author of Visual Intelligence: How We Create What We See and coauthor of Observer Mechanics: A Formal Theory Of Perception (Norton, 2000) A partial transcript and some Read More ›

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Animal Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence

Did you know that animals have built-in algorithms? Some of these amazing algorithms allow animals to migrate to new places and navigate back to previous locations. Insects also have a wide variety of fascinating social behaviors. Where did they come from? Eric Cassell, author of Animal Algorithms, discusses animal algorithms, artificial intelligence, instincts, and irreducible complexity with Robert J. Marks. Read More ›

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When a Neurosurgeon and a Biologist Keep On Arguing…

… we suspect some pretty basic science issues are involved

In a recent ID: The Future podcast (June 24, 2022) Casey Luskin interviews pediatric neurosurgeon Michael Egnor on his blogosphere debates with evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne. Egnor, who has authored many research papers, espouses a non-materialist view of the mind — and of life in general — with which Dr. Coyne, a committed atheist, emphatically disagrees. Here’s a partial transcript from “A Brain Surgeon Debates Evolutionist Jerry Coyne and Other Atheists”: Casey Luskin: We’re going to talk about these debates you’ve had with Dr. Coyne and others. Some of the arguments you’ve made, I think, have been very compelling. But before we get into that, I’d like to ask, why do you focus your writing so much on Dr. Jerry Read More ›

Curious weasel looks out from behind a rock

Dawkins’ Dubious Double Weasel and the Combinatorial Cataclysm

Dawkins has successfully reduced a combinatorial explosion to a manageable problem...or has he?

In Richard Dawkins’ book, The Blind Watchmaker, he proposed a famous (and infamous) computer program to demonstrate the power of cumulative selection, known as the “Weasel program.” The program demonstrates that by varying a single letter at a time, it is possible to rapidly evolve a coherent English sentence from a string of gibberish. The way the program works is as follows: First, a sequence of characters is randomly assembled by drawing from the 26 English letters and the space. Then, one character is randomly reassigned. The resulting sequence is compared to the phrase from Hamlet, a quote uttered by Polonius: “methinks it is like a weasel.” For every character that matches, a point is scored. If the new sequence Read More ›

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The Astonishing Algorithms That Allow Animals to Navigate & Migrate

An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure to perform a specific task. We usually think of algorithms as being performed by computers. Did you know that animals have built-in algorithms of their own? Some of these amazing algorithms allow animals to migrate to new places and navigate back to previous locations. Eric Cassell discusses his new book, Animal Algorithms, with Robert Read More ›

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“If Nobody Looks at the Moon, Does It Exist?” and Other Metaphysical Questions

If no one is looking at the moon, does it exist? Why has materialism been around for so long? Will computers ever be conscious? What happens to our consciousness after we die? Bernardo Kastrup tackles these questions and more with Michael Egnor in another bingecast! Show Notes Additional Resources

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Why Do Some Famous Materialist Scientists Hate Philosophy?

Philosopher of biology Massimo Pigliucci takes Richard Dawkins to task for dismissing philosophy but he might have said the same of Stephen Hawking

Massimo Pigliucci (pictured) makes clear that he is a naturalist (materialist) like zoologist Richard Dawkins. For example, he tells us that they crossed paths at a conference whose purpose was to promote naturalism (materialism): Over four centuries of scientific progress have convinced most professional philosophers and scientists of the validity of naturalism: the view that there is only one realm of existence, the natural world, whose behavior can be studied through reason and empirical investigation. The basic operating principles of the natural world appear to be impersonal and inviolable; microscopic constituents of inanimate matter obeying the laws of physics fit together in complex structures to form intelligent, emotive, conscious human beings. Sean Carroll, “Moving Naturalism Forward (announcement)” at Preposterous Universe Read More ›

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How Kurt Gödel Destroyed a Popular Form of Atheism

We don’t hear much about logical positivism now but it was very fashionable in the early twentieth century

In this week’s podcast, “The Chaitin interview I: Chaitin chats with Kurt Gödel,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed mathematician and computer scientist Gregory Chaitin. Earlier, we noted his comments on the almost supernatural awareness that the great mathematicians had of the foundations of reality in the mathematics of our universe. Yesterday, we heard Chaitin’s recollection of how he (almost) met the eccentric genius Kurt Gödel (1906–1978). One way that Gödel stood out from many of his contemporaries was that he believed in God. He even wrote a mathematical proof of the existence of God. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-124-Gregory-Chaitin.mp3 This portion begins at 17:16 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: One of the things Read More ›

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Are We Facing the Next, Very Rapid Stage of Evolution, via AI?

Prof. Mark Alan Walker: “Person-engineering technologies will make it possible to accomplish in a matter of years what evolution would take thousands of millennia to achieve.”

These are certainly heady times in the biotech world. With the new mRNA vaccine being created in just a few days in January 2020, someone can mass produce DNA in their garage for the price of a hamburger, and Alpha Fold 2 can predict proteins from DNA with accuracy, rivalling wet lab results, it seems we are on the cusp of something extraordinary. Most viral infections will cease if all we need to do to roll out a new vaccine is sequence the virus genome and mass produce the portion that binds to human cells. On the darker side, it will also likely mean a greater threat of biowarfare. Creating a new virus may just be a matter of downloading Read More ›