Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
— The Fox, in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince
To the regret of random-noise-loving, information-hating materialists everywhere.
From Uncommon Descent’s FFT: The worldviews level challenge — what the objectors to design thought are running away from
[P]erception, and that which depends upon it, are inexplicable by mechanical causes, that is to say, by figures and motions. Supposing that there were a machine whose structure produced thought, sensation, and perception, we could conceive of it as increased in size with the same proportions until one was able to enter into its interior, as he would into a mill. Now, on going into it he would find only pieces working upon one another, but never would he find anything to explain perception.
There is no recognition of meaning, no perception, no purpose, just blind cause-effect chains externally arranged to yield the solution to certain differential equations. GIGO, and all that. Likewise, the old Pentium chip neither knew nor understood nor cared about the wired in errors that led to the early recall. And, a neural network is not in principle any different. (BTW this points to serious design inferences on the relevant hardware and software in bio-cybernetics systems, but that is a secondary point.)
The primary point has been highlighted by Reppert:
. . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as [C S] Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.
In short, a physicalist account of mindedness (much less, guidance by light of conscience) faces an ugly, impassable gulch.
In effect, rocks — even refined and carefully organised rocks — have no dreams; computation is not intentional contemplation.
At this point, evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers — and nope you cannot properly, conveniently open up rhetorical daylight between some vague agnosticism and full-blown evo mat to deflect this — face an impassable gulch.
One, that brings out what was already highlighted: mindedness, consciousness, reasoned inference and conscience’s compass-pointing alike are all reduced to grand delusion on evo mat premises.
Grand delusion would collapse responsible, rational freedom and so falls into irretrievable incoherence and absurdity. Thence, the necessary falsity Pearcey and others have pointed to.
But in reality, rational, responsible, conscience-compass bearing consciousness is our first undeniable empirical fact. The fact through which we perceive all others.
This is the familiar extraordinary phenomenon, the pivot on which the project of building a sound worldview turns. In effect, unless a worldview is compatible with our being responsible, reasonable, conscience-guided and significantly free beings, it cannot even sit to the table for a discussion of comparative difficulties. It is silenced by being inconsistent with rationality. It is patently, irretrievably absurd and necessarily false. (Evo mat and fellow traveller ideologies, I am looking straight at you.)>>
A long series of self-serving lies are slowly being ground into dust.
Without most Christians doing much for the cause of Truth, Justice, and Reason, by the way.