Darwinism’s biggest (and least discussed) problem
|October 31, 2007||Posted by Granville Sewell under Intelligent Design|
The biggest problem of all with Darwinism, in my opinion, is one that is almost never discussed by either side. In my Dec 2005 American Spectator article (updated version here) I tried to express the problem as follows: “When you ask [the modern scientist] how a mechanical process such as natural selection could cause human consciousness to arise out of inanimate matter, he says, ‘human consciousness — what’s that?’ And he talks about human evolution as if he were an outside observer, and never seems to wonder how he got inside one of the animals he is studying.”
You may be able to convince a gullible layman that natural selection of random mutations can cause mud to evolve into robots with advanced computers controlling their motions, but you will have a much harder time convincing him that it can cause these robots to become conscious. But scientists almost completely ignore this problem, because we haven’t the slightest idea what “consciousness” is. And rather than take the approach that science should be concerned with explaining the things we experience, the modern scientist takes instead the attitude that “if we can’t measure it or quantify it, it doesn’t exist”–or at least it isn’t science. They define consciousness down, and say that if a computer can pass a “Turing test” the computer must be considered to be conscious. To pass a Turing test, a computer has to convince the human communicating with it that he is talking to another human. Now, maybe computers will someday be able to pass a Turing test (maybe they already can), but I don’t believe that makes them conscious. I cannot be sure that there isn’t “someone” inside my PC who experiences the same consciousness that I experience, or that improving the hardware and software of computers sufficiently will never make them conscious, because I can’t even define consciousness, but I doubt that it will. And if I don’t believe that intelligent computer designers can ever make computers conscious, how could I believe that an unintelligent, mechanical process such as natural selection could do it?