Home » Intelligent Design » Unleash the Mind: An Intelligent Design Approach to Economics

Unleash the Mind: An Intelligent Design Approach to Economics

George Gilder has a new article up at National Review titled Unleash the Mind, which, though it never mentions Intelligent Design, is an direct application of ID thought to economics. In fact, for those more interested in technical definitions for what Gilder calls “surprise” and “creativity”, you might check out my talk on modeling non-materialistic representations of the mind at the Engineering and Metaphysics conference earlier this year.

Anyway, I’ll leave you all to read the article, but here are a few interesting quotes:

Increasing revenues come not from a mere scheme of carrots and sticks but from the development and application of productive knowledge

With fewer resources diverted to government bureaucracy, they can conduct more undetermined experiments, test more falsifiable hypotheses, try more business plans, generate more productive knowledge

Business investments bring both a financial and an epistemic yield. Capitalism catalytically joins the two. Capitalist economies grow because they award wealth to its creators, who have already proven that they can increase it. Their proof was always the service of others rather than themselves.

In short, wealth is created from ideas and morality – both non-material things. The growth of ideas comes from both having people have ideas, and giving people ways of testing them. The people generate the ideas, the businesses test them, and capitalism welds together the epistemology of scientific testing with financial gain, so that those successfully creating wealth are given the means to do more.

Gilder critiques both social policies and business practices that ignore the immaterial aspects of what is happening. Socialists, for instance, think that by more fairly distributing money they can bring social justice. But that misunderstands what wealth itself even is – thinking it is a physical thing rather than an immaterial thing.

Similarly, businesses make this same mistake when they think they can purchase their way into a market without taking time to understand the market. In other words, they mistake the material aspect of the market (the pure market share) with the immaterial aspect of the market (knowledge of the market’s intricacies).

The article is well worth your time. Read it here.

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20 Responses to Unleash the Mind: An Intelligent Design Approach to Economics

  1. I have some questions and comments.

    You said this:

    In short, wealth is created from ideas and morality – both non-material things.

    Q1: It is self-evidently true that human organisms need to have ideas to create wealth (morality is itself an idea, so I’m not sure why you made the distinction), but are you arguing that wealth is created by “ideas and morality”, or simply from them?

    Q2: If wealth is created from ideas and morality, then by what means is it created? (In other words, how are ideas translated into the social artifacts that can be measured as wealth?)
    Q3: If wealth is created from morality, does it matter what “moral system” is involved? For example, the CIA estimated that the USSR’s GNP increased approximately 10-fold between 1928 and 1987 (1).

    You then said this:

    The growth of ideas comes from both having people have ideas, and giving people ways of testing them.

    Q4: Isn’t this a circularity?

    Proposition 1: ideas are essential for wealth creation (evidently true)

    Proposition 2: wealthy people have the time or means to act on wealth-creating ideas (evidently true, at least for non-parasitic members of the capitalist ruling class)

    Proposition 3: poor people tend to starve or lose their jobs if they spend their time trying to instantiate useful ideas instead of hoeing their fields or keeping up with their work quotas in factories and call centres (evidently true).

    Paranthetically, unless, of course, the poor people at issue happen to be post-grad students involved in industrial idea production – and who are generally paid by wealthy organisations to do so. Or to put it differently: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” (2).

    Also paranthetically, it is obviously true that some historical events, such as the emergence of the internet, permit the contingent success of smart individuals who might otherwise have ended up as wage slaves – Mark Zuckerburg, for example. You may wish to explain how Mr Zuckerburg’s success represents wealth in any meaningful social context.

    Conclusion: wealth will continue to accumulate in the hands of people who are already wealthy (or who have compliant government assistance to enforce the rule of ultima ratio regum).

    You also said this:

    Socialists, for instance, think that by more fairly distributing money they can bring social justice. But that misunderstands what wealth itself even is – thinking it is a physical thing rather than an immaterial thing.

    Money is how you measure wealth, not wealth itself. Socialists are concerned with control of the means of production, not with the distribution of currency. You are making a category error. I daresay there are socialists who make the same error, but that is by the by.

    No reliable data exist on global armaments production as a proportion of total economic activity. However, it is self-evident that the majority of arms production by value lies in the hands of governments (that is: not in the hands of terrorists, rebel militias, or weapons owned privately by law-abiding whoevers). So:

    Q5: Do you count armaments production as wealth?

    Q6: If you do count armaments as wealth, how does that square with your idea about morality being a driver for wealth creation?

    . . . . . .

    1. Central Intelligence Agency, Measures of Soviet Gross National Product in 1982 Prices (Washington, DC, 1990)
    2. Anatole France, The Red Lily, 1894.

  2. Only problem is, those Deutero-Geneses, the putative ‘wealth creators’ are the same ones whose fathomless greed defines the very capitalism, by its intrinsic nature, unfettered, which has brought us all to the brink of an unparalleled, world-wide, economic catastrophe.

  3. Axel,

    Do you mean that lot’s of people are greedy and try to live beyond their means, so let’s blame a select few?

  4. I should also have mentioned their chronic recidivism, which is also very much at the root of the aforesaid catastrophe in the making.

    Together with their enabling politicians, the prinicipals of the very banks have been larcenous on a scale scarcely even imaginable by their principals of yester-year. Major banks have survived solely by laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking.

    Ironically, and particularly in view of the grotesque and scandalous misrepresentations of the Adam Smith Institute in the UK, Adam Smith’s actual animadversions vis-a-vis the merchant class, were vitriolic. To quote just two:

    ‘ “All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”

    · “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

    In short, Smith’s real contention was not a free-for-all between cartels, but Augustine’s insight, that ‘grace builds upon nature’; instead, the fiercely energetic materialism and greed of the entrepreneurs should be harnessed for the common good; while they themselves should be, well, in our day, probably, permanently bugged and electronically tagged.

  5. No. I don’t mean that, Mung. The poor, we are told by James (as well as Christ in his Sermon on the Mount) are chosen to be rivh in faith.

    However, they do tend to have low self-esteem in terms of their intelligence, since it is now defined by the worldly intelligence, irrespective of a naturally-supernaturally endemic spiritual wisdom.

    Consequently, they are easily led by the worldlings such as you and me, into slavishly acceding to the prevailing culture of endlessly covetous consumerism. The monied folk have always taught them that money is the sign of respectability. Nay, gentry. Joe Gargery’s ‘nature’s gentleman’ was never intended to get a look in. ‘Why ‘ere’s a J and ‘ere’s a O equerval to anything, Pip old chap.’

    Must dash, but I’ve much more to say on this matter, a little later, God willing.

  6. Justice: “You never give to the poor what is yours; you merely return to them what belongs to them. For what you have appropriated was given for the common use of everybody. The land was given for everybody, not just the rich.” St. Ambrose, 4th century bishop of Milan

    “The bread that is in your box belongs to the hungry; the coat in your closet belongs to the naked; the shoes you do not wear belong to the barefoot; the money in your vault belongs to the destitute.” St. Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, c. A.D. 370

    “Nothing is your own. You are a slave and what is yours belongs to the Lord. For a slave has no property that is truly his own; naked you were brought into this life.” Asterius, Bishop of Amasea, from “The Unjust Steward,” c. A.D. 400.

    But here is the article those quotes are taken from:

    http://www.internetmonk.com/ar.....offend-you

    ‘And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’
    - Luke 22:25

    Some thing never change, do they? A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

    Note, also, that in much of the Old Testament, as well as the New, the rich man is repreatedly referred to in apposition to the wicked; the poor man, in apposition to the virtuous mand, the godly man, the true Israel. Nowhere, of course, is this close association more starkly expressed than in the context of Christ’s burial in the tomb provided for him by the rich man, Joseph of Arimathea:

    ‘He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.’ – Isiah 53:9

    Since Joseph was, himself, an admirer of Christ, and had acted in this matter with great liberality, the significance of Isiah’s words should clearly not be downplayed in any way.

    Particularly noteworthy also is that, in those same passages, violence and deceit are associated with economic oppression.

  7. timothya –

    First, the distinction between ideas and morality is that, while both are immaterial, ideas are the creative spark – morality is the way the creative spark is used. I could have an idea for how to build a bridge or blow one up. I could have an idea on how to save a life or perform an abortion.

    But, to the bigger point of Q1, I am arguing that ideas and morality are the cornerstone of wealth-building. It doesn’t happen automatically, but they are necessary conditions.

    Q2, I believe, is irrelevant given my answer to Q1.

    Q3 – yes and no. I don’t think that the specifics are as important as the outlines. For instance, if contracting parties generally skipped out on their side of the bargain, and court action was required in each case to enforce it, then it is hard for wealth to increase. However, I think the most important part is not the morality of the system but the individuals. I think the system can aid or detract from morality, and even be a moral or immoral force on its own. But I think the largest component is from individual morality. If the people are moral, it makes wealth creation lasting. So, as to your example, I don’t know about the morality of the Soviet people. However, I don’t judge wealth creation by GNP, either. In fact, while I am a fan of hard data, I think that we tend to use them as a crutch rather than as a tool, and fail to look at the bigger pictures. But, I don’t see any particular reason why the Soviet people wouldn’t have been moral enough to increase their GNP over that timeframe.

    Q4 – I’m getting lost in some of your parentheticals. However, I think your conclusion is the meat of what you are getting at – “wealth will continue to accumulate in the hands of people who are already wealthy”. I don’t disagree with the proposition, and I do not think that it is immoral, either. It would only be immoral if the system prevented people from moving from the “poor” to the “wealthy” category categorically. In fact, the idea that the wealthy can continue to get wealthier is quite healthy – it means there is a true way out of poverty. If this were not the case, then poverty would have to be considered a permanent position. Now, the problem comes in the fact that there are people who don’t have it so good. This, again, is where morality comes into play – both individual morality and public morality. Most moral communities wind up achieving wealth even in the face of manifest injustice. Jewish communities are commonly wealthy even in lands in which they are persecuted. When the gospel is preached to the poor, almost without fail their poverty is lessened because their moral standards rise. It is true that it might be possible to squelch this with sufficiently immoral people and systems, but that’s just the point – with a moral people, people tend to rise out of poverty.

    In addition, one of the major points of the linked article, is that those who continue to gain wealth can only do so as they are continued to be an asset to society. In other words, only by making life better for others are they able to continue in their wealth. Gilder gave numerous examples of what happens to wealth and what can happen to wealth when owners stop having an interest in making people’s lives better.

    So, under capitalism, not only does wealth allow for more wealth creation using ideas, it only allows it when those ideas serve the community.

    Now, about wealth itself. Again, the “means of production” is still a reductionist view of wealth. Think of it this way. I don’t myself have a large bank account – I have only just recently managed to have enough in the bank to have any money left at the end of the month. However, the society I live in is one in which we would all give the shirt off our back to help out our neighbor. When my son was in the hospital, friends came to watch our children, cook us food, and help us out in any way they could. This *is* wealth. How can the love of people be distributed? And this trust in my neighbors is the same reason I know that my contracts will get paid, and I don’t need the overhead of hiring a lawyer to make sure of it.

    A good and fascinating read on the subject (who is actually trying to write a book on something *else*) is the book “Learning True Love: Practicing Buddhism in a Time of War”. While sister Chan was only able to help the poor with much difficulty under the nationalist regime, she was prohibited from doing so altogether under the socialist one. That is because socialists have a reductionistic view – they view controlling the means of production as being equivalent with controlling wealth. Therefore, the true wealth that comes from a moral community is completely lost when the regime takes over.

    Q5: Not really.

    Q6: Even if I had answered in the affirmative for Q5, I don’t view armaments as morally problematic. In fact, they are a requirement for defending a moral society from an immoral world (at least as a first approximation – I believe that by faith in Jesus one can do more without guns, but for a secular government such as ours, armaments are needed). I view guns as being like bureaucracy, it is often necessary to prevent moral decay, but I wouldn’t put it in the category of wealth creation (with an exception of armaments for hunting or entertainment). More like an insurance payment.

    However, one thing you missed was one of the main points of the article – the epistemic value of economic experiments. Market failures are as important as market successes, because they test the knowledge generated. When the means of production is centrally managed, then the market gets politicized, heavily downgrading the epistemology of the market. Basically, it’s like running a non-blinded medical trial for which you have a conflict of interest – the results are basically meaningless. Only when the markets are free can the good ideas be sifted from the bad ones. Without the freedom of the market, the capital invested in ideas cannot be well examined, because the data is corrupted.

  8. Long ago the bible explained wealth came from God’s blessing, morality action, and being intelligent.
    The western world, especially the Anglo-American world, is wealthier , now and before , because it was more kind and smart.
    this from the unique intervention of protestantism and especially evangelical/Puritan protestantism.
    It’s simple and was understood centuries ago.

  9. Johhnyb said this:

    Now, about wealth itself. Again, the “means of production” is still a reductionist view of wealth. Think of it this way. I don’t myself have a large bank account – I have only just recently managed to have enough in the bank to have any money left at the end of the month. However, the society I live in is one in which we would all give the shirt off our back to help out our neighbor. When my son was in the hospital, friends came to watch our children, cook us food, and help us out in any way they could. This *is* wealth. How can the love of people be distributed? And this trust in my neighbors is the same reason I know that my contracts will get paid, and I don’t need the overhead of hiring a lawyer to make sure of it.

    I am gobsmacked. Do you seriously believe this is how capitalism works? Do you understand what capital actually is? (hint: capital is not the money you need to run a household – that is known in the trade as opex).

    Johnnyb also said this:

    Even if I had answered in the affirmative for Q5, I don’t view armaments as morally problematic.

    Let me get this right before I spit out my cup of coffee. You think there is no moral problem with the idea that a nuclear-armed government could decide to launch a nuclear strike on another country – an act that must inevitably kill a huge number of civilians (who may or may not agree with their own government’s political stance)?

    Are you seriously saying that you, as a religious believer, think that such a decision is not morally problematic?

    I am particularly perplexed by this:

    I view guns as being like bureaucracy, it is often necessary to prevent moral decay

    Ummmm, am I morally decadent because I don’t own a gun?

  10. Robert Byers said this:

    The western world, especially the Anglo-American world, is wealthier , now and before , because it was more kind and smart.

    Explain the United Fruit Company’s kindness and smartness in relation to Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.

  11. TA: Do you not see the difference between the moral, social cultural intangible wealth of a community that requires a general context of trust, trustworthiness and mutual respect and valuing, and the problem where we all struggle in the face of being finite, fallible, morally fallen and struggling, and too often ill-willed? Do you not recognise that because of its disproportionate power, the totalitarian or trending that way state, with ever decreasing checks and balances, is the biggest single potential tangible threat to the individual and the socio-cultural intangible fabric that creates genuine wealth and a base on which there is a hopeful future such that people are willing to invest [instead of trying to flee with what hey can take with them . . . ]? Do you think that cases of oppression DEFINE a freedom of enterprise economy? Don’t the ghosts of 100+ million victims from the century just past moan out a warning on the gross errors involved? Please, think again. KF

  12. timothya -

    I agree with kairos, and I also wanted to bring some additional points.

    “Do you seriously believe this is how capitalism works”

    Yes, I do, because I live it. The above system of moral community I outlined is *only* available to those communities whose property is their own to control. As I mentioned in my post, once a socialist institution takes control, the community loses its ability to care for itself. Not only that, when care becomes institutionalized, it loses much of what made it caring. I’ve experienced that, too (to see the difference, look at the difference between a community that takes care of you vs an insurance company). Individual ownership of capital is *required* to have this happen, otherwise, individuals cannot have extra to help out with. That’s also why morality is important. Sans morality, when everyone is just trying to screw everyone else, it doesn’t work out. PJ O’Rourke gives a good example of this with Albania in his book “Eat the Rich”. I don’t agree 100% with O’Rourke, but in this case he paints a good picture of why morality and economic freedom are both important.

    “You think there is no moral problem with the idea that a nuclear-armed government could decide to launch a nuclear strike on another country – an act that must inevitably kill a huge number of civilians (who may or may not agree with their own government’s political stance)?”

    I think you’ve misconstrued what I said, or you are being incredibly naive. I don’t believe it is a moral problem, per se, for a country to have armaments. There are immoral countries with armaments, and those are a problem, not because of the armaments, but because of the immorality of the governments. The fact is that armaments will arise, and, on the whole, people do try to hurt each other. Therefore, keeping armaments is not itself morally problematic. It’s actually morally problematic, as a secular state, to *not* keep armaments, because you would be forsaking your duty to protect the citizenry and enforce justice. There are always ways to use armaments to cause harm, and those are immoral. But the same is true of means of production. In fact, it was precisely the control of the means of production that allowed the Soviets to enact genocide on the Ukrainians. The starved not because they didn’t grow enough food, but because the government controlled the means of production. In fact, this massacre through ownership of the means of production makes a nuclear bombing look like a nice day at the beach.

    This is yet another instance of why morality is such a big part of the wealth of a society. Without morality, the wealth is spent by people subjugating each other by a variety of means (this does not imply this is the only economic problem caused by immorality).

  13. Caution: a non-USAmerican higher educated in economics expresses his views

    “an direct application of ID thought to economics.” – johnnyb

    So, does this mean ‘intelligent designers’ actually *CAN* be studied? Economic agents, as all economists know *CAN* be and are studied.

    “Joseph Schumpeter propounded the basic rule when he declared capitalism “a form of change” that “never can be stationary.” – Gilder

    Schumpeter is considered one of the founders of ‘evolutionary economics.’ Hello, johnnyb. ‘Noosphere’ is Teilhard de Chardin and Vernadsky, both evolutionists. Hello again!

    “Capitalism is a system that begins not with taking but with giving.” – Gilder

    Wow, I have read few things as absurd (or rhetorically idealistic) as that in my young scholarly life of political-economic literature. It is no surprise that the USAmerican right wing has been both bamboozled and decieved by Ayn Rand and her ‘objectivism’. E.g. Gilder “hugely admired Rand,” according to the linked article.

    Question: Is the Discovery Institute a right-wing think tank?

    Answer: “Capitalism is the supreme expression of human creativity and freedom” – Gilder

    johnnyb should read about ‘Christian socialism’ and ‘Christian social democracy’ and report back here.

    “It is not the enlargement of incentives and rewards that generates growth and progress, profits and capital gains for the entrepreneur and revenues for the government, but the combination of new knowledge with the power to test and extend it.” – Gilder

    This article is not a “direct application of ID thought to economics,” it displays the relevance of Human Extension, focussing on choice, creativity and innovation. Yet Gilder is also a flag-waver for capitalISM, a topic which Human Extension does not require and about which ID theory has nothing helpful to contribute.

    There is no need for ID economics when ID actually means ‘(aiming to be) natural science of cosmology, biology and origins of life.’ Since ID *cannot* in principle study ‘intelligent agents’ known as ‘designers/Designers’ as part of its ‘theory,’ surely human-social sciences such as economics are categorically ‘out-of-bounds’ for ID and thus an alternative to ID such as Human Extension makes obvious sense. Surely not ID, unless…NEO

  14. Below is an excerpt from the latest article of Dmitry Orlov on his Club Orlov blog (as well as the link), which will resonate with many of you, in terms of the struggles in your career, on account of your intellectual integrity. Due to his anti-religious mindset, when his disquisions wander into such areas, you may choose to skim over and skip the paragraphs concerned, as I do. But most of the time he’s brilliant and has a hilariously dry sense of humour.

    ‘Kropotkin’s third, and perhaps most significant observation addresses a common misunderstanding of Darwinian evolution. You see, when most people say “Darwinian” it turns out that they actually mean to say “Hobbesian.” Kropotkin pointed out that the term “survival of the fittest” has been misinterpreted to mean that animals compete against other animals of their own species, whereas that just happens to be the shortest path to extinction. This misinterpretation of facts directly observable from nature has led to the faulty Hobbsian justification of the economic appetite as something natural and evolved, and therefore inevitable, giving rise to the conjectured laws of the marketplace, which in turn favor nonempathic, exclusionary, brutal, possessive individualists. The result has been to enshrine mental illness—primitive, pathological, degenerate narcissism—as the ultimate evolutionary adaptation and the basis of the laws of economics. Thus, an entire edifice of economic theory has been erected atop a foundation of delusion borne of a misunderstanding of the patterns present in nature.

    Kropotkin provides numerous examples of what allows animal societies to survive and thrive, and it is almost always cooperation with their own species, and sometimes with other species as well, but there is almost never any overt competition. He mentions that wild Siberian horses, which usually graze in small herds, overcome their natural aloofness to gather in large numbers and crowd together into gulleys to share bodily warmth when facing a blizzard; those who do not do so often freeze to death. Animals do fight for survival, but their fight is against forces of nature: inclement weather and climactic fluctuations that cause floods, droughts, cold spells and heat waves, and diseases and predators that reduce their numbers. They do not compete against members of their own species except in one respect: those who win the genetic lottery by generating or inheriting a lucky genetic mutation are more likely to survive and to reproduce. Thus, it is possible to say that genomes compete, but this use of the term “competition” is purely metaphorical, while the dominant pattern, and the greatest determinant of success of a species as a whole, is its ability to communicate and to cooperate.

    Thus, all living, biological systems are anarchically organized. They are highly scalable—from a single-celled amoeba to the blue whale—but the organizational principle remains the same: an anarchically organized cooperating group of cells. Biological systems exhibit a fractal-like property: you can zoom in on a detail and observe that its organization is similar to what you saw when looking at the whole. They are sustainable, each organism exhibiting bounded growth up to an optimum size. (Yes, yeast can’t handle vats of concentrated sugar-water without a population explosion followed by collapse, but then vats of concentrated sugar-water are not their natual habitat—or anyone else’s!) Biological systems exhibit all sorts of complex behaviors, sometimes leading us to believe that they possess intelligence and free will. But there is no command structure to intelligence or free will. Even consciousness has no specific command structure; the complex behaviors that make us think that there are such things as consciousness and free will are emergent behaviors of cooperating brain cells; nobody is actually in charge. As I sit here concentrating on this, my right hand picks up a cup of tea and raises it to my lips without the rest of me having to pay any attention; another part of me thinks that I should take a break and visit the shops before it starts raining. If I do, then the decision will have been reached cooperatively because there is nobody to give the order and nobody to give the order to.

    If all life on Earth follows this pattern, then what about our current socioeconomic systems? What about huge nation-states and giant megacities? What about the global economy? The short answer is that they are all hierarchically organized systems, and that this makes them scale badly: the increase in their metabolic cost always outpaces their growth rate, plus their growth is unbounded, so they always collapse. Next week we will take a brief look at contemporary complexity theory, which will take us beyond what Prof. Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute, an authority on complexity theory, likes to call “qualitative bullshit.” There is some fairly simple math that characterizes both biological and socioeconomic systems, makes stunningly accurate predictions, and explains why it is that biological systems go on and on while socioeconomic systems go pop. Thanks to the work of Prof. West and his associates, we have an actual theorem that predicts collapse, taking the study of collapse beyond a hand-waving exercise and into the realm of hard science.’

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.co.u......html#more

  15. Gregory –

    I had trouble following most of what you wrote, and was not entirely sure of the point of most. If you could rephrase – perhaps take one thing at a time, it would be more helpful.

    However, this feature is what I found most interesting:

    There is no need for ID economics when ID actually means ‘(aiming to be) natural science of cosmology, biology and origins of life.’ Since ID *cannot* in principle study ‘intelligent agents’ known as ‘designers/Designers’ as part of its ‘theory,’

    You used quotation marks, but I am unaware of this quote. ID is the study of intelligent agency – its operation, its causes, and its effets. The first major scholarly work on ID, from Bill Dembski, was entirely about human causation. It is only by extension of these basic theories that ID becomes relevant to origins. So, as a theory of human creativity, I have a hard time seeing why ID is not relevant to economics, which relies on creativity for the growth of wealth.

    Again, for a more explicit link between ID and human creativity, you should take a look at my presentation at the Engineering and Metaphysics conference this year.

    You mentioned Christian socialism – the seminary I went to matched that fairly well. I had little use for it – it mostly ignored the realities of both the problems they were trying to solve and what was currently working. In other words, they didn’t realize that they would sacrifice what they already had (and were taking for granted) in order to reach an ideal that they wouldn’t get, because their policies didn’t take human nature into account.

    In fact, it is interesting that, when it came to the microcosm of the school, it was very conservative, and only when it touched on issues that didn’t directly affect the seminary, it became socialistic. For instance, the school bemoaned any attempt at border security, and called such things racist and xenophobic. However, they heavily secured the seminary itself with keycards and passcodes. Why? “Because, you know, we are right next to a trailer park, and we know what kind of people that usually breeds.”

  16. Axel –

    I haven’t had time to read through everything, but I disagree that anarchy is really what is going on. In fact, in large-scale organisms, you have definite hierarchies, and it is not really a fractal pattern. Instead what you have is multiple hierarchies, each operating according to what is best for that level of scale. This is what the left wing in the US never seems to understand. They want to push everything through the national level of scale, when their ideas actually would work best at the familial, communal, or state level of scale.

  17. “The first major scholarly work on ID, from Bill Dembski, was entirely about human causation. It is only by extension of these basic theories that ID becomes relevant to origins. So, as a theory of human creativity, I have a hard time seeing why ID is not relevant to economics, which relies on creativity for the growth of wealth.”

    Which book? “The Design Inference?” That was part of my master’s thesis. Human causation or probabilities void of choices?

    Thanks, johnnyb. This is an important point to consider. Most IDists (I’ve stopped calling ID advocates IDers because so much [mainly hidden] ideology is involved in professing support for ID) don’t or won’t admit this. They say it is about following the evidence, objective natural science, etc. They seek ‘(natural) scientificity’, not the messiness of ‘human creativity’ applied by extension to origins of life and biological information.

    If you understand this, you also likely know why Steve Fuller connects ID theory arguments from/to ‘design’ and with being created in imago Dei. This creativity theme should not be avoided by IDists, but it often is. That long thread on Human Extension revealed people at UD don’t want to talk about ‘intelligent agents’ who are ‘designers’ in anything like the way MOST ‘design theorists’ such as Horst Rittel do and did.

    johnnyb, btw, since you asked, I am the person who came up with and is developing what you call ‘ID relevant to economics.’ But it would be impossible to call this ‘Intelligent Design’ as Big-ID. It has to be called either ‘neo-id’ (see my blog and e-book) or nothing to do with ID at all. Sorry, but those are the rules of the game in economics.

    I’ll be at an economics conference next week and then following that a conference on ‘design’ (with 99+% against IDism).

    Human Extension is an alternative to ‘intelligent design economics’ that you may wish to consider, johnnyb. In so far as you consider yourself part of an ID movement, however, your allegiance to ‘getting the most mileage’ out of Big-ID may prove a barrier to honestly considering this alternative.

    You can find more Here – Human Extension or follow the links to my scholarly publications.

    p.s. thanks, I already saw your presentation, like I said before, interesting event, especially that talk of Adrian Bejan’s notion of ‘design in nature’ was involved on the schedule.

  18. I am very confused, because you indicate that the ID movement *isn’t* asking these questions. I think you are totally wrong on this point. This is one of the main features of the ID movement. My interest in this point came largely from reading Phillip Johnsons’ “Reason in the Balance”. At UD we’ve highlighted many things along these lines, including taking on Cashmore’s paper “The Lucretian Swerve”. Angus Menuge’s book “Agents Under Fire” is on this point specifically, and nearly every ID book points out that the only analogy we have to things that create functional information is human agency.

    Now, I will agree with you that this is not always *emphasized* enough. In fact, I think our issues would be much simpler if we did. We need only point out that the denier of ID also denies our own capacity for creativity and free choice. Only by disowning yourself does Darwinism and materialism make sense. I think if we hit on this more, people would better understand (a) what we are saying, and (b) why it matters in the world as a whole (rather than a narrow aspect of biology).

  19. Not exactly OT:

    Survival of the Poorest

  20. Not sure if you’ll catch this or not johnnyb.

    I’m travelling, just thought it might be worth replying to your direct question of curiosity.

    Anthony R. Cashmore is a plant biologist, not an economist. Angus Menuge is a philosopher/computer scientist/evangelical Christian. His homepage affirms his evangelicalism. Neither is qualified re: economics ‘science’.

    This thread is sub-titled “An Intelligent Design Approach to Economics”. I think that’s rubbish. So does every economist colleague that I’ve met, on the rare (unnecessary) occassion that I’ve queried them. That’s why Gilder doesn’t promote ‘ID economics’ directly; it is just you claiming he makes a “direct application of ID thought to economics.” Let me tell you plainly: he doesn’t, can’t and won’t. He’d be laughed out of ‘Dodge’ if ever he does.

    If you are very confused, let’s have a conversation about it. My name is public. Yours is public. There should be no problem. If you’d like to speak, that would probably help to clear things up. My e-mail is available to you.

    Yes, I speak about the ID Movement as a person who wrote his Master’s thesis partly on the topic. You may be ‘in’ it, but I have studied the IDM (and folks like you) as a ‘subject.’ So, let us discuss this by voice as I don’t think you can defend your position.

    Many IDists don’t want to be studied as subjects; they want to perpetuate a ‘neutrality’ (and victimized) myth of ‘science’ about ‘design.’ All the while they are almost totally oblivious (like ID management) about the main players of ‘design theory’ and ‘design science’ who aren’t IDists.

    johnnyb, let me say I take your words seriously and am not trying to twist them. You write: “the only analogy we have to things that create functional information is human agency.”

    If that is so, then there is no HOPE of drawing an analogy between human agency and Origins of Life…without forthrightly admitting, as Steve Fuller does, that ID is first and foremost about the Imago Dei. You would need to reject your personal religious views to claim otherwise.

    I am not concerned with the person who denies the “capacity for creativity and free choice.” But you, sir, have a long, long way to go before understanding the power of the point that I and my colleagues and my brothers and sisters are making against your dysanthropic argument for ID.

    If you really understood the anthropic dimension, not just cosmology and astrophysics, by psychology, sociology, anthropology and the like, it would be much easier for you to hear what I am saying. But you haven’t studied anthropic thought and don’t understand its main values, in connection (inevitably) with philosophy and worldview (e.g. theology).

    ID as it stands, as a mainly anti-Darwinian/anti-Darwinist conjecture has very limited communicative power and will not go very far with actual scientists, including Baha’i, Muslim, Christian and Jewish (i.e. Abrahamic) ones, as much as that is your underlying main (apologetic) goal to reach.

    Please be direct if you are seriously saying that you have no religious, i.e. zero worldview committment involved in your probabilistic embrace of ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design’. If you agree to this, it would not be like any ‘evangelical’ I’ve ever met; they always want to convert/persuade/even [e.g. 4 laws] propagandize people to their religion, even when they are speaking to non-evangelicals.

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