Wednesday, August 9, 2017

When You Cannot Win With Evidence, Lie About It.

The Discovery Institute is at it again, not only are they betting against the possibilities of the future, but they have to change the definition of terms to support their position. Here is the post I am talking about, " “Fully Realized” AI Will Remain Forever on the Horizon – And That’s a Good Thing".

First off, just look at the title.  Does it remind you of anything?  It did me, how about "If God meant man to fly, he would have given him wings."  Yes, how many times has someone made a pronouncement that something or other will never happen . . . until it does!  Pretty much every invention had naysayers telling you how it'll never happen.  Luckily, no everyone listens to them.

Do I know Artificial Intelligence will happen?  I have no idea, but saying it will never happen seems to be pretty foolish, considering how often such statements are proven wrong.  Will it happen tomorrow?  Probably not, but claiming that it will "remain forever on the horizon" tells me how limited the author's imagination, and the DI as a whole because they posted this buying into it.  

Then I noticed who the author was and understood the lack of imagination. Davey 'klingy' klinghoffer certainly demonstrates very little imagination when looking at ideas that don't automatically fall in line with the DI's religious beliefs. Here is his opening statement:
"Overestimating the contribution of computers, failing to reckon with their spiritual costs, welcoming them deeper and deeper into our lives rather than seeking ways to limit them – these all go hand in hand with over-the-top expectations about the coming of “full” or “fully realized” Artificial Intelligence."
The 'spiritual costs' of computers?  Seriously?  Just what are the spiritual costs of computers?  Can anyone answer that question?  If you can't, you aren't alone.  I am sure similar issues were brought up with any technological advancement.  No one has been able to predict something as tenuous as the spiritual costs, yet it doesn't stop people like David from using it in such a negative way.  What I find funny is that I doubt klingy used a typewriter to write up his little post, it's being read from a set of servers and available to the world over another computer-related advance, the Internet.  So . . . just what sort of spiritual cost gets charged against klingy for using the very technology he seems to question?  I wonder if klingy has a smartphone as well?  Writing 'Computers are Bad!' on a computer just seems more than a little silly.

Now for my second issue, I want to lay a definition on you:
Methodological Naturalism: "Methodological naturalism does not concern itself with claims about what exists, but with methods of learning what nature is. It attempts to explain and test scientific endeavors, hypotheses, and events with reference to natural causes and events." (Wikipedia:
Methodological naturalism)
Now look at what klingy's post quotes about it:
"They never question methodological naturalism — the belief that there is nothing that exists outside the material world — which blinds them to other possibilities."
Let's be clear, methodological naturalism is not the belief that nothing exists outside of the material world, but a methodology to examine the natural world.  It doesn't address the supernatural, that's outside the scope.  It's like asking a doctor of medicine why can't he fix a jet engine! 

Hopefully you can see the difference.  klingy and company have to switch up the definition, because if they didn't their anti-science argument weakens.  Their argument is basically science doesn't address the supernatural because they are close-minded and not open to it.  The reality is science doesn't address it because it's outside the scope of scientific methodology -- how do you test the supernatural?  Of course people like klingy don't actually address the supernatural in any detail, they only make unsupported claims.

If you think their claims are supported, just ask yourself what questions have been answered by the supernatural?  What advances?  Name one question that can be answered by the supernatural reliably or repeatedly?  Prove that prayer works?  Prove any action by a supernatural entity?  You can't do it, and they never have been able to either -- for all their posturing!

Science offers real explanations, useful, usable explanations!  That's because they follow a methodology that addresses the world based on actual evidence.  It's answers are both repeatable and reliable. Making the claim the way the DI does is sorta like saying 'The steak was awful because there were no carrots in it', or '1 + 1 does not equal 'Northern European Monarchies, therefore mathematics doesn't work'.  It's not just an apples to oranges comparison, but even further apart than that.  Natural explanations do not deny the supernatural, it doesn't address them at all -- that's what 'out of scope' means.

I feel that one reason the DI makes this argument so often is because they have continually failed to provide any evidence to support their religious beliefs.  So in order to try and keep the marketing going, they have to mis-represent science to try and artificially level the playing field.   When you can't compete with evidence, lie about it.  That's what changing the definitions are to me, a form of lying.

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