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ID, intelligence, meaning, purpose.


Tarski

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In another thread, Mordecia discussing intelligent design submits that although the designers my be only much more intelligent than us rather than infinitely intelligent gods, their intelligence increases the likelihood of meaning and purpose.

Mordecai says

You're right that ID doesn't disallow immorality, but at least it opens the door to morality. The intelligent designer(s) was obviously much more intelligent than we are, implying they had a higher purpose. Greater intelligent does imply the likelihood of meaning, instead of nothingness.

I think this deserves its own thread.

I answer Mordecai thus and open the discussion in general as follows:

I think you are right to say that if the creator aliens have high intelligence then that does perhaps imply the likelihood of meaning (though I don't get the phrase "instead of nothingness").

Higher intelligence, specifically, social/ethical intelligence, if measured properly would imply meaning of the type people usually mean when they talk about meaning of life, purpose etc.

Presumably, the higher intelligences can see outcomes of various actions and properly see larger implications of a given context etc. Perhaps some or all of the meaning these beings enjoy is a sort of creation in the same sense that the value of money is (monetary value makes no sense without social agreements and norms--it isn't part of physics)

But you have set yourself up here. You are now showing a dim awareness of something secular thinkers like myself have been saying all along. Namely, humans are that intelligent already and they are intelligent enough that they themselves can discover and create meaning. We don't need the alien creators or gods for that. What's nice about it is that our purposes are truly OUR purposes.

If you ask where humans get it, I would just ask where you thought the alien creators get it. Why wouldn't some misguided designers pine for an ever higher context thinking that meaning must come from someplace outside or a yet higher context?

The intelligence of human beings is already high enough for the existence of meaning. No need for higher intelligence if purpose and meaning are all you want.

Note: It does not matter that our intelligence is not infinite, the alien creators need not have infinite intelligence either and they will also have blind spots. Nevertheless meaning and purpose is found where there is sufficient intelligence. We have it already and all the meaning and purpose you see is discovered and created by our own activities.

The urge for a higher or larger context is always frustrated because one can always imagine an even bigger context that seems to render meaningless what was meaningful within the limited context. One can always ask where the gods or aliens get their meaning and imagine looking at the big picture all at once to make the big context appear small and the activities feel meaningless.

In fact, the whole idea of an infinite change of mammal gods making more of themselves for ever and ever (because it gives them little brain wiggles they call hap hap happiness) looks pretty weird if viewed from a sufficient distance so to speak. In fact, it just looks a lot like a large scale version of what we are already doing in our little human earthly context. It makes one want to ask what its all for yet again and wish for an even larger meta-context. Heaven looks too much like earthly life (not much imagination is displayed by the folks that thought it up) and the meaning would be there for the same reasons. The higher context (in Mormonism) is just a cartoonish scaled up version of human society with some stuff about no sickness or death thrown in to relieve anxiety.

My conclusion:

The door to meaning and purpose is indeed opened by intelligence---our intelligence!

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Again, if we owe our existence to our ancestors beating out the competition, that is logical support to claim, "The meaning of life is to beat others." Again, that's why Dawkin's admits that to live by Darwinism is to live fascism, letting the weak and infirm die because they deserve it.

With ID, we know that we owe our existence to an intelligence(s) greater than our own for an unknown purpose; but we know that the purpose is not to beat the competition. The implication is that humans have value other than our strength; we have inherent value, e.g. intelligence in itself may be our purpose, implying that reason and truth give life real meaning instead of kill or be killed or "nature red with tooth and claw."

I don't think you have a strong case here that ID doesn't promote morality a lot better than Darwinism does. It's no contest. Darwinism has a logical connection to fascism, while ID has an open door to life's meaning.

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With ID, we know that we owe our existence to an intelligence(s) greater than our own for an unknown purpose; but we know that the purpose is not to beat the competition. The implication is that humans have value other than our strength; we have inherent value, e.g. intelligence in itself may be our purpose, implying that reason and truth give life real meaning instead of kill or be killed or "nature red with tooth and claw."

How does this work for LDS, since we believe God has a glorified human body?

So God the Father, as we know Him, can't be the designer. We have to theorize some greater Creator who created God the Father and all other glorified-human Gods. Let's call it the "SuperCreator". Does ID teach us LDS that the SuperCreator has some set of morals and values beyond what God the Father can know by himself? Is God the Father relaying his own morals and values, or those of the SuperCreator? And do we have any way of finding out, or do we just go on faith?

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You are now showing a dim awareness of something secular thinkers like myself have been saying all along. Namely, humans are that intelligent already and they are intelligent enough that they themselves can discover and create meaning. We don't need the alien creators or gods for that. What's nice about it is that our purposes are truly OUR purposes.

1) You're neglecting to factor in the LDS perspective which considers "us" to be God, even though not all of us are as perfect as our Father in heaven.

2) Because all of us are not in agreement and united with our Father in heaven, not all of "our" purposes are the same, with each faction having their own purpose.

3) You're not quite ready for what I would say here, yet.

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Again, if we owe our existence to our ancestors beating out the competition, that is logical support to claim, "The meaning of life is to beat others." Again, that's why Dawkin's admits that to live by Darwinism is to live fascism, letting the weak and infirm die because they deserve it.

With ID, we know that we owe our existence to an intelligence(s) greater than our own for an unknown purpose; but we know that the purpose is not to beat the competition. The implication is that humans have value other than our strength; we have inherent value, e.g. intelligence in itself may be our purpose, implying that reason and truth give life real meaning instead of kill or be killed or "nature red with tooth and claw."

I don't think you have a strong case here that ID doesn't promote morality a lot better than Darwinism does. It's no contest. Darwinism has a logical connection to fascism, while ID has an open door to life's meaning.

It sounds like there are two different types of "purposes" you guys are talking about. In Tarski's world, the purpose of a skilled surgeon is to help sick and injured people

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Again, if we owe our existence to our ancestors beating out the competition, that is logical support to claim, "The meaning of life is to beat others." Again, that's why Dawkin's admits that to live by Darwinism is to live fascism, letting the weak and infirm die because they deserve it.

With ID, we know that we owe our existence to an intelligence(s) greater than our own for an unknown purpose; but we know that the purpose is not to beat the competition. The implication is that humans have value other than our strength; we have inherent value, e.g. intelligence in itself may be our purpose, implying that reason and truth give life real meaning instead of kill or be killed or "nature red with tooth and claw."

I don't think you have a strong case here that ID doesn't promote morality a lot better than Darwinism does. It's no contest. Darwinism has a logical connection to fascism, while ID has an open door to life's meaning.

This is a really silly angle to be talking about why ID is better than Darwinism. The evidence is all that matters in science. You don't pick ID because it would make people feel better about themselves.

Human purpose is a totally independent matter from science. I am human and intelligent. I will decide my own purpose, creating it out of nothing if need be -- my own philosophy, my own goals and dreams. I don't need Darwinism or ID or any religion, science or philosophy to justify my purpose. I decide it and I own it.

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Again, if we owe our existence to our ancestors beating out the competition, that is logical support to claim, "The meaning of life is to beat others." Again, that's why Dawkin's admits that to live by Darwinism is to live fascism, letting the weak and infirm die because they deserve it.

With ID, we know that we owe our existence to an intelligence(s) greater than our own for an unknown purpose; but we know that the purpose is not to beat the competition. The implication is that humans have value other than our strength; we have inherent value, e.g. intelligence in itself may be our purpose, implying that reason and truth give life real meaning instead of kill or be killed or "nature red with tooth and claw."

I don't think you have a strong case here that ID doesn't promote morality a lot better than Darwinism does. It's no contest. Darwinism has a logical connection to fascism, while ID has an open door to life's meaning.

Evolution isn't intended to be a philosophy, any more than the theory of gravity.

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I don't need Darwinism or ID or any religion, science or philosophy to justify my purpose. I decide it and I own it.

Without ID, YOU wouldn't even exist... if ID is the means which brought you and others into existence.

OR, if you don't like that perspective:

Without evolution, YOU wouldn't even exist... if evolution is the means which brought you and others into existence, either from nothing or from whatever you or your kind of being was before you came into existence.

OR, if you don't like that perspective:

Regardless of how you came into existence, YOU exist, and the evidence that you exist can not be refuted even if you don't know or don't care how you came into existence.

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Again, if we owe our existence to our ancestors beating out the competition, that is logical support to claim, "The meaning of life is to beat others." Again, that's why Dawkin's admits that to live by Darwinism is to live fascism, letting the weak and infirm die because they deserve it.

With ID, we know that we owe our existence to an intelligence(s) greater than our own for an unknown purpose; but we know that the purpose is not to beat the competition. The implication is that humans have value other than our strength; we have inherent value, e.g. intelligence in itself may be our purpose, implying that reason and truth give life real meaning instead of kill or be killed or "nature red with tooth and claw."

I don't think you have a strong case here that ID doesn't promote morality a lot better than Darwinism does. It's no contest. Darwinism has a logical connection to fascism, while ID has an open door to life's meaning.

You miss my point entirely. I do not claim that our purpose as humans must be to beat the competition. We create our own meaning because we are intelligent. Natural selection is only relevant to the extent that an unplanned side effect of selection was the production of the kind of intelligence we have. Once in place, we can and do create our own meaning and nature. We have been bootstrapped into a position where we can and do take on our own purposes often in opposition to the "goals" of our DNA so to speak.

So are in a position of creating or discovering purpose and meaning for ourselves. That's exactly what the designers have to do--where else would they get meaning? Where do they get meaning from? In a sense we are already gods.

Just tell me this much. How do the designers manage to have meaning without having the whole system and context they find themselves in being designed by even more intelligent beings? Why do they not have to look for an outside context?

If you say they get part of their meaning and purpose from prior gods, then I will say that we likewise get some of our purpose and meaning from prior humans and then we add our own depending on what we discover or create (just like the gods). We are already just god-like enough.

If meaning is impossible to discover or create and must be imported from a higher context, then the designers would need their own higher context--they too would need to import their meaning from they outside.

If it is possible to have meaning based on sufficient intelligence (however it came to be) then then we can do from our own contexts and our own intelligence just like the designers must have.

Why does a designer bother to get up in the morming.

This is a powerful point if you can manage to suspend you LDS paradigm long enough to get the point. Please don't just recite plan of salvation etc. It doesn't address my point.

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Tarski:

"The higher context (in Mormonism) is just a cartoonish scaled up version of human society with some stuff about no sickness or death thrown in to relieve anxiety.".

Your nihilism of the abyss is cartoonish, pedantic, and tiresome.

....or would be if it were nihilism. I claim quite the opposite. Not only do we have meaning but we are the glorious gods that create it. The meaning is just more poignant because of the possibility of sickness and death.

Humankind is on a grand journey of discovery and self creation. How is that nihilism?

Since you missed it, my point was that any context can be viewed in a way as to make it all seem pointless--even the heavenly context (heaven needs its own heaven eventually). But we can look at it the other way too and that's how we should look at human life and we can do it without the bigger outside context (which can be made to appear small and needing an even bigger outside context).

In other words, if human life doesn't seem to be enough to provide meaning to you, then after a long time being a god, that would also start to seem to be not enough.

For me, I already have meaning in this my only life.

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We are already just god-like enough.

But we are not as perfect as our Father in heaven, yet. You and I can act like teenagers who think we already know it all, and yes, we truly can act that way, if we want to, but we are not the same person who created us and we're not finished yet if we want to go on to be as perfect as our Father in heaven.

If meaning is impossible to discover or create and must be imported from a higher context, then the designers would need their own higher context--they too would need to import their meaning from they outside.

Once you get to the point where you know everything, and you can see everyone else and everything else in it's proper perspective, you'll then see that there is nothing better than what you are, even if there are others who are exactly like you.

Just don't think that way too soon, before you actually know everything and can see everything in its proper perspective.

Why does a designer bother to get up in the morming.
To help everyone and everything else fulfill the full measure of their creation, just because that's what he enjoys doing and that's the way that he would like everything to be.
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Just tell me this much. How do the designers manage to have meaning without having the whole system and context they find themselves in being designed by even more intelligent beings? Why do they not have to look for an outside context?

At the risk of sounding trite, "Men are that they might have joy."

I would say that our Creator knows how to create lasting happiness -- he's intelligent enough to know what is happiness, what works and what doesn't work.

Or as Joseph Smith put it, "Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; (TPJS p. 255)"

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At the risk of sounding trite, "Men are that they might have joy."

I would say that our Creator knows how to create lasting happiness -- he's intelligent enough to know what is happiness, what works and what doesn't work.

Or as Joseph Smith put it, "Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; (TPJS p. 255)"

Just highlighting the qualifiers in those statements, just in case somebody thinks its supposed to happen automatically regardless of what we choose to do.

The Designer has seen fit to allow us some control in how we turn out to be, and if we would rather not follow the "plan of happiness", then there is nothing to stop us from becoming miserable.

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My conclusion:

The door to meaning and purpose is indeed opened by intelligence---our intelligence!

OK, I have no problem with the idea that an intelligent person can find meaning in life without deity.

With a belief in deity I will do things that "d

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Tarski:

If this life is all there is then let's keep dancing and break out the booze.

In my religion this life is what gives meaning and definition to what it means to be human and humane. To learn, to grow, to progress into a better person. I find it endlessly fascinating with all its challenges, triumphs, and yes sometimes even its failures. It means to help the poor, the sick, the disabled. To lift up the heavy of heart to see that a better way is within their grasp. To become happy. It gives me hope that even I can become perfected. That I can be with my beloved wife and family when I finally lay down this mortal coil. That my earthly father and mother will be there to greet me with open arms. To cheat at Pinochle. :P

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The door to meaning and purpose is indeed opened by intelligence---our intelligence!

This happens all the time, but not just by peering through one set aperture of a single door. Meaning and purpose evolve as we open the door wider and new doors are accessed. While it could be said that meaning and purpose are perfectly subjective, some are able to pass insights along to others or through the generations and effectively serve as doors themselves. They inspire. Some keep it to themselves and operate in a vacuum so that no observation of their meaning and purpose can serve as a door, and thus they exercise a kind of anti-intelligence. They turn off. Some build on what has been offered to date, and build further on the synergy or springboard created by the application of what has already been shared with others. The hierarchy and variety of intelligence, and of meaning and purpose, are recognized through a united experience, and maximized the same way. The two hands wash each other

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Tarski:

If this life is all there is then let's keep dancing and break out the booze.

Well OK that's fine with me, I like dancing and a little booze but too much booze isn't fun and may ruin some of my other plans.

I don't know about you but even without religion, I can think of plenty of meaningful things to do besides dance and drink.

Make music, do science, help alleviate suffering, work to get food on the table, sports and fitness, philosophy, movies, love sex and marriage.

And... as you say.... "learn, to grow, to progress into a better person...... help the poor, the sick, the disabled...... lift up the heavy of heart to see that a better way is within their grasp...".

Whew! That's a lot and all without designers or gods!!!.

It seems kinda sad that you think that dancing around drunk is all that's left for us to do if we drop the belief in intelligent designers of life. I am pretty sure Darwin himself did more than that.

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Why wouldn't some misguided designers pine for an ever higher context thinking that meaning must come from someplace outside or a yet higher context?

You are right, there are many differnt things that can give life meaning... so, what do you live for?

You can live for art, live for music, live for science, live for sports, live for cars, live for houses,

Sure, there are a lot of things that give life meaning, but the best thing you can live for, the highest purpose, the most noble calling, comes from living for something bigger than yourself, living for soemthing that lasts eternally, living for love, for one another, for the God that makes that possible.

So, there are other meanings in life, but they all pale in comparison to the rewards, Meaning, and Purpose, which are found by those who live for God/eternal families/eternal love/eternal life.

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No it isn't. That's a trivial is/ought fallacy.

Seems logical to me. Why am I here? My ancestors beat the competition. Sounds like the reason for my life is competition. Pretty hard to argue toward another conclusion.

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Anyway, in response to some of the thoughts in this thread, getting our purpose from "ourselves," can only go so far. At one point, Tarski touts reason (and therefore truth) as a unifying force among scientists. I agreed whole-heartedly. I also pointed out that scientists united behind eugenics, based on Darwinism. But what's more, if reason has a unifying effect, and if we think that's good, then "getting our purpose from ourselves," doesn't make a lot of sense. Will we choose an irrational purpose? Maybe my purpose is to stick my finger in my belly button? The intelligent people who have a modicum of maturity will use reason to arrive at a purpose. If we rely on reason, and we follow the line of reasoning that starts with Darwinism and ends with nihilism, then we will have no reason at all. The most intelligent people will become narcissists based on reason and a fallacious premise. But with ID, we don't have that problem. We can reason our way to any number of smaller purposes and imagine greater purposes that are truly elevating to humanity, instead of diminishing us to brutes and monsters, like the fascists.

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Seems logical to me. Why am I here? My ancestors beat the competition. Sounds like the reason for my life is competition. Pretty hard to argue toward another conclusion.

Your existence is also owed to non-selective forces and "competition" can entail cooperative strategies. But that's all beside the point as you can't derive a statement like, "you ought to life your life as a competition against living things" from a statement like, "your existence is the result of your ancestors out-competing others." This is a Humean is/ought fallacy if there ever was one. Somewhere there is a missing premise that goes, "you ought to behave in a manner that accounts for your existence" that is going unjustified. I'm not sure what your justification for that would be.

Similarly, if you were designed by a designer who hoped you'd be a rapist, it does not follow that you ought to be a rapist. The moral obligation is distinct from the designer's intent for your behavior.

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