Posts Tagged 'naturalism'

Evolution, Extinction or Extension: What is the Risk of Adopting the Wrong Anthropic Principle?

The most recent paper continuing the work on human extension was published by EHU’s journal Topos.

Abstract:

The paper explores two main themes in science, philosophy and theology/worldview discourse: anthropic principles and transhumanism. After providing a brief history of the first theme, it cautions about potential dehumanisation from adopting the wrong anthropic principle as a kind of ‘disanthropic’ reasoning. Part of the solution is to reclaim a proper meaning of ‘anthropic’ for the social sciences and humanities beyond the natural sciences of physics and cosmology or statistical probabilities. The second theme is investigated both in theistic and nontheistic variants as they influence what is meant by ‘human’ in the context of evolution and development. Transhumanism is portrayed in terms of both risk and reward with the rise of neoeugenics and biotechnological human enhancements. The paper closes by briefly acknowledging Human Extension (Sandstrom 2011, 2014) as a reflexive anthropic principle that can be applied in social sciences and humanities to help overcome the ideologies of naturalism and scientism. The Human Extension approach focuses on choices and actions that bring into relief the eschatological claims of some transhumanists and posthumanists who speak disanthropically about human extinction due to technocratic artificial intelligence or who deny human exceptionalism and instead promote species egalitarism among earthly creatures.

Keywords:

anthropic principle, anthropic reasoning, evolution, naturalism, transhumanism, dehumanisation, human extension

http://topos.ehu.lt/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Topos-2-3_2014-Sandstrom.pdf

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Human Extension and Theistic Evolution/Evolutionary Creation – What Happens When ‘Neo’ Comes?

Much of what I wrote in the previous post can be likewise directed toward the two positions called ‘theistic evolution’ (TE) and ‘evolutionary creation’ (EC). These two similar views are particularly popular among monotheists of the Abrahamic faiths who have little problem with the natural-physical science of evolutionary biology and at the same time who reject ‘young earth’ (YE) arguments based on a literal reading of the first two chapters in the Book of Genesis. As Robert J. Russell says, “evolution is God’s way of creating life.” (2003: 336) This ‘camp’ of thinkers called TE or EC is more openly religious than ‘intelligent design’ (ID) proponents due to the fact that they include ‘theism’ or ‘creation’ in their respective labels.

TE and EC as positions or labels basically constitute those people who believe that the Creator guides or directs the processes of change-over-time that we observe ‘in nature,’ even if we cannot scientifically prove the guidance or direction (cf. Teleology). They represent the vast majority of religious persons today who see no conflict between evolutionary biology and religious belief or spirituality, between accepting an ‘old Earth,’ studying theology and/or being a person of faith. Where the discussion becomes most complicated and full of tension is when evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, ethology and cognitive studies (e.g. origins of consciousness) are involved and when (neo-)Darwinian evolution is turned into an atheistic and oftentimes anti-theistic ideology called ‘(neo-)Darwinism.’  Continue reading ‘Human Extension and Theistic Evolution/Evolutionary Creation – What Happens When ‘Neo’ Comes?’

Human Extension and Intelligent Design – What Happens When ‘Neo’ Comes?

Intelligent Design theory (IDT) begins with effects and makes inference to causes (Stephen C. Meyer). The effects in question are specific patterns of information that can supposedly be detected ‘in nature.’ The assumption is that ‘minds’ are the only known sources that cause information. Therefore, even on the topics of the origins of life and the origins of biological information (and even sometimes on origins of mankind), one must ‘infer design’ that is intelligent and which comes from a non-human mind or divine Mind.

When it comes to the origins of biological information, the idea that an intelligent agent was the cause is contestable because IDT depends on analogy with human minds. When it comes to human-made artefacts, i.e. things that are produced by what William Dembski calls ‘mundane designers’ (in contrast to ‘transcendental designers,’ 1999), we can indeed infer that the minds, bodies and/or spirits of human beings are/were involved. However, it is a leap of faith (from theology to science) to suggest that what causes human artefacts is necessarily the same ‘kind of mind’ as what caused (past tense – i.e. big history) biological information millions of years ago in the sense of life origins.

Continue reading ‘Human Extension and Intelligent Design – What Happens When ‘Neo’ Comes?’

Overcoming Evolutionism and Naturalistic Intelligent Design

On the Arrival of Human Extension

Biologists these days, especially evolutionary and socio-biologists, often try to dictate to people about ethics, morality and religion. Do they not know any limits to their specialist natural science? It is no wonder that a movement of scientists, philosophers, theologians and PR figures have gathered around the idea of ‘intelligent design,’ as a possible escape route from biological exaggeration and scientism in the contemporary Academy. In terms of humility and reflexivity, evolutionary and socio-biologists seem to be running on an almost empty tank.

I’ve watched and sometimes publically participated in the ‘controversy over evolution’ that has been going on mainly in the United States over the past decade. This includes meeting and/or corresponding with most leaders of the Intelligent Design Movement, visiting the Discovery Institute as a curiosity, as well as reading, researching and debating views proposed by ‘new atheists’ on-line. I’ve published academic papers, attended and presented speeches at scholar conferences on evolution, creation and intelligent design. During that time I’ve been struck by a few basic observations.

Continue reading ‘Overcoming Evolutionism and Naturalistic Intelligent Design’

‘the Nature of’ – One of the Emptiest Phrases in the English Language

The purpose of this thread is to offer a communicative massage. The main questions are first, whether or not people think they need such a massage and second, whether they will allow them-self to be massaged communicatively by unknown ‘hands’ on the internet, i.e. by someone they don’t know and thus likely will find hard to immediately trust. Can I influence the way people speak and think simply by highlighting a feature of English language expression that often goes unnoticed or is taken for granted?

My opponent is the ideology of ‘naturalism.’ Why do I choose it as an opponent? Because I am a human-social scientist and don’t wish to accept the argument put forward by many naturalists that ‘social’ things are actually ‘natural’ simply by virtue of society being constructed out of our ‘human nature.’ I reject the ideology of naturalism for its encroachment on the sovereign territory of human-social sciences and their objects/subjects of study and argue that there is an alternative and more accurate way to discuss what naturalists actually mean in one particular phrase they commonly use.

The argument I would like to make here is so simple and straightforward that it will be easily accepted by some, while it will be immensely tough and thought as challenging to others, primarily those employed in natural-physical sciences. The main point is this: the phrase ‘the nature of’ is one of the emptiest in the English language.

Continue reading ‘‘the Nature of’ – One of the Emptiest Phrases in the English Language’


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E-mail: gregorisandstrom@yahoo.com

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