Machine-Making Minds Made by Mind-Making Machines

Machine-Making Minds Made by Mind-Making Machines November 21, 2013

I happened across another iteration of the design argument in its modern-day form, the essence of which can be boiled down to the following:

  • All machines we know of are made by minds;
  • DNA is like a machine;
  • Therefore DNA was intelligently designed.

The person who made the argument said they thought this worked with 100% certainty!

Why do I not find this logic sound? Because one could even more easily argue the following:

  • All minds we know of with certainty are connected with biological organisms;
  • Biological organisms are made through a process involving DNA;
  • Therefore all minds are made by DNA.

Our machine-making minds are produced by “machines” (DNA) which are more widespread than minds are, and the natural occurrence or otherwise of which is precisely the issue.

It could well be that minds make machines because minds emerge from machine-like processes which occur naturally in nature. If so, then the first argument puts the cart before the horse. And if that is not the case, then that must be demonstrated. The design argument begs the question, it doesn't answer it.

We like solving mysteries, but some puzzles are not so easily cracked.


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  • Also, I don’t know of anything made by minds. At most, minds “make” ideas (let’s not get into determinism) that physical bodies and processes have to carry out. That’s how we can tell a broken pebble from a Stone Age hand axe, by studying the methods for making stone tools and looking for the telltale signs of human manufacture.
    IDers steadfastly refuse to talk about how the “designer” turns his ideas into material organisms because, in the end, the designer is God and “poof” is his method.

  • Blake Reas

    Well, you showed that you do not know how to formulate an Aristotelian Syllogism that is for sure. You commit the four term fallacy. So, you may want to present the strongest form of the argument you are critiquing.

    • Ian

      Well, you showed that you can miss the forest for the trees. You may want to try to formulate the syllogisms in a way that makes them a) valid, and b) have premises that are not transparently tendentious. Your success or failure in that endevor might teach you something about the point of the post.