Art, evolution and design

A process of interaction so detailed and at such a high level will seem to invoke questions of ‘design’ or even intelligent design. At this point we are ready for that stealth theism: the ID group over a generation has critiqued Darwinism, rightly so. But then the presence of ‘design’ in nature suddenly became ‘intelligent’ in an argument by Dembski et al. His logic is of interest but still remains ‘sub-kantian’ so to speak. On one side we say, we cannot invoke either theism or ‘mind in nature’ using the term ‘intelligent’ unless we can point to something specific. And that we can’t do. Ambiguous crypto-theism does nothing but harm because it is instantly abused for theological partisanship.
To me the question of design in nature is transparent and has nothing to do with theism. It usually points to a teleological issue, but again that cannot be used to promote theism.
The fact is that if you predicate ‘intelligent’ to design you create an ambiguity that sows confusion that can never be clarified until you drop the term and start over. Many good reasons stand there: a planetary AI machine might direct evolution and thence art forms, and it might have bootstrapped in the wake of the onset of earth history. That’s outlandish, and open to objection, but it is less outlandish than vague references to theistic fictions that have no concrete evidence. An AI machine might have different but related exixtences in nature showing how unconscious design factors might exist. Simple doubt here makes confidence in the usual design theism plummet. And we should not a la the Turing argument say that AI machines are conscious in the usual sense. That misses the point. Nature wouldn’t waste conscious energy on hypermechanical machines that boost evolution. Still, as AI nutjobs claim, there is a threshold were ‘intelligent’ mechanical computation ‘seems’ conscious. What is consciousness? It is not the same as ‘intelligence’ in quotation marks. Very little in the above paragraph is proven, so who knows?
Natural selection was taken up to banish all design arguments and thus to buttress atheism. But such things are tactics, not science. The Dawkins fanatics do this but in vain. Design used to raise the hackles of secularists but now the question gets a shrug: design in nature is omnipresent and its existence has no theological implications. The ID folkd have shifted somewhat to say that ‘intelligent could refer to ‘mind’ in nature. A figure like Hegel does so. We have no absolute proof this is wrong, but without direct specification it gets another shrug. The computer revolution has changed all this and now we confront the fact that machines that look ‘intelligent’ might direct evolution, without even specifying how they could bootstrap out of the Big Bang, etc…
The point is that intelligent design could be mechanical in a new sense and thus require quotes, ‘intelligent’. The problems of science are one thing, those of theocracy another. If we speak of intelligent design we confront a political faction of religious maniacs trying to plot against the government.
The fact of the matter is that ‘intelligent’ (now in quotes) design is evident ‘as it seems’ in nature but if religious fanatics persist in plotting against the government we will change terminology, tough luck. Over time people change and the secular mood takes over and we just don’t take ‘intelligent’ design as proof of anything anymore. The example of art, music, and drama as evidence of historical design is especially useful because it passes out the range of what we ascribe to theistic action. God doesn’t tie your shoes in the morning and won’t do your poetry either (notwithstanding the poets superstition about muses) even though we can see that art generation is bound up in macroevolution. It had to be so, and once we think about it we realize or suspect that song emerged in evolution as a characteristic of species man, so we are saying nothing new.

Source: macroevolution programs art/music over millennia?…// Is the tragic genre dead? and classical music? Darwinists have totally confused the question of evolution – 1848+: The End(s) of History

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