By Chic Hollis – Philosophical Musings
Every thinking person must admit that an egg came first because a chicken is merely a two-legged, feather-covered, electro-chemical factory that an ordinary fertilized egg constructs to produce another egg.
But wait a minute, there’s something about that slick answer that we overlooked. Where was the rooster when all this was going on? Sitting on the egg? Scratching for bugs in the barnyard? Strutting proudly to impress another hen?
I must admit that an acceptable answer to the chicken and egg conundrum is still unavailable.
Now the astrophysicists on NOVA are suggesting that before the famous Big Bang occurred -that supposedly launched our universe – there was only empty space until something material about the size of a small pearl came out of nowhere and exploded. The residue from that explosion expanded so rapidly that after 13 billion years of Earth time, we have a magnificent universe as we perceive it today.
Where did that pearl come from? An oyster or a ………….. (you fill in the blank.)
There are many things that we humans observe that we can’t explain. They are counterintuitive to our human consciousness.
For example: Over elapsed time humans observe external events following one another and believe that there must be a cause for every observed effect. Consequently, they can’t accept the “unrealistic” notion that something can be made out of nothing or that something comes from nothing. It doesn’t seem possible to us, but perhaps it is.
There are other paradoxes and conundrums that cause us trouble.
Which came first, the intelligent thinker or the intelligence? (Here I assume the concept of “intelligence” covers the knowledge of mechanics or how things work, how chemical elements are combined, what causes things to happen, what gives power to forces, and what rules actually govern the universe.) An intelligent thinker can learn or absorb the original ideas of others, can process mentally complicated word and mathematical concepts, and can hypothesize logical conclusions from causal assumptions.
However, can this person do any of that without possessing some mental capability which amounts to what we English speaking folks would call “possessing native intelligence?”
The mental apparatus that humans use when they are thinking is a sophisticated combination of electrical, chemical, and mechanical constituents and components that usually produce a physical action or a verbal response. These responses demonstrate that some thought process has been followed. Was that thought process an original one or a borrowed one? If it is an original one, then the intelligent thinker precedes intelligence. On the other hand, if the thinker is really borrowing someone else’s “intelligence,” then that intelligence came first.
Watching a robotic machine perform a series of complicated steps in producing something would lead a human observer to believe that some kind of thinking was going on somewhere. And it is, but not in an independent mind. The CPU or the data processing unit governing the machine’s performance uses borrowed intelligence from the machine’s inventors to interface with measurements provided by specially designed sensors and with the analytical criteria that has been borrowed and stored in a “memory bank” of the CPU. No original “thinking” has actually been done by the machine’s CPU, although some important decisions may have been made and some alternate procedures may have been chosen by the CPU to complete the job.
Observing this process, a person can’t help but suspect that intelligence came first to the inventor of the process and then to the designer of the machine to do the work. From the preceding example it is obvious that there are at least three simple inputs of diverse “intelligence” to any performing entity, human or robot:
1) Intelligence from outside of the data processor,
2) Data received by the senses or the sensors, and
3) Pertinent criteria already accumulated from experience and
deliberately stored somewhere.
In the human case the external intelligence may come from DNA information or from some silent form of spontaneous, remote communication which we might attribute to “intuition” or to “creative ingenuity.” All original ideas come to us “out of nowhere” which we can’t trace exactly. Ideas passed along to us by our parents, our teachers, and our peers have their obscure origin also.
It really doesn’t matter which came first, the intelligent thinker or the intelligence, except that the process of latching on to more profound intelligence ought to be better understood and refined, if possible. This requires anyone interested in spending time analyzing how break-through achievements are accomplished to work harder and to dig deeper. Thinking “outside the box,” examining counterintuitive ideas, and associating seemingly unrelated concepts are the most obvious ways human progress is made.
Most of the counterintuitive ideas that are understood and accepted today by experts required humans to examine and ponder what was actually happening. Once the facts were identified and assorted “intelligently,” erroneous, preconceived ideas were tossed aside. That the world is a sphere and not the center of our solar system is still not obvious to the man in the street and the savage in the jungle. But that bit of “intelligence” is commonplace today and recognized as a useful item of truth by educated humans.
Identifying a universal truth has always demanded humans to plod along until the intelligence about some concept was clear enough for some human to understand and to explain. Certainly, the intelligence that controls the observed universe preceded the thinking human. However, many scientists perplexed by their cause and effect human logic cannot accept that intelligent ideas and complex concepts might be initially conjured up by some yet-to-be identified intelligent mind.
And what role does the intelligent rooster play in all this? How does the chicken and egg analogy fit the intelligent thinker conundrum? Or does it? Think about it seriously, then think some more. I’ll let you know what I conclude when I peer outside my box the next time.
Anyone who can explain to me how you can actually produce something from nothing should send his or her enlightening response to NewsBlaze for my consideration.