Did We Create Our Own Intelligence?

In a television series in the 1980’s, the late Professor Carl Sagan1 set out to explain man’s evolution. After discussing the incredible ability of DNA to store enormous amounts of information, he then said:

“When our genes could not store all the information necessary for our survival we slowly invented brains.”

What are we to make of the term “we slowly invented brains”? This is a very sweeping statement that elevates humankind to the role of Creator. Is there any intelligent human today who could manufacture the equivalent of the human brain, especially from elementary particles? This involves the hotly debated subject of AI (Artificial Intelligence). There are some exceptionally well qualified scientists currently developing computers that manifest AI — to varying degrees of success. And the intellectual resources being poured into the projects are enormous, not to mention the amount of time so far spent to obtain the partial results they have achieved.

Bicentennial Man, with Robin Williams and Sam Neill

So, if the highly impressive brains of contemporary scientists are struggling to reach this ultimate goal of fully independent artificially intelligent computers, then how could “we” have performed such a feat in the days when Darwinian Evolution says we didn’t even possess a brain?

To many evolutionists, the “we” conveys the idea that highly organised processes were involved in the selection of characteristics that resulted in new functions such as the brain. But highly organised by whom, by what? And how did these functions develop in the first place in order to be selected? If intelligent, organised scientists are finding so many difficulties producing and perfecting AI, how can blind chance — ubiquitous serendipitous events — manage such impressive accomplishments?

Professor Sir Robin Murray, one of the UK’s leading psychiatrists, described the human brain as the most complex known object in the universe.

And the late Isaac Asimov, professor of biochemistry at Boston University, USA, and well-known science fiction writer, once said:

“The human brain … is the most complicated organization of matter that we know.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2 (1991)

(See The Fundamentals for a further discussion.)


Footnotes

1 Author and presenter of Cosmos — a book and television series presented in the 1980’s — also former David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University, New York.

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