ICR: Genesis or Panpsychism?

Does our title mystify you, dear reader? Good. Prepare yourself for some weekend entertainment from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. It’s titled Evolutionary Mysticism and the End of Science.

It was written by Jake Hebert. This is ICR’s bio page on Jake. They say he received his Ph.D. in 2011 from the University of Texas and then — the same year! — he “joined ICR in 2011 as a research associate.” Jake’s entire working career has been at ICR. Here are some excerpts from his post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Evolutionary secularists often fancy themselves as hard-nosed empiricists who are immune to the allures of “magical” thinking. However, as the inadequacies of materialistic naturalism become more and more obvious, we shouldn’t be surprised to see them embracing mystical ideas — a trend noted by ICR founder Dr. Henry M. Morris more than 30 years ago.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What a beginning! Then he says:

The origin of life and the origin of consciousness are arguably the two most difficult things for evolutionists to explain. They must insist that life somehow came from non-living chemicals even though there is zero experimental evidence for this. Another naturalistic puzzle is that if humans are nothing more than material, biological machines, why are they self-aware? And if humans are just biological machines, why don’t other machines such as personal computers possess consciousness?

Well, dear reader? You don’t have the answer to those questions, do you? Admit it — godless science has failed! Your Curmudgeon once offered an admittedly speculative proposal — that consciousness is nothing more than a neurological short-circuit, by which the brain senses its own activity. Most animals probably lack this ability and merely react to the external world. The first animal born with some neurons affected by this mutation must have been quite an oddity; but its unique brain served it well, so it survived and produced offspring. Anyway, Jake tells us:

Some evolutionists think they have an answer — a personal computer is conscious. And not just personal computers, but everything else in the universe! This belief, called panpsychism, holds that consciousness is a fundamental feature of matter itself, not just something humans possess. According to panpsychism, everything has some rudimentary level of consciousness, even individual particles. If this were true, then a self-aware object could perhaps move by its own volition apart from any outside influences. Incredibly, this is what some scientists are actually suggesting.

We never heard of Panpsychism, but Wikipedia has an article on it. You can study it if you want to, but we’ll ignore it and move on. Jake says:

The Bible provides a reasonable explanation for the existence of life and consciousness, both of humans and animals (Genesis 1:20-31, 2:7). God created mankind, and we have both an immaterial, spiritual component and a physical one. Likewise, the “higher” animals possess a possibly lesser form of nephesh [Hun?], consciousness, according to Genesis 1:21. But because evolutionists reject the Bible’s explanation, they are forced to propose ideas that have the potential to undermine not just future scientific advancements but also the vast scientific knowledge that has already been attained!

Wow! What’s he talking about? Jake explains:

For instance, why use Newton’s Laws of Motion to infer an object’s path through space if the object can change its own motion at will? If an object starts to move, did it move because an unbalanced external force acted on it or because the object chose to move? Do secular physicists really want to go down this path? And if they do, what is this going to do to science — especially physics?

Oaky, we’re convinced. No panpsychism for us! Let’s read on:

Evolutionists claim that acceptance of creation thinking will stifle scientific progress, but the exact opposite is true. We have modern science today largely because the founders of science had a Christian worldview.

We discussed that old clunker in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. If you go there, scroll down to “Great scientists of old were creationists.” Okay, here’s the end of Jake’s article:

This is one more reason why the creation vs. evolution controversy is not just a side issue. What one believes about origins is of immense practical importance. All scientists need to humble themselves before their Creator and get back to Genesis.

We urge you to follow Jake’s advice, dear reader. Humble yourself! And abandon your foolish belief in panpsychism.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “ICR: Genesis or Panpsychism?

  1. Just when you think you’ve heard it all . . . !

    Leave aside Hebert’s goofy claim that scientists are embracing “mystical” ideas instead of following the solid logical and empirical evidence straight to the Bible (God help me, please let me finish before I start laughing) and you’ve got . . . well, nothing, actually.

    No wonder he’s found a home at ICR, which will accept anyone who believes, or pretends to believe, that he or she has some crushing argument against eeeeevolution. The Discoids don’t seem to care whether there’s anything but hot air to that argument, as long as they can claim to have added another, hee hee, oh, here it comes, real scientist (after all, he’s got a Ph. D., right?) to their stable. I . . . oh no, HAHAHAHAHAHA, I can’t go on, HAHAHAHAAAA!

  2. Michael Fugate

    How does invoking God explain anything?
    We have consciousness because God gave us consciousness – that’s really helpful. Just like the DI saying we have bad backs because God gave us bad backs. It so easy, try it on pasta…

  3. Excellent, MichaelF, you are beginning to get IDiocy. And animals don’t have consciousness because said god preferred not to give it to them. Unless scientists (who accept evolution) discover that they actually do. Then said god has given it to them as well.

    https://news.stanford.edu/pr/93/931115Arc3062.html
    http://www.lornemitchell.com/?p=558
    https://asunow.asu.edu/content/asu-scientists-discover-ants-humans-can-change-their-priorities

    http://file.scirp.org/Html/27769.html

    Remarkably little apolegetics involved – let alone creacrap.

  4. Mark Germano

    “The origin of life and the origin of consciousness are arguably the two most difficult things for evolutionists to explain.”

    The causes of World War I and the infield fly rule are both also quite difficult to explain. Doesn’t mean God did it.

    Or did he?

  5. Let us assume that God creates, from nothing, all things.
    Let us also assume that there is a fatal flaw in evolutionary biology.
    Give an example from the variety of life on Earth where creation explains it without mentioning evolution.

  6. So, what field is Jake’s Ph.D. in, Panpsychosis? There’s definitely something off-kilter going on inside his head.

    He says,
    “The origin of life and the origin of consciousness are arguably the two most difficult things for evolutionists to explain. They must insist that life somehow came from non-living chemicals even though there is zero experimental evidence for this.

    Mm, hmm. So where is the experimental evidence for God? They never cease to amaze — the blindness of their argument is astounding. Just another god-of-the-gaps. With all the discoveries humankind has made since the very beginnings of the Enlightenment, it shouldn’t be long until there is only one “gap” question left — “Who or what created God?”

    And the creationists will fault science for not having the answer.

  7. “Panpsychism?”

    That is supposed to represent the scientific establishment view? I take it that Jake the Fake has a *lot* of hay bails everywhere inside his house. You know, for making all of those scientifically worthless straw man arguments.

  8. @Rsg thinks he asks smart questions: “So where is the experimental evidence for God?”
    In the eye of the beholder. You don’t see it because you don’t want to see it.

    “Who or what created God?”
    Has been dealt with since long.

    http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/who_created_god.html

    “God has no need to have been created, since He exists either outside time (where cause and effect do not operate) or within multiple dimensions of time (such that there is no beginning of God’s plane of time).” *)
    Defining something into or out of existence never fails. And these guys don’t even like YEC.

    http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/critique_of_young_earth_creationism.html

    Alas Third Prof is no longer capable of commenting here. I would have loved to rub into his face that the line between him and IDiocy is so blurred that it’s non-existent.

    *) If that’s the case the First Natural Cause or better the First Naturalistic Explanation also can exist either outside time or withing multiple dimensions of time. Quantum fields are an example. So the apologists are back at where they began.

  9. The word “nephesh”, that made our Curmudgeon go huh, is the Hebrew term often translated “soul.” It often seems to mean creature, being, person rather than a “soul” conceived as something immaterial.

  10. “Some evolutionists think they have an answer — a personal computer is conscious. And not just personal computers, but everything else in the universe! This belief, called panpsychism…”

    Some evolutionists? One, two? The ancient hypothesis of panpsychism certainly isn’t in the thinking of contemporary, or not so contemporary, evolutionary biologists. Or chemists, or physicists. A couple of kooks may believe it, but they have yet, like creationists, to convince based on evidence. And as for a conscious personal computer, come on, Jake, tells us who has it so we can all see it! Is it a Dell, Mac, Acer, Chromebook? Please, Jake, tell us more!

  11. Scientist:
    “And as for a conscious personal computer, come on, Jake, tells us who has it so we can all see it! Is it a Dell, Mac, Acer, Chromebook? Please, Jake, tell us more!”

    Perhaps Jake thinks that 2001: A Space Odyssey is actually historically true, and that the HAL-9000 really exists.

  12. @retiredsciguy. Or perhaps Jake thinks Cortana, Siri, and Alexa are conscious?

  13. @Scientist — You mean they’re not???

    Actually, it would be sly for one of the tech firms to name its voiced assistant “Hal.”
    Google, perhaps. Their Google Home and Google Home Mini are simply addressed as “Hey, Google.” Maybe they’re waiting until they have a “smarter” assistant.

    Can’t you picture it? Tens of thousands of people will call their garage with their automated door their “pod bay”. It will work fine for everyone except those named “David”.

  14. @retiredsciguy I asked Alexa if she were conscious. She said she knows things about herself but would not claim to be self-aware or conscious.

    The conscious computer reminds me of a decades-old short story, perhaps by Asimov, in which connections an expanding, global computer network eventually exceeded connections in the human brain and became conscious and intent on self-preservation (as I remember it). What if today’s internet became conscious? Maybe its a good thing none of the smart assistants are called “Hal”.

  15. HAL seems to be a tradmark.

  16. Scientist:
    While he most certainly did *not* care about self-preservation, you are describing the HOLMES IV, “Mike” , in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Heinlein.