Stan Cox


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Editorial

Artificial Intelligence:
Evidence of Design


(Note: The following article recently appeared in an issue of Truth Magazine.)

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well" (Psa. 139:14).

In the June 29, 2001 issue of the Daily Texan (The University of Texas' daily student newspaper), staff writer Devin Griffiths reported on an Austin based company, Cycorp, which is a leading force in the development of AI, (artificial intelligence). Simply put, AI is the capacity of a computer to reason and learn on its own, without any outside help. Readers may be familiar with the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which had as a lead character a thinking, feeling, lying, and ultimately killing computer named HAL. Recently another theatrical release has captured the imagination of filmgoers. AI: Artificial Intelligence, has as its premise the creation of a robotic child programmed with the capacity to love.

There is often a vast gulf between the imaginative world of science fiction and the reality of hard science. What sounds plausible in movies and books may in reality either be impossible or beyond the realm of man's actual technological achievements. This is certainly true with regard to the state of AI development at the present time. As Griffiths states in his article, "...despite vast technological developments, researchers in the real 2001 are still trying to get computers to read."

Concerning the problem with developing AI, Cycorp's head, Doug Lenat, indicated that "the bottleneck is not that computers aren't fast enough, it's just that they lack 'common sense.'" In an attempt to develop AI technology, Lenat has hired a large contingent of philosophers (called ontologists) to compile and modify a program called Cyc. The ontologists' job is to supply the myriad of facts, and the proper relationship the facts hold to one another, as such developing a system of "thought" for the program. Griffiths characterizes this effort as "a huge project", and notes that other scientists believe it is doomed to failure.

For example, AI researcher Rosalind Picard contends that no matter how many facts and no matter how much logic is programmed into computers, they will never be able to think rationally, thus displaying true artificial intelligence. Picard notes that in the case of humans, both a lack of emotion (perhaps as a result of impaired brain function due to injury) and a surplus of emotion causes humans to act aberrantly. As computers are not able to "feel" (contrary to what the "movies" portray), there are what may be insurmountable obstacles to the development of artificial intelligence. At best, all that can be done by scientists and programmers is a pale imitation of the complex emotions, reasoning ability, imagination and faith of man.

While all the above is interesting to some (not so much to others), it does serve as a powerful argument as to the design, and therefore to the Designer, of man. "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:26-27). No matter how fast their processors, no matter the expansion of their memory, no matter the cleverness of their programming, computers will ever remain only a facsimile of God's creative genius.

Creationists have always argued from design. It has rightly been pointed out that even simple mechanisms such as a watch or book could not be the product of happenstance. An explosion, the passage of time, the convolutions of chance events and conditions can not serve to bridge the gap between chance and any object with structure and purpose. Though the argument is simple, it is not simplistic. The most profound and powerful truths are often self-evident. This is true of the design of the universe and all that is in it. "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world..." (Psalm 19:1-4a).

The reason that evolutionists believe that both the universe and the life it contains came about by chance is not because it is plausible, but rather it is, in their mind, the only possibility. Simply stated, if all other possibilities are eliminated, what remains must be true, no matter how implausible. The evolutionist has rejected the concept of divine creation out of hand. As such, they believe the only possible explanation for the universe to be the evolutionary process. Notice the following quote from Nobel Prize laureate Harold C. Urey:

    "All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. We all believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did." (Christian Science Monitor, January 4, 1962, at 4).

Truly, "The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." (Psalm :14:1).

Scientists pour millions of man hours into a project designed to, in some limited way, mimic man's emotions and intellect. These same scientists deny a Designer in the original. This shows them to have a prejudiced mind. Too often Christians fear the so-called knowledge of the "experts." We are intimidated by the terminology, ill-prepared to counter the bold assertions, and cowed by the letters behind the names. Rather, we should see such men who rail against the revelation of God as ineffectual children who "won't see it" because they refuse to "open their eyes." "For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" (Acts 28:27). They refuse to see, hear and understand the existence of God because if they do, they will have to turn from their wicked way of living and their selfishness. This they will not do.

This, however, does not change the glorious truth, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1).

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