I’m beginning to think all that time spent by Scott Adams trying to think the same way stupid people do so he can turn it into a funny comic strip is starting to take its toll on him, and I say that as a Dilbert fan myself. Scott and PZ Myers got into an argument not too long ago over Scott’s rather sad attempt to justify the teaching of Intelligent Design as an “alternative” theory to evolution. I read Scott’s writings on the topic and I could at least follow where he was coming from even though it was, as PZ pointed out, a pretty piss-poor argument.
Well today Scott took it upon himself to tackle the weighty subject of intelligence and how you determine what is and isn’t intelligent and through an amazingly silly turn of thinking he comes to the conclusion that the Big Bang itself was intelligent:
Consider the simple act of picking up a pencil. It requires your brain and your muscles, but it also requires you to exist in the first place. And that means that your mother and father are part of the process, as well as their parents, etc. Once you existed, and within your body, there was a vast sequence of cause and effect between your brain and your muscles to make it all happen. You might say that “you” picked up the pencil, but I look at the big picture and say the Big Bang picked up that pencil – with or without the existence of free will – because without the Big Bang, none of it would happen.
Got that? Because there had to be a Big Bang before there could be a you then the Big Bang is responsible for everything that happened after the Big Bang and seeing as you picking up a pencil occurred after the Big Bang then by Scott’s style of logic the Big Bang actually picked up the pencil and is therefor intelligent. It’s almost stunning in its simplemindedness.
To begin with the Big Bang is an event, not a thing. It’s a label we apply to something that happened. The universe exists as a result of the Big Bang, but the universe isn’t the Big Bang. Not being a thing it can’t be said to possess any traits such as intelligence.
It’d almost be funny if it weren’t apparent that Scott is serious about this. He continues with the following…
If you reject the Big Bang as being intelligent – after acknowledging that it created so many books and other works of art, it leaves you with no test for intelligence.
If we accept Scott’s line of reasoning we still don’t have a test for intelligence because the logical conclusion to be drawn from his argument is that everything is intelligent. Here’s the clincher in his argument:
I take the practical approach – that something is intelligent if it unambiguously performs tasks that require intelligence. Writing Moby Dick required intelligence. The Big Bang wrote Moby Dick. Therefore, the Big Bang is intelligent, and you and I are created by that same intelligence. Therefore, we are created by an intelligent entity.
Wow, just wow. That ridiculously huge jump from “writing Moby Dick required intelligence” to “the Big Bang wrote Moby Dick” is just amazing, isn’t it? Clearly it takes a special sort of intellect to cover such huge leaps in logic in a single bound like that.
He finishes up with…
I don’t see how an atheist can think otherwise.
Apparently because you’re a moron, Mr. Adams, who thinks the Big Bang is an intelligent entity that is actually pumping out your comic strip for you.
Scott, in all seriousness for a moment, you’re a funny guy who has a very successful and amusing comic strip, but you suck as a philosopher or big thinker or whatever the hell it is you’re trying to accomplish with nonsense like the above. Be happy with what you’re good at and the rest of us will be happy for you.
Link via Pharyngula.