Here’s what a strong belief in materialistic SETI leads to: complete intellectual implosion.
Former SETI Institute head Seth Shostak thinks that the aliens we meet will likely be machines. Here’s what Fox News says about the views of this “veteran alien hunter” who has nothing yet to show for decades of searching.
Humans’ machine selves will get smarter and more capable incredibly quickly, he added. Humanity’s present intelligence is the result of 4 billion years of Darwinian evolution, which uses random variation as its raw material and is not directed toward any particular goal. But the evolution of machine intelligence will be engineered and efficient, Shostak said.
“Once you invent a thinking machine, you say, ‘Invent something better than you are,’ and you build that. ‘Design something better than you are,’ and you build that, and so forth,” he said.
Apparently he has not thought this through, so let’s help him out. According to his worldview, everything is an accident. He would probably entertain seriously, for instance, the suggestion of fellow evolutionist Mike Wall on Space.com, “Did Asteroid Strikes Help Spur Life on Earth?” The asteroid did not arrive with the intention of spurring life on Earth. It just happened, according to the Stuff Happens Law (SHL). But the SHL is really the ground of all subsequent evolution, too. It’s the only cause behind random mutation and natural selection – the “not directed” cause Shostak spoke about.
Consequently, Seth Shostak’s own intelligence is the result of “stuff happens.” Many philosophers have pointed out the flaws of evolutionary epistemology, the notion that “what we know and how we know it” is the result of evolution—a blind, unguided process that did not have intelligence in mind. David Wood has a YouTube video explaining the self-refuting nature of the view. In a second video, he shows how Descartes, David Hume and Darwin all recognized the problem, or at least contributed to it. Nancy Pearcey has also written about this at Evolution News & Views.
So already, Shostak’s own intelligence has imploded. But we can see the implosion from another angle. According to evolutionary theory, human beings are machines programmed by material causes. In the famous analogy by Richard Dawkins, we are puppets of our selfish genes. They use us for their own ends to propagate themselves.
This means that Shostak himself is a machine. He is not thinking independently. His statements about invention, design and building are meaningless vocalizations – different in complexity, to be sure, but not in kind, from the barks of a dog. His selfish genes programmed him (a machine) to say that aliens are machines. He doesn’t really believe it; his body parts are generating pressure waves in the atmosphere.
From his own assumptions, therefore, we can dismiss everything he says in the article as nonsense. To convince us that his ideas have intellectual merit, he would have to become a supernaturalist. He would have to admit that argument, logic and design are immaterial concepts. He would have to say that he really possess a soulish intellect that can go beyond the SHL and organize concepts into coherent thoughts worth believing.
Once you learn to recognize the self-refuting fallacy, you find it often in evolutionary literature. Remember that anything that refutes itself doesn’t need your help to refute it. You just need to point it out.
Of course, people argue foolishly because they really are created in the image of God, but fallen. They need to be regenerated to begin to be able to think coherently within the universe as it is.