November 16, 2008
I’m amused by things that almost make sense but don’t. Arguably, that’s the basis of all humor. Humor works best when there is some truth in it while still being an exaggeration into the realm of nonsense. It’s the juxtaposition of truth and nonsense that triggers the brain hiccup called laughter.
I was reminded of this by a comment on this blog from Jengineer. Her argument was a bit different than the one I am about to make, but it sparked the following thought: There are only two conditions in the universe: Programmed or random. In other words, action is either a simple chain of cause and effect, or it is somehow immune to cause and effect.
Intelligence can’t be random. That would be the opposite of intelligence. But intelligence also can’t be programmed, for if that were allowed, your alarm clock would be called intelligent, and obviously it isn’t.
So if there are only two possibilites — programmed or random — and intelligence can be neither then intelligence must not exist. It must be an illusion.
The thing that amuses me about that argument is that I’m sure it is wrong, but I don’t know why. And that is further evidence that intelligence is an illusion. At least my own.