The presence of information in even the simplest living cells suggests that intelligent design played a role in life’s origin. After all, we know computer programs come from programmers and information generally — in a book or newspaper, for example — always arises from an intelligent source. … In addition, no alien being within the universe can explain what scientists have discovered about the structure of the universe. … the fundamental parameters of physics have been finely tuned, against all odds, to make life possible. (
The ID folks only want to talk about Design. They never want to talk about Manufacturing. We're not discussing abstract blueprints in some heavenly architect's office. We're talking about organisms that have been implemented in the physical world. So, any complete ID theory requires a description of the manufacturing process.
LOL! Well, in that vein I'd posit angels are, each one, a QFT field. ;-)
By the way, here are some other interesting properties of angels, according Scholasticism:
* They have free will but only the first time they make a decision, as this decision becomes unchangeable afterwards. Any further choice they make is delimited by the previous chain of choices, becomes permanent, and narrows down and delimits further decisions.
This follows from them not having any matter in them, since matter is understood, in Scholastic thought, as the source of changeability, and therefore the reason humans, and other material beings, can alter their choices while they're alive.
That's also why fallen angels cannot be saved: when they were in a position in which they had to chose between being for or against God, they chose to be against, and that restricted all further choices they took to always, invariably be against God. Those who chose to be for God similarly cannot change to ever become against him.
* They're shapeless, and unaffected by matter, but they can affect matter by, for example, constructing bodies they then can control from without, more or less as if they were remote-controlled robots.
This means any physical appearance of an angel assumes to interact with physical being is such a puppet, never the actual angel.
Additionally, the Bible mentions their preferred shaped-but-not-physical appearance (for example, when showing themselves in visions) are very, very weird. Not winged people with harps, but rather stuff like three-animal-head six-winged monstrosities, gyroscopic wheels full of eyes rotating around a central floating baby-like shape, crocodile-headed perma-burning humanoids (this one appears in one of the Apocrypha), and similar nightmare-inducing things -- and those are the good ones. The evil ones are even weirder.
* "Angel" is a term describing a kingdom (in the biological sense), not a species. That's because matter, when affected by a species, is what individuates that species into distinct members. Since angels don't have matter, this means each angel is both an individual and also its own species in its entirety.
* Finally, before modern cosmology developed and introduced the Heliocentric model, elliptical orbits, and the idea planets and stars are all balls of pretty regular matter, Earth itself being one such, Scholastics believed them to be, each one, an angel. Or, more precisely, one of the aforementioned angel-controlled puppets, their controlling angel having been tasked with time-keeping and with keeping cosmic regularities flowing.
I'd love to see these ideas used in sci-fi and sci-fantasy stories. They're much weirder, and much cooler, than the way fiction works usually depict angels. :D
Sounds good to me. Well, if there is indeed no limit to how many can occupy a finite space, this suggests that angels are better modeled as Bosons than Fermions. Next we can explore other essential characteristics, such as charge, spin, winged/no-wings, harped/no-harp, etc. :)
I'm not well versed in Intelligent Design by itself. The religious philosophers I follow don't take ID apologists seriously and consider them bad at both science and philosophy, so if they write something about ID it's usually to criticize its philosophical naiveté.
I can provide answers from the perspective of non-ID'ers, in particular Scholasticism, which is the source ID'ers tend to take from (and distort and oversimplify the most) while arguing for ID.
1. What sets the capacities, features, and structures, of elemental minds?
In scholastic thought there are basically three kinds with very different properties from each other: God, angels, and mortal beings (with several subtypes and stuff). Since this is focused on ID, I'll focus on mortal beings.
The core capability and feature of mortal beings souls would be ability to interact with qualia. Objects are understood as being wholes with lots of properties, roughly categorized in quantitative and qualitative ones. Quantitative properties are those that can be studied via mathematical methods. Qualitative ones cannot.
Scholastics therefore criticize reductionist philosophies for assuming that qualitative properties are emergent effects of the quantitative aspects of objects and, therefore, for believing objects are only their quantitative aspects. For them, qualitative properties are axiomatic and irreducible to the quantitative.
Notice then that, from a Scholastic perspective, everything science discovers and establishes about the quantitative properties of objects is considered valid. What they disagree with is what, for them, consists in a logical jump from "this is what we know of the quantitative properties of objects" to "this is what we know of objects".
2. In particular, what sets their capacities to create or experience beauty and meaning?
The same thing that set their capacity to continue existing. In Scholastic thinking the notion of existential inertia, that is, that barred something that destroys them things continue existing indefinitely, is refused. It understand that things only exist as long as they're kept into existence, so were the source of existence to turn its existentiation off, they'd immediately cease to exist.
That source is called God. One of God's properties would be the production of existentiation within himself, so that things that don't exist yet are made existent, and those that have already been made existent are kept existing.
3. What sets the capacities of some minds to create or modify or end themselves or other minds?
That'd be God too, in that whenever he imbues something with existence he also provides it the ability to affect other existents.
4. How many elemental minds are there, and do they exist in time, if not in space?
The number grows over time. Mortal minds, those whose existence requires and is intrinsically linked to physical bodies, have spatial existence as long as their bodies are alive, since they're in a way the abstract structure of those bodies. Once those bodies are destroyed most of them cease to exist. Human minds would be an exception to this because they have some additional properties (strongly linked to being rational) that make them subsisting without a physical body, but in a mostly abstract, impotent state, since a-spatial, only temporal. For them to become active they need to become physical again, something they cannot do by themselves. For that God would need to aggregate new matter following their structural patterns so as to get them back into a functional physical state.
5. If elemental minds exist in time, when did that time start and will it ever end?
For human, that is, rational minds, the time would be the appearance of the first rational physical being. That might have been through biological evolution or some other mean, and it might have been with the first fully rational homo something on Earth, or somewhere else (Scholastics don't give much importance to the human shape, their focus is on the rational capability).
Presumably that time might end, but Scholasticism has a good chunk of arguments for why a God would prefer to keep those minds existing, and hence the idea is he will simply continue existentiating them. At first in time only. Then, at some point, back into full spatiality too, by existentiating in them the capability to construct new physical bodies following each one's own intrinsic structure.
6. Are there any resources they need to think or to continue existing, and if so what sets the dynamics of those resources?
God's continued act of existentiation. This capability of God is unlimited, since any delimitation, to exist, is itself existentiated by it.
7. In the absence of physical stuff, what exactly do elemental minds experience, and how do they interact with each other?
Nothing much, and they don't interact with each other. The exception is if God existentiates through them some kind of interactive capability in a kind of temporary spatial body. Since Scholasticism is tightly tied to a religion, Scholastics believe do this for some disembodied souls he finds particularly worthy, aka saints, but that isn't the usual.
8. Why do elemental minds make or modify organism-tied-minds to become so intimately connected to and limited by particular organisms?
Here's what I find most interesting in Scholastic thoughts. For it there's no mind/body duality. There's the body, which is structured in such and such way so it functions and isn't just a lump of disorganized matter. This structure, abstracted away from the matter that is structured that way, is the soul, but a soul is always "of a body", it has no independent functional state if disembodied. Thought systems that posit souls as fully functional entities when separated from a physical body, such as, for example, Cartesianism, are from their perspective nonsensical.
9. Why don’t untied-minds show more clearly to organism-tied-minds that they can create and change physical stuff outside the organism-tied channel?
They presumably can, and do, although by definition nothing overcomes the maximum show of this that is keeping reality existing, since if God wasn't actively doing that then everything, including time, would dissolve into nothingness.
10. Can physical stuff influence and change elemental minds, and if so how?
Yes. In fact, this is what living human beings are. The idea here is that disembodied minds cannot change precisely because they lack matter, which is the stuff of change. As long as a human being lives, their structure is changing. When they lose their body via death, their structure stops changing and they get struck as they were in that last moment.
Transferred into the theological realm, this is the reasoning behind the idea of eternal salvation and eternal damnation. A soul is saved or condemned according that last shape it had. After death the structure doesn't change anymore, so whatever it is, that way it remains.
11. What sets the degree to which these elemental minds encourage the frequency of existence of organisms among physical stuff, and which organisms get tied minds?
According the existentiating concept, the answer is continuously and without stop. As for minds, if you mean rational minds, that is, human level intellect, once the existentiated processes, whatever they might be (biological evolution included) result in a living body structurally capable of rational thinking. That structure then has the capability to continue existing.
By the way, one approach to think about this structure is as the mathematical description of a full human body. Imagine you can describe an entire human being as a single equation or, what would be its equivalent, as a fully fleshed out algorithm with the associated data. That mathematical equation / algorithm, if one's a mathematical realist, exists "in reality", albeit in a non-spatial, atemporal reality, the platonic realm of pure mathematical entities. While you're alive, your body structure changes, moving not only in space-time, but also in math-space. When you die, your space-time aspect dissolves, but your "position" in math-space remains. If at some point a new space-time body gets formed following (and by extension being structurally linked) to that position in math-space, then the moment that body "activates" you yourself resume moving through space-time and math-space -- which means they aren't really separate, but rather form a single continuum: math-space-time.
That, in a very, extreme, outrageously summed up form, is how Catholic philosophy understand things. ID'ers borrow from it in a very sloppy, and many time contradictory, way, but I imagine you can see the connection.
If someone's interested I may also answers from a Buddhist perspective, but Buddhist have no sloppy oversimplification equivalent to ID, so I don't think it'd be useful for the objectives of your post.
"how many angels (or souls?) can dance on the head of a pin"
Well, the traditional answer to that question is "infinitely many", because in Scholastic thought, from where that question comes from, soul-only entities (angels) and body-tied entities in a disembodied state (aka humans) are adimensional, hence, by definition, any number of souls can be associated to any point in space. Additionally, angels in particular also have the property of co-termination with all points of space, so they're also, when they want to, infinitely large in spatial terms since they co-terminate with all points of space. Which would also make of them all superimposed entities.
(I don't actually believe in Scholastic philosophy, but I find it quite fascinating.)
Ahh you take the view you are doubting to be the conjunction of those two claims and aren't claiming to doubt the disjunction?
I assumed you were trying to say something about what it would take to say either aspect. Guess I was wrong.
It's the standard teaching of the catholic church, and many other Christian religions. Similar spiritual world views are held by Jews, Muslims, and others. It's probably the most widely followed religious view by a significant margin.
I'd include that among the structures of elemental minds, but yes, a good question.
Would this primordial intelligence come equipped with an elephant?
For the usual science story I can get consistently the same answers from many sources. How consistently would others give the same answers you give?
I'll provide some answers to your questions so that you can begin your systematic comparison.
1. What sets the capacities and features of elemental minds?
The ones we can know are initialised at conception, inheriting their developmental capacity from their parents, and they develop as they experience life. Life is a moral challenge, to see if you can get to heaven or not. Minds tied to this world can not know about minds not tied to this world.
The answer to this is the same as for question 1.
There is no limit to the number of elemental minds. The ones we can know are initialised at conception and there can be any number of them. They exist from the time of their conception, beginning in a very primitive state and develop through life. The challenge is to develop morally so that you can go to heaven in the afterlife. There is no known end to the time for which elemental minds can exist, it is not knowable to the elemental minds tied to this world, nor is the start time of elemental minds not tied to this world knowable to minds tied to this world.
5/ If elemental minds exist in time, when did that time start and will it ever end?
The answer to this is the same as the answer to question 4. We can't know when all spiritual time started, we can only know when minds tied to this world start.
The minds we can know need most of the physical resources that you see humans using during life, after that, it is unknowable what they need. The physical organism must be complex enough to support a morally challenged spirit - i.e. it must have enough information processing capacity to have knowledge of it's own vulnerabilities and the vulnerabilities of other organisms so that it is put in positions of moral dilemma as it exists so that it can develop morally.
This is unknowable to minds in this world. You are in this world as a moral challenge, and part of the challenge is a lack of knowledge. If the world was created to be more knowable the moral challenge would be less, so you can't know.
8. Why do elemental minds make or modify organism-tied-minds to become so intimately connected to and limited by particular organisms.
Life is a moral challenge to see if you can get to heaven or not. The elemental minds we can know are created with the particular organisms they are tied to, and the development of the organism develops the elemental mind.
9. Why don’t elemental minds show more clearly to organism-tied-minds that they can create and change physical stuff outside the organism-tied channel?
Life is a moral challenge to see if you can get to heaven or not. It is deliberately confusing and there are limits to what you can know, and this is part of the challenge.
Yes, our spirts are created by the physical world at conception and develop by being in the physical world.
11. What sets what how much these elemental minds encourage the frequency of existence of organisms among physical stuff, and to which organisms they tie some minds?
There can be as many spiritual minds created by this world as the elemental minds in this physical world can create. It is our moral duty to continue God's work and create as many more elemental minds as is consistent with our capacity to do so in a morally responsible manner. The answer to question 6 is also relevant here - the physical organism must be complex enough to support a morally challenged spirit.
All the above answers are pretty much Christianity 101. I think you have probably heard much of it before.
I think you are much more imaginative than what you have summarised.
The minds we experience don't even need to be early. The designers of the simulation might forever remain unknowable to us, and we may only ever have access to to minds that emerge from the matter that we can see around us.
I don't know where you got the idea that intelligent design creationism necessarily involves minds not being made of matter. Do you have a citation? It is not a requirement that I have ever heard of. Take simulism, for example. There the world as we know it exists inside a computer and was created by intelligent agents. Their minds would stll be made out of "physical stuff". "Elemental minds" seems like a straw man to me.
If there can be minds without physical stuff, that is enough for them to be "elemental", i.e., not made of other stuff.
I think intelligent design creationism is usually characterized as saying that an intelligent designer is responsible for some aspects of the origin of the universe and/or the origin of life. That's like saying that the origin of mind is earlier than it appears - predating the origin of life and / or the big bang. I don't think that implies that mind is "elemental", just that it is earlier than it seems. Simulism, the big bang being created by pre-existing aliens, and some types of zoo hypothesis, are examples of intelligent design creationism. Minds don't need to be "elemental", they just need to be "early".