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10. Appendix (10.1.4)
Written by Messiah   
Thursday, 06 July 2006

10.1.4    The Christian shark

“How moral systems evolve inevitably”

Typical of accepted evolutionary mechanisms is that ages ago lightning struck a mixture of elements in a volcanic ocean a million times a year over a million years, one strike eventually producing organic molecules with the property of absorbing and modifying certain others. Some grew into blobs that floated in the sea absorbing more molecules. Eventually one split into others programmed to ensure blobs of the same sort survived. Some via, say, the accepted protozoa route, became fishes that swam around eating anything except other identical fishes. Protozoa have been swimming about in an immensely complicated environment world-wide for 3½ billion years with DNA systems able to feed, reproduce etc. and developing apparently at random, certainly without the aid of ‘free will’. Now we have a biological machine that occasionally goes back to the ‘workshop’ - millions of years of chance evolution - to be modified in a way influenced by its original form. For example, a fish is more likely to be modified into a more efficient fish than into a rabbit, although some fishes might become amphibian and evolve into rabbits. Incidentally, referring to the concept of the workshop, opponents of ideas like Inevitability Theory quote examples such as that the probability of life/humanity evolving by chance is similar to that of a complete aircraft being formed by an explosion in a scrap yard. They do not allow for the building bricks for life/humanity evolving step by step inconceivably slowly from a few chance molecules and millions of, in a technical not moral sense, failures into a homogeneous whole, which is very different from a lot of parts being simultaneously thrown together by chance. There are many mechanisms by which change could occur. Imagine a lake randomly full of tiny balls/molecules in every colour. A computer, photocell and pump could sort them out by colours in any order required, even that leading to an atom bomb or a living DNA organic molecule. Such a simple mechanism, applied more widely, could change the nature of the universe so it is not surprising a more complicated one, like humans, is capable, albeit inevitably, of changing both itself and the rest of the universe. A similar situation would be achieved with elements and molecules by natural chance mechanisms given the unimaginable amount of time and number of tries available and would speed up when some degree of order became established.

At first our fish swims in circles almost becoming extinct but after going back to the workshop he becomes programmed to travel the seas hunting for prey. One day he sees a similar fish that by chance has missed the built-in protection for its own species and is swimming around eating the younger members. A million years later on going back to the workshop our fish asks is it OK to eat the rogue fish to ensure others survive? The workshop says, "Yes." Next time out, he sees another rogue fish eating not only its own species but also an enemy species that was preying on younger members of our fish’s species. What should/ought our fish do? He has a moral dilemma. This time he might save more of his own species’ lives by letting the rogue live. Back to the workshop, which, if it could carry out a world census of rogues, enemies and species would give him exact instructions on how he should/ought behave. It cannot do this survey so modifies him to count how many enemies and own species the rogue eats per day and how many own species the enemy eats per day and act accordingly. Unfortunately, the rogue eats every day, the enemy only once a week and seven more rogues and enemies of different sizes have just arrived. Then our perplexed fish drifts to a part of the ocean where there is only his own species. Should/ought he eat a few of them so he can survive and go back to where he can kill rogues and save even more lives? In addition, our fish has just discovered he is much more fertile than others of his species so if he kills some of them, eventually, when he breeds, more will survive, unless he is killed in the meantime. You will see that what began as a chance program to preserve blobs is building up a complex code of morality which would occupy a bishop for weeks. However, if sufficient information is available, the optimum course of action can always be calculated to achieve an accurately defined objective. Human moral conscience is no more sophisticated than our fish’s could easily become. Humans kill each other over illogical religious differences without feeling guilt, behave predictably selfishly in spite of their faiths, save a puppy but thoughtlessly take a million insect lives mowing a lawn. If you are really moral, you become a Jain, sweeping your path so you do not tread on an insect and even then will not have gone far enough. Our Christian shark could well behave, by all the usual definitions, in a more moral manner and, in time, could well come to consider its morality as a separate and total entity embodying a soul. After all, in a mechanical sense, it is the most important factor in determining the survival of that particular race of fishes.

Following an evolutionary theme, look how closely the skeleton and brain of amoral monkey, living a family life and loving its children, compares with moral man, who, usually, does the same. It is obvious the differences between monkey and man result only from evolution predictably and inevitably responding to the environment. Over a period man, and probably monkey, evolved consciousness and awareness; it is unreasonable to believe it came to them in a sudden flash of inspiration. Believers in religious concepts, however, maintain there is something special and beyond physical explanation about human consciousness and its ability to be aware of and react to abstracts such as ‘God’ and ‘Free Will’ but the Theory of Inevitability concludes that consciousness and awareness of abstract concepts are as much a part of inevitable physical change as anything else; it being just a matter of greater complexity than simpler and more apparent phenomena. The atoms and molecules move in fixed, inevitable patterns, some of which are more complicated than others but all are part of one pattern, including human awareness. It may be that the full workings of the mechanism of consciousness will for ever remain beyond human understanding. This is unlikely but, even if it should be so, that does not mean consciousness is supernatural and moving in other than an inevitable pattern.

Already, toy robots are being developed to show emotions and modify them in reaction to those of their owners. It is just a matter of software. More advanced interactive computers with morality and emotions closely approaching human behaviour will soon challenge humanity. At what point circuits become conscious is hard to define but it is reasonable to assume that it only needs enough processing power. Your humble PC already says to you, "This file name is unacceptable. Check your spelling". It will soon say, "I have tested you for alcohol, you should not drive, unless John is dying". In many fields man’s efforts have already developed mechanisms surpassing his own physical and mental capability. It can be expected that new approaches to computing will provide systems with immense power. The brain’s biological computer, or any other developed for a million years, will have acquired programmes operating at various levels to consider relation to environment and to improve itself. A similarly aware computer could be described as conscious all the time it is switched on, might be bright enough to prevent us from switching it off and eventually even switch us off. Tired old ideas but only now becoming sufficiently apparent to affect human behaviour. Soon it will also be recognised the future is inevitable in every detail and not influenced by human consciousness in the way it is generally understood to be.

 

 


 
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