Tom Pittman's WebLog

(or something like that)

2006 November 13 -- God vs. Science

The cover story in TIME dated today presents a "debate" between evolutionist Richard Dawkins and geneticist Francis Collins. In the same issue, another story lists some of the "great inventions" of 2006, devoting four pages to robots. That gives me an idea:

Let's let the robots debate on Humans vs Electronics. On the side of electronics, we choose the well-known robot R2D2, whose primary function is training other robots in how robot factories came about by self-organization of steel and concrete, which is very important for the robots to know in order to do their various jobs. Arguing in favor of the existence of humans is another cannister robot, F1C5, whose specialty is the wiring of transisters in integrated circuits. F1C5 also believes in the self-organization of robot factories. Neither robot has ever seen a factory being constructed -- of course they were built before production making robots began -- but F1C5 prefers to believe humans were somehow involved, while R2D2 is convinced that there are no such things as humans. Both robots have seen humans on occasion, but R2D2 assumed it was only an anthropoid robot like C3P0 because humans don't exist. C3P0 is a household robot in a human home who works with humans all the time; in the interest of fairness (we wouldn't want the humanists to win the debate!) we decided against asking C3P0 to argue that position. C3P0 has also observed in the human home blueprints for constructing robot factories. Being all electronic, robots don't use marks on paper for communication, so R2D2 and F1C5 don't even know what blueprints are for; this confirms our decision to decide the question of whether humans exist strictly on the basis of electrical circuits.

For a more rational consideration of the same question, see my essay, What's Really Important. On whether factories can self-organize out of steel and concrete, see Biological Evolution: Did It Happen?