Renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking recently gave an interview where he talked about humanity’s prospects for the future. He addressed a couple of serious concerns.
The first is whether humanity, because of our aggression, will destroy ourselves before we achieve world peace. The second is whether robots and algorithms will overtake the human race in an apocalyptic nightmare, similar to what is portrayed in movies like The Terminator and The Matrix.
My question is this: why does he care?
Hawking, who recently turned 75, is a Darwinian evolutionist. He believes life evolved from non-life, and that humanity is now sitting on top of the cosmic mush pile. Evolution is all about “survival of the fittest.” If humans want to survive in the future, he says, then we need to check our aggression:
“Since civilisation began, aggression has been useful inasmuch as it has definite survival advantages,” he said. “It is hard-wired into our genes by Darwinian evolution. Now, however, technology has advanced at such a pace that this aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason.”
NO LOGIC IN EVOLUTION
According to evolution, what we call our “mind” and “thought process” is really just a bunch of atoms and molecules, randomly bumping around. Their paths are random, and the effects they produce show up as our movements, our actions, and the words that come out of our mouths. Here, Hawking is saying we need to control our “agression” by using our “logic and reason.”
But to an evolutionist, “aggression” is just random interactions of chemical compounds. An electron randomly escapes some atom and jumps to a nearby atom, producing an electric current. This current travels down our nerves and makes a finger twitch.
To be a logically consistent evolutionist (ha ha), there can ultimately be no distinction between what we might call “aggression,” or “logic,” or “reasoning.” They’re all the same thing: uncontrollable events governed by the forces of nature.
Our “mind,” our sense of agency — meaning our capacity to act independently and make our own free choices — is really just an illusion. We don’t actually have free will, only the illusion of free will.
We’re just meat sacks.
If he were trying to be consistent, in other words, Hawking would have said something like this…