Stephen Iacoboni

November 1, 2023

Understanding the Limits of Scientism

As I have argued here earlier, in sketching the science of purpose, the complexity of life is only comprehensible by the human mind in retrospect. Through reverse engineering, modern science has done an elegant job in revealing the mechanisms of life. But that is certainly far less an accomplishment than designing the whole enterprise from scratch. In philosophical terms, we can understand the mechanics of life only a posteriori. But we do not have the ability to grasp the intentionality of the mind of the creator, which would be required in order to understand life a priori. For these reasons, life is ultimately irreducibly […]
September 28, 2023

Life Without Purpose, the Fundamental Flaw

In my most recent post on the science of purpose, I described how the phenomenon of emergence illustrates the irreducible complexity of life. I asked whether the undeniably purposeful behavior of biomolecules was foundational, i.e., intentional, versus accidental, i.e., random. I was building upon previous posts, where I pointed out that scientific atheism is based on the notion that structure randomly generates function, thereby justifying the belief in “life-as-accident.” My conclusion was that function cannot exist without a whole self, so that structure alone can never generate purpose on its own. Tying It Together Now it is time to tie all of these concepts […]
August 30, 2023

Emergence by Design

In my two most recent posts on the science of purpose (here and here), I ended each with a claim. These were, respectively, that “biomolecules must act with purpose,” and that “ententional [in Terrence Deacon’s neologism] properties are foundational. They are the genesis of all purpose in life.” Introducing Emergence Here I would like to expand on these two statements and coalesce them under the broader heading of emergence. To do so, first allow me to introduce emergence itself. That term has been redefined or misinterpreted numerous times since it was first described. The originators of the concept were two 19th-century British philosopher-scientists, John Stuart Mill and George Henry Lewes. Even back then, some […]
July 19, 2023

Something Is Missing from the Materialist Framework

In sketching here what I have called the science of purpose, I have argued that the best way to topple the materialist paradigm is to reverse the fundamental concepts of structure and function. (See, most recently, “Replacing Chemistry with Purpose.”) The framework of materialism is based on randomness, from which, combined with natural selection, any structure theoretically can arise. In this way of thinking, over billions of years, randomly generated structures accidentally began to perform functions, resulting in life on Earth as we know it. That is, all the seemingly designed function in the biosphere is simply a result of randomly generated structures. The appearance of design […]
June 20, 2023

Replacing Chemistry with Purpose

In past articles here, I have described the notion of the science of purpose. Purpose is ubiquitously observable in biology, and therefore subject to scientific analysis. The scientific method of analysis is to create a modeling relation between observation and theory. It is time for biology to incorporate purpose into its fundamental framework. The most striking observations in all of nature are the incomprehensibly sophisticated adaptations that organisms display, allowing survival in the wild. Natural selection is an inadequate explanation for what we readily observe. What is needed is a competing or replacement theory explaining those wonders of organismal form and function. The science of purpose is that theory. […]
May 16, 2023

Natural Selection Subtracts, It Doesn’t Add — And That Matters

In my previous post (“A New Look at Natural Selection”), I said that “natural selection” was Charles Darwin’s crowning intellectual achievement, for it created what appeared to be a naturalistic and mechanistic explanation for how organisms evolved. I also noted that evolution itself was already considered to have been well demonstrated in the fossil record by Lamarck and others some fifty years before Darwin.  In the 20th century, natural selection has been almost uniformly adopted by biologists as the explanatory agency for evolution. What appeals to naturalists is that it provides an explanation for the appearance of design in organisms, without an […]
April 18, 2023

A New Look at Natural Selection

Having introduced in earlier posts the idea of a “science of purpose,” I would like now to reflect upon what most naturalists identify as Darwin’s crowning intellectual achievement: natural selection. It is worthwhile to recall that some fifty years before Darwin, renowned naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck had already proclaimed that organisms change over time, a most radical view indeed. The word evolution would not be used to describe this transformation until about fifty years after Lamarck’s death. Darwin agreed with and fortified Lamarck’s claims with detailed descriptions of the variations among species. The concept that species change over time was by no means newly articulated by Darwin. The question […]
January 24, 2023

The Elephant in the Science Lab

In previous posts I have been seeking to describe the science of purpose. Now it is worth getting down to the basics of what science actually is and how it works. The goal is to tease out what has heretofore been elusive for conventional science. I am referring to the elephant in the room, or rather in the laboratory: purpose. In this context it is necessary to distinguish between measuring grossly objective phenomena versus observing the effects of invisible forces and creating a theory as to what might account for them. Newton came up with a model for that ubiquitous invisible force called gravity. Einstein proved that Newton […]
November 3, 2022

A Closer Look at the Science of Purpose

In an earlier post, I introduced and defined what I called the “science of purpose.” Let us take a closer look at what that entails. The first thing to notice is that there really cannot be a science of organisms, i.e., biology, without understanding purpose. That this fact has been so neglected is, of course, a consequence of neo-Darwinism, which purports to show that purpose and design in life are only apparent, not real. Organisms that survive simply appear to be purpose-driven because those that are not driven by purpose suffer extinction as imposed by natural selection. Of course, this statement offers no explanation of […]