Saturday, December 1, 2012

What Kind of Intelligence Is Prescience?

This post begins a series concerned with prescience ("pre" + "science"), a facet of intelligence that is composed of various degrees of "vision", i.e., the ability to see where any particular behavior will end up.

A primitive example of that facet of intelligence would be to know what would happen if one jumped off a high cliff or drank poison:
Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.

(Poisoning The Well). Young toddlers generally do not develop that type of vision until they age and experience life for awhile, but adults should have adult sense or else they are simply incompetent.

So it is at once clear that prescience or vision develops with time, but it also develops at different levels and rates in each individual (e.g. "visionary: a person of unusually keen foresight").

This blog has a policy of not being bigoted against either science or religion (see e.g. Message of Science & Religion - Western) because people in both of those realms at one time or another make mistakes (see e.g. Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 12).

It would not be wise to reject a person merely because they make mistakes, but it would be wise to question them should they embrace that mistake and descend into denialism, obsessing that the mistake is not a mistake.

One prime example is global warming induced climate change, where deniers typically come from a fundamentalist environment, often associating that fundamentalism with "the Bible."

So, for today's post let's look at a few examples of text from that compilation of ancient writings now in the form of a library (it is composed of many books) to see if there is any prescience about global warming induced climate change in those ancient writings:
Isaiah 24:4-6 - "The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left."
Jeremiah 2:7 - "I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable."
Ezekiel 34:17-18. "As for you, my flock ... Is it not enough for you to feed on good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?"
Job 12:7-10. "But ask the animals, and they will teach you; or birds of the air and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you; or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the lord has done this. In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."
Rev. 18:11. "The time has come for judging the dead, and for ... destroying those who destroy the earth" (NIV); "... the time for the dead to be judged, and for ... destroying the destroyers of the earth” (ESV); "the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest ... destroy them which destroy the earth" (KJV); "your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should ... destroy them who destroy the earth." (KJV - 2k)

These are ancient writings of what appears to be prescience recorded by those exposed to some form of visionary intelligence warning about the value of the Earth as well as the consequences for a lack of understanding about it.

More modern visionaries have written similar things that could be considered warnings too:
“The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Brainy Quotes). Recent pronouncements of scientific bodies who do research have made statements that tend to show these ancient writings were some form of prescient intelligence:
More than 100 million people will die ... by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.

(The Doha, Qatar UN Word Wide Machine). The sense to take care of the Earth is lacking, and that lack of sense has serious consequences.

In a recent post we considered a kind of intelligence with seemingly prescient ability in the abiotic realm (Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?).

In future posts in this series we will look at indications of prescience in other ancient writings (Hindu Vedas, Koran, Cuneiform, etc.).