What is the significance of intelligence in a universe with
deterministic laws?

Your performance on any IQ test is not due to your possessing some
property called "intelligence", but rather is an inevitable outcome of
the universe's initial conditions and governing causal laws.

The questions you are asked, the answers you give, the problems you
are presented with, the solutions you develop - these were all
implicit in the universe's first instant.

You, and the rest of the universe, are essentially "on rails".  The
unfolding of events and your experience of them is dictated by the
deterministic causal laws.

Even if time flows (e.g. presentism), the causal structure of the
universe is static...events can only transpire one way.

So, what can be said of intelligence in such a universe?  Well...only
what the deterministic laws require you to say about it.  What can be
believed about intelligence in such a universe?  Obviously only what
the deterministic laws require you to believe.

Solving a problem correctly is no more impressive or significant than
rain falling "correctly".  You answer the question in the only way the
deterministic laws allow.  The rain falls in the only way that the
deterministic laws allow.

The word "intelligence" doesn't refer to anything except the
experiential requirements that the universe places on you as a
consequence of its causal structure.


What about the significance of intelligence in a universe with
probabilistic laws?

The only change from the deterministic case is that the course of
events isn't precisely predictable, even in principle.

However, the flow of events is still governed by the probabilistic
causal laws.  Which just means that to the extent that the flow of
events isn't determined, it's random.

Again, the analogy with poker comes to mind:  the rules of poker are
stable and unchanging, while the randomness of the shuffle adds an
element of unpredictability as to which cards you are actually dealt.
So, to the extent that poker isn't determined, it's random.

The questions you're going to be asked and the problems you're going
to be presented with in a probabilistic universe aren't
predictable...but neither are your answers or your solutions, which
result from the exact same underlying rule set.  Again, to the extent
that any of these things aren't determined, they're random.

Adding a random component to an otherwise deterministic framework does
increase the number of possible states that are reachable from a given
initial condition, but it doesn't add anything qualitatively new to
the content of those states or to the process as a whole.  Nothing new
is added to the deterministic case that would give the word
"intelligence" anything extra to refer to.

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