In a post criticizing methodological individualism, Gene writes (and then quotes):
A plain fact that methodological individualism will block us from seeing or accepting:
“The facts authorize us — no, they oblige us! — to say that Islam as such, Islam understood as a meaningful whole, is in motion, that it strives and struggles, in a world [where] it is an actor on the stage of history that must be taken very seriously. Thus the world in which we must live and act is a world marked by the effort, the movement, the forward thrust of Islam.”
I think Gene’s position here is interesting to juxtapose with his earlier criticism of the notion of intelligent computers that could play chess better than humans:
They were, of course, built by human beings. When a grandmaster is “shredded” by a computer program, he is really being defeated by a team of programmers and chess experts who have a calculation machine at their disposal. Just because they don’t literally sit inside the machine, as a human being did inside the chess-playing Turk, does not mean that the machine has somehow mysteriously “become intelligent,” any more than a rabbit trap is intelligent because it “knows” how to catch a rabbit. Machines can be “intelligent” only in that they can be “intelligently built.”
I think this raises the obvious question: Can Islam as such play chess better than humans?