I’d be researching the nature of human intelligence and identifying how it differed from (or is the same as) what an algorithm can do. I’ve not seen any other cognitive science lab out there take this view point. Computational mind seems to be the reigning paradigm no one wants to question.
For example, see this question I asked on the cogsci stackexchange:
I still remember a few years back when the Templeton Foundation offered $5 million in grants to study alternatives to evolution. All the ID “scientists” of the Discovery Institute together couldn’t come up with a single testable hypothesis and didn’t submit a single grant request. Templeton finally retracted the offer due to lack of responses.
At this point ID has raked in well over $30 million dollars and @Winston_Ewerts paper appears to be the very first attempt at an alternative model, and it still uses common descent as a starting point. About 25 years has passed too. Now, even with his single paper on the there, ENV has declares victory. So why exactly do any any more research then?
As a granting agency I’d ask for a better track record. Wouldnt you?
Couple other areas that would be very interesting to research:
What is the way nature is meant to work? If it is designed, like a car, then there is an optimal way nature is meant to be used, instead of just for whatever purpose we humans come up with.
Is vitalism true?
If DNA is like code, can we apply s/w engineering analysis to it to understand it better?
If DNA is like a language, could we apply linguistics to understand it better?
Does intelligent agency fundamentally alter our understanding of physics?
Meta-study: what are all the disciplines that operate under naturalistic presuppositions, and what changes in those disciplines if ID is also allowed? Potential disciplines: psychology, medicine, economics, politics.
Can ID provide a scientific answer to the problem of induction, which has cross cutting implications in science and epistemology?
Besides those, I could probably dream up many more. The ID hypothesis seems very ground breaking.
Certainly, the ID movement has been too caught up with defending their existing work, decimating Darwinism, and also perhaps too focussed on the culture war side of things. I’m pretty dissatisfied with ID progress. On the other hand, ID is the only game in town when it comes to truly ground breaking theories. It seems to address a whole host of problems across many disciplines, which I pointed out in my previous comment.
Penrose, maybe, but he thinks the mind operates on quantum randomness, which doesn’t get him what he wants. The others are too handwavy to be scientifically useful. Perhaps the closest I know of is the recently deceased Fyodor, who at least had the gall to question computational mind.
Research programs require careful and achievable goals alongside action plans to realize them. They span multiple years and not merely topics or vaguely defined notions. They also have to have substantial preliminary data already published showing impact in the field. This is very difficult to do and this is why it is so hard to get a research grant.
Well, if they have to have lots of prior work, then that’s probably why new theories don’t get grants, especially when they are highly controversial. To me, it sounds like the grant system is broken by vendor lock in.