Innovation and Speciation: pre-planning (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 18:42 (1275 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Why should not "spraying inventions in every direction" denote that all these life forms arose without any overriding purpose, simply for their own sake, with the sea anemone going its own way to serve its own ends, just as every other form of life has gone its own way, including ourselves, our contemporary species, and their and our predecessors? Once again, may I ask why it is so important to you to read this anthropocentric purpose into your God's mind, whereas otherwise you always warn us NOT to impose our ideas on him?

DAVID: I think because of the surprising result. Scientient beings in a universe that otherwise has no one else wondering why? We are extremely unique, with no demonstrable need to force us to be produced. Just a fluke of luck I guess. Just a flip of the coin. It still reeks of purpose to me.

There was no demonstrable need to force the production of any organisms beyond bacteria, so that argument goes out of the window. But in my opinion our unique degree of consciousness is an argument well worth pursuing. With my atheist's hat on, I'd have no difficulty believing in the progression through different levels of consciousness once the initial mechanism for adaptation and innovation had started operating. With my theist's hat on, same again, except that God made the mechanism. I can then offer three theistic scenarios: 1) he sat back and let evolution follow its own course; 2) he didn't know how to achieve the "purpose" you've assigned to him and had to keep experimenting; 3) he had a great idea a few hundred thousand years ago and popped in to make some adjustments. All three of these (plus the atheistic version) seem to me to fit in far more snugly with the higgledy-piggledy bush of evolutionary comings and goings than the sea anemone's nervous system "antedating the need" and being "pre-planned" to finish up inside you and me a billion years later. But maybe you are not looking for a snug fit.


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