Innovation and Speciation:baleen whale feeding (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, June 25, 2017, 14:25 (148 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You have suddenly dismissed your own dabbling alternative to preprogramming because you say major changes require advanced planning. If you are not limiting God’s powers, what stops him from intervening and making major changes IN RESPONSE to environmental changes? Might not responsive divine dabbling be the correct interpretation, with no need for advanced planning?
DAVID: Yes responsive dabbling is a possible approach.

Thank you. This means it is possible that the major changes which result in speciation can occur in response to environmental change and do not require “advanced planning”. The issue then is not the need for “advanced planning” but the degree of intelligence needed for the responsive engineering. I accept your scepticism towards my hypothesis – there is no evidence that organisms are capable of the innovations needed for speciation, just as there is no evidence for your 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or for your divine dabbling or for the innovative powers of random mutations. But since nobody knows how speciation (broad sense) occurred, I suggest that it is a hypothesis that should be taken seriously and cannot be rejected on the grounds that speciation required “advanced planning”.

dhw: Human free will is an example of your belief that God ceded control. Your dogmatic statement that he maintains control over evolution has no more authority than the proposal that he set the whole process in motion and then sat back to watch what organisms would do with the autonomy he gave them.
DAVID: Free will is the only direct evidence of God ceding control and only inin the mental area of human life, not the physical. My faith can be dogmatic about the need for a planning mind, and not under your suppositions.

There is no “direct evidence” that your God controlled every physical development in the history of evolution. Yes, your faith can be dogmatic about anything it likes, but that does not give it greater validity than other theories about God’s motives and methods.

DAVID: Conscious organisms willing themselves into consciousness. They cannot even imagine that consciousness exists!
dhw: As usual, you are now trying to equate consciousness with human self-awareness in order to ridicule the idea. And the concept of cellular intelligence does not mean that cells/cell communities will themselves into consciousness. We do not know the source of ANY level of consciousness, but God is one possibility.
DAVID: Can you mention other sources of consciousness? Nagel says unless we start considering teleology, our understandings will not advance.

Your question is another diversion from the issue of cellular intelligence, which you have unfairly ridiculed by distorting the concept. But it is a vitally important question in its own right, and I can only answer it by repeating that we not know the source of ANY level of consciousness. To claim that the source of consciousness is consciousness itself in the form of a universal consciousness is no more of an answer than to say the source of consciousness is lots of different consciousnesses (my twist on panpsychism) or a great big stroke of luck.


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