Natures wonders: making spider silk (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 14:18 (2014 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Yes, I believe in theistic evolution, but that really falls under the umbrella of a form of Creationism. And yes, dabbling has always bothered me. I like your self-inventing built into the mechanism.

dhw: Your approval of the idea, however, has to bring us back to the fact that all organisms are composed of cells. We have no idea what the mechanism is or how it works, but it has to be within the cells, and if they were not preprogrammed for each innovation right from the beginning of life, each invention can only be the result of their ongoing cooperation with one another.

DAVID: No, the cells don't initiate a cooperation. They are directed to cooperate following a set of rules in a self-inventing mechanism in the genome to respond to changes in the organisms' environment.

As regards your initial "no", you always talk as if somehow the genome were separate from the cell. I have said before that I am perfectly happy to accept the idea that the “brains” of the cell are somewhere inside the genome, but just as we say humans are intelligent, and not humans' brains are intelligent, I don't see why you need to make this distinction. Nor do I see why you have to introduce a “set of rules”, which seems to hark back to your preprogramming. Of course there are limitations to what all organisms can do, but if your God (or chance, or panpsychist intelligence) created a mechanism that did its own inventing, then it did its own inventing. (“Self-inventing” is ambiguous, as it could mean the mechanism invented itself,which is certainly not what you believe.) Again I would draw the parallel with human intelligence. If your God created the mechanism for it, did he also insert rules to make it invent the motor car, the airplane, the computer? If I accept your location of the cell's intelligence as being the genome, I would phrase your comment as follows: Cells are directed to cooperate by an inventive mechanism in the genome that responds to changes in the organism's environment.

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