Natures wonders: making spider silk (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, August 25, 2014, 14:09 (1821 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: My argument is that the inventive mechanism (perhaps invented by your God, but that's another issue) is within the cells/cell communities just as the brain is within the body (Albrecht-Buehler equates the cell's “brain” with the centrosome). David's is that the mechanism is within the genome (which is part of the cell/cell communities). I see no difference.
DAVID: Of course, the inventive mechanism is implanted within the cells, and I do accept that as an alternative to dabbling, but it is equivalent to preplanning, and must have existed in the first living cells. As I said to Tony, the only possibilities are some form of preplanning or an inventive mechanism that follows intelligent plans, or God dabbles.

Of course the inventive mechanism must have existed in the first living cells. Otherwise there would never have been evolution. The “equivalent to preplanning” is an equivocation. WHAT was “planned”? Until a week ago, your version of preplanning was that every innovation and Nature's Wonder was the result of dabbling, or was preprogrammed in the first living cells. By “an inventive mechanism that follows intelligent plans”, do you mean it implements its own plans (= invention) or it follows plans laid down by your God (= preprogramming, not invention, and back to square one)? The point of the inventive mechanism, if we adopt a theistic approach, would be that your God put it into the first living cells so that their descendants would by themselves, over billions of years and through zillions of combinations, produce an almost infinite, unplanned variety of organisms without his interference and in accordance with unplanned changes in environmental conditions. This hypothesis (which I have called “the intelligent cell”, but call it “the inventive cell” if it makes you happier) fits in with and explains complexity, the Cambrian, and the variety, comings and goings of evolution.

dhw: Perhaps, David, you would explain the difference, in terms of how evolution works, between my proposed inventively, cooperatively intelligent mechanism situated in the cells/cell communities (that may have been created by your God) and the mechanism you are proposing.
DAVID: I'll accept it as long as you recognize that cells, themselves, alone or in groups have very little power, are generally very automatic, and we have no idea whether an inventive mechanism takes charge when it has to to answer challenges in nature, or the cells respond to the challenge by asking the inventive mechanism to take charge. Cell comunities without such a mechanism are not capable of doing much. To create a kidney requires planning.

Of course cells can't invent anything unless they have an inventive mechanism! The hypothesis is based on the possibility that they have! Your other point is fair comment, though. Maybe it's the equivalent of our not knowing the extent to which our human consciousness is controlled by or in control of our chemicals. It's all interaction anyway, so you can't separate the inventive mechanism (brain) from the rest of the cell (body).

dhw: Of course an individual cell is not as “intelligent” as a community of cells, and the more combinations you have, the greater the variety of intelligences.
DAVID: You can pile cells upon cells, look at completed organisms, and you cannot find the intelligence you want, except as provided in inventive planning from the beginning.

Same equivocation as above. The inventive planning would lie in the creation of a mechanism that enables organisms to adapt and innovate by themselves. Once more, no, cells cannot adapt or innovate without such a mechanism, and my hypothesis is that they have it. And once more yes, it must have been there from the beginning, or there would have been no evolution.

dhw: Theistic evolution, as I see it, therefore means God created a mechanism which enables cells/cell communities to do their own inventing, adjusting to or exploiting changes in the environment, without God interfering or preplanning.

DAVID: The cells don't do their own inventing. And the inventive mchanism implies pre-planning.

Yet again you are trying to separate the cells from the inventive mechanism, although you have admitted that the inventive mechanism is “implanted within the cells”. It's like saying humans don't invent anything. It's their brains that invent. Concerning your preplanning equivocation, see above.


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