Natures wonders: blind walking cavefish (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 19:50 (1058 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 20:00

David's comment: One might consider the point that in the evolution of fish a tendency to develop walking is built in. Pre-planning?

dhw: Alternatively, one might consider the point that in evolution organisms work out their own methods to survive and/or improve. Every example of these natural wonders - and I cannot thank you enough for this truly fascinating thread, which is providing us all with an ongoing education and source of wonderment - seems to me to illustrate the astonishing inventiveness of living things.

Thank you, BUT: we have discussed this over and over. For organisms to do their own inventing they have to have a mechanism for it. So the issue still is, were they given such a mechanism or did they invent their own? You are on one side of this and I'm on the other. No resolution possible.

dhw: But the more there are, the less convincing (to me) becomes your theory of divine preprogramming and/or intervention. There is simply no need for those first cells to have been loaded with programmes for every imaginable twist and turn in evolution's history, or for personal dabbling.

This is where Denton's structuralism comes in: his approach (agnostic) is that there are basic patterns established 'by the laws of nature' upon which everything else is based and then modified by epigenetic adaptations, at which point natural selection takes a look. Thus Darwin's functionalism first approach is really a secondary mechanism to the original patterns of structuralism, a theory which is actually a form of my approach (recalled previously) for God to set original patterns. Denton finds patterns all over the place, especially in embryology. I won't list all of his patterns but they are everywhere science looks at life. The cuttlefish show a basic tendency toward the tetrapod form which is ubiquitous throughout advanced animals. My theistic view is 'laws by God', which is just as reasonable for me.

dhw:The theist can marvel simply at the ingenuity of the divine engineer who created a mechanism to produce all these wonders. Meanwhile, the atheist can marvel at the (literally) unbelievable stroke of luck that produced the mechanism. And the agnostic is left marvelling at the marvels produced by the mechanism, and mumbling “yes, but…” at each attempt to explain it.

Right! However the patterns even extend to natural organic polymers forming tubes automatically in water:

"Scientists have discovered a family of nature-inspired polymers that, when placed in water, spontaneously assemble into hollow crystalline nanotubes. The nanotubes can be tuned to all have the same diameter of between five and ten nanometers, depending on the length of the polymer chain.


" What's more, the nanotubes can be tuned to all have the same diameter of between five and ten nanometers, depending on the length of the polymer chain.

"The polymers have two chemically distinct blocks that are the same size and shape. The scientists learned these blocks act like molecular tiles that form rings, which stack together to form nanotubes up to 100 nanometers long, all with the same diameter.


Remarkably, the nanotubes assemble themselves without the usual nano-construction aids, such as electrostatic interactions or hydrogen bond networks.

"'You wouldn't expect something as intricate as this could be created without these crutches," says Zuckermann. "But it turns out the chemical interactions that hold the nanotubes together are very simple. What's special here is that the two peptoid blocks are chemically distinct, yet almost exactly the same size, which allows the chains to pack together in a very regular way."

Comment: Denton notes this sort of event also. It is as if God set up the organic chemistry of life to work by automatic emergence.

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