Logic and evolution (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 12:11 (615 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: “Steering evolution toward humans” could be done by dabbling, and this would allow for the combination of what you call “hands off” (complete autonomy) and “control” (God dabbling for his own purposes). Then we wouldn't have to wonder why he is so concerned about the weaverbird's nest that he has to design it himself - as if life could not go on without it!
DAVID: You keep making a nest a major issue, but I don't see it that way. It is part of a micro niche in the balance of nature. It is part of the enormous variety presented by life styles and life forms. All on the way to reach humans. Are not the humans the pinnacles of complexity? To the point that I presented today the comment today that many scientists think evolution is over.

The nest is a major issue because it epitomizes the lack of logic in your evolutionary scenario. Your insistence that the bird is incapable of designing it leaves you floundering to explain why your God would do the designing. It has nothing to do with the ”balance of nature” (= organisms need food to survive), or with the production of humans, “pinnacle” or not. The implications are enormous. If organisms are incapable of intelligent design, your God has to do it all. Your more recent theory - “God's liking of complexity and creating patterns of complexity” - echoes the anthropomorphic view you dismissed when I suggested that he might enjoy watching the unpredictable products of an autonomous inventive mechanism. That's fine with me, but it has no connection with the claim that God set out to produce homo sapiens! Undirected autonomy explains the whole higgledy-piggledy bush (possibly punctuated by dabbling, including for humans), but…
dhw: …that is the “possibility” you seem unable to accept: that organisms such as insects and weaverbirds may be capable of intelligent design without your God's guidance.
DAVID: Minor adaptations, yes, speciation, no.

And you also say no to the weaverbird's nest and innumerable other natural wonders, all apparently handmade or preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago by God, whose purpose was to produce homo sapiens. Where is the logic?

dhw: … please explain why saltations that introduce new inventions such as kidneys, brains, sex, the senses etc. would require or result in a loss rather than a gain of information.
DAVID: They referring to adaptations, not species changes in the loss of info. No one knows how species appear and what happens with info. It is a black box so far

Exit the theory that all the information needed for evolution was present from the beginning. But even with adaptation, I cannot see the logic. An organism only adapts if there is new external information that needs to be processed and adjusted to internally. This does not mean loss of information, though it might mean jettisoning information that is no longer required (see below).

DAVID: Cells can modify their DNA as Shapiro shows, which changes the use of information and this suggests that all the information needed for evolution may have been present from the beginning.
dhw: Once again, I cannot follow your logic. The ability of cells to modify their DNA is essential for evolution to advance. And so the potential for acquiring information from outside and for changing information inside must indeed have been present from the beginning if we believe in common descent.[...]That does not mean that every possible response (adaptive and innovative) to every future environmental change was “present from the beginning”. So please explain precisely what you mean by “all the information needed for evolution” in this context.

DAVID: The only evidence we have so far is adaptations result from a loss of information. If one extrapolates this finding to the process of speciation, it is possible speciation occurs solely from a loss of information, which means all the info needed for evolution was present from the beginning.

See above re adaptation. You have not explained what you mean by “all the information”. What information? External conditions? Internal restructuring? Your latest post on the subject illustrates my point regarding adaptation:

QUOTE: "'Our results are compatible with the loss of genes related to RA in Oikopleura dioica happened in an scenario of regressive evolution, in which the lost functions were not essential for the organism," said professor Ricard Albalat." (My bold)

The article does not claim that innovation or even adaptation is caused by a loss of information, and your own comment has now become considerably more measured:

David's comment: this is a more complex organism than an amoeba, so we can say that evolution generally produces complexity, but at times information can be reduced and an intact complex organism can still be produced. We are still facing the confusion around speciation, and we can see loss of information can still be very productive. it is a confusing area of research.

A very far cry from speciation occurring “solely from a loss of information, which means all the info needed for evolution was present from the beginning.” There is no evidence that loss of information is even a contributory factor to speciation, let alone being the sole cause, and so there is no support for the claim that all the info for evolution (which you have avoided defining) was present from the beginning.

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