Logic and evolution (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, July 17, 2016, 11:06 (799 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: It is you who keep linking the two ideas, as if somehow the vast array of life forms and natural wonders, extinct and extant, was designed to produce humans.

DAVID: I base my theory on the fact that the arrival of humans is a most unlikely result, unless guided. I know you don't follow the inference of purpose as I do.

If God exists, he would have created life with a purpose. That does not mean all forms of life came into being for the sake of humans! You have at last begun to accept this, with your theory that God likes creating pretty patterns for their own sake (similar to my theistic alternative that he likes watching the autonomous inventive mechanism create its own pretty patterns). We both leave room for him to dabble, and so humans may have come much later in his thought processes. My objection has always been to your insistence that all of evolution was geared to the production of homo sapiens, which not even you can reconcile with his personal design of the weaverbird's nest and millions of other natural wonders.

DAVID: I've presented to you recently that many scientists think we are the end point. Again, I look at purpose as a driving factor and you do not.

Scientists are no more qualified than philosophers, priests or soothsayers to say whether we are the end point or not. I do look at purpose as a driving factor, but I do not accept that the production of humans is THE purpose. I think evolution is driven by the purpose of survival and/or improvement. Your God's purpose may be to enjoy the show he has sparked off.

dhw: You still have no evidence whatsoever for your claim that speciation may occur “solely from a loss of information, which means all the info needed for evolution was present from the beginning,” (my bold) and you still haven't explained what you mean by “all the info”.

DAVID: I was working from a memory impression: here are two articles I read in the past and they describe that one of the ways adaptations occur is with loss of genes (i.e. information)
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/08/a_leaky_faucet098751.html

I don't have any trouble believing that “one of the ways adaptation occurs is with loss of genes”. I have a great deal of trouble accepting that speciation may occur “solely from a loss of information”. (My bold) You have graciously apologized for this. However, your second post again deals exclusively with adaptation. I will only comment on snippets:

DAVID: …after discussing a lizard adaptation, he [Spetner]concludes: "Evolution through a built-in response to an environmental input does not generate new information. The built-in mechanism was already in the lizards but it was latent."

Again, adaptation does not explain evolution, which requires innovation. However, I also try to link the two with my suggestion that the same mechanism is responsible: namely, the autonomous intelligence of organisms that enables them to build new structures (not just adapt existing structures). How a new structure can be created without adding new “information” is beyond my comprehension, but perhaps you will enlighten me by at last defining what you mean by “all the information needed for evolution”.

DAVID: Further on page 110 he [Spetner] states: "The scientific literature records no example of even one random mutation that adds heritable information to the genome." And follows with examples. One is antibiotic resistance: "No example of antibiotic resistance in bacteria adds information to the biosphere. To become resistant, the bacteria either pick up ready-made resistance genes from other bacteria [from me: horizontal transfer] or they undergo a mutation that destroys information."

You and I have long since abandoned Darwin's random mutations as an explanation for innovation. Since bacteria remain bacteria, this is of no help in understanding innovation. However, if Bobby Bacterium picks up ready-made resistance genes from Billy Bacterium, although he is not adding information to the biosphere, at some stage or the other the invention of antibiotics and BILLY'S ability to resist them must have added information of some kind!

DAVID: It may be logical to you that organisms can add info to their genes from the external stimuli, but that has not been shown. Methylation only modifies existing function.

That is not my argument, but the whole issue is clouded by this constant reference to “information” without any clear definition of what it means. It is not the info from external stimuli that is added - that is just the trigger. It is the innovation itself that requires new info: how to create a functioning kidney/penis/eye/wing/ brain.

DAVID: So I am changing my claim about genetic information, to this: that it is either modified or destroyed with adaptation, not added. Not knowing how speciation occurs, I cannot comment on how information might be added.

This whole discussion centres on how evolution works. Adaptation is only relevant as a possible clue: in my hypothesis, the cooperative intelligences (perhaps God-given) of the cell communities are responsible for both processes; in yours, God has preprogrammed everything in the very first cells, or personally intervenes. These have always been your two comments on “how information might be added” (whatever “information” means).


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