Logic and evolution (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, July 21, 2016, 13:19 (730 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: But you claimed there was no natural answer to the question of improvement/advance. Once the first merger took place, I have offered you a natural explanation. Why do you consider the above scenario to be unnatural?
DAVID: Just as Darwin skipped origin of life you've skipped how the first combination took place. Remember it is all a continuum from start of life to now.

I didn't skip it. I said it might be due to a stroke of luck, and when you objected, I said chance was no more improbable than a sourceless inventive mind introducing Cell A to Cell B. Once again: you claimed there was no natural explanation for improvement/advance - which means what happened AFTER the origin of life. So why you do consider the scenario I offered to be unnatural?

dhw: I was responding to the following exchange:
ME: How a new structure can be created without adding new “information” is beyond my comprehension.
YOU: But that is what research has found. Accept it if you believe science can advance our knowledge. (My bold)
dhw: No, research has not found that, and so I will not accept it! But thank you for proving my point for me.
DAVID: I have always said either evolutionary advances were coded from the beginning or God dabbles. God dabbling is adding new information. But adaptations, which are minor advances, may often lose information.

So when you said that research has found that a new structure can be created without adding “new information”, you actually meant science has found that some adaptations lose information. There is a difference.

DAVID: Many bacteria have a multiple choice on board for metabolic processes that antibiotics might interfere with. In fact some antibiotics are tailored to do just that. If A won't work anymore, they simply shift to B. Research shows this. Nylon use was simply an adaptation of an existing pathway, as an example. Otherwise resistance is naturally present in an alternative available pathway, or horizontal transfer takes place.
dhw: Antibiotics were a new invention. An invention by definition will contain new information. You said that an organism's internal information is the instructions or plans it uses to “run life” (your words). How, then, is it logically possible to say that a new threat (new information) does not require new instructions/plans (new information)?
DAVID: Because of a fact of nature. Antibiotics have been around forever, in some organisms, in soil, etc. Bacteria have been battling them forever. Antibiotics are a new human discovery, not a new invention, and bacteria are naturally resistant to some of them.

Let me see if I can understand how it all works. Humans newly discovered a means of killing harmful bacteria, and for many years it worked, and millions of harmful bacteria died, but then some found they already had multiple choices and existing pathways or natural resistance which your God had built into the first living cells to be passed on 3.8 billion years later. And the bacteria that newly discovered the right multiple choice or existing pathway passed on the information via horizontal transfer to those that didn't realize they had it, or actually didn't have it. And all this happened automatically, because bacteria haven't a clue what they are doing. I must say, the range of programmes to be passed on by the first living cells gets wider and wider with every subject we discuss. The alternative to your 3.8-billion-year programme is God dabbling - i.e. kindly intervening to teach bacteria how to counter man's attempts to combat the diseases they cause. How much simpler it would all have been if only God had given organisms the wherewithal to do their own adapting and inventing!

dhw: But your argument might become clearer if only you would explain what you mean by “all the information needed for evolution”.
DAVID: I did above, but repeating, dabbling is new information. Since we don't understand speciation pre-programming or dabbling is all I have to suggest.

I know you can only think in terms of a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme plus dabbling, but I am querying your statement that “genetic studies of adaptations suggest all the info [needed for evolution] could have been present at the beginning.” Let me repeat: by “all the information needed for evolution” I understand firstly, external environmental conditions, which are the trigger for all adaptations and probably for most innovations. This new information has to be processed before any advance can take place, and all advances must cope with the new conditions. How could this information have been present at the beginning? Secondly, internal information is what you call the plans or instructions issued from within the organism to enable it to adapt its existing structure to the new conditions or, with innovation, to create a new structure. How could these plans and instructions have been present at the very beginning if the external information requiring adaptation or allowing for innovation was not present? If you now accept that all the information could NOT have been present at the beginning, and so your God had to dabble, we shall have cleared up that particular issue, and I hope we can also forget about the illogical hypothesis that evolutionary advances are CAUSED by loss of information.

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