Logic and evolution (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, July 25, 2016, 22:28 (670 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Please don't tell me that by cognitive, sentient, purposeful, decision-making etc., he actually means automatically obeying God's instructions.
DAVID: Just following God's implanted instructions.
dhw: That is your belief, and you are entitled to disagree with Shapiro, but please don't tell me Shapiro agrees with you.

DAVID: I can guess he does in his private, non-scientific light. He was president of his Jewish Temple.

It is perfectly possible to believe in God and at the same to believe that cells are cognitive, sentient, purposeful, decision-making beings whom God has provided with their intelligence. It is not, in my view possible to believe that a being can be cognitive, sentient, purposeful, decision-making and intelligent, and at the same time to believe that it is only capable of automatically obeying instructions.

DAVID: But that is the only evidence we have from protein analysis of cells. Are you invoking panpsychism again?
dhw: Protein analysis of cells will not explain how cell communities reach their decisions. Panpsychism is a very broad term, but I certainly do invoke the idea that all living organisms have some form of consciousness (not to be confused with human levels of self-awareness).

DAVID: But all that is found in a complete biochemical analysis of cells is molecular reactions and wondrous molecules which deliver the goods by walking along biological ropes. Where is this consciousness located, if no part can be identified with it?

If you analyse biochemicals in any organism, you will see molecular reactions and wondrous molecules delivering the goods, but they will not explain consciousness. “Consciousness” at ALL levels is a mystery, from your God (if he exists) down to humans down to animals down to insects, and I am more and more inclined also to say down to bacteria and to plants.

DAVID: Bacteria don't have neurons, and at a cellular level only neurons are neurons. That cells can re-write their genome is a mechanism that was present as part of the origin of cells. In my view origin of life is a God-given miracle, nothing less than that.

We are not talking about origin of life or about origin of consciousness. We know that bacteria have life, but you insist that they do not have any form of consciousness. If they do have it, your God may have given it to them. I agree that the ability to rewrite the genome must have been present at the beginning - otherwise evolution could not have taken place. For you, however, that ability (disregarding your God's later dabbles) is not an ability at all, but a computer programme containing every single genome change in the history of evolution, allowing for every single environmental change in the history of evolution. You'll need a truly wondrous molecule of faith to swallow that.

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