Logic and evolution (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, July 26, 2016, 11:42 (1063 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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: The only consciousness we know requires neurons. Shapiro's sentient bacteria are only sentient in that they can receive stimuli and have responses to those stimuli.

I admit that's a bit of a problem when someone tells me that first cause pure energy must have been conscious. However, back to Earth: what do you think Shapiro means by cognitive and decision-making? Unconscious and obeying instructions?

dhw: 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.

DAVID: It may be wondrous to you but I have faith in God, and you have trouble swallowing that faith.

No, I have trouble swallowing your belief that your God programmed or personally dabbled every innovation and natural wonder in the history of life, and that somehow it's all linked to “balance of nature” and the production of humans. One could still have faith in a God who endowed organisms with the intelligence to do their own thing. You should not conflate faith in God with faith in a particular interpretation of God's methods and intentions.

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