Natures wonders: ants farm fungus for food (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 12:25 (946 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Why do you insist on inserting “automatic”? It is blindingly obvious that bacteria possess the mechanisms to enable them to adapt to extreme conditions, since we know they adapt to extreme conditions. That does not mean their adaptation is automatic, especially since researchers have noted that when exposed to certain tests, some bacteria die before the others come up with a solution.
DAVID: You have forgotten that the variability of bacteria means that only some will solve the problem presented and continue to live and reproduce.

Variability is my point! In your scenario some bacteria did not inherit God’s 3.8-billion-year-old programme for bacterial solutions to all problems, or your God has only given personal instructions to the lucky few. In mine, some have the intelligence (perhaps God-given) to work out a solution, while others can’t do it.

DAVID: Of course in your mind Texas butterflies enjoying our milkweed, didn't like our winters with little milkweed. But they must have known about Mexican milkweed in warmer climates so they simply took off south to look for it. Pipedream.

I suggest that in all such cases, the original organisms knew they couldn’t stay where they were and took off in various directions. The successful ones survived, the others perished, but the survivors passed on the information, which eventually became standard practice. Your very important post on homing pigeons (thank you for that and the others on different natural wonders) makes precisely that point:

QUOTE: "Homing pigeons may share the human capacity to build on the knowledge of others, improving their navigational efficiency over time, a new study has found. The ability to gather, pass on and improve on knowledge over generations is known as cumulative culture. Until now humans and, arguably some other primates, were the only species thought to be capable of it.

For some of us, “cumulative culture” is by no means a startling new discovery. It’s only common sense that if intelligent beings make useful discoveries, they will pass them on. Even lowly bacteria solve problems and pass on the solutions.

Dhw: (re jumping spiders) I’d have thought the rapid perfection of a new variation is more likely than immediate perfection. The guppy experiment showed that evolutionary change can take place rapidly over just a few generations.
DAVID: Great difference in comparisons. Guppy change was only bigger or smaller bodies, not multiple complex eyes and calculus calculations for the leap.

Agreed. Nobody knows how the complexities of evolution came about. I am simply suggesting that since we do know there is a mechanism for rapid change, that same mechanism (an inventive intelligence – perhaps God-given) may also account for those complexities.

DHW: I offered free will as an example of your God deliberately sacrificing control, just as he might have done in setting up autonomous mechanisms for evolution (leaving himself the option of a dabble).
DAVID: You think God has severely limited capacity to design.

Absolutely not! That was YOUR idea, to account for what you thought might be the “delay” in the fulfilment of what you insist was his one and only purpose.
DAVID: If God can make a universe from His thoughts, He can do anything else.

I agree and, if he exists, his powers would include the ability to design an autonomous, inventive mechanism – let’s call it intelligence – that would enable organisms (including humans) to do their own designing.

DAVID: We differ on His powers. Your approach is, 'let the kids do it." Mine is, "I'll baby sit and guide them".

There is no loss of power if God has deliberately given organisms the ability to “do it” themselves. Your approach is God thinking: “All I want to do is design humans, which I can do without any difficulty, and so I’ll design weaverbirds’ nests, monarch butterfly metamorphosis and navigation, jumping spiders, plus every other natural wonder in order to keep life going until I design the only thing I actually want to design.” It didn’t make sense before, and it still doesn’t make sense.

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