Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence (Animals)

by dhw, Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 20:05 (812 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I wrote that the potential solutions to all the different problems must already be there, but as opposed to your God preprogramming every single one of them into the first living cells and leaving it to sheer luck for some bacteria to switch on the right programme, some of them may have worked out the right solution for themselves, using what I have always said is their possibly God-given intelligence.
DAVID: Makes no sense. 'Potential solutions' are the existing alternative pathways, which bacteria that have them can switch on, as current studies show.

1) I’m going to add phase A) here, so please tell me if the following is a correct reading of your hypothesis: A) 3.8 billion years ago, your God preprogrammed some bacteria to create diseases. B) Humans (presumably not preprogrammed) use existing materials to kill the bacteria that create those diseases. C) 3.8 billion years ago your God preprogrammed some bacteria to use existing “pathways” to combat current human use of existing materials that kill bacteria.
2) I accept that we do not “know” if bacteria are intelligent or not – it is a hypothesis – but please tell me why it makes no sense to argue that they might use their intelligence to solve problems, as opposed to the equally unproven 1).

dhw: Why is survival or a better life a just-so story? How would you describe a story that runs: God made huge changes over several million years to enable whales to live in the water, but he had no conceivable reason for doing so except complexity for the sake of complexity?
DAVID: Makes the best sense. I don't think you recognize the enormity of the changes required to put a mammal into a totally aquatic lifestyle.

The enormity of the changes (acknowledged umpteen times) has nothing to do with whether the changes were made for the sake of complexity for complexity’s sake, or for the sake of enabling the whale to improve its lifestyle by adapting to the water. But if the former makes more sense to you than the latter, so be it.

DAVID: Viewed this way, as evolution driven by a complexification drive, makes the whole of evolution understandably logical. The whales are simply a complexification branch of the bush gone wild. Improvement not always needed.
dhw: This is a very promising line of thought. There is, of course, no logic to the argument that your God’s aim was to produce the human brain and so evolution went wild and resulted in billions of purposeless complexifications. But you have reiterated over and over again that your God is in charge, in which case how could evolution run wild unless he WANTED it to run wild? Hence the higgledy-piggledy bush as organisms did their own thing, as opposed to his specially designing every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder. We are making remarkable progress.
DAVID: I used 'run wild' as an expression of exuberance. I have not separated a drive to complexity as separate from God's control. It appears to me as a method He uses. And it sure helps explain the whales.

So God specially created the whales (and all the other species, lifestyles and natural wonders, extant and extinct) out of exuberance – the sheer joy of creating so many different things. This makes a lot more sense than the hypothesis that his sole purpose was to create humans and everything else was related to it. The only difference between our theistic hypotheses now seems to be special creation of everything versus his design of an autonomous IM. And in his exuberance he can still dabble or experiment to create humans, or have new ideas as he goes along. I am delighted at this sudden rapprochement.

dhw: I don’t know why you keep referring to Darwin, or why you consider the drive for survival and/or improvement/complexity, competition and/or cooperation a smelly “just-so” story.
DAVID: You use 'survival' and 'competition' which are Darwin terms. I have never considered the idea of the struggle to survive as the driving force in evolution. Back to bacteria who arrived early and have had no problem surviving. Something else drives evolution. God. Darwin and you think God not needed.

Forget your blind prejudice against any word of Darwin’s and please note that there are TWO driving forces mentioned above: the drive for survival and/or improvement or complexity. And there are TWO major influences on the outcome: competition and/or cooperation. Whether this whole process was devised by a god is an open question, and does not in any way affect either Darwin’s concept of the evolutionary process or my own (which differs from his in several aspects).


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