Explaining natural wonders: bacterial intelligence (Animals)

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 11, 2017, 18:26 (614 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: when it comes to guessing at his motives and methods, your arguments seem to me to be full of holes. These are not filled by claiming that you are a believer and I am an agnostic. I have even offered a theistic alternative which you agreed DID fit the facts as we see them!

Your arguments are mostly imaginative suggestions for what God might have done in conducting evolution. We have no evidence of an internal drive for improvement (see below), but we do see exceedingly complex life forms appearing and the changes are highly complex but not necessarily improvements as in the whale series. So I conclude that without concern for improvement there is a drive for complexity. You ask if God implanted that drive and let the organisms evolve in a free for all and I don't think He would give up that much control, and the other consideration is I firmly believe some of what is produced in the complexity of lifestyles is too complex to occur without God's help. Which gets back to pre-planning or dabbling.

dhw: But what is surprising is your insistence that your God prepared the pre-whale for marine life before it entered the water. So how much of all this do you think was divinely dabbled, and how much was caused by a perhaps God-given internal drive for improvement, as the cell communities adapted to a “complete marine life cycle”?

Answered above. Either dabbling or pre-planned, or both.

DAVID: My answer is still 'why bother' since it involved so many complex adaptations. Why take the hard path when there are easier ones?

dhw: Precisely. And you could ask the same question about the knotty weaverbird’s nest, the complexities of the monarch butterfly’s lifestyle and migration, and indeed about the labyrinthine path to homo sapiens. It is a question that undermines the whole theory that your God created the universe in order to produce homo sapiens.

It undermines nothing. We do see the labyrinthine path. It can be accepted as God's method of evolution.

dhw: And it opens up the path for alternatives, both theistic and atheistic. Your comment under “Plant extremophiles” and the extraordinary tale of the zombified beetles may point the way:

David’s comment: There seem to be few limits to where life cannot go.

dhw: And indeed to the ways in which organisms find ways to survive. Viewed from a theistic perspective, if we are trying to guess at God’s motives and methods, it’s quite difficult to imagine him preprogramming or dabbling these funguses and extremophiles. Why bother? And if his sole purpose was to produce homo sapiens, well, surely there must have been easier paths. Perhaps it’s less difficult to imagine, for instance, that this astonishing variety of life that comes and goes is the result of him designing a mechanism which enables organisms to do their own inventing, to design their own ways of surviving, and even improving their mode of living. If the show was an end in itself, we wouldn’t have to ask “why bother?” And if homo sapiens were not the only goal, we wouldn’t have to ask why he didn’t take the easier path.

Again, as many times before, you are asking human questions of God's motives, looking for human motives in God's thinking. He may well have none of your suppositions in his thought pattern. I don't know, as a human, why He bothered with whales, but I must accept that He did. I don't see any way the land animals invented themselves into whales. It involves massively complex somatic and physiological alterations.

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