autonomy v. automaticity (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, March 07, 2018, 11:56 (164 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: And according to you there is no explanation as to how the weaverbird could tie such complicated knots unless your God did it. But I agree – neither nest nor brain is the result of chance. Both “reek” of design. So here’s an alternative theory to chance. Their respective cell communities (using their possibly God-given intelligence and inventiveness) cooperated to produce these designs.

DAVID: Thank you for recognizing design over chance. But if it didn't come from God what is its source? I can't think of one since design requires a planning mind.

There are two separate issues: 1) whether cell communities (organisms) are intelligent enough to produce their own innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders, or all these have to be preprogrammed or dabbled by your God; 2) whether your God exists. In relation to 1), I am quite happy to debate the issue on your theistic terms, since it relates solely to Chapter 2 of life, i.e. how evolution works. As regards 2) we have been through the alternatives (God, chance, atheistic panpsychism) many times, and you know that I am unable to accept any of them. More fool me.

dhw: It’s not a sweet comment. You have said there could be a degree of “group think”, which supports the whole hypothesis of cellular intelligence which you have always been so desperate to deny. The smile is because you have acknowledged that this may have been “how God designs”.

DAVID: We have had long discussions about the possibility of species consciousness a la' Sheldrake. This is the sort of group think I referred to. I don't think it leads to the birds inventing the knots to tie. But God might work through group consciousness to direct processes.

Nothing to do with Sheldrake’s species consciousness, which does not explain evolutionary innovation. We were talking about the inventiveness of ants, which in my hypothesis I extend to cell communities of all kinds. Insects, birds, animals, including ourselves, are all communities of cooperating cell communities, i.e. groups of groups. Much of their/our behaviour is automatic, but I do not accept that the invention of those behaviours and the ability to solve problems are automatic. Nor do I understand why your God should find it necessary to direct weaver knot-tying and ant bridge-building when apparently all he wants to do is produce the brain of Homo sapiens.

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