autonomy v. automaticity (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 07, 2018, 17:52 (279 days ago) @ dhw


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.

dhw: 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.

Intelligence involves being able to handle constructional information and informational stimuli with proper responses. Since biological research shows only automatic responses I do not accept your theory. As layer after layer of genome controls is uncovered, that is all that is found. I admit that the future might bring some evidence to help you. Only time will tell.


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.

dhw: 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.

God wanted to produce humans. He used a process of evolution which produced a bush of life, not just a tree. The weavers are simply a stop on the way.


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