autonomy v. automaticity (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, April 04, 2018, 11:09 (136 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Many of our disagreements revolve round your insistence that humans – although of course I acknowledge the uniqueness of our minds – mark some kind of end point or “finality”.
DAVID: And it might well be a final point. We control the Earth and are changing it in ways that might stop any major evolutionary change.

We are changing it in ways that are causing large scale extinctions, as illustrated by your ecological articles on threats to the current balance of nature. You may not think extinction is a major evolutionary change, because you can only think of humans as the be-all and end-all of life’s history.

DAVID: And you skip the significance of the obvious fact that the diversity of life is designed to allow that there is always something for everyone to eat. Why do you constantly forget that life requires continuous energy? Why can't you equate balance means energy?
dhw: There ISN’T always something for everyone to eat! Why do you constantly forget that evolution, as above, is an ongoing process, and 99% per cent of species, lifestyles and wonders have died out for reasons which include the fact that there wasn’t something for them to eat? Balance does not mean energy. Life goes on so long as there is enough food/energy for one or more living organisms. The balance changes accordingly.
DAVID: You just changed the thrust of the point I made. The diversity of life is a design to provide energy for life to continue over 3.8 billion years to this point in time. Of course species come and go as a consequence of evolution.

The “thrust of your point” was that “there is always something for everyone to eat.” There isn’t. Now your point is that diversity provides "energy for life to continue". Life could have continued for 3.8 billion years without diversity, since bacteria have survived all that time. I'll look forward to the next "thrust". Meanwhile, if your God exists, perhaps you might consider the possibility that diversity is an end in itself.

DAVID: The appearance of the human brain is not explained by any theory of necessity. It has to be the result of purposeful activity, something you cannot accept.

dhw: Over and over again we have agreed that the appearance of multicellular organisms is not explained by any theory of necessity, since unicellular organisms have survived perfectly well since life began. I have also agreed over and over again that this is the result of purposeful activity – their purpose being survival and/or improvement. I apply this to all forms of life and not just to humans. As for an overall purpose, I say that if God exists (the only way there could be an overall purpose), the whole, ever changing spectacle of different species, lifestyles and natural wonders (including humans) may be a purpose in itself, but you refuse to accept any purpose beyond that of the production of the human brain.
DAVID: And your reasoning is metaphysical. There is no proof survival and improvement drive evolution. It is Darwin's theory.

Any reasoning relating to God and his purposes is metaphysical! And there is no proof that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every natural wonder in the history of life, or that his prime purpose was the human brain, or indeed that he exists. These are non-arguments! We are simply trying to find explanations that fit the facts as we think we know them.

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