An Alternative to Evolution: pt 2 (Introduction)

by dhw, Saturday, July 07, 2018, 11:47 (559 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

I am going to try and summarize the points at issue, because this thread is becoming too diffuse for me to handle! But once again, I’ll start with an apology because I continue to struggle with your terminology.

The first issue is that you keep talking about your hypothesis, but you have not told us what it is. A vast proportion of your list of scientific facts boils down to life being too complex to have evolved by chance, abiogenesis is impossible, and therefore design is the only solution. I find this argument unanswerable, and it is a major factor in my own agnosticism. (This is not the place to explain the other half of my agnosticism, which is my objections to the God theory). But this argument has nothing to do with the theory of common descent. And that is why there are many theistic evolutionists, who reject chance for the same reason as you do.

Here are some more points:
1 Stem cells that perform different functions fit in very neatly with evolution.

2 The fact that organisms have so many structures in common is strong evidence for common descent. I don’t know why you focus on minor variations such as hair colour. It is major innovations that are the problem for evolution. You are right that nobody has ever observed them, and that science has not discovered any mechanism that could invent them. David thinks his God either preprogrammed them or dabbled them. I propose cellular intelligence (possibly designed by your God), which some scientists regard as a fact, though we do not know if that intelligence stretches so far as to invent new organs. It is just a hypothesis. Now please tell us your own hypothesis.

3 “Mutations are deleterious.” If you take the word “mutation” to mean change, there is no avoiding the fact that every innovation is a mutation. Once more you are rigidly focused on chance, but if changes were designed (e.g. by your God, or by intelligent cell communities) they would not be deleterious. And Natural Selection simply preserves those that are advantageous. Again, no reason for rejecting evolution.

4 You wrote: “The theory of evolution is not the facts, but rather the story we use to connect all of the facts into a coherent thought with explanatory power.” Yes indeed. That is the case with all hypotheses. So what is yours?

5 Do you know all the laws of physics? Have you found the key to the mysteries of quantum mechanics? Have you travelled all over the universe to be able to say you know that all forms of life must obey the same laws? And how does this part of your hypothesis disprove evolution?

6 You wrote: “Further, it postulates that we will not discover any metaphysical components in our material bodies.” I’m not going to argue for metaphysics, but I’ll argue the toss against any physicist who claims that he knows for a fact that the material world is the only reality, all psychic experiences are hocus-pocus, and consciousness can be explained by our material cells.

7 Endosymbiosis: I don’t understand how two separate organisms can combine into one without each providing new information for the other, but perhaps I’d best leave this to the experts.

8 All cells communicate. All organisms are made up of cells. Yes, their language has persisted, and gives every impression of having been designed. All part of the argument against chance. But not against evolution! On the contrary, if cells have been able to communicate since the very beginning of life, that fits in with the idea that they could combine and experiment intentionally, especially when faced with challenges from the natural environment, and possibly even when a changed environment offered opportunities for innovation.

9 ..You say my hypothesis that organisms themselves may be capable of changing functions advantageously requires proof that the level of available genetic information had INCREASED, was NEW, and NOVEL. I’m afraid you’ll have to explain this to me. I assume you accept that bacteria, trilobites, etc. preceded humans. Are you saying that there has been no increase in genetic information? Nothing new? Forgive my denseness – perhaps this again boils down to your definition of information. But whatever it boils down to, I would like you to tell us your own hypothesis, and how it disproves the theory that all changes took place successively in existing organisms (= common descent).

Tony: I shared this with you, David, and George because I respect your opinions and your minds. I've been honored to converse with the three of you and have learned a tremendous amount through the research I had to do just to hold my own in these discussions. In a very real way, it is you three that have challenged me enough to force me to try and tackle this problem in a non-theistic fashion.

I see this as a kind of symbiosis! We all bring different information/opinions to the task of trying to solve the unsolvable, and I for one have benefited enormously from the discussions with you, David and many others during the 10 plus years of the website’s existence. And the respect is mutual!

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