An Alternative to Evolution: pt 2 (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, July 08, 2018, 11:55 (558 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Here are some more points:
2 The fact that organisms have so many structures in common is strong evidence for common descent. 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.

DAVID: You are correct to limit the concept of cellular intelligence. All that is observed is the cells are programmed to act intelligently in their own interest and living activity, nothing more.

Yes, it is a hypothesis, no more observable than the hypothesis that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder. But at least the basic premise of intelligence IS observable, through the manner in which organisms adapt, and the manner in which single cells (bacteria) are able to solve new problems.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Natural selection is a nebulous tautology, to which you keep scurrying back, to use your terms. Certainly there is natural competition but that does not provide for speciation.

Of course it doesn’t, and I didn’t say it did! It is non-creative and “simply preserves those [innovations] that are advantageous.” Please stop erecting straw men.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: No new information is added to the total information in living organisms.

I don’t understand what you and Tony mean by "information", so let me extend the discussion beyond endosymbiosis to ALL organisms Once there was no such thing as organisms with brain, sexual reproduction, liver. So when they first appeared, did they add nothing new to the information available to their predecessors? See also below.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Cells cannot invent without a sense of purpose to understand what is required to be new in the process of development. You are granting the cells the ability of foresight!

We know that cells can react to different environments by making changes to themselves. And I am suggesting (it’s a hypothesis) that their reactions may even extend to finding new ways of using environmental change to their advantage through changes that go beyond simple adaptation. Not so much foresight as inventiveness, not predicting the changes to their living conditions, but reacting to them inventively – just as we humans do.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: Mutations generally destroy existing information, which is why I say God programmed everything into the beginning of life. When He dabbled it was not to increase information.

Firstly, mutation in the sense of “change” doesn’t destroy existing “information” but in my interpretation of the word adds to it when it actually works. But once again I don’t understand your use of “information”. If your God dabbled to design the weaverbird’s nest, he added to the information about how to build knotty nests. “Here’s what you do, weavy – you tie a knot here. And a knot there.” “Oh, I didn’t know that!” said the bird. “You have added to the information I had about nest-building.” But of course by definition, if your God knows everything, then no information can be added to your God’s knowledge. That is very different from saying that he does not increase the amount of information contained in the cell communities he dabbled with or preprogrammed.

DAVID: Please forgive me for sneaking into a discussion with Tony to express my thinking.

Absolutely nothing to forgive. We are all in this together!

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