An Alternative to Evolution: pt 2 (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, July 13, 2018, 11:10 (730 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

dhw: If only you would define "information", your argument might become clearer.

DAVID: I can only tell you that information is the instructions for life to be formed and continue.

Why can’t information also mean instructions for new organs to be invented? You even believe that your God instructed the weaverbird in the art of knot tying. Why does this not count as new “information”, since the nest is unique? And a never-before-existing brain would surely require a million times more new information, or “instructions for new organs to be formed and continue”.

dhw: Tony rejects evolution and common descent. As you are our resident theistic evolutionist, won't you please explain why you reject Tony's arguments against the form of evolution you believe in?

DAVID: I know Tony has a different view of evolution, but I agree with him that DNA is a designed code. I think Tony prefers dabbling as a definite event. I only consider it as possible.

Of course you agree with “design”. Your only alternative to dabbling is that your God provided the first cells with programmes for every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder. Tony has not spelt out his alternative theory, but it would seem to be God’s separate creation of the species. (He’ll correct me if I’m wrong.) Do you accept this as a reasonable alternative to common descent?

dhw: Why is it not conceivable that your God designed the whole evolutionary mechanism for speciation and variation to develop out of the same genetic programming language he invented right at the beginning of life?

TONY: My hypothesis Does allow for variation, but not speciation as we currently view it. The primary reason is this: my hypothesis predicts that Genetic information will be function specific and limited in variation by requirements of the complexity involved. There is no known method to add the information needed to make diverge into a new species, and the information does not, to our knowledge, exist in prior species. We have no evidence of inventive functionality at the cellular level. New functionality appears fully formed. […] Without speciation, the vast bush of life would look far different.

Of course the bush would look different without speciation, and NOBODY knows the cause of speciation (i.e. “the method to add the information needed to make new species”). Does your prediction that genetic information will be “function specific” mean you predict that innovation will prove to be impossible, and therefore only your God can produce new species? You needn’t be shy with us. It’s better to say what you mean. You are right that there is no evidence that cells can invent something new – that is why it’s a hypothesis. On the other hand, why is your prediction any more valid than my hypothesis or David’s (that his God planned and directed evolution)?

dhw: All of us can show some evidence for our hypotheses, but none of us can provide conclusive evidence even that your God exists, let alone that he did it this way and not that way.

TONY: That is why I have repeatedly asked that we keep God out of the scientific part of this conversation. It isn't a hypothesis about God, but rather about genetic information.

So your hypothesis is that there cannot be a mechanism for innovation, and therefore evolution could not have happened, and therefore….?

TONY: Actually, David and I both agree, I think, that an organism cannot pass on information it doesn't already contain.

Of course you can’t pass on something you don’t have. That is why David insists that all the information must have been present from the very beginning – a premise you thought was “premature” and which struck you as “intuitively wrong”. But you are not willing to contemplate the possibility that an organism can ACQUIRE new information and then pass it on. David is and isn’t, because apart from preprogramming he also allows for dabbling, and yet apparently he rejects the idea that a divine dabble might require the introduction of new information. (See above)

TONY: I have no doubt that information is lost through mutations, but losing information does not account for new, fully formed features or species.

It does if you believe that God put all the information into the first cells, and so speciation is the result of discarding every other programme but one. That is David’s preprogramming hypothesis. Perhaps you share my “intuitive” scepticism.

TONY: Why would ANY designer reinvent the code every time they needed to do something similar?

A very good argument for common descent. Why would your God need to create each species separately (or do you have a different hypothesis?) if he has already devised a code that would lead to speciation?

DAVID: Their discovery actively disproves evolution by common descent, and instead of accepting that they invent more fairy tales to explain why the evidence does not fit their theory.

How do jumping genes disprove common descent? The genes move from existing organs to existing organs!

DAVID: You don't seem to believe in common descent, but based on your discussion of rearranging parts, doesn't that imply each stage came from the past stage?

Precisely. David and I agree for once!

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