Natures wonders: Subsea Microorganisms Long Life (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 11:32 (394 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Combining lots of posts here:

dhw: My point was that the cell is the basis of all life, and I find it perfectly conceivable that its design (which believers may attribute to their God) would render cells capable of combining with other cells to create every single organism, extant and extinct, throughout the history of life. This means common descent from the first living cells. Your post clearly doesn’t exclude this possibility, which is good enough for me.

TONY: That tiny bit of code simply said, as long as some condition(i being with the span of two values) is true, do something. For example, as long as a creature is feeling threatened, engage the sympathetic nervous system for fight-or-flight, or as long as food is abundant, have more babies.

Again please forgive my ignorance, but are you referring to the "tiny bit of code" you gave us (which I didn't understand at all) or to the code that Karen Lloyd was explaining? Or to both? Her argument was that the common features in her code demonstrated common descent. I am only asking for brief clarification, not trying to make a point.

TONY: Interpretation of data is largely dependent upon cognitive bias. I don't claim that this bias is necessarily mistaken, but it is always present.

This is certainly true whenever anyone chooses to believe one option in relation to a subject on which there is no universal consensus as to what is true and what is false.

TONY: DHW claims a third option, that he doesn't know and so refuses to choose, but that is not really the case. By his arguments, he has clearly made a choice and there is likely no evidence short of divine explanation which would convince him otherwise, as evidenced by our repeated and well documented attempts to show all the evidence AGAINST cellular intelligence and common descent on the scale he discusses.

Hold on, hold on! This is far too general. I can’t decide whether there is or is not a God, and so I can’t choose. I don’t know whether cellular intelligence can extend so far as to produce the innovations necessary for evolution, and so I offer it only as a hypothesis; I defend it as a logical explanation of what I see as life’s higgledy-piggledy history of comings and goings, particularly in the light of David’s theories. I HAVE made a choice concerning common descent (yes), random mutations (no).

TONY: Personally, I believe in a creator God, reject mainstream evolution and common descent, but acknowledge the role of epigenetics, inheritance, and variation within a single species type, citing the commonality of genetic language as a prime illustration of how designers design! In short, a bear will always be a bear, and never anything but a bear, but it may be one of any number of bear variations. […]

It’s important to note that common descent does not exclude your God (as Darwin himself emphasized). You can claim he began by creating the simplest forms (single cells), personally put them together to make multicellular forms, and personally organized them into all the different species. You still have common descent from those first forms. Or you can claim that he set up a mechanism whereby they did their own organizing. You believe he created a mechanism that enabled species to diverge into variants. Why won't you consider the possibility that the same mechanism enabled early forms of life to diverge into species?

dhw (to David): Ah! I’d be interested to know, then, if you reject Tony's conclusion and agree with Karen Lloyd that ALL organisms, from bacteria to humans, must have developed from the first living cells.

DAVID: You have never understood my view that the issue of common descent and evolution must include consideration of the first cells, not avoid it as you and Darwin do.

My whole hypothesis is based on consideration of the first cells! Namely, that they contained the mechanisms for life, reproduction and evolution, and all other organisms are descended from them! My question was whether you believed this or not.

DAVID: (under “Theoretical origin of life”) It makes sense that the earliest cells were the basis for development of future forms, and would not leave fossils behind.

Yes indeed, the theory of common descent makes sense.

DAVID: Rather than being purely passive recipients of environmental pressures, organisms are active and self-transforming, according to current research.

"Active and self-transforming" is a very important factor in my hypothesis.

TONY: I do not think that animals are on the same level of intelligence that we are, but I do not think they are mindless machines either. We are to them as they are to bacteria, in terms of intelligence, and obviously the creator would be many orders of magnitude greater than we are. After all, we are not, supposedly, the greatest of his creations; not by far. Everything exists at scale and has a limited vantage point from which to perceive creation.

Delighted to see you embracing the concept of bacterial intelligence, as opposed to David’s belief that they are mindless machines. (I seek points of agreement as well as points of disagreement!) Your reference to our not being the greatest of his creations is presumably derived from the Bible, which I take to be the basis of your own “cognitive bias” in relation to all these discussions. ;-)


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