Evolution and humans: our feet are special (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, October 12, 2018, 09:58 (4 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your view: a raparian animal since water is near and waded in it will grow fins by magic. Yes, magical thought.

dhw: Here the hypothesis is that feet will change when organisms use them to walk on two legs because they find it advantageous to do so, and legs will become fins when organisms use them to swim, because they find it advantageous to move from land to water. Why do you consider that more “magical” than an unknown, sourceless, immaterial, eternal mind presumably using its powers of psychokinesis to fiddle (and keep fiddling) with the anatomy of individual hominins and pre-whales in order to prepare them for a descent from the trees or a leap into the water?

DAVID: The innovations that MUSt appear from a desired new use require complex designs to achieve those changes. Only a designer mind fits the requirement for the necessary complex new designs.

My apologies in advance for all the repetitions, but they are the only way I can respond to your own repetition. Millions of designer minds also fit the requirement, just as we see with ants building whole cities and devising complex social institutions. Every bird, fish, animal (including ourselves) is a colony whose cells and cell communities cooperate to create the whole. (See my earlier post on “emergence”). And when conditions change, those cell communities change. Not all. Some die. Some adapt. We know for a fact that the cell communities make minor changes to themselves. But it is possible that some adaptations may lead to major anatomical changes involving the whole body (e.g. for life on the ground or life in the water). We simply do not know the extent to which the cells can innovate. Nor, of course, do we know the source of the mechanisms that enable them to adapt. We are discussing evolution here, not the origin of life and its mechanisms for reproduction and variation. But if, for argument’s sake, we ignore atheistic chance and accept the existence of your designer God, here is the choice between two forms of theistic “magic”: 1) your God devises a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme for every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder that he does not personally create, using his powers of psychokinesis to rearrange the cell communities of the individual organisms he wishes to prepare for conditions which haven’t yet arisen. 2) Your God invents autonomous mechanisms which enable some organisms to drive evolution through their own adaptations and innovations, generally in response to changing conditions. So once again, please explain why you consider 2) to be more “magical” than 1).

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