dhw: Evolution and humans: Neanderthal lungs larger (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, December 06, 2018, 13:20 (660 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: All this statement does is reaffirm your agnosticism, and have replaced God with a blind faith in cellular intelligence to create new designs.

dhw: Once more: God has not been replaced. He remains as the possible inventor of cellular intelligence. I don’t know how often I have to stress that this is a hypothesis and I do not have blind faith in it, but I am surprised that you find your own hypothesis so easy to imagine that you do have blind faith in it.

DAVID: I've always agreed with you that God might have given organisms the method of evolving new more advanced forms, but you object to my contention that God won't give up control but will offer that mechanism with guidelines. That makes perfect sense to me as God is the one and only Creator. Your God might allow latitude, mine won't.

I query your insistence that your God controls (or “guides”) every innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder, and that all of them are geared to the production of H. sapiens, although with his total control you don’t know why he chose to faff around with all of them. He can be the one and only Creator and still allow latitude because he WANTS to allow latitude.

DAVID: You are still very influenced by your early readings from Darwin. Simple adaptations, which is all he knew about, will not lead to speciation. I don't accept Darwin's thinking at all except for the concept of common descent in the way I view it as step-by-step by God.

dhw: Yes, I am influenced by those aspects of Darwin’s theory that I find convincing, I agree that small adaptations won’t lead to speciation, but I offer the possibility that the same autonomous mechanism (cellular intelligence) which allows for small adaptations might also be capable of major adaptations and innovations.

DAVID: Thank you for recognizing the obvious influence. Darwin, using the example of breeding, assumed simple adaptations would lead to covering the gaps in speciation and we would find the fossils to fit that concept. All wrong! Gould had to invent weird concepts like punctuated equilibrium to paper over the problem.

Of course I am influenced by Darwin, but he proposed random mutations as the prime cause of innovations, and you still haven’t told me where he proposes cellular intelligence in their place. There is nothing weird about punctuated equilibrium (which contradicts Darwin’s gradualism – another aspect of his theory which I do not accept). Even if your God created every single life form, there are still long periods of stasis and then sudden bursts of activity (though these may cover thousands of years, which is “sudden” in geological time). I don’t recall Darwin discussing your theory that all life forms were specially designed to keep life going for the sake of humans, but I have no doubt that he would have concurred with the statement that all forms of life need food. Once more, the discussion is not about Darwin and me but about your ideas and mine concerning how evolution proceeds.

dhw: You have never left preprogramming and/or dabbling. So now please tell me whether you think the mechanism for minor adaptations, such as some fish adapting to polluted water so that they can remain the same, is autonomous or preprogrammed/dabbled. (A better example than Darwin’s finches.)

DAVID: Adapting to water change can be within the fishes ability to adapt without God helping. We are still at the level of natural adaptability.

dhw: Thank you for this straight answer. “Natural adaptability” relies on the cells/cell communities to work out their own way of making changes to themselves. You agree that these changes are not divinely preprogrammed or dabbled but are autonomous responses to new environmental conditions. And yet you discount the possibility that the same autonomous mechanism may, in response to new conditions, be capable of major changes as well as minor, and insist that, for example, legs must be changed to fins before pre-whales enter the water. I don’t ask you to believe my hypothesis, but I’m surprised at your total disbelief.

DAVID: Total disbelief. The major changes require design and a designer. Only capable minds can design for the future, as in whales. You are starting at the minor adaptation level, no more, and leaping major gaps, like Superman leaping tall buildings.

I keep agreeing that we do not have proof that the mechanism for minor change can extend to major change. That is why my hypothesis is a hypothesis. Now let's look at your hypothesis again: your God created autonomously intelligent cells/cell communities capable of changing their own structures in response to new conditions (minor adaptations), but you insist that 3.8 billion years ago he provided the first cells with programmes to replace legs with fins before they were needed (or he dabbled with each individual pre-whale), and he also preprogrammed pre-baleen loss of teeth, or popped in to do the extractions, and a few million years later popped in again to provide them with baleens. Because otherwise life would not have continued so that he could fulfil his sole purpose of specially designing H. sapiens, which he could have done directly anyway. I accept your reason for doubting my hypothesis. You don’t know why your God used the method you think he used, but you can't see any reason to doubt your hypotheses.

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