Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, December 14, 2018, 19:47 (36 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Friday, December 14, 2018, 20:02

DAVID: You have stepped around the key point, Why not survive the easy way? Of course species are killed off by adverse events they didn't ask for. Raup covered that in his book about extinctions. As for jumping into the water to find food, what is wrong with migrating on land to where the supply is better and massive phenotypic and physiological changes are not required to be designed?? The choice is not unilateral at any time as you imply. The bold above shows how you give short shrift to whale modifications. I brought them up because it is the most extreme example of speciation I know of, more so than humans in a physiological sense, and you usually brush it off as less than that.

dhw: The key point is that pre-whales did not and probably could not survive the “easy way”. They did go into the water, and their bodies changed accordingly. But you want us to believe that there was no need for them to change their environment, and your God simply changed their legs to fins and told them to enter the water because he wanted them to be more complex (see below) – I don’t know why fins should be regarded as more complex than legs – and to provide food – I don’t know why pre-whales couldn’t just go on providing food – to keep life going until he could fulfil his one and only purpose.

Flippers and legs are very different and require different muscle attachments for differing motions. Flippers flap. Try that with a leg! The marked change is the issue, not the complexity.

DAVID: The road from single cells to humans is one of constant increasing complexity, a point you cannot deny.

dhw: Of course it is. So is the road from single cells to whales and elephants and the duckbilled platypus. But if he designed all these “necessary changes for survival”, how can you say that survival played little or no role in evolution?

Extinctions are bad luck is the point. Jumping into water did not help survival, but endangered it without enormous phenotypic and physiologic changes. Looking for a purposeful explanation ( since God is purposeful) it must be diversity for econiche food supply. From the proper theistic standpoint, it is the most logical explanation.

DAVID: And note humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees. God did not have the circular reasoning you have invented for Him. Totally irrational.

dhw: So although these modifications enabled humans to survive better than any other animal on earth, they apparently had nothing to do with survival. I’m glad you agree that your argument is totally irrational.

You can toss around the word irrationality all you want, but the point is not what you want it to be. Humans would have survived if they stayed as apes and didn't gain all the attributes they have. Survival therefore is not The Issue. The dependence on that concept is pure Darwinianism from which you have never recovered. His view of competition is purely theoretical, never proven and you have agreed survival of the fittest is a tautology.


"Interpretations of the phrase as expressing a theory are in danger of being tautological, meaning roughly "those with a propensity to survive have a propensity to survive"; to have content the theory must use a concept of fitness that is independent of that of survival.

"Interpreted as a theory of species survival, the theory that the fittest species survive is undermined by evidence that while direct competition is observed between individuals, populations and species, there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups such as, for example, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Instead, these groups have evolved by expanding into empty ecological niches. In the punctuated equilibrium model of environmental and biological change, the factor determining survival is often not superiority over another in competition but ability to survive dramatic changes in environmental conditions, such as after a meteor impact energetic enough to greatly change the environment globally. The main land dwelling animals to survive the K-Pg impact 66 million years ago had the ability to live in underground tunnels, for example.

"In 2010 Sahney et al. argued that there is little evidence that intrinsic, biological factors such as competition have been the driving force in the evolution of large groups. Instead, they cited extrinsic, abiotic factors such as expansion as the driving factor on a large evolutionary scale. The rise of dominant groups such as amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds occurred by opportunistic expansion into empty ecological niches and the extinction of groups happened due to large shifts in the abiotic environment."

Pure survivability is a minor issue in the current view.

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