Big brain evolution: our special gene is identified (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, January 12, 2019, 12:51 (8 days ago) @ David Turell

I have combined this post with "Evolution: a different view..." to avoid repetition.

dhw: Perhaps one day you will define what you mean by “intelligent information”.

DAVID: Described over and over: 'Int-inf' is a complete set of instructions for cells to respond to all stimuli they must deal with.

Thank you. This, then, is the 3.8 byo programme implanted in and passed on by the first cells for every single undabbled innovation, ecosystem, lifestyle and natural wonder in life’s history, anticipating every single environmental change with every single solution to every single problem. But my suggestion of possibly implanted intelligence is seen as a “monstrous extrapolation”!

dhw: [re cellular intelligence] If your 50/50 hypothesis is worth considering, then so is Shapiro’s.

DAVID: Shapiro describes the int-inf ability of bacteria to edit their DNA to a small degree. 50/50 is that one must interpret cell-process research as observers. […] If a new stimulus is encountered, since the maintenance of life is at high speed, proper responses are automatic.

Shapiro concludes that the ability of bacteria to solve problems indicates intelligence. As a doctor, you know it takes generations of bacteria to solve some problems, and millions die before they work out ways of countering measures devised to kill them. This is not “high speed”. Meanwhile, what happened to your God’s instructions?

DAVID (re dragonflies): […] These insects could not have worked this out stepwise. Only design fits. Obviously the genes survive the metamorphosis in the liquid phase.

dhw: If you mean design as opposed to chance, I agree. […] But this only brings us back to our usual discussion: what was the original method of design? […]

DAVID: Design dominates in our discussion. Design comes from a designing mind. Where is your designer?

Design doesn’t dominate, since we both accept it. What dominates is your insistence that your God personally preprogrammes or dabbles every design, whereas I suggest the alternative that if exists, he may have designed the mechanism which enables cell communities to do their own designing.

DAVID: The deletion idea from Behe is simply the reserve [dhw: reverse?] of that possibility, in that info is simply taken out of the process. One or the other is very likely a correct analysis.

“Simply”? It means that the first cells contained the DNA for every single life form in history – insects, birds, reptiles, mammals – not to mention all the bits that got discarded during speciation: teeth, sexual organs, spikes, fins, legs, trunks, human pelvises, whale pelvises….You call that simple?

DAVID: The issue is the need for rapid-fire mutations to make hominins so quickly!

dhw: Right, nothing to do with chance and nothing to do with the size of the group – your initial objections. Now it is speed. I have summarized your explanation (divine dabbling, preprogramming or deletion). As you well know, my own hypothesis (as unproven as yours), is the perhaps God-given, autonomous ability of cells/cell communities to restructure themselves in order to improve their chances of survival when faced with new conditions.

DAVID: Again avoiding the point of small group size. To go from ape to erectus takes massive mutational changes. If as suspected 10,000 erectus existed and previous antecedent hominins were in similar amounts, and if we use the known helpful mutations rates which are slow, and if we assume a new generation every 18-20 years how did erectus and sapiens appear so quickly in geologic time of six-eight million years?

Once again, nothing to do with group size, and everything to do with speed. 6 million divided by 20 = 300,000 generations. I am not talking about helpful chance mutations but about the ability of cell communities described above, so how the heck would anyone know how many generations are needed? There is no precedent.

DAVID: Based also on the fact that apes didn't need to bother to change, what drove human development? Not chance or natural forces, because it is demonstrably too fast for those influences.

Chance again! You agree that the groups were small, and I proposed that they were localized, probably because of changes to local conditions, whereas the rest of the ape family were not affected. Why do you think this hypothesis is less likely than your God fiddling with the anatomy of a few apes and then telling them to go and live on the ground even though they would have been happy to stay in the trees?

DAVID: …you know fully well I support a mechanism with guidelines, semi-autonomous. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: If your God preprogrammed or dabbled the changes that led to speciation, do please tell us which half of the process was autonomous, i.e. was the independently intelligent decision-making of the organisms concerned.

DAVID: I believe organismal modification is adaptations within existing species, never leading to speciation, therefore within God's guidelines for each species.

Once more: If your God provided the first cells with complete instructions for all undabbled innovations, ecosystems, lifestyles and natural wonders, please tell us which half of the “semi-autonomous” evolutionary process was autonomous. i.e. was the independent, intelligent decision-making of the organisms concerned.

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