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

by dhw, Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 15:53 (185 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You say your God provided a programme with complete instructions to solve every problem, and bacteria are automatons. So why don’t they automatically switch on your God’s instructions? Are you saying your God provided them with multiple choice instructions, and so automatically some bacteria chose the wrong answer and some chose the right answer while none of them knew what they were doing?

DAVID: No, God gave bacteria alternate pathways and the ability to switch pathways when necessary depending on nutrients available. Intelligent instructions.

We're not talking about available nutrients, but about the antibiotics that kill millions of bacteria which you say have been given instructions to solve the new problem. Alternative pathways = multiple choice. So did millions of dead bacteria NOT have God’s instructions, or did they automatically choose the wrong ones, while their mates automatically chose the right ones?

DAVID: And lose control of changes? Not likely.

dhw: Why do you assume your God wanted to maintain control? Perhaps he wanted to see what would happen if he set the wheels in motion…And to anticipate your usual response, a control freak is just as “human” as an experimental scientist.

DAVID: Why do you assume He would give up total control? Your 'wanted to see what would happen" is totally a human thought for God as usual in your thinking.

I don’t assume anything! I offer alternatives to YOUR assumptions. It is you who assume your God wanted and had total control! And I repeat, your believed-in control freak is no less human than my hypothetical experimental scientist.

QUOTE: ''These four mutations gave us the exact mutation rate - one in 30 million nucleotide each generation - that we had expected', says Dr Tyler-Smith."

DAVID: The scientists are sure of it.

dhw: Since when did you accept the beliefs of scientists because they are sure they are right? Ah well, good news for Shapiro and Dawkins.

DAVID: Good for you. You admit to skepticism when the scientists take a position that attacks your pet theories.

I ask for open-mindedness, whereas you actively believe scientists when they seem to support you, as above, and you are sceptical when they don’t, as with Shapiro & Co. You have fixed beliefs, and I offer alternative hypotheses.

DAVID: The issue still is small population, long generation change times and the need for massive beneficiary mutations all coordinated to work together. Short geologic time!

Small population is irrelevant, since the mutations must take place in individuals. Your scientists’ conclusions are based on two individuals from 13 generations of one family over 200 years of stable conditions - a speck of sand in the “hourglass” of 6-8 million years and three to four hundred thousand generations of apes, hominins and hominids living in ever changing conditions, especially if the beneficial mutations are not by chance but are coordinated by intelligent, cooperating cell communities.

dhw: […] why do you think localized response to changing conditions is less likely than your God fiddling with the anatomy of a few apes and making them abandon their happy life in the trees?

DAVID: Less marked change in conditions requires the appearance of chance lucky coordinated multiple mutations or design for the change. I'll pick design every time.

dhw: So will I. You harp on about chance mutations as the only alternative to design […] My alternative is that intelligent cell communities (possibly God-designed) do their own designing. Nothing to do with chance. Again: why do you think an intelligent response to local conditions is less likely than your God fiddling with some apes’ pelvises before making them leave their happy home?

DAVID: Your usual response of cell committees figuring out how to make a human. Ha!

Why ha? You also believe in common descent, so you believe in a gradual accumulation of innovations over 3.5+ thousand million years of evolution from single cells to ALL the different life forms before apes, hominins, hominids and homos. But you insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every single one rather than perhaps creating a mechanism that would do it autonomously. And you still haven’t told me why you think an intelligent response to local conditions (using perhaps God-given intelligence to adjust to those conditions) is less likely that your God fiddling with ape anatomies before forcing them to leave their happy home in the trees.

dhw: I asked you what you meant by semi-autonomous, and your only answer was “within prescribed limits”. Apart from environment and restricted capabilities, what other limits are you thinking of? Either cells/cell communities autonomously process info intelligently and make their own decisions (within prescribed limits described above), or they merely follow instructions and are automatons. But the invitation remains open: what do you mean by semi-autonomy?

DAVID: Absolute limits in phenotype and physiology alterations so exactly the needed advance in evolution is obtained.

This = restricted capabilities. I can accept that organisms have evolved to meet the needs imposed by (or to exploit the opportunities offered by) a changing environment. Now please tell me which half of the process is autonomous.


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