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

by dhw, Thursday, January 17, 2019, 12:40 (35 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You admit to skepticism when the scientists take a position that attacks your pet theories. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: 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: To suit your fixed hypotheses.

dhw: I offer alternative hypotheses to suit my fixed hypotheses? What does that mean? I don’t claim to know the answers, and so I offer a variety of possible alternatives. You reject them all because you have fixed beliefs.

DAVID: Based on analyses from what I have been trained in and what I have learned.

But you admit to scepticism when other equally trained and learned scientists “take a position that attacks your pet theories”! In some cases (design) your conclusions are humanly logical, but in others you admit that you can’t find a humanly logical explanation for your conclusions, and so you simply know God did things your way and his logic is different from ours.

dhw: Theoretically you only need two (one male and one female) for successful mutations to be passed on. And then you will get expanding groups, and over millions of years and generations you will get more mutations, and so on. Hence transitional forms (e.g. "Little Foot").

DAVID: You are now getting into Haldane's dilemma about population size and timing available. Never solved.

You and your fellow Creationists claim that the dilemma is solved if we accept that your intelligent God directed all the mutations. If so, I can claim that the dilemma is solved if intelligent cell communities (possibly created by your God) directed all the mutations. Of course neither of these hypotheses is proven.

dhw: Now please tell me which half of the process is autonomous.

DAVID: Minor adaptations within current species, nothing more.

dhw: Thank you for this more fruitful answer. However, it begs the question of a borderline between what you consider to be major and minor, because in my view of evolution, adaptation to new conditions is a driving force for evolutionary change. In your own favourite example of the whale, we have several instances of physiological change coinciding with environmental change: e.g. legs to fins, teeth to no teeth (and also no teeth to baleens). You claim that your God preprogrammed or dabbled them all in preparation for a change of environment. I suggest they were the consequence of organisms (cell communities) autonomously adapting to new conditions. I would regard legs to fins as major, and teeth to no teeth as minor, but both follow the same process. I have a similar problem finding a borderline between adaptation and innovation, but that is the acknowledged difficulty with my hypothesis: we do not know the extent to which cell communities can change their own structures and functions. Meanwhile, perhaps you could comment on the whale example (especially loss of teeth) and give an example or two of cell communities (organisms) acting autonomously through minor adaptations.

DAVID: The major gaps before the sudden appearances in the fossil record tell us stepwise small adaptations aren't the way it happens.

Under “Little Foot” you wrote “God used an evolutionary method requiring little steps and big jumps/gaps as history of evolution teaches us.” The point I have raised above is the difficulty of setting a borderline between adaptation (little steps) and innovation (big steps).

DAVID: Think Gould and punc. inc. and Darwin's own prediction that the steps have to be found to validate him. They haven't more than 150 years later. You are still almost totally Darwinist in your thinking. Directed design is the best fit to the problem. Survival in never pushing it.

I have repeatedly told you that I accept punctuated equilibrium, and I have repeatedly pointed out that NOBODY has yet explained the major innovations required for speciation. I don’t know how often you want me to repeat all the alternative explanations I have offered, or to repeat that NONE of them answer all our questions. And I don’t know how you can possibly stick to your dogma that survival “never pushes evolution”, when even your own unproven hypothesis claims that your God deliberately designed one innovation after another to enable organisms to survive under new conditions, and their purpose was to enable life forms to survive until he could produce the only life form he actually wanted to produce, which was you and me. The difference between us here is that you have the innovations/adaptations being designed (by your God) in anticipation of their being needed for survival under new conditions, whereas I have them being designed (by intelligent cell communities) in response to their being needed for survival under new conditions. In both cases, survival is the prime reason for each innovation.

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