Big brain evolution: comparing chimp and brain organoids (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 09:46 (644 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: The Cambrian is an extreme case which may have occurred because of a major change in the environment, as above, and my point is that the changes created new opportunities and new demands. [You omitted this important comment.]
DAVID: The oxygen level increase was very large, but it drove nothing. It allowed more energy use, IF new forms which needed it, when evolved, were to survive. (Note subjunctive tense.)

If you believe in common descent, as opposed to separate creation, then all new organisms (apart from the very first few forms or one) are descended from earlier organisms. Put the above two comments together and you have new conditions which either require (= demands) or allow (= opportunities) existing organisms to restructure themselves as they find new ways to improve their chances of survival. Demands directly drive change, opportunities allow change, but in both cases the “immediate driving force”, to quote your own apt description, is to improve chances of survival.

dhw: If you do not think whale flippers, monarch migration and cuttlefish camouflage were produced in order to improve chances of survival, but were all simply stages on the way to your God’s special design of the human brain, then please tell us how they are related to the human brain.

DAVID: Silly thought. All of the evolutionary developments lead to Humans. That is history. Flippers or gills have no direct relationship to brains, except both exist in the same body.

dhw: Of course it’s a silly thought. That is the point. Whale flippers, monarch migration and cuttlefish camouflage do NOT lead to human brains! Their direct purpose was to improve those creatures’ chances of survival: what you call the “immediate driving force”.

DAVID: I still will point out, an evolved form must be capable of survival if evolution is to progress. What creates the required genomic changes is what drives evolution, survival simply a requirement.

No-one will disagree that life and individual species, lifestyles and natural wonders can’t go on if they don’t survive! That is why flippers, migration and camouflage have evolved (though you think they were all specially designed): because survival is a requirement, and a requirement is what you so eloquently call an “immediate driving force”. Why do you keep ignoring your own observation?

dhw: Factual history is vast numbers of organisms, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct, with H. sapiens the most recent arrival. The rest is speculation. If God exists, then he masterminded evolution. That does not mean he designed every life form etc. in order to design humans! You accepted that all my alternative hypotheses are possible (= pax), but a few days later you go back to your fixed belief, which you don’t try to understand because you know it doesn’t make sense.

DAVID: I don't try to explain it, because I ACCEPT it as God's choice. Makes perfect sense to me.

It makes sense to you and to me that if God exists, he chose to create a system which would produce billions of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders. What neither you nor I can understand is why he would choose to create such a system if his one and only purpose was to produce the brain of H. sapiens. (See below.) Hence all the logical alternatives which you accept as possible but which you reject because you have a fixed belief.

dhw: (Under “Not enough time”): As for “time”, this is used to discredit the hypothesis of random mutations, which we both reject. I agree that the problem disappears if your God preprogrammed or personally manipulated the reproductive systems of different dragonflies – but why he bothered is beyond our comprehension if his one and only purpose was to produce the brain of H. sapiens.

DAVID: Not 'beyond our comprehension', only yours in this discussion.

Then please explain why your God preprogrammed or dabbled all the different reproductive systems for dragonflies if his sole purpose was to produce the brain of H. sapiens. And please don’t tell us you don’t “try” to explain it. If it is comprehensible to you, then you must have an explanation.

dhw: The problem also disappears if your God endowed the dragonflies’ cell communities with the intelligence to manipulate their reproductive systems – and then we don’t need to cudgel our H. sapiens brain as to why he would bother if his sole purpose was to produce that brain.

DAVID: I firmly believe God designed most of everything which obviously needs to be designed.

And according to your many posts on the subject, this includes every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of life. I am aware of your fixed beliefs and also of the fact that you reject any hypothesis that offers a logical explanation of those aspects of your beliefs that defy logic. (See above.) The term for such beliefs is “dogma” (= a set of firm beliefs held by people who expect other people to accept these beliefs without thinking about them). You are an expert in using logic to question the dogma of atheists such as Dawkins, and also to support your belief in God, but you seem strangely reluctant to use it when discussing your fixed beliefs about your God’s possible purposes and methods.

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