Unanswered questions (General)

by dhw, Sunday, April 21, 2019, 10:48 (66 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It is ten years on from the rudimentary and tentative proposals made by three of us, an atheist, a theist and an agnostic. All the entries are worth reviewing in view of the ensuing ten years of research findings. […]

Thank you for reminding us of this discussion. The entries are all well worth revisiting.

DAVID: With the new ten-year findings at the molecular level of living biochemistry and genomic activity, as a study of Nature. Intelligent design is more alive and well because everything discovered supports their point of view that only mental activity can plan such complexity. Irreducible complexity is just one concept that really cannot be refuted. […] ID is clever in that religion is not mentioned nor is one favored. They simply state there must be a planning mind. And for me their evidence is irrefutable.

I agree that such complexity requires mental activity. I do not agree that there must be “a” planning mind. This denotes one single being that designed the whole shebang – whether you call it God, Yahweh, Allah or Bonga-Bonga. An alternative is billions of intelligences, as life forms build on the biochemical and genomic activities of their predecessors to create ever increasing complexity. The question of how the first intelligence(s) came into being applies to both theories, and is unanswerable.

DAVID: Behe's review of the accepted literature finds that current evolution among established existing species is simply loss of one adapted attribute to benefit another existing one. It is simply a rearrangement of what exists and to me implies major evolution is complete and no major speciation will ever occur in the future beyond refinement of what currently exists.

The fact that for a comparatively short period of life’s history there has been no major speciation (by which I mean totally new life forms, as opposed to variations within existing species) does not answer any of our questions. I don’t know what Behe means by adaptation benefiting an existing attribute. Examples of organisms adapting to pollution, or changing colour or patterns to camouflage themselves in new environments, or bacteria finding means to counter new threats to their existence, all require some form of restructuring in order to preserve the species. The ability to make the changes already exists, but they only occur when the environment changes. If all he means is that adaptation helps to preserve the species as it is, he is stating the obvious. Or do you think he is supporting your belief in a pre-existing, 3.8-billion-year old-computer programme with solutions for every problem that has arisen/will arise throughout the history of life?

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