Horizontal gene transfer: does influence evolution (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 10:16 (8 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have always resented the concept of information contained in DNA. Of course it is information. That is what codes contain, and 1,2 and 3 are an exchange or development of new information, instructions.

dhw: You are simply saying that if cellular intelligence (3) was in fact information provided by God (1) or (2), it would be the same as (1) or (2). You are juggling with the term “information” to blur the distinction between an autonomous mechanism that uses information and a mechanism which is preprogrammed with the information that enables it to use information according to an existing programme of information. This is a silly game. There is no way an autonomous mechanism can be the same as a preprogrammed mechanism or a mechanism that is directly dabbled with by the hand of your God.

DAVID: My thought is I don't think God would permit your autonomous mechanism.

“Permit”? I am suggesting that if he exists, he would have invented it! I know you don’t think he would have invented it. You have a fixed belief that he preprogrammed or dabbled the Antarctic midge’s adaptation, not to mention every bacterial response to every situation throughout the history of life. But I’m glad you have now discarded your thought that preprogramming, dabbling and autonomous cellular design “may all be the same”.

DAVID: (Under "Antarctic midges") It is always amazing to see how tenacious life can be. […] dhw will want to know about God's role. I assume adaptive instructions were provided.

It certainly is amazing. You assume your God had to specially preprogramme this midge (= provide adaptive instructions for this particular situation) in order to keep life going so that he could eventually design H. sapiens. If he exists, I would be more inclined to believe that he equipped cells with the intelligence to find ways of adapting to all kinds of conditions. Not much point in inventing life if he didn’t give organisms the means of surviving! Even you have suggested that your God may have given cells the ability to make minor epigenetic changes to themselves, so I wonder where you draw the borderline between major and minor.

DAVID: New findings suggest this may be a more rapid mechanism than chance mutations and natural selection:

QUOTES: "The three authors’ views are shaped by their work on one of nature’s most explosive species radiations — that of African cichlid fish. In just 150,000 years, well over 700 species have radiated into a technicolor panoply of shapes, sizes and ecologies.”

"But Marques and his colleagues suggest that the accumulated genomic evidence warrants the introduction of “combinatorial speciation” as a new term to frame future research.

This is a cop-out. All the varieties of cichlid are still cichlid. The real mystery is how different species in the broader sense of the word can have evolved from common ancestors: how come there are insects, fish, animals, birds, all descended from the first single cells with which life began? “Combinatorial speciation” is no different from Margulis’s emphasis on cooperation. Even you agree that cell communities combine or cooperate autonomously to create minor changes, and the question is whether they can also do the same to create major changes. But you refuse to accept this possibility.

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