Biological complexity: managing cellular oxygen levels (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, October 11, 2019, 13:25 (227 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: NOBODY KNOWS how these processes evolved, but the proposal that a divine being preprogrammed every single one of them 3.8 billion years ago in the first cells, or suddenly popped in to dabble them, does not seem to me any less fanciful than the idea that the cells themselves had the perhaps God-given power to work out their own solutions as and when needed.

DAVID: That removes God from total control, no matter how many modifications you add, and I don't think God acts second-hand. Cells cannot on their own work out complex protein cascades.

Of course it removes him from total control. Why do you always insist that he wanted to create a world of automatons? In your more open-minded moments you have conceded that he may be watching the world with interest. Which do you find more interesting – a show in which everything is totally predictable, or a show full of wonderful surprises? “You’re humanizing him!” will be the cry. And the next moment you’ll agree that he “very well could think like us”. So why not accept the possibility that in certain respects he “very well could think like us”, instead of pretending that you know he doesn’t?

DAVID: So now you have insects anticipating the future!!! That requires concepts in consciousness. So be it.

dhw: Their form of consciousness is vastly less advanced than our own. But it is sufficient for them to maximise their own chances of survival, and that means taking steps to protect themselves against future dangers already known from past experience.

DAVID: You have again glibly assumed insects can imagine the future in order to protect their larvae. Really? Do you think monarchs go through four generations each year and 'know' about each one? Totally illogical. I view the bolded as a fairy tale of thought and reminiscent of the just-so stories from Darwinism. Insects are totally programmed in their genome. Metamorphosis calls for all cells to dissolve and become different cells in a different body, and you think that change is supposed to carry neuronal memory? Preposterous and totally illogical.

“Imagining the future” is your phrase, not mine. I wrote: “Do you honestly believe that organisms are not aware of dangers and do not learn from experience and do not take precautions”? These are manifestations of consciousness, and we know they are capable of solving new problems as and when they arise. I have no idea how every single natural wonder originated, but I stand by the bold as a more than convincing alternative to your theory (which many would call a just-so story) that there is an unknown sourceless supermind which provided the first living cells with programmes to pass on through thousands of millions of years and organisms for every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder throughout the history of life. There can, however, be little doubt that even within your own theory, once a life form, style or wonder has come into being, every one of these will be perpetuated by some form of cellular memory, since changes are passed on. Unless you think your God is sitting there pulling the strings of every single organism on the planet. Another just-so story?

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