Dawkins' new book (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 06, 2019, 15:02 (11 days ago) @ dhw

GEORGE: It is difficult to keep up with the arguments here between the two Davids, since the threads are so long, and topics switch about within a thread. It is difficult to know what points have been covered in the past, and which David said what.

Also as an Atheist it is difficult to say anything relevant since most of the posts are full of references to God. For instance "David's theory of evolution" is really "David's theory of God", i.e. "David's Theology". So there is not much one could say about it.

But it would be of great interest for us to know your own view of the origin and mechanics of evolution. You will be as aware as we are of the still unfathomable complexities of the cell from which all life has evolved. A major factor for my agnosticism is the fact that I find it very difficult to believe that sheer chance could combine all the ingredients to create an organism that can not only live and reproduce, but can also vary itself to such a degree that it can produce the vast bush of life that expands from bacteria to ants, whales, elephants, crows and humans. The chance theory is as incredible to me as the God theory.

That discussion concerns the origin of the cell, but another concerns the mechanism that drives evolution itself, i.e. that causes speciation. For years I have been pushing the concept – espoused by some prominent scientists – of intelligent cells or cell communities, regardless of origin, which with their own special form of consciousness (not to be equated with human consciousness) respond to changing conditions by adapting and/or innovating. James A. Shapiro - who also champions cellular intelligence - proposes the same process, which he calls “natural genetic engineering”. This to me seems considerably more convincing than Darwin’s random mutations. David will have none of it, and believes his God preprogrammed or dabbled the whole shebang. Clearly you will be as sceptical as I am about this, but it would be very interesting to know what is your own theory.

DAVID (under “Introducing the brain”): Lose a hand and the brain shifts its connections:

dhw: In other words, the communities of brain cells cooperate with other cell communities in the body to make the necessary changes. Humans both individually and socially are continually engaged in similar processes of adaptation to changing conditions. When humans do it, it’s recognized as a sign of intelligence.

And I could add God gave the brain its ability to change (PLASTICITY)

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