David's theory of evolution: Stephen Talbott's view (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, November 14, 2019, 12:29 (321 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You never comment on Gould's gaps do you? Ignoring their importance is not a good debate form.

dhw: I have always accepted Gould’s punctuated equilibrium, in which long periods of stasis may be broken by “jumps”, presumably triggered by environmental changes. We cannot expect a continuous line of fossils recording every single transition, but my explanation – which for some reason you seem to have forgotten – is that intelligent designers (the cell communities) would be able to design major adaptations/innovations without there being a line of transitional stages.

DAVID: And I have said the fossils that appear after the gaps have solved the problems of their new existence, which obviously implies the ability to foretell future needs and pre-design for them. Your cell committees cannot do that.

It implies no such thing. All it tells us is that these organisms solved the problems (or exploited the opportunities) arising from new conditions. I wonder how many biologists would support your contention that new organisms arrive before the conditions to which they will one day be suited.

DAVID: They [cells] simply produce what they are programmed to produce. Your favorite Shapiro simply studied bacteria living on their own, not multicellular cells, which you have used to make a giant illogical extrapolation.

I do not believe that all cells inherited 3.8-billion-year-old programmes to adapt and innovate in advance of all the environmental conditions that they would encounter for the rest of time. As for Shapiro, I don’t know exactly what he studied, and I haven’t read his book, but according to the reviews I quoted, his theory of natural genetic engineering “replaces the ‘invisible hands’ of geological time and natural selection with cognitive networks and cellular functions of self modification”. And Shapiro calls “evolution (and cells) ‘cognitive’, ‘sentient’ and ‘thoughtful”’. You are of course at liberty to call his theory a “giant illogical extrapolation”, but do tell me why it is illogical to propose that cells modify themselves, are cognitive, sentient and thoughtful, and may therefore be capable of creating their own designs. The fact that you disagree does not make the proposal illogical.

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