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

by dhw, Sunday, November 17, 2019, 11:44 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Meanwhile, you still haven’t named a single scientist who tells us that new organisms arrive before the conditions to which they will one day be suited.

DAVID: All ID folks believe new species are designed. When I chatted with Behe at a conference, I firmly believed he believed that.

Of course they do. My question was which of them believes they arrived BEFORE the conditions to which they would one day be suited.

DAVID: […] Shapiro's theory is a wonderful piece of research with which I completely agree.

dhw: I’m sure Shapiro would be as delighted as I am that you agree. The theory is encapsulated in the review I quoted earlier: the bottom line of Shapiro’s book is (biological) evolution itself IS an ‘intelligent’ (‘cognitive’, ‘sentient’, ‘thoughtful’ are the words he uses) process. In the words of the first paragraph “life requires cognition at all levels” and in the concluding paragraphs: [21st view of evolution implies] “a shift from thinking about gradual selection of localized random changes to sudden genome structuring by sensory network-influenced cell systems” …. It replaces the ‘invisible hands’ of geological time and natural selection with cognitive networks and cellular functions of self modification.

DAVID: The bold above is your illogical and contorted extension of his work.

dhw: So please tell us which of these bolded statements is the reviewer’s illogical and contorted extension of Shapiro’s book.

Once again you refuse to answer.

DAVID: All I can rely upon is all the automaticity I was taught in medical school and in subsequent experience in practice.

dhw: Perhaps research has advanced since you were in medical school, and a practising physician is certainly no better qualified than a practising microbiologist to tell us whether intelligent behaviour results from a 3.8-billion-year-old programme or from autonomous intelligence.

DAVID: But I've read the research since I left medical school, and changed from agnostic to theism. Remember my books!

I know you changed. You can be a theist and still believe in cellular intelligence. I have revisited the section on Shapiro’s theory in your excellent book The Atheist Delusion. On pages 141-144 you have reproduced ALL the quotes concerning the ability of intelligent cells to self-modify to the point of creating “evolutionary novelty”, and have showered him with praise (“Shapiro’s book is an amazing documentation of all the work in the epigenetic field”), although you have pointed out that “the ability to respond to the present must have been built in the distant past”. Note that it is the ability to respond to the present (as opposed to speciation taking place BEFORE conditions change), and you are echoing my own theistic version that the ability would have been designed by your God. Your current volte face as regards the content and quality of his research is almost as confusing as quantum theory.

(Under “David’s Theory of Evolution Part One”:)
DAVID: You are the one who is using a singular opinion and contort it into a possible fact. I have a whole bunch of ID folks with me at Uncommondescent.com.

dhw: If theories are not “possible facts”, they will disappear immediately. ID folks are with you on the need for design, but cellular intelligence does not in any way contradict the idea of design: it only contradicts your belief that every undabbled lifestyle, strategy, econiche and natural wonder was specially preprogrammed by your God 3.8 billion years ago, and every innovation took place in anticipation of and not in response to changing conditions. Belief in cellular intelligence is not a “singular opinion”, but you simply refuse to give any credence to the views of some scientists, including the highly praised Shapiro, who have spent a lifetime studying cells.

DAVID: Their odds of being right are 50/50 just like mine. We can only look at the cells and what they do.

Agreed. So even by your standards, cellular intelligence is not a “singular opinion” but is a “possible fact”.

DAVID: (under “Biological complexity”): I would note dhw's favorite Albrecht- Buehler thought the Golgi body was the brains of the cell. Seems like there are other parts also at work automatically.

Is the Golgi body synonymous with the centrosome, then? And yes of course there are parts that work automatically. The “brain” - whether human, dog, crow, ant or cellular equivalent – absorbs information from the outside world automatically; the processing, communication and decision-making are then done intelligently, and the implementation of decisions again involves automatic obedience.


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