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

by dhw, Monday, November 18, 2019, 08:18 (26 days ago) @ David Turell

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

dhw: 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: Their view of design is that the animals are designed for future problems in advance.

Of course if they share your belief that all species were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago, everything was planned in advance, so just to clarify: do they believe that as you now claim, evolutionary innovations actually happen before the existence of the future conditions which they are meant to deal with (e.g. pre-whale legs turned into flippers before pre-whales entered the water), or do they agree with the view you offered in your admirable book that organisms have “the ability to respond to the present” – though this “must have been built in the distant past”?

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

dhw: 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”), […] Your current volte face as regards the content and quality of his research is almost as confusing as quantum theory.

DAVID: What you are skipping is the point I have made that Shapiro's work is on free-living bacteria, which cannot translate to cells in a multicellular organism.

But you yourself have quoted multiple passages in which he refers to cellular intelligence as being able to “self-modify” to the point of creating “evolutionary novelty”. Why don’t you deal with the theory itself instead of trying to withdraw your fulsome praise and now denigrate the theory because you think his research was limited to bacteria. It’s a non-argument. I have no doubt that just like you, he has drawn on the research of other scientists in the field as well as his own.

dhw: 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.

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

DAVID: Possible is not probable.

That becomes a matter of personal judgement. Meanwhile, cellular intelligence is not a “singular opinion”, and I would say 50/50 is evens, so even by your standards it has the same chance of being right as your own theory.

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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: The Golgi body is not the centrosome. They are closer together and more than likely work together. This means the Golgi is not the sole 'brain'.

Thank you. Albrecht-Buehler thought the centrosome was the brain equivalent. And please note my response to your emphasis on automaticity.


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