David's theory of evolution: James A. Shapiro's view (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, November 22, 2019, 09:48 (19 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We are not discussing what Shapiro did NOT say! In your book you quoted passage after passage in which he specifically argues that CELLS are cognitive, sentient beings with “sensory, communication, information-processing and decision-making capabilities”, and “Evolutionary novelty arises from the production of new cell and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self-modification functions and cell fusions.” You praised his theory in your book with no reservations at all, but pointed out that “the ability to respond to the present [my bold] must have been built in the distant past.” Yet now all you can say is that Shapiro studied bacteria.

DAVID: But that is what happened. Bacteria who are out on their own and must handle their own affairs. Yet I think his work is fabulous because it offers hints as to how speciation might happen. Remember I also raised the issue that Shapiro was president of his Temple, and I wonder about his beliefs in God and God's role in all of this. And, yes, since bacteria are at the start of life, the mechanism must be from the distant past. I've not changed in my views. Your assumptions are all eschew.

What assumptions are you talking about? Shapiro’s theory is quite explicit: that cells are cognitive beings and are capable of creating the “novelties” of evolution. This is not a “hint”, it is a clearly expressed theory, which you have consistently opposed (as is your right) when I have put it to you. We all know that bacteria are “out on their own”. So what? His theory concerns cells in general. You wonder about his religious beliefs. So what? And of course the mechanism must have been there in the distant past, since evolution began in the distant past. You consider his work on a full-blown theory “as to how speciation might happen” is fabulous. Either your current fierce opposition to that theory is “all eschew”, or your praise of it was “all eschew”.

dhw: You also claim that ID-ers share your belief that your God implemented the novelties IN ANTICIPATION of environmental change, as opposed to IN RESPONSE to it.

DAVID: From my reading I believe they accept design before hand.

Of course design must precede implementation! But as you say later: "Yes, the new organisms are obviously suited to environment conditions. Our debate is when changes occur, either before or after." So do you know of any ID-ers who argue that evolutionary innovations take place before the environmental changes they have to cope with?

dhw:. All too often, minor variations are equated with speciation, which I’m sure is why Shapiro is careful to emphasize “evolutionary novelty” which arises from processes which "respond to stimuli", as opposed to anticipating stimuli.

DAVID: Shapiro is certainly looking for answers, but doesn't have a solid one s yet.

Nobody has a “solid one”. Otherwise there would be no discussion.

dhw (under “Evolution: earliest mammals”): The article could support the experimenting designer, but you have a fixed belief in a designer who knows everything in advance. The article also fits in with the hypothesis of cellular design, but you have a fixed belief that cells are incapable of “evolutionary novelty” (Shapiro). But it is pleasing to note your acknowledgement that we cannot know. All the more reason why we should keep an open mind.

DAVID: And I have interpreted Shapiro for you, so you can realize he has only studied free-living bacteria looking for possible speciation mechanisms. Bacteria have reasonable change options so they can survive.

You have attempted to ignore the whole of Shapiro’s argument as quoted at the beginning of this post, on the grounds that he specializes in bacteria. That is not an interpretation!


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