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

by dhw, Saturday, November 23, 2019, 10:03 (18 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your assumptions are all eschew.

dhw: 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. 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”.

DAVID: The problem is your assumption about Shapiro' theory. My point is that all he did was study mainly E. coli molecular genetics. That he described and it is exquisite work. The rest of his book is an attempt to say that somehow this points to a way that the genome might cause speciation. He mentions lots of other studies that give some support. His theory is applied to whole organisms and there lies the problem. A whole multicellular organism is organized like a corporation. Most of it functions day by day automatically and smoothly. But it is run by a president, his board. At some point this group makes a change because it is better for the corporation. The genome is the president and the board. My view of speciation is that it must be decided by some currently unknown layer of the central genome, layers of organization we are still discovering. Since all cells have the same DNA but modified for individual function, we still have no idea where the central command post is. Cells do not control the genome. It is the other way around. Perhaps the genome can't do it either and it requires God. thus my thinking. There is no room for your imagined committees.

You started out by trying to discredit Shapiro’s theory because his speciality is bacteria. Now you are repeating the theory, but instead of my terminology – the whole organism is a community of cell communities– you say it’s organized like a corporation, which means “a group of companies acting together as a single organization”. What’s the difference? And how does your “board” differ from your own would-be mocking term “committee”? Is there such a thing as the “central genome”? The genome is the total genetic complement of a cell or an organism. We don’t know where the central command post of individual cells or of the total genome is, but Shapiro’s theory (and mine) is that cells are intelligent beings and cooperate to create the evolutionary novelties which lead to speciation. Your “perhaps the genome (i.e. the cell communities) can’t do it” is a very welcome concession, since it means that perhaps it/they can. Thank you for now agreeing that perhaps Shapiro is right (and me too). “It requires God” is presumably a reference to your theory that hidden in the unknown layers of the genome are the billions of computer programmes which your God planted in the very first cells for every single undabbled “novelty”, lifestyle, econiche, strategy, bacterial response and natural wonder for the rest of life’s history. I’m so glad that you have now relegated this previously fixed belief to the level of “perhaps”.
Please see “making new evolutionary innovations” for an important addition to this discussion.

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: They all do. Design always comes first.

Yes of course, design has to come before the implementation of design. But do your ID-ers believe as you do that the designs become physical reality before the environmental changes which the innovations are designed to cope with (e.g. pre-whale legs turn into fins before the pre-whale enters the water)?


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