Making new evolutionary innovations (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Sunday, November 24, 2019, 21:20 (419 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Thank you for this very important article, which both reinforces and explains my own insistence that we cannot draw a firm borderline between adaptation and innovation. (The dolphin example exactly mirrors our own example of the whale.) More importantly, it explains how common descent proceeds – there is some mechanism within the genes (which we may define as “the fundamental units of inheritance and function in a cell”) which enables them to change so radically that they can produce what appears to be every “evolutionary novelty” (Shapiro) leading to speciation. The scientists have simply induced a process which may be perfectly natural. But yes, common descent fits your theory of 3.8 billion years' worth of computer programming as it does Shapiro’s (and my) concept of intelligent cells/cell communities designing their own innovations. The latter theory does not, however, cover the possible origin of the mechanism, which may or may not be your God.

DAVID: A very fair summary of where we are. There is a firm boundary, if we follow current guidelines in naming new species. Of course it is human judgement as to whether enough adaptations have created a new species, so it can be argued there is some blurring.

dhw: The article shows clearly that what was once believed to be a complete novelty in fact turns out to be an adjustment of existing structures. What current guidelines are able to tell us whether an apparently new feature is an out-of-the-blue innovation or an adaptation of an existing structure?

I've said it is up to human judgement, since we name new species. I still insist, an adaptation is a change in an existing species. Try this:

The following definitions are given by the evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky:
1. Adaptation is the evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat or habitats.
2. Adaptedness is the state of being adapted: the degree to which an organism is able to live and reproduce in a given set of habitats.
3. An adaptive trait is an aspect of the developmental pattern of the organism which enables or enhances the probability of that organism surviving and reproducing.

DAVID: If speciation can occur naturally by actions of the organisms genome, we've agreed that genome must have a central command post to orchestrate the design changes. I accept a God-given change mechanism, but only with God-given guidelines.

dhw: I’m actually hesitant about a “central command post” for the whole genome, though I accepted it earlier. I’d feel safer sticking with the concept of cooperation between intelligent cell communities.

All of the cells in a multicellular organism have assigned duties The command post has to a part of the genome. All the cells have modified DNA to give them their job/purpose. Tell me where your committees exist?

Under “Bacterial chemical communication”:

QUOTE: "'It is quite fascinating for us to see how the bacteria communicate and change behaviour in order for the entire bacterial population to survive. You can almost say that they act as one united organism', says Nina Molin Høyland-Kroghsbo."

DAVID: None of this is surprising. Most antibiotics have been found in nature and then used medically. Bacteriophages are viruses in nature that attack bacteria. It all fits with my comments that bacteria are free-living cells that must have these defenses naturally on board as they appeared at the start of life.

dhw: Bacteria communicating, cooperating and changing their behaviour in accordance with whatever new dangers arise from changing conditions fits in with my comments that bacteria are indeed free-living, autonomous cells who use their intelligence to communicate, cooperate and change their behaviour - as opposed to having all the answers prepared for them at the start of life, leaving them only to unconsciously switch on the right one at the right time. And I would suggest that their behaviour is mirrored by that of all the cell communities that make up all bodies: “they act as one united organism”. I’m sure Shapiro would agree.

That is an exact extrapolation Shapiro uses for his theory of evolution. Bacteria are not multicellular organisms and must have their free-living attributes. Cells in whole multicellular organ isms are fixed in their functions. The genome controls new species, as IDEer's believe by God's manipulation. If not God, materialism must accept the genome itself.

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