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

by dhw, Thursday, December 05, 2019, 10:26 (122 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Shapiro did fabulous work. He is a wonderful scientist. You have made him 'poor' by what I think is misusing his theories, and you haven't read the book, only reviews.

dhw: You have quoted him abundantly in your own book, and his theory is that “living cells are cognitive (sentient) entities that act and interact purposefully…”, they “have the ability to alter their hereditary characteristics”, and “evolutionary novelty arises from the prosecution of new cell and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self-modification”. That IS his theory. How am I misusing it?
[...]
DAVID: You have applied it to multicellular organisms and claim cells in those organisms can design future advanced forms. Shapiro never went that far, so you have bastardized his contribution to research in the process of evolution.

dhw: I have repeatedly denied that cells design “future advanced forms”, and I see nothing in the above quotes about such forms. Over and over again I have stressed that the designs are IN RESPONSE to environmental changes, not in anticipation of them. The crystal ball is part of your own theory. Please note that Shapiro includes “multicellular structures”, and please tell me which of my conclusions Shapiro would disagree with.

DAVID: If designs are in response to 'environmental changes' and some may be, it is you who keep implying that cells communicate and create those responses, which are new designs, which is speciation.

That is precisely Shapiro’s theory as summarized in the bolded quotes above, and it exactly mirrors my own proposal. He also specifies that the innovative processes “respond to stimuli that place the core organism objectives of survival, growth and proliferation in peril…primarily at times of major ecological disruption.” (That = environmental changes.)

DAVID: So if you "have repeatedly denied that cells design “future advanced forms"" the designs must appear by magic or by a different process, and all we know of currently is minor adaptability within species. So your have no theory, and 'environment drives it' does not in any way tell us anything about how it might have happened. Only a driver.

There is no magic, and there is no different process. When conditions change, we know some organisms die and others adapt. Adaptation means making changes to the structure of the cells. Innovation also means making changes to the structure of the cells. We do not know how these changes occur: your theory is that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every single one; Shapiro argues that the cells are intelligent enough to make the changes themselves, and this is also my proposal. Environmental change is the stimulus or trigger, and adaptation and innovation are the response, only we do not have proof that the process extends as far as innovation, which is why the proposal is a theory and not a fact. Now please tell me which of these conclusions Shapiro would disagree with.

DAVID: As for Shapiro I have noted he used a large portion of his book to bring up multicellular research that fit his theory.

Thank you. That at last puts paid to your claim that his theory is based only on his research into bacteria.

DAVID: 50/50 is the probability I have presented, which is what the evidence allows so far. Thus it is open to interpretation using other points in living biochemistry, since all we ever see is exchanging info through a series of expressed proteins with the desired results to keep life going.

dhw: In other words, the intelligent behaviour of cells may be caused by your God’s instructions or by their own intelligence.

DAVID: Exactly. Take your choice.

Or keep an open mind.

DAVID (under “pathogenic bacteria”): S protein is a great tool for Strep on the attack. That bacteria can be this inventive supports Shapiro's findings.

dhw: Thank you for this article and your comment. The inventiveness of single-celled organisms ties in very neatly with the proposal that multicellular organisms may also be inventive.

DAVID: Multicellular organisms can adapt.

I know. But my friend David has generously agreed that bacteria (single cells) can be inventive, and so it is perfectly logical to argue that when single cells combine with other single cells into multicellularity, they may continue to be inventive. Hallelujah!


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