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

by David Turell @, Friday, December 13, 2019, 14:26 (43 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: So did your God leave it to chance to decide which of his bacteria would inherit his 3.8-billion-year-old programme for every single problem that bacteria would face for the rest of time?


DAVID: We all know, including Darwin and you, that there is individual variation in species. God must have allowed it.

dhw: Nice to hear that your always-in-control God allows variation within species. But you keep telling us that bacteria are all automatons with no minds of their own, merely obeying instructions, so are you saying he programmed some to fail and others to succeed? See your reply re “cognition”.

Once a species of bacteria appears they will then vary on their own with adaptations. God is not needed for in species variation.


DAVID: Please think about multicellular cells. All of them have specific tasks in the various parts and are constantly functioning in those roles. You have never told me which of these always busy cells get together in committees to cause new species?

dhw: Of course they all have specific tasks once the new organ/organism has succeeded in functioning. All the cells affected by the innovation must communicate! How else would they be able to coordinate their new activities? Perhaps stem cells are the organizers. I’m hoping you will develop this idea, as you know far more about them than I do. (See below)

dhw: …now you are repeating your own belief that despite being cognitive beings, cells don’t have “minds”, i.e. are not capable of knowing, understanding, learning, making decisions. If you mean they are programmed to be cognitive, then that = your God gave them the autonomous intelligence to act purposefully. If you mean that their purposeful actions have been programmed, then I don't see how you can agree that they are cognitive. Perhaps you would explain what you mean by "cognitive" and sort out this contradiction.

DAVID: Simple. Their programming makes them appear cognitive.

Please look at this exchange:
SHAPIRO: "Living cells and organisms are cognitive (sentient) entities that act and interact purposefully [..] They possess sensory, communication, information-processing and decision-making capabilities."

DAVID: The first part is true without question.

dhw: So without question they are cognitive, but they are not cognitive because they are preprogrammed. Presumably this also means that since your God “allows variation”, some are programmed to appear cognitive (but are still robots) while others are programmed not to appear cognitive (they’re the ones that die). And you agree with Shapiro without question, but you do not agree with Shapiro.

O f course they act cognitively, but in my view it is automatic. We are playing with words.


DAVID (Under “role of stem cells”): It is logical that stem cells must play a major role in speciation, since they are the creators of functional cells. We still don't understand why or how the new stem cells arrived on the scene.

dhw: This seems to me to be a very important contribution to our discussion. Since stem cells can change their identity, they are obviously at the heart of the evolutionary process. Of course nobody knows how any cells “arrived on the scene”, but if cells are cognitive, sentient, communicating, decision-making beings, and some of them can change their identity, and they are faced with the new challenge of changing environments, we certainly have a broad hint as to how the mechanisms of evolution may work.

In my view God changes the stem cell programming for new species and for you they hold a committee meeting. The other problem is that in embryology there are other physico-chemical-electrical forces that have shown to play roles, so it is not just making cells with new functions. Articles on this is mainly generalizations.


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