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

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 07, 2020, 18:21 (264 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I'm sure he [Betchly] know Shapiro's work as very valuable, but won't stretch it as you do, FUBAR.

dhw: Sorry, but what is FUBAR? And please tell me in what way I have “stretched” Shapiro’s theory. (Do you want me to repeat all the quotes?)

DAVID: Google FUBAR for full meaning. It is US troop slang in WWII for when things are wrong. Shapiro's theory relates to speciation mechanisms based on bacteria self-adjusting and editing their DNA. Multicellular cells change by following their DNA instructions. You have those cells adjust themselves on their own.

dhw: You simply refuse to take any notice of what you yourself have quoted in "The Atheist Delusion". Here we go again:
SHAPIRO: Living cells and organisms are cognitive (sentient) entities that act and interact purposefully to ensure survival, growth and proliferation. They possess sensory, communication, information-processing and decision-making capabilities.
SHAPIRO: Evolutionary novelty arises from the production of new cells and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self-modification functions and cell fusions.

I fully accept the quotes as fully accurate. It is interpretation where we differ. I am using multicellular cells showing known processes. You are using Shapiro's bacterial studies and his theory as to how that might impinge on speciation of multicellular organisms to grant those cells abilities that are not proven or even theorized by many ID scientists. Look at Lynn Margulis comment on the book: "[Shapiro's] explains the processes that proceeded people by at least 3,000 million years...Shapiro's careful, authoritative narrative...is entirely scientific and should interest all of us who care about the evolution of the genetic system." Doesn't sound as if she applied it to current thoughts about speciation. His book appeared in 2011, and was probably written in 2009. It is now 2020 and with 20/20 vision it can be said it is a great contribution, but has not yet contributed to the solution of the question of how speciation happens. And you keep stretching.

dhw: Cognitive entities which create evolutionary novelties by modifying themselves are cells which adjust themselves on their own. I have not stretched Shapiro. Yet another of your straw men.

It is your stretch not mine, and the straw theory is your scarecrow. Shapiro extrapolated and you have swallowed it. There has been no advance from his fine work, because there are no followups to it, and perhaps there cannot be any. Time passes and proves value!

dhw: Of course I accept the obvious concept of information, and everything you can think of carries information! But it takes intelligence to translate information into instructions (i.e. to use information).

DAVID: Basic misuse of the information concept. Information that is descriptive is not information that guides actions. Both types of information require interpretation by minds but in life by receptive mechanisms that respond automatically to the instructions.

dhw: Part of the muddle caused by this whole information discussion is the indiscriminate use of the word itself. Information as I define it is non-active facts and details which are present in all things. It takes intelligence to extrapolate and use these facts and details. Once more: Instructions can only be compiled by the intelligent user of information.

A non-answer to my statement. Your statement is true, except the bold. The intelligent user reads and acts on the instructions it has or receives.

dhw: You think the intelligence is God’s. It may have been at the beginning of life. But I suggest that the intelligence which runs evolution is that of the cells themselves, possibly designed by your God, and your God’s design would have included the ability not only to replicate but also to vary. Otherwise there would have been no evolution. “Information” explains nothing. The great question is what uses the information?

DAVID: Your very limited concept of information explains nothing. Information exists in many forms.

dhw: Then in order to clarify your thoughts, perhaps you should distinguish between those many forms and their functions and range of influence. Meanwhile, I will continue to argue that information itself produces nothing, and so it is absurd to say that “information is the source of life”.

I agree with you, use of existing information is the source of life, but the information has to be supplied first!

dhw: You have now actually told us (on the “information” thread) that your God is “intelligent information”! So now information has a conscious mind! No wonder this whole concept causes such confusion. I think I prefer your earlier definition of him as pure conscious energy.

My God supplied/supplies "intelligent information" my shorthand for intelligently formed information.

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