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

by dhw, Monday, January 20, 2020, 13:45 (249 days ago) @ David Turell

The taxi fish and Shapiro threads are mainly direct repetitions of each other, and so I have combined them here.

dhw: Yes, evolutionary innovation is the problem we face, and yes, I am all in favour of design. And one of several theories is that cells/cell communities are intelligent enough to do their own designing, and maybe your God gave them that ability.

DAVID: And it is all pipe dream. You are imagining design appears by magic if no thinking mind is available to plan the necessary parts for the advance.

There is no magic involved if cells are intelligent! (You agree there is a 50/50 chance that they are.) There is no planning: this theory entails RESPONSE to the present. If cells can autonomously produce minor adaptations to new conditions (you have agreed that they can), then it is not unreasonable to propose that they may also be able to exploit new conditions through major adaptations and innovations. Meanwhile, by what magic does “pure energy” happen also to be conscious and capable of creating universes and living beings?

DAVID: You are fighting the chance vs. design problem and saying these simple cells can do it on their own. […]

Since when were cells simple? But yes, you have grasped the essence of Shapiro’s theory and mine, and it does not advocate chance, it advocates design. By cells. And it leaves open whether cells themselves were designed.

DAVID: As for my theory it is an immaterial discussion of God's possible methods. You know darn well it can't be 'found'.

“It” is the 3.8-billion-year-old programme for suckers and every other life form and natural wonder in the history of life. And yes, I know it’s an immaterial discussion of possible methods and nobody can ever find such a programme. That doesn’t make your theory logical, and it doesn’t invalidate the idea that intelligent cells may do the designing.

dhw: You seem to think that any change in an organism requires a global change in the environment. It is not unreasonable to suppose that while most mammals and apes remained the same, there were locations in which conditions demanded (or allowed) change! [I gave the usual examples of whales and apes…] Most scorpions appear to have led happy lives exactly as they were and are now. But they had buddies who weren’t so happy, and their buddies therefore did something different. Too simple for you?

DAVID: Yes, much too simple. Takes no notice of the design issue.Your same old problem, clutching at straws. First, entering water created huge physiological problems that require intensive design to succeed. As for the apes, one group came down from the trees, changed the way their hands and shoulders are formed and do tasks apes can't do. The pelvis changed for a different path to birth to accommodate the huge brain that appeared and allowed true upright movement at the same time. All planned by ape brain? No way.

I am not disputing the complexities. It is your conclusion I dispute.Yet again: NOT planned. Just as cells self-modify to make minor adjustments in order to improve their chances of survival IN RESPONSE to changing conditions, the theory is that the same process of self-modification will enable them to make the major adjustments you have listed. As for the brain reference, you do not consciously use your brain to order your cells to fight viruses, heal your wounds, digest your food, defecate the waste, see what you see, hear what you hear. Your cells are running the thing you think of as you. Maybe they also run the changes that other organisms require or invent when conditions change.

DAVID: There has to be a reason why some species make great advances and others don't bother. […]

Yes indeed. In brief: to improve their chances of survival. (And to anticipate your usual moan: yes indeed, I think Darwin had a mighty good point!) Those that are already surviving needn’t bother, but some see ways of improving their chances and do bother. Please tell us why you find this so difficult to believe.

DAVID: Their brains and thoughts are not like ours. Your argument is basically empty and the need for a designer is obvious.

I have never suggested that we do not have different and far more advanced “thoughts” than other organisms. How does that support your belief that your all-knowing, always-in-control God preprogrammed and/or dabbled every evolutionary innovation etc. in the history of life, and did so only as an interim goal to cover the time he had decided to take before fulfilling his sole purpose of producing us? And how does it support your belief that the intelligent behaviour of cells is not due to intelligence, and that they are incapable of extending their autonomous capacity for minor adaptation to major adaptation and innovation?

DAVID: What is always interesting is you fully accept design, but not the designer.

What is interesting is that you cannot imagine any form of living being that has not been designed, and yet you can imagine a hidden being that has not been designed but is simply there, conscious, and equipped with the knowledge to plan and create universes and living organisms.

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