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

by dhw, Saturday, February 01, 2020, 11:23 (16 days ago) @ David Turell

I have shifted this discussion from the “fish” thread, as it overlaps with David’s theory of evolution, including his focus on future planning, in contrast to Shapiro’s theory (closely akin to my own) as below:

dhw: MY THEORY DOES NOT INVOLVE FORESEEING FUTURE NEEDS. MY THEORY IS THAT ORGANISMS ARE INTELLIGENT AND RESPOND TO NEW CONDITIONS. THEY DO NOT FORESEE THEM. AND SOME ARE CLEVER ENOUGH TO ADAPT, AND SOME ARE CLEVER ENOUGH TO FIND WAYS OF EXPLOITING THE NEW CONDITIONS IN ORDER TO IMPROVE THEIR CHANCES OF SURVIVAL.

DAVID: Thank you for the clarification. Only current challenges can fit your theory. Not the future which has always been my point.

dhw: You’ve grasped it. I do not believe that pre-whales were given flippers before they entered the water, or indeed that any organisms adapt or innovate in anticipation of the future, or that your God preprogrammed every undabbled major adaptation/innovation or bacterial response 3.8 billion years ago in anticipation of every change in the environment for the rest of life’s history. Crystal-ball gazing has always been your point.

DAVID: And your approach does not satisfy the reasoning about a 1,200 cc brain which arrived 300,000 years before it was more completely used. Why was it there and unused for so long and which new conditions required it to evolve to that size and complexity at that time?

dhw: What do you mean by “more completely”? Do you think our ancestors wandered around like zombies, not using their brains? Or do you think they should have invented the computer the moment the brain expanded?

DAVID: My point is still that it took 250,000 +/- years to figure out how to develop modern language. That the brain was pre-prepared for language are the linguists findings that most languages are similar in grammar and syntax construction. They certainly had vocal communications in a simplistic language structure and brain plasticity worked with that beginning.

From this point on, your “fish” post was completely garbled. Quotes from me, beginning “We’ve been over all this before…” were posted as if they were from you, and your own comments were cut off.

We were discussing your theory that your God knew the future and planned every innovation in advance. Now suddenly you want to narrow the field to language acquisition! And we’ve been over all this as well. What do you mean by “the brain was pre-prepared for language”? How many linguists do you know of who inform us God provided the first living cells (or dabbled) with programmes for expanding brains that would invent universal grammar and syntax? Anyway, you’ve answered your own question. Our human ancestors would certainly have communicated with simpler language structures than our own, and surprise, surprise, languages like our own have undergone enormous changes even in the last few hundred years as the human mind expands its experiences, knowledge, interests, inventions. The process is called evolution. And I would suggest that the variety of languages with all their differences and their possible similarities is what is known as convergent evolution. And there are times when evolution moves slowly – even with periods of stasis – and times when it moves fast, depending on conditions and requirements. Our ape ancestors can still make do with comparatively simple language, and there is no reason to suppose that our human ancestors did not find their own comparatively simple language perfectly adequate for their needs until eventually some inventive minds started producing more complex ideas, tools, methods of survival etc. which required an expansion of language. Just like pre-whale legs, I propose that changes in language as well as in body and brain come about in response to new requirements. (To anticipate your usual objections, we know that the modern brain changes in response to new demands, but instead of expanding, it complexifies, and complexification has even led to shrinkage.) All too logical for you?

dhw: I gave you a choice: do you believe your God preprogrammed every bacterial response to new problems, or do you believe he gave bacteria the autonomous intelligence to work out their own responses? That is not a question about speciation.
DAVID: You know I think God gave bacteria instructions abut how to answer each challenge automatically.

And so the two threads come together. Your God apparently preprogrammed or dabbled every evolutionary innovation etc., plus every bacterial decision, in advance of the need for it. You did not answer my question concerning the pre-planning of every environmental change that required bacterial adaptations and necessitated or allowed for every evolutionary change. Crystal-ball gazing, preprogramming or dabbling?


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