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

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 01, 2020, 16:10 (234 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I have shifted this discussion from the “fish” thread,

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.

dhw: 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 there are times when evolution moves slowly – even with periods of stasis – and times when it moves fast, depending on conditions and requirements. (1) 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. (2) 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.

My usual simple answer: your answer skips neatly over the problem of rapid brain enlargement over 2-3 million years to 1,200 from 400 cc originally, which lays fallow until it doesn't as in your comment, "enormous changes even in the last few hundred years" occurs, and then as you agree, it has some small shrinkage. None of the bolded (1) could have happened if the brain wasn't just lying there waiting to be used. And in bolded (2) what 'requirements' made the brain so large in advance of all the uses you so clearly list appearing after lots of time. Your leg/flipper comparison does not fit the big brain story, does it?

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.

dhw: 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.

Comment: Simply, God is in control over cosmological development and life. Of course He planned and pre-planned. Fine tuning shows it. Mathematical equations cover most things:


"We found that rat whiskers can be accurately described by a simple mathematical equation known as the Euler spiral. It’s an example of how special spiral patterns are found throughout the natural world.


"Most natural structures don’t display all of these three shapes. But there are many spirals in nature that get more curved along their length. Many sea shells, sheep and antelope horns, sea horse and lizard tails and even the cochlear in our own ears have all been shown to have a linear radius of curvature along their length, making them into a shape called a logarithmic spiral.


"Nature is full of mathematical patterns...In this way, maths can give us a special insight into how biological structures and systems work."

Comment: God is a mathematician and used it in the nature He created, just as His math covers the events in the universe.

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