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

by dhw, Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 12:28 (6 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The dinos could not handle the major environmental worldwide changes. God knew all the major general environmental events: ice ages, appearance of oxygen, asteroid strikes if major, as He evolved Earth for life's arrival and thereafter. I'm trying to get you to recognize every minor tornado or flood is a result of his activity, but is beneath His advanced notice. Your approach humanizes him, as usual.

“God knew about” does not answer the question, which is: did he himself CONTROL/PREPROGRAMME THE ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES which, according to you. bacteria and all the life forms, econiches, natural wonders etc. were preprogrammed to cope with or exploit. If not, how did he know about them (crystal ball?) to enable his advanced planning? Dabbling suggests responding to or creating new conditions not already programmed 3.8 billion years ago, which in turn suggests that he did NOT know everything right from the start, but learned or changed his plans as he went along. Your “humanizing” mantra is now irrelevant and silly. Why should your God not behave in a logically understandable way, especially when you agree he probably “has similar thought patterns and emotions”?

dhw: For the nth time, my theory if true DOES explain the gaps (intelligent minds can innovate), and you have agree that your God may well have human characteristics, so your “humanizing” is irrelevant to my alternatives.

DAVID: You are simply entering a designing mind at the level of cells!!! Woolly theory, no more.

What does that mean? With my theist hat on, I am proposing that your God designed the first cells and gave them thinking minds to enable them to do their own designing. Why is that woollier than your God himself designing millions of different automatons which could do nothing except obey his instructions?

DAVID: What Shapiro observed was bacteria have the ability to edit DNA, nothing more, as a reaction to changed stimuli. They were created knowing they needed that ability to b e free living organisms.

I like “free living”, and of course they have the ability to change their DNA. That is what enables them to cope with countless environments and new threats (and opportunities). And yes, Shapiro – together with many other scientists - has studied their behaviour and concluded that the changes they make are the result of an autonomous intelligence. But you, while acknowledging that these experts have a 50/50 chance of being right, insist that you know better, and they are 100% wrong.

DAVID: The adaptations you keep referring to are major, not minor. The gaps show no evidence of gradual changes. Why don't you recognize Gould's prime worry? Giant changes require a designing mind.

dhw: Yes, the only adaptations we KNOW of are minor, but from that we can extrapolate the possibility that the same mechanism may be capable of major changes, and that would explain the gaps. This THEORY, which seeks to explain speciation and the gaps, extrapolates from a known process. Has anyone ever seen your God dabbling or found the 3.8-billion-year-old programme for speciation etc.?

DAVID: Of course not, as you know.

So please stop using the limitations of our current knowledge as a reason for rejecting my theory.

DAVID: As for the need for a designer your quote today fits: "This is a prime example of the case for design and a designer." And then you as usual run to simple cells to do the job. Not capable, just wishful theorizing.

Of course I acknowledge the case for a designer. Otherwise I would be an atheist. But I do not accept the case for a designer who only designs automatons. With my theist hat on, I propose that my designer God designed the intelligent cells which in turn designed their own adaptations and innovations. Why is this theorizing more “wishful” than the theory that your God only created automatons?

DAVID: The complex advanced organisms need for change evolve across large gaps in form and function as we see across the gaps in the fossil record. The sudden appearance of the multitude of Cambrian animals is a complete refutation of your theory. These animals appeared without the appropriate precursors. Your theory describes changes in precursors and requires precursors. I await your thoughts!

And there was me thinking you believed in common descent. You should have told us from the start that you were a Creationist and not an evolutionist. My answer is precisely the same as it has been ever since you raised the problem of gaps. That a major change in the environment (some folk think it was an increase in oxygen) triggered the Cambrian Explosion, and the intelligent cell communities of which all organisms are made – theist version: God designed the intelligent cell – found themselves in a new environment which presented them with new ways of using their bodies to establish new ways of improving their chances of survival. In short, intelligent minds can invent, and just as we know bacteria can edit their DNA in order to adapt, multicellular organisms can edit their DNA in order to innovate. You don’t believe this theory, which is your right. I don’t accept the biblical version of separate creation, but you do. That is also your right.


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