Paul Davies: A Darwin skeptic confesses (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 14:14 (13 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "From the Nobel Prize winning geneticist Barbara McClintock in the 1950s to the work of biologist James Shapiro recently retired from the University of Chicago, evidence is mounting that cells possess some level of cognitive ability allowing them to monitor their environments, detect potential danger, and alter their genomes in intentional ways to respond to environmental challenge. It is not clear how they do this, but it does speak to the possibility of some sort of mind at work in the evolutionary process. If this proves to be true, Darwinian evolution will quickly go the way of the dinosaur."

dhw: If cells are intelligent, then “mind at work” can refer to their minds. That puts paid to Darwin’s random mutations. But we are not arguing about belief and bias. I am merely stating that the above paragraph favours Shapiro’s theory (for which there is “mounting evidence”), to which you are opposed. If you can’t see that, so be it.

DAVID: I am not opposed, nor is ID from a mind-supplied set of instructions making the cell acting intelligently.

You are not opposed to your totally fudged version of Shapiro’s theory, as correctly summarized in the quote above. There is no mention of a “mind-supplied set of instructions”. The theory is categorically that cells have an autonomous intelligence of their own. I have previously repeated the relevant quotes from your excellent book The Atheist Delusion, (pages 142-143).

DAVID: Shapiro showed bacteria can modify their DNA, nothing more and we all accept it as a great contribution to evolutionary research. You use your individual bias to stretch the concept to suit what you would like to believe. Still 50/50 odds.

“You use your individual bias” to pretend that I am stretching Shapiro’s theory. You force me to quote what you quoted in your book: “Living cells and organisms are cognitive (sentient) entities that act and interact purposefully…They possess sensory, communication, information-processing and decision-making capabilities….Evolutionary innovation arises from the production of new cells and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self-modification functions and cell fusions.” (James A Shapiro). Now please tell me how I have stretched his concept. And if the odds are 50/50, it would be totally irrational to reject the theory.

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