The simplest explanation? (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, October 31, 2020, 11:15 (351 days ago) @ George Jelliss

Dhw: Bearing in mind that natural selection does not create anything but only selects changes which are beneficial, should I assume that you believe random mutations are a satisfactory explanation for all the innovations that have led from the first living cells to, let’s say, the human brain?

GEORGE: No you should not make that assumption. The theory of evolution has moved on a good way since Darwin. The contributions of Margulis and McClintock are now generally accepted. I don't know about Shapiro.
It's maybe getting near the time for a new book on Evolution to be written taking account of modern developments. Maybe it has already been written, but I'm not aware of it yet.

If you are prepared to reject random mutations as the cause of innovations, it would be interesting to know what you do regard as the mechanism that causes them. David has provided a perfect summary of Shapiro’s theory in his book The Atheist Delusion. The salient points are, in Shapiro’s own words: “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."

David’s alternatives are divine dabbling and a divine 3.8-billion-year-old programme for every undabbled innovation. The fourth theory on our list is Darwin’s random mutations. If my memory serves me correctly, David’s alternatives are non-starters for you, so I wonder where that leaves you!

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