Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 10:42 (601 days ago)

This thread replaces “Innovation and speciation: aquatic mammals avoid bends”. We can use it to cover different subjects that probably won’t develop into full-scale discussions.

Fine tuning
dhw: Your non-acceptance does not explain why the theory is not feasible.

DAVID: It is feasible with a weak human, as I've told you before.

dhw: Why wanting a free-for-all and creating it should make your God into a weak human I really don’t know. It makes me wonder how you can then go on to champion the idea of free will, if your God is such a control freak.

DAVID: I see God as a control freak only over evolutionary design creations. He doesn't need control over our personal behaviour.

We are not talking of need but of what God wants. If he wants humans to have a free-for-all, why should he not want evolution to develop freely?

Sea turtles
Dealt with under “Theodicy

Egnor’s latest
dhw: So your God stepped in nine times to perform operations, even after the animal had entered the water. Sounds like he’s making it up as he goes along. And all this because he wanted to design H. sapiens – another series of operations, with a leggy twiddle here, and a pelvis twiddle there, and brain surgery over and over again. I’m not surprised that you have no idea why an always-in-total-control God would have used such methods.

DAVID: He didn't tell me.

dhw: I'm not surprised. Why in heaven's name would he own up to using such a roundabout way of fulfilling his one and only purpose?

DAVID: Ask Him. I don't know, but not knowing bothers you, not me.

We cannot “know” anything. We can only theorize. What “bothers” me is a theory which even its proposer can’t make sense of.

Introducing the brain
QUOTE: "The scientists discovered that microglia are not extending their branches at random. Instead, microglia reach out primarily to active neurons, one after another, while paying less attention to non-active neurons. Importantly, they noticed that when microglia touch an active neuron, that neuron's activity does not increase further."

DAVID: It is logical that the brain would have its electrical actions under tight controls; such a highly complex system requires design.

Amazing stuff. Thank you. Yet again we have cells performing intelligent actions as they play different parts in the functioning of their community. If we look outside ourselves and see ants doing the same thing, we might grasp the fact that evolution is a history of cells cooperating to form ever more complex communities. Each body is a community of communities, but because they're all contained within us, we don’t make the connection with the communities we can actually see. Yes, designed, but all of this evolved over billions of years. We needn’t repeat the different theories concerning how it was designed.

Brain expansion

QUOTE: “This means every brain has the same essential ingredients but with species-specific mutations to aid survival in different environments. This, argues Ms. Barrett, undermines the idea that the human brain stands apart as the pinnacle of natural selection. Sure, our brain seems impressive, but we are simply one animal among many with a noodle adapted to the task of survival. “Other animals are not inferior to humans,” Ms. Barrett writes. “Your brain is not more evolved than a rat or lizard brain, just differently evolved.”

The idea that the human brain evolved initially through the effort to improve chances of survival seems to me perfectly reasonable, but Ms Barrett’s attempt to downgrade all the amazing technical, intellectual and artistic achievements that have no connection with survival seems to me to be pointless. There are many fields in which animals are superior to us, and many in which we are superior. What does she mean by “more evolved”? Our brain is more complex, and is indeed different. That doesn’t invalidate our achievements that go beyond survival. I understand her dislike of human arrogance, and use of the term “pinnacle”, and especially our appalling disrespect for our fellow animals, but until she discovers a rat or lizard that can fly to the moon, analyse its DNA or compose a symphony, I feel she is replacing one unbalanced view with another.

Who is God?
QUOTES: “Philosophy addresses questions that probably can’t be solved, now or ever.”
"When I say a problem is unsolvable, I don’t mean we should abandon it. Far from it. I love reading, writing and arguing about intractable puzzles. For example, I don’t believe in God, certainly not the God of my Catholic childhood. But I enjoy smart, imaginative theology (defined as the study of God) in the same way that I enjoy good science fiction

DAVID: this discussion is exactly on point with Adler's admonition that in thinking about God, realize He is a person like no other person. That is why I reject any sense of humanizing Him in discussions about what He did/does and why He did/does it.

I don’t know why you’ve called this thread “Who is God?” or why you take it as support for your silly attempts to discredit logical theories on grounds of “humanization”. The author’s point is that we probably shan’t ever solve any of the problems he has listed (e.g. God’s existence), but he enjoys discussing them. He would be the perfect man for our website.

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