Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Friday, January 15, 2021, 09:02 (286 days ago) @ David Turell

Magic embryology

QUOTE: None of this could happen without forces that squeeze, bend and tug the growing animal into shape. Even when it reaches adulthood, its cells will continue to respond to pushing and pulling — by each other and from the environment.

dhw: Once again we see that cells respond to the environment. The whole process is based on cooperation between the cells themselves, as they interact with the conditions in which they find themselves. We should bear in mind that every species is the result of millions and millions of years of such cooperation. Once the combination works, the cell communities settle into their particular pattern of conduct (so vividly illustrated here) until something new causes them to change (or to disappear).

DAVID: Or, as probable, they follow instructions in their genomes.

Of course they follow instructions in their genomes! You always jump in when systems are established. The mystery of speciation is what causes established systems (and hence "instructions") to change. That is the subject of our theories. Over and over again, you produce articles which suggest that the cell communities interact with the environment. I propose that when this changes, the interaction may take one of three paths: each particular combination of cell communities may die, may adapt, or may innovate. Successful adaptations/innovations (the new “instructions”) will be passed on and repeated through the genome, and the cycle repeats itself millions of times through millions of years and millions of combinations from bacteria to every species that ever lived, including us. That is evolution!

DAVID: We see how it happens but have no idea what is guiding the developments, except the general knowledge it must come from the genome. Only a designing mind can create this process of embryological reproduction.

dhw: Or designing “minds” – the cells – which themselves may well have been originally designed by the single mind you call God.

DAVID: At least you are staying either/or.

Of course. I am an agnostic and I do not claim to know anything – from the existence of God to the way a possible God might think and work. But I must confess to having grave doubts about certain theories regarding speciation. Two examples are Darwin’s theory of random mutations as the source of innovations, and your own theory of evolution, which we have agreed not to discuss any more.
There now follow four natural wonders – many thanks for these – which amazingly combine to form a complete explanation of how organisms follow the pattern I have outlined above.

Snakes repel their own venom

DAVID: The obvious issue is timing of the development. What must happen is the toxin and the antidote mechanism both must be evolved simultaneously or snakes will commit suicide. Only a planned design fits this event. Never by chance.

Of course not by chance. However, as usual you jump in when the system is established. It doesn’t occur to you that initially snakes may well have “committed suicide”, and so an antidote had to be developed in order to stop this from happening. It is the same natural process that we are so desperately striving to accelerate in order to counter the Covid threat. Cells respond to threats. If they don’t, they die.

Plants repel their own toxins

Quote: "To their surprise, the researchers found that tobacco plants which had been transformed so they could no longer produced two proteins involved in the biosynthesis of the diterpene glycosides and thus also not form the defensive substances otherwise stored in the leaves in large amounts, showed conspicuous symptoms of self-poisoning: they were sick, unable to grow normally, and could no longer reproduce.

DAVID: Same song, second verse: there is no way this could develop unless both the toxins and the defenses appeared simultaneously. Only careful design fits.

Same song, second verse. The disturbance caused the plants to become sick. This is the stage you always omit. The toxins kill. The defences (the wonderful part of Nature’s Wonders) are then developed to counter the threat and prevent the sickness.

Insects can adapt to leg amputation

DAVID: It doesn't take many neurons to find an adaptation. Either learned or built-in response.

Yes, a clear example of how the neurons find a way of coping with the new situation. Not simultaneous appearance of “threat” and “antidote”, but cause and effect: new condition, cells respond.


Some eels hunt in packs

QUOTE: Researchers witnessed the electric eels working together to herd small fish into tightly packed balls. Groups of up to 10 eels periodically split off to form cooperative hunting parties.

DAVID: this obvious cooperation will delight dhw.

It does indeed. As with ants and all other social life forms, we have a perfect image for the way cell communities cooperate. In this case, it’s not defence but attack – cooperative communities design their own strategies for both. Thank you for presenting us with such clear examples of how evolution works through cooperative responses to environmental conditions.


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