Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Saturday, January 23, 2021, 12:59 (616 days ago) @ David Turell

Water to land limb changes

DAVID: The gaps tell us speciation is not due to simple step-by-step adaptations. You may ask for transitional forms, and they exist with huge gaps. From my viewpoint, the gaps tell us design is real.

You expect to find a complete fossil record of every change from 400-350 million years ago! Nobody knows what stages may have filled the gaps between the few miraculously surviving fossils. But I agree that design is real: some organisms adapt to new conditions and may complexify through improvements as further aids to survival, and there has to be a mechanism enabling these adaptations and improvements. I propose (perhaps God-given) cellular intelligence. I find this more convincing than random mutations and divine programmes or dabbles to produce every change. But these are all unproven theories. See below:

Cambrian explosion

dhw: I’ll leave you, Bechly and the other experts to haggle over percentages, and will happily accept your original statement that “there certainly isn’t an abrupt dividing line in evolution.”

DAVID: Yes, each stage has some connection, as you try to ignore the complexity gap.

If there is a connection, the only gap is the time between innovations, which I suggest is caused by the irregularity of environmental changes. See above for complexity.

Magic embryology

DAVID: We have no proof that stepwise adaptions result in speciation, so it remains a nice theory. The massive evidence of gaps is strongly against it.
And under “De novo or orphan genes”:
DAVID: The gaps between species are strong evidence for God coding DNA to create increasing complexity, a hallmark of our evolution.

See above for the unproven theories. The lack of fossils does not provide “massive evidence” for anything, let alone an unknown, sourceless mind which has preprogrammed or dabbled every single change.

Snakes repel their own venom.

DAVID: If only personal poison is present and kills, how is there survival to develop the antidote?[…].

dhw: [...] maybe the internal poison doesn’t always kill.

DAVID: Why dodge? The discussion is all about lethal poisons.

All the poisons, internal and external, are lethal, but that does not mean they kill every individual organism. If eight survivors find an antidote, why can't the other two?

Darwin scientists find useless evolution

dhw: You asked: “What happened to perfect natural selection which always makes the right choices?” […] According to the article, the molecules are harmless, in which case there was no necessity to discard them.

DAVID: So natural selection allowed useless evolution like junk DNA? Chance at work?

There would be no pressure for harmless molecules or junk DNA to be discarded. It would not disprove natural selection, but it would raise the question of why a designer God would deliberately design something useless, let alone that makes "terrible mistakes".

dhw: I have every right to ask you why you think your God designed molecules that make terrible mistakes. Your answer (that I am saying “God doesn’t know what he is doing”) is totally out of order.

DAVID: The high-speed reactions with errors have been discussed ad nauseum.

And your only explanation was that your God was unable to avoid incorporating the harmful ones, tried to correct them, often failed, and left it to humans to try and correct them. How does this mean that I say God doesn’t know what he is doing?


dhw: The ability of these cells to multitask in order to meet the needs imposed or opportunities offered by changing environments may well be the key to speciation.

DAVID: This in only clever immune system design. Stop clutching at straws.

Stem cells are not confined to the immune system, and can also deliberately change their function. Why is it clutching at straws to suggest that when cells change their structure (adaptation/innovation) to meet new needs, it suggests that they have the ability to change their structure to meet new needs?

De novo or orphan genes

DAVID: […] this discontinuity is perfect evidence of God the designer at work stepping in.

dhw: […] I see no reason why you should regard the discontinuity as evidence of God stepping in. I would say it is due to the fact that environmental change occurs in bursts, and speciation is a consequence of cell communities responding to new requirements and/or opportunities provided by those changes, whether local or global. […]

DAVID: I still propose God speciating. Behe found advances by deletions without DNA additions.

Did he? You eventually agreed that he had only found examples of species modifications (e.g. among bears). Now please explain your objection to my explanation of discontinuity.

An inventive mechanism: A DNA 'Shapiro change'

DAVID: In this case the salmonella reprogram the Krebs cycle by altering DNA in the invaded cells!!! Not their own DNA, which Shapiro studied, but to me editing is editing.

Agreed. Another example of bacteria working out their own means of survival. I have no idea why your God would have preprogrammed or dabbled with this nasty salmonella to poison us. Do you? Maybe the “editing” is the product of the autonomous intelligence which Shapiro thinks is present in all cells.

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