Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Sunday, January 24, 2021, 08:14 (104 days ago) @ David Turell

Snakes repel their own venom.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: Still dodging. We know the poison kills others in the two snakes that are self-protected. Self-protection must be simultaneously designed. The eight otheres have no place in this discussion.

Of course they have a place! The question in both cases is how the antidote originated. If, as you appear to agree, enough of the eight-snake species survived the external poison and found an antidote without your God popping in with the goody-bag, it’s possible that enough of the two-snake species survived the internal poison and did the same.

Darwin scientists find useless evolution

dhw: 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".

DAVID: The appendix was ' a useless vestige' until its immune purpose was found.

Now you are trying to prove there is no junk. That is no answer to the question of why your God would have designed molecules which according to you made 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: God know what He is doing in trying to code for error corrections.

It’s your theory that God is trying (and often failing) to correct the errors resulting from his design. How does that explain why he designed molecules that make terrible mistakes? And how does that make me “guilty” of saying God doesn’t know what he’s doing. It’s you who have no idea why God would do what you claim he does. So maybe your theory is wrong.


dhw: 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?

DAVID: Stem cells follow given embryological rules.

Stem cells take on different functions, as do the macrophages, and this could be the key to speciation. They repeat their new functions (= “follow rules”) once the new system has been established.

De novo or orphan genes

DAVID: Behe found advances by deletions without DNA additions.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Behe also discussed mammoths vs elephants I didn't mention before because of book explanation complexity, in explaining disappearance of a species […] The two species separated seven million years ago. This is the only actual speciation event he covered. You are correct, the rest is adaptive. Your explanation is fine but ignores the huge gaps in function between new species from old.

Species disappearing has nothing to do with speciation. Thank you for acknowledging my fine explanation, which explained discontinuity, which = the huge gaps.

An inventive mechanism: A DNA 'Shapiro change'

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Interesting: did you note I understand Shapiro's contributions to evolution research, but I still reject your wild extrapolations.

They are not wild extrapolations. Do you really want me to repeat the quotes reproduced in your own book, in which Shapiro explicitly describes cellular intelligence and its crucial role in evolutionary innovation?

DAVID: Bacteria are still here as super-important contributors to life. The bad is back to theodicy debates and my suggesting they have a real purpose, not yet discovered, but perhaps as part of the beneficial biome when under control in the GI tract..

I’m afraid your suggestion that maybe bad bacteria have an unknown beneficial purpose is not a very convincing explanation of why your God directly designed bad bacteria. Maybe he did NOT directly design them, but – theistic explanation - they were/are part of a free-for-all resulting from his design of cellular intelligence devoted to finding ways of survival.

Colliding galaxies

DAVID: […] dhw worries that the universe is too large and complicated and wonders why God did it that over-sized way. Not to worry, NASA says the number of galaxies in the hundreds of billions not trillions:

I couldn’t care less whether NASA says hundreds of billions or trillions (they can’t possibly know anyway). I merely ask why you think your God designed all the galaxies, old and new, if his only purpose was to design H. sapiens. But in the light of the thread on human evolution, maybe you think there are hundreds of billions (not trillions) of ETs out there as well?

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