Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Monday, January 25, 2021, 09:04 (359 days ago) @ David Turell

Snakes repel their own venom.

dhw: If…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.

DAVID: Same hopeful dodge. It obviously requires simultaneous design.

Ah well, I’ll settle for the (theistic) implications of your argument: species either die out, or survivors find their own antidotes to poisons and cures for diseases. Your God only “probably” helps - though how he can help without providing the antidotes and cures I don’t know - but that leaves the possibility that he doesn’t help. I’m happy to go along with this possibility. Thank you. Meanwhile, however, there are two varieties of snake for which your God had to directly provide the goody–bag, because you know that no individual could possibly have survived otherwise. I don’t know how you know, but shall we leave it at that?

Darwin scientists find useless evolution

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.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: The molecules are acting under orders. A good design with molecular errors is not God's fault. At least He knew they could make mistakes. Living requires high-speed reactions. The molecules know their rules but at times their mistakes happen, which is obviously not God's fault.

A good design with errors doesn’t sound like a good design to me. We’ve now digressed from the original article, which did not even mention mistakes, and are back to theodicy. In this context, I’d prefer to talk about cells. If cells know the rules and break them, clearly he designed the cells in such a way that they would know the rules and be free to break them! As with humans and their (God-given?) free will, it’s obviously not your God’s fault if cells decide to make what we consider to be bad choices. Thank you for supporting the case for cells that know what they’re doing.

An inventive mechanism: A DNA 'Shapiro change'

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..

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Your usual sop to theism. Remember cellular intelligence is just an unproven theory.

1) It is not a sop. I am an agnostic. 2) Once more: ALL theories, including your own and the God theory, are unproven. If they were proven, we would not be having these discussions. However, my theory provides a logical explanation for bad bacteria, which I suggest has more substance than a theory which provides no logical explanation.

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:

dhw: 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?

DAVID: We can't know, but can look with SETI without a positive result so far.

Apart from “with SETI”, that sums up all our theories about all the unsolved mysteries. Hence agnosticism.

Plants control carbon cycle

QUOTE: After all, if a bunch of dumb ferns could naturally perform carbon sequestration on such a tremendous scale, why couldn’t clever humans deliberately do the same thing?

This is an amazing idea! At a stroke it could remove all the agonizing over how to combat climate change without any radical changes to our civilisation. I wonder why it hasn’t been followed up.

QUOTE: "The Azolla Event was an environmental catastrophe for life in the Eocene epoch.

DAVID: The article goes on to discuss humans using plants to control CO2 on Earth and maintain balances within tight limits. It has been designed to run by itself until humans arrived to upset the balances. But it should be noted the range of CO2 concentrations, both high and low are way beyond anything currently happening.

Yeah, the Azolla Event was a catastrophe for life before humans arrived to upset the balances and cause catastrophes. Well done, Nature.

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