Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 09:03 (560 days ago) @ David Turell

Darwin scientists find useless evolution

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.

dhw: 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!

DAVID: Mistaken folding or bad reactions are pure mistakes, not willful mischief, as you distort biochemistry.

There is no distortion of biochemistry. We are dealing with the same “mistakes”, but please note that we have now diverged from the article we began with, which dealt with a useless but harmless molecular mechanism, and are back on the subject of theodicy. I am challenging the claim that a design with “errors” is a good design, that the designer is not responsible for “errors” in his design, and that if cells were designed to know the rules but break them, then the designer must have given them the autonomous ability to know and break them! But I am suggesting that if your God exists, he may not have WANTED to design life forms that were so perfect they would live for ever, and he may have WANTED the ever changing and unpredictable history of life and evolution that has produced the vast range of life forms from bacteria to humans. What you call “mistakes and “errors” would all be part of the great free-for-all, since mistakes and errors are only what we humans would regard as the bad side of a process which demands constant change – diversion from what exists into something that has not existed before. Not Darwin’s randomness, not your God’s error-prone design, but the result of deliberate change as intelligent cells (origin unknown, but possibly designed by your God) adjust to or exploit or succumb to new conditions. (See also below, on catastrophes.)

Repairing DNA breaks
DAVID: We still see that mistakes can happen when molecules are acting and BIR is not a perfect solution. Perhaps perfection is impossible even with God in charge of possible designs.

Perhaps your God did not seek perfection.

Controlling rate of RNAs

DAVID: processes need speed controls and this is one of them. It reeks of design. Note my bold. The high speed of these processes is illustrated, from our knowledge that the bacteria replicating every 20 minutes. Occasional molecular mistakes must be expected.

Agreed. And if God designed them, and if God is a competent designer, we can assume that he designed what he wanted to design. You always moan that a God who deliberately designed a free-for-all is somehow weak. Don’t you think a God who designed something which was bound to make “mistakes”, and tried but often failed to correct them, is weaker than a God who designs what he wants to design?

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?

dhw: 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.

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

DAVID: The real point is CO2 has been up and down in vast shifts all through Earth history. The current manufactured hysteria is all political from the UN to get more money to poor third world countries. There are better charitable ways.

I don’t wish to enter into discussions on the validity or the current politics of climate change. You harp on about humans upsetting the balance of Nature, on which we both agree. But you also agree that the balance of Nature has constantly shifted throughout life’s history, with catastrophe after catastrophe. So do you think all these pre-human catastrophes (plus less dramatic local changes) were directly designed by your God to destroy most of the life forms you think he had directly designed up to then? Or do you think the catastrophes (plus less dramatic local events) might have been the result of a specially designed system of random environmental changes requiring new responses from the life forms exposed to them? The question is of major importance in the light of your theory of evolution.

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