Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 12:13 (329 days ago) @ David Turell

Extreme extremophiles

DAVID: I differ in a nuance you avoid. God created life so it would always survive, so of course it adapts, but as above, I do not see adaptation as driving evolution.

dhw: ...Please tell us what other driving force you believe would motivate innovation.

DAVID: God of course.

That is not what I meant. What was and is the purpose of organisms adapting and innovating?

How roots fight compacted soils

DAVID: How did the plant find this so-called remedy? Considering Darwinist 'fitness' theories, this is a mistake and a reduction in plant growth. It seems as if evolutionary mechanisms for adaptation didn't work. And from my viewpoint God didn't bother to fix it. Of course it is obvious slower growth prevented root tip damage as a sort of partial solution.

It seems as if one of the evolutionary mechanisms did work. Slower growth... Let’s just assume he designed what he wanted to design – the system that led to the great and ever changing bush of life. What could be more interesting?

DAVID: Back to a human God who needs interestng events.

Why “needs”? Why not “wants” or, to use your own word: “desires”, as in your belief that he seems to be “full of purposeful activity to create what He desires to create with no other motive than the creations themselves.

Dualism (Swinburne)

QUOTE: the identity of me does not consist in what happens to my body, but in what happens to my conscious life, and so I am who I am in virtue of what happens to my conscious life. Nothing that happens in my body entails or is entailed by what happens to my conscious life. So being me must consist in being a substance separate from my body.

QUOTE: my brain largely determines which properties my soul has at any time. Hence my childhood interactions with the world form my childhood brain which forms my childhood outlook on the world; and my old age interactions with the world form my old age brain, which in turn forms my old age outlook on the world.

dhw: It seems to me that if the brain largely determines the properties of the soul at any time, it is absurd to claim that “nothing in my body entails or is entailed by what happens to my conscious life”. Unless he thinks the brain is not part of the body....

DAVID: The soul which uses the brain for information and expression is not part of the physical body.

That has nothing to do with the blatant contradiction between his two statements. If the material brain determines the properties of the immaterial soul, how can it be said that nothing in the body “entails what happens to my conscious life”?

Slime mold

QUOTE: “The ability to store and recover information gives an organism a clear advantage when searching for food or avoiding harmful environments, and has been traditionally linked to organisms that have a nervous system. A new study authored by Mirna Kramar (MPIDS) and Prof. Karen Alim (TUM and MPIDS) challenges this view by uncovering the surprising abilities of a highly dynamic, single-celled organism to store and retrieve information about its environment.

QUOTE: "The authors highlight that the ability of Physarum to form memories is intriguing given the simplicity of this living network. "It is remarkable that the organism relies on such a simple mechanism and yet controls it in such a fine-tuned way. These results present an important piece of the puzzle in understanding the behavior of this ancient organism and at the same time point to universal principles underlying behavior."

David, you have often dismissed the concept of cellular intelligence because cells do not have what we recognize as a brain. This entry clearly suggests that brain and nervous system are NOT prerequisities for intelligent behaviour.


DAVID: What this seems to mean is that viruses are not an aberrant life form but necessary to the overall balance scheme for living organisms. That tells us there are good and bad viruses just like good and bad bacteria, good and bad predator animals, and good and bad humans, all playing a role in our reality.

Yes indeed. This is the great problem of theodicy. Your Swinburne tells us of God’s omnipotence and “perfect goodness” (though I don’t know how he knows, or even what his criteria are), so how come God created so much that has turned out to be bad? If he’s omnipotent, he could have created whatever he wanted to create. So he must have wanted to create the bad. But if he’s all good, why would he want to create the bad? Out of interest, may I ask you whether your concept of God includes “perfect goodness” (whatever that may mean)?

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