Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Friday, February 26, 2021, 14:24 (71 days ago) @ David Turell

Extreme extremophiles

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

DAVID: To make living easier.

dhw: “Easier”? All the home comforts? Please stop messing about with language. What do you mean here by “living” if not survival?

DAVID: God made survival a sure thing for living organisms, a nuanced difference in thought

Survival is anything but a sure thing for living organisms. That’s why 99% of them have died out. I really don’t know what motive you can think of for adaptation and innovation other than to facilitate survival.

DAVID: These immobile organisms are surviving. The point I am making is life always survives, so survival is not an issue that drives evolution. Life designed peremptorily to survive. Opposite to the Darwin approach. Extremophiles make the concept clear.

Life is not an organism. Organisms adapt or die. Extremophiles do indeed make the concept clear: some organisms can adapt, and others can’t. Those that can, survive. Those that can’t, do not survive. It’s what you like to call the truism of the Darwinian approach, but the very mention of Darwin seems to make you believe that a truism can’t be true..

Dualism (Swinburne)

DAVID: The qualities of the material brain determines how the soul can work. He is only stating my statement you cannot seem to follow. Your soul can only work with the brain it must use. A senile brain produces senility, not the soul's fault. A soul free from a sick brain will think normally.

dhw: If your conscious life is affected by your sick brain, how can that mean “nothing that happens in my body [which includes the brain] entails or is entailed by what happens to my conscious life”?

DAVID: Of course a sick brain creates a sick consciousness while living. Freed of a sick brain, the soul returns to normal, as above.

Of course. But if a sick brain causes sick consciousness, how can anyone possibly say “nothing that happens in my body/brain entails or is entailed by what happens to my conscious life?” You are agreeing with me and disagreeing with Swinburne. Thank you for your support.

How algae find light

DAVID: it doesn't take intelligent analysis by the algae, just an intelligently designed built-in response system. I'm sure a little more molecular research will find it.

dhw: You are always sure that further research will confirm all your assumptions. Meanwhile, may I suggest that the “built-in response system” is actually a form of intelligence whereby all life forms “make these types of precise decisions”, as opposed to your God having had to programme every decision 3.8 billion years ago, or to keep popping in to deliver lessons or perform operations.

DAVID: For once we agree, but only at the tiny level of minor adaptations.

An important step forward. If your God exists and designed an autonomous mechanism to make precise decisions without any input from him, it is not impossible to imagine that the same mechanism might make “precise decisions” that lead to major as well as minor adaptations.

cetaceans get much less cancer

DAVID: These most unusual animals that obviously require the most designing might have this designed also. I wonder if this applies to manatees and other aquatic mammals.

dhw: And there was me thinking you thought we were the unusual animals that required the most designing. Don’t you think it’s a bit unfair that your God designed cetaceans to have built-in protection against cancer, and left us out, even though we were apparently his only goal in creating life?

DAVID: God has reasons why He picks and chooses. He won't tell us why.

If God exists, no one can disagree with you. We can only discuss one another’s interpretations of his actions and possible reasons for those actions. So I am left wondering why, if humans were his only purpose, he would design special cancer protection for cetaceans and not for us. In fact, it makes me wonder whether we were not his only purpose, or whether he actually didn’t design special cancer protection, but like most other individual characteristics of individual species, this feature was simply the result of decisions taken by the cell communities of different life forms as they sought to improve their chances of survival.


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