Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Saturday, March 20, 2021, 09:21 (507 days ago) @ David Turell


DAVID: Wow: possums talk!!! My point is exactly about communication, and possums don't speak. It must be spread by exact example. Thank you for an obvious non-answer.

dhw: This is getting more and more absurd. All life forms have means of communication – how else could they survive? By coincidence, an article in yesterday’s Times: “Whales schooled one another in how to avoid harpoons”. The researchers concluded that “whales learnt new behaviours…that must have been rapidly shared….It does suggest that there is a capacity for social learning on a much larger scale than anticipated…” You have presented us with hundreds of examples of communication, even between cells, and yet you still seem to think that communication is confined to humans.

DAVID: Don't you recognize your non-answer? The whales demonstrated to teach. Fine. Now tell us how the possums did it with the timing issue risk of dying?

The whales actually used various methods, including long-distance “clicks”, “communicating danger within the social group”, groups meeting and then dispersing….but that is not the point. What is this “timing issue risk of dying”? Pete started it. The little genius lay there till the coast was clear (maybe he opened his left eye and peeped to see if the eagle had flown away), and told his family and mates, who passed it on to their family and mates, and it was passed on to generation after generation, just as all organisms pass on information concerning strategies and lifestyles and most of the natural wonders you tell us about. Why are you suddenly convinced that our fellow creatures are incapable of communication? This is “large organisms chauvinism” run riot.

DAVID: […] How did a naturally occurring chance set of mutations find the perfect gene? It is much easier for me to propose the designer did it.

dhw: Alternatively (theistic version), your God gave cell communities the intelligence to cooperate in changing structures. The process of “pleiotropy” fits in very neatly with this theory.

DAVID: It does.

dhw: Thank you. It is always heartening to have you agreeing that my theory fits in with the facts!

DAVID: Sorry, in my short reply I didn't agree with your whole theory, but with the sole fact that "The process of “pleiotropy” fits in very neatly with this theory."

I was only welcoming your acknowledgement that my theory fits in with the facts. All I ever ask is for you to acknowledge the logic and feasibility of the explanations I propose as alternatives to your own theories.

DAVID: Mind-blowing complexity. Not presented for full understanding but a glimpse into the intricate dance of these molecules. Only design fits.

dhw: And I must return the above compliment. The complexity of the cell, of which you have given us so many examples, should make even the most hardened atheist question his/her faith in chance as its creator.

DAVID: Ah, full agreement.

We agnostics tend to maintain a balanced view. We do not have fixed views that force us to minimize the importance of arguments that might cast a doubt on those views. However, to keep the balance, we agnostics must also acknowledge that one set of fixed views must be closer to the truth than the other, and we should respect the different faiths (in some sort of God, or in the creative powers of chance) even if we cannot share them.

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