Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Thursday, March 25, 2021, 12:38 (259 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The bold still has possums talking. Dead possum trick still has to be taught by demonstration.

dhw: I’m quite happy to include demonstration as one means of communication whereby the trick eventually became standard practice. So why do you think your God had to preprogramme the trick or teach it?

DAVID: Individual demonstration takes time and is dangerous to the teacher who has to time it just right..

dhw: This is getting really silly. When Pete the possum played dead and survived, do you honestly think he then asked the family to come and watch (perhaps even leaving themselves exposed), while the next eagle circled the sky above? We don’t know exactly how our fellow creatures pass on information – we only know that they do, through methods that include demonstration, sounds, gestures, chemicals etc. We don’t speak their “languages”. […] But do please tell us how else you think your God might get the message to all possums.

DAVID: I'm seriously putting myself in the possum's position and my questions are entirely valid. Did the possums do it naturally to create the instinct? Your hopeful answer is not an answer but filled with suppositions that assume some sort of communication. I think God arranged the instinct, as the weaver bird nest.

Of course I assume communication. How else can information be passed on? And I assume the strategy came about "naturally", i.e. through the luck or skill of possums themselves. “God arranged the instinct” is no answer to my question! You have given us two possibilities in the past: a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme to be passed on for possums and for the strategy of playing dead, or direct intervention (we have called it dabbling), which must somehow entail direct communication with all possums. What sort of communication would that be? Please answer.

DAVID: When penguins took to water for food, they had to develop webbed feet and other characteristics. My thought is God helped with these designs.

dhw: My thought is that just like the whales, when penguins took to water, the cell communities used their perhaps God-given intelligence to cooperate in restructuring parts of the body. I’m delighted to see that you think they “had to develop webbed feet” etc. Very different from your theory that your God operated on pre-whale legs to turn them into flippers BEFORE the pre-whale entered the water.

DAVID: My God designed the penguin changes including the new biochemistry of hemoglobin.

And do you think he operated on penguin feet before they entered the water, or could they have developed their web feet after they had taken to the water?

Introducing the brain
Quote: “He pricked volunteers’ fingers and measured the nerve impulses from the finger to the brain and timed everything. Libet found that it took about a half second for any electrical activity to register in the brain after the finger prick. But the volunteer reported feeling the finger prick the moment it happened. In other words, the volunteers felt the prick a half second before the brain showed any activity corresponding to it.

Frankly, I don’t know how any normal person would feel the difference between “immediately” and after half a second. And if it takes half a second for the pain to travel from finger to brain, I cannot for the life of me see what that has to do with the “soul”, whether that exists or not.

Philosophy of science dead? Realism vs. empiricism
DAVID: We should stick to solid realistic research, rather than pursuing fantasies like the multiverse string theory that has no physical basis.

I’m sorry to say this, but what you have just said would provide the death knell to most of your own theories. And so I will leap to your defence: I do not for one moment accept any claim that science can or one day will be able to explain all the mysteries of the universe. But that needn’t stop scientists or theologians from “pursuing fantasies”, so long as they don’t claim their imaginings are based on science. And who knows - one of the many fantasies may be the truth.

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