Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Friday, March 26, 2021, 12:53 (510 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: 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.

dhw: Of course I assume communication. How else can information be passed on? “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: I can't answer the natural communication question, nor can you or did you. I'll stick with God pre-programming or dabbling or somehow instructing or designing origin of instincts.

So when I suggest that organisms communicate by demonstration, gestures, sounds, chemicals, it doesn’t count as an answer, whereas your God “somehow” preprogramming or dabbling or instructing is an answer you can accept and stick with.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: I haven't changed. God designs adaptations for major environmental requirements in an new form of living style such as birds getting into ocean water and mammals into far ranging ocean travels.

So do you think he operated on penguin feet before they entered the water? And how do you think he “designed” migration and passed the information to every migrating bird for the rest of their time on Earth?

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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: You are disagreeing with Egnor as I expected.

No I’m not. I’m simply asking what the half-second “gap” has to do with the soul.

DAVID: Aren't you surprised at Libet's discovery of the time delay by the brain.

Not in the least. I can completely understand why the sensation of pain might take half a second to travel from the finger to the brain and why people should actually think half a second = immediately.

DAVID: […] I accept that Egnor has a definite point, and no surprise your mind is closed.

My mind is not closed to the concept of a soul. I just don’t understand its relevance to a half-second gap for the feeling of pain to get from finger to brain. Please explain.

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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Thanks for saving me!!! String theory has reached no conclusion after 50+ years of frustrating work. It just doesn't work, as Woit and Smolin's books show. Multiverse is an unproveable conjecture. We need to leave this universe to prove any of it. We should stick with thoughts/theories that allow a proof.

You refuse to be saved!!! God is an unprovable conjecture. We need to leave this Earth to prove any of it, and even then it can only be proved if we do not die when we die. So should we stick with thoughts/theories that allow a proof? If so, farewell to the AgnosticWeb….:-(

Cell division controls of mitochondria
QUOTE: Certain types of cell divide asymmetrically and generate daughter cells with different fates.

This generally is how I envisage the basis of adaptation and innovation and also brain expansion. When necessary, cells reproduce themselves without change, but there is a built-in flexibility that enables them to produce cells that can serve new functions as and when required.

DAVID: As the complexity is explored at sub-microscopic levels the evidence for a required designer grows.

As always, I accept your logic as a powerful response to atheism. I wish we had a committed resident atheist contributing to the forum, as happily you are here to defend the case for God against my scepticism, but in the context of complexity and design, I cannot in turn provide a defence for atheism.

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