Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Saturday, March 27, 2021, 11:59 (500 days ago) @ David Turell

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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Your 'communication' never explains how complex concepts like length of possum playing time is determined.

May I humbly suggest that the possum himself does not know how long it will take, and if he has one grain of sense, he will very cautiously open one eye and very cautiously look around and very cautiously adjust his position until he is sure that the coast is clear, and then run like mad for safety. Now please tell us how you think your God informs every possum about the length of time needed to play dead.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: God speciates to anticipate use for new needs.

So he operated on penguin feet before they entered the water. And how about his methods of passing information to every possum and every migrating bird?

Introducing the brain
DAVID: You are disagreeing with Egnor as I expected.

dhw: 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.

dhw: 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: For me the pinprick is instantaneous. Libet's subjects thought so also which created the gap in time.

So what has that got to do with the soul?

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Egnor did. The soul recognizes the immediate pain.

How does a half-second gap (which unsurprisingly feels like “immediate”) between finger prick and brain awareness prove the existence of a soul? I simply cannot understand the relevance of Libet’s experiment to the existence or non-existence of the soul. In fact Egnor’s article is on the subject of transplants, which raise all kinds of interesting questions, but as far as I can see, the only conclusion he draws from the gap is that the soul doesn’t live in the brain. But perhaps you could just tell us why you consider Libet’s experiment relevant to the existence of a soul.

Philosophy of science dead? Realism vs. empiricism

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.

dhw: 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…. :-(

DAVID: I know God cannot be fully proved, as you are evidence, but strongly inferred from evidence, all of which confuses you, as you recognize evidence from obvious design. :-)

Sorry, but if something can’t be “fully proved”, it can’t be proved. God is an unprovable conjecture, and we’d need to leave this world to prove his existence.

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

dhw: 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: And who built in the flexibility? Natural chance?

How often do you want me to repeat that your God may have designed the intelligent cell? But I’m delighted that you have no objection to the theory that the cells themselves can produce innovations (“new functions”) when required.

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