Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Saturday, April 10, 2021, 17:24 (486 days ago) @ David Turell


dhw: Survival is not the driving force – the QUEST for survival is the driving force. […] There is no conflict with Darwin’s theory. The conflict only arises when it comes to HOW the quest is fulfilled. You say through direct design by God, and bbDarwin says it’s through random mutations and natural selection – but leaves his options open as to the source of this mechanism. [David’s bold]

DAVID: The bold makes no sense, as the 'source' is natural random mutation and natural selection.

Random mutation and natural selection, Shapiro’s cellular intelligence, your God’s 3.8 billion-year-old computer programme, or personal dabbles are all possible mechanisms for producing the innovations. But the source of the mechanism is God or chance. The purpose of the changes that result in evolution is the quest for survival. Even with your nebulous concept of God “guaranteeing” survival, he is still designing the innovations for that same purpose: survival, as per Darwin.

dhw: […] If God is the source of life, he created cells and DNA and all the mechanisms necessary for them to live, reproduce and eventually evolve. And you want us to say that information did all that.

DAVID: You go bananas every time the issue of information comes up. DNA is coded information, isn't it? God created the code mechanism and in the coded information God arranged that cells/whole organism's cells could read the code and act on it with the result life emerges. Simple concept. Your editorial self doesn't like the shorthand. OK, fine.

No, I don’t like the shorthand when a complicated, nebulous explanation of terminology - what is the difference between instructional information and instructions? – becomes necessary in order to express an idea that is perfectly comprehensible without it.

dhw: […] Now please tell me what information is “coded” and what informational instructions I receive from my DNA when I decide to go for my walk.

DAVID: Coded information made nerve cells and in your brain you received information about the weather and used your neurons to decide to drive your muscles into walking. And did you ever note most commentators on evolution are amazed at the miraculous appearance of nerve cells. Not by natural cause.

We can all marvel at life's complexities. I agree that my brain receives information about the weather – that is what I mean by “information”: passive details about a situation, event, etc. And yes, I use my neurons to drive my muscles. Thank you for not treating me to something like “neuronal information”. And I find it confusing to be told that I use information which was created by information in order to make active use of passive information. And I thought you believed your God made nerve cells.

QUOTES: The network of nerves connecting our eyes to our brains is sophisticated and researchers have now shown that it evolved much earlier than previously thought, thanks to an unexpected source: the gar fish.
"I learn something about myself when looking at these weird fish and understanding how old parts of our own bodies are. [David's bold]

DAVID: ...the bold is certainly in support of pre-planning.

dhw: Neither the bold nor the article itself supports pre-planning. They simply explain how evolution progresses, as later organisms build on the innovations of their earlier predecessors.

DAVID: It evolved thousands of generation earlier than needed, and that is not pre-planning?

You seem to think the only creature that found vision to be an advantage was H. sapiens! Do you honestly believe the gar fish didn’t use its eyes to see with?

Evolution: bacteria that don't evolve
QUOTES: "[…] […] a group of microbes, which feed off chemical reactions triggered by radioactivity, have been at an evolutionary standstill for millions of years.

DAVID: ...not every twig of the bush of life is driven to adapt. Perhaps mutation is not blocked, just not necessary. Perhaps not required by God. [dhw’s bold]

dhw: You have finally understood the nature of stasis. Nothing changes until change becomes necessary.

DAVID: But stasis means the ability appears far in advance of discovering how to use it. Do you understand that? And you can't explain it by any natural causes.

Stasis means no change or development. Sapiens had no new requirements for 245,000 years. But then came new ideas, and this is what you always leave out: the brain was then NOT adequate to implement the new ideas. For some reason (anatomical impracticality?) it could not expand any more, and so it met the new requirements by changing through complexification. The ability to expand/complexify has always been there, but new tools, structures etc. could not be created without new cells or new complexifications. You seem to think the brain’s ability to implement all the new ideas was ready and waiting for 245,000 years. But modern research has shown us that implementation CHANGES the brain. In taxi drivers it even expands part of the brain. The hippocampus had not already expanded 315,000 years ago in anticipation of the work it had to do. “Natural causes”? Your God may have invented the intelligent cells which have the ability to complexify or add to their number when necessary.

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