Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Sunday, April 11, 2021, 14:08 (200 days ago) @ David Turell

Survival
dhw: 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.

DAVID: No!!! Survival does not drive evolution. chance doesn't. God does with new designs.

Not survival but the quest for survival. And even if your God designed all the innovations, his purpose in doing so was to enable organisms to survive. So would you agree that if he exists, your God’s design of innovations was driven by his desire to ensure that some organisms would fulfil the quest for survival?

Information
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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Your usual persistent confusion. Life runs by using information which is interpreted by God's nerve cells.

We are coming closer together, now that you have stopped referring to coded information, instructional information, coded information in the DNA etc., and defending the absurd headline “Information as the source of life”. And they are not God’s nerve cells but our nerve cells which God may have created (though you told us above that coded information made nerve cells!), and we don’t need the word “information” to explain what we mean by interpretation or by nerve cells. In fact it's all a whole lot clearer when you stop shoving the word "information" into every sentence that explains how life works.

comb jellies
DAVID: Not convergent, totally different:
https://www.quantamagazine.org/comb-jelly-neurons-spark-evolution-debate-20150325

QUOTE: "But new support for Moroz’s idea comes from recent genetic work suggesting that comb jellies are ancient — the first group to branch off the animal family tree. If true, that would bolster the chance that they evolved neurons on their own."

DAVID: […] This is an odd branch, not really compatible with common descent.

And I can’t help wondering why you might believe your God specially designed them “as part of the goal of evolving humans”.

Cambrian
QUOTE: What they found is truly mind-blowing. The window of time between the latest appearance date (LAD) of the alien Ediacaran biota and the first appearance date (FAD) of the complex Cambrian biota was only 410,000 years. You read that correctly, just 410 thousand years! This is not an educated guess but based on very precise radiometric U-Pb dating with an error margin of only plus-minus 200 thousand years.

DAVID: whatever the Ediacarans were, they were extremely simple. The Cambrians were full-blown animals with organ systems. This short Cambrian gap destroys Darwin's theoretical gradual approach in viewing how evolution worked. Designer required.

410,000 years based on a very precise dating method with an error margin of only 50%. This is a remarkable definition of precise! Folk keep saying what a short time this is. I would suggest that half a million years (let’s compromise) is ample time for intelligent beings (cell communities) to adapt to and exploit new conditions by developing new organs. I agree that design is required, but (theistic version) I see no reason why your God should be incapable of designing a mechanism capable of achieving this within the thousands of generations of organisms born in half a million years. Do you?


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