Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 13:46 (190 days ago) @ David Turell

Cambrian
dhw: I asked you why you thought your God could not have designed a mechanism giving organisms the autonomous ability to do their own designing. After all, isn’t that precisely what you think he gave you?

DAVID: Terrible analogy. Nothing below humans can do what I told you I did.

If he was willing to give you the mechanism to think and design for yourself, why do you insist that he could not have given a similar mechanism to other life forms? Shapiro calls your attitude “large organisms chauvinism”.

DAVID (under “dimmer switch”): […] How did the cells get so intelligent by themselves. Not naturally. God had to design them that way, by giving them the proper required information.

dhw: I don’t know why you have to drag “information” into the discussion. […]

DAVID: Take off the constant blinkers. God taught the cells how to read the instructions. I love teasing you about information, because DNA is filled with it and it constantly obviously bothers you. Why? All life runs on it, by interpreting and following what is present for it to read. Without it life would not have appeared.

It bothers me because you and others use the word so indiscriminately, as in the absurd statement that information is the source of life. I don’t know why you have to call instructions “instructional information”, or why you try to reduce cellular intelligence to “intelligent information”. Shapiro’s theory is that cells are sentient, cognizant beings. These are attributes of intelligence. Is information sentient and cognizant? Why don’t you just say you think cells are automatons that mindlessly obey your God’s instructions, as planted there 3.8 billion years ago, or planted ad hoc when the need arises? (I suspect that even you find this a bit hard to swallow, and so it sounds far more scientific to say it all runs on information.)

Photosynthesis.
dhw: Darwin did not deal with photosynthesis, which has nothing to do with his theory of random mutations causing evolutionary innovation, and please tell us how you know that photosynthesis ought to have taken longer than it did.

DAVID: Darwin favored random mutations and gradualism. Rapid appearances of innovations refutes his theory of progress in evolution.

He was not talking about photosynthesis but about speciation. Why do you think photosynthesis should have taken longer than it did?

Gradualism in evolution
QUOTE: Dinosaurs had originated much earlier, at the beginning of the Triassic Period, some 245 million years ago, but they remained very rare until the shock events in the Carnian 13 million years later.

This is confusing. If they originated earlier, the rarity simply suggests that they did not become dominant until millions of years later. Nothing to do with speciation, then, or with gradualism.

DAVID: This is one prime example Bechly mentioned. Evolution runs in spirts, never slow and steady.

"Spurts" relate to what Gould meant by “punctuated equilibrium”, which fits in perfectly with the theory that speciation takes place when new conditions either demand or allow it.

Immune system complexity
DAVID: Immune cells build up populations in all organs over a lifetime:
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/20/health/sleep-dementia-risk.html?campaign_id=60&e...

QUOTE: Their research, which indicates organ tissues become increasingly immune throughout life, may begin to alter fundamental ideas regarding the rules of vaccination and the immune system's function within the body.

DAVID: A complete system, well designed, recognizing bad bugs (in our view) are all around. I wish we knew the reason God provided them.

Yes, all part of your wishful thinking that your God’s actions would correspond to your theoretical view of his good nature. I thought vaccination was simply a way of accelerating the immune process. I don’t know why it should be surprising that tissues become increasingly immune throughout life, since the system will inevitably respond each time it encounters a new threat. It all goes back to the cell’s/cell community’s struggle for survival, but I agree that its ability to defend itself is so complex that it’s hard to believe that it could have arisen by chance.

Little Foot
DAVID: The conclusion is obvious: first down from the trees, then later arm and hand dexterity development, and finally brain enlargement followed by brain complexity, driven by what natural force, if any? Noting chimps remained essentially unchanged, why did we bother to keep changing. I will always believe God did it.

The natural force would be the drive to improve chances of survival. Chimps didn’t need to change, as they were able to survive perfectly well with what they had. Once our ancestors had descended from the trees, for whatever reason, they learned/developed new skills to enable them to cope ever more efficiently with the new conditions. I don’t have a problem with the proposal that the mechanism which enabled all organisms to develop new methods of coping with new conditions may have been invented by your God. But I do have a problem with the idea that every branch of the vast bush of life was divinely preprogrammed or dabbled for the sole purpose of producing H. sapiens’ brain.


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