Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Thursday, May 13, 2021, 10:26 (260 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: So once your God had operated on the pre-whales to change their flippers to legs before they entered the water, do you think that over the centuries he kept popping in to do a fiddle here and a twiddle there, until he finally got the whale he wanted? Ditto with all the hominins and homos? Ah, but let us remember: you have no idea why he evolved sapiens in this way. Or presumably whales.

DAVID: Switched subjects because you have no Cambrian answer. You are asking me to validate God's method of evolution by knowing His reasons for His choice. Since I can't, and you know it, you request is a useless diversion. I am content with observing God's created reality.

You raised the subject of whales, and my answer is the same for the Cambrian. It began approx. 550 million years ago and lasted approx. 56 million years. Every fossil is a miracle in itself, and if you substitute cellular intelligence for random mutations, who can possibly say that this vast period of time was not enough for new organisms to evolve in response to new conditions? Secondly, I am not asking you to validate God’s method but to validate your illogical theory. I know you can’t, precisely because you admit have no idea why he would have chosen your method to achieve your purpose.

New forms require new genes
Quotes:"Recent studies show that many genes typically associated with metazoan functions actually pre-date animals themselves, supporting functional co-option of ‘unicellular genes’ during the genesis of metazoans."
“Contradicting the current view, our study reveals that genes with bilaterian origin are robustly associated with key features in extant bilaterians, suggesting a causal relationship."

DAVID: this is opposite to Behe and everything new requires genes removed, but remember we discovered Behe found this is was true only for species adaptation.

I pointed out that instead of REQUIRING loss of genes, innovation (requiring new cells) and adaptation could make cells redundant, which explains loss of genes. This article provides a logical explanation of the Cambrian transitions which, over 56 million years, could have led to all the new species that appeared in response to the new conditions that would have arisen during that long period of time.

The obstetric dilemma
dhw: The idea of a designer operating on pelvises before the big-brain baby is conceived, or of transforming pre-whale legs into flippers before the animal enters the water, does indeed smack of wishful thinking!

DAVID: More like an acknowledgement of the real requirements for survival of a new species with bigger heads.

And so you decide that the solution must precede the problem, the response must precede the requirement. And yet every experience we have ever had teaches us that the process works the other way. At least the theory of cellular intelligence fits in with everything we know about the way life works.

dhw: I propose that problems arise before solutions are found. In this case, the enlarged brain was the problem which the pelvis had to solve.

DAVID: And I'm sure solved only by God's new designs

Or possibly by God’s old design, giving all organisms the wherewithal to adapt to new conditions and to solve new problems.

Ancient ape fossils need more study
dhw: …some folk like to talk of gaps as if they really expect each set of dead bodies to hang around forever.

DAVID: Fortunately some dead bones do stick around.

Yes, we’re amazingly lucky that some bones survive for millions and millions of years. Fossils are the astonishingly rare exception to the rule, and we simply cannot expect, as you seem to do, a complete record of every stage of every species that ever lived.

QUOTES: “These are not junk — they’re living little creatures in your genome that are under very active selection over long periods of time, and what that means is that they evolve new functions to stay in your genome,” he said.

"[…] the vast majority of new genetic material is thought to form through genetic duplication, in which genes are accidentally copied and the extras diverge through mutation.

“'Evolution is the ultimate tinkerer and ultimate opportunist,” said David Schatz, a molecular geneticist at Yale University who was not involved with the study. “If you give evolution a tool, it may not use it right away, but sooner or later it will take advantage of it.'” (David's bold)

DAVID: The last paragraph treats evolution as if if is a personage. Why not simply God in action?

It also treats transposons as “living little creatures”, not automatons. The second quote lays stress on accidental mutation, which we both disagree with. You say God does the tinkering. I say the cell communities that form living organisms may have a tool (intelligence) which they use “opportunistically” (= innovation) or out of necessity (adaptation) – though it’s frequently hard to distinguish between the two. We have no idea how this tool may have originated, but your God is one possibility. “You” certainly didn’t give it to “evolution” – the phrasing is an obvious dodge, for which I don’t really blame the speaker, who is only concerned with the mechanism itself and not the origin.

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