Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 13:36 (72 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If your God designed us with the freedom to make our own decisions, why could he not have designed cells to do the same? (And don’t forget those naughty molecules, which are free to go wrong).

DAVID: Anything is possible. Secondhand design is very impractical.

That depends on what the design is for. If your God wanted an ever-changing bush of life, what could be more practical than an almost infinite variety of intelligent organisms autonomously dealing with an almost infinite variety of situations and making their own decisions and designs, culminating in humans, to whom you actually believe your God did give autonomy or what you now call “impractical secondhand design”?

The obstetric dilemma
DAVID: God speciates. The change to the pelvic outlet and the bigger brain could be simultaneous in appearance of a new species under His design. You are the only one assuming 'over time' for adaptations to correct problems.

dhw: Our subject is the “obstetric dilemma”, which I could extend to all “dilemmas” – i.e. how all life forms adapt to changing conditions: problem first, followed by solution. You wrote: “instant solutions don’t happen”. I agree, but now you tell us they do – and apparently I'm the only person in the world who believes there is a time sequence involved in problems arising and solutions being found (= adaptation)! [..]

DAVID: Instant solutions don't occur naturally. That is always my point. God speciates.

So you still insist that every adaptation and every cure and every symbiotic relationship and every strategy in life's history was either pre-programmed 3.8 billion years ago or has been directly dabbled beforehand, in anticipation, by your God. Just clarifying. And I am alone in my belief that problems precede solutions. (But see below for your belief in the intelligence of our fellow creatures.)

Subterranean extremophiles
DAVID: The whole concept of evolution as a necessary continuum is way beyond you.

dhw: I hereby do solemnly declare that I believe in the whole concept of evolution as a continuum from single cells to every branch of life [etc.]

DAVID: The continuum you accept means the entire process is related. That 99% disappeared is a requirement of the process.

The continuum I accept is common descent back to bacteria. I do not accept that every branch of every life form and food supply that ever existed was “required” as part of your God’s one and only goal of designing humans and our food supply. As you say yourself: “extinct life played no role in current life” (apart from the 1% which led from bacteria to humans).

Different species cooperate
DAVID: […] they won't attack each other so why not react normally and hunt by instinct with some help. Each knows what to do within their own limits of instinct.

dhw: Heaven forbid that you should acknowledge as our researchers do, that other life forms might be intelligent, work things out for themselves, consciously communicate, learn from experience and pass their knowledge on. All you can think of is “instinct with some help”.

DAVID: Note today's entries about bird brains and their intelligence which I fully accept. Octopi are very intelligent, considering their antics in study laboratories.

So why do you restrict their actions to “instinct”?

Weird dinoflagellates
QUOTE: "It shows that nature can work in a completely different way than we thought,” says Salazar. “There are so many possibilities for what could have happened as life evolved.'"

DAVID: Perhaps common descent is not so 'common'.

Perhaps from the start cells were endowed with the means to design their own methods of survival, and that is why we have “so many possibilities”.

Bird brains small but intelligent
DAVID: Some birds are as intelligent as dolphins and primates:

QUOTES: "In fact, as we find out more about bird intelligence, the more we are beginning to realize that certain groups of birds are among the most intelligent of all animals.”
"...birds and mammals are very different types of animal. However, the basic “body plan” of both–i.e. having a backbone, four limbs, eyes, ears, a skull containing a brain, etc.–reveals their shared ancestry.

Clear confirmation of common descent, as well as clear evidence of conscious intelligence. And who knows how far back in time and in species this intelligence may go?

Bird brains’ similar neurons
QUOTE: "In both birds and mammals, these neurons are thought to support advanced cognitive functions, such as memory, individual recognition and associative learning, Spool says."

DAVID: This study shows the key factor in common descent in evolution: what is developed and works well in the past carries into the future evolving forms. The process of evolution is a continuum.

Yes indeed. Each branch of existence goes its own way to create the vast variety of intelligent insects, birds, fish, mammals etc. plus food supplies, 99% of which diversified away from the bacteria-to-human branch and had no connection with it, thereby rendering absurd the hypothesis that every living form was “part of the goal of evolving [= specially designing] humans” plus food supply.

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