Miscellany (General)

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 27, 2021, 16:04 (63 days ago) @ dhw

Fungi helped plants

DAVID: My simple point is God gave organisms the ability to make simple modifications. The mechanism they use is from God and contained in their genomes. Of course cells must communicate, sense external factors and then react following the instructions in God's given mechanism.

dhw: For the sake of argument, I am accepting that the mechanism came from God. The point at issue is the nature of the mechanism. If organisms follow instructions, how can they be independent of God? Sensing and processing information, communicating and taking decisions are all hallmarks of intelligence. The “reaction” is the decision, and you have now removed that and turned it into God’s instructions. Same trick under “extremophiles”:

dhw: […] if these micro-organisms can autonomously change themselves in order to meet different environmental requirements, does that not mean that (theistic version) your God gave them a form of autonomous intelligence? The only alternative I can see is your God preprogramming or dabbling every single change.

DAVID: The other alternative you remain blind to is the cells are simply following God's instructions as to how to create simple adaptations.

dhw: So what do these “instructions” consist of? Owing to a change of environment, Billy Bacterium and his mates find it necessary to change their diet from metal to rock. Does your God tell them how to do it (= they are not “independent of God”), or do they work it out for themselves (= they have autonomous intelligence)? And when were these instructions issued? They can only have been preprogrammed from the beginning, or dabbled as new conditions arose.

Adaptation instructions are in the genome, since the genome is the master code running the processes of life. God made life. Why struggle with your questions?

Ant raids
QUOTE: There's probably some very interesting division of labor going on, and there's also clearly complex communication—the ants use several different pheromones to talk to each other and to organize the raid. And there are several decisions the colony must make in the course of the raid.

dhw: Complex communication, organization, ongoing decision-making. The same processes that we observe in all organisms, from single cells upwards. Where do you draw the line between autonomous intelligence and automatons merely obeying your God’s preprogrammed or dabbled “instructions”? Which is it for the ants?

It works because individual ants are programmed to do the same thing over and over

Neutron stars

DAVID: What is most amazing is measuring a neutron star's diameter at such distances. We still do not understand why the universe must have such weird objects, one of dhw's worries.

dhw: Not a worry, but one of the many unanswered mysteries that cast a doubt both on the existence of your God, and on your own attempts to read your God’s mind. Why such a vast universe with such “weird objects” if his only purpose was to create humans plus food supply?

It is your sole mystery. For an answer please refer to yesterday's entry:

Back to theodicy: guessing about God's 'bad' designs (The nature of a \'Creator\')
by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 23:17

Back to Shapiro
QUOTE: He distinguishes between gene-centric and genome-based views of heredity andargues that the physical organization of the genome incorporates a higher systems level of information beyond its genes or coding sequences. (David’s bold)

dhw: I may have misunderstood this, but since you have headed the article “Back to Shapiro”, is he suggesting that the higher level is a form of intelligence that governs the physical organization of the genome?

Quote: The transition from microevolutionary to macroevolutionary change […] occurs when there is great stress on either somatic cells, as in cancer chemotherapy, or independent organisms, as in episodes of drastic ecological change and mass extinctions.

dhw: Sounds to me very much in keeping with the idea that any major changes in conditions will result in the cells responding by making changes to themselves. It stands to reason that in the macrocosm of the body, the microcosms (cells) must all work together if the body is to cope with the new conditions.

Shapiro reviewed a book with great ideas about 3-D relationships in genome controls. How you conjured up your strange cell intelligence out of this review is beyond me. You might read the whole review to appreciate Shapiro's handling of it. I did.

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