Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Friday, May 28, 2021, 13:15 (446 days ago) @ David Turell

Fungi helped plants
DAVID: [Tuesday 25th May] Those adaptations are therefore independent of God.

DAVID: [Wednesday 26th May] […] Of course cells must communicate, sense external factors and then react following the instructions in God's given mechanism.

dhw: 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. [..] 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.

DAVID: 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?

I’m not asking where the instructions are situated. First you agree that the adaptations are made independently of God, then you have God giving instructions. So I’m asking what these consist of and when you think your God inserted them. Please don’t dodge!

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?

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

Except that they don’t: “There are several decisions the colony must make in the course of the raid.” Simple alternatives: did your God plant each decision in his 3.8-billion-year-old programme for all species and their decisions? Or does he watch each raid and tell each ant what to do? Or did he give ants the intelligence with which to make their own decisions?

Neutron stars
dhw: Why such a vast universe with such “weird objects” if his only purpose was to create humans plus food supply?

DAVID: 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\')

That was your attempt to dodge the origin of evil by switching to bad design. But if you are confident that one day science will find a good reason for your God’s creation of all these weird objects, let’s leave it at that. Some of us prefer to wait for an explanation before we commit ourselves to judgement. “Why do humans guess at God’s designs before they have the full story?” (D. Turell)

Back to Shapiro
QUOTE: [He]argues 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?

DAVID: 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.

I was only asking whether the “higher level” referred to intelligence, because otherwise I couldn’t see any link with Shapiro. I don’t know why you regard his theory of cellular intelligence as “strange”, but from what you have said, the article has nothing to do with that. Thank you for your explanation.

Clear evidence of common descent
"This mechanism likely has been conserved since the last common ancestor of all eukaryotes." (David’s bold)

DAVID: That evolution is a continuum from start to now is clearly shown by studies of the evolution of the genome controls. God, as designer, makes it easy for Himself in creating common descent.

I agree that evolution is a continuum in the form of a bush that has constantly expanded into thousands and thousands of branches (different life forms), though these are not connected to one another. (We have agreed not to discuss the “connection” aspect of your theory of evolution.) However, your idea of “common descent” is “the initial and consistent use of DNA in all initial forms from DNA to us. My whole point is God creating species de novo” (under “conserved gene order”, quoted by me on 20 May). The Cambrian is your prime example. This is the direct opposite of what we normally understand by “common descent”, which is that all life forms (except the first) are directly descended from previous life forms. Just clarifying!

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