Miscellany: gaps in evolution (General)

by dhw, Monday, June 14, 2021, 14:35 (424 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Thank you...The “explosion” began approx. 540 million years ago. That is one helluva long time by any standards, and the fact that ANY fossils have survived is itself amazing. It lasted for up to 25 million years, but even if the productive period was “only”, say, 10 million years, that is also one helluva long time.

DAVID: To answer, our friend Gunter Bechly is back:

Two important points to be made: Firstly, I’m not setting myself up to be an expert in the field, but the theory of cellular intelligence is championed by some highly respected scientists, and since NOBODY has yet solved the mystery of speciation, I am offering arguments which seem to me to make perfect sense in the light of their findings. The argument runs counter to Darwin’s attribution of innovation to random change, and favours intelligent design, but it neither favours nor excludes a superintellligent being of unknown origin, who set the process in motion. On the contrary, it allows for his existence. Secondly, Bechly is a devout Catholic who followed a similar course to yourself, David, in so far as the complexities of life converted him to the theory of intelligent design. It would appear, though, that he has never contemplated the possibility of cellular intelligence (possibly God’s invention) as a replacement for Darwin’s random mutations.


QUOTE: "I have been introducing the subject of a mystery that bothered Charles Darwin himself. The abrupt origin of flowering plants is by no means an exception to the rule. Instead, it is representative of a general pattern in the history of life and the fossil record. In all groups of organisms, in all regions of the Earth, and over all periods of Earth history, new groups and new body plans appear abruptly in the fossil record, mostly without any potential precursors in the older layers."

He’s hit the nail on the head. Perhaps species appear abruptly in the fossil record because, surprise, surprise, we can hardly expect a complete record of every stage of every life form to have been preserved over the thousands of millions of years of life’s history. Please explain why you think such a record ought to exist.

QUOTE: "The collapse of the Ediacaran fauna is followed by the spectacular radiation of novel life-forms known as the Cambrian explosion. All of the main body plans that we know now evolved in as little as about 10 million years. It might have been thought that this apparent explosion of diversity might be an artifact. For instance, it could be that earlier rocks were not as good for preserving fossils. However, very well preserved fossils do exist from earlier periods, and it is now generally accepted that the Cambrian explosion was real."

He spends a lot of time arguing that the Cambrian Explosion was real. I am not disputing that. What I do dispute is the extraordinary statement that 10 million years is a “little period”. It may be little in terms of the age of the planet, but it is a huge expanse of time.

QUOTE: Today, we are still grappling with the question, but no closer to understanding the nature and causes of the Cambrian explosion.

Fair comment. All we have are theories, and establishing the truth about what happened 540 million years ago is quite likely to remain a matter of theory and not fact. Here is one theory: conditions (e.g. possibly relating to an increase in oxygen) changed to such a degree that they favoured new forms of life. Intelligent cell communities took advantage of the new opportunities.

QUOTE: The erection of the metazoan structure, as an improbable structure, requires an immense volume of information, compared to which the information contained in even the most complex genomes represents but a negligible fraction. (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: note my bold. A Darwinist scientist recognizes the amount of new information that must have been involved. Does dhw?

Yes. It stands to reason that the more complex the structure, the greater the necessary amount of “information”, but if adaptations and, in this case more importantly, innovations are to survive, then they must function well enough for the organism to live and reproduce. I repeat, nobody knows how this happened, but I repeat, 10 million years means a vast number of generations to innovate, fail, succeed, improve etc. Please explain why you think 10 million years is not long enough for innovations to be designed by intelligent cells combining their intelligences to restructure themselves under new conditions.

dhw: […]the intelligent response of organisms to changing conditions through millions and millions of years would provide a rational explanation for the Cambrian Explosion, as it does for the rest of evolution. What remains unexplained is the origin of the mechanisms and the intelligence that drives them.

DAVID: The bold is refuted in the quotes from Darwin scientists themselves.

No it isn’t. You have not offered me a single quote yet in which your scientists discount the possibility of cellular intelligence providing the designs guiding the process of evolution.

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