Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 11:31 (122 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: God's goal was to produce us at the end of the evolutionary process. That is my solid logical position.

dhw: It would be logical were it not for the fact that you insist he directly created millions of other life forms, econiches, lifestyles, natural wonders etc, and 99% of these had no connection with humans.

DAVID: Amazing! Your objection exactly describes God's evolutionary process!!!

No it doesn’t.The combination of bolded beliefs exactly describes your interpretation of the evolutionary process, and you can find no logical explanation for it, which at the very least suggests that your interpretation may be wrong.

DAVID: The huge bush of life is required to support our current population. Your complaint is the DODGE.

dhw: Of course we need food. But 99% of the life forms and food supplies you tell us he designed individually had nothing to do with humans! Why don’t you listen to yourself? “The current bush of food is NOW for humans NOW. There were smaller bushes in the PAST for PAST forms.” “Extinct life has no role in current time.”

DAVID: You are again just slicing evolution into unrelated segments. The term evolution requires continuity.

The continuity consists in the concept of common descent – i.e. all organisms except the first descended from existing organisms. The huge bush of past life with its millions of life forms, econiches, natural wonders etc. was for the past, and so it is blatantly absurd to say that every single branch and twig of it was “required to support our current population”.

Ingenious research tricks
dhw: […] God inventing cellular intelligence to run evolution is just as theistic as God dabbling or providing a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme for the whole of life’s history.

DAVID: Wrong. Initial life is a speciation!!! You like to slice and dice processes like evolution. Same DODGE.

dhw: In my theory, the first cells (possibly designed by your God) would have contained the mechanisms for evolution (reproduction, heredity, potential for variation) plus the intelligence required to use the mechanism and change structures to meet or exploit new conditions. The very first cells were the very first species, if you like, but evolution is the history of all their changes...what have I dodged?

DAVID: You sort of made it disappear. First life is directly continuous to what follows.

Of course it is, if you believe in common descent. You wrote that “separating origin and evolution of life is a debating crutch to avoid the issues in a debate about God”. God is always allowed for in my theories. There is no dodge.

Introducing the brain
QUOTE: In this region, many of the stem cells are in a quiescent state, sensing signals in the environment that stimulate them to awaken and transform into new nerve cells.

dhw: Again I wonder if the flexibility and versatility of stem cells might not be the key to the way cell communities speciate as they interact with environmental conditions.

DAVID: Stem cells are very specialized to become regular cells which are never that specialized.

Stem cells are “specialized” to become different cells! That is why I am intrigued by the role they may play in evolution, when environmental conditions require or allow changes to existing cellular structures.

Consciousness: free will exists
dhw: [...] The argument about free will is not confined to the speed of electrical waves in relation to decisions taken. It revolves around all the factors that influence our decisions but are beyond our control, including our brains, bodies, heredity, upbringing, environment, chance events etc, We have discussed this many times.

DAVID: Part of the article I quoted reestablished a proper interpretation of Libet's thoughts.

Yes, I know. And I am pointing out that the concept of free will is not limited to the speed of electrical waves, no matter what Libet and his opponents may discover!

Complaint about theoretical math
QUOTE: "During the first years of modern mathematical physics and the construction of its two central pillars, quantum theory and relativity theory, Alfred North Whitehead warned, “There is no more common error than to assume that, because prolonged and accurate mathematical calculations have been made, the application of the result to some fact of nature is absolutely certain.”

It’s worth noting that Whitehead was the great proponent of process theology, which finds God “in the process of becoming, rather than as the transcendent source of being”. An interesting quote: “God works like an artist attempting to win order and beauty out of opportunity. God is thus the ‘great companion – the fellow sufferer who understands.’” I’m not going to pretend that I understand the philosophical ins and outs of this, any more than I understand the worlds of quantum theory and relativity, but Whitehead’s concept of “becoming” suggests the direct opposite of David’s transcendent, know-it-all-from-the- beginning version of God. Theism can take many forms, even among devout believers. Question to David: would you call Whitehead's version of God weak, namby-pamby, or wishy-washy? (Quotations from Oxford Dictionary of World Religions)


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