Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 11:21 (121 days ago) @ David Turell

A.N. Whitehead
DAVID: Your description is a very humanized God. You have an experimenting Creator who must try things out to see what He wants or allows an free-for-all with no known ending.

dhw: You don’t need to repeat what I have just described in the post you have quoted. I just want to know why you regard these versions of an active God as weak and namby-pamby, whereas Whitehead’s “becoming God”, who you say is inactive and therefore clearly does NOT control evolution, is equal to your humanized control freak with good intentions.

DAVID: Whitehead sees an evolving God and I see God evolving all creations. Sort of two sides of the same coin.

So an inactive, evolving, learning, “becoming” God is equal to a God who is active and in total control and knows everything in advance, whereas a God who is active but also capable of learning and experimenting is weak and namby-pamby. I find your standards very confusing.

Insect smell receptors
QUOTE: “Effectively, olfactory systems have evolved to take arbitrary patterns of receptor activation and endow them with meaning through learning and experience,” Ruta said. (David’s bold)

DAVID: Amazingly complex as suggested. Note my bold. Odors are learned over time. Literally these receptors fondle the shape of the protein molecules they receive and gradually learn to understand what the odor means and signifies.

dhw: Yes, endowing patterns with meaning through learning and experience is a process integral to evolution and indicative of autonomous intelligence. It is the exact opposite of obeying instructions already planted at the beginning of life or implanted through a divine dabble.

DAVID: Wrong take. The insects are given an amazing mechanism that can learn to know odors. No intelligence involved.

A mechanism that can endow patterns with meaning through learning and experience is what some of us would call a brain, which produces natural intelligence. If we humans were to create a machine that could endow patterns with meaning through learning and experience, we would call it artificial intelligence.

Plant cell regulators
DAVID: We have previously discussed God's error correction mechanisms. What is obvious is that they must be present when the plant is initially evolved. Chance evolution by chance mutation won't do that.

dhw: Yes, we have discussed the extraordinary idea that an all-powerful God with the best of intentions cannot avoid building errors into his creations but provides correction mechanisms that sometimes work and sometimes don’t (e.g. the diseases caused by some of the errors). We have also discussed the extraordinary idea that solutions are already present when problems first arise. The quote suggests something very different: plant cells evolved a tool to repair the errors. Of course the development of a cure is not done by chance. Cells are confronted by a problem, and so they develop a solution. If they don’t, the species will become extinct. You seem to think that every problem that arises should automatically and immediately kill off every individual. This strange thinking is perhaps best illustrated through bacteria. We develop a means of killing them. Billions of them die. But some survive and in due course develop their own means of combating our deadly weapons. Problem first...followed by solution.

DAVID: And babies are born without immunities, but with an immune system that can learn automatically to fight any invaders. To fill that immunity gap, breast milk contains IGG general antibodies in colostrum, present for 48 hours in the first days of feeding, but only that long. God has arranged that open pores in the baby's intestine allow the giant IGG to enter the blood stream for that period and then they close because of their inappropriate size. Solution first. Irreducible complexity requiring a designer.

You have forgotten that there is a process called evolution. The immune system is the product of millions and millions of years' development as cells have learned to cope with new problems. It all goes back to the bacteria from which we have evolved and which themselves had to learn to cope with problems as and when they arose. Are you now saying that your God created human baby immune systems “de novo”, or do you believe that they developed in and were passed on by our ancestors during the process called evolution?

Cosmic filaments spin
QUOTE: "Next, researchers want to tackle what makes these giant space structures spin, and how they get started. “What is that process?” Libeskind says. “Can we figure it out?'”

DAVID: At least the cosmologists are like dhw, who wants to know why God so many strange things in making the universe. They will find a cause and probably a reason. God knows what He is doing even if dhw doesn't think so. For life the Earth's rotation seems necessary.

I have no doubt that if God exists, he knew what he was doing. Even if, in the case of life forms, he was experimenting, he would still have known that he was experimenting and why. The cosmologists don’t seem to mention God. We all know that effects must have a cause, and that will be true even if there is no God. And so if the cosmologists do find the cause, I doubt very much that all of them will then cry “Hallelujah!” and rush off to church.


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