Miscellany: gaps in evolution cause discontinuity (General)

by dhw, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 11:25 (32 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Fossils come in discrete layers representing old ages in time. The layers have fossils or not. In Cambrian and Edicaran eras no transitional forms are found. The jump is complexity is enormous, ever since Darwin times, no matter how many fossils are found, many in the past 30 years in the Edicaran with no change in the complexity gap.

dhw: Why are you repeating this? Do you think every life form at every stage of its evolution should have visited the Grand Canyon and left a fossil? Do you think every life form at every stage of its evolution should have left a fossil in China, or in Canada, or anywhere else you can think of? It’s not just the Cambrian that’s the mystery. Speciation itself is a mystery. Nobody knows how it happens. And so all we can do is theorize: you with your divine 3.8-billion-year-old programme, or your divine dabbles, Darwin with his random mutations, Shapiro with his intelligent cells.

DAVID: Your pure wishful thinking continues. Don't denigrate my Canyon experience. My point is the demarcation lines between eras/geologic periods is quite precise.

Yes, you are quite right to split evolution up into periods, although for some reason you accuse me of “splitting evolution up into unrelated eras” (see the “possible God” thread).

DAVID: You are not worried as Darwin was about the Cambrian and he also pointed out the 'plant bloom' in which angiosperms appeared out of nowhere. In most of the evolutionary record the gaps are small, as in whales. Those huge gaps exist and should make you uncomfortable.

As we cannot expect to find a complete record of every stage of every life form, the smallness of gaps is generally taken to confirm the process of common descent. The possibility that the large gaps are due to the scarcity of fossils seems to me to be perfectly reasonable. But I am not comfortable with ANY of the explanations of speciation that are on offer. Shapiro’s cellular intelligence (possibly invented by your God) seems to me more likely than Darwin’s chance mutations and your own divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme and/or dabbling, but it remains a theory.

dhw: I hope you will now stop pretending that Shapiro does not advocate evolution through cellular intelligence.

DAVID: All he proved was bacteria can edit DNA which be automatic.

dhw: No theory has been proven – if it had been, there would be no discussion. Meanwhile, I hope you will now stop pretending that I have “extrapolated” ideas which Shapiro does not propose himself.

DAVID: Shapiro proposed a possible solution by self-editing DNA. I just presented some minor evidence that it happens for minor modification. Your extrapolation is evidenced in your miraculous 'cell intelligence theory' that can theoretically produce any design change.

You simply refuse to take any notice of what you quote in your own book. How many more times? Cells are “cognitive (sentient) entities….Evolutionary novelty arises from the production of new cell and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self modification...” Please stop pretending that “evolutionary novelty” and “new structures” mean “minor modification”.

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