Miscellany: gaps in evolution cause discontinuity (General)

by dhw, Thursday, June 24, 2021, 11:18 (217 days ago) @ David Turell

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.

dhw: 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 slice and dice as if evolution is all unrelated distinct parts. Now you suddenly deny it.

Total confusion. I’ll try to straighten it out. 1) You have just quite rightly sliced the history up into precise geological eras. This has nothing to do with 2) the continuity of common descent, in which every life form is descended from a previous life form. However, 3) although we believe all life forms are descended from the earliest (bacteria), there is NO continuity between the different branches which evolved separately. One branch went from bacteria to humans, and another branch went from bacteria to birds. But according to you, every branch was “part of the goal of evolving [by which you mean specially designing] humans” plus their lunch. This discussion is continued on 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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Good discussion of your problem.

I hope it will stop you harping on about the gaps.

dhw: […] 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.

dhw: 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”.

DAVID: Those phrases are Shapiro's extrapolated theory from his findings, which I describe accurately. You extrapolate his theory further as above: " evidenced in your miraculous 'cell intelligence theory' that can theoretically produce any design change."

You keep pretending that Shapiro does not attribute evolutionary novelty to cellular intelligence. Calling it “miraculous” and substituting “any design change” for evolutionary novelty does not make my theory any different to his.

DAVID: I agree it is all theory, and we don't know how speciation happens. I'm with God as designer, because of the complexity of the biological designs we find.

I know. Shapiro’s theory is that the cells do the designing. You know, but you pretend it isn’t his theory. My only addition is that if God exists, he would have designed cellular intelligence.

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