Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 12:16 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: God has designed mechanisms of 'almost infinite flexibility'. I fully accept that. But that is not intelligence, just automatic responses to built in instructions. […]

dhw: Intelligence is what USES the mechanism! Why “built-in” instructions? Back you go to your 3.8-billion-year-old programme. You know perfectly well that the theistic version of my theory is that your God created the mechanism and gave organisms the intelligence to use it. Your only reason for rejecting this is that it does not coincide with your personal image of God, who always wishes to maintain total control over evolution.

DAVID: Using a response algorithm does not require intelligence. It can still fully automatic.

Please explain the difference between a 3.8-billion-year-old response algorithm that will automatically provide instructions for every single innovation, econiche, lifestyle, natural wonder and defence strategy throughout the history of life, and a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme that will do the same.

Big brain evolution
DAVID: one gene appears to make our brain. Again, God at work? And the other issue is folks with almost no brain are normal humans with consciousness. Why? Again God at work His favorite created/evolved organisms?

dhw: One solution to the mystery of “folks with almost no brain” might be the fact that the brain, like all our organs, is a community of cells. Perhaps in some cases, the functions of the missing cells are taken over by other cells through the same process of adaptation that enables cells to change their structure in response to new conditions.

DAVID: How about consciousness being separate from those cells? People with a thin shell of cortical cells are found just like us with full brains.

Some people, not all. Even if there is such a thing as the dualist’s soul, the remaining cells will still have to take on functions normally performed by those that are missing: it is the cells that provide the dualist's soul with information and then implement its thoughts.

QUOTES: “past studies suggest that those with a stronger and more stable concept of self are more entuned with their inner bodily signals, particularly their heartbeat and breath, and are less prone to sensory illusions."
"[…] we claim that it is the cyclic physiology of the viscera that provides the self-concept with a firm foundation […] We argue that this stabilizing role of interoception on the self-concept is not limited to the material self, but also extends to the social and spiritual self."
“ […] humans' abstract concept of self is not merely embodied; it is deeply embodied.

dhw: I must be exceptional. I am only “deeply” aware of my heartbeat and breath when something goes wrong. By contrast I am always deeply aware of my emotions and my responses to my environment and to other people (the social and spiritual self). I do not believe that my abstract concept of myself is given a firm foundation by awareness of my breathing and my heartbeat.

DAVID: I have to agree. My BMs don't make my self-concepts.

Thank you. I love it when we agree!

DAVID (re Supernova): This discovery should reassure dhw not every event in the universe is especially designed by God. This event is an obviously natural result of His designs. Supernovas deliver the life-required elements needed for life […]

dhw: I don’t believe that every supernova delivered the elements needed for life. The concept of events that are a natural result of his designs, and are not controlled by him for the sole purpose of designing humans plus lunch, fits in perfectly with the concept of evolution as a free-for-all, in which species emerge “as a natural result of his design” of the intelligent cell. Thank you.

DAVID: I agree outside the Milky Way doesn't affect us in any direct way.
DAVID: (re Neutron star black hole merge): as dhw and I have agreed much of the happenings in the universe are at random, a result of initial design.

These two entries are an important step forward in our discussions. The concept of a God who designs a system resulting in random events lies at the heart of our discussion on evolution. But in the latter, the system I’m proposing has been designed by your God (theistic version) to allow organisms to do their own designing, and so the “random” element is that he does not control what the organisms design. He leaves his stars randomly to change their structure, and his black holes randomly to “merge with” (actually swallow) neutron stars, and he leaves his cell communities to deliberately change their structure or “merge with” other cell communities in response to what may be randomly changing conditions. And he watches all this with interest. Feasible theory?

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