Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Thursday, July 01, 2021, 09:11 (413 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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.

DAVID: I cannot comment about the bold. Living organism do not follow computer programs as those are lifeless.

After 13 years, you now wish to swap a computer programme for an algorithm. Fine. I find a 3.8-billion-year-old algorithm for the above list of instructions just as hard to swallow.

Big brain evolution
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.

dhw: […] 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.

DAVID: Your comment implies my dualist theory: just a few remaining cells can contain a whole consciousness. It can be received and squeezed into those remaining!!!

It implies no such thing. If cells themselves are the source of consciousness, then the remaining cells will take on the functions of processing information, communicating and decision-making which are the hallmarks of conscious intelligence (although you don’t believe it). I remain neutral on the subject.

DAVID: (re Supernova): 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.

dhw: […] The concept of a God who designs a system resulting in random events lies at the heart of our discussion on evolution. […] 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?

DAVID: […] In no way can you equate the mechanics of the universe with evolving life. A fine-tuned-for-life universe can have larger parts running on its own once the needs for life are satisfied.

I am not equating the two actions. I am saying that both actions may illustrate the same principle: that God sets things in motion, and then leaves them to do their own thing. A fine-tuned-for-life universe runs on its own; a finely designed living cell runs on its own.

Ant raft movements
QUOTE: Alone, a fire ant is nothing spectacular. But lump them together, and the insects behave with what is called swarm intelligence; individuals work as a team, obeying simple rules to give rise to far more complex collective behavior. (David’s bold)

DAVID: […] The individual ant follows simple rules for himself to create the whole raft behaviour. […] No overall controlling mind, but swarm action based on programmed individual responses.

Stunning! Thank you. But as usual, you skip the origin of their behaviour, which can only have begun through intelligent experimentation. Ants communicate, and their ingenuity may be an exact mirror of the way our own intelligent cell communities cooperate in producing new ideas and implementing them. A successful strategy will be passed on. What is your theory? That God provided the first cells with an algorithm for the evolution of ants plus all their strategies? Or once he’d designed ants, he popped in to give them courses in bridge-building?

The big bang
DAVID: The Big Bang created space-time reality. Its origin is as mysterious as God, Himself. We can not imagine the BB in any way as a start of what is now present. We cannot treat the BB as a natural event. […] I am left with God, the Creator.

No one can “imagine” the BB or God. If you can cope with the idea of an all-powerful conscious mind that has simply always been there, then why can’t you cope with the idea of an eternal unconscious universe of mindless matter and energy which one fine day produced some sort of explosion that gave rise to our universe, which could even itself be a tiny part of an infinite universe that stretches beyond our powers of observation? No, I’m not proposing that. I’m merely offering alternatives to your God and to the absurd theory that “nothing” can be the source of everything.

QUOTE: "How about that; cells know the law of supply and demand. Where did they learn that? In protocell economics class?

Good question. If God exists, perhaps he gave them all the necessary mechanisms for life to exist and evolve, plus the intelligence to “know” how to use those mechanisms.

DAVID: Tell me how that happens by chance. There is no answer but a careful designer creating the process […]

I have no idea how much of the mechanism was in place right from the start, but as always, you have presented the strongest possible case for design.

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