Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Friday, July 02, 2021, 08:45 (412 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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.

DAVID: I never said DNA is a computer code. Algorithms are specific answers to specific issues.

For 13 years, you have offered us two explanations for evolution: every innovation, econiche, lifestyle, strategy, natural wonder etc. was preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago by your God, or he dabbled them. A specific answer to a specific problem would not cover the whole of life’s history, and you now reject the computer image, so please just tell us what sort of programme your God might have installed in the first cells.

Big brain evolution
DAVID: Your comment implies my dualist theory […]

dhw: 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: As usual, wrong. Cells are not the source of consciousness, but the receivers. Smaller aerials can still receive large signals. Why a crust of brain works.

At a stroke you claim to have resolved centuries of debate between materialists and dualists. Congratulations. May I ask how you know that cells are not the source of consciousness?

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.
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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: You are equating the material universe actions with living actions. True, but I noted the truer issue is control over directions of evolution, not life after it evolved!!!

Directions of evolution ARE life after it evolved. And what do you mean by the “truer” issue?
You accept that your God can create a system (the mechanics of the universe) in which he does not control the consequences of his design. I have proposed the same for evolution: once he has set the process in motion, he leaves it to run itself.

Ant raft movements
dhw: […] 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.

DAVID: Now ants have the ability to analyze, create and pass on concepts. Your God gave ants powerful brains. Individual ants have the same limited responses all researchers note.

Why are you so averse to the idea of your God giving ants the intelligence to analyze, create and pass on concepts? We have no idea how such strategies originated, but there is no reason to suppose that ants did not combine their intelligences, just as human teams collaborate to solve problems. What is your alternative? Preprogramming 3.8 billion years ago, or God popping in to give 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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: God is not nothing.

Of course not. My suggestion is an alternative to your God theory and to the “everything came from nothing” theory. If you can imagine a sourceless, eternal, conscious mind, why can’t you imagine a sourceless, infinite, eternal unconscious combination of energy and matter eventually producing consciousness?

dhw: 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.

DAVID: And you refuse to accept the need for a designing mind, which some of us call God.

As usual, you choose to ignore the factors that make me agnostic. They are summarized above: I find a sourceless conscious mind just as difficult to believe in as an infinite, eternal universe of energy and matter eventually combining them to produce consciousness.

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