Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Saturday, July 03, 2021, 08:39 (209 days ago) @ David Turell

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

dhw: 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.

DAVID: There was a code to form structure and basic function for each evolutionary advance. Above is my thought about everyday automatic responses to everyday stimuli by DNA coded algorithm. Two separate types of coding.

So your two theories of evolution are 1) 3.8 billion years ago, your God provided the first cells with codes for every innovation, econiche, lifestyle, strategy and natural wonder for the whole future history of life, other than 2), when he popped in to insert a new algorithm for any uncoded developments. Is that right? (If so, I’m afraid I still find them just as hard to swallow.)

Big brain evolution
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.

dhw: 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: Because of the concept of receivership. It doesn't take lots of cells to receive a consciousness. No specific number required. Shown by shell brains. Also NDE evidence.

I know the concept, and I know the evidence. But I don’t know how you can claim with such authority that cells are NOT the source of consciousness, when there is also evidence that any number of material factors can change the identity and behaviour – and hence the consciousness – of those affected. I must repeat that I remain neutral on the subject, since there is so much conflicting evidence, but in two earlier threads (“Reconciling materialism and dualism” and “A theory of intelligence”), I tried to offer a compromise between the two approaches.

Neutron star black hole merge
dhw: 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.

DAVID: As usual a directionless purposeless God not in exact control of evolution, which is required to achieve purpose. […] A mechanical universe can run itself, but living evolution must have specific goals.

If God exists, of course he has a purpose. If he doesn’t exist, I suggest the only purpose ALL living organisms have in common is survival and ways to improve chances of survival. Let’s stick to theism, though. You refuse to recognize any purpose other than your God wanting to design humans and their lunch (although when pushed you have him “humanly” wanting a being who would recognize his works and with whom he might form a relationship.) You refuse to consider enjoyment of creation and interest in an ever changing bush of life as his possible purpose, and you refuse to consider the possibility that autonomous beings might be more interesting than a puppet show in which he pulls all the strings. Your refusal, however, does not make such a God directionless or purposeless.

Ant raft movements
dhw: Why are you so averse to the idea of your God giving ants the intelligence to analyze, create and pass on concepts? […] What is your alternative? Preprogramming 3.8 billion years ago, or God popping in to give courses in bridge-building?

DAVID: Ignores the 'swarming concept of limited automatic individual actions producing the swarm, as the experts note.

The swarming concept does not explain the origin of the strategy. And you have not answered my questions.

dhw: […]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.

DAVID: Why can't you accept the concept that the complexity of living designs must require a designing mind? Nothing cannot precede our reality.

Of course I agree that nothing is not an option. And I have already agreed that the complexity of living designs requires a designing mind or minds, but I distinguish between the origin of life and the process of evolution. I propose that the latter is carried out by intelligent cells (designing minds), but their origin remains a mystery. I understand why they and their possible intelligence are so complex that they can inspire faith in the existence of the designing mind you call God, and I have no objections to the argument itself. But see the bold above for my problem with the God theory.

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