Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Monday, July 05, 2021, 09:12 (400 days ago) @ David Turell

Big brain evolution
DAVID: You miss the obvious point that damaged brain cells will not receive or use consciousness properly.

dhw: So if the brain cells of a normally placid man become diseased, are you telling us that the placid conscious "soul" tells him not to beat his wife, but the cells have a mind of their own, misread the received message and decide otherwise? Ugh, I wonder what his "soul" is thinking all this time! I’m defending the case for materialism because as usual you only see one side of the argument.

DAVID: All of us are fully aware as in schizophrenia, neurons are sick and misinterpret consciousness thought. You cannot excape dualism.

How can non-conscious cells misinterpret anything? As in the example I have given above, you cannot avoid giving the cells minds of their own! We know for a fact that alcohol and drugs can affect “conscious thought”. Why would they affect an immaterial soul that does all the thinking? And we know that in some cases, “misinterpretations” can be adjusted by material medication. All this is inescapable evidence for materialism.

Neutron star black hole merge
dhw: Thank you for withdrawing your silly argument that my proposal makes him directionless and purposeless. No thanks for your assumption that God is not God-like unless he conforms to your own humanized concept of him […]

DAVID: Your humanized God has logical intentions.

dhw: Correct. This in my view makes my humanized God considerably more believable than yours, which leaves you with no idea how to explain your interpretation of his intentions and means of fulfilling them.

DAVID: One of your problems is you want explanations God's actions, and they are all judgement calls based on one's analysis of God's personality.

No they are not. I want explanations of the history of life, and if God exists, I want coherence between that history and what might have been his intentions. You cannot explain why, if his one and only intention had been to design humans plus lunch, he would have chosen to design millions of life forms etc. that had no connection with humans plus lunch. Therefore at least one part of your theory is illogical. I see no reason for you to assume that your God would act illogically, especially if there are other explanations which ARE logical.

Ant raft movements
DAVID: […] Each individual ant has a limited program of action and it is those actions that create the swarms and the bridges. Stated by studies' authors!

dhw: Stated by the authors:
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.

dhw: Even your authors call it “swarm intelligence”, which covers their behaviour after the strategy has been invented. I am simply proposing that “swarm intelligence” devised the simple rules in the first place, when ants were first confronted with the problem of the gap. [...]

DAVID: 'Swarm intelligence' is the author's name for the result. The cause remains a result of individual specific actions.

The cause remains a result? The authors believe that the combined intelligences of the individuals have produced the bridge-building strategy. You quote them, and then you want to focus on the fact that an individual ant could not have thought up the strategy! What is your alternative explanation? Ant speciation and all their strategies were preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago, or God popped in to provide lessons in bridge-building?

dhw: I have no objections to the [design] argument itself. […]

DAVID: You must split origin of life from evolution to avoid God. Darwin did the same. They are a continuum.

dhw: How can it possibly be “to avoid God”, when I am proposing that the originator of the cellular intelligence might have been God? As for the agnostic Darwin, he could see “no good reason why the views given in this book should shock the religious feelings of any one” (On the Origin of Species…). Please stop pretending that a theistic alternative to your version of evolution and God makes the proposer an atheist.

DAVID: You never answered my complaint. Continuum or not?

There is of course a continuum from the origin to the subsequent evolution. In your theory, the continuum is God creating the first cells and providing them with programmes for all non-dabbled developments. In my theory, the continuum is the first cells (possibly designed by your God) going on to design their own developments. I trust you have now withdrawn your silly proposal that the latter is an attempt to “avoid God”.

Bacterial motors
QUOTE: Can any partial implementation of a motility system be even slightly advantageous to a bacterium? Examples of a partial system might lack sensors, lack decision logic, lack control messages, lack a rotor or stator, lack sealed bearings, lack a rod, lack a propeller, or lack redirection means. Would such partial systems be preserved long enough for additional cooperating components to evolve?

Why wouldn’t they have survived? Initially, the only competition when they were evolving was their fellow bacteria.

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