Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Sunday, August 08, 2021, 08:24 (375 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I view God's standardized instructions as allowing the immune cells to respond as necessary to each new invasion/infection.

I don’t know what you mean by “standardized instructions”. As you will have gathered by now, I like language to be clear. Please say whether you accept the following theistic theory: your God gave cells the autonomous ability to recognize and respond to new problems by designing their own solutions.

dhw: […] it is absurd to argue that the changes which result in speciation are made for the purpose of improving chances of survival, but improving chances of survival has no connection with speciation.

DAVID: […] That organisms survive does not create speciation.

Of course their survival does not create anything! The fact that they survive is due to the fact that they have changed in response to new conditions. It is changes in organisms that “create” speciation. And if the reason for those changes is to enable them to survive, then speciation is the result of their trying to improve their chances of survival. It is therefore absurd to claim that improving chances of survival has no connection with speciation.

Retinal design allows prediction of movement
dhw: The point of your original comment was that if retinal design “required stepwise development over massive amounts of time, hunting animals would not have survived to evolve the process”. Hence […] my now bolded question concerning degrees of vision etc. –[do you think your God stepped in to adjust the different degrees of vision, hearing and smell?]

dhw: […] You argue that your God changes organisms in advance of the need for change. I argue that changes take place in response to current needs. […] Your God may have given them the ability to make such changes – (see the ID thread).

DAVID: Same old view I don't accept, which implies a gradualism in adaptation. The fossil record of giant gaps in form offers you no support. So you'll revert to the wish for missing fossil forms.

There are two issues here: 1) you claim that retinal design had to be instant. I propose that the different degrees of vision etc. found in different organisms would have developed gradually. Your answer apparently is that we have not found fossils that record every single “step” from primitive vision, hearing, smell etc. to the different degrees that we find in current life forms. 2) Speciation: you claim that your God made all the changes in advance of any need for them (pre-whales were given flippers before they entered the water). I propose that flippers evolved AS A RESULT of them entering the water. Again, it is unreasonable to expect fossils for every single transitional stage.

Back to theodicy: fixing genome mistakes
DAVID: Humans are slowly learning to edit genome metabolic errors. […]
Back to theodicy: banishing bad bacteria
DAVID: humans can solve the bad bacteria problems that challenge human food supplies. […]

dhw: I have no idea why you have included this under “Back to theodicy”. But presumably the implication is that humans are left to undo the harm caused by your God’s designs.

DAVID: Exactly.

This does not explain why the God you believe in (who is all-powerful and has good intentions) designed the bad bacteria in the first place. That is the essence of the theodicy problem.

Consciousness and other science mysteries
Quote: "As thukdam researchers continue to seek a signal of post-mortem consciousness of some sort, it's fair to ask what — and where — consciousness is in the first place. […]"

DAVID: It seems the body maintains some control over bacteria that can decompose, while the brain has ceased activity. The decomposing bugs are in the gut, and generally once the heart stops pumping, immunity defense disappears. A real puzzle.

dhw: It certainly is. I don’t know what the researchers are hoping to prove. If there are no signs of consciousness, it can mean that consciousness dies when the cells die (materialism), or the soul has departed (dualism). If there are signs, either the cells are still producing consciousness, or the soul is still hanging around.

DAVID: Or, the monk's immune systems are controlling the bad GUT bugs from getting out to start decomposition.

And what do you think would be the purpose of that, since decomposition will take place anyway?

dhw: My computer keeps breaking down. If I don't reply in the next day or two, it will mean that my computer has died - though probably not gone to heaven.

DAVID: I doubt my prayers can help, but I wish your computer well or I can bless the new one.

It seems your prayers have been answered. My computer has made a miraculous recovery. Thank you for your intercession!

DAVID: On another subject, I have Neil Thomas Taking Leave of Darwin. The first 70 pages are an erudite (and for me boring) recitation of the history and criticisms of Darwin's theory. The only mistake I found was to attribute to Arthur Russel Wallace full support of natural selection, whereas he fully supported God as designer. Now Thomas' reasoning can appear, I hope.

Huge thanks for following this up. The impression I had from the summary was that we were not going to learn anything new, but I hope I’m wrong or you will have wasted your time.

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