Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Monday, August 09, 2021, 09:23 (76 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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.

DAVID: They follow chemical algorithms accomplish that task.

Wednesday, 4th August:
dhw: Do you mean that your God planted instructions on how to create each individual new antibody for each new future threat? Or do you mean that he gave our cells the ABILITY to recognize each new threat and to respond to it by creating new antibodies de novo without him having to intervene?

DAVID: You've got it!!! The latter portion of your comment is exactly what God did!

On 4th August, there were no instructions but your God gave cells the autonomous ability to design their own solutions “de novo”. On August 8th, cells follow algorithms (= instructions). It seems I am discussing these matters with two different people.


dhw: 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.

DAVID: Pure speculation. Adaptation within species results only in slightly changed original species.

You have changed the subject. Even if your God designed the major changes, their purpose (e.g. turning legs into flippers) was to improve the organism’s chances of survival. These changes ARE speciation, and so….yet again…it is absurd to say that changes made in order to improve chances of survival have no connection with speciation.

Retinal design allows prediction of movement
dhw: 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. 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.

DAVID: Yes, you reverted.

I have no idea what you mean. I have responded to two different arguments. I have proposed that different degrees of vision etc. evolved gradually (you claim that retinal design had to be instant), and I have proposed that evolutionary changes (legs into flippers) evolved AS A RESULT of new requirements, whereas you claim they were created IN ANTICIPATION of new requirements.

Back to theodicy: fixing genome mistakes
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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: And my answer is the human impression of bad bacteria may be a mistaken human impression of bacteria acting in the wrong place. Bacteria started life and are very important in their current roles.

I don’t deny the latter. Your solution to the mystery of theodicy now seems to be the pious hope that all the terrible diseases caused by bad bacteria are a mistaken human impression. Unless…now, here’s a thought…by “bacteria acting in the wrong place” you mean that your all-powerful, all-knowing, always well-intentioned God actually gave bacteria the freedom to act independently and autonomously in a great free-for-all…

Consciousness and other science mysteries
dhw: 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.

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

DAVID: Why should there be a purpose, when it may be a byproduct of lifestyle.

Fair comment. I’m just wondering what the researchers are hoping to find in their quest for signs of consciousness. I thought they might be hoping to find some clue as to the nature of consciousness.

Neil Thomas
DAVID: I've found on page 55, I think, a strong objection to Darwin splitting the subject into two parts and ignored the origin of life to concentrate then on only evolution as if they were not obviously fully connected issues. More later.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to discuss the mechanisms of evolution without saying how those mechanisms came into being. You can explain how a motor engine works without giving the history of its origins, and in any case, Darwin himself allows for God as the creator of the mechanisms he describes.


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