Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Thursday, August 12, 2021, 08:21 (72 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I gave you alternatives: instructions (the first “portion of my comment”) versus autonomous ability. You chose the ability to recognize new problems and to provide solutions “de novo”, and you therefore rejected instructions.

DAVID: More confusion. The immune cells have a God-given ability to recognize invaders and a God- given ability to make antibodies to fight them. Thus they can do it autonomously because of God's instructions designed into them. I believe we may be saying the same thing.

I don’t know why you keep inserting “instructions” – which at one time you called algorithms, which are instructions designed to solve particular problems (the exact opposite of an autonomous ability to solve problems). But since you now say that what you mean is your God gave cells the autonomous ability to come up with new solutions to new problems, we are indeed in agreement, and I shall record this for when we discuss the possible role played in evolution by cells’ autonomous ability to produce new solutions in response to new requirements.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Survival is not proven to lead to speciation!!~!!!

dhw: I keep repeating that it is the QUEST for survival that leads to the changes in anatomy which ARE speciation, no matter how many exclamation marks you use.

DAVID: I'm delighted only you know how speciation occurs. When is your breakthrough book coming out?

You keep moaning that the role played by the quest for survival is pure Darwinism, so I really don’t think I am all alone. I would suggest that your rejection of the theory will leave you considerably more isolated than me – an isolation intensified by your insistence that your God makes the changes in advance of their being required.

Retinal design allows prediction of movement
dhw: I wonder how many even of your ID-ers would support your theory.

DAVID: Irreducible complexity is their confirming theory.

That “confirms” their theory that life forms must have been designed. Now please tell us if they reject the idea that different degrees of vision etc. developed gradually, and if they accept the idea that your God designed all major mutations before they were required.

Back to theodicy: fixing genome mistakes
DAVID: Bacteria are not corralled, but are everywhere by design.

dhw: How does that explain your well-intentioned God’s direct design of those which he knew would cause untold harm to other life forms?
DAVID: That is why we have God-given brains to solve those problems. In your statement I would use 'could' for you bolded 'would'.

Well, they could and did, and he knew they could. I really can’t see any good intentions behind the idea that your God designed bad bacteria (which caused untold damage to life forms long before humans were around), so that humans could come along and solve some of the problems while others continue to cause untold suffering.

Neil Thomas
DAVID: The splitting avoids God immediately.

dhw: Of course it doesn’t. Describing how a motor engine works does not immediately avoid the fact that it was invented by an intelligent mind. As above (and ignored by you), even Darwin, in later editions of Origin, refers to the Creator as the originator of the mechanisms.

DAVID: Funny that Thomas and I reach the same conclusion you would try to avoid. Your rigid mindset is showing. Darwin's modifications show his response to the backlash he experienced, chronicled at great length by Thomas.

Many of Darwin’s arguments were opposed because of religious prejudice. He has been vindicated by the fact that so many religious folk now accept his theory of common descent (as opposed to separate creation) and realize that it does NOT exclude God as the creator. Why do you call agnosticism a “rigid mindset”, when it allows for the possibility of God and of no God, whereas atheists and theists rigidly reject one or other of those possibilities?

Nature’s wonders: a new plant carnivore
DAVID: Venus and others like it need insects to get enough nitrogen, not readily available in the soil it lives on.

First of all, thank you again for this marvellous series of articles – a continuous source of wonderment. And again I am struck by the astonishing variety of ways in which all life forms pursue the quest for survival. Your comment firmly establishes the link between this inventiveness and the conditions which make it necessary.

Smart animals
quote: "Over and over again, she and others are finding evidence not just for a relatively simple, ubiquitous sense of numerosity in animals, but also for a growing inventory of much more abstract and complex forms of numerical cognition."

DAVID: Simple counting is necessary, but these animlas are nowhere near human math.

Of course not. But we should never underestimate the intelligence and sentience of our fellow animals.

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