Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Sunday, August 29, 2021, 14:26 (348 days ago) @ David Turell

Part One

dhw: […] Autonomy apparently means obeying instructions.

DAVID: Final sentence is exactly my meaning. Proviso, either instructions in the first bacterial genome, or more likely dabbled instructions added all along the way.

Here is one definition of autonomy: “the ability or opportunity to make your own decisions without being controlled by anyone else” (Longman). Your definition of autonomy: “Obeying God’s instructions”. You are making a mockery of language.

The role of survival in evolution
dhw: If survival is required, then the need for survival is the reason why your God designed the changes that have led to speciation. This remains true even if he only wanted the species to survive so that he could finally design humans.

DAVID: As long as you don't try to have survival driving evolution I agree.

Survival doesn’t drive anything. Survival is the result of the changes which lead to speciation. Thank you for at last agreeing that the reason for the changes that lead to speciation is the need for organisms to survive.

Retinal design
dhw: So now we have the following history of evolution. God, who only wanted to design humans and their food, programmed the first cells with solutions to all the immunity problems (human and otherwise) that might arise for the rest of life’s history, but he also popped in whenever he wanted to design new types of nose and brain. He couldn’t use existing noses and brains, because each design is fully designed from its beginning.

DAVID: Each fully new species involved redesign at that new stage. Think of whale series.

I think of whale series as each species adapting its organs to the new environment, as opposed to your God creating each one from scratch. This is admirably illustrated by the latest discovery:

New amphibious whale
QUOTE: "They found that all parts of the tetrapod skeleton were under strong directional selection to evolve new adaptive features, but that the skull and jaws were evolving faster than the rest of the body, including the limbs.

These were not brand new skulls and jaws – all parts were adapting to the new surroundings. However, part of the adaptive process entailed innovations, which is why I keep emphasizing the difficulty of drawing a borderline between adaptation and innovation, since these innovations were part of the adaptive process:

QUOTE: "'We see several anatomical innovations in their skull related to feeding and food procurement, enabling a transition from a fish-like suction-based mode of prey capture to tetrapod-like biting, and an increase in orbit size and location" said Simões. "These changes prepared tetrapods to look for food on land and to explore new food resources not available to their fish relatives." (David’s bold)

DAVID: There are two ways to view this study, especially using my bolded comments. The Darwinist view describes a speedier selection process with no explanation of how that happens. In their view it just 'is' naturally.

Nobody knows how it happens, but the (comparative) speed is highly significant. I would suggest that it fits in perfectly with Shapiro’s theory of cellular intelligence (possibly God-given) both adapting and innovating in order to equip the organisms with improvements to its methods of survival.

DAVID: But note the rapid jaw changes in advance of actually hunting on land. Doesn't that suggest purposeful planning from a theistic viewpoint?

I think that is highly misleading. The transitional period would have entailed an initial combination of eating in the water and on land, but once the tetrapod started spending more of its time on land, the evolution of its jaws would have accelerated very quickly in order to improve the new method of survival. Surely if your God had done it, there would have been no need for jaws to evolve “faster than the rest of the body” – he would have simply performed the whole "redesigning" operation in one go. Or do you think he kept popping in to make improvements?

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