Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Saturday, September 11, 2021, 13:30 (335 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: In your experience, it is easier to do things yourself than to tell someone else how to do it. And in your theory, your God spends all his time issuing instructions or teaching cells how to do it. Wouldn’t it be less difficult and cumbersome if the cells did it themselves, just as you do?

DAVID: But I can think, cells can't. Cells run on the information they are given.

dhw: You claimed that it was easier to do things yourself than tell others how to do it. You forgot that in your scenario, your God tells others how to do it. If he gave cells a
D-I-Y mechanism, all he’d have to do would be sit back and watch. Wouldn’t that be “easier”, “less difficult” and “less cumbersome” than designing millions of programmes, giving millions of lessons, and issuing millions of instructions? Your fixed beliefs have nothing to do with the question of what would be easier.

DAVID: There are two parts to design for God: first a basic living biochemical system for cells to run on, which began at life's origin; second stage, designing successive stages with thoughtful anticipation of future needs.

First stage, agreed. Second stage, do you mean a 3.8-billion-year-old programme for every evolutionary innovation, or do you mean ad hoc dabbling when he looks into his crystal ball?

DAVID: Living cell communities in organisms are incapable of the second stage...

I agree that cell communities don’t have a crystal ball. My proposal is that they react to new conditions, not that they foresee them. It is not a fact but simply your belief that cell communities are incapable of autonomous reactions to new conditions.

DAVID: ...and so it is easier for God to do the design rather than instructing them how to do it. It doesn't require your implied enormous number of dabbles with a basic system in place.

But you keep telling us that the cells obey instructions! Now they don’t even do that! God comes in and makes all the decisions and does all the twiddles for them! And how can this possibly be easier for God than coming up with ONE mechanism which will enable him to sit back and do nothing while all the cell communities use their God-given intelligence to work out their own designs?

Introducing the brain
dhw: I challenge you to find any speaker of the English language who would define “autonomy” as the ability to follow instructions - together with an inability to act without instructions!

DAVID: Having researched the point, you are correct about the proper definition of autonomy, and I've been sloppy as applied to biology. But I'll stick to my thought, cells follow God's instructions but can make minor epigenetic adaptations.

Thank you for your first comment. As for the second, I am fully aware of your fixed beliefs.

Function in cells
QUOTE: “...the same protein can exert distinct functions depending on the effector it binds to. At the molecular level, protein functions thus translate into protein dynamics, which is key for the development of all cellular processes, from cell division to energy provision and cell fate determination.

DAVID: These proteins change shape at high speeds, making them difficult to study. Such processes must be designed all at once to work as in the bold above. Stepwise evolution can't do this.

dhw: I need your help on this. It seems to suggest that cells can accomplish a swift transformation from one shape and function to another. If so, the implications for the evolutionary process are massive. But maybe I’ve misunderstood it.

DAVID: Misunderstood. The discussion is about molecular shape changes precisely controlled within cells, not cell shape changes.

I’ll continue to ask for help. In the quote, they say that the molecular changes are key to all cellular processes, including cell “fate determination”, which I take to mean “function”. If the article does describe how cells change their function, that would surely help us enormously in our efforts to understand how evolution happens.

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