Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Thursday, September 16, 2021, 12:07 (335 days ago) @ David Turell

Function in cells
dhw: Differing stimuli would be the key: changing conditions might demand or allow major changes of function.

DAVID: All we know in this are is epigenetic minor adaptations

dhw: You keep repeating this, and I keep repeating my agreement, but nobody knows how speciation works, and so the proposal is that the mechanism which causes minor adaptations (i.e. cellular intelligence) may also have caused the major adaptations and innovations that have resulted in speciation. We now know that certain cells can change their functions. That fits in with the proposal.

DAVID: Your answer is like mine.

That’s good news. So you agree that cells which can change their functions might cause the major adaptations and innovations that lead to speciation. Thank you.

DAVID: The Darwin-laced article assumes these mechanisms appeared under selection pressure because it works!!!

dhw: What do you mean by “selection pressure”? The pressure comes from the urge to survive!

DAVID: Aren't you aware of of specious concepts Darwinists constantly employ as 'selection pressure'? Natural selection becomes magical pressure.

Don’t you agree with me that the opossum’s feigned death is a strategy for survival, and aren’t you aware that the urge to survive is a key feature of Darwin’s theory of evolution?

DAVID: No idea of how any animal using this trick decided upon it.

dhw: I’ve offered you two possibilities. What’s your theory?

DAVID: God's actions

What sort of actions would these be: a 3.8-billion-year programme for feigning death, or did your God pop in and teach the first death-feigning opossum how to do it?

QUOTE: We humans like to think of ourselves as a unique species. However, little by little, all those traits that we have been relying on to ground this uniqueness have been falling, as the science advances and reveals the staggering diversity and complexity of animal minds and behaviour. The concept of death should also be counted among those characteristics to which we can no longer resort to convince us of how very special we are. It is time to rethink human exceptionalism, and the disrespect for the natural world that comes with it._

DAVID: The final paragraph is the standard Darwinian attack on our exceptionalism.

dhw: The usual polarization, with absolutely no thought of the possibility that BOTH views are perfectly reasonable. Every detail listed above is a trait we have in common (= we are not exceptional), but we ARE exceptional in so far as we have developed them all in ways that reach way, way beyond the limitations of our fellow animals. Our language is infinitely more complex than their language, our culture extends to different forms of music etc. which are infinitely more complex than their simple songs, our rationality reaches into philosophy, science, technology, ethics that are infinitely more complex than their simple tools and strategies for survival.
I agree with the article, but the authors and you should recognize that the word “exceptionalism” can be used to denote different aspects of the subject: it IS time to rethink human exceptionalism, and the disrespect for the natural world that comes with it. We have all these traits in common with our fellow animals, and we should not assume that our exceptional development of them entitles us to disrespect them.

DAVID: Except for our body form with its athletic abilities and our brain, we are animals in our physiology. Both our body form and our brain are exceptional extensions from past roots. Teh difference is huge and cannot be diminished by the obvious comparisons that exist.

I am not trying to diminish the difference. The authors wrote: “We now have solid evidence of culture, morality, rationality, and even rudimentary forms of linguistic communication.” Our body form and our brains can also be traced back to our animal ancestors. In that sense we are NOT exceptional. But the degree to which we have developed our brains, our culture, our morality, our rationality and our language do make us exceptional. Why do so many people only see things in terms of left or right, black or white, right or wrong? This blinkered approach is, of course, what leads to the worst forms of extremism. NB: I know you well enough to be certain that you show respect and even love for your animals, and you are no extremist. I am simply pointing out the dangers of the blinkered approach.

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