More "miscellany" PART TWO (General)

by dhw, Thursday, May 25, 2023, 09:11 (7 days ago) @ dhw



DAVID: Yes information is dormant until used. But information cannot appear de novo. A mind creates it and a mind or a mind-like cell interprets and uses it.

dhw: So when the wind blew the rock down on the man’s head and killed him, the masses of information contained in that incident were created by a mind, were they?

You still haven’t responded to this.
dhw: What is your objection to the statement that biochemistry is the basis of living biology?

DAVID: Biochemistry, as a subject, is our understanding of how living biology works. We see it as a result of living cells using instructive information in their genomes.

dhw: Yes, biochemistry is a subject for study, but it's also the chemistry of living things, as in: Chemistry: “the composition, properties and reactions of a particular substance”. (Encarta) Cells have to be alive before they can “use” information, so don’t you think the basis of life/living biology must be whatever composition, properties and reactions give them life?

Not answered.

dhw: […] I have no objection to the term “information” when its meaning is clear. I only object when it obscures rather than clarifies, as in such statements as “information is the basis of living biology” and “information can never form by chance”.

DAVID: The now bolded is blatently wrong. The information in DNA allows cells to produce life.

dhw: So we have DNA lying around, dead to the world, and the not-yet-living cells use its information to make themselves alive. I don’t think this theory is going to get you many prizes.

DAVID: DNA, as a code, must be interpreted by cells or life doesn't happen. Remember first life appeared and has been producing life ever since.' How' is what we debate.

Please tell me how not-yet-living cells interpret the information in not-yet-living DNA, and this enables them to come to life. You know it’s nonsense, so stop dodging: there is no dispute over the fact that first life appeared and we still have life!

Still Big Bang

QUOTE: “Nonexistence is an abstraction of the human mind,” Nelson says. “This is the reason I think that a [cyclic universe], which has always existed, is simpler than one that has been created. However, as a scientist, I must be open to both possibilities.” (David’s bold)

DAVID: so the battle rages even though the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the Big Bang. My bold above tells the reason. Don't even let God's toe in the door!!!

The bold above tells nothing of the sort. It simply sums up the obvious alternatives: either there was a beginning, or the universe has been here forever. And either there is a creator who’s been here forever, or there isn’t. As an agnostic, I remain open to both possibilities, and I’m pleased to have a scientist sharing my openness, though I’m not sure about “simpler”. I find it just as difficult to believe in chance as the creator of life’s mind-boggling complexity as I do to believe in a conscious, sourceless, immaterial being that has existed for ever.


dhw: But if cells can restructure themselves on a small scale in response to environmental change, it’s not illogical to suppose that they might be able to do so on a large scale. And I note the reference to experimentation by Nature, which a theist might well describe as experimentation by God, don’t you think?

DAVID: You constantly want to present an experimenting God. I've rejected the concept as describing a humanized God.

I know you have. You prefer to believe in a God who invents a messy, cumbersome, inefficient method to achieve the purpose you impose on him, and you think his inefficiency is more godlike and less human than the efficiency of a God who successfully tries out new ideas, and enjoys the process of discovery.


DAVID: God's purpose was to run evolution to finally produce humans while developing a very broad-based bush of life for human to eat and enjoy.

dhw: But we can’t eat and enjoy the 99% of past organisms that never had any connection with us or our food, and I really wonder why your God had to design 36 species of tenrec just for Madagascars to eat (assuming the islanders eat them), though you might say it’s kind of him to provide them with such a large menu.

DAVID: You are simply repeating my point, the bush of life provides food for all.

How many more times are you going to use this obfuscation? The bush of life provided food for all the 99% of extinct life forms that had nothing to do with the life forms and food bushes you say were your God’s one and only purpose (us and our food). Hence your description of your God’s system as messy, cumbersome and inefficient.

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