God and Evolution (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, August 27, 2018, 09:44 (114 days ago)

I’ve shifted this from from "Nature's Wonders", which is no longer appropriate.

DHW: Tony was talking about single organisms communicating changes to others of their kind. I am pointing out that communities subjected to the same environmental conditions will make the same changes. Multiple pre-whales, male and female, would have entered the water, and so multiple pre-whales would have developed fins from legs – not just one passing its genes onto its neighbours. But nobody knows how speciation took place. Horizontal gene transfer may well have been an important factor.

TONY: And what DHW is suggesting is so miraculous that he might as well be saying 'God did it'. How did the creatures survive long enough to determine what physiological and biochemical changes would be needed, and then how did they communicate that to the entire species? I mean, think of how much knowledge and information exchange (between members of the soon to be altered species) you are talking about, or the likelihood that they would ALL arrive at the same solution without communication.

DAVID: Those that don't get the message remain the old species, I assume. Cells communicate automatically at the multicellular level, and that must be true or the organism would not live. The single cell is an all in one and must do everything. Communication is limited to quorum sensing and gene transfer, and I consider it almost all very automatic as a series of molecular reactions.

TONY: To cells within a single organism, that is possible, however unlikely, but look at the rest of the question. How did one multi-cellular organism and another multi-cellular organism, or the cells inside them, all come to the SAME conclusion at the SAME time. It takes more than one multi-cellular organism to reproduce, in almost all cases.

DAVID: How does a single mutation in one individual get spread into the group? Chance meeting for reproduction takes too long for the times involved in the record, and species appear only after huge gaps in phenotype.

You are still talking about single organisms! So please reread what you quoted at the start of this post. I will add that the eight stages of whale development are indeed a special mystery. So please explain why your God chose to specially create these eight stages, and are you saying that he did a wooj-wooj to change every individual at the same time, or do you think he went round the world twiddling with each individual? See “Pointy eggs and whales” for more.

dhw:We know these animals are comfortable in both environments. All you’re saying is that your God did it. We are talking about your belief that your God changed organisms BEFORE the environment changed (which requires a crystal ball or total control of the environment) – as opposed to the suggestion that environmental change triggered organismal change.

DAVID: Why does an all-powerful, all-knowing God need a crystal ball?

It’s a metaphor for knowing the future, which is essential if you think your God restructured organisms before the environmental changes that they were to master or exploit.

DAVID: And why not have an unlimited God in what He knows and what He plans. You view Him as with human limitations!

dhw: Another of your straw men. In the past you have imposed limitations on him with your uncertainty as to the degree of control he exerts over the environment. The hypothesis I have proposed imposes no limitations whatsoever. Creating an evolutionary free-for-all is no different from creating free will – that would have been his choice, though of course he could intervene if he wished to.

DAVID: Not a straw man. you're the one who had Him looking into a crystal ball. And you have Him intervening or not intervening. Either He does what He wants or He can't.

You keep talking of advance planning, and that requires knowledge of the future. Why is that a limitation? Of course he does what he wants (if he exists). And if he wants a free-for-all in which he can intervene when he wants to, he is doing what he wants.

TONY: Well.....I think that is also putting a human way of thinking that I don't subscribe to. I think he does what he wants because he knows and wants whats best. I just don't think that our idea of what's best matches his idea of what's best, which causes us to question his motives and methods.
I try to take the approach of assuming that his approach is best, and then try to understand why his approach is best.

Your way of thinking is no less human than mine or David’s, and boils down to him wanting what is best, and whatever he thinks is best is best but we don’t know what it is.

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, August 27, 2018, 17:17 (114 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Not a straw man. you're the one who had Him looking into a crystal ball. And you have Him intervening or not intervening. Either He does what He wants or He can't.

You keep talking of advance planning, and that requires knowledge of the future. Why is that a limitation? Of course he does what he wants (if he exists). And if he wants a free-for-all in which he can intervene when he wants to, he is doing what he wants.

TONY: Well.....I think that is also putting a human way of thinking that I don't subscribe to. I think he does what he wants because he knows and wants whats best. I just don't think that our idea of what's best matches his idea of what's best, which causes us to question his motives and methods.
I try to take the approach of assuming that his approach is best, and then try to understand why his approach is best.

DHW: Your way of thinking is no less human than mine or David’s, and boils down to him wanting what is best, and whatever he thinks is best is best but we don’t know what it is.

Eh, that was a typo on my part. "I think that is also putting a human way of thinking that I don't subscribe to on God." Or, to put it differently, we think things should be done one way, and then question why he didn't do things OUR way. DHW would create cellular intelligence so he didn't have to do anything else. David would pre-plan, and possibly incorporate some mechanism for change through common descent. Well, why should God care what WE would do?

The question is, what did HE do, and why? What does the evidence say, sans fairy tale? Forget special creation, fiddling, twiddling, diddling, cellular intelligence, or programming etc. for a minute. What does the EVIDENCE say when we DON'T add a narrative to it?

We have dogs. We have cats. We have whales. We have rats. There is DNA, that codes proteins and regulates gene expression. There are complex, tightly controlled interactions between systems at every observable level that are so ubiquitous that they can be codified into repeatable, dependable sciences (Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc). All of nature, organic and inorganic, follows tightly constrained rules and patterns that work together towards a harmonious whole(Mineral properties and cellular life). Systems that are physically separate demonstrate startling levels of two way interaction (flowers and bees, algae and atmosphere).

Taking a deconstructionist approach (which is the norm now) we can analyze each system as an individual, but in doing so we lose sight that the entirety also works as a singular unified system.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Monday, August 27, 2018, 18:58 (114 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DAVID: Not a straw man. you're the one who had Him looking into a crystal ball. And you have Him intervening or not intervening. Either He does what He wants or He can't.

You keep talking of advance planning, and that requires knowledge of the future. Why is that a limitation? Of course he does what he wants (if he exists). And if he wants a free-for-all in which he can intervene when he wants to, he is doing what he wants.

TONY: Well.....I think that is also putting a human way of thinking that I don't subscribe to. I think he does what he wants because he knows and wants whats best. I just don't think that our idea of what's best matches his idea of what's best, which causes us to question his motives and methods.
I try to take the approach of assuming that his approach is best, and then try to understand why his approach is best.

DHW: Your way of thinking is no less human than mine or David’s, and boils down to him wanting what is best, and whatever he thinks is best is best but we don’t know what it is.


Tony: Eh, that was a typo on my part. "I think that is also putting a human way of thinking that I don't subscribe to on God." Or, to put it differently, we think things should be done one way, and then question why he didn't do things OUR way. DHW would create cellular intelligence so he didn't have to do anything else. David would pre-plan, and possibly incorporate some mechanism for change through common descent. Well, why should God care what WE would do?

The question is, what did HE do, and why? What does the evidence say, sans fairy tale? Forget special creation, fiddling, twiddling, diddling, cellular intelligence, or programming etc. for a minute. What does the EVIDENCE say when we DON'T add a narrative to it?

We have dogs. We have cats. We have whales. We have rats. There is DNA, that codes proteins and regulates gene expression. There are complex, tightly controlled interactions between systems at every observable level that are so ubiquitous that they can be codified into repeatable, dependable sciences (Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc). All of nature, organic and inorganic, follows tightly constrained rules and patterns that work together towards a harmonious whole(Mineral properties and cellular life). Systems that are physically separate demonstrate startling levels of two way interaction (flowers and bees, algae and atmosphere).

Taking a deconstructionist approach (which is the norm now) we can analyze each system as an individual, but in doing so we lose sight that the entirety also works as a singular unified system.

To which I always add balance of nature for food/energy supply which existing life must always have as it must constantly counter entropy.

God and Evolution

by dhw, Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 13:54 (113 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: Your way of thinking is no less human than mine or David’s, and boils down to him wanting what is best, and whatever he thinks is best is best but we don’t know what it is.

Tony: Eh, that was a typo on my part. "I think that is also putting a human way of thinking that I don't subscribe to on God." Or, to put it differently, we think things should be done one way, and then question why he didn't do things OUR way. DHW would create cellular intelligence so he didn't have to do anything else. David would pre-plan, and possibly incorporate some mechanism for change through common descent. Well, why should God care what WE would do?

We are not saying what WE would do. If God exists, he must have had a method of creating the history of life as we know it. We are trying to work out what that method might have been.

TONY: The question is, what did HE do, and why? What does the evidence say, sans fairy tale? Forget special creation, fiddling, twiddling, diddling, cellular intelligence, or programming etc. for a minute. What does the EVIDENCE say when we DON'T add a narrative to it?
We have dogs. We have cats. We have whales. We have rats. There is DNA, that codes proteins and regulates gene expression. There are complex, tightly controlled interactions between systems at every observable level that are so ubiquitous that they can be codified into repeatable, dependable sciences (Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc). All of nature, organic and inorganic, follows tightly constrained rules and patterns that work together towards a harmonious whole(Mineral properties and cellular life). Systems that are physically separate demonstrate startling levels of two way interaction (flowers and bees, algae and atmosphere).
Taking a deconstructionist approach (which is the norm now) we can analyze each system as an individual, but in doing so we lose sight that the entirety also works as a singular unified system.

Thank you for a magnificent analysis of what we do find (although it leaves out the fact that despite the harmony of the whole, vast numbers of species (90%+) have disappeared). I would like to think that everyone else would join me in agreeing with you and appreciating the way in which you have summed up the oneness of the system. But that is what we are all trying to explain: how did it happen? Atheists will tell you that it all fell into place because that is how impersonal Nature works (natural laws). Theists will tell you that there is an unknown, unknowable, sourceless mind behind it all, and then they speculate as to what he’s like, what he wants, and how he did it. The latter gives rise to hypotheses like David’s preprogramming and/or dabbling. My own hypothesis of cellular intelligence allows both for theism and for atheism. I’m not sure how to sum up your hypothesis, as it seems to be a mixture of divine dabbling (separate creation of species) and cellular intelligence (species organize their own variations).

DAVID: To which I always add balance of nature for food/energy supply which existing life must always have as it must constantly counter entropy.

Yes, yes, all life forms need food, and if the “balance of nature” changes, they may not get food and they may die, which also changes the balance of nature.

dhw: You are still talking about single organisms! So please reread what you quoted at the start of this post. I will add that the eight stages of whale development are indeed a special mystery. So please explain why your God chose to specially create these eight stages, and are you saying that he did a wooj-wooj to change every individual at the same time, or do you think he went round the world twiddling with each individual? See “Pointy eggs and whales” for more.

DAVID: No one can explain God, and you know that.

You have not answered my question. I am not asking for an explanation of God. I have offered an explanation of whale development, and you do not accept it. So please tell us how YOU account for the eight stages, if not by one of the two methods I've mentioned.

DAVID: Can you solve Haldane's dilemma?

Oh come on, you know I am not a scientist. But I did point out that if you subscribe to cellular intelligence, time factors are irrelevant, just as they are if you subscribe to divine preprogramming and/or divine dabbling. For anyone interested, here are two websites that claim to solve Haldane’s dilemma by questioning his assumptions.

CB121: Haldane's Dilemma - TalkOrigins Archive
www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB121.html

Debate Argument: Haldane's Dilemma | Debate.org
www.debate.org/debates/Haldanes-Dilemma/1

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 18:10 (113 days ago) @ dhw


TONY: The question is, what did HE do, and why? What does the evidence say, sans fairy tale? Forget special creation, fiddling, twiddling, diddling, cellular intelligence, or programming etc. for a minute. What does the EVIDENCE say when we DON'T add a narrative to it?
We have dogs. We have cats. We have whales. We have rats. There is DNA, that codes proteins and regulates gene expression. There are complex, tightly controlled interactions between systems at every observable level that are so ubiquitous that they can be codified into repeatable, dependable sciences (Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc). All of nature, organic and inorganic, follows tightly constrained rules and patterns that work together towards a harmonious whole(Mineral properties and cellular life). Systems that are physically separate demonstrate startling levels of two way interaction (flowers and bees, algae and atmosphere).
Taking a deconstructionist approach (which is the norm now) we can analyze each system as an individual, but in doing so we lose sight that the entirety also works as a singular unified system.

dhw: Thank you for a magnificent analysis of what we do find (although it leaves out the fact that despite the harmony of the whole, vast numbers of species (90%+) have disappeared). I would like to think that everyone else would join me in agreeing with you and appreciating the way in which you have summed up the oneness of the system. But that is what we are all trying to explain: how did it happen? Atheists will tell you that it all fell into place because that is how impersonal Nature works (natural laws). Theists will tell you that there is an unknown, unknowable, sourceless mind behind it all, and then they speculate as to what he’s like, what he wants, and how he did it. The latter gives rise to hypotheses like David’s preprogramming and/or dabbling. My own hypothesis of cellular intelligence allows both for theism and for atheism. I’m not sure how to sum up your hypothesis, as it seems to be a mixture of divine dabbling (separate creation of species) and cellular intelligence (species organize their own variations).

I agree Tony's analysis is right on.

dhw: You are still talking about single organisms! So please reread what you quoted at the start of this post. I will add that the eight stages of whale development are indeed a special mystery. So please explain why your God chose to specially create these eight stages, and are you saying that he did a wooj-wooj to change every individual at the same time, or do you think he went round the world twiddling with each individual? See “Pointy eggs and whales” for more.

DAVID: No one can explain God, and you know that.

dhw: You have not answered my question. I am not asking for an explanation of God. I have offered an explanation of whale development, and you do not accept it. So please tell us how YOU account for the eight stages, if not by one of the two methods I've mentioned.

There is no answer. I think God created each species of the whale stages. To not have a small gene pool he created several pairs at once.


DAVID: Can you solve Haldane's dilemma?

dhw: Oh come on, you know I am not a scientist. But I did point out that if you subscribe to cellular intelligence, time factors are irrelevant, just as they are if you subscribe to divine preprogramming and/or divine dabbling. For anyone interested, here are two websites that claim to solve Haldane’s dilemma by questioning his assumptions.

CB121: Haldane's Dilemma - TalkOrigins Archive
www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB121.html

Debate Argument: Haldane's Dilemma | Debate.org
www.debate.org/debates/Haldanes-Dilemma/1

And I can give you many comments on the other side.

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 19:10 (113 days ago) @ dhw

Tony: ...we think things should be done one way, and then question why he didn't do things OUR way. DHW would create cellular intelligence so he didn't have to do anything else. David would pre-plan, and possibly incorporate some mechanism for change through common descent. Well, why should God care what WE would do?[/i]

DHW: We are not saying what WE would do. If God exists, he must have had a method of creating the history of life as we know it. We are trying to work out what that method might have been.


Most of what I see is people trying to prove God doesn't exist, not trying to actually figure out what happened. Most of the assumptions they start with are precluded with 'God doesn't exist'. Most of the language used to describe their observations have 'God doesn't exist' as a foregone conclusion. Here, that is less of an issue, but I was speaking in generalities. Still, you don't reverse engineer something by starting at the beginning. You start at the end and work your way back, and you start with pure observation without an over arching narrative. Once you include a narrative, you are predisposed to confirmation bias.

TONY: The question is, what did HE do, and why? What does the evidence say, sans fairy tale? Forget special creation, fiddling, twiddling, diddling, cellular intelligence, or programming etc. for a minute. What does the EVIDENCE say when we DON'T add a narrative to it?
We have dogs. We have cats. We have whales. We have rats. There is DNA, that codes proteins and regulates gene expression. There are complex, tightly controlled interactions between systems at every observable level that are so ubiquitous that they can be codified into repeatable, dependable sciences (Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc). All of nature, organic and inorganic, follows tightly constrained rules and patterns that work together towards a harmonious whole(Mineral properties and cellular life). Systems that are physically separate demonstrate startling levels of two way interaction (flowers and bees, algae and atmosphere).
Taking a deconstructionist approach (which is the norm now) we can analyze each system as an individual, but in doing so we lose sight that the entirety also works as a singular unified system.

DHW: Thank you for a magnificent analysis of what we do find (although it leaves out the fact that despite the harmony of the whole, vast numbers of species (90%+) have disappeared). I would like to think that everyone else would join me in agreeing with you and appreciating the way in which you have summed up the oneness of the system. But that is what we are all trying to explain: how did it happen? Atheists will tell you that it all fell into place because that is how impersonal Nature works (natural laws). Theists will tell you that there is an unknown, unknowable, sourceless mind behind it all, and then they speculate as to what he’s like, what he wants, and how he did it. The latter gives rise to hypotheses like David’s preprogramming and/or dabbling. My own hypothesis of cellular intelligence allows both for theism and for atheism. I’m not sure how to sum up your hypothesis, as it seems to be a mixture of divine dabbling (separate creation of species) and cellular intelligence (species organize their own variations).

It doesn't leave it out. It leaves it unanswered, leaving room for us to ask WHY it happened, which I have addressed on a number of occasions.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 20:15 (112 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: ...we think things should be done one way, and then question why he didn't do things OUR way. DHW would create cellular intelligence so he didn't have to do anything else. David would pre-plan, and possibly incorporate some mechanism for change through common descent. Well, why should God care what WE would do?[/i]

DHW: We are not saying what WE would do. If God exists, he must have had a method of creating the history of life as we know it. We are trying to work out what that method might have been.


Tony: Most of what I see is people trying to prove God doesn't exist, not trying to actually figure out what happened. Most of the assumptions they start with are precluded with 'God doesn't exist'. Most of the language used to describe their observations have 'God doesn't exist' as a foregone conclusion. Here, that is less of an issue, but I was speaking in generalities. Still, you don't reverse engineer something by starting at the beginning. You start at the end and work your way back, and you start with pure observation without an over arching narrative. Once you include a narrative, you are predisposed to confirmation bias.

You have described how I started from a position of soft agnosticism. In my 50's I did a get deal of reading about particle physics and the new standard theory of cosmology and changed my mind. Studying pure science can do it.

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 06:41 (112 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: ...we think things should be done one way, and then question why he didn't do things OUR way. DHW would create cellular intelligence so he didn't have to do anything else. David would pre-plan, and possibly incorporate some mechanism for change through common descent. Well, why should God care what WE would do?[/i]

DHW: We are not saying what WE would do. If God exists, he must have had a method of creating the history of life as we know it. We are trying to work out what that method might have been.


Tony: Most of what I see is people trying to prove God doesn't exist, not trying to actually figure out what happened. Most of the assumptions they start with are precluded with 'God doesn't exist'. Most of the language used to describe their observations have 'God doesn't exist' as a foregone conclusion. Here, that is less of an issue, but I was speaking in generalities. Still, you don't reverse engineer something by starting at the beginning. You start at the end and work your way back, and you start with pure observation without an over arching narrative. Once you include a narrative, you are predisposed to confirmation bias.


David: You have described how I started from a position of soft agnosticism. In my 50's I did a get deal of reading about particle physics and the new standard theory of cosmology and changed my mind. Studying pure science can do it.

Indeed it can, but not if you start with a foregone conclusion. Even over the course of the last several years of these discussions with you I have observed your position slowly shifting from a more naturalistic point of view to a more theistic one. Not that you were (since I've been here) purely naturalistic, but I have watched you embrace the concept of a designed universe more fully as the years rolled by, largely I think because of the increasingly apparent complexity that is completely at odds with the naturalistic approach.

The interesting thing is that you are not alone in this. I have witnessed a growing movement among formerly naturalistic scientist that have started embracing design. Even if they do not subscribe to a particular theory of a designer, they are at least acknowledging that it HAD to be designed. It's a start.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 15:30 (112 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

David: You have described how I started from a position of soft agnosticism. In my 50's I did a get deal of reading about particle physics and the new standard theory of cosmology and changed my mind. Studying pure science can do it.


Tony: Indeed it can, but not if you start with a foregone conclusion. Even over the course of the last several years of these discussions with you I have observed your position slowly shifting from a more naturalistic point of view to a more theistic one. Not that you were (since I've been here) purely naturalistic, but I have watched you embrace the concept of a designed universe more fully as the years rolled by, largely I think because of the increasingly apparent complexity that is completely at odds with the naturalistic approach.

The interesting thing is that you are not alone in this. I have witnessed a growing movement among formerly naturalistic scientist that have started embracing design. Even if they do not subscribe to a particular theory of a designer, they are at least acknowledging that it HAD to be designed. It's a start.

Thank you for observing me so closely. My first book was published in 2004 with discussions from pure science and stated that science alone showed God had to exist. dhw's imaginative prodding has certainly pushed my thinking. It appears he has learned a great deal in the process although he tenuously clings to Darwin.

God and Evolution

by dhw, Thursday, August 30, 2018, 08:29 (111 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have described how I started from a position of soft agnosticism. In my 50's I did a get deal of reading about particle physics and the new standard theory of cosmology and changed my mind. Studying pure science can do it.

TONY: Indeed it can, but not if you start with a foregone conclusion. Even over the course of the last several years of these discussions with you I have observed your position slowly shifting from a more naturalistic point of view to a more theistic one. Not that you were (since I've been here) purely naturalistic, but I have watched you embrace the concept of a designed universe more fully as the years rolled by, largely I think because of the increasingly apparent complexity that is completely at odds with the naturalistic approach.
The interesting thing is that you are not alone in this. I have witnessed a growing movement among formerly naturalistic scientist that have started embracing design. Even if they do not subscribe to a particular theory of a designer, they are at least acknowledging that it HAD to be designed. It's a start.

DAVID: Thank you for observing me so closely. My first book was published in 2004 with discussions from pure science and stated that science alone showed God had to exist. dhw's imaginative prodding has certainly pushed my thinking. It appears he has learned a great deal in the process although he tenuously clings to Darwin.

I have learned an enormous amount – largely thanks to David introducing me to areas of science I knew very little about, as well as to different approaches to our various topics through both of you, BBella, Matt and many others throughout our many years of discussions. I now have a much clearer understanding of why I climbed onto and remain on my agnostic fence, and my brain (materialist) or my soul (dualist) has even come up with new hypotheses that it would not have thought of ten years ago.

As regards Darwinian evolution, I continue to believe in common descent, natural selection as a useful term to describe certain obvious processes, and the interplay between evolution and environment. I do not accept the theory of random mutations, and I do not accept Darwin’s rigid adherence to gradualism. Nor do I accept attempts by both theists and atheists to twist Darwin's theory to suit their own agendas.

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, August 30, 2018, 13:19 (111 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have described how I started from a position of soft agnosticism. In my 50's I did a get deal of reading about particle physics and the new standard theory of cosmology and changed my mind. Studying pure science can do it.

TONY: Indeed it can, but not if you start with a foregone conclusion. Even over the course of the last several years of these discussions with you I have observed your position slowly shifting from a more naturalistic point of view to a more theistic one. Not that you were (since I've been here) purely naturalistic, but I have watched you embrace the concept of a designed universe more fully as the years rolled by, largely I think because of the increasingly apparent complexity that is completely at odds with the naturalistic approach.
The interesting thing is that you are not alone in this. I have witnessed a growing movement among formerly naturalistic scientist that have started embracing design. Even if they do not subscribe to a particular theory of a designer, they are at least acknowledging that it HAD to be designed. It's a start.

DAVID: Thank you for observing me so closely. My first book was published in 2004 with discussions from pure science and stated that science alone showed God had to exist. dhw's imaginative prodding has certainly pushed my thinking. It appears he has learned a great deal in the process although he tenuously clings to Darwin.

DHW: I have learned an enormous amount – largely thanks to David introducing me to areas of science I knew very little about, as well as to different approaches to our various topics through both of you, BBella, Matt and many others throughout our many years of discussions. I now have a much clearer understanding of why I climbed onto and remain on my agnostic fence, and my brain (materialist) or my soul (dualist) has even come up with new hypotheses that it would not have thought of ten years ago.

As regards Darwinian evolution, I continue to believe in common descent, natural selection as a useful term to describe certain obvious processes, and the interplay between evolution and environment. I do not accept the theory of random mutations, and I do not accept Darwin’s rigid adherence to gradualism. Nor do I accept attempts by both theists and atheists to twist Darwin's theory to suit their own agendas.

'm not trying to twist Darwin. He was doing the same thing we are doing, but with less information, and in my own way, I admire him just as I admire you, David, Bella, Matt, and George. I think if he had known about epigenetics, or about how similar genes are found in species in which it is virtually impossible for them to be related through descent, he would have proposed a different hypothesis. I don't think he had enough information to realize that common descent does not have enough explanatory power, nor enough to realize that natural selection is a tautology.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 30, 2018, 18:52 (111 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have described how I started from a position of soft agnosticism. In my 50's I did a get deal of reading about particle physics and the new standard theory of cosmology and changed my mind. Studying pure science can do it.

TONY: Indeed it can, but not if you start with a foregone conclusion. Even over the course of the last several years of these discussions with you I have observed your position slowly shifting from a more naturalistic point of view to a more theistic one. Not that you were (since I've been here) purely naturalistic, but I have watched you embrace the concept of a designed universe more fully as the years rolled by, largely I think because of the increasingly apparent complexity that is completely at odds with the naturalistic approach.
The interesting thing is that you are not alone in this. I have witnessed a growing movement among formerly naturalistic scientist that have started embracing design. Even if they do not subscribe to a particular theory of a designer, they are at least acknowledging that it HAD to be designed. It's a start.

DAVID: Thank you for observing me so closely. My first book was published in 2004 with discussions from pure science and stated that science alone showed God had to exist. dhw's imaginative prodding has certainly pushed my thinking. It appears he has learned a great deal in the process although he tenuously clings to Darwin.

dhw: I have learned an enormous amount – largely thanks to David introducing me to areas of science I knew very little about, as well as to different approaches to our various topics through both of you, BBella, Matt and many others throughout our many years of discussions. I now have a much clearer understanding of why I climbed onto and remain on my agnostic fence, and my brain (materialist) or my soul (dualist) has even come up with new hypotheses that it would not have thought of ten years ago.

As regards Darwinian evolution, I continue to believe in common descent, natural selection as a useful term to describe certain obvious processes, and the interplay between evolution and environment. I do not accept the theory of random mutations, and I do not accept Darwin’s rigid adherence to gradualism. Nor do I accept attempts by both theists and atheists to twist Darwin's theory to suit their own agendas.

All I see left of Darwin is common descent, stated as modification of existing forms starting from single cells.

God and Evolution

by dhw, Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 11:46 (112 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: ...we think things should be done one way, and then question why he didn't do things OUR way. DHW would create cellular intelligence so he didn't have to do anything else. David would pre-plan, and possibly incorporate some mechanism for change through common descent. Well, why should God care what WE would do?[/i]

DHW: We are not saying what WE would do. If God exists, he must have had a method of creating the history of life as we know it. We are trying to work out what that method might have been.

TONY: Most of what I see is people trying to prove God doesn't exist, not trying to actually figure out what happened. Most of the assumptions they start with are precluded with 'God doesn't exist'. Most of the language used to describe their observations have 'God doesn't exist' as a foregone conclusion. Here, that is less of an issue, but I was speaking in generalities.

These do not apply to the three of us currently debating, since you and David believe in a God and I always allow for the existence of a God. Please can we stick to our own discussion of God and Evolution!

TONY: Still, you don't reverse engineer something by starting at the beginning. You start at the end and work your way back, and you start with pure observation without an over arching narrative. Once you include a narrative, you are predisposed to confirmation bias.

Absolutely right. When the theory of evolution was first proposed (it predates Darwin), it was based on observation of links from present to past. Darwin consolidated the theory, but he also faced up to the gaps, though he believed that in time these would be filled. Many scientists today argue that genetics add further evidence. You (and others) disagree. Their overarching narrative is a continuous development of life forms out of other life forms. Yours is life forms coming out of nowhere, separately created by a sourceless mind you call God. Some people regard the first narrative as atheistic. It is not. Lots of theists believe both in God and in evolution. Finally, once anybody has a firm belief, of course they are predisposed to confirmation bias. And from that moment on, we have pots calling kettles black!

DHW: Thank you for a magnificent analysis of what we do find (although it leaves out the fact that despite the harmony of the whole, vast numbers of species (90%+) have disappeared).

TONY: It doesn't leave it out. It leaves it unanswered, leaving room for us to ask WHY it happened, which I have addressed on a number of occasions.

It is a valid issue if you wish to claim that our world is a “harmonious whole”, but we needn’t argue about it because if I believed in your God (I don’t disbelieve) I would easily find reasons for extinctions. I am much more interested in the subject with which I ended that post, i.e. your own hypothesis regarding God’s method of speciation, which seems to be a mixture of divine dabbling (speciation) and autonomous intelligence (variations and adaptations). Is that a correct interpretation?

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 12:31 (112 days ago) @ dhw

DHW: Thank you for a magnificent analysis of what we do find (although it leaves out the fact that despite the harmony of the whole, vast numbers of species (90%+) have disappeared).

TONY: It doesn't leave it out. It leaves it unanswered, leaving room for us to ask WHY it happened, which I have addressed on a number of occasions.

It is a valid issue if you wish to claim that our world is a “harmonious whole”, but we needn’t argue about it because if I believed in your God (I don’t disbelieve) I would easily find reasons for extinctions. I am much more interested in the subject with which I ended that post, i.e. your own hypothesis regarding God’s method of speciation, which seems to be a mixture of divine dabbling (speciation) and autonomous intelligence (variations and adaptations). Is that a correct interpretation?

You keep putting words in my mouth, particularly that word speciation, which I have repeatedly said has never been observed, and you are trying to slip cellular intelligence in by a different name, which I have also stated has not been observed to the degree that would be required.

No, sir, as I clearly, and extensively defined in my exposition on my own hypothesis, I propose that the root types (I hesitate to use the word species here) were created, and that this creation process happened repeatedly, as needed at various stages of Earths development. Further, I propose that what we call species, most often are not, because they do not break the barrier of reproductive isolation. Instead, I see them as variants of the same type, and that the limit of their potential variation was set from the beginning of their creation. Thus, they will never truly evolve beyond the scope of what was originally allowed to them.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 19:42 (111 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: No, sir, as I clearly, and extensively defined in my exposition on my own hypothesis, I propose that the root types (I hesitate to use the word species here) were created, and that this creation process happened repeatedly, as needed at various stages of Earths development. Further, I propose that what we call species, most often are not, because they do not break the barrier of reproductive isolation. Instead, I see them as variants of the same type, and that the limit of their potential variation was set from the beginning of their creation. Thus, they will never truly evolve beyond the scope of what was originally allowed to them.

Do you think evolution is over and this is the endpoint?

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, August 29, 2018, 22:17 (111 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: No, sir, as I clearly, and extensively defined in my exposition on my own hypothesis, I propose that the root types (I hesitate to use the word species here) were created, and that this creation process happened repeatedly, as needed at various stages of Earths development. Further, I propose that what we call species, most often are not, because they do not break the barrier of reproductive isolation. Instead, I see them as variants of the same type, and that the limit of their potential variation was set from the beginning of their creation. Thus, they will never truly evolve beyond the scope of what was originally allowed to them.


David: Do you think evolution is over and this is the endpoint?

Not even close. I see the current state of events as one of those pauses that we see throughout the fossil record. Think of it as a period of debugging before moving on to the next iteration in the production pipeline.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 30, 2018, 00:56 (111 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: No, sir, as I clearly, and extensively defined in my exposition on my own hypothesis, I propose that the root types (I hesitate to use the word species here) were created, and that this creation process happened repeatedly, as needed at various stages of Earths development. Further, I propose that what we call species, most often are not, because they do not break the barrier of reproductive isolation. Instead, I see them as variants of the same type, and that the limit of their potential variation was set from the beginning of their creation. Thus, they will never truly evolve beyond the scope of what was originally allowed to them.


David: Do you think evolution is over and this is the endpoint?


Tony: Not even close. I see the current state of events as one of those pauses that we see throughout the fossil record. Think of it as a period of debugging before moving on to the next iteration in the production pipeline.

Are we replaced or changed?

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, August 30, 2018, 00:59 (111 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: No, sir, as I clearly, and extensively defined in my exposition on my own hypothesis, I propose that the root types (I hesitate to use the word species here) were created, and that this creation process happened repeatedly, as needed at various stages of Earths development. Further, I propose that what we call species, most often are not, because they do not break the barrier of reproductive isolation. Instead, I see them as variants of the same type, and that the limit of their potential variation was set from the beginning of their creation. Thus, they will never truly evolve beyond the scope of what was originally allowed to them.


David: Do you think evolution is over and this is the endpoint?


Tony: Not even close. I see the current state of events as one of those pauses that we see throughout the fossil record. Think of it as a period of debugging before moving on to the next iteration in the production pipeline.


David: Are we replaced or changed?

Well, if the bible is to be believed, the bugs in the genetic code are supposed to be corrected, and then new things are supposed to start happening again which we have never observed or experienced before. Just what, who can say. I like to imagine that the rest of the universe will start to be filled with life the same way the earth was.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 30, 2018, 15:21 (111 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: Not even close. I see the current state of events as one of those pauses that we see throughout the fossil record. Think of it as a period of debugging before moving on to the next iteration in the production pipeline.


David: Are we replaced or changed?


Tony: Well, if the bible is to be believed, the bugs in the genetic code are supposed to be corrected, and then new things are supposed to start happening again which we have never observed or experienced before. Just what, who can say. I like to imagine that the rest of the universe will start to be filled with life the same way the earth was.

How does the Bible talk about genetic codes?

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, August 30, 2018, 17:58 (111 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: Not even close. I see the current state of events as one of those pauses that we see throughout the fossil record. Think of it as a period of debugging before moving on to the next iteration in the production pipeline.


David: Are we replaced or changed?


Tony: Well, if the bible is to be believed, the bugs in the genetic code are supposed to be corrected, and then new things are supposed to start happening again which we have never observed or experienced before. Just what, who can say. I like to imagine that the rest of the universe will start to be filled with life the same way the earth was.


David: How does the Bible talk about genetic codes?

Like it talks about most things...in a very roundabout way. To be clear, it does never comes out and uses the words gene, or epigenetics, or any of the other words that were invented a few thousand years later.

First, understand that the original words used for sin, hhatah and chait, literally mean 'to miss the mark'; to err or make a mistake. Likewise, the tree and the garden was not 'the tree of good and evil', but the tree of 'functional and non-functional'. Whatever happened with Adam and Eve, sin (error) became something that was inherited. The only way that makes sense is if something changed in them at a genetic level that would be spread through all of their offspring. This is further alluded to in the fact that Christ was born without sin, having no human father, which implies that the 'original sin(error)' is likely passed through the male genome. When it talks about the period after Armageddon, it talks about removing 'original sin(error)', and mentions that sickness and death would be no more. To me, this implies that the inherited genetic errors will be corrected.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 30, 2018, 19:26 (111 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: Not even close. I see the current state of events as one of those pauses that we see throughout the fossil record. Think of it as a period of debugging before moving on to the next iteration in the production pipeline.


David: Are we replaced or changed?


Tony: Well, if the bible is to be believed, the bugs in the genetic code are supposed to be corrected, and then new things are supposed to start happening again which we have never observed or experienced before. Just what, who can say. I like to imagine that the rest of the universe will start to be filled with life the same way the earth was.


David: How does the Bible talk about genetic codes?


Like it talks about most things...in a very roundabout way. To be clear, it does never comes out and uses the words gene, or epigenetics, or any of the other words that were invented a few thousand years later.

dhw: First, understand that the original words used for sin, hhatah and chait, literally mean 'to miss the mark'; to err or make a mistake. Likewise, the tree and the garden was not 'the tree of good and evil', but the tree of 'functional and non-functional'. Whatever happened with Adam and Eve, sin (error) became something that was inherited. The only way that makes sense is if something changed in them at a genetic level that would be spread through all of their offspring. This is further alluded to in the fact that Christ was born without sin, having no human father, which implies that the 'original sin(error)' is likely passed through the male genome. When it talks about the period after Armageddon, it talks about removing 'original sin(error)', and mentions that sickness and death would be no more. To me, this implies that the inherited genetic errors will be corrected.

Thank you. My New Testament education is some readings in the Gospels.

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, August 30, 2018, 21:22 (110 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: Not even close. I see the current state of events as one of those pauses that we see throughout the fossil record. Think of it as a period of debugging before moving on to the next iteration in the production pipeline.


David: Are we replaced or changed?


Tony: Well, if the bible is to be believed, the bugs in the genetic code are supposed to be corrected, and then new things are supposed to start happening again which we have never observed or experienced before. Just what, who can say. I like to imagine that the rest of the universe will start to be filled with life the same way the earth was.


David: How does the Bible talk about genetic codes?


Tony: Like it talks about most things...in a very roundabout way. To be clear, it does never comes out and uses the words gene, or epigenetics, or any of the other words that were invented a few thousand years later.

Tony: First, understand that the original words used for sin, hhatah and chait, literally mean 'to miss the mark'; to err or make a mistake. Likewise, the tree and the garden was not 'the tree of good and evil', but the tree of 'functional and non-functional'. Whatever happened with Adam and Eve, sin (error) became something that was inherited. The only way that makes sense is if something changed in them at a genetic level that would be spread through all of their offspring. This is further alluded to in the fact that Christ was born without sin, having no human father, which implies that the 'original sin(error)' is likely passed through the male genome. When it talks about the period after Armageddon, it talks about removing 'original sin(error)', and mentions that sickness and death would be no more. To me, this implies that the inherited genetic errors will be corrected.


Thank you. My New Testament education is some readings in the Gospels.

You're welcome.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by dhw, Thursday, August 30, 2018, 07:47 (111 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

dhw: I am much more interested in the subject with which I ended that post, i.e. your own hypothesis regarding God’s method ofspeciation, which seems to be a mixture of divine dabbling (speciation) and autonomous intelligence (variations and adaptations). Is that a correct interpretation?

Tony: You keep putting words in my mouth, particularly that word speciation, which I have repeatedly said has never been observed, and you are trying to slip cellular intelligence in by a different name, which I have also stated has not been observed to the degree that would be required.
No, sir, as I clearly, and extensively defined in my exposition on my own hypothesis, I propose that the root types (I hesitate to use the word species here) were created, and that this creation process happened repeatedly, as needed at various stages of Earths development. Further, I propose that what we call species, most often are not, because they do not break the barrier of reproductive isolation. Instead, I see them as variants of the same type, and that the limit of their potential variation was set from the beginning of their creation. Thus, they will never truly evolve beyond the scope of what was originally allowed to them.

There is a misunderstanding here. I thought we had both accepted the definition of species that you offered a little while back (from Britannica? – I can’t find it now) to the effect that species were organisms which, as you say, cannot break the barrier of reproductive isolation. I am perfectly happy to call them root types, and within those categories we have variants. There is no difference between us on this. So now we have root types specially created at various times. That is the equivalent of David’s “dabbling”. But then we come to the variants. Again I agree that they are limited, but that was not what I was asking. I wanted to know what mechanism you envisaged that enabled organisms to vary, but you have answered this now on the pointy egg thread.

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, August 30, 2018, 12:32 (111 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I am much more interested in the subject with which I ended that post, i.e. your own hypothesis regarding God’s method ofspeciation, which seems to be a mixture of divine dabbling (speciation) and autonomous intelligence (variations and adaptations). Is that a correct interpretation?

Tony: You keep putting words in my mouth, particularly that word speciation, which I have repeatedly said has never been observed, and you are trying to slip cellular intelligence in by a different name, which I have also stated has not been observed to the degree that would be required.
No, sir, as I clearly, and extensively defined in my exposition on my own hypothesis, I propose that the root types (I hesitate to use the word species here) were created, and that this creation process happened repeatedly, as needed at various stages of Earths development. Further, I propose that what we call species, most often are not, because they do not break the barrier of reproductive isolation. Instead, I see them as variants of the same type, and that the limit of their potential variation was set from the beginning of their creation. Thus, they will never truly evolve beyond the scope of what was originally allowed to them.

DHW: There is a misunderstanding here. I thought we had both accepted the definition of species that you offered a little while back (from Britannica? – I can’t find it now) to the effect that species were organisms which, as you say, cannot break the barrier of reproductive isolation. I am perfectly happy to call them root types, and within those categories we have variants. There is no difference between us on this. So now we have root types specially created at various times. That is the equivalent of David’s “dabbling”. But then we come to the variants. Again I agree that they are limited, but that was not what I was asking. I wanted to know what mechanism you envisaged that enabled organisms to vary, but you have answered this now on the pointy egg thread.

Epigenetics was the inspiration for the idea that our genes are like functions in programming that can produce different outputs when given different inputs. It would allow for variation without changing the underlying genome. Thus, an identical gene in two variants could produce different results, and I suspect these different results most likely come in the way the proteins are folded. The resulting proteins could be chemically identical, but the difference in the folded structure could produce different results when used. That is only a guess, though, and I fully admit I do not have enough information to state it with any degree of certainty.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 30, 2018, 19:12 (111 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

dhw: I am much more interested in the subject with which I ended that post, i.e. your own hypothesis regarding God’s method ofspeciation, which seems to be a mixture of divine dabbling (speciation) and autonomous intelligence (variations and adaptations). Is that a correct interpretation?

Tony: You keep putting words in my mouth, particularly that word speciation, which I have repeatedly said has never been observed, and you are trying to slip cellular intelligence in by a different name, which I have also stated has not been observed to the degree that would be required.
No, sir, as I clearly, and extensively defined in my exposition on my own hypothesis, I propose that the root types (I hesitate to use the word species here) were created, and that this creation process happened repeatedly, as needed at various stages of Earths development. Further, I propose that what we call species, most often are not, because they do not break the barrier of reproductive isolation. Instead, I see them as variants of the same type, and that the limit of their potential variation was set from the beginning of their creation. Thus, they will never truly evolve beyond the scope of what was originally allowed to them.

DHW: There is a misunderstanding here. I thought we had both accepted the definition of species that you offered a little while back (from Britannica? – I can’t find it now) to the effect that species were organisms which, as you say, cannot break the barrier of reproductive isolation. I am perfectly happy to call them root types, and within those categories we have variants. There is no difference between us on this. So now we have root types specially created at various times. That is the equivalent of David’s “dabbling”. But then we come to the variants. Again I agree that they are limited, but that was not what I was asking. I wanted to know what mechanism you envisaged that enabled organisms to vary, but you have answered this now on the pointy egg thread.


Tony:Epigenetics was the inspiration for the idea that our genes are like functions in programming that can produce different outputs when given different inputs. It would allow for variation without changing the underlying genome. Thus, an identical gene in two variants could produce different results, and I suspect these different results most likely come in the way the proteins are folded. The resulting proteins could be chemically identical, but the difference in the folded structure could produce different results when used. That is only a guess, though, and I fully admit I do not have enough information to state it with any degree of certainty.

Folding is one mechanism to change function and is why so many proteins can be used in so many different functional ways

God and Evolution

by dhw, Friday, August 31, 2018, 13:29 (110 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: I wanted to know what mechanism you envisaged that enabled organisms to vary, but you have answered this now on the pointy egg thread.

TONY: Epigenetics was the inspiration for the idea that our genes are like functions in programming that can produce different outputs when given different inputs. It would allow for variation without changing the underlying genome. Thus, an identical gene in two variants could produce different results, and I suspect these different results most likely come in the way the proteins are folded. The resulting proteins could be chemically identical, but the difference in the folded structure could produce different results when used. That is only a guess, though, and I fully admit I do not have enough information to state it with any degree of certainty.

I could not even begin to speculate on how it all works, but thank you for your own speculations! In my own simple way, and in the wider context of “God and Evolution”, I was actually trying to find out whether you believed in divine programming, divine dabbling, or autonomous (cellular) intelligence, possibly designed by your God. This statement and others under “pointy eggs” confirm that you favour programming.

dhw: As regards Darwinian evolution, I continue to believe in common descent, natural selection as a useful term to describe certain obvious processes, and the interplay between evolution and environment. I do not accept the theory of random mutations, and I do not accept Darwin’s rigid adherence to gradualism. Nor do I accept attempts by both theists and atheists to twist Darwin's theory to suit their own agendas.

TONY: I'm not trying to twist Darwin.

By this I meant that some atheists twist the theory to suggest that it explains the whole of life (which it doesn’t), thereby excluding the need for a designer; some theists twist the theory to suggest that it CLAIMS to explain the whole of life (which it doesn’t), thereby excluding the need for a designer, and therefore the whole theory can be dismissed.

TONY: He was doing the same thing we are doing, but with less information, and in my own way, I admire him just as I admire you, David, Bella, Matt, and George. I think if he had known about epigenetics, or about how similar genes are found in species in which it is virtually impossible for them to be related through descent, he would have proposed a different hypothesis.

I don’t know why you think epigenetics runs counter to the theory of common descent, since it only explains how existing organs can make changes to themselves. As regards genes, I’m surprised that similar (or the same) genes preclude relationship. Why? I’d have thought it was the similarity or the sameness that supported common descent.

TONY: I don't think he had enough information to realize that common descent does not have enough explanatory power, nor enough to realize that natural selection is a tautology.

Power to explain what? We humans long to know our origins. I see common descent as explaining the history of life as we know it so far: a development from relatively simple (though still complex) forms to the extraordinarily complex (the human brain) - which incidentally has major ramifications for our understanding of ourselves and also of our fellow creatures. We are still struggling to understand the mechanisms that made this possible, but whatever they may be, they do not preclude the existence of a designer. I agree about natural selection, but it is a very useful term to sum up the process whereby what is useful survives and is passed on.

DHW: We agree on design of some kind. I do not believe that your God changed organismal structures in advance of the environmental changes those structures would be used for. I’d be interested to know if Tony thinks his God controls the environment, and if he specially created root types in advance of or in response to environmental change.

TONY: first, imagine each environmental state of the Earth as a stage in Earth's development. I believe he created organisms that could exist in the initial environment to change the environment to a new state, the next stage in Earth's development…

So did he control the environment or not? It’s true that organisms can change an environment, but so can other factors like catastrophes (e.g. Chixculub), movements in the earth’s crust, floods, desertification...Some of these may also have been due to organismal activity, but what about those that were not?

TONY: ...and then repeated this process at each new stage, driving the development of the environment using the organisms natural biological processes….

Does this mean he programmed organisms to create new environments, then created and programmed new root types to change environments again, then created and programmed new root types to change environments again, and so on? Just checking.

dhw: I’d be interested to know if Tony thinks his God controls the environment, and if he specially created root types in advance of or in response to environmental change.

DAVID: If by environmental change you mean entering water, that is different than climate change or Chixculub.

Of course it’s different. There are all kinds of environmental changes, global and local, and in my view they could have created the need or the opportunity for organismal change.

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, August 31, 2018, 17:04 (110 days ago) @ dhw

A lot here.. have to trim.

DHW: I meant that some atheists twist the theory to suggest that it explains the whole of life (which it doesn’t), thereby excluding the need for a designer; some theists twist the theory to suggest that it CLAIMS to explain the whole of life (which it doesn’t), thereby excluding the need for a designer, and therefore the whole theory can be dismissed.

The theory isn't simply dismissed because they try to preclude a designer. The theory is dismissed because there are some very significant scientific gaps in it and some very unscientific reasoning.

DHW: I don’t know why you think epigenetics runs counter to the theory of common descent, since it only explains how existing organs can make changes to themselves. As regards genes, I’m surprised that similar (or the same) genes preclude relationship. Why? I’d have thought it was the similarity or the sameness that supported common descent.

Epigenetics does NOT add new information to DNA, meaning it can not explain an increase in complexity of information. As regards the genes, the very things that Darwin claims would lead to innovation, i.e. genetic isolation, means that genetic descent should ONLY happen PRIOR to genetic isolation. Which in turn means that genetic similarity between two species that are genetically isolated, and in which the 'molecular clocks' disagree on time of separation preclude inheritance by descent.

TONY: first, imagine each environmental state of the Earth as a stage in Earth's development. I believe he created organisms that could exist in the initial environment to change the environment to a new state, the next stage in Earth's development…

DHW: So did he control the environment or not? It’s true that organisms can change an environment, but so can other factors like catastrophes (e.g. Chixculub), movements in the earth’s crust, floods, desertification...Some of these may also have been due to organismal activity, but what about those that were not?

Some, like a meteor strike, wouldn't have wiped out life on earth, and the microbes that processed the environment would have continued to do so, albeit after suffering a setback. "Time and unforseen circumstances.." For the things that happened that were part of the Earth's natural cycles (Ice Ages/flooding/desertification/etc) it is perfectly reasonable to assume that those were understood potentials and had contingencies planned for, just like the fruit fly brain that had a backup in case it lost the ability to see the sun.


TONY: ...and then repeated this process at each new stage, driving the development of the environment using the organisms natural biological processes….

DHW: Does this mean he programmed organisms to create new environments, then created and programmed new root types to change environments again, then created and programmed new root types to change environments again, and so on? Just checking.

Yes. Earths environments were processed through flora, fauna, bacterial life, and natural processes over and over, that is the only logical way to ensure homeostasis. If it were designed any other way it would require constant intervention, which I am certain would consume vast amounts of energy and resources, which if the rest of creation is any indication, is not how God operates.


dhw: I’d be interested to know if Tony thinks his God controls the environment, and if he specially created root types in advance of or in response to environmental change.

It would most likely need to be at cusps. The point where the the new environment was becoming too dissimilar from the old one for the old organisms to flourish. Archetypes viable for the new environment would be created, and over time, thrive as they altered the environment further, and then decline as they approached the next cusp and the next creation iteration.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, August 31, 2018, 19:26 (110 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: I don’t know why you think epigenetics runs counter to the theory of common descent, since it only explains how existing organs can make changes to themselves. As regards genes, I’m surprised that similar (or the same) genes preclude relationship. Why? I’d have thought it was the similarity or the sameness that supported common descent.


Tony: Epigenetics does NOT add new information to DNA, meaning it can not explain an increase in complexity of information.

Epigenetics can change the expression of a gene, which means methylation brings out other existing information which the gene contains. This is where I see God's pre-planning.

God and Evolution

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, August 31, 2018, 21:19 (109 days ago) @ David Turell

DHW: I don’t know why you think epigenetics runs counter to the theory of common descent, since it only explains how existing organs can make changes to themselves. As regards genes, I’m surprised that similar (or the same) genes preclude relationship. Why? I’d have thought it was the similarity or the sameness that supported common descent.


Tony: Epigenetics does NOT add new information to DNA, meaning it can not explain an increase in complexity of information.


David: Epigenetics can change the expression of a gene, which means methylation brings out other existing information which the gene contains. This is where I see God's pre-planning.

Precisely. The epigenetic messages act as inputs to the genetic function, thus changing the genes expression(output). Of course, this output is a spatially/chemically precise response, much like the response from a function in a computer program. This response is then forward on to the next generation, and used as the input to the genetic softwares initial startup parameters. It is even conceivable that this mechanism would allow a parents thoughts, hopes, expectations, emotions, habits imprint upon their children through epigentic messaging, and thus the sins of the father pass to the son.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, August 31, 2018, 23:58 (109 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: I don’t know why you think epigenetics runs counter to the theory of common descent, since it only explains how existing organs can make changes to themselves. As regards genes, I’m surprised that similar (or the same) genes preclude relationship. Why? I’d have thought it was the similarity or the sameness that supported common descent.


Tony: Epigenetics does NOT add new information to DNA, meaning it can not explain an increase in complexity of information.


David: Epigenetics can change the expression of a gene, which means methylation brings out other existing information which the gene contains. This is where I see God's pre-planning.


Tony: Precisely. The epigenetic messages act as inputs to the genetic function, thus changing the genes expression(output). Of course, this output is a spatially/chemically precise response, much like the response from a function in a computer program. This response is then forward on to the next generation, and used as the input to the genetic softwares initial startup parameters. It is even conceivable that this mechanism would allow a parents thoughts, hopes, expectations, emotions, habits imprint upon their children through epigenetic messaging, and thus the sins of the father pass to the son.

Neat twist. Note the studies of WWII starvation and the effect on subsequent generations in the Neatherlands.

God and Evolution

by dhw, Saturday, September 01, 2018, 09:48 (109 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: I meant that some atheists twist the theory to suggest that it explains the whole of life (which it doesn’t), thereby excluding the need for a designer; some theists twist the theory to suggest that it CLAIMS to explain the whole of life (which it doesn’t), thereby excluding the need for a designer, and therefore the whole theory can be dismissed.

TONY: The theory isn't simply dismissed because they try to preclude a designer. The theory is dismissed because there are some very significant scientific gaps in it and some very unscientific reasoning.

By twisting I don't mean genuine scientific problems but the blanket approach outlined above.

DHW: I don’t know why you think epigenetics runs counter to the theory of common descent, since it only explains how existing organs can make changes to themselves. As regards genes, I’m surprised that similar (or the same) genes preclude relationship. Why? I’d have thought it was the similarity or the sameness that supported common descent.

TONY: Epigenetics does NOT add new information to DNA, meaning it can not explain an increase in complexity of information.

Nothing explains the innovations that lead to new “root types”. That does not mean that epigenetics runs counter to common descent.

David: Epigenetics can change the expression of a gene, which means methylation brings out other existing information which the gene contains. This is where I see God's pre-planning.

TONY: Precisely. The epigenetic messages act as inputs to the genetic function, thus changing the genes expression(output). Of course, this output is a spatially/chemically precise response, much like the response from a function in a computer program. This response is then forward on to the next generation… etc.

Thank you for this clear account of how epigenetics works. But none of it runs counter to common descent.

TONY: As regards the genes, the very things that Darwin claims would lead to innovation, i.e. genetic isolation, means that genetic descent should ONLY happen PRIOR to genetic isolation.

Why? The theory is that life began with single cells which eventually assembled (various theories as to how) into multicellular organisms, and all known forms of life arose from this basis. Life forms spread. Different environments demand or allow for different variations. Over hundreds of millions of years, of course different types became specific to their particular environments - especially with land masses splitting up - and as these environments changed, more and more variants appeared. By then, “genetic isolation” was inevitable, but the original basis did not disappear, as evidenced by the similarity of the genes that did not change. David calls this basis his God’s blueprint.

DHW: So did he control the environment or not? It’s true that organisms can change an environment, but so can other factors like catastrophes (e.g. Chixculub), movements in the earth’s crust, floods, desertification...Some of these may also have been due to organismal activity, but what about those that were not?

TONY: Some, like a meteor strike, wouldn't have wiped out life on earth, and the microbes that processed the environment would have continued to do so, albeit after suffering a setback.

Environmental change doesn’t have to be global. Local events may trigger changes, and the new organisms may then spread further afield.

TONY: "Time and unforseen circumstances..." For the things that happened that were part of the Earth's natural cycles (Ice Ages/flooding/desertification/etc) it is perfectly reasonable to assume that those were understood potentials and had contingencies planned for...

Interesting. You seem to be saying that there were circumstances unforeseen by your God. That’s fine with me: your God setting up a mechanism to produce the unforeseen is precisely the theistic hypothesis I have suggested for evolution (though allowing for dabbles). See below for planning.

TONY: ...and then repeated this process at each new stage, driving the development of the environment using the organisms natural biological processes….

DHW: Does this mean he programmed organisms to create new environments, then created and programmed new root types to change environments again, then created and programmed new root types to change environments again, and so on? Just checking.

TONY: Yes. Earths environments were processed through flora, fauna, bacterial life, and natural processes over and over, that is the only logical way to ensure homeostasis[…}

I take it “yes” means God did programme all the new environments, global and local. I find it as hard to imagine a programme that sets them all up for billions of years as to imagine a programme that supplies each root type with every variant and every solution to every problem except the last (i.e. the one leading to extinction). But in fairness to you and David, I find all our hypotheses hard to believe. Hence my agnosticism!

dhw: I’d be interested to know if Tony thinks his God controls the environment, and if he specially created root types in advance of or in response to environmental change.

TONY: It would most likely need to be at cusps.

Fair enough: if he programmed the changes and created new root types to suit them, he would certainly have chosen the best moment (cusp) to do it.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, August 31, 2018, 18:55 (110 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I’d be interested to know if Tony thinks his God controls the environment, and if he specially created root types in advance of or in response to environmental change.

DAVID: If by environmental change you mean entering water, that is different than climate change or Chixculub.

dhw: Of course it’s different. There are all kinds of environmental changes, global and local, and in my view they could have created the need or the opportunity for organismal change.

I know you recognize that need and opportunity are not the cause of speciation, but perhaps allowing the process to try.

God and Evolution

by David Turell @, Monday, August 27, 2018, 18:02 (114 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: To cells within a single organism, that is possible, however unlikely, but look at the rest of the question. How did one multi-cellular organism and another multi-cellular organism, or the cells inside them, all come to the SAME conclusion at the SAME time. It takes more than one multi-cellular organism to reproduce, in almost all cases.

DAVID: How does a single mutation in one individual get spread into the group? Chance meeting for reproduction takes too long for the times involved in the record, and species appear only after huge gaps in phenotype.

dhw: You are still talking about single organisms! So please reread what you quoted at the start of this post. I will add that the eight stages of whale development are indeed a special mystery. So please explain why your God chose to specially create these eight stages, and are you saying that he did a wooj-wooj to change every individual at the same time, or do you think he went round the world twiddling with each individual? See “Pointy eggs and whales” for more.

No one can explain God, and you know that. Can you solve Haldane's dilemma?

DAVID: Not a straw man. you're the one who had Him looking into a crystal ball. And you have Him intervening or not intervening. Either He does what He wants or He can't.

You keep talking of advance planning, and that requires knowledge of the future. Why is that a limitation? Of course he does what he wants (if he exists). And if he wants a free-for-all in which he can intervene when he wants to, he is doing what he wants.

TONY: Well.....I think that is also putting a human way of thinking that I don't subscribe to. I think he does what he wants because he knows and wants whats best. I just don't think that our idea of what's best matches his idea of what's best, which causes us to question his motives and methods.
I try to take the approach of assuming that his approach is best, and then try to understand why his approach is best.

dhw: Your way of thinking is no less human than mine or David’s, and boils down to him wanting what is best, and whatever he thinks is best is best but we don’t know what it is.

I find it interesting that Tony also notes how you humanize god.

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