Bacterial motors carefully studied (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, April 03, 2016, 13:43 (983 days ago) @ David Turell

David: Just image an inventor looking out at a landscape of proteins and wondering which one to precisely pick for the next improvement. [..] To me it (|Denton's structuralism] fits the idea that God started with easy plans and patterns.
BBella: And for me it fits the idea that each inventor looking out at a landscape of choices has the intelligence (wisdom) of the ages guiding their choices in that moment.
DAVID: Ah, but who is the inventor?
dhw: If I understand BBella correctly, each organism can call on the knowledge and experience gained by its predecessors. Remember, we are dealing here with Chapter 2 in the history of life.

DAVID: You've got it wrong. If you are looking at several hundred thousand protein molecules to wonder which one to use next, they don't come labeled! You must find the one with the right number of amino acids and the correct 3-D form to perform the function desired. […] who is the inventor who knows the specific function of each molecule in advance?

If you believe in common descent, all innovations have to take place within existing organisms. They are not looking out onto an endless landscape, but make internal adjustments to an already functioning mechanism that needs to adapt or has the opportunity to improve. Without your 3.8 billion-year computer programme, you are left with your God directly adjusting existing cell communities to produce every innovation/lifestyle/natural wonder. My alternative theistic hypothesis is that God gave them the means of making those adjustments autonomously. Either he was capable of giving them that ability or he was not. Your response seems to suggest that he was not. They all had to be “guided”:

David: Of course, God could invent and grant such a mechanism to organisms, but with guidance.
BBELLA: So what you are saying (altho you can't be sure of course - but using the weaver bird for an example), is that the weaver bird is looking out onto the landscape of choices and at that very moment God decides suddenly the weaver bird must have a different, more innovative nest than any before. So into the weaver birds imagination pops a new innovative idea to tie knots - altho it had previously never tied a knot before? Really?
DAVID: In landscapes I'm discussing protein molecules and function only, and the molecules are not tagged with possible function labels. So how does one know which one to pick to create a new invention of form?

On landscapes, see above. On God's special guidance for all innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders, see below.

BBELLA: For me, it has to be because the bird has the ability to do almost anything within certain bounds, it just works with what it knows in creating its nest with what seems to work or look better, no different than this guy in this video:

Amazing video. And I could not agree more. But we are all arguing now from the viewpoint of incredulity. Like you, BBella, I cannot believe that God had to personally “guide” the weaverbird or the monarch, wasp, spider or cuttlefish etc. to work out their own modes of survival/improvement, and in addition I do not believe such wonders are geared to “balancing nature” for the sake of humans. It may well be that we can get no further than this, since David can't believe that organisms are intelligent enough to work out improvements, or that his God is capable of giving them such intelligence without their having to be “guided” by him.

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