Evolution, survival and adaptation (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, September 06, 2017, 13:38 (596 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: I thought your God was always in total control. Why bother with all these different hominin types if his primary purpose was homo sapiens?
DAVID: The history of evolution is it always produces bushes of organisms. Must be His method. Your human logic is not His.
dhw: We know the history, and I’m pleased to see you acknowledge the illogicality of your interpretation.
DAVID: I have said nothing illogical. God does what He wants.

So your always-in-control God’s method of fulfilling his primary purpose (the human brain) was to produce a bush. My human logic suggests that a primary purpose would normally be fulfilled as directly as possible, but although you can’t explain why he created all these different hominins, not to mention the whales and the rest of the bush, you happen to know that God’s logic is different from human logic, and so you are not prepared to consider the possibility that the bush itself might have been his primary purpose.

DAVID: Your same answer. Where did cellular intelligence come from if God did not do it? An inorganic universe creating intelligence on its own is beyond my belief.
dhw: If your God set up the autonomous mechanism, then your God set up the autonomous mechanism. The subject here is the existence of the autonomous mechanism (as opposed to a divine 3.8-billion-year computer programme or divine dabbling), and not the existence of God.
DAVID: You've avoided the question. Without God where does intelligent foresight come from?

I keep disputing “foresight”, as below. Where does intelligence come from? I have always acknowledged that it may come from your God. I don’t know. That is why I am an agnostic.

DAVID: You are understating the complexity of the organization of the brain. The individual neurons might have specific duties, but they also have plasticity to adapt to new tasks in an multitude of new ways.
dhw: Of course they do. One of their functions is to adapt to new tasks!
DAVID: Given by consciousness/soul. They do not initiate.

Adapting to new tasks does not mean initiating. The soul as initiator = dualism, as opposed to materialism, but that is not the point here, since we are debating whether your God preprogrammed or dabbled every evolutionary change, or (theistic version) gave organisms the intelligence to do it themselves.

DAVID: Your house was built by a plan, not thrown together. The same with new organisms, planning and design required either by your cell committees or by God.
dhw: We are not talking about a house. We are talking about responses to a changing environment. See above. But always with the proviso that major innovations are a mystery, and my hypothesis is an unproven extension of an existing mechanism.
DAVID: Your answer again ignores the concept of foresight and planning to arrange for new advances or adaptations.

I am not ignoring it. I am disputing it. My whole hypothesis is based on intelligent organisms RESPONDING to new challenges and/or opportunities, instead of your God preprogramming them in advance or dabbling with them. The response comes AFTER the challenge/new opportunity.

DAVID: Yes, they just do it. That is your answer. Unbelievable. Planning and foresight are never needed prior to arranging for complex changes. Totally illogical.

No, not prior to. There is nothing illogical in the argument that organisms ADAPT to changing conditions. It is a proven fact. The open question is how far they can take that process. I like your example of the whale, because I see each stage as a logical progression in the whale’s adaptation to life in the water. Not your God preprogramming or dabbling eight different changes (and it’s not clear anyway when he would actually have pushed the pre-whales into the water). What is unbelievable to you is that cell communities should be able to make major changes to themselves, although you accept minor changes. But nobody knows how the major changes took place. We only have different hypotheses: 1) random mutations; 2) a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme plus divine dabbling; 3) cellular intelligence (origin unknown but possibly your God). And it takes faith to turn a hypothesis into a belief. I sometimes wonder if your hostility to (3) might be connected to your unwillingness to question your fixed belief in (2).

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