dhw: Evolution and humans: Neanderthal lungs larger (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, December 02, 2018, 13:09 (1580 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: So you really do believe your God took away the teeth of the pre-baleen and then told him to go and filter feed. And this to you is more likely than a change in conditions making filter feeding a better way of surviving, with a subsequent loss of teeth being the consequence of their no longer being needed.

DAVID: Again you revert to adaptations to a new environment as possibly creating complex speciation requiring engineering. That whale fossil had no evidence of teeth or teeth buds, and probably used suction before developing baleens, which are a complex construction in and of themselves. Only design by a designer fits.

I am not denying the complexity, but yes adaptation to new environments is the basis of my unproven hypothesis. But we do not know the extent to which the mechanism for minor change might also create major change, and so your objection to my hypothesis is therefore fully justified. That does not provide any evidence for the hypothesis that your God came down and fiddled with the pre-whale’s legs before sending him into the water, and with the pre-baleen’s teeth before sending him off to filter-feed.

DAVID [on the subject of free will]: A repeated non-sequitur. God has every right to give us consciousness which gave us free will as part of an evolutionary process, but He still remains in full overall control.

dhw: You state your opinion on control as if it were a fact! It’s a hypothesis with no more validity than my own. Of course God, if he exists, has every right to do whatever he wants. If he wanted to give us free will (i.e. NOT to be in full control of what we do), it is perfectly possible that he also wanted to give organisms free rein to develop themselves (i.e. NOT to be in full control of them).

DAVID: Your probability supposition is only is only an extrapolation of the use of our brain. If we have a brain we logically have independent thinking and the freedom to do as we will. Could God have given us a consciousness with a brain and put a governor on our thoughts? Silly idea!

I presume you mean our special human brain – otherwise all organisms with a brain have independent thinking and the freedom to do as they will, which has always been quite contrary to your beliefs. But you are missing the point. Once more: If your God was prepared to sacrifice control over human behaviour, it is equally possible that he might have been prepared to sacrifice control over how organisms evolve. Given the history of life as we know it, this theistic hypothesis is just as likely as the hypothesis that “He still remains in full control”. See the next important exchange.

dhw: I am suggesting that he may have given spiders the autonomous means to design their own webs – i.e. that he deliberately sacrificed control, and unlike your anthropocentric hypothesis, that would offer a logical (theistic) explanation of the result you and I look at: i.e. the long higgledy-piggledy history of life extant and extinct (though I also allow for occasional dabbling).

DAVID: As usual I reject your fanciful theory. The webs have no direct connection to humans, a point you constantly distort. The webs are part of the energy supply so life can stay alive and evolve. You might ask why whales exist. Part of the econiches, nothing more.

dhw: Thank you. Yes, I do ask why whales exist if your God’s single purpose was “the creation of humans” (Thursday 29 November). Every organism and econiche is part of the comings-and-goings of life’s history, and this would be true whether your God designed them or not. The only problem here is [I should now change that to “was” – dhw] your insistence that he specially designed whales and webs and weaverbirds as “stepping stones” to the fulfilment of his single purpose - his specially designed humans. But now apparently he didn’t. He specially designed them to be part of life, different econiches and evolution, so that there could be life, different econiches and evolution. Nothing more, and nothing to do with single-purpose humans. We are coming closer together! Who knows, one day you may also concede the possibility that whales, webs, weaverbirds and humans all evolved as a response to changing econiches instead of being specially designed in advance of the changes. But perhaps I'm being over optimistic!

DAVID: Very over optimistic. Econiches supply energy for life so it can evolve. No change in my view.

No change in my agreement that without econiches supplying energy, life could not have continued and evolved. But now that you have agreed that 50,000 spider webs, whale fins and weaverbirds’ nests were not stepping stones to humans, we are just left with the question of why your God must have designed every innovation in advance of any need for it. Wouldn’t life and econiches have continued to evolve, with all their comings and goings, if he had given organisms their own means of responding to environmental change instead of him preparing the lucky ones in advance?

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